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Custom and self build homes

Custom house building and self build includes, individuals constructing their own homes to communities project managing small developments.

The following types of self build have been defined by the National Custom and Self Build Association.

Types of self build

Contractor build one off home

This is the most common form of self build. Here the home owner manages the design process including finding the land, hiring an appropriate consultant, and securing planning and building regulations approval. About half of all owners then hire a main contractor to do all the construction work; the other half project manage the construction phase and hire various sub-contractors to do the work. The owner might also do some of the simpler tasks such as decorating. Approximately two thirds of self builds are currently carried out this way.

Self build one off home

Here the owner follows a similar route to the method outlined above except that they then do virtually all of the construction work themselves. This is popular with people who want to take ‘a hands on’ approach and may already have experience of self build. This method currently accounts for 10 to 15% of all self build projects.

Kit or package home

The owner finds the plot of land and then works with a kit home company to finalise the plans. The kit company then supply and erect the house. Sometimes the self builder just has a watertight shell built, and then does the fitting out work themselves.

Developer build one off home

Here the owner finds a developer with a site and a design that meets their requirements, and the developer then builds it out for them.

Supported community self build

Here a group of people come together to share their skills and build a number of houses collectively. The group will normally all work on everyone’s house until completion. Often these schemes include training to boost the participant’s knowledge of building. Some community groups form themselves and some are co-ordinated by housing associations or other agencies. Over the last 20 years there have been almost 100 such schemes.

Independent community collaboration

Here a group is formed to acquire a larger site which is split into individual plots. They then organise the design and construction of their own home, sometimes collaborating with others to, for example, order materials in bulk. This is a common approach in Continental Europe, but is currently relatively rare in the UK. However, it is expected to grow in popularity.

Developer/contractor led group project

A developer/contractor finds a suitable site then seeks a number of self build clients and builds the homes to their specification under contract. Often the developer provides an option to just build a watertight shell, so the owner can ‘self finish’. An alternative arrangement is for the developer to offer serviced plots which are sold ‘off plan’ with a design and build contract. This is a new approach to the UK, however it is common in other countries and is expected to grow in popularity here.

Register of interest

To express an interest in custom and self build homes in our area, please complete and return our application form to our Affordable Housing Officers at the address below.

Self build register application form (PDF/128KB/6 pages)

To join the register you will need to meet the following criteria; this applies to individuals looking to take on a project or each individual in a group or association:

  • you are aged 18 or over
  • you are a British Citizen, a national of an EEA State other than the United Kingdom, or a national of Switzerland
  • you are looking to acquire a serviced plot of land in the South Lakeland District to build a house to live in as your sole or main residence

If you want to build in the National Park areas, you will need to contact the relevant National Park authority directly and join their register.

Lake District National Park

Telephone: 01539 724 555
Email: planning@lakedistrict.gov.uk

Yorkshire Dales National Park

Telephone: 01969 652349
Email: planning@yorkshiredales.org.uk

We must consider the register when making certain planning decisions. The information contained in the register contributes to the development of local planning policies supporting self build and the assessment of future housing need in the area. It also creates a way in which we can communicate with you such as; provide information on any identified plots which come to our attention, consultations, courses and events.

Registering your interest does not commit you to a self build nor does it guarantee the availability of suitable plots or eligibility for plots.

Useful links

Plot browser is a national online plot finding service

Self build portal is a government endorsed self build resource

Home building has a useful self build advice section

Build store also has plenty of useful information, including access to the subscription plot search

Guidance: Self Build and Custom House building