New Law to Help Self Builders moves forward

A Government bill to help enable more people to build their own homes has passed its final stage in the House of Commons. It has all party support and goes to the House of Lords this week.

The purpose of the Self Build and Custom Housebuilding Bill – the brainchild of South Norfolk MP Richard Bacon – is to make it easier for an individual or a group of individuals to obtain land in order to build a house to live in. It places a duty on local councils to keep a register of people who wish to build their own home and who are actively seeking to acquire serviced plots of land in the local authority’s area. The Bill then requires each local council to take account of its ‘self build register’ when exercising the functions of planning, housing, regeneration and the disposal of land.

In Laying the Foundations: a Housing Strategy for England (2011), the Government set out plans to enable more people to build or commission their own home – there is an aspiration to double the size of the self-build market, creating up to 100,000 additional self-build homes over the next decade. Various measures have been introduced to ease the path for those wanting to build their own home including (repayable) funding; an exemption from the Community Infrastructure Levy; amendments to planning guidance; and improved access to public sector land.

Our thanks to NACSBA , the National Custom & Self Build Association, for this information.

Why Self Builders Need to Put It In Writing

It can be very rewarding to live in a home that you were involved in designing. But before you become a self-builder, it’s good to realise that construction is a complex business.

You not only have to grapple with the planning regulations and the intricacies of design, but there is a lot of work needed to co-ordinate the various suppliers and contractors if the project is not to run into difficulties.

The Self Build Dream can be wonderful but vulnerable to problems

The Self Build Dream can be wonderful – just make sure you avoid legal problems.*

And while a lot of decisions will be made on site to deal with one-off problems as they arise, it is still essential to have the basic arrangements with your architect, suppliers and builders confirmed in writing before you start.

The main reasons for this are:

  • To record the precise scope of work that you are getting for your money, not just a 200m3 building but the design and specifications as well
  • To confirm the price and the payment terms
  • To identify the time frame for the work
  • To provide a framework for dealing with issues that might arise during the life of the contract (changes, unforeseen problems etc.)

You do not need an overly complicated contract – but you do need one that is written by a professional who understands the type of issues that can occur and how they can best be dealt with.

And of all the things that you pay for to achieve your dream home a self-build contract is going to be one of the cheapest and will give you real value for money. High quality

ContractStore sells a range of contract documents for self-builders: click here to find them here.  They are much easier to complete than your new home is going to be!

Best of all, during National Selfbuild Week we are offering a 50% discount on all self-build contracts.

Developed with Self Build Zone, our contract templates are written by expert construction lawyers for the lay person to use – just download and edit in your word processor.

So there is no longer any reason to leave your project – or your finances – vulnerable to legal disputes!

*Photo of Adrian Leaman © Sarah Dixon 2011