What is custom and self build?

An owner-commissioned home means that some, or all, of the home is designed and built to the initial owner’s choices. But what’s the difference between a custom or self build home?

Self build

Self building typically occurs on a stand alone plot, and involves someone sourcing and buying land, designing and commissioning their home.

Rarely, some choose a traditional DIY route where you manage the design and construction process and undertake a fair proportion of the actual building work too.

However, most people self build by commissioning a developer to build to their design or by choosing a package route, also known as a system build or kit home.

A turn-key home means that the commissioning process includes the complete build Рyou simply turn the key and start living in it at the end. You can follow a self build route on a multi-plot site, depending on the development. 

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Custom build

Custom Building is a way to commission your own home, but is always on a multi-plot site where your neighbours will be like-minded people who have also commissioned their home.

This de-risks the process as the land is sourced, some form of planning permission obtained and the services are all in place.

There are numerous routes but it can be quicker and simpler, as the process of finding land, securing planning permission and installing services have all been taken care of.

Some multi-plot sites will give you the freedom to commission the home you want similar to self building, some may come with designs and / or developers pre-agreed. These sites use Design Codes and often Plot Passports to establish what can be built on each plot.

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Read our Custom Build FAQs

Community-led housing 

While you can build privately as a group, typically groups are some form of community led housing.

Here you work with others to acquire a site to split up into plots, then organise the design and construction of your own home. This will usually be supported by an enabler such as a specialist developer or housing association.

Cohousing and Community Land Trusts are examples of community-led housing.

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