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Allan Corfield29.4.2016 5 min read

Self Build Week: Promoting Right to Build

Following the announcement on the 1st April 2016, the new regulation in the Self and Custom Build sector – known as the ‘Right to Build Act’ – requires local authorities to keep a formal register of people who are interested in finding land to start a Self Build project.

This is so that prospective Self Builders can be matched up with suitable plots as and when they become available.

The hope behind this is that – at a time when many in the UK are struggling to find appropriate, affordable housing – the new legislation will raise awareness, and encourage potential Self Builders, or house-hunters, to consider undertaking a Self or Custom Build project.

NaCSBA Right to Build

These local registers will work in conjunction with measures due to come into force in the upcoming Housing and Planning Bill, which will require authorities to ensure they have enough permissioned plots to match the local demand on their register.

As a member and representative of the National Custom and Self Build Association (NaCSBA), ACA is fully behind the promotion of the local registers, as without officially registering interest, the support for the Self Build industry will be harder to gain.

Ipswich Building Society and NaCSBA recently conducted research into public awareness of Self Build support, and also looked at current interest in the sector. Here’s what they uncovered:

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  • Despite the Self Build and Custom Housebuilding Act (Right to Build Act) coming into force on 1st April 2016, more than three quarters (77%) of people in the UK were unaware councils are now required to keep these registers of those looking to buy land in the area for Self or Custom build projects.
  • Further findings revealed 1 in 8 people (12%) expect to show an interest in Self Build property within the next year. This figure has remained constant since the annual survey was launched in 2013.
  • However, just 1 in 50 (2%) people stated their intention to take specific actions to progress their Self Build projects, such as purchasing land, submitting a planning application or starting construction, within the next 12 months.
  • 14% of those interested in Self Build expect to make enquiries about sources of finance/mortgages and work out what is affordable in the next 12 months.
  • People are equally likely to manage the project themselves as they are to use a professional company to handle the whole process.
  • Those in Scotland, The South East, and Wales are most interested in a Self Build project (16% each).
  • 19% of people believe that if Custom or Self Build home made up a larger share of new homes being built, public support for building new homes would increase.
  • 3% of the population say that they are likely to personally consider doing a Custom or Self Build project on a plot that forms part of a larger development.

Eager to boost the support for Self Build homes, here’s what some of the main players in the initiative had to say:

Paul Winter, CEO of Ipswich Building Society, commented, “At a time when much of the UK is experiencing a housing shortage, more needs to be done to raise awareness of this new legislation and encourage those looking for a new home to consider undertaking Self and Custom Build projects. Due to the complex nature of a Self Build project, those seeking these specialist mortgages are advised to research the market and seek out a provider, and product, that best suits their individual needs and circumstances.”

NaCSBA Chairman, Michael Holmes, said: “The success of the Right to Build Policy initiative, and the delivery of land to meet the huge pent up demand, depends on the registers. The research shows that 77% of people aren’t aware of the registers, nor what their success means to creating better new homes – this figure needs to change. NaCSBA is working hard to raise the public profile and support councils across the country to ensure that they have the correct measures in place. Currently, only 35% of LPAs have adopted a register and our aim is to get this to 100%.”

NaCSBA Right to Build

Raymond Connor, CEO of BuildStore, commented, “The research shows there is a significant gap between those interested in Self Build and those who intend to take specific action to progress Self Build projects. However, it is likely this sector will soon grow once more people are aware the main challenge of finding a suitable plot of land has now been simplified.”

“This is thanks to the new Right to Build legislation, which is both innovative and unique in Western Europe. It’s an exciting time to be involved in Self Build, and we’re looking forward to working with local authorities, landowners and lenders to enable more people to exercise their Right to Build.”

Representing Self Builders in Scotland, Allan Corfield, Director of AC Architects, wanted to add to this, by highlighting the importance of kickstarting a similar movement north of the border:

“It’s really great to see the work the likes of NaCSBA, and others, are doing to raise public awareness of local support for Self Builders. We really have to push for similar action in Scotland, get a task force together, and lobby the necessary groups of people until steps are taken.”

“As you can see from these survey statistics, the interest in Self or Custom Build in Scotland is very high, so we have to simplify the procedures to get people building. Let’s use Self Build Week to highlight the new legislation in England, and untangle the difficulties potential Self Builders suffer across the UK.”

If you have any questions for Allan over the course of Self Build Week, use the hashtag #selfbuildweek and he’ll try and answer them over the course of the week!

Our thanks go to NaCSBA, Buildstore, Ipswich Building Society, and Browser Media for their contribution to this week’s blog!

Research undertaken by Ipsos MORI on behalf of NaCSBA and Ipswich Building Society between 4th March 2016 and 3rd April 2016, amongst 1954 UK adults aged 16+.

More information on Ipswich Building Society’s self-build mortgage products is available here.

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