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News

RUSS granted planning for training Hub and Self Build housing

Rural Urban Synthesis Society (RUSS) has been awarded planning permission for its community-led housing custom build scheme....

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Task Force announces work with London Older Lesbian Cohousing

The Right to Build Task Force is advising London Older Lesbian Cohousing (LOLC), the Task Force's first official work with community-led housing group.

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Dover Community-led Housing, Custom and Self Build Conference

Dover City Council is running a Community-led Housing and Self Build conference on 28 June, bringing together local people wishing to create their own home through the Right to ....

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Check your Right to Build register status following GDPR

With GDPR now in effect, check with your local councils to ensure you've not been removed from your local Right to Build registers. 

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Be inspired with a visit to a show home

Get inspired with a visit to a dedicated show home for an insight into what can be achieved with Self Build, starting with the newly refitted Milchester by Potton, in Cambridges....

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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

Charlie Luxton's
Top Tip

Charlie Luxton's  Top Tip Read more

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What is Custom Build?

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Until recently the process of building your own home was almost universally referred to as 'self build' and this had become well-recognised by both consumers and the development sector. In 2011, the Government's Housing Strategy for England introduced the term 'custom build housing'. Since then there has been some debate about what the term 'custom build' means, and after a lot of discussion, the definition is now beginning to settle down.

On The Self Build Portal we define self build as projects where someone directly organises the design and construction of their new home. This covers quite a wide range of projects. The most obvious example is a traditional 'DIY self build' home, where the self builder selects the design they want and then does much of the actual construction work themselves. But self build also includes projects where the self builder arranges for an architect/contractor to build their home for them; and those projects that are delivered by kit home companies (where the self builder still has to find the plot, arrange for the slab to be installed and then has to organise the kit home company to build the property for them). Many community-led projects are defined as self builds too – as the members of the community often do all the organising and often quite a bit of the construction work. Some people have summarised self build homes as those where people roll their sleeves up and get their hands dirty by organising or doing the physical work themselves.

Custom build homes tend to be those where you work with a specialist developer to help deliver your own home. This is usually less stressful as you'll have an 'expert' riding shotgun for you. A new breed of custom build developer has emerged over the last two years, and these organisations take on most of the gritty issues for you – everything from securing or providing a site in the first place, through to managing the construction work and even arranging the finance for you. This is more of a 'hands off' approach. It also de-risks the process for the person who is seeking to get a home built. Some people are concerned that by going to a custom build developer you'll get less of a say in the design and layout of the home you want. But this shouldn't be the case; a good custom build developer will be able to tailor it to perfectly match your requirements.

One or two custom build developers also provide a menu of custom build options – for example, they may offer to just sell you a serviced building plot (that you then take over and organise everything on); or they might offer to build your home to a watertight stage (so that you can then finish it off and fit it out to your requirements).

At present (mid 2013) there are about a dozen specialist custom build developers active in the UK. They range from large nationwide companies that are planning to help hundreds of people to get the custom build homes they want every year, through to smaller local firms delivering just a handful of properties each year. The pop-up map shown below identifies many of the current projects (the red 'houses' are the ones being progressed by Custom Build developers). If you look at the images around the map you will also see a selection of the homes or developments that some of them have in the pipeline.

The Self Build Portal identifies two main types of custom build project:

Click on the maps that are featured in each section and you will find details and links to most of the key players.