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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

Challenging sites

Challenging sites Read more

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Kit home

Benefits

  • It is simple and relatively risk free.
  • It is fairly simple to get a home built this way.
  • It is usually one of the fastest ways of getting a home built.
  • Some kit homes are quite modestly priced.
 

Challenges

  • There is sometimes limited design flexibility as the kit can usually only be modified a little.
  • Some of the top-of-the-range kits can be quite expensive.

NEXT STEPS...

Quicklinks

Find a plot of land

You may be lucky enough to already have a site. If not, your first job will probably be to find a suitable plot.

Decide on a kit/package home and company

Once you have secured a plot you need to consider the various kit and package homes there are available to you and decide which one you want to opt for.

Our Suppliers Directory includes details on many kit home companies and suppliers. So, for example, there are links to timber frame companies, oak frame providers, plus other specialist firms that provide brick and block based kit homes, log cabins and other types of prefabricated building solutions (including everything from very eco/green systems to Structurally Insulated Panels to Insulated Concrete Formwork).

When you have decided on a house design you like it might be good to ask the kit home company to arrange a visit to their factory and – if possible – to a house similar to the one you want to have built for you.

Another option is to work with an Architect or Designer to produce a bespoke timber-framed home for yourself.

Apply for planning permission

Once you are happy with the design it’s time to submit it for planning permission. Usually the design teams from your kit home company will have held some preliminary discussions with the local planning department to gauge what will, or won’t be acceptable. Once you’re confident that your design works for you the plans can be submitted. Usually it takes 8-12 weeks to get planning approval. There is lots of good advice on how to make this process as straight forward as possible on the Planning Portal – this is the Government's independent website and it provides guidance on a wide range of planning and Building regulation issues.

Contractors/contracts

Once you have been granted planning permission you normally then ask suitable groundwork contractors to prepare a price for building the foundation slab for your home. Your kit company should also be able to recommend firms that can do it for you, or they may offer this as part of their service.

Most people recommend that you line up three or four contractors to prepare a formal price, and then you select the one that offers the best all round solution and lowest cost. Once you have selected a contractor to lay the slab they will organise this, and then hand over to your kit company who will erect the house for you. You will of course enter into a contract with both the builder that puts in the slab and the package home firm you choose. The Joint Contracts Tribunal has more information on standard construction contracts.

You can also get simple contract documentation specifically aimed at self builders from RIBA Bookshops and the RICS Shop. Try the ContractStore too with a 20% discount for users of The Self Build Portal - they also have a useful guide available.

What else?

One of the best things you can do is read up on the whole process. The best book is 'The House Builders Bible' – which is readily available on Amazon and in good book shops. 'Building Your Own Home' is also a very good guide.

You could also go on one of many courses aimed at self builders.

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

Case studies

West Quantoxhead

Hans House

One of the first self build homes in the UK constructed to Passivhaus standards...

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Wokingham

Wokingham

A generously proportioned six bedroom Rectory style timber framed 'package' home...

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