The government’s Custom and Self Build Action Plan provides an opportunity for small and medium-sized (SME) house builders and developers to grow their businesses, says the National Custom and Self Build Association (NaCSBA).

Focusing on the Custom and Self Build Action Plan, NaCSBA are reaching out to SME builders and developers to help promote the opportunities.

What is the Custom and Self Build Action Plan?

The Action Plan is the strongest evidence to date of government’s commitment to scale up custom and self build, to complement more mainstream housing delivery.

The Custom and Self Build Action Plan is comprehensive and aims to alleviate some of the traditional barriers to accessing land, finance and planning that still affect activity. It includes:

  • The Bacon Review of the sector, which the FMB is participating in
  • A review of the Right to Build legislation to make it more robust
  • A Help to Build equity loan scheme for consumers
  • The local authority Custom and Self Build Fund – part of the Brownfield Land Release Fund
  • Further funding for the Right to Build Task Force to enable it to continue its work with local authorities.

These measures build on other recent announcements, including a commitment to publish annual self-build and custom house building data around local authority registers and the first ever update to Government’s guidance on the Right to Build legislation.

Key to scaling up this sector is supporting more SME and micro house builders to expand into the market.

What’s in it for SME house builders?

The FMB’s 2020 House Builders’ Survey found that over half of its house builder members had constructed a home to the plan and specification of a new homeowner in the previous year. This means that many of these members are already serving the custom and self-build sector, even if they might not consider themselves as operating in the field.

SMEs are core to the Government’s ambition to build 300,000 new homes a year, and to do this these firms need access to land, and also to the customers wanting to commission these homes.

The Right to Build Task Force, a NaCSBA initiative, is seeing more and more policy emerging that supports custom and self build (CSB), and this should result in more small sites being made available for SMEs. SME’s need to be ready to help deliver these homes – and part of this is understanding the range of models on offer and some of the practices that make CSB different from a standard spec build approach, such as the use of plot passports.

It is also important that SMEs don’t just see self build as detached homes on roomy plots or knock-down-and-replace opportunities. To actually achieve scale the sector is reliant on multi-plots sites, where people can commission or customise new homes. We’re seeing more and more applications of this type of development, including terraced houses and town houses that make the most of limited land, often centred around shared features, such as edge-of-site parking or a central garden.

The Action Plan genuinely makes the sector more appealing than it has ever been before, offering certainty that more self build will come forwards. For many SMEs this doesn’t mean changing their model 100% but rather growing their offering by embracing custom and self build in addition to their traditional route.

What’s next?

NaCSBA and the FMB continue to apply pressure to ensure more small sites are brought forward, but SMEs also need to be vocal with their local authorities that they are keen to build these homes.

To find out more about the range of routes to custom and self build, we encourage SMEs to visit the Right to Build Task Force’s website for guidance and advice about models, and keep tabs on NaCSBA’s website for news of sites emerging near you.

Catch-up on a recent presentation from NaCSBA for more information about the opportunities for SME house builders in self and custom build.

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National Custom and Self Build Association (NaCSBA)

National Custom and Self Build Association (NaCSBA)

Our mission is to make custom and self build a mainstream choice for all those seeking a home of their own.