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News

Community group hopes to secure heritage land for self build homes

Ambitious plan aims to bring affordable self build to residents of ex-coal mining village

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'Garden cities for self and custom builders' idea wins Wolfson Prize

Winning submission calls for garden city masterplans with serviced plots for self and custom builders

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Self builders should come first in home ownership, says Tory-supporting blog

Manifesto calls on planning authorities to help self builders own homes as a priority

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Council completes purchase of Graven Hill self build site

Cherwell District Council takes ownership of land earmarked for UK's first large-scale self build community

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Call for thousands of new self build homes across London

Recommendation for urban pilot project of 100 sites for self builders to construct new homes on

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Case Studies

Bickleigh Eco Village, Devon

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Stoke-on-Trent Serviced Building Plots

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Harvest House

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Forevergreen House

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Liverpool Habitat for Humanity

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Sülzer Freunde, Cologne

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Berlin - 'Building Groups'

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Manor Farm, Kirton

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Straw-baling, Perthshire

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Low-cost Irish House

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Community Eco-homes, Devon

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Lancaster Co-Housing

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Cropthorne

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Findhorn

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St Just In Roseland

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Hempsted Green

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Vauban, Germany

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Warborough

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Almere, Holland

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Ashley Vale

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West Quantoxhead

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Castle Ring Wood

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The Camberwell Curve

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Trefeglwys

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Wellstride

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Hockerton

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Wokingham

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Top tips

Plot first; design later

Plot first; design later Read more

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Developer led group project

Benefits

  • It is simple and relatively risk free.
  • You can have a say in the design – perhaps choosing a design from a selection in a book of plans.
  • It is usually cheaper than buying a home off the shelf or from a conventional housebuilder.
  • You can sometimes arrange with the developer for you to finish the work off – so the developer constructs a watertight shell and you then tackle the rest.
  • This can result in savings of 10-20 per cent.
 

Challenges

  • Currently there are very few developers offering this option – so there are only a handful of projects or opportunities currently underway in the UK.
  • It tends to be more expensive as the developer will want to recover all his costs and make a fair profit.

WHAT YOU USUALLY HAVE TO DO TO JOIN A PROJECT LIKE THIS

  • Check online or in your local press to see if there are any schemes like this happening in your area.
  • If you want to try to get one underway call a meeting of like minded souls and then approach a few sympathetic local builders or developers to see if they’d be prepared to take you on and work with you to deliver your project

NEXT STEPS...

At present we are not aware of many developers currently with UK projects underway. However, the map below identifies the ones we know of and the locations of their projects:

bloc

London / Nationwide

Visit website

Custom Self Build Ltd

Ashford / Nationwide

Visit website

Inhabit Homes

London and the South East

Visit website

Concept2Group

Berkshire, Surrey and North Hampshire

Visit website
 

You might want to approach developers, contractors or housebuilders that work in your area to see if they are interested in providing any self build opportunities for a group of people on one of their existing or new sites. Visit the House Builders Federation website for a list of housebuilders in your area.

You can read more about some successful and innovative community self build projects in Europe here:

Take a look at the Community Build website. Use the ‘Community build’ platform to create your own group in your area. You can promote your new group and attract others to join you, share information and find land. This platform is newly created and will grow as people join it. You may find that there is already a group in your area.

If you are hoping to build as part of a group self build scheme you may be eligible for a loan under the Government’s new Custom Build Investment Fund. To be eligible there has to be at least five homes being built together. More information is available in the full prospectus. Note that a slightly different fund approach is being proposed from the Greater London Authority.
 
Groups of self builders may also be eligible for grant help towards professional fees via Locality.
 
Some of the bigger lending institutions may also be worth approaching, though in the current economic climate; it’s very difficult to get finance for group self build schemes.

There are many other sources of useful information – such as exhibitions and the various self build magazines.

Case studies

Almere, Holland

Homeruskwartier district, Almere

An experimental large-scale self build project in Holland, where homes have been provided for as little as £69,000.

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Vauban, Germany

Vauban, Germany

An innovative European self-build and self-finish development where the owners secured great homes and cost savings of about 25%.

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