Advice for self builders during Coronavirus

With the constantly evolving situation around Coronavirus it is important that any self builders working on site are fully aware of the latest advice and guidance. Always visit www.gov.uk for the latest updates and be sure that you are safe and compliant. Also check for local country updates, for example, Scotland has shut all construction sites, with the exception of essential sites.

27 March: Construction Industry update

At this date, construction sites in England and Wales have not been required to close, but anyone on site must be able to meet Public Health guidance, including for travel arrangements. Read the advice for professional sites by the Construction Leadership Council for examples of good practice.

Meeting the 2m safety requirement may be quite manageable on a self build, especially depending on the work, and many self builders may be working solo on site. If you are working alone on site make sure you are safe, using proper safety equipment and practices, and that someone knows you are on site. Ideally keep you phone on you, too, in case of a fall or trip.

The Federation of Master Builder’s  has a general page which has lots of links for help and advice that may prove useful.

Homebuilding & Renovating has a useful rolling guide: Building As Usual, that’s also a great source of information about self building during the crisis.

Mortgages

Many self build mortgage release funds at stages, and these stage payments are still being released by most lenders. BuildStore says its self build customers may want to get evidence of work either via Warranty Certificates or Architects Reports, where possible with photos, to ensure the process runs smoothly – get in touch directly with them to check what is needed.

With regards to other products, check with your provider if you have any concerns in advance. However applications are slowing as these are dependent on valuers, so keep an eye on the situation of who is, and isn’t, working and able to visit sites, as per government guidance.

Be aware that cyber criminals will be taking advantage of people’s concerns during this time, so make sure you protect yourself from phishing and spam calls. Check out the FMB’s guide to protecting yourself, here.

Insurances

If you are in England and Wales and planning on working on site, make sure that your insurances still cover you and the site by checking with your provider if possible. Many site insurance products have a cessation clause, typically that involve a site not having been worked on in the last 60 days, for example. Providers are reviewing the processes around such clauses, so ensure you check if you are planning to cease work on site to see how you are affected.

Site security

You are responsible for ensuring your site is secure and safe, both for visitors, workers and for wider public indemnity. If you are closing your site make sure the perimeter is secure from theft and vandalism, and that any tools and equipment is secured safely on site, or removed where possible. The National Business Crime Centre has some good advice – and while it is designed for larger sites, many of the principles equally apply to smaller sites. Or read Self Build Zone’s advice on Homebuilding & Renovating’s website.

Materials and tools can be a target for theft or damage, so ensure you are protecting your investment. Check out the FMB’s video for preventing tool theft.

Planning jobs

One element that is most likely to hamper you working on your own site is a lack of materials, equipment or tradespeople, as so many business have closed temporarily. This might mean you have to get creative and do non-essential jobs you are able to do rather than the most pressing jobs that you can’t right now. For example prestaining or painting timber ready for use, if you have the materials on hand. So be prepared to be flexible and realistic as to what you can achieve.

Using your time well

If you have decided to halt your site, you can still plan for the work yet to be done. Planning and budgeting is never time misspent, especially if you can reach decisions in advance. The internet is a rich source of advice for your project, and many companies have galleries or case studies that are really informative about products and options – allowing you to be aware of the scope of what’s on offer before you make any choices.

For a hand personal take on working on site, read self build specialist Mike Hardwick’s blog on the National Self Build and Renovation Centre’s website.

Self builders exempt from planned new Homes Ombudsman scheme

new build homes

The Government recently announced it would be creating a new Homes Ombudsman that requires all developers to be party to the scheme, giving a route to redress for home buyers should their new property fall short of expectations of feature shoddy work. The National Custom and Self Build Association (NaCSBA) fed into the consultation back in August 2019 to press the case for self builders.

In line with NaCSBA’s submission, the consultation confirmed that the scope of the New Homes Ombudsman will not include self-builders “unless they plan to sell the property to someone else within a set period”.

NaCSBA is supportive of this approach, but confirms that the ‘period’ referred to will need qualifying. Self building with the intent to sell has other consequences, such as the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) exemption, and puts self build in to a separate category, making it more akin to speculative building.

The confirmation is helpful, as a self build typically involves large numbers of suppliers of services, skills and resources, and the co-ordination of these elements into a new home, which makes them a poor fit for the Ombudsman scheme.

NaCSBA recommends self builders choose from its members when sourcing contractors and businesses for work, as its own Code of Practice offers a route to dispute resolution should a consumer have issues with a contractor. All NaCSBA members (apart form Not for Profit members, such as councils) must sign up to the scheme as a condition of membership. Equally, self builders should look out for members of other trade associations, such as the Federation of Master Builders or the Structural Timber Association also offers surety that firms are reputable operators in the self build sector.

Custom build grey area

While the exemption for self build is clear, the situation around custom build homes needs further clarification. NaCSBA highlighted this in its response to the consultation, where it concluded that, given the relative scale of the sector and the challenges of separating self-build and custom build, the best approach was to use the current legal definition. This covers both self and custom build and, on this basis, custom build should also be exempt.

NaCSBA will be seeking clarity around this, as it is unclear where the options for some custom build schemes, as each one is slightly different.

The new Homes Ombudsman will be able to hold developers to account and require them to put matters right in the case of a complaint, and it can even prevent developers from trading in the future if they fail to meet the expected standards.

Find out more about custom and self build here.

Is your self build home a Home of the Year winner?

HB&R winners 2019

The Daily Telegraph Homebuilding & Renovating Awards 2020 are now open to applications from all self builds, renovations, conversions or extensions. The awards celebrate some of the best homes of the last year, both designs and the spirit and ambition of the homeowners – a positive message in the current climate of bad news.

So if you’re self isolating in your new home, why not take the time to enter the awards and showcase all your hard work! There are 10 categories to consider, with one of the winners being chosen as the Home of the Year, as shown on TV, with the homeowner grabbing a prize of £1,000 of John Lewis vouchers.

Best Contemporary-Style Self Build — sponsored by Potton

Best Traditional-Style Self Build

Best Extension — sponsored by IDSystems

Best Renovation

Best Conversion

Best Sustainable Home — sponsored by Icynene

Best Value Home 

Spirit of Self Build — sponsored by Sips Eco

Readers’ Choice Award — sponsored by Selfbuild & Contract Floors

Best Interior

Plus Home of the Future — sponsored by ecoHaus

Find out more and what you need to do to enter, including the application form on Homebuilding & Renovating’s website.

 

Credit: Homebuilding & Renovating/Simon Maxwell

Self Build Blog, part 2: A super-sized family build on a budget

We’re following the story of Anne, who is building a home for her family and one for her parents on the same site. Crucially, they used the Right to Build to help them realise their dream. We pick up from Anne’s decision to investigate the possibility of building her own home.

Anne's family

Part 2: Deciding to self build – the turning point

Having decided to research the possibility of using the Right to Build as a route to solving our housing needs (read Part 1, here), I enlisted some help to find out more.

David Burrowes, my local MP at the time, knew little about the Right to Build legislation but said he would try to find out how it could be effective. He believed the local Council unlikely to want to help and any Council land would want to be sold at the highest price for maximum profit. However he gave me the contact details of Enfield Council’s Head of Development Management so that I could make some headway with the council.

Meanwhile, we started our own detective work searching for local land in the area, with Google maps proving a great tool. It was interesting to look at maps with a different eye, spotting little pockets of land that just might be plots, which we checked against the Land Registry. One plot that was of interest turned out to be part-private and part-Council owned. We also looked up land owned by Enfield Council and in a tiny entry amongst playgrounds, schools and car parks we found a couple of corner plots, so it was time to talk to the council.

Persistence pays

Getting to speak to Enfield’s Head of Development Management was no easy task. I left several messages and emails. No response. I took encouragement from listening to how Jamie Oliver got his breakthrough into the River Cafe. He rang every day trying to speak to Ruth Rogers leaving messages until one day he got through and was invited to an interview.

It became part of my routine. Every day I rang and left a message until one day he happened to pick up the phone. He was friendly enough and gave me an appointment for the next week.

The meeting however was rather disappointing as he was unaware of the Right to Build legislation and the Registers. However he did mention that our timing was good, as the council had to work out its approach to the legislation and how to incorporate it into the local plan.

During the meeting we tried to establish if he was the right contact for the Right to Build, but he didn’t know at that point. On a positive note, he looked at the plots of land we had identified and thought they had potential for planning but we would need to speak to the property department about the possibility of purchasing them.

When we left I started to worry, knowing that the process was not going to be an easy one!

Family affair

Meanwhile, my father in law had taken interest in our project and had subscribed to Homebuilding and Renovating Magazine. One of the Homebuilding & Renovating shows was coming up and he asked me along. A train journey spent planning and we had a full day mapped out, starting with ‘A Beginner’s guide to building your own home’ by expert self builder David Snell.

His practical overview dealt with finding plots, budgeting and finance, which was crucial as up to that point I had believed it was financially difficult, but he gave us hope and inspiration. When we met in in the Experts area he congratulated us on our entrepreneurial work in searching for plots!

We also visited Buildstore’s self build mortgage stand, where they confirmed that our self build was viable from a financial perspective, with a mortgage financing the building in stages, including the purchase of land. Things were looking up!

Our last lecture was with Michael Holmes of Homebuilding & Renovating about the Right to Build, who was also on the board at the National Custom and Self Build Association (NaCSBA). He had been at the forefront of the new legislation emerging, encouraging local authorities to release council land for self builders. He stressed how the Right to Build Act offers hope for residents wanting to build and live in an area where they have grown up in. The lecture was dynamic, inspiring, but did the legislation really have the teeth to force the local authorities to help self builders?

While chatting to Michael afterwards he advised us to push the local authority as much as we could. This is because they have to grant permission for the number of plots reflected by the numbers who have signed up to the register (in one base period) within 3 years. However, he also explained that this would not necessarily be to us. Our challenge would be to see if we could get them to release land to us, as we were pioneers!

Anne will be sharing regular updates on her journey to creating her perfect home.

Find your self and custom build register on the Right to Build Portal. 

New Self Build Wales scheme makes building a dream home a possibility for many

A ground breaking new scheme has launched in Wales, offering residents a route to finance and ‘oven-ready’ plots. Self Build Wales is financed by Welsh Government and managed by the Development Bank of Wales, and the scheme looks set to transform the market for anyone looking to self build in Wales.

The site will, with time, host a selection of plots with a range of pre-agreed designs on them, that come with a loan available of 75% towards the cost of the plot and 100% the cost of the build.

“We want to make self-build available to many more people in Wales, not just the most privileged households.”

Housing and Local Government Minister Julie James

Removing barriers

The scheme has been planned to help more people to access self build, removing the uncertainty around the process by offering them a route to finance, land and planning, helping regular people achieve their dream of building a home. This means that many homes could be built in areas that the mainstream builders might not consider, or that homes could be built that don’t fit into the mainstream speculative home market.

The site will, with time, host a selection of plots with a range of pre-agreed designs on them, that come with a loan available of 75% towards the cost of the plot and 100% the cost of the build.

Deputy Minister for Housing, Hannah Blythyn said: “We want to unlock the potential to build houses in Wales, to help far more people who want to build their own homes.

“We know finding the land, navigating planning consents and being able to afford to self-build while covering the cost of living can be real barriers. Self-Build Wales removes these barriers, and makes it far easier for people to build their own home. This scheme will help people who wouldn’t normally think of self-build to consider it seriously.”

Cenydd Rowlands, Property Director at the Development Bank of Wales said: “Bringing planning, design, construction and funding together will open the doors to self and custom build for people who would not otherwise have considered it as a realistic option.

Andrew Baddeley-Chappell, CEO of the National Custom and Self-Build Association said: “Self-building enables the delivery of more and better homes that more people aspire to live in and that communities are happier to see built. Homes that are more beautiful, more in keeping with their surroundings and more sustainable than the mainstream market delivers. Homes that can combine high technology with the work of local artisans.

“We welcome this package of measures and the positive changes that they will deliver in Wales.”

Boosting local economy

Self Build Wales will provide a valuable local route to work for small-to-medium house builders in Wales, which is good news for local economies. Welsh government is backing the scheme to the tune of £210million, so the combination of plots, pre-approved designs and finance is a sure fire way to get people building.

Small sites for self or custom build marketed by Calderdale Council

Calderdale

Calderdale Council is selling several small sites for custom and self build, which offer potential for an enabling or custom build company to purchase, or a group of self builders to collectively buy. Three plots are on the market currently, until April 6th, and a fourth site is expected to be marketed shortly.

To make the process as easy as possible the sites have outline planning permission for homes, with suggested layouts available.

Building collectively as a group of self builders can offer economies of scale if planned well, and homeowners move in with a sense of community already in place, created through the process of building.

Brewery Street, Todmorden

This 0.19 hectare site has outline planning permission for 4 dwellings, with a guide price of £125,000, on the site of a car park and vacant land.

Bank Street, Brighouse

A 0.13 hectare piece of land with outline planning permission for 5 dwellings, which is on gently sloping vacant land. The guide price is £225,000.

Belmont Street, Sowerby Bridge

Set on a former garages site, this 0.06 hectare site has outline planning permission for 3 dwellings.

The plots are being marketed by Walker Singleton.

 

If you are looking for land it’s worth checking whether you local authority is bringing land to market, as many do. For example, Plymouth City Council has a range of sites on its own land that it is marketing, with some suitable for Self Builders or small groups, although it doesn’t necessarily market them as such. Visit its Residential and Housing Development Land section for more.

19-home veterans self build scheme starts on site

Stonehouse Housing Association Launch

A new community build project supporting veterans to self build their own homes has started in Waterworks Lane, Leominster, Hereford. Stonewater Housing Association is working with the Community Self Build Agency (CSBA) and the Royal British Legion to create 19 new homes on a mixed development of two-bed flats and a range of houses, with the final homes available for affordable rent.

Many of the homes will be on offer to ex-service personnel, with the opportunity for up to nine veterans to be involved as builders on the scheme, where they will receive training and support. Veterans that help build the scheme will then be offered the option to rent one of the properties on completion, gaining a secure family home and a set of valuable and transferable skills.

Stonewater’s Waterworks Lane project illustrates how a range of organisations can work with local councils to provide much-needed new homes using alternative models, that can bring a range of sustainable goals to the table, including improving lives. The project will benefit from Homes England funding, part of a £224m award to the strategic Stonewater and Guiness Partnership that will create 4,500 homes by 2020.

Matthew Crucefix, Assistant Director of Development (West), said: “At Stonewater our commitment to providing everyone with a place they can call home is at the core of everything we do. In Herefordshire, there is a large armed forces presence and so there is a constant need for veteran accommodation.

We’re proud to lead the way alongside our community partners and show other organisations how important schemes like this are for the wider community. We hope to inspire others to take on similar projects in other areas of the country with similar challenges.”

Councillor Barry Durkin, at Herefordshire Council, said: “We are committed to supporting local veterans across Herefordshire and this new self-build partnership with Stonewater and Alabaré is a great opportunity to provide more affordable housing for veterans.

“This scheme not only provides much needed homes but will also provide the veterans with the training and skills needed to not only help build their own homes and but hopefully also gain future employment.”

Since being set up in the late 1980’s, Community Self Build Agency (CSBA) has helped hundreds of homeless or vulnerable people to have the opportunity to build their own home. From May 2019 CSBA has become part of Alabaré, which manages the day-to-day operations.

CSBA has completed over 178 self-build projects across the UK to date, developing in-excess of 1200 housing units to some of the most disadvantaged members of the local community. Their award winning schemes have included the Nelson Project in Plymouth – a 24-home site that included 12 self-build homes for the military veterans and 12 affordable homes.

Major Ken Hames, MBE, of Alabaré, said: “We’ve worked on similar projects in other parts of the country which, whilst challenging to get off the ground, really make a long-term difference.

“For the veterans fortunate enough to be part of the project they have a unique opportunity to gain the skills that could lead to long term employment, and the support to ultimately be able to live successful, independent lives once more. Together they will be creating a community that they can call home.”

 

Read about the CSBA’s Nelson Project

 

Photograph: From left to right: Tina Wood, Housing Development Officer, Herefordshire Council; Clare Bray, Development Manager, Stonewater; Karl Arrowsmith, Development Officer, Alabaré; Leigh-Ann Jones, Development Manager, Stonewater; Major Ken Hames MBE, Alabaré; Martin Walsh, Regional Outreach Officer Midlands; The Royal British Legion, Simon Deakin, Senior Contracts Manager, Harper Group Construction; Nick Aubrey, Project Manager, Harper Group Construction; Matthew Crucefix, Assistant Development Director, Stonewater; and, Scott Porter, Site Manager, Harper Group Construction

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.

Kevin McCloud, Self Build Champion, said: “It is about time councils got off the fence and positively support this piece of legislation. The launch of the Right to Build register was an encouraging start of the movement to improve the availability of custom and self-build plots across the country, however, authorities still need to offer better service to residents wanting to build their own homes. At the moment, the return on entries to the register is nowhere near as high as it needs to be in order to meet targets and encourage an increase in the number of custom and self-build homes by the British public.”

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.

BLOG: A super-sized family self build on a budget

We’re following the story of Anne and her husband as they work to build a home for their family of six boys, and also build a home for their parents on the same site. Crucially, they’re building what was impossible to find in their local area, and they’ve used the Right to Build to help them achieve it. 

Anne's family

Part 1: Deciding to self build – the turning point

“You won’t get another fantastic opportunity like this at this price… It will be gone in days,” went the estate agent’s pitch. The fantastic opportunity was a tiny ex-local authority 2-up-2-down terraced house with a loft extension, right in the middle of an estate surrounded by squalor – unkempt gardens, rubbish in the driveways and furniture in the backyards. And it was only half a million pounds. I felt slightly sick at heart as the knot inside me tightened – I couldn’t quite bring myself to believe that this was the answer to our housing need.

We’d spent months looking for a new home. Our landlord of 10 years wanted his house back and in our search we decided to explore all options. Ideally we wanted to buy in the same area, so that we could stay close to our respective parents, not only to benefit from their help whilst the children were young but also to be useful to them as they grew older, and to remain in the community we had grown attached to and engaged in over two decades of marriage.

But buying in London suburbs is not easy, and with inflated house prices and a large family the options are extremely limited. What little that was suitable and in our price range was snapped up quickly.

A few weeks before I’d found a sweet ex-authority cottage in a nice setting that we could just about afford and I was determined to make an offer. But it was tiny, with two bedrooms and the potential to extend upwards. The downstairs floorspace was also small, but to me it didn’t matter as I thought we could make it work.

However, my husband Peter is an architect and he didn’t agree. His view was that the house couldn’t really cope with extending and although it would be ‘permitted’, that is allowable from a planning point of view, we would be the first in the block to do it and it would be out of place.

In reality, even when extended it would have been too tight for a family of six boys. I looked at Help to Buy but the homes within our price range were unsuitable apartments characterised as ‘luxury’, which in reality meant a few shiny taps and shiny floors, tiny box rooms and an enormous downstairs toilet big enough to sleep two children.

We looked in parallel at renting, but rents were high and seriously inflated compared to our last home. However, houses for rent were obviously in short supply as they quickly disappeared off the market, despite huge upfront costs.

But there were other barriers, and for us it was our children or rather the fact that we six of them, and all boys. Each time I mentioned how many we had (and I never mentioned it until I had to, but one can hardly hide it) the conversation changed. I was asked if I was on benefits, and even if I was 100% sure I wasn’t. Appointments to view houses were cancelled and, at one point, a holding deposit was given back to me because the landlady decided the kitchen was too small. I felt humiliated and never wanted to be in this position again.

A change in approach

Our prospects were bleak, but while standing in the tiny house looking at the dismal surroundings I had a change of heart and a spurt of determination. Peter had encouraged me to look at building our own house, and I’d talked to a few friends and looked at a few auction sites but had never really taken it seriously as a realistic option. But I decided to think again.

We lived in London, so where would we find the land? How could we afford to build? Most of our friends had said it was impossible. The obstacles and efforts had simply seemed too enormous. But now I was determined to give it a good try and at least if we did end up in the tiny house on the estate we would know that we had tried everything.

I wrote to an old friend who was a small builder/developer and asked for his advice. On the first day of the New Year he wrote back, saying, “Very exciting to be looking at building your own home. It’s not easy finding a plot to be fair, but the Government seems to be more on your side than ever.” And he sent a link to the government press release ‘Boost for aspiring self-builders’. This was an encouraging and rather exciting moment.

The government was trying to help ordinary families build homes in the boroughs they wanted to live in. Councils were required to launch Self Build Registers for people to express an interest, and the Housing and Planning Act 2016 required local authorities to ensure that they had granted ‘permission’ for enough sufficient shovel-ready plots to match the local demand on their register.

What did this mean in practice? Could the council really provide us with a plot? I somehow doubted it but I was determined to find out, so I signed our local Enfield self build register and set up a meeting with our local MP to find out just what the legislation intended.

Anne will be sharing regular updates on her journey to creating her perfect home.

Find your self and custom build register on the Right to Build Portal. 

Happy 30th Birthday to Build It magazine!

Build It 30th

For thirty years Build It magazine has been helping dreamers turn their plans into homes, guiding and inspiring them through the process for three decades. Now part of a group of magazines supporting self builders, Build It was the first dedicated title for people wanting to build, spotting a niche in a growing market.

In between getting ready for their two winter shows – Built It Live South East (9 Feb) and North West (22-23 Feb), the team at Build It have been enjoying a trip down memory lane finding out how the industry – and our tastes – have evolved over the years.

Read Build It’s overview of its first issue!

We’re glad to report that since then the sector has evolved considerably – with far more finance and mortgage products for you to choose from. But most noticeably, the serviced plots market, which can be both self build although they are typically custom build, has transformed the landscape.

However, despite this – finding that perfect plot is still the element that most self builders struggle the most with. Some things, it would seem, are slower to change, even if there are far more plots now on the market!

Self Build Portal users can subscribe to Build It with a discount