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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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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.