Continued Central Government Support for the Self and Custom Build Sector

The recent House of Commons, Communities and Local Government Committee report “Capacity in the homebuilding industry” Tenth Report of Session 2016–17, continues to make clear that there are challenges to our sector but also highlights that these are being identified and it certainly appears that the sector is making progress up the general agenda.

Utilising evidence from the National Custom and Self-Build Association (NaCSBA) it notes that there is evidence of unmet demand for people who want to custom or self-build and highlights that in other developed countries, around half of the homes built are custom or self-build.  It also notes that 53% of the UK population would like to build or commission their own home at some time in their lives (14% / 7 million people in the next 12 months) but only around 10,000 succeed, and whilst around 10% of this market want to do the full ‘Grand Designs’ self-build approach only 12% are happy with the minimal choice offered by a speculative volume house builder. The remaining 78% of prospective new home buyers are not catered for in the UK currently

Considering the obstacles for people wishing to build a home using them, Michael Holmes, Chair of NaCSBA, summarised the situation: “if you have money, you can self-build; if you are in the ordinary housing market and do not have a big deposit, you are probably excluded from the custom and self-build sector”.

Accessing land is also identified as a challenge for custom and self-builders. Local planning authorities are required to keep a register of people who would like to have a custom built home and they are required to identify land to meet this demand. However the implementation of this duty varies greatly. Michael Holmes told us that “Where there is a will, there is tremendous progress. There are also lots of local authorities who have a housing strategy document that says, “There is no discernible demand for custom and selfbuild in our area” and therefore are doing absolutely nothing about it”. The challenges faced by small and medium sized builders when trying to access land are magnified for custom and self-builders. Michael Holmes, Chair of NaCSBA told us: “Basically it is a lot more work to deliver for custom-builds. It is a lot more work to deliver sites for small to medium sizes house builders. It is a lot easier to zone large strategic sites and wait for them to be brought forward by land owners and major house builders for hundreds if not thousands of houses at one time”

The report notes that the housing White Paper makes a commitment to supporting custom and selfbuilders through the Home Building Fund and the Accelerated Construction programme, and states that if the Government believes that local authorities are not supporting them adequately, it will consider changing legislation to address this.  The report goes on to state “We believe that the Government needs to review planning policy guidance to ensure that the measures promoting custom and self-build in the NPPF lead to greater opportunities for such development in local plans. In particular the fees charged by local authorities for the custom and self-build register should be reviewed to ensure they are not prohibitive”.

You can read the full report at the HOC committee’s findings on self and custom build:
http://offlinehbpl.hbpl.co.uk/NewsAttachments/RLP/HC46_EMBARGOED.pdf

At Invicta we agree with the comments made in this report and welcome anything which seeks to put the process in the spotlight.  The findings of this report support the very essence of why we were set up as a company so contact us today to find out how our sites are seeking to help address these issue.