Do it yourself? The Evolution of the Self Build

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15 September, 2021

Matthew Jones

In Spring this year the government announced it aimed to increase the number of self and custom build homes (CSB), establishing self-building as a mainstream option. The so called "Help to Build" scheme could deliver 30,000 to 40,000 of the target 300,000 nationally required homes each year, often making use of small sites of little interest to the major builders.

Backed by £150 million of government funding, the Help to Build scheme will enable low deposit mortgages for those wanting to build their own home. Similar to the Help to Buy scheme, Help to Build will provide an equity loan on the completed home.

On 21 August 2021, the government published a Prime minister commissioned report of an independent review, into scaling up CSB housebuilding.

The report, rather expansively entitled "House: How putting customers in charge can change everything", makes six main recommendations for the major scaling up of the number of CSB homes, to boost capacity and overall housing supply.

These recommendations include a new Custom and Self-Build Housing Delivery Unit (within Homes England) and the development of a "Show Park", to raise awareness of the CSB sector. This would be accompanied by more robust legislation, to increase publicity of the Self-build and Custom Housebuilding Registers and allow the sharing of key data.

Further recommendations include:-

  • Increasing the role for Homes England in CSB builds
  • Reigniting the Community Housing Fund and creating accessible opportunities for communities to help themselves, and to introduce a "Plot to Rent Scheme".
  • Focussing on advanced manufacturing techniques and greener homes for CSB, to accelerate the delivery in Modern Methods of Construction and Net Zero Housing.
  • Reviewing planning reforms to maximise the opportunities for access to permitted land for CSB development across all tenures and ironing out any tax disadvantages between the CSB model and other forms of housing.

As indicated above the intention is to fill in the gap, so to speak, in the housing market, and to allow self-build to flourish. This should also take some of the expectation and burden from big house builders to "do their duty" to build ever more houses when the smaller sites are neither economically or practically feasible for them.

The rollout continues and we will be watching with interest on how this develops for our clients. As we act for all sizes of property developers we expect to see different opportunities that come from this proposal at all levels.

For CSB clients it is important what acquiring land to ensure that all required rights for access and services are included in the agreement for sale and that in all other respects you have the freedom to build as you intend.

Additionally, contractors required at different state of build will be able to take advantage and should take the opportunity to have their terms of business and payment terms reviews when dealing with CSB builds.

For more information contact Matthew Jones in our Construction & Infrastructure department via email or phone on 01254 222316. Alternatively send any question through to Forbes Solicitors via our online Contact Form.

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