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Could self-built homes get Britain Building again?

Self Built HomesOnly one in 10 new homes in the UK are built by their owners, compared with six in 10 in France and Germany.

The Housing Minister, Mark Prisk, recently told mortgage lenders that self-built homes should be encouraged.

He said that the idea of a DIY home should no longer be a “pie in the sky dream” for families.

Building Industry expert Jonathan Cornes of Chartered Building Surveyors, JC Associates said: “At present it is very difficult to get a stake in the building game and in the current climate it can be a tough ask to find funding for a self-build project. The government is trying to do something about this. The National Planning Policy Framework now requires councils to measure the demand for self-build and then make provision for those people.”

Lenders and house builders were sceptical that this could help to solve some of the UK’s housing shortage.
Nasba (National Self Build Association) recently published guidance that outlines the ways local government can support self-builders. Alongside land and access to guidance, it says the right approach to regulation is a crucial part of any successful self-build strategy.

Councils will understandably be concerned about ensuring that a light-touch approach to regulation doesn’t lead to poor quality developments. The report recommends using design codes across self-build development sites to provide certainty to both the authority and self-builders as to what standards must be met.

Self-building will never solve Britain’s housing problem alone. But self-builders could nevertheless play a significant role in boosting housing supply. For that to happen, self-building must be seen as a realistic option by both the public and councils. It may require a leap of faith. But with the housing crisis showing no signs of abating, it’s one that at least some councils seem to be willing to take.

Property Aspects Magazine appreciates the expertise and advice from Jonathan Cornes in the compilation of this article.