Self-build ‘changing UK’s housing sector’

The housing industry is beginning to become more accommodating to self-builders.

In an article for Mortgage Finance Gazette, Raymond Connor, BuildStore Financial Services chief executive, claimed this change in the sector occurred following the launch of the coalition’s National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).

Before this legislation was enacted, self-builders typically received little support from local authorities, while volume housebuilders generally ignored these individuals and planning regulations stifled their ambitions.

When the NPPF was enacted, councils and planners were obliged to create local self-build opportunities as part of a wider requirement for them to create sustainable communities, improve options for home ownership and create a wider variety of high-quality residences, he explained.

Ted Stevens, National Self Build Association chair, told the news source that his organisation has already received proposals from around 20 housing associations and 40 local authorities regarding the facilitation of custom build developments and individual self-build projects.

Collectively, these represent approximately 40,000 new houses being planned, he asserted.

Although there will be a wide range of approaches to the issue, whether these relate to working in partnerships with Community Land Trusts, developers or housing associations, or deal with land provisions or quotas, the NPPF is still promoting the growth of self-build, the expert claimed.

It is “forcing housing providers to realise and explore the benefits of building homes in this way, where before the sector received little credit”, Mr Stevens said.

Mr Connor stated that if local authorities begin to “act proactively” to meet the demands of the self-build sector, there could be a “step-change” in the way the UK constructs and provides housing.

Mortgage lenders could benefit from providing funds to the burgeoning sector, he argued.

Recently, Mr Connor recommended that self-builders research the industry carefully before they begin work.

He advised people to study all of the planning permit’s paperwork and to ensure any proposals meet any conditions specific to the site.

“Befriend the local planning department before you submit your application,” the expert advised.

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