Self Build News

Halifax to offer self-build on advised-only basis

Halifax will offer self-build mortgages on an advised-only basis from today.

The lender had previously offered the products on a direct basis but, from today, it will only offer these products on an advised basis, citing the complexity of these types of mortgages as its reason.

Self build mortgages are designed for borrowers who intend to build a property on land they own or those intending to buy a property in the course of construction, but are unable to finance the whole construction from their own resources.

A spokeswoman for Halifax says: “The requirements for Self Build lending can be complex; therefore we have decided to streamline and focus our approach in this sector. This will not impact on the amount of self build lending we do across the Group, but managing it through one brand will allow us to offer a more focused proposition.

“BM Solutions has a specialist self-build team with the extensive knowledge and expertise to guide customers and brokers through the process.”

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Want to save money on heating? Create an eco-friendly property

A couple in Nottingham explain how a few modifications to their home have cut their annual heating bills to less than £200.

When Penney Poyzer and her husband, Gil Schalom, bought their elegant three-storey red-brick semi in Nottingham, the house was exactly 100 years old. Built in the days of cheap coal and woolly long-johns it was, says Penney, “a nightmare to keep warm”. Heating costs were £2,500 a year, long before the energy price hikes of the past few years.

“We could see already back then that heating the house would become unsustainable in the near future, so since we had made £50,000 on moving out of our previous places and buying the house, we thought 'let’s waste thousands of pounds on a mad experiment on seeing if we can reduce our fuel bills’,” says Penney.

Fifteen years on, the experiment has paid off. Although from the front the house looks almost as it did in 1998, improvements have reduced those annual heating bills to less than £200, even though in the intervening time Penney’s ailing 73-year-old mother has moved in, so the house needs to be warm virtually all day long.

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Click here for The Self Build Directory's Insulation listings.

Why the UK struggles to follow Germany's lead on Passivhaus

Cultural differences with Germany lie behind slower rate of UK take-up of popular green construction standard, reports Andy Pearson

Passivhaus may be gaining in popularity, but the UK could struggle to follow Germany’s lead and build large numbers of homes to the construction standard because of its different social, political and financial drivers, says a report published by NHBC Foundation. Currently there are only 165 Passivhaus buildings in the UK, compared to 20,000 in Germany.

Passivhaus buildings are characterised by high levels of fabric insulation and extremely airtight construction to minimise their need for space heating. Homes built to the standard have a heating load approximately half that of homes built to UK building regulations and two-thirds of German regulations.

The report Lessons from Germany’s Passivhaus experience outlines the national differences that hinder the uptake of Passivhaus solutions: 

  • Social: According to the report, most UK homes are built speculatively, whereas in Germany an increasing number of homes are self-built, using competitively-priced pre-fabricated low-energy kits. The report also highlights German enthusiasm for high product specification and attention to detail.
  • Political: The German population has a stronger interest in the environment than UK residents and people are more inclined to take action. In addition, alongside national energy performance regulations many German cities promote construction to Passivhaus standards through enhanced energy and environmental standards, and offenders failing to comply are fined. Some municipalities, such as the city of Frankfurt, also require all buildings built on land sold by the city to be Passivhaus compliant.
  • Financial: The additional cost of building a Passivhaus home in Germany compared to one built to building regulations standards is minimal, at 3 percent to 8 percent. Assistance is also available to finance this additional cost through government loans at discounted interest rates and grants. According to the report, the newness of Passivhaus in the UK and the tendency for it to be used on one-off projects means that robust cost data are generally unavailable. The report also highlights the lack of financial assistance in the UK for the construction of energy efficient new-build homes.

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Click here to visit The Self Build Directory's Passive House suppliers.

Four building plots with full planning in Hull

Four building plots with full planning for four semi detached two bedroom bungalows in Hull development name Mallard Mews off Mallard Road Hu94ah 

Also detached house for sale with land for a second house to form two semis on Holderness Road Hull.

Contact tel 07836360355

Teignbridge provides boost to self-build vision

An innovative new scheme to help local residents build their own affordable homes is being supported by Teignbridge District Council.

The Council is backing proposals by the Land Society to build a demonstration home which will showcase eco-build homes and training packages as part of an initiative to help local families and communities get on the housing ladder.

Teignbridge is putting a £20,000 loan towards the costs of creating the demo home which will be built at South Devon College. The eco-house will act as a beacon for self-build, helping people learn more about how they can be in charge of their own developments.

It comes at a time when Teignbridge has published the latest version of its own long-term Local Plan which includes policies which will help make it even easier for people to look into self-build home projects.

The Council is committed to supporting access to both affordable and market housing for local people, including supporting people wishing to build their own homes.

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Self-builders keen to spread the word

Which of us hasn't fantasised about a new house, exactly as we want it?

You know the sort of thing: swimming pool in the garden, 'his and hers bathrooms', or even a home cinema.

Well, such dreams may not be as far-fetched as you think, because around 15,000 people a year are now building their own homes.

Most buy a plot of land, then hire architects and builders to do all the physical work for them.

By avoiding the large profit margins of developers, they can save tens of thousands of pounds.

And it does not need to be a grand design. Most self-built houses are perfectly ordinary homes, which would not be out of place on a modern housing estate.

'Blank canvas'

"Ever since I was given a Meccano set, I could never stop building things," says Terry Moore, as he watches his five bedroom house take shape on a quiet suburban street in Surrey.

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DIY homes should be made easier, says housing minister

Homeowners should not consider it a "pie in the sky dream" to build their own property, according to the new housing minister.

Mark Prisk told mortgage lenders that self-built homes should be considered as one way to boost the UK housing market.

He said that only about 10% of new UK homes were self-built, compared with 60% in France and Germany.

But homebuilders and lenders said this would only ever be a niche market.

Building fund

Self-build has become more prominent through television shows such as Grand Designs and generally they involve an owner buying a plot of land and then hiring an architect to design a property.

Mr Prisk reaffirmed the government's push for self-built homes at a conference in London organised by the Council of Mortgage Lenders.

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Warminster pilots self-build initiative

A self-build 20-homes development planned for Boreham Road in Warminster, will be one of the first of its type nationally.

The site, near the Bishopstrow roundabout, has been bought by a developer, which will put the infrastructure in place, allowing people to build their own homes.

The developer has proposed to put £350,000 from sales of the plots towards new affordable housing in the town.

Town councillors recently put the scheme forward for a Neighbourhood Development Order, which will mean local people are involved in consultation on the housing design and other matters.

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Lewisham Council self build home proposal

Ladywell's Church Grove in Lewisham Council self build home proposal

People could soon build their own houses at Church Grove, Ladywell, on an old school site recently rejected as a home for gypsies.

Lewisham Council has chosen the former Watergate School as a potential site for so-called self build or custom build housing.

Following a decision by Mayor of Lewisham Sir Steve Bullock, council officers will now investigate the potential of the proposal, which would be delivered by Lewisham Homes.

Lewisham already has a number of self build developments, including Segal Close in Honor Oak, which dates back to the 1970s, and nearby Walter's Way, constructed in the 1980s.

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Self-build homes project will be marketed until the spring

Self-build homes project will be marketed until the spring.

Councillors have decided to push ahead with a pioneering project which will allow people to design and build their own homes.

Cambridge City Council wants to use some of its land at Orchard Park, north of the city, for the “co-housing” scheme.

The strategy and resources committee was told that seven households had expressed strong interest in the scheme to date, and that a further 13 were interested but have unresolved questions.

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Plan to build UK's first building entirely out of waste

Flemmich Webb,

Grand Designs' model ecohouse to be rebuilt in Brighton city centre using local construction and industrial waste.

The UK's first building to be made onsite entirely out of waste is to be built in Brighton this autumn.

Designed by Brighton-based architect Duncan Baker-Brown, it will be built on the University of Brighton's campus in the city centre from waste and surplus material from local building sites and other local industries.

The walls will be made of waste timber products. Ply "cassettes" containing waste material will be slotted in between the timber structure. These cassettes will be removable so that new building technologies can be added easily.

Full story here:

Housing market to get boost from funding for lending scheme - RICS

Full story: 

The housing market is expected to see a stronger end to the year due to the prospect of greater mortgage availability on the back of the Government's funding for lending scheme, according to Britain's chartered surveyors.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors' latest house price survey on Tuesday said expectations among surveyors for future housing sales reached their highest level in September for more than two years.

Do it yourself: could self-build affordable housing solve the crisis?

Jeremy Christophers Guardian Professional

Teignbridge council will help residents to build their own homes using a Land Society blueprint for a three-bedroom property

As a nation, we have shown innovation in the face of adversity in almost every aspect of life and it's now time to do that with our homes.

"An Englishman's home is his castle" is now an outdated misnomer. Large-scale house builders rule the development game. Who can blame them when they have exploited the rules to become kings while the little people remain pawns?

A survey of opinions revealed that there are 2 million families in the UK who would like to have a new custom built, or self-build, home during the coming year. The reality is that less than 15,000 will succeed. Why?

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Planning rules on extensions to be relaxed 'to boost economy'

The government wants to get planning officers "off people's backs" with a relaxation of current rules in England.

The government will consult on allowing people, for a three-year period, to build larger extensions on houses - up to 8m long for detached homes.

Rules on shops and offices expanding and on developments having to include affordable housing will be relaxed as ministers seek to boost the economy.

The proposals, it says, are "not up to the scale of the challenge" and do not address the real problem of a "lack of confidence and demand in the economy".

Read the full story here: 

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Boost to the Self-Build Sector

Boost to the Self-Build Sector

In July of this year Housing Minister Grant Shapps has announced that self-building groups outside of the London area will have access to £30 million of investment funding and Government–owned land in an effort to double the size of the self-build sector.  This fund will offer short term loans to community groups, builders and small organisations looking to start self-build projects.

Across the country seven sites have been set aside specifically for groups of people looking to work together to build their own homes. This is great news for those who are keen to band together to build a number of houses on one site, however the funding is going to be available for three years (2012-2015) and there are no guarantees as yet in place as to what will happen after that time. However, for those in Bristol, Hemel Hempstead, Bolsover, Surrey, Stoke-on- Trent and Milton Keynes the news will be very welcome. Other local authorities are now identifying sites which ought to increase self-build opportunities nationwide.  

Having taken inspiration from the Almere project in the Netherlands, Cherwell District Council in Oxfordshire has been singled out for praise by Mr Shapps as they are endeavouring to give as many local self-builders as possible the opportunity to build their own homes.

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