The National Custom and Self Build Association (NaCSBA) has partnered with UK Cohousing Network, National Community Land Trust Network and the Federation of Master Builders to create a new group called Housing Diversification. It’s aim is to persuade Government to create more opportunities for more people to live in custom build, self build and community-led housing. These are houses are typically built by small- to medium-enterprise (SME) housebuilders.
Together, the groups believe that this type of housing could result in an extra 130,000 homes being built by 2025. These homes would be additional units, in that they would be extra to the homes built by the major housebuilders in this period, and therefore help government in its ambition to build 300,000 homes a year.
Housing Diversification knows that the homes built by SME builders for self build and community-led projects are typically more sustainable, beautiful, innovative and of higher quality than many open market homes. In addition, these homes also boost the local economy, providing local jobs and training opportunities.
The number of SME housebuilders has fallen significantly since the 1980s, and halved following the last recession. These SME companies are vital for the supply of local houses, and opportunities must be created to allow them to operate on a level playing field with volume housebuilders, which have very deep pockets.
Campaigning for building back better
Housing diversification has three asks of Government:
- The establishment of a high-level Housing Diversification Taskforce, with a range of items set out for consideration (see Appendix).
- Commitment to a five-year renewal of the Community Housing Fund as part of the Comprehensive Spending Review.
- The creation of a robust and statutory system of reporting on diversification as part of Government housing statistics, including on the NPPF requirement for 10% of homes to be delivered on small sites (one hectare or less).
Housing Diversification members:
- NaCSBA, which runs the Self Build Portal, knows that 14,000 custom and self build homes are built each year, although many of these are single self builds. With greater Government support this figure could reach 73,500 by 2025, with custom build offering the scope to grow the sector with more serviced plots.
- The Federation of Master Builders represents 7,500 SME firms across the UK, half of which build new homes. FMB members expect to build more than 12,000 new homes in 2021. Members of the public can source contractors using its Find a Builder database.
- Currently there are 10,780 community led homes in ‘live applications’ on Homes England system awaiting delivery, part of a wider pipeline of 23,000 homes. Many of these homes are reliant on the Government’s Community Housing Fund – which was closed in March. Getting it reinstated is one of the main ambitions of Housing Diversification.
- Community Land Trusts are a community-led housing model, where the land is held in trust, meaning that affordability is locked in for good. Cohousing refers to groups of people wishing to live together – as an ‘intentional’ community.
- You can find out more about these community-led housing models, and others, as well as how to start a group, on the Community Led Homes website.
Andrew Baddeley-Chappell, CEO, National Custom and Self Build Association and spokesperson for the group said: “Despite the importance of houses to our lives and the scale of their cost, there is currently too little choice when it comes to new homes in this country.
“We have come together as Housing Diversification to deliver more passion, quality, and care into the new homes and the new communities that we, as a nation, need to be creating. Just like any other market, increasing diversification will improve quality, innovation, and value. We will deliver homes more people want to live in and that more welcome being built.”