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Rule changes to offer increased self-build opportunities

On the 31st of October, important rules regarding self-build and custom-build projects in the UK changed.

Councils are now required to keep a self-build and custom-build register, and grant planning permission to allow adequate ‘serviced plots’ to meet the demands of the register.

There is high demand for self-build opportunities and custom-homes in the UK, however there is an incredibly low build rate. It is hoped that these new changes in regulation will increase the rates of building. This should contribute to an evening out of the supply/demand ratios for housing.

More self-build opportunities for architects and small builders?

This encouraging news will open up more and more self-build opportunities for architects. Higher demand for customised home architecture should see a broader range of architects finding opportunities in the market. Those just starting out and looking to establish credibility and a name can find a foothold here. Indeed many large architectural firms began in a similar way. An increase in the number of self-builds could also see a boost for small local builders on projects where the owner may only want's to manage the self-build and not carry out the construction work themselves.

An all party parliament group (AAPG) led by MP Richard Bacon spearheaded the campaign which resulted in this legislation. Councils are now required to create the registers of demand. In theory, as people register their interest in undertaking a self- or custom-build, the councils will have a better understanding of how much land to release and how much support is required.


Structural Defects Insurance

There are concerns that councils are not proving to be very cooperative about the registers so far. Some are investigating the potential to charge people to register their interest, for example. These types of deterrents might reasonably lead to speculation about councils being hesitant to meet the (new, documented, legislated) demand for serviced plots.

If these registers are to be successful, architects and builders must be forthcoming about the register to clients and friends alike. If a client even breezily mentions the notion of building a home themselves, encourage them to register, in spite of obstructing behaviour shown by some councils. The more interest there is, the more business may become available for local architects and local builders and that can only be a good thing in helping the housing shortage and the economy.

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