Self Build & Custom Build

The terms ‘self-build’ and ‘custom build’ are used to describe instances where individuals or groups are involved in creating and/or building their own home. The amount of personal involvement will vary. For example, some self-builders physically build all or part of a home themselves. At the other end of the spectrum, a developer may find a site and then seek a number of custom build clients and build their homes to their specification under a contract.

Self Build: What Is It?

Self-build describes projects where the people involved play a very significant part in the process and help organise the project, commission an architect or builder, or may be do some of the construction or finishing off work too.

Self-building does not necessarily mean picking up bricks and physically getting stuck in, rather most self-builders will be involved in the creative side of the process.

You can find out more information about Self-build and Custom Build by visiting the Self Build Portal.

Custom Build: What Is It?

Custom build describes a more ‘hands off’ approach, where a specialist developer co-ordinates the whole process for the people involved.

The emerging term ‘custom-build’ is beginning to be associated with a new concept of custom building, whereby developers create a number of individual serviced plots with planning permission and encourage individuals to specify their own design and build on them.

You can find out more information about Self-build and Custom Build by visiting the Self Build Portal.

Self-build and Custom Housebuilding Act 2015

In March 2015, the government enacted legislation (Self-build and Custom Housebuilding Act 2015) that places a requirement on local councils to maintain a register of people seeking to acquire land to build a home themselves. The government is keen to promote self- and custom building as a means of increasing the overall number of dwellings and encouraging the growth of the custom build sector.

The Act requires local authorities to understand what the demand is in their areas for self- and custom build housing and to have regard to that demand when exercising their strategic planning and other relevant functions. This means that local planning authorities will have to make provision for self and custom build development opportunities in their local plans.  Contact your local authority to register your interest in self- or custom build.

The Self Build Portal highlights seven ways to self building your own home, split into two groups of self build and custom build homes.

Self Build

Self build one-off home: you manage the design and construction process and undertake a fair proportion of the actual building work.

Contractor built one-off home: you manage the design process, select a contractor and then they take care of the construction work.

Kit home: you select your preferred kit home (you may have to organise the foundations) and the kit home company erects the house.

Independent community collaboration: you work with others to acquire a site to split into plots, then organise the design and construction of your own home.

Supported community self build group: a social landlord or the Community Self Build Agency helps you build a group of homes together.

Custom Build

Developer built one-off home: a developer with a site and a design you like takes care of everything, although to save costs you could complete it yourself.

Developer led group project: a developer organises a group and builds the homes: often, to save costs, self builderswill  complete them.