5 May 2013

The organisers of ‘National Self Build Week‘ are launching a unique ideas competition – open to anyone – to design an innovative ‘self build friendly’ home that can be constructed for less than £50,000.


The team behind the ‘Self Build on a Shoestring’ competition hope to see entries that deliver a simple two bedroom home for less than this figure. The competition has also been designed to showcase designs for clever sustainable homes, and to that prove that a low cost home can also be a very attractive one too.

The competition was unveiled today as part of National Self Build Week – a campaign organised by the National Self Build Association (NaSBA) and Grand Designs Live, and supported by the Department for Communities and Local Government.

Full details of how to enter will be unveiled in July. The judges will include Grand Designs presenter Kevin McCloud and Charlie Luxton, one of the presenters of the BBC’s Culture Show programme. Other judges will include a number of respected self build and technical experts.

The timeframe for the competition will give entrants until the end of September to submit their designs, with the winners being revealed at the Grand Designs Live exhibition at the NEC in early October. If industry support can be secured the organisers hope to be able to build a full size version of the overall winning design at the 2014 Grand Designs show in London.

Kevin McCloud said: “Self-Build doesn’t just happen on television. Every year between eight and ten thousand of us commission a new home for ourselves or even build it with our bare hands. The National Self-Build Association is dedicated to making that easier, cheaper and more accessible. Which is why we’re launching a competition to design a Budget Self-Build. We’re looking for designs for simple-to-build kit homes that can be adapted to suit any need and reconfigured and skinned to fit anywhere. This competition will appeal to all those brilliant architects, amateurs, building companies and kit home firms who believe that the future in housing is self-build.”

Housing Minister Mark Prisk said: “All too often the perception is that building your own home is a pipe dream, but self-build is not just about Grand Designs: many innovatively-designed, well-built homes have been built by their owners on a very limited budget. The ‘Self-Build on a Shoestring’ competition will help demonstrate the best ideas out there, which can be built for less than £50,000. I would urge as many people as possible to give this a go, and see for themselves how achievable building your own home can really be.”

NaSBA Chair Ted Stevens said: “The potential market for the winning design could be enormous. A recent IpsosMORI poll suggested there are six million people currently investigating the feasibility of undertaking a self build project, and one million of these are already searching for or trying to acquire and plot of land.”

“In the 1970s and 1980s the UK led the way when it came to innovative, low cost self build homes, and hundreds of every cost effective, simple-to-build homes were constructed. More recently there has been huge media interest in a very simple low cost 2/3 bedroom house constructed in Ireland for just over £20,000. We believe there is a huge appetite in Britain, especially from young families on modest incomes, to build a truly affordable home for themselves. And we are confident we will get some wonderfully innovative designs – from both amateurs and professionals alike.”

The competition will require the design to meet current UK Building Regulations. And all entrants will have to include a detailed cost report that itemises the materials used and their cost.

To pre-register for the competition go to NaSBA’s website. This will ensure that those who are interested are sent the full entry form in July.

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