Exercising Your Right to Build


A self build project can be a great way to create your ideal home, and October 30 2020 marks the country’s second Right to Build Day, but what is it and why is it important?

Right to Build Day 2020 is the first anniversary of the day that all English local authorities were required to prove they have granted sufficient planning permission to meet the self build demand in their area. It was launched by the National Custom & Self Build Association (NaCSBA) who described it as the ‘single most important day in the history of those building and commissioning their own home’.

That’s because it put pressure on authorities to not only keep a register of how many people were interested in building their own home, but also to make sure they were providing the equivalent number of permissioned plots within a three year period. If 100 people in any given local area registered their interest, their local council would need to show they have provided 100 serviced plots within three years.

The legislation should make life easier for anyone considering a self build.

Why consider a self build project?

The UK has the lowest known rates of self build in the world. This, coupled with a well publicised housing shortage, means change is needed. Self build projects could be the answer to bridging this gap.

On a more personal note, it has a number of benefits for individuals too. Research shows more than a third of UK adults are considering a self build project at some point in the future, and the biggest incentive for these people (51%) is being able to control the layout of their home.

Newly build house with solar panels attached on the roof

The second biggest motivation was the ability to make environmentally friendly decisions about the materials used, as well as the building process itself.

Financial reasons were also behind some people’s decision to consider self build projects. Remember, not all self builds have to be of the size or scale seen on TV programmes like Grand Designs. You don’t necessarily need a never-ending budget and a wealth of design experience, but a clear vision, a passion for your project and a little bit of patience will certainly put you in good stead.

What to be aware of in your self build

If you’re thinking about embarking on a self build project it’s important to be realistic about timeframes. That’s not to say your build will drag on, but there are different elements to consider, such as finding a suitable plot, gaining planning permission and seeking the right contractors to carry out the work; all things you wouldn’t need to factor into a ‘normal’ house purchase.

Construction plans

It’s also important to be aware that if you require a means of finance you’ll need a self build mortgage rather than a standard residential one. These can be a little more expensive, so it’s important to factor this into your budget, and it may be worth speaking to an intermediary who can advise you on the best approach for your individual project. In addition, finding a lender that applies a manual underwriting approach could save the headache of automated lending decisions and help get the loan you need.

A self build project can be really rewarding, and the introduction of Right to Build was a significant step in this overlooked sector. Hopefully this will help self builds continue to become a more recognised and viable choice for many people.

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