UK appetite for self-build soars

Enthusiasm for self-build is growing rapidly in the UK, as Government legislative support, increasing awareness of the Right to Build Register and the launch of the UK’s first custom build development ‘plot shop’ at Graven Hill in Bicester have together made self-build a serious option for consumers.

New enquiries at home manufacturer Facit Homes rose 30% in the twelve months leading up to February 2018, as a large proportion of self-builders opt for a turnkey approach, appointing a specialist company to handle the design and build of their new home from start to finish.  Meanwhile, the latest statistics from the National Custom and Self Build Association (NaCSBA) show that since 1st April 2016, over 33,000 people have signed up to Right to Build registers across England to secure a plot to build their own home, reflecting an 80% year on year increase.

Marc and Laura Marsdale, both from the USA, have been living and working in finance in central London for around ten years. They have purchased a plot at Graven Hill, Bicester and have commissioned Facit Homes to build a 250m2 4/5bedroom house with a view over Graven Hill itself and the ancient forest that covers it. They had always been fascinated with the idea of designing a home and then watching it come to life, but were deterred by the challenges of a traditional self-build.

Marc said:

“Despite our long-held desire to build our own home, the traditional process for doing so in the UK made it seem too daunting. The effort of finding a suitable plot and battling through planning, with all the associated risks and unknowns was just not something we wanted to take on. So the ‘plug and play’ concept of custom build seemed like the perfect answer to the problem, smoothing the path and making it feel achievable. I really don’t think we would have done it otherwise.”

“Graven Hill is in an area we know and is close to the Cotswolds which is a place we love. As well as the advantages of purchasing a serviced plot, we were attracted by the kind of community it will create, being mostly made up of people like us who have decided to build their own home. The idea of a single company who would take the project from start to finish and guide us through the whole journey really appealed to us. We get to be a part of the team during the design stage but can then leave it to the professionals to crack on and build our home, so it’s the best of both worlds. To live in something that we’ve had a hand in designing, rather than something that was made for someone else; it’s the ultimate way of creating order for your own life.”

Self-build development now forms a crucial part of the Government’s housing strategy, as it aims to increase the number of custom and self-build homes from the 12,500 built in 2015 to 20,000 a year by 2020. Councils are required to make serviced plots available within three years of the end of each 12-month period, with a focus on delivering large-scale custom build projects such as Graven Hill, which aims to remove the stress and risk from the process by offering serviced plots complete with a fast-track planning procedure, water, gas and electricity.

Bruce Bell, Founder and MD of Facit Homes, said:

“It’s taken a huge amount of effort to galvanise the Government and local authorities to support those who wish to build their own home but the self and custom build tide is finally turning in the UK. In France and Belgium, self-build accounts for around 50% of all new building and in Sweden around a third of new homes are self-built, compared with around 10% in the UK.”

“Self-build is a great way to create more interesting and appropriate housing which meets the needs and desires of customers, rather than a ‘one size fits all’ approach. It is often cheaper than buying a finished house from a developer and the technology is now available to deliver self-build homes quickly, efficiently and at scale. It’s encouraging to see a growing appetite for the concept within the UK, where housebuilding has been firmly in the grip of the big developers for far too long, leading to a stifling of imagination and creativity.”

Facit Homes works closely with each customer, using their ideas and vision to create a bespoke home design that meets their individual needs. It has developed a design and build system where raw materials are delivered to site and the structural components are manufactured on site in a mobile production facility. Every piece is produced using a 3D central design model, ensuring 100% accuracy and efficiency with no room for error.

Based on a building of around 220 m sq over two storeys, a home will cost approximately £2,100 per metre squared, plus architectural fees of between 10-17%. There is no VAT to pay on a new build home, making it much more cost-effective than a refurbishment or extension.