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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

Stamp duty

Stamp duty Read more

Hiring builders

Builders
  • Word of mouth is still the best way of finding good builders (but not always possible).
  • If they use a trade organisation on notepaper (i.e. FMB or NHBC), make sure at the outset that they are current members.
  • Try and talk to previous clients - you will learn a lot, even though they only put you in touch with the good ones.
Fixed price or day rate? Mostly the building trade works on a fixed price basis, but sometimes on smaller jobs it is difficult to make an accurate estimate and here you may choose to pay an hourly rate, or a day rate. Some trades (notably bricklayers and plasterers) like to work on a measured rate basis: here you agree to pay so much per thousand bricks laid or per m2 of plastering done and then calculate the total owed at the end by measuring how much was done. Whatever you choose, ensure that you agree beforehand what the terms are.
  • Contracts: usually only used on fixed price work. With subcontractors (plumbers and electricians, kitchen fitters etc) the quotation may be the only contract form but on larger works — typically engaging a main contractor to build a house or an extension — it is a good idea to use a written contract. These will outline the terms of payment as responsibilities of both client and builder.
  • Remember that a contract is no substitute for a detailed written specification of the works involved. This takes time (and costs money) to develop and often forms part of the design process.
  • An hour spent planning the job before it starts saves four hours tidying it up at the end. It’s an old building adage but one worth bearing in mind.