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News

Task Force promotes community-led housing with awards of free advice

Following a call for applications earlier in the year, the Right to Build Task Force has awarded five organisations free help in the form of tailored expert advice.

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Get inspired by Netherland's Custom and Self-build homes

The Netherlands has been leading the way in innovation for Custom and Self-build homes, so get inspired by some of the various routes it uses to give people a tailor-made home.&....

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RUSS training day: From proposal to Planning

RUSS is running a one-day workshop for community-led groups, the second module in its education programme. 

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Could your grand design be built in a flying factory?

A flying factory is way of building a Self- or Custom Build home with all the benefits offered by building in a precision-factory environment, but on site.

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Community groups should take up learnings from free Right to Build Expos

The Right to Build Task Force has announced four more Expos fo....

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Case Studies

Bath Street Collective Custom Build

Bath Street Collective Custom Build

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Planning for retirement with Potton

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Bakers Shaw

Bakers Shaw mixed build-method Passivhaus

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Beattie Passive house

Manx passive home

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Contemporary Timber Frame Home

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Passivhaus Family Farmhouse

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Steel Farm

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Merlin Haven

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Timber Frame Home, Ventnor

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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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Manor Farm, Kirton

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Straw-baling, Perthshire

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Findhorn

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Almere, Holland

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Hockerton

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Top tips

Red Tape

Red Tape Read more

Architect or Package-build?

Budgeting tips

  • Both approaches widely used by self builders. The first method, you start by approaching a designer and together you work out what to build and then decide how best to build it. The second, package-build, you start by approaching a building company (usually using off-site construction methods) and then work on an individual design.
  • Architects and designers come in many shapes and sizes. The term architect is protected in law: an architect must have a relevant degree and be registered with the ARB. Architects tend to be interested in more cutting-edge design.
  • However, there are many competent one-off house designers would are not qualified architects. Some have related qualifications, notably architectural technologists who register with CIAT. Others are qualified by experience — i.e. they have just learned on the job.
  • Whoever you select, make sure they fit your requirements and check out their professional standing at the outset. And check references — visit completed projects and, if possible, talk to previous clients.
  • Package-build is the loose term used to describe businesses offering a design and build service, usually based on a particular build method — c.f. conventional timber frame, green oak, Structural Insulated Panels, Insulated Concrete Formwork, closed-panel systems (usually imported from Scandinavia or Germany).
  • Package-builders often have elegant brochures showing examples of what they have built before, and offer a range of standard house types (known as pattern books), which are costed. This gives a degree of price security (though it doesn’t follow that package build is cheap). In fact, very few customers build the standard house types. Almost everything is customised.
  • As with architects and individual designers, you must check out your package build company before you sign contracts. Most of them ask for hefty deposits, so you need to be sure they are reputable. The design element takes place in-house and is usually completed and paid for before the final contract is singed. Don’t go ahead with the build contract until you are entirely satisfied with the design, because you can’t make changes.