Self-building is too difficult
Building your own home doesn’t mean you do the build work yourself, as most people get involved with the design and construction by commissioning a range of companies to do the work on your behalf. You have can build what you want and choose how it is constructed, and if you choose a package company then they build the house for you, constructing it offsite in a factory before erecting it on site.
There are no plots available
Finding the perfect plot can be challenging, especially if your heart is set on a plot in the middle of the Greenbelt! Plot-finding websites are a great source, and local planning authorities must ensure that there are sufficient self-build plots available to meet the demand on their Self-build Register. Signing up to your register helps ensure a supply of land is available – visit www.righttobuildportal.org.
I won’t get planning permission
The UK planning system makes provision for Custom and Self Building, but you must follow regulations and guidance. Modern self-build developments offering serviced plots on multi-plot sites offer reassurances that, as long as the rules for the plot are satisfied, planning permission will be granted. Some sites, such as Graven Hill use a Plot Passport to say what sort of thing can be built on each plot.
Self-building is costly
It is possible to stay on a budget if you get the right advice and spend time forward planning. The construction method you choose, the size of your project and how involved you are in the process all affect the budget, and can help limit the cost of building. Remember, you get to choose what and how you build, and research shows most self-builders end up with a home that has cost less than a comparable home bought on the open market.
I won’t get a mortgage
Finance used to be an issue, but these days self-build mortgages are available from several lenders. To get advice on the funding options available to you speak to a qualified financial adviser or mortgage broker. You’ll need to show a projection of costs and planning-permission before they’ll grant you the funds.
It’s not for people like me
In some countries in Europe over 50% of all houses are self-built, while in the UK this is less than 10%. However, those that do self build come from all income brackets, life-stages and levels of build experience. Anyone can do it, and NaCSBA is working to make it a mainstream choice for more people.
It takes too long to build
How long it takes to build depends on what, and how, you want to build, but it can take as little as two years from finding a plot to the completion of a project. Finding a single plot and choosing a truly bespoke design will naturally take longer than buying a serviced plot and custom building with a package company that delivers and erects your factory-built house.
There is no support
The Self-Build Registers are evidence that the UK Government and local authorities are willing to support the self-build industry. Plus there’s activity in Scotland and Wales around the sector, too. On a personal level there’s help in that you can reclaim the VAT on a self build and you’re exempt from the Community Infrastructure Charge. Both have strict processes for this with firm deadlines.
Image: Potton home, courtesy of Steve Hughes Photography