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News

Custom build is "the future", says Housing Minister

Brandon Lewis reveals plans at conference to drive forward range of new custom build initiatives

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More than 40 custom build homes planned for Surrey development

Local initiative ready to submit outline planning for 43 plots on 100 acre site in Cranleigh

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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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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

Tommy Walsh's
Top Tip

Tommy Walsh's Top Tip Read more

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Interactive guide to self build

Explore what you can afford to build and the best way to do it here Click to start your journey

This interactive journey aims to help you work out the most appropriate ‘route’ for you to get your self build project off the ground. There are lots of different ways of undertaking a self build project, and everyone’s personal situation is unique, their financial capabilities can vary enormously and no two building plots or self built homes are exactly the same. So this illustration is only a guide. We believe it will help you work out the best way of tackling your project. You may wish to seek professional advice for your own circumstances, and we cannot accept any liability for the conclusions drawn from the information provided on this website.

To start exploring the various options click on the big sign.

Back to start Click here for more information on using the Jotpad facility
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How to use the Jotpad facility

As we progress you may want to copy and paste useful tips and data into the Jotpad facility. All you have to do is click the 'Add text to Jotpad' at the bottom - try it now if you like. This will record everything and you can save this as a Word file or PDF so you can print it out later, or refer back to it on subsequent visits to this portal.

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Solo self vs group builds

The main advantage of working with others on a 'group self build' scheme is that it can result in significant cost savings - sometimes as much as 40% or more. It also means you can have a say in creating the wider community.

However, group schemes are more complex to get off the ground, and there are sometimes disagreements that can be tricky to resolve.

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Where are you hoping to build?

Click to start your journey
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More information on the group build option

People who team up and decide to build as a group can save significantly on the price of their land, and the construction cost of their home. Usually there are ten to 20 families in a group and by buying land at a 'bulk' rate and then splitting it up you can reduce the individual plot price by around 30-50%. The construction costs can also come down if you share the cost of expensive building tools and equipment (eg you jointly invest in a communal cement mixer or a fork lift truck), you collectively bulk-buy key materials, and you share design fees.

We have assumed savings of 40% on average build plot prices, and an additional 19% cost saving on construction costs, and these figures are factored into the next section of the Journey.

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A word of caution about land values!

In the animation that follows we have had to make a key assumption; we have based all our calculations on an average sized building plot of one fifteenth of a hectare (about one sixth of an acre). That's a reasonable piece of land, say, 20m x 33m, or 12m x 55m. This is bigger than the plots you would find in most standard suburban housing estates, though it is typical of the average size self builders tend to opt for.

Clearly if we had assumed a site half this size it would cost about half as much - and that can make a BIG difference to your overall budget.

You should also bear in mind that individual plot values vary enormously and depend on many other factors too - such as how good or bad the vehicular access is, the steepness of the site, if services are nearby or not, if there are planning restrictions or covenants, the site's ground conditions, its closeness to good schools, the views the site may have, and its proximity to things like busy/noisy roads or a smelly pig farm! No two sites are the same and, strictly speaking, there really isn't any such thing as an average site.

So the figures that follow are indicative only, and you should accept that you could pay a lot more, or perhaps a lot less for the eventual plot you decide to buy.

Click to continue
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Location

Click the area you wish to build in to view costs of self building in that region of the UK.

South West South East London East midlands East Anglia West midlands Yorkshire North west North east Wales NI

Where are you hoping to build?

The cost of building a home varies enormously - generally the closer you are to the South East of Britain the more expensive it will be. In the more remote rural areas it can be a lot cheaper, as land and construction costs are often much less. So think hard about where you want to build, and if your budget is tight it might be worth considering if it's practical to relocate to somewhere that is more affordable.

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More information on land costs

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Location

Click here for more information about this region

For a the average cost of land in is £ for a 1/15th of a hectare; the average cost for all English regions - including London is £. Construction costs are than the national average.

Land availability
Adjust location
Land & build costs
Average land costs for England
(incl. London)
Average land cost in
£
Average build cost in
National average
Click here to choose this region and continue
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More information on

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Sout west South east Greater London East midlands East Anglia Westmidlands Yorkshire and Humberside North west North east Wales Scotland Northern Ireland

House size

So, you are most likely to build your self build project in region and you plan to do it as a .

The next key issue to address is the size of the house you want to build.

You need to think hard about this and take into account your current and future need for space. One of the most important things to avoid is building more than you need - as, apart from it costing more to construct in the first place, you'll also end up paying more to heat it and possibly more in Council Tax too.

There are six indicative homes illustrated on the right. Click on the one that most closely resembles your likely space needs.

Two bedroom bungalow

Two bedroom bungalow
about 80sq m

Three bedroom dormer bungalow

Three bedroom dormer bungalow
about 100sq m

Comfortable three bedroom house

Confortable three bedroom house
about 120sq m

Generous three/four bedroom house

Generous three/four bedroom house
about 150sq m

Generous four/five bedroom/2 bath house

Generous four/five bedroom/2 bath house
about 200sq m

Very large five/six bedroom/4 bath executive house

Very large five/six bedroom/4 bath executive house
about 300sq m

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More information on house size

Semi

To give you an idea of a house size the traditional three bedroom semi has a typical floor area of around 90 sq m; so a 300 sq m house is more than three times as big.

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Your budget

So, you are most likely to build your self build project in and you plan to do it as a . You want to build something like a

Now you need to work out how much you have available to you to buy a suitable plot of land AND build your self build home.

So take some time to work out what you realistically have available to you. You might be fortunate enough to already have a stash of cash sitting in the bank. For others you may need to sell an existing property, or secure a mortgage. Other sources of finance include short term loans from financial institutions or friends and family.

One of the biggest problems would-be self builders face is that they think they can raise a certain amount, when in reality they can't. You should be very pessimistic when working out the funds you might have available to you. Remember to set aside a contingency sum, and that you may need to pay legal, removal and other professional fees, and mortgage providers will want a fee for setting up any finance you require.

Once you've worked out a realistic amount of money that you can raise to buy a site and build your home enter this figure into the calculator on the next screen.

Click here to continue to budget calculator
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Build type

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Location

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House size

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Budget Calulator

Calculator 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 c

Please enter the total budget you have to cover the cost of the land you hope to buy and the construction cost of the home.

This needs to a rounded figure, to the nearest £1,000, between £60,000 and £9,999,000.

When you are happy with your figure click the green arrow button to get feedback on your choices.

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Build type

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Location

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House size

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Budget

£ Adjust
Build cost Remaining budget
for site
Click for next steps
If you get main contractor to do it
£
£
Contractor builds watertight shell; you finish it £
£
If you do 60% of the work yourself £
£

A typical of a 1/15th of a hectare (1/6th acre) costs £ in

Thumbs DownYou have a unrealistic budget for building your home and buying your plot.
Thumbs downYou have a very tight budget for building your home and buying your plot.
Thumbs upYou have a reasonable budget for building your home and buying your plot.
tuYou have a generous budget for building your home and buying your plot.
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More information on build costs

Many people do some of the basic building work themselves such as the decorating and landscaping. However you cant really do everything as certain works (for example the electrical installation) needs to be done by a certified professional. You should also take into account that doing it yourself will sometimes mean the job takes longer (so financing costs can increase). And bear in mind that the older you are the tougher it may be to do the work.

Click here to close and continue Add text to Jotpad
Build type:
Location:
House size:
Your budget: £
Build cost if you get main contractor to do it: £
Remaining budget for site is: £
Build cost if contractor builds watertight shell; you finish it: £
Remaining budget for site is: £
Build cost if you do 60% of the work yourself: £
Remaining budget for site is: £
A typical group building plot of 1/15th hectare (1/6th acre) costs £ in