What is self-build and custom housebuilding?

Self-build or custom housebuilding is intended to help diversify the housing market and increase consumer choice. 

Self-build generally means you will be actively involved into the design and layout of your new home. This may mean any or a combination of the following:

  • You buy a plot of land and design your home from scratch yourself or with the help of an architect or planning consultant and then obtain planning permission for your design.
  • You find a plot with outline planning permission and submit reserved matters application with the detailed design and layout.  
  • You may do some or all of the building work yourself, or project manage different parts of the build or employ someone carry out the complete project for you.
  • You use a specialist self build self build company.

Custom build is where you customise the layout and possibly some aspects of the design to create the home you would like. This may be through a specialist company making your home to order. Alternatively, you might find a plot with outline planning permission and submit reserved matters or applying to change certain aspects of the planning permission.  Alternatively, some specialist house builders may offer service where you can tailor the home that is built on the site to your requirements.

You can self or custom build as an individual or as part of a group set up specifically to build your own homes.

Both self and custom build can be delivered through new build or through the conversion of existing buildings.

Why build when I can buy?

People choose to self or custom build their own home for many reasons. It can:

  • Be a more cost effective way of securing a home
  • Create a highly sustainable and energy efficient home
  • Meet particular space / layout requirements
  • Secure a home to meet requirements in your preferred location

The government is keen that more housing should be self-build or custom housebuilding. The Prime Minister has commissioned Richard Bacon MP to lead a review on how to scale up the delivery of self and custom build homes. The review will report its findings and recommendations in the summer 2021. 

Use the resources listed on this page to find out more about what is involved in self or custom building your own home.

If you are seriously interested in self-build or custom housebuilding your own home, visit our Self-build and custom housebuilding register to check your eligibility and register.

Planning policy team contact details

Telephone: 01432 383357

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