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News

Briefing document on self/custom build bill released before second Parliament reading

Paper provides background on Government support available to people wishing to build their own home

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15,000 custom/self build homes a year "not implausible", says new report

Proposals suggest new targets for custom/self build housing to tackle housing crisis

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South London group steps up self build campaign as more projects are established

Lewisham-based organisation plans discussion day on 34-home self build project; one of many new schemes taking shape

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Collaborative project wins top prize in the Self Build on a Shoestring 2014 competition

Team of architect, community self build group and housing association wins £5,000 prize

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Six innovative ideas shortlisted for the Self Build on a Shoestring 2014 competition

Overall winner revealed and presented with £5,000 prize at Grand Designs Live on Thursday

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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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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

Custom Build Investment Fund

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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.