Selfbuilders love getting design inspiration and advice, and where better place to start than with the longlist for the RIBA House of the Year 2023?

Each year Grand Designs: House of the Year shares the shortlist and winners on TV in December, but the longlist gives you a look at what’s to come.

RIBA has published its longlist of lustworthy projects on its site, with the entries making up some of the most breathtaking homes built in the last year. And it’s not all about Grand Design style homes, NaCSBA member Ecomotive’s tiny SNUG home for HomeMade is in the running too. In fact, SNUG started as a competition entry in NaCSBA’s Self Build on a Shoestring, way back in 2015!

You can also find previous winners on the website, including last year’s RIBA House of the Year, the Red House by David Kohn Architects

View the 2023 longlist for the House of the Year

If you are looking for an architect, RIBA has a Find an Architect service on its website, together with helpful advice on working with an architect and choosing the right one for your project. Anyone building in Scotland will need to visit RIAS, the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland, which has similar resources.

The Build It Awards by Build It magazine in London is a sparkling annual event in the custom and self build calendar, sharing the best the sector has to offer in terms of homes, products and services. 

As always, there was a host of National Custom and Self Build Association members in attendance, and was thrilled to see many of its members shortlisted, including Oakwrights which won Best Custom Build Project or Model for its site at Webbs Meadow, below. 

Oakwrights' Webb Meadows, winner of Best Custom Build Project
Camhanaich by Fiddes Architects won Best Timber Frame Home

Self Build or Renovation Project 2022
Royan & Helen Anthony’s oak frame home (main pic)

The shortlist for this overall winner category is traditionally chosen by Build It’s editorial team from the projects featured in the magazine over the past year. From this shortlist, Build It readers choose the winner in an online poll. In a hotly contested vote, two timber-built new homes particularly captured the readers’ imagination this year. The winner, a self-managed project in Cheshire, saw the owners create a wonderful forever home that beautifully blends modern living with characterful vernacular materials.

Best Timber Frame Home
Fiddes Architects for Camhanaich

Beautifully detailed and suitably understated for its position in glorious countryside, this project impressed the judges for both its design and the fact that the timber frame system and exterior cladding were specifically specified to cope with the demands of the local weather conditions. 

Best Custom Build Project or Model
Oakwrights for Webbs Meadow

The winning project is an exemplar development showing how clusters of high-quality bespoke homes on the fringes of existing settlements can be designed and built in a way that local communities will welcome and customers find very attractive.

Best Self Build for Under £250k

North Wood Design & the Mikietyns

Best Oak Frame Home

Oakwrights for Philip Roberts and Judi Burdett’s home

Best Sustainable Technology or Product

Bee Solar Technology for Heliomotion Solar Tracking System

Best EcoHome

MBC Timber Frame for Jan and Philip Oliver’s Home

Best Brick Home

Paul Archer Design for Willowbrook

Best Architect or Designer for a Renovation Project

Unagru Architecture Urbanism for House for a Cellist

Best Architect or Designer for an Extension Project

Paul Archer Design for Zucchi House

Best Architect or Designer for a Self Build Project

Orme for Somerset Gate

Best Heating System or Product

NIBE Energy Systems for NIBE S2125

Best SIPS Home

Allan Corfield Architects for Low Energy Home in Fife

Best Plumbing or Drainage Product

Saniflo for Sanifos 110

Best Joinery Product

Camel Glass & Joinery for Insipiration Doors

Best Off-Site Manufactured Home

DanWood House for Gemma & James’ Hooker’s home

Best Self Build Lender

Darlington Building Society

Best Windows

Origin Windows for the Origin Slimline Window (OW-70)

Innovation in Insulation

WB Timber Innovations for Larsen Panel System

Best Cladding System or Product

Vastern Timber for Brimstone

Best Technology Installation or Product

Drayton for Wiser

Best Roofing System or Product

Made for Trade for Korniche Roof Lantern

Best ICF Home

Lilburn and Elliott Construction for Above the Bar

Best Stove Product

Stovax for Riva2 Woodburning Fires

Best Glazed Doors

Lacuna UK and Ireland for Lacuna Bifold Doors

Credits: Nikhilesh Haval B/Shooting Reels Image 4

The Build It Awards by Build It magazine are a calendar essential for anyone in the custom and self build arena, sharing all the hard work of the companies and tradespeople that help turn dreams into reality. 

As well as the decisions made by the judging panel and the editorial team, the Best Self Build Home or Renovation Project category is always selected by Build Its army of readers. 

Each year the shortlist is made up of some of the best homes featured in the magazine over the last 12 months – with six homes vying for the accolade of ‘Best Self Build’! 

Sponsored by NaCSBA member Self Build Zone, this people’s choice category allows readers to show what they love – such as last year’s winner – below. 

Head over to Build It to get the lowdown on each project, and the story of the people behind them, and add your vote to the mix. 

Best Self Build at Build It Awards 2021

Best Self Build or Renovation Project 2021

Last years winners were Jan & Diana Thompson for their Woodland Eco Home, which they project managed themselves. Click the photo to read their story on Build It's website.

The Daily Telegraph Homebuilding & Renovating Awards has announced the winner of its annual competition, a firm favourite for fans of homes and design.

The awards celebrate the cream of the UK’s self build, renovations, extensions and conversions, and this year’s awards included a selection of properties that overcame the odds to complete their project. This year’s entrants faced a range of problems that can impact any project, such as planning delays, material shortages, builders bankruptcies and, of course, the pandemic.

The overall Home of the Year winner of the Daily Telegraph Homebuilding & Renovating Awards was Patch House, designed by Spencer and Emma Guy. This family home was a labour of love that was 10 years in the making, with the family finishing the rooms while living in the property between 2011 and 2019.

The property exhibits the couple’s passion, with perfect attention to detail and design principles carried through from the architecture to the interiors. The result is a home that is able to adapt to the needs of the family as it matures, and is highly sufficient as it only requires heating for 70% of the year.

Home of the year 2021

Patch House, Winner of the Home of the Year (Credit Martin Gardner).

“This is a house fit for our challenging times, addressing climate change through harnessing renewable energy technologies,” says architect and judge Darren Bray. “It’s designed to enhance the site context and landscape, including the natural swimming pond that sits to one end of the two storey volumes.”

“We were particularly impressed by how this new home has been exactingly designed for its site, which was previously occupied by a derelict chicken shed,” adds editor and judge Claire Lloyd. “Not only does the house’s orientation ensure that the living areas benefit from passive solar gain, but carefully placed glazing frames the views like artwork and natural light brings different spaces to life throughout the day. This new home exudes warmth and character but, importantly, it’s also a practical, robust family home.”

Visit Homebuildng & Renovating for a full list of the winning homes, including the Best Self Build.

The Build It Awards by Build It magazine made a welcome return to a live event with a lavish ceremony in London, bringing together a range of stakeholders and companies operating in the sphere of custom and self build. 

The National Custom and Self Build Association was thrilled to see many of its members shortlisted, with some well-deserved projects going on to win awards. We’d like to say a hearty well done to all those shortlisted, and a special congratulations to our members Graven Hill, Carpenter OakFrame Technologies, Oakwrights and Unboxed Homes for winning their categories. 

Simon Orrells, managing director of Frame Technologies, which one Best Timber Frame Home for Gryphon House, said: “We’re thrilled to have won the Best Timber Frame Home in this year’s Build It Awards. 

There was some tough competition and to get this recognition with such a beautiful, sustainable build really means the world to us. We work with self-builders across the country to create stunning, bespoke, energy-efficient timber frame homes and it’s an honour to be recognised for the work that we do in this way.

Best Self Build for Under £250k

Ke-design for The Barn Field (Slide 1)

Best Oak Frame Home

Andy & Sue Perrin for Willowplatt Barn by Carpenter Oak

Best Home Technology Product or Installation

Moss Technical for Niko Home Control Solar Mode

Best Timber Frame Home

Frame Technologies for Gryphon House (Slide 2)

Best EcoHome

Oakwrights for Woodlands (Slide 3)

Best Brick Home

Graven Hill for The Adams’ Home

Best Custom Build Project or Model

Unboxed Homes for Blenheim Grove (Slide 4)

Best Architect or Designer for a Renovation Or Extension Project

David Jones of KAST Architects for Milk Moon Barns

Best Heating System or Product

RED for its UHE Heat Pumps

Best SIPS Home

Glosford SIPS for Fuggles Pocket

Best Plumbing or Drainage Product

Impey for their Aqua-Grade wet room solution

Best Joinery Product

Max-Stairs for The Sculpture

Best Off-Site Manufactured Home

Baufritz UK for House Mackintosh

Best Self Build Lender 

Darlington Building Society

Best Windows

The Residence Collection

Best Council for Self or Custom Builders

Durham County Council

Innovation in Insulation

Corksol UK for SprayCork

Best Sustainable Technology or Product

Accsys for Accoya

Best Roofing System or Product

Keylite Roof Windows for their Integrated Expanding Thermal Collar

Best ICF Home

Nudura for Stonehouse

Best Stove Product

Firepower Heating for the Woodfire Passiv

Best Glazed Doors

IDSystems for theEDGE 2.0

Best Self Build Architect or Designer

James Lock from Roderick James Architects for Delphis

Best Self Build or Renovation Project 2021

The shortlist was chosen by Build It’s editorial team from the projects featured in the magazine over the past year, and then voted on by Build It readers.

This year’s nominations included (click to find out more):

Timber Frame Dream Home by Sue Drawbridge & Antony Wright
• Barn-Style Self Build by Frances & Tom Edwards
• Contemporary Extension to a Period Property by Caroline & Gustavo Ordonez-Sanz
• Oak Frame Countryside Self Build by Deirdre & David Rook
• Wow Factor Bungalow Revamp by Matt & Kirstie Stevens
• Woodland Eco Home by Jan & Diana Thompson

The award went to a couple who self-project managed their way to a stunning woodland home that draws inspiration from the local area. Backed up by weekly site visits from their architect, the owners created a unique and eco home

The winners:

Jan & Diana Thompson for their Woodland Eco Home (main pic)

Have you completed a Passivhaus project in the last few years? Then get set to enter the Passivhaus Awards 2021 – the first since 2018. The Awards are open for entries right now, with the deadline of 20 April 2021 – enter here. 

With the declaration of the climate emergency and the importance of building more sustainably, the need for better building has never been clearer.

The Passivhaus Trust, the organiser of the awards, states that it is estimated that construction the size of Paris will be built weekly for the next 40 years, and it’s imperative that we act now to ensure hat as much building is net-zero as possible. And building to Passivhaus standard is a great route for a self builder.

Passivhaus construction supports the delivery of net-zero by significantly reducing energy requirements and therefore the carbon emissions from houses.

The Passivhaus Trust has now been around for ten years,  and the awards make a welcome return.

Homeowners, including retrofit properties can enter in three categories: Small Resdential (under 500m2) or Large Residential (500m2 and/or under 10 homes). There is also a Non-residential category.

There are strict eligibility requirements to ensure that projects meet the Passivhaus standards, including certification and proof of performance.

Check out previous award winners and their videos


At the close of a difficult operating year, Build It magazine has celebrated the best products, businesses and projects a the Build It Awards 2020.

As with so much in 2020, the Build It Awards were hosted virtually, and you can still watch the awards ceremony online.

The National Custom and Self Build Association was please to see many of its members shortlisted and winning awards, and particularly wishes well done to Glasgow City Council for its inspiring work in custom and self build, and especially the MaryHill project. Have a look back to an interview at the very start of the project.

Among the highlights  of the 2020 Build It Awards included A’Bear & Ball Architects stunning Chapel House and Strom Architects’ Island Rest home.

Best Architect or Designer for a Self Build Project Strom Architects – Island Rest

The judges were wowed by this elegant, low-impact design that disappears into its site and allows the stunning views to do the talking (main picture).

This luxurious contemporary home on the Isle of Wight was designed for an outdoorsy family with young children. The simple rectilinear layout gives every bedroom a sea view, with an open plan social space in the centre of the house.

Strom’s clean single-storey design and understated palette of black-stained larch and oiled oak creates a smart, modern look. It also helps the house to recede into the dark backdrop of the trees behind the plot. Part of the design cantilevers out from the sloping site on stilts, creating the illusion of the house floating over the landscape.

Best Self Build for Under £250k Frame Technologies – Birchfield

Frame Technologies Birchfield Self Build House

Birchfield by Frame Technologies won Best Self Build for Under £250k at the Build It Awards

Frame Technologies, a NaCSBA member, won the award for its Birchfield house, a three bedroom, two-storey cottage in Hereford. The custom-designed timber-frame home spans across a plot of 160m², centred around an open-plan living space.

The category looked for high-quality self build homes that represent great value-for-money and make the best use of the budget available. Homeowner Leanne Player had a strict budget and managed to build a high-quality contemporary home to meet her exact needs for a total build cost of around £170,000

Simon Orrells, Managing Director of Frame Technologies says: “Some people view self build as being prohibitively expensive but Birchfield challenges this notion and shows how a self builder has managed to build a home that meets their exact needs and lifestyle while keeping the costs low.”

Best Architect/Designer for a Renovation or Extension Project A’Bear & Ball Architects

Chapel House Abear and ball architects

Chapel House by A’Bear & Ball Architects, winner of the Best Architect/Designer for a Renovation or Extension Project at the Build It Awards 2020

Scoring highly with both the judges and the public… this is truly breathtaking project that combines a full refurbishment with a stunning contemporary extension that’s sympathetic to the original building.

In order to bring a contemporary touch to this 19th century Methodist chapel conversion, A’Ball & Bear Architects first had to remove the existing low-quality extension to reveal the original period detailing. They replaced this with an ultra-modern cedar and metal clad extension, creating a distinction between the old red brick building and new structure.

The building was fully renovated internally, enhancing the ecclesiastical detailing and original chapel features. A glazed link connects the old and new spaces, and the floorplan has been opened up to increase the sense of space.

The Build It Awards 2020

Best SIPs Home Potton – The Jays

Best Heating System or Product Orangehouse Renewables – Water Source Heat Pump

Best Custom Build Project or Model Livedin – Ingoldisthorpe

Best Plumbing or Drainage System or Product Marley Plumbing & Drainage – Foundry Finish Rainwater System

Best Self Build for Under £250k Frame Technologies – Birchfield

Best Sustainable Technology or Product CorkSol UK – Thermocork

Best Off-Site Manufactured Home The Wee House Company – Wee House for David & Christine

Best Timber Frame Home Graven Hill & A’Bear & Ball Architects LLP – The Omotayo’s Home

Best Eco Home Buildakit – Toller Grove

Best Windows air – MOD Series

Best Oak Frame Home Complete Oak Home – Chiltern Cottage

Best Accessible and Inclusive Home lapd Architects – Greenfields

Best Council for Custom or Self Builders Glasgow City Council

Best Home Technology Product or Installation Baulogic – Baulogic Wired Smart Home System

Best Roofing System or Product Wallbarn – M-Tray Instant Green Roof System

Best ICF Home van Ellen + Sheryn – Beechwood

Best Joinery Product Kloepping TSS – Thatch Barn Staircase

Best Glazed Doors Express Bi-Folding Doors – XP Vision

Best Brick Home Northcot Brick – Northcot House

Best Self Build Lender Ecology Building Society

Best Self Build or Renovation Project Sharon & Martin Newman

Best Cladding System or Product Cupa Pizarras – Cupaclad Natural Slate Rainscreen Cladding System

Innovation in Insulation Core Conservation – TermoRasante AeroGel Thermal Lime Plaster

The UK’s largest custom and self-build development, Graven Hill, has been named the Best Residential Development of the year by Oxfordshire property awards, Oxprop.

The Bicester-based development beat off stiff competition to win the award, recognising housing developments that manage to match the requirements of planners, as well as the local community, and help to fulfil the needs of Oxfordshire’s housing plans.

Award-winning project, ‘The Street’, is the first completed phase of Graven Hill, revolutionising how properties are designed and built. Graven Hill’s approach has become the prototype for similar local authority and private housebuilding developments throughout the UK and, once complete, the project will have delivered over 1,900 new homes.

Karen Curtin, managing director at Graven Hill, said: “The OxProp awards are a brilliant opportunity to showcase the projects at the heart of the Oxfordshire property community, so a win in this category is fantastic.

“We are extremely proud of the community that is taking shape at Graven Hill and the role we are playing in helping people to discover their perfect home.

“By promoting a high degree of design creativity and prioritising wellbeing, Graven Hill is fulfilling the dreams of many and boosting the local area.”

Adrian James, managing director of Adrian James Architects, designers of three of the ten houses on The Street, added: “The Street is a microcosm of the Graven Hill blueprint and is a celebration of creativity, design freedom, inclusivity, and community spirit.

“It demonstrates how the self-build process can become a choice for a far larger number of prospective homeowners in the future who want something more than the cookie-cutter boxes provided by the big housebuilders.”

Package home design and build firm Baufritz has been awarded a local Cambridgeshire business award in the category of Architectural Design Company of the Year 2020, for its Treehouse home.

For anyone looking for a company to design and build their self build home, industry awards are a great way of establishing the reputation of a company and its work, in the same way as viewing their gallery of case studies. Both offer an insight into the quality and reliability of the company.

Choosing the manufacturer and/or builder of your future project is one of the biggest decisions that you will make on a self build, with the biggest price tag. So getting it right is crucial, and awards can be a good piece of additional evidence.

Don’t be afraid of asking a package manufacturer if you can visit one of their built homes, or even whether they have show houses or open houses available to visit. For example, buyers of a Baufritz can, by appointment, visit its factory in Germany, to support them with the process of choosing design elements (but buyers must either have a plan or plot first). They can even choose to stay in one of Baufritz’s houses as means of trying the home, with a range of homes across the county to rent/experience.

Oliver Rehm, CEO of Baufritz in Cambridge said: “We are delighted to have won this local business award, which recognises our involvement and commitment towards the community since the arrival of Baufritz in the UK in 2006. It also proves that our approach to create prefabricated and sustainable eco houses of the highest quality are as sought after in the UK as they are in the rest of Europe.”

The Cambridgeshire Prestige Awards recognise businesses located in the East of England that provide a personal approach towards their customers to maintain a high quality level of service and experience. The judging panel based their decisions upon areas such as service excellence, quality of the product/ service provided, innovative practices, value, ethical or sustainable methods of working, as well as consistency in performance.

“Baufritz built our extraordinary eco family house in Central Cambridge five years ago. Every single day we express our disbelief and grateful thanks that we live in this gorgeous space. It truly is a modern house with soul.” Owner of Treehouse Cambridge

The Treehouse will be featured as part of Cambridge’s Open Eco Homes event – online this year due to Covid.

Check out the timelapse video of the Cambridge Treehouse being built on site

For the first time, the company behind the successful Homebuilding & Renovating magazine and shows ran industry awards for businesses, celebrating the providers and service companies in the sector.

The Homebuilding & Renovating Industry Awards 2020 received 100s of entries, with the shortlist including a range of innovative products, reputable companies and people that set the benchmark for self build.

Anyone self building should consider the winners when researching their own project, as a short cut to a trustworthy supplier. And the National Custom and Self Build Association is thrilled that several of its members made the winning list, including Self Build Zone, Beco Products, Kloeber and Fleming Homes.

The full list of winners includes:

Lifetime Achievement: John Greene, Founder, Border Oak

Best Self-Build Insurance Provider: Self-Build Zone

Best Door Supplier: Kloeber

Best Joinery Supplier/Manufacturer: Carbon by Design

Best Renewables Supplier: Geo Green Power

Best Flooring Supplier: Karndean Designflooring

Best Heating & Plumbing Supplier: Stovax

Best Roofing Supplier: SIG Roofing

Best House Designer: PJT Design Ltd

Best ICF Supplier: Beco Products Ltd

Best Insulation Supplier: Core Conservation Ltd

Best Kitchen Supplier: deVOL Kitchens

Best Landscaping Supplier: Studio 31 Landscape Architects

Best Loft Conversion: Econoloft

Best Oak Frame Supplier: Border Oak

Best Rainwater Goods Supplier: Rainwater Harvesting

Best Render & Cladding Supplier: K Rend

Best Brick Supplier: Ibstock Brick

Best Rooflight Supplier: Korniche Aluminium Systems / Made for Trade

Best Self Build Lender: Saffron Building Society

Best SIPs Supplier: Sips Eco Panels

Best Timber Frame Supplier: Fleming Homes

Best Ventilation Supplier: Total Air Quality Ltd

Best Bathroom Supplier: Easy Bathrooms

Best Window Supplier: Kloeber

Special congratulations go to Kloeber, which was the winner of two awards!

Homebuilding & Renovating award2 Homebuilding & Renovating award1

Matt Higgs, Kloeber’s Sales Director commented, “We are proud of our market-leading products and services and are delighted with our double win! We were very happy to have been shortlisted along with some amazing companies and are honoured to have won in both categories! ”

You can check out Kloeber’s winning products in the flesh at one of its four showrooms: Cambridgeshire, Buckinghamshire, West London and West Sussex. All with strict safety protocols in place for visits!

Main pic: Kloeber FunkyFront Door