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  • Unlocking the potential of custom build

Unlocking the potential of custom build

What’s not to like about custom build homes? They are expected to be high quality, well-designed, and affordable. A new legal framework come into force in 2016 sets the course for this rapidly evolving market.

According to the latest statistics, more than 50% of people in the UK would consider building their own home. The Government now wants it to be a mainstream option and has set the course in its Housing White Paper earlier this year.

Today, 1 in 10 new builds - around 12,000 homes per year - are custom build and this number is set to double by 2020. For architects, SME developers and builders it is an attractive market with an estimated value of £3.6 billion a year.

Since April 2016, all Local Authorities in England have a legal duty to prepare and publicise ‘Right to Build’ demand registers for people in their areas who want to commission their own home. They must also grant planning permission for sufficient 'shovel ready' plots to meet the demand on their registers within three years. More than 18,000 people have since signed up to local authority demand registers and there are more to come.

Benefits for the builder

Funding of £3 billion has been made available to SMEs, custom house builders, large housebuilders and developers via the Home Building Fund. The fund provides short and long-term loans for development and infrastructure. Custom build reduces risk for builders as the house is effectively sold before build.

Building with wood can help speed the construction process: Timber frame can be delivered to site and constructed within days. Cross laminated timber lends itself to larger scale custom build projects where offsite construction is growing in popularity.

For the wider market, partnerships between local authorities and contractors or off-site construction suppliers make custom build more affordable and accessible.

Benefits for the buyer

Custom build properties provide a half-way house between self-build and buying off plan. They offer more flexibility over layout and fittings than with a regular new home, but without the greater risks and responsibilities of traditional self-build. Homeowners can make significant savings by opting for custom build, often achieving a 10% saving on market value.

Under the custom build model, all of the tough planning work is already done for the buyers, so it’s quite easy for a buyer to quickly assess what they can and can’t do with the plot. Usually, buyers will have the option to change the footprint of the new home.

Support for local authorities

To help Local Authorities, community groups and other organisations across the UK deliver large, affordable custom and self build projects, the Right to Build Task Force was established in early 2017. The first two projects to receive support are Buckinghamshire Advantage and East Northamptonshire Council.

A build model for Garden Cities?

“A garden city is a holistically planned new settlement which enhances the natural environment and offers high-quality affordable housing and locally accessible work in beautiful, healthy and sociable communities” Town and Country Planning Association

Garden cities help to meet local housing needs and make effective use of brownfield or public sector land. They provide an ideal location for custom build sites delivering sustainable homes.

The government has announced 14 new garden villages to be built over the next 10 years with the potential to deliver more than 48,000 homes across England. In addition, 10 new garden towns will be delivered with government backing. Together, these garden settlements are predicted to deliver almost 200,000 new homes. From Essex to Cumbria, Cornwall to Northumberland, these projects will shape new communities and help to boost local economies.

Bicester Garden Town

In December 2014, Bicester in Oxfordshire was declared a garden town. The UK’s largest custom build scheme, Graven Hill, is based here. With space for 2,000 homes the scheme includes shell builds and the ‘golden brick package’ which give the homeowner greater control of the interior of the house. Meanwhile, a tailored finish gives the homeowner less control over the interior. Apartments and shared ownership units will also be available.

A design code has been set up to have some control over what’s being built. Over the next 15 years, this will be regularly updated and refined.

How to get started: Right to Build events

Participate in one of our upcoming Right to Build expo events in your region. This series is organised by the Right to Build task force in collaboration with NaCSBA and Wood for Good.

The first event takes place in Aylesbury on 18 September 2017. If you are looking to engage with potential custom build clients or suppliers in Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Hertfordshire or Oxfordshire, this is the event for you. Click here for information and tickets.

Sign up for our newsletter and get updates on Right to Build expo events in your area.

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