National self-build week launches

Robyn Hall

March 13, 2013

The news of the initiative coincides with the results of an exclusive Ipsos MORI poll, which shows that around six million people in Briton are currently planning or researching how to build a home for themselves and want to start their new home in the next year or so.

The survey also suggests that one million people have already moved from the ‘researching’ to the ‘action’ stage, and are currently in the process of acquiring a building plot, obtaining planning permission or expect to start construction in the next 12 months.

Despite all this interest, in 2012 only around 12,000 Britons managed to build a home this way. And the UK’s self build output is a fraction of that delivered by most European countries.

This mismatch between ‘desire’ to build a home and the actual output clearly highlights the need for NSBW.

One of the key aims of the initiative is to help more people understand the many ways it is now possible to get a home built. For example the Week will help explain what a Custom Build Home is; it will showcase some of the more innovative ways local authorities, specialist developers/enablers and others have been pioneering the delivery of self build homes; and it will provide lots of practical advice for would-be self builders.

NSBW is being organised by the National Self Build Association and Grand Designs Live, and is supported by the Department for Communities and Local Government. It will take place from 4-12 May and coincides with the huge Grand Designs Live exhibition that takes place at Excel in London.

During Grand Designs Live there will be a series of major announcements and debates on the future of self build in the UK – plus guest speakers including Housing Minister Mark Prisk MP, George Clarke, Kevin McCloud, Tom Dyckoff, Charlie Luxton and many more. Full details of NSBW activity at Grand Designs Live will be available nearer the time.

Businesses from across the sector will be involved in supporting the Week, and individual self builders or groups are expected to arrange a programme of local events nationwide. More information will be available via the Grand Designs Live and NaSBA websites: granddesignslive.com/nationalselfbuildweek and nasba.org.uk/nsbw. This will include suggestions for events for those active in the sector to organize, and guidance on how to get publicity.

Grand Designs presenter and live show host Kevin McCloud said: “The great news is that six million people are looking into the feasibility of undertaking a self build project. But we also know that nowhere near this number currently manage to build a home for themselves every year – in 2012 only around 12,000 people managed to do it. So one of the key aims of the Week is to help would-be self builders climb the learning curve so they really can turn their projects from a dream to a reality. The options out there, from full-on self-build to custom-build and even self-finish homes make it possible for nigh-on everybody.

“The Ipsos MORI survey shows that there is a huge appetite to build a home in the UK and we are really determined to help more of them achieve it. When you build a house for yourself you get the home you really want, designed to precisely fit your needs. It’s often more affordable too. If we were able to build more homes this way we’d also help the wider economy – every new self build home safeguards seven jobs in the construction industry for a year, and it injects tens of thousands of pounds into the local economy. And self builders usually make their homes much greener than others”

Housing Minister Mark Prisk MP said: “I wholeheartedly support this initiative. This Government is determined to help make building your own home easier for everyone and the National Self Build Week is a further step towards achieving this ambition. NaSBA’s survey gives us reason for optimism that this is already starting to happen, but we must maintain the momentum which is building around this sector and continue to maximise our efforts to help all those people who want to build their own home.”

George Clarke, the presenter of the Restoration Man programme is also a keen supporter of the week. He said: “There are huge numbers of people in Britain keen to build a home for themselves, so this Week should help to shine the spotlight on the challenge. Its key aim is to explain the many new ways it’s now possible to get self or custom build projects off the ground. I am really excited by some of the main events that are being planned for the Week itself, and I’m sure it will help many more families get the homes they really want.”

Ted Stevens, Chair of NaSBA said: “All around the UK there are examples of really innovative self build projects happening – from cohousing schemes, to developer-led self build projects; from ultra-low cost eco homes to design-led initiatives to regenerate run down areas. At present less than 10 per cent of all the new homes in the UK are self builds; in most other European countries the proportion is around 50 per cent. We want to see the proportion grow, and we are sure the Week will help thousands, if not millions of people to get their projects underway.”

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