casestudies custom-iconA traditional housing estate-style district – where every self builder follows a specific ‘Code’…


  • The scheme sits on a 13 acre greenfield site on the edge of town at Bedwellty, South Wales – the land was zoned for new housing.


  • The site provides a total of 118 serviced plots for self builders, laid out like a traditional housing estate.
  • The local planning authority worked closely with the developer to devise a detailed ‘Code’ for the project which every self builder has to sign up to. This includes a completion schedule for each home and makes it clear that the self builders cannot live on site in caravans during construction. The code also sets out design criteria, such as a minimum pitch of 45 degrees on all roofs and it lists the construction materials (a variety of bricks, stone and render etc.).
  • The clear principles set out in the Code benefits all of the self build purchasers, by ensuring that only good quality homes will be built, and no one will have their home devalued by a neighbour who builds a cheap or ugly house next to them.


  • The whole site was purchased for £6m, or £460,000 per acre.
  • This figure includes a Section 106 payment of around £1.5m towards roads, education, parks and open spaces.
  • The cash was raised as a joint venture partnership between a local businessmen and a local housebuilder.
  • Basic self build plots are selling at an average of £105,000 each.
  • Build costs vary widely depending on the service. The developer can provide a slab for around £15,000 or can build a fully-fitted 2,500 square foot house for around £250,000. The self build customer can adjust the interior specification, which will bring the price up or down accordingly. Or the self builder can ask the developer to construct the house so that it’s watertight, and then complete it themselves as a self-finish project.


  • 2009 – Site purchased once outline planning permission had been granted.
  • The site is being built out in phases. When half the homes on the first phase are underway the developer then has to deliver the social housing units (15% of the total, or about 18 affordable homes) that are specified as part of the overall planning agreement.
  • There are 37 homes in the first phase.
  • Spring 2011 – Five plots sold or under offer.
  • Summer 2011 – Infrastructure starts with temporary road to access plots, with a finished road and water, gas, electricity and drainage to be supplied by the time each property needs it. The infrastructure costs on the first phase will be around £500,000.
  • Late 2011/early 2012 – First homes on site.
  • The total project is expected to take at least five years to build out.

Learning Points:

  • A Code is essential to protect customers and the developer. The Code also made the local authority more comfortable, and allows them to process individual planning applications for each self build home much faster.
  • A generous marketing budget is required to spread awareness of the concept.
  • The developer needs to have people on site throughout, gently policing the self builders to ensure standards are adhered to.