Last edited 16 Oct 2020

Self build initiative

The self build initiative is an attempt by the government to increase the number of new homes that are self built in the UK.

Self build is an alternative to the traditional model in the UK, where houses are built speculatively by a developer, and then people buy them and move in. Self build does not necessarily mean that the physical construction is undertaken by the home owner, but rather that they instigate the development of the home, whether by purchasing a kit house, employing a design and build contractor, employing consultants (such as an architect) and a contractor, or managing the entire process and ordering all the goods and services required themselves.

At the moment, self building only accounts for around 10% of new homes built every year, that amounts to around 15,000 to 20,000 homes. This compares very unfavourably with other EU countries. In Austria for example, more than 80% of new homes are self built.

A 2011 YouGov poll commissioned by the Building Societies Association suggested that 1 in 2 people would consider building their own home if they felt that they could (ref Laying the Foundations: A Housing Strategy for England).

The government proposes that self building can result in properties that are higher quality, greener and cheaper. They state that '...The average cost of a ready-made home is now more than £232,000, but a budget of £150,000 is usually adequate to build a three to four-bedroom house..'

It is also considered that self building might offer part of the solution to Britain’s housing shortfall which some estimates suggest will reach 750,000 homes by 2025.

The governments stated aim is to double the size of the UK self-build sector. They propose to facilitate this by:

There remain concerns about whether self builders will be able to navigate their way through the legal and legislative complexities of building design and development such as; insurance, planning permission, building regulations, restrictive covenants, health and safety, mortgages and so on. In addition questions remain about how planning obligations (section 106 agreements) should be applied to self builders.

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