Advice Notes

This collection of notes provides clear practical advice and information on a range of issues including assessing demand for custom and self-build, affordable housing, sources of funding for development, custom and self-build development models and more. By registering on this site you will receive notification when new advice notes or updates are published.

These topics will give the user a good background and understanding of what custom and self-build really means, its benefits, the Right to Build obligations and how to identify opportunities for local delivery.

Custom and self-build homes (CSB) encompass a variety of house types and ways of building. This covers a range of projects from flats to detached houses, and homes can be built as a DIY, commissioned from local architects and builders, or customised off-plan from a custom-build enabler.

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Councils have a statutory duty to help custom and self-builders access plots, as set out in the Self-build and Custom Housebuilding Regulations 2016 the Self-build and Custom Housebuilding Act 2015 (as amended).

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Custom and self-build (CSB) housing is well placed to provide more affordable market housing opportunities as well as affordable, or social, housing for those who cannot access market housing.

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The custom and self-build (CSB) market offers significant local economic benefits. It creates additional opportunities for new investors and supports builders, suppliers and tradespeople in the local construction industry. In addition, a significantly higher proportion of CSB spend on materials and labour is distributed locally, in comparison to the national housebuilder model. This form of housing is also more resilient through economic cycles and helps diversify the local housing market.

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As an additional supply of housing, custom and self-build (CSB) contributes to overall housing delivery, but it also delivers compound benefits for individuals, communities, councils and landowners. It meets a specific housing need, and it generally delivers more sustainable housing. Being locally commissioned and built, these homes help support small- and medium-sized builders (SMEs), and with many proposals coming from within the community there are often fewer objections. Major sites with an element of self-build can see accelerated build out and improved site marketability.

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Black and minority ethnic households in the UK are disproportionately negatively impacted by the limited choice of housing design in the new-build market. Increasing the availability of custom and self-build (CSB) would provide the opportunity for people to design homes to meet cultural needs and lifestyle choices which are underserved by the narrow options on offer from the majority of speculative housebuilders.

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This advice note outlines the finance options available to individual custom and self-builders to fund their project. This high-level note is focussed specifically on the market in England. This an area where regional differences apply.

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This advice note outlines the main sources of Government funding currently available for custom and self-build (CSB) projects.

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Issues around taxation and custom and self-build (CSB) housing, particularly regarding Value Added Tax and Stamp Duty Land Tax, need to be considered in detail from the outset of a project.

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Custom and self-build (CSB) housing can be brought forward by a wide variety of organisations or individuals to meet a range of needs and desires using an array of approaches.

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In order to create a successful framework for delivery, local planning authorities will need to bring parties together and look to streamline the process of getting homes built more quickly, using guidance, a package of planning policies and affordable housing initiatives.

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In order to positively enable schemes to come forward, councils will need to be directly involved in projects and initiatives to bring custom and self-build (CSB) homes forward by intervening in the market to make more land available, bringing forward pilot schemes, making funding available and building capacity and knowledge within planning teams and amongst elected members.

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Understanding the demand for custom and self-build (CSB) is important for both plan-making and decision-taking. CSB demand data should be collected and monitored alongside broader housing market data when setting out local plan policies. The primary source of identifying local demand is the council’s self-build Register. However, in most cases the Register reflects only a small percentage of true demand.

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