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News

Self build 'Future Proof Home' launched at Ideal Home Show

Eco-friendly house designed and built in eight weeks set to be focal point of annual home exhibition

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Housing Minister urges English councils to plan for custom and self build

Brandon Lewis suggests "more work needed" to address lack of suitable plots

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Budget measures include new scheme to help buy custom build homes

Chancellor introduces investment arrangements which could help first-time buyers build their own property

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Concept to boost self build housing wins funding in ideas competition

Proposal suggests using mapping data and government records to identify disused or unmanaged small-scale sites

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Mayor-funded custom build scheme launched in London

Project featuring nine town houses offers Londoners opportunity to design their own home

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Case Studies

Aldcliffe Yard, Lancaster

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Walthamstow Social Rent Scheme

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Prefabricated Passivhaus bungalow

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Cookham Dean, Berkshire

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Harvest House

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Bickleigh Eco Village, Devon

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Stoke-on-Trent Serviced Building Plots

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Forevergreen House

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Housing People Building Communities

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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

Heating

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Finding a plot

Finding a plot

This can be very easy if you or your family already own a suitable piece of land, or it may take years of effort if you have geographical or budgetary constraints.

The Self Build Portal's 'Need-a-Plot' tool is a good place to start. By placing your noticeboard on the interactive 'Need-a-Plot' map, detailing what kind of plot you are looking for, this will enable thousands of people to see what kind of plot you need and where you need it.

You could also search our Suppliers Directory which lists several plot-finding services.

Some other methods for plot hunting include networking (ask all your friends on Facebook to look out for one for you, for example); contacting estate agents and landowners, checking out auction houses, hiring agents to search for you, advertising in the local press, in pubs and shops, and with mobile workers such as taxi drivers, mobile gardeners and hairdressers.

There are a number of online sources that list self build plots – most of these are free, but some charge a fee:

Other specialist self build plot websites include:

You can also search an area for an untended garden or neglected building etc and then approach the owners. If you have a defined search area buy yourself a high resolution Ordnance Survey map as this can sometimes help you identify quirky potential infill sites that are not visible from the main roads. Google Earth can sometimes be useful for this too.

Other site finding techniques include:

  • Offering a finder‘s fee to planning agents and architects.
  • Checking at the local planning office for permissions granted but not started.
  • Joining (or setting up) a local self build club or group where members share leads and help each other to hunt.

For a group build, you can also approach a parish council and ask them to suggest a suitable site. If your plans include affordable homes for local people in housing need, they should support your efforts. Or look through the lists of public land that the various Government departments are selling off.

The GLA also has a database of land for sale.

If you'd like to join a local self build group, HousePlanner has a list

These auction links may also be helpful:

The links below connect to various articles, specialist websites for barns and other unusual property conversion opportunities or sites that provide guidance on things like planning, land ownership and empty homes:

Finally – don’t get conned into buying land by a property scam company. These organisations often advertise plots of land that will never realistically get planning permission (for example, in areas that are protected by the Green Belt etc). If someone is selling a wonderful plot of land at an unbelievable price there’s got to be something wrong. And if you buy a site like this – usually still costing tens of thousands of pounds – you’re very unlikely to ever recover your money. Be warned. 

PropertySCAM lists many of the ongoing land scams where people are being conned.