A new Help to Build equity loan scheme was announced in the Comprehensive Spending Review, another green light for those wanting to custom or self build, says the National and Custom and Self Build Association (NaCSBA).

The new scheme was announced as part of a package of measures to support more people to build more sustainable and more beautiful homes.

Important for anyone considering a custom or self build, the Comprehensive Spending Review made two important announcements:

What do we know about Help to Build?

As yet, there are no firm details about the format or timescale of the Help to Build scheme. However, NaCSBA will be working with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to feed into the design of the scheme. NaCSBA has been lobbying for a Help to Build scheme for several years, so welcomes the announcement.

Currently, it is expected that the Help to Build will be an equity loan scheme along the lines of Help to Buy, but with the loan subsidising the mortgage lender, rather than the house builder, as with Help to Buy. However, for now the details remain uncertain. 

The Help to Build will help more people self build who would otherwise struggle to finance a build, great news for the third of people who want to self build, the result of recent research by NaCSBA and the Building Societies Association.

Of these 1 in 3 interested in self building, 59% of respondents said that access to finance remained the most significant barrier preventing them from self building. Help to Build should help remedy this, and make a real difference to the younger age groups where there was the interest in self build was strongest.

NaCSBA will bring you news about Help to Build as soon as it knows more

Serviced plots

NaCSBA also welcomed the news of further funding, especially to support the release of  public sector land for serviced plots. Access to suitable land remains a challenge, as acknowledged by 42% of those surveyed in NaCSBA’s recent research.

Public sector land is land held by councils, government and large institutions, and a commitment to bring some of this land to market for plots could provide a valuable route to land.

Access to plots and ability to secure finance have traditionally been significant challenges for anyone wanting to self build, and these announcements reflect government’s ambition to support more people in their ambition of having an owner-commissioned home.

Andrew Baddeley-Chappell, NaCSBA CEO, said: “The announcements today, together with those on Right to Build Day, make it clear that the Government is fully committed to do more to increase the diversity of choice in our new homes market.

“Greater choice will lead to great innovation and competition that will lead to more and better homes. We hope to see the new Help to Build scheme up and running as soon as possible together with the additional wonderful, affordable sustainable, uplifting new homes that it will help deliver.”

Self Build Wales

Help to Build will only be available in England, but Wales already has Self Build Wales, which includes a loan for anyone wanting to self build.

Find out more in Build It magazines interview, or at the scheme’s hompage: Self Build Wales.

Anyone interested in creating their own home through Self Build and Custom build should visit the National Self Build & Renovation Centre, the UK’s only permanent exhibition for everything Self Build. And to help spread the word the NSBRC has created its first ever TV ad, showing on All4 around homes-based programmes such as Grand Designs. What a reflection of a growing market!


National Self Build and Renovation Show

National Self Build and Renovation Show takes place on 18-20 October and is the perfect time to visit the centre, whether your a first-timer or returning visitor. The three days of the show are packed with live demonstrations, seminars and a range of experts on hand to share their advice and insight, helping you make those important decisions about your own project.

Whether you are planning your build, or just putting together ideas for your dream project, the centre is a wealth of information, with the opportunity to find out more about a range of build methods and products. Or you can get 1-2-1 advice on a range of subjects from the in-house experts, or financial advice from BuildStore’s in-centre experts.

Tickets are free and parking is plentiful, with the centre located off the M4, near Swindon.

This is a NaCSBA Member message

Calculating the size of the UK’s Custom and Self Build sector

The National Custom and Self Build Association (NaCSBA) is running a survey of Self Builders who have reclaimed Value Added Tax (VAT) on their project. It is calling for anyone who has built or commissioned their own home in the last five years to fill in the survey, anonymously, as gathering this data helps it establish the size of the sector.

This data, together with other information, such as the number of single dwellings created per year, this gives us an estimate of the number of self builders in the country.

Please fill in our VAT survey.

Knowing how many people are self building in the UK is vital for NaCSBA, as it shares these figures with the wider industry, and more importantly, with Government, helping fuel the conversation about creating more Custom and Self Build opportunities for more people across the UK. The more people that are building, the more new opportunities will come on the market.

From 2019 calculating the size of the sector will be easier, as there is now a question on the form that you must submit for planning permission (1APP), that will help gather this data. However, for earlier years we need to compile this data retrospectively – which you can help with.

One minute of your time

Please help others who want to self build by filling in the survey, or by sharing it with friends and associates. If you have self built, custom built, commissioned a new home or converted a building into a home, then we want to know how you reclaimed your VAT.

The survey is anonymous – it’s just nine questions, but it makes a huge difference to the work we do as an organisation, helping us to make custom build and self build more of a mainstream choice for more people.


Share this link with anyone who has self built recently: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/YDBQ26T


Thank you!


Image: DHayes

New tech platform MyPlot has launched in the Self Build market, aiming to make the process of building as simple as possible by bringing together a range of services to assist novice builders on a single platform.

While self-build is on the ‘bucket list’ for many, it has yet to become a mainstream housing solution in the UK. For some would-be self builders, the process can appear complex especially for those with a full-time job and family obligations, or without any construction know-how.

While finding a plot remains a significant barrier for some, for others navigating the complex planning system, sourcing trusted contractors or securing finance for the project can be key challenges. For those without a property background these obstacles can feel insurmountable, and many will return to the established homes market, which leaves their self-build ambitions unfulfilled.

Navigating the process

To help remedy this, MyPlot has been created to assist aspirational self-builders with the process. Users can find their ideal plot, and source contractors from the directory on the platform to interview and appoint the entire team to take their home from concept to reality.

From planning consultants, architects, building contractors and mortgage advisors, the experts listed, are all experienced in delivering self-build projects, and are carefully selected by MyPlot to give novice self-builders the confidence in their choices.

The company aims to grow the number of self-build homes in the UK from under 10% of new housing in the UK, which currently creates around 12,000 homes per year. In contrast, The Self Build Housing Market Report Analysis 2016-2020 revealed self-build rates in Austria, Belgium, Italy and Sweden are as high as 70 per cent.

NaCSBA research indicates that in the first seven months of the Right-to-Build registers opening, 18,000 people had signed up, jumping to 40,000 by December 2018, so demand is definitely there.

MyPlot Director, Paul Smith, said: “In Europe, it’s much more straightforward to source a plot of land, and the planning system is less onerous – there’s also more support for those embarking on the process.

“With MyPlot, we’ve looked at the issues and offered a solution, filling the gaps and removing the complexity by providing a directory of self-build experts on a single platform.

“The government has been very supportive of self-build, particularly in recent years, introducing policies to oil the wheels and make it more attractive financially, but it’s often the practical considerations that put people off, such as financing the project and living arrangements during the build.

“What’s more, the assumption that self-build is something only wealthy people do has to be challenged – we hope that MyPlot helps to encourage people to at least be open to the idea, rather than dismiss it out-of-hand.”


Credit: Flo Pappert on Unsplash


NaCSBA Member Message

North East Derbyshire District Council and Bolsover District Council, both NaCSBA members, are hosting a FREE Custom and Self Build event to promote the sector and share learnings with members of the public. The councils are encouraging anyone wishing to Self Build or Custom Build to register for the event and come along to this free informative event.

The councils are organising the event to publicise the route, and also their activities locally to make Custom and Self Build a choice for more people, supporting people as they go through the joys and pitfalls of building your own home.

At the event will be presentations about planning, design from Lomas and Mitchell Architects, low energy housing, finance by BuildStore, land and legal issues. Plus, there are question and answer sessions giving people the opportunity to chat about your own projects.

In addition, there will be handouts and advice from the companies present and the opportunity to network with other like minded delegates who are interested in seeing their dream home designed and constructed.


Date: Wed, 12 June 2019

Time: 9:30-4pm

Location: The Tangent Business Hub, Weighbridge Road, Shirebrook, NG20 8RX

Register for free via Eventbrite. 

Bolsover event

The National Community Land Trust Network has reported that the 3,500 community led homes already in the Community Housing Fund application process could be in jeopardy if the scheme isn’t extended. It’s calling for people to support its campaign to persuade the treasury to lengthen its lifespan.

A Freedom of Information request to Homes England by the National CLT Network revealed that there are over 3,500 community led homes in the Community Housing Fund pipeline, waiting to have the funding applications reviewed.

While this represents excellent progress, as the Community Housing Fund has only been operational for nine months, the National CLT Network warns that closing the scheme in December 2019 (with the exception of London) could seriously jeopardise this growth.

It reports that most of the CLTs bringing forward these affordable homes will need access to capital funding that will extend well into 2020 and beyond, in order to complete the homes.

“The number might seem small in the scheme of things. But these are homes being developed to meet very particular needs of communities. They matter, and the people behind them will be devastated if the Government pulls the rug from under them,” commented the National CLT Network.

“Groups building standard types of affordable housing, like affordable rent and shared ownership, will still be able to bid for the mainstream affordable homes funding. But innovative approaches won’t qualify, and new groups will lose access to unique revenue funding to develop their plans.”

The current Community Housing Fund has a £163 million funding that was set up to increase the supply of homes in England brought about by innovative community methods, especially those that provide affordable homes pegged at local income levels.

The National CLT Network worked with the Government to design the current programme, stressing the contribution that the community led housing movement could make to housing supply.

Intended to be a five-year fund, delays in the launch means that this aspect of the fund will only be open to bids for 18 months. This is not sufficient time for CLTs, which are mostly powered by volunteers, to get the necessary tasks done prior to being able to build.

The Greater London Authority recently announced London’s £38 million Community Housing Fund, which operates separately from Homes England. The London scheme stays open until 2023.

The National CLT Network is keen for CLT members to engage their MPs, and has some tips for how you can do this on its website.

Newly released figures from HM Revenue & Customs for ‘VAT refunds for DIY housebuilders’ show that the self-build market was responsible for more than a third of all the new detached houses and bungalows completed in the UK for the year to March 31st 2011, and 10.2% of all new home completions.


The Richard Koch BreakThrough Prize is this year offering anyone the chance of winning £50,000 for an essay on creating a popular policy to rejuvenate our property-owning democracy.

If you fancy yourself as an ideas person, why not enter the Richard Koch BreakThrough Prize which is offering anyone the chance to win £50,000 for an essay on creating a popular policy to rejuvenate our property-owning democracy.

The competition poses the question: What market-based, popular policy would you recommend to alleviate the UK’s housing shortage, and to rejuvenate our property-owning democracy?

It’s a crucial question – not only do we need to crack the housing crises that’s seeing housing and rental costs soaring, but we need to create a solution that will allow a new generation of home owners on to the market.

Our nation is based on the fundament of property ownership, and part of the issue behind the crisis is our linking home-ownership to wealth, linking the vital necessity of a roof over our head with the building of equity.

But without a new younger generation being able to access this housing ladder, the very basis of the UK as a property-owning democracy is threatened. Do we need a whole new approach though – clearly the last 20 years have illustrated the shortfalls of the system we’ve come to rely on.

In fact, the competition points out that Home ownership rates – even amongst middle income earners – have more than halved in the past 20 years.

So the Richard Koch BreakThrough Prize, supported by the Institute of Economic Affairs, is asking anyone to come up with a policy-based solution that address the cost and inaccessibility of housing for young people.

The solution needs to be one that engages locally to combat opposition, and robust enough to stand up to the entrenched interests that dominate our housing supply model.

So if you’ve got a solution that addresses the ‘rigged’ free market, why not enter the competition by setting out your vision in a 2,000-3,000-word essay?

We know that Custom, Self-build and community-led housing has some of the most innovative and regime-threatening approaches to housing, so share your experiences for a chance to win – and promote the sector at the same time!

Not least might be the concept of making more of the legislation that we have, the Right to Build, by encouraging more people to sign up through the Right to Build Portal.

Or perhaps we should expect more of councils, such as marketing their lists or by enforcing them to actually permission the number of plots on their registers, as they are supposed to do. Time will tell whether they actually do this in October 2019, with the completion of the first three-year cycle since the commencement of the Right to Build legislation.

Find out more and enter here!