Self-Build: good for land owners

We build houses
We provide self-build plots
We provide a beautiful shell for you to fit out to your most amazing dreams.

This page is about self-build.

Your view as a neighbour

Instead of a 200-house estate in your village, how would you feel about four small sites of 20 self-build plots each. Self-builders stay for 20 years in their house, as against an average of five years in an estate house. A self-builder couple choose your community because they want to become part of it for a long time. They choose you because they believe they will fit in. Self builders make an investment of love and time and work, as well as money. So the end product tends to be more attractive and more varied.

Moreover, self-build is not going to go away any time soon. Successive governments will favour it for many years - because it is so obviously part of the solution to the housing crisis. That means a neighbourhood plan which provides self-build is more likely to be supported by your LPA and by central government, both at its creation and ever after.

We have extracted the basic law on self-build which is accumulated over the last seven years. You might like to read it.

Why we are interested in self-build

We are passionate about self-build as a concept for these reasons:

  • We want to help you to experience “ultimate” satisfaction and security. Homo sapiens sapiens may have been around for only 200,000 years, but our ancestors further back have been creating and protecting their breeding places for millions of years. The instinct is hard wired.
  • In the UK, very few of us can aford to live in the sort of house we want, even roughly where we want to be. Here is a league table.

Self-built / Custom-built houses as percentage of all new houses (per DCLG 2014

Austria 82%
Belgium 66%
Italy 66%
Sweden 66%
Germany 62%
Ireland 58%
Canada 52%
USA 44%
Australia 35%
UK 15%

We want to lead a revolution to change this. 

  • We are concerned at the designs of new large estates today. Despite the enormous effort of developers and of local planning authorities (“LPAs”), at the end of the day, most large modern estates are instantly recognisable as collections of what we call “square red boxes”.
  • For good business reasons, we have chosen the niche of working on small sites. Large self-build sites are simply impractical. You cannot have forty plot owners working at the same time off the same short stretch of estate road.
  • Central government is behind us 100%. That is not exactly a reason why we are passionate. But it is a reason why we shall succeed.

What Government is doing to help

They started with the 2014 act at . It has now been as now been given its baby teeth. It has been amended twice already.

Regulations have been made to compel all LPAs to mention their new obligations on their web sites. The Act obliges LPAs to find sites. Because many LPAs took precious little action after the Act was published, the government has now beefed up the pressure on an LPA, not only to be more active in finding plots, but to tell us all what they have done.

However, it is actually unrealistic and difficult for a rural LPA to find sites. Most do not own “spare” brownfield land. It has already been developed. No local councillor is likely to vote for a proposition that her council should start to compulsorily acquire green field sites in her ward - even for self builders.

There is mention of insisting that volume builders allocate parts of their sites to self build. They will be reluctant. They make money because they use detailed systems and repetitive designs. Can you imagine the chaos that would result if a woman arrives at the site entrance of a 200 house scheme in an elderly digger and says she has come to start work on plot 64? The site manager would pull his hair out. It will not happen.

The only solution is for LPAs to accept that their planning teams will have to work even harder to accommodate small sites like those that we shall promote. Everyone wants houses fast. There are no prizes for guessing whose houses will be occupied first - 500 plots on a single estate, or 500 self-build plots on 20 sites. But spare a thought for the poor case officers processing all those additional applications.

Even small sites need services

We are all used to seeing single houses going up in the spaces on our streets. Many are self-built. All the services are right there, in the road. Connection costs are minimal; delays are minimal; disruption is minimal. Now consider a site for 20 plots.

  • Even at that small size, there will be roads or driveways; every service will have to be organised, surface and foul water drainage must be provided.
  • There will be no buyers for the plots unless the planning conditions have been met already or can be met with certainty and ease. No-one wants to worry about the cost and delay of a team of archaeologists digging out a hoard of gold coins or Natural England specifying protection of the annual migration route of the lesser blue-eared snatterjack!
  • A successful small development of self build does require that someone has already set up the service connections to each plot. Roads must be designed and built, drains must be laid. Utility services must be provided. External features must be in place: the entrance, provision for vision splays, sewerage, tree planting, and more.

Tax - in case you wondered


VAT on all of the construction costs only of self-build can be reclaimed by the self-builder. Form VAT431NB comes with extensive explanations and notes. The rules are drawn very tightly, so it is essential that a self-builder is aware of the pitfalls before starting any work.  The basic information is provided at:

Just let me repeat that. HMRC does not have an option. There is no discussion. Just stick to the rules and you will get a nice cheque for the return of the VAT you have paid, when you come to claim. Tip from us: it’s easier to prove that the materials you by are structural if you have an invoice from a builders merchant rather than the local ironmonger.

Capital gains tax

Capital gains tax is not payable on the sale of a property which has been you personal residence. There are exceptions, all clearly identified on the HMR&C website under HS283 Private Residence Relief (2016).

Self-build is not a free pass

We would not always go for self-build. It is simply another gift we could leave at the altar of the planning authority. It is not easy to suss out which lnes on which map we need to on the right side of!.

Here is why it would be a good idea to use our services.

If you would like a useful summary of our services, here it is.