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  • Dan Gibbard

What is the ‘Right to Build’?

It is no secret that the UK is suffering from a housing supply shortfall [1]. But those looking to own a new home needn’t rely on the house-building industry to meet demand.

Self-building a home has grown in popularity in recent years [2] but one of the main obstacles to building your own home is finding the land to build it on.

In 2016, the Government passed the ‘Self-build and Custom Housebuilding Act’ to help prospective self-builders find suitable building plots in their local area. Put simply, the ‘Act’ allows individuals and groups to express their interest, with a Local Authority, in building their own homes. Local Authorities are obliged by law to maintain a list of those interested in building their own homes, and should also act to ensure enough ‘serviced plots’ are granted permission in their area relative to the number of people on the self-build register.

However, having run for more than 7 years the data would suggest that the existence of self-build registers is not well known. Perhaps in part because Local Authorities are under no obligation to advertise the existence of their self-build register beyond maintaining a webpage for enrolling.

A study commissioned by the National Custom & Self Build Association (NaCSBA) and the Building Societies Association (BSA) found that 1 in 3 people are interested in self-building [3]. In contrast, despite more than 27 million households in the UK[4], the number of individuals on the register as of October 2021 was just 58,813[5].

With this in mind, the self-build act has the potential to shape real-world outcomes for would-be self & custom home builders and for that reason, it is important for anyone who might be considering building their own home in future, to sign-up! There are organisations such as NaCSBA working towards making self-building a mainstream choice for anyone wanting to own their own home, but the self-build register is a chance to clearly voice that desire. Also keep in mind that while uncommon, the Self Build Act allows for Local Authorities to charge for registration and introduce eligibility tests. With many Local Authorities struggling to balance their books, it’s possible that we may see more Council’s introducing additional steps to admission to the self-build register in future.

The idea of building your own home will be daunting for many and yes, having all seen the episodes of ‘Grand Designs’ where things don’t quite go to plan. Everyone, even the construction industry professionals turned home builders, are right to approach their projects with care & diligence. Anyone considering building their own home will benefit from the advice offered by the likes of the self-build portal [6]. A Government endorsed resource providing information on self & custom-build mortgages, the different types of construction methods available and finding land. Including the locations of any custom-built multi-plot schemes near you.

Equally, Ayshford Sansome can guide prospective self-builders on their exciting journey. Our certified Passive House designer, coupled with our 100+ year history of creativity, pragmatism and solutions is the reason our clients come back to us for help with their projects time and again. Our clients also love seeing their project come to life via 3D renders and virtual tours with the use of VR headsets. Your new home doesn’t have to be a cookie-cutter, ‘off-plan’ design. If you are thinking of self or custom-building a new home, consider registering with your local authority, and contact us to discuss how we can help.



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