York’s Lowfield Green Custom Build plots snapped up

Lowfield Green plots

Six custom Build plots in Lowfield Green, York, are all now reserved, with the new homes expected to be completed by November 2021.

Specialist custom build enabler Custom Build Homes has been working with City of York Council to enable the plots, supporting people interested in an owner-commissioned home with their applications, with the plots sold by bids following over 100 enquiries.

The south-facing plots at Lowfield Green are large enough to accommodate a large, three-to-five bedroom home, with the option to include a garage, with large gardens, with the purchaser’s ages spanning from 30-70, including first time buyers, reflecting the breadth of interest in a custom-built home.

The plots are part of a larger expansion to the city of York, which includes a range of new public amenities, green space and a mix of speculatively built new homes and a new co-housing scheme, brought on by design-led housing specialists Yorspace.

As an enabler, Custom Build Homes markets the plots, and is able to explain the process to potential buyers, including questions around design, delivery, finance, legal issues and planning. It also offered workshops to ensure the buyers fully understand the custom build process, including the parameters around what they can build with the planning permission for the site.

Anecdotal research by NaCSBA shows that educating consumers about the process of custom building, which often varies site-by-site, is a key element in ensuring that the process runs as smoothly as possible, and people know what to expect.

Tim Moon, City of York Council’s Community & Self Build Officer said, “Custom Build Homes has an unparalleled knowledge of the custom and self-build sector and has supported us to write our first ever design code, legal contracts, answering my constant barrage of questions and even standing out in the pouring rain showing prospective buyers our first ever serviced plots!”

Discover what other plots Custom Build Homes is marketing, or find out more about routes to self build, including custom build.

 

Sign your Right to Build via NaCSBA’s Right to Build Portal, and start your self-build journey.

Source: Custom Build Homes Image caption: Lowfield Green, York © 2020 Custom Build Homes

Councils restricting people from signing Right to Build registers with “dirty tricks”

Marmalade Lane Cohousing

The National Custom and Self Build Association (NaCSBA) has released new findings showing that, while the number of self builders signing up to the Right to Build has grown, some local authorities are using “dirty tricks” to make it harder for people to sign up to the Custom and Self Build registers.

The research show that 1,400 new registrations signed the registers in the last year, bringing the total number of people who have signed up to Right to Build to 55,000. However, that total number on the registers is actually lower, due to people being removed for the wrong reasons.

NaCSBA estimates that over 13,000 people build an owner-commissioned home annually, a number which is growing slowly, but which it feels is far below actual demand. According to the Building Society Association over half of us (53%) would like to self build one day.

On Right to Build Day, NaCSBA conducted a Freedom of Interest request to all English councils about the registers to see how many plots had been permissioned, against the numbers that signed up in the first year of the registers (a part year running from April to October 2016).

The results showed patterns of behaviour that are very concerning, and which NaCSBA will be sharing with Government.

While local authorities are required to promote their registers, NaCSBA believes that both a lack of marketing and a range of “dirty tricks” by a growing minority of local authorities is making it much harder for individuals and groups to sign up to, and remain on, the custom and self build registers.

The research showed three significant areas of questionable activity by some local planning authorities, with more and more councils repeating these as a way to get around managing their duties.

This restricts the opportunity for people to self-build, acting as a restrictor in the market that limits activity to those with enough money or equity to commission their own home – the very people who didn’t need the support of the legislation in the first place.

Barriers to signing the registers

Constraints: Local authorities are imposing unreasonable constraints to signing the registers. This includes the charging of excessive fees to sign up to, and stay on, the registers. It also could be a local connection test that denies those living outside an authority the chance to build a home there – despite no such restrictions being in place in the wider market.

Miscounting: Local authorities must demonstrate how many self build plots they have granted permission for, to compare to people on the registers each year. Many councils are counting plots intended for building on by housing developers as potential self-build plots – even though they have were never marketed as such.

Removals: Some councils have removed many people from their registers for the wrong reasons, thereby reducing the number of plots that they must permission. Examples include restarting registers with new conditions, removing people as part of GDPR data protection exercises and so on.

Right to Build Day

The 30 October 2019 was the first date ever when local authorities had to demonstrate that they had ‘permissioned’ enough plots to reflect the demand evidenced by the registers, for those that signed up in the first year of the registers. Permissioned means the act of granting a self or custom build permission, and each year councils will have to match ‘permissions’ with the number of people that signed up. It doesn’t mean that the council has to create plots itself, nor does it have to contact people on the registers.

Despite permissioning sufficient plots being a requirement of the law, 8% of all authorities said they had not met their duties under the legislation and 37% failed to provide any response at all.

Of all the councils, only 45% claimed that they had met their legal duties, but this figure includes those councils that achieved this by using some, or all, of the limiting factors set out above.

Consequently, NaCSBA believes that the numbers provided are simply too unreliable for an accurate assessment of custom and self build delivery to take place.

NaCSBA is calling on local authorities to act within the letter and the spirit of the law and do better in future, especially as it estimates that at least 8,000 people have been wrongfully removed from registers.

Andrew Baddeley-Chappell, NaCSBA’s CEO said, “For the first time, local authorities have had to meet a statutory duty to help self builders access the plots that are needed. It is clear that overall they have come up short. In some cases, this is despite the hard work and best efforts of the authority, and we recognise those that have worked hard in this area.

“In too many cases however local authorities have spent scarce time and effort not on delivering plots but rather on seeking to avoid their obligations. This cannot continue, not least if we are to deliver homes in the volume and of the quality that this country needs.”

England has the lowest known rate of owner-commissioned homes among developed economies, and NaCSBA plans to work with government to improve this, giving more people the chance to live in a home designed to suit their needs.

NaCSBA still urges anyone wanting to build, including community-led groups, to sign up to the Right to Build as the registers remain a vital element in demonstrating to authorities how many people want to self build.

Sign up for your Right to Build

Image: Marmalade Lane Cohousing by TOWN.

Home of the Year 2019 winners revealed

Home of the year

The best new homes of 2019 have been awarded in the Home of the Year awards by Homebuilding and Renovating and the Daily Telegraph, including Self Builds, extensions, conversions and renovations.

The awards have been running for nearly thirty years now, meaning that the judges have a good idea of what’s needed to elevate the entries into the winning criteria.

The overall winner of the Home of the Year & Best Contemporary Self Build went to  Bunch Lane House, which had a build cost of £425,000 by Architect Vint & Smith Architecture + Design, pictured.

The judges felt that the house was a great design crafted for a great value of £1,500/m2, created by owner and architect Tavia and Richard Vint through the clever use of cost effective materials.

HB&R winners 2019

Best Contemporary-Style Self Build — sponsored by Folding Doors 2 U

Best Traditional-Style Self Build — sponsored by Rationel Windows & Doors

Best Extension — sponsored by ABC+ Warranty

Best Renovation — sponsored by Yeoman Rainguard

Best Conversion — sponsored by Etex (Exteriors) UK, providers of Eternit Slates

Best Eco Home — sponsored by Ecology Building Society

Home of the Year — sponsored by Icynene

Spirit of Self Build — sponsored by Hörmann

Readers’ Choice Award — sponsored by Selfbuild & Contract Floors

Check out all the winners on Homebuilding & Renovating’s website. 

 

Credit: Homebuilding & Renovating/Simon Maxwell

Get Christmas wrapped with a Self Build magazine subscription – it’s never too early to start preparing

Christmas present

What makes a good Christmas present? Socks that sit in a draw? A bottle of fizz that’s gone in an evening? Well why not make a year out of Christmas for the Self Builder in your life and give them a subscription to their favourite homes magazine for Self Builders.

NaCSBA knows that educating yourself is the surest way to get the most out of you build, and magazines are a great way to do this, from the latest products to avoiding pitfalls and saving money. The build titles are packed with seriously helpful features and case studies to show you what you could achieve – and usually how much a look actually costs – invaluable!

  • Advice and guidance for the entire build process
  • News about services and plots
  • Information about everything from sourcing a plot to the finished home’s warranty
  • Case studies sharing real people’s journey to Self Building
  • Advice about green and eco measures
  • Latest home trends, products, gadgets and gizmos

Choose your favourite and give the gift of a dream home…

Don’t miss this exclusive offer brought to you buy Self Build Portal! Subscribe to Build It magazine for Christmas and receive 12 issues of for just £19.99. Don’t delay, this offer lasts until 21st December! Plus, you’ll get two free tickets to a Build It Live, worth £24! Build It’s Shows are Kent (8-9 Feb) North West (22-23 Feb) and South Central (6-7 June).

Regular Cover Price is £4.99.

Subscribe to Build It

Check out Self Build & Designs brilliant Christmas trial offer of 5 issues for £5, following on at £36 for the next twelve months by Direct Debit, especially for Self Build Portal users. Subscribers get a FREE pair of show tickets to either the Peterborough Show (7-8 March) or the Exeter show (12-13 September)

Regular Cover Price is £4.99.

Subscribe to SelfBuild & Design

Grab a subscription for Homebuilding & Renovating and start planning your own project, for £7.50 for three months or for £29,99 a year – all by Direct Debit, plus, plus claim two free tickets to all eight Homebuilding & Renovating Shows, worth a combined £216! Shows are: Farnborough (18-19 Jan), NEC (26-29 March), Glasgow (30-31 May), Surrey (27-28 June), London (25-27 Sept), Edinburgh (17-18 Oct), Harrogate (6-8 Nov) and Somerset (21-22 Nov).

Regular Cover Price is £4.65.

Subscribe to Homebuilding & Renovating

Follow everyone’s favourite inspo programme and keep up with latest design trends with a subscription to Grand Design magazine for £2.20 a month based on a year’s subscription, paid for month-by-month.

Regular Cover Price is £4.40.

Subscribe to Grand Designs

 

 

 

And if you’re more of an interiors person…

If a conversion or renovation is more your thing, or you just love traditional interiors, pick up a subscription to Period Living for £7.50 for three months by Direct Debit, or £29.99 for a whole year.

Regular Cover Price is £3.99.

Subscribe to Period Living

For home lovers with modern tastes check our Real Homes, for £7.50 for three months by Direct Debit, or £29.99 for a whole year.

Regular Cover Price is £4.45.

Subscribe to Real Homes

 

Credit: Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

12 Custom Build homes come to Essex in new collaboration

Pound Lane CGI

In a collaboration between architects and specialist custom build developer Unboxed Homes, a new development will bring 12 Custom Build plots to Laindon in Essex, with homes delivered by 2023.

The project is breaking new ground in that it is co-funded by a team of architects, AOC, Mae and Pitman Tozer in addition to Unboxed Homes, reflecting the practices’ commitment to the route.

The 1.2 hectare site features three, four and five-bedroom houses, and Basildon Council unanimously approved the development at Pound Lane following Homes England securing the original planning permission.

There are three designs available on site, the PTA S6 House by Pitman Tozer, MyHouse by Mae and the littleBIG House by AOC, and homes come with a range of options to allow people to customise them to their needs and budgets. This includes options around the layout and number of bedrooms and bathrooms, fixtures and finishes and an optional garage.

Purchasing a home at shell, where just the external structure is completed, is also an option, with the purchaser commissioning the remaining trades to complete the home themselves.

Prices for the homes start from £376,000, with the homes set in an appealing wooded location with a private access road leading to a central communal space.

Gus Zogolovitch of Unboxed Homes said, “Custom build is all about creating choice and value and reducing waste. We think people want to have a greater say in the way they live and that’s what we are doing. Our customers will get to choose from literally thousands of options to get the house that is perfect for them and their family,.”

Register your interest in Pound Lane, today

Sign Basildon Council’s Self and Custom Build register

 

LivedIN Custom Build brings 10 serviced plots to market in Norfolk

Ingoldisthorpe Pond

An exciting new opportunity has come to market for anyone wanting to Custom Build in Norfolk, with a 10-plot custom build development in the coastal village of Ingoldisthorpe.

Custom build enabler LivedIN has worked with the landowner to create a legacy community for the village, with homes designed by architects Project Orange, and landscape architects AREA.

Being Custom Build, the plots are serviced, with the infrastructure undertaken by LivedIN, and buyers manage the build process themselves. Although pre-designed, purchasers are able to customise their home from a range of choices, both externally and internally. The plots for the houses, which range between 3-5 bedroom, are currently available via Sowerbys, starting from £150,000 for the plot with the smallest house of 136 sqm.

Custom Build at Ingoldisthorpe

Custom Build approaches vary site-by-site, but for buyers at Ingoldisthorpe the following process has been set out:

  • Serviced plots are being sold with planning permission (ready for homeowners to start building their own home),
  • homeowners do not need to hire an architect to design the houses – the homes are pre-designed by award-winning architects Project Orange,
  • homeowners are able to customise elements of each home, following the design code (see the picture, below, showing the palette of materials), which outlines how the appearance of each home can be altered, in terms of windows, sky lights, cladding options and solar panels. The interiors can be open plan or more contained options.

This route to home ownership offers choice and flexibility that’s not typically available in the open market, but takes a lot of the legwork out of the process of commissioning your own home from scratch. By pre-designing the houses and allowing some flexibility, homeowners get the best of both worlds. It also means that the development has been designed as a whole, fitting the bespoke contemporary designs into the local rural setting.

Part of the ambition in creating a legacy community is about enhancing the village setting, and the houses sit around a new village green with an extended farm pond, creating a new heart for the community.

The houses are set out around an enhanced village pond

Charlie de Bono, Director at LivedIN, said, “Custom Build is about giving homeowners more choice – giving control back to those who know best how their house should look and work. And we are determined that choice should also go hand in hand with good design.

“Carefully considered designs ensure that the individual houses are an excellent fit, not just for their owners but also that they work well with their neighbours and local communities. The architects have expertly blended an imaginative contemporary design with an understanding of the local vernacular and traditional features. The resulting designs can be customised to individual preferences within a common style that tie the houses together into a cohesive whole.”

Build It’s Self Build Education House launches at Graven Hill

Build It Education House

On Right to Build Day on 30 October, Build It’s Self Build Education House was opened at Graven Hill – the UK’s largest Custom and Self Build site. Officially opened by Richard Bacon, MP and Right to Build Task Force Ambassador, the house is a permanent resource created by Build It magazine for anyone planning their own project.

Build It’s Self Build Education House has been created in partnership with Graven Hill, which will eventually have 1,900 homes onsite, as a unique resource that gives aspiring builders an insight into the process of creating your own home, and importantly, linking the decision made in the journey to financial consideration. This helps illustrate that self builders can create an amazing home for a realistic budget on a modest plot.

As visitors explore the Education House, informational graphics guide them through the magazine’s Self Build journey and the practical choices they can expect to face on their own projects – regardless of where they are building. Visitors can also see cut-outs of key structural details and pick up a complete handbook taking them step-by-step through the process of designing and building the Education House, together with a free copy of Build It magazine.

NaCSBA recognises that one of the most significant barriers to people fulfilling their dreams of Self Building is a lack of knowledge, with NaCSBA’s Self Build Portal website (www.selfbuildportal.org.uk) an important source of objective advice. Consequently, it welcomes the opening of the Self Build Education House as a valuable resource for anyone interested in Self Building, helping them balance decisions with budgets to get the best possible outcome.

Chris Bates, Editor of Build It said: “Build It’s Self Build Education House seeks to inspire the next generation of Self Builders and demystify the process of creating your own individual home. The Education House empowers people to access the Self Build route by helping them understand their design, build and fit-out choices and equipping them with the knowledge they need to achieve a better quality, better designed and better value-for-money home.”

The architect's drawing for the Build It Self Build Education House
The ICF basement by Nudura goes in
Roof joists craned into place
The Build It team on a visit

Open days enable Self Builders to experience energy-efficient Passivhaus homes

Passivhaus

The Passivhaus Trust is supporting the International Passivhaus Open Days scheme in the UK, offering aspiring Self Builders the opportunity to experience these unique, sustainable homes in person. Between 8-9 November 2019 a range of homes across England, Wales and Scotland will be opening their doors, sharing their owners’ and designers’ Passivhaus stories for anyone considering a Passivhaus approach to a build project.

What is Passivhaus?

Passivhaus is a construction method that delivers a high level of comfort while using very little energy for heating and cooling. They are rigorously designed and construction according to principles developed by the Passivhaus Institute in Germany. Construction includes high levels of insulation, high performance windows with insulated frames, and, crucially, an airtight frame combined with a mechanical ventilation heating recovery system.

This year NaCSBA member the Green Building Store is coordinating the open days around Yorkshire with three local Passivhaus homes throwing open their doors, including Denby Dale Passivhaus (below left), Golcar Passivhaus (below right) and Kirkburton, as well as housing free Passivhaus talks from its Heath House Mill base near Huddersfield.

 

Denby Dale Passivhaus
Golcar Passivhaus

 

NSBRC Passivhaus weekend

On the 22-23 November, the National Self Build & Renovation Centre in Swindon is running a weekend of events in conjunction with the Passivhaus Trust, with talks, workshops and demonstrations aimed at selfbuilders interested in Passivhaus.

Booking is essential for all the free Passivhaus talks, events and open days.

Right to Build Day 30 October – a reckoning for English local authorities and self build plot provision

Right to Build Day

The 30th October 2019 is a crucial date for all English local authorities as it is the first date ever that they have to demonstrate that they have granted enough permissions for the 18,000 people that signed up to the Right to Build in its first year of existence. These are the people that signed their local self build registers, held by their council, to demonstrate that they were interested in building their own home.

The registers are a little complicated in how they work, but essentially the 30 October each year is a cut off point for when planning authorities need to show that they have acted. Each ‘base’ period works on a rolling three-year period – meaning that from the close of the first register year (the 30 October 2016) councils had three years to act. So the Right to Build Day is the first time we get to see how many plots have actually been granted permission to be built upon.

For the first year this figure was 18,000 – so on 30 October 2019 the authorities should (!) demonstrate that they have granted enough planning permissions to reflect this demand.

To find out what’s happening, the National Custom and Self Build Association (NaCSBA) conducts a Freedom of Information request to all English authorities, including county, borough and district councils and national parks. Its last request illustrated that, at October 2018, council’s Custom and Self Build activity across the country is very mixed, creating a postcode lottery of provision.

Right to Build Day will trigger the next piece of research. NaCSBA will be tracking activity, finding out the self build heroes and the ‘could-try-harder’ councils, and be sharing this information with you, the industry and, importantly, government in an attempt to get a more even spread of activity.

Find out more about NaCSBA’s Right to Build Day campaign.

NaCSBA believes that Custom and Self Build gives more people more choice in the types of home, and what’s it can help encourage the build out of housing as it diversifies supply – an important goal for government as it works to get more 300,000 new homes a year by the mid 2020s.

Andrew Baddeley-Chappell, CEO, National Custom and Self Build Association said: “We’ve had to wait a long time since the legislation was passed to find out how effective it has been – and Right to Build Day will help clarify the picture. Our annual research and the work of the Right to Build Task Force has helped us to identify good, bad and some downright ugly performance from Local Authorities, and we will hold the government to its commitment to consider taking further action including possible changes to legislation if they do not believe sufficient action is being taken.

“Ongoing annual targets will mean local authorities will now need to continue to ensure a regular pipeline of new plots, enabling more wonderful new homes to be built and in doing so create a virtuous cycle of increased public awareness, increased opportunities and increased supply of custom and self build homes. The UK’s period at the bottom of the world league for the numbers of custom and self build homes may at last be coming to an end.”

Find your local Right to Build registers at NaCSBA’s Self Build Portal

The Right to Build – facts:

*The ‘Right to Build’ places two legal obligations on Local Authorities in England:
1. Under the Self-build and Custom Housebuilding Act 2015 all Local Authorities in England must keep a register of people and groups of people who are seeking to purchase serviced plots of land in the authority’s area and to have regard to that register when carrying out their functions. Registers were required from 1st April 2016.

2. The Housing and Planning Act 2016 requires all Local Authorities in England to grant sufficient ‘development permissions’ to meet the demand for Custom and Self Build housing in their area, as established by their register, on a rolling basis. Permissions equivalent to the number of people registering from 1st April 2016 to 30th October 2016 should be granted by 30th October 2019. Permissions equivalent to the number of people registering from 30th October 2016 to 30th October 2017 should be granted by 30th October 2020 and so on. This includes 18,000 permissions by 30th October 2019.

The Right to Build myths:

There are many misconceptions about the registers:

  • Signing your self build register means that the planning authority must find you a plot – this is incorrect, as local authorities just need to grant planning permission for one plot to reflect your demand as one person wanting to build,
  • You can only sign a single register – this is incorrect you can sign as many self build registers as you want, but some charge and some have local connection tests to limit this.
  • Councils must ‘create’ plots – incorrect, local authorities have to grant planning permission on plots rather than bring them on themselves, although some councils do do this.
  • Councils have to manage their own register – again this is not true, councils have a duty to have a register, but can ask a third-party to run and manage it for them,
  • Councils must link people wanting plots with landowners and developers that have plots – again, incorrect. Unfortunately the legislation requires councils to run a list as a source of evidence for appetite for self building, but not to facilitate this directly by running a service that connects people up.

So why sign the registers?

The Right to Build registers are vital for alerting councils about demand – and they have to consider this. So by signing up you’re ensuring that more Custom and Self Build happens in your local area. And the more it happens, the more it becomes normal and accessible, with more people considering it as a route to a new home.

 

 

Images: pixabay

Cullinan Studio wins prestigious offsite award with Push-Pull house

Push-Pull House

The Structural Timber Association has awarded Cullinan Studio the Custom and Self-Build Project of the Year category for its Push-Pull House in its Structural Timber Awards.

Run annually, Structural Timber Awards is a professional event that celebrates the best in timber frame technology, that includes a self-build category in acknowledgement of the sheer number of owner-commissioned homes that use timber frame as their construction method.

Timber frame is experiencing a boom as more and more organisation start to appreciate the benefits of offsite construction – where the entire building is precision made in a factory, ensuring efficiencies in time, quality and energy.

Push-Pull House

Cullinan Studio’s Push-Pull House is on a large plot in Amersham, in an area where the Arts and Crafts style dominates. The house is a playfully creative solution to the family’s brief to create a light-filled new-build, built using Cross Laminated Timber (CLT).

CLT uses layers of glued timber to create a strong and stable timber product, with the frame exposed throughout the interior. One of the advantages of CLT is that it is easily able to create long-spans, and the large house uses this to the maximum effect, creating uninterrupted roof spans and double-height walls that bring natural light deep inside the house, maximised by high clerestory windows. The exterior is clad in dark stained accoya boards that are fixed over a locally-sourced brick.

Judges’ comments included:

  • “Form and function clearly do not need to compromise design.”
  • “The choice of CLT delivers on not only sustainability but critically it works aesthetically.”
  • “A great design and end product.”
  • “This is a complex, three-dimensional design solution that manages to appear simple, elegant and appropriate to its location.

The head of the judging panel and Chief Executive of the Structural Timber Association, Andrew Carpenter said of the night: “The depth of expertise across all categories was impressive and the exceptional number of entries clearly demonstrates the upturn in the industry.”

Structural Timber Association and Self Build support

For anyone considering a timber frame home, the Structural Timber Association has a self build section on its website offering advice, with links to finding members that operate in the realm of Custom and Self Build.

 

Sign up for your Right to Build at the portal!