Grand Designs Live to showcase NaCSBA’s 12 innovative ‘Starter Home on a Shoestring’ finalists

A dozen talented designers have been longlisted in the 2016 ‘Self Build on a Shoestring’ ideas competition. The overall winner will be revealed and presented with their £5,000 prize by Charlie Luxton at the Grand Designs Live exhibition at the NEC on Thursday 20th October.

The competition is organised annually by the National Custom and Self Build Association (NaCSBA) and this year it challenged architects, designers and others to come up with innovative ways of building a modest ‘Starter Home’ that could be built for £50,000 or less.

The Government has recently announced plans to build 200,000 Starter Homes between now and 2020 – and defines a new Starter Home as any property costing less than £250,000 (or £450,000 in London). With this in mind 2016’s competition was designed to bring innovation to the field and prove this type of property can be successfully completed on a self build basis.

In fact, NaCSBA believes it is possible to build a modest new home for much less than this. The 12 finalists have come up with a range of innovative ways to do so.

This year there were entries from the across the UK, and international submissions from Australia, Mexico, Vietnam and Ireland.

The 12 Longlisted finalists are:

Mark Waghorn Design from Carmarthenshire. Mark designed a factory-made home that comes in two sections that are then connected on site to create an attractive bungalow. He estimates the two-bedroom property would cost £49.9k

London architects Levitt Bernstein with F1 Modular. Called ‘myPod’ this idea also had two factory-made sections, but these are stacked vertically to create a terraced house. The home provides 80 sq m of space for £49.7k.

Design Research North in Preston. This entry – called ‘Half a House’ – involves a contractor constructing a simple three level front section of a home so a self-builder can then easily add to the back, as their family grows. The company claims the 71 sqm front section can be built for £45.4k.

London architect Alan Lau called his design the ‘Hometainer Modular House’. The design involves using two 40 ft long reclaimed shipping containers as the core structure for the home. Build costs are calculated to be £46.7k.

Newcastle upon Tyne based architects Harper Perry. This entry advocated bringing groups of people together to collectively save costs on materials, tools and land. Their simple kit-based Starter Home cost just £37.9k.

Aoife Marnane from Limerick in Ireland. Her solution revolved around developing a new smart phone App that would help people design and build a home to meet their budget. She says her 67 sqm home would cost £47.6k.

Essex based Clear Architects. This novel entry focused on developing a low cost panel system to construct the home, with the panels made largely from discarded coffee cups. The 71 sqm home can be built for just over £40k.

Londoners Christopher Holmes, Anastasia Stan and Max Friedlander. This entry involved utilising a shipping container (fitted out with a kitchen, bathroom and bedroom) as a temporary home, while a larger new home is added alongside.

Lewis Williams of Davies Sutton Architects from Cardiff. The firm’s ‘M House’ is built using a new cost-effective timber framing system, recently developed in Wales. The practices estimates its 70 sqm Starter Home would cost just under £50k.

Reading-based planning firm Barton Willmore working with Bristol self-build consultant Ecomotive. This entry consisted of a number of standard modules that could be connected in a variety of ways – as a standalone home, a terrace or even as a block of flats. The standard 66 sqm home would cost £49.6k.

Paul Testa Architecture from Sheffield. Utilising a series of panels people can choose the design and layout of their home to match their needs. Paul’s house was also super energy efficient. A basic 70 sqm ‘shell home’ cost £49.4k.

Australian architect Jasper Brown. This entry was based around a clever courtyard house design that could be constructed in just 15 days. Jasper calculated that his 65 sqm home would cost £49.8k.

The judges include most of the UK’s TV self-build celebrities – Kevin McCloud, Charlie Luxton, George Clarke and Gerardine and Wayne Hemingway. RIBA self-build champion Luke Tozer is also one of the judges along with Lord Gary Porter, the former leader of the Local Government Association.

An exhibition of the 12 projects on the long list will be displayed at Grand Designs Live at the NEC from 19-23 October. A shortlist of five will be revealed in mid-October, and the overall winner will be announced at Grand Designs Live on Thursday 20 October, at the Grand Theatre.