The National Custom and Self Build Association (NaCSBA) campaigns and lobbies Government to promote the custom and self-build industry. We thought we’d bring you an overview of some of its major areas of focus in 2017, so you can see what progress it’s making.
“NaCSBA continues to promote custom build homes and self-build as a viable alternative to mainstream housing,” said Michael Holmes Chair of the National Custom and Self Build Association.
“And the key driver for 2017 was to make the most of the gains brought about by the Right To Build legislation, which came into force in 2016.”
This legislation meant that every English local authority has to maintain a Right To Build register of people interested in creating their own home, and provide sufficient permissioned plots to meet this demand within three years of them signing up.
31 October 2017 marked the first full calendar year of the registers’ existence, and in November NaCSBA issued a Freedom of Information request that revealed that 33,000 people have now signed up to create their own home.
This gives councils across the country the challenge of permissioning around 15,000 plots by October 2019, and 33,000 by 31 October 2020.
NaCSBA has long worked with local and national government, and in 2017 it’s representatives met with the Number 10 Policy Unit and key ministers, including Secretary of State Sajid Javid, and Housing Minister Alok Sharma.
As part of this work, NaCSBA liaised closely with DCLG to help inform the parameters for the Right To Build, participating in DCLG-led seminars for Local Authorities.
About the White Paper, Holmes said: “There’s far more work to be done, but the overall encouragement for people to build their own homes and the support for the industry that delivers this was welcomed.”
White Paper support that indirectly feeds into custom build homes includes:
As well as further boosting the Home Building Fund, the Autumn Budget confirmed plans to require local authorities to bring forward 20% of the housing supply through small sites, which should feed into custom build.
Part of NaCSBA’s remit is to share its experiences with the elected bodies of Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.
Throughout 2017 it has continued successful talks with Scottish Government officials responsible for planning and housing policy, meeting with Housing Minister Kevin Stewart.
This resulted in increased support for the sector in Scotland, together with the rolling out of the Self Build Loan Fund, previously trialled in the Highlands, and a Self and Custom Build Challenge Fund.
Elsewhere, NaCSBA engaged with Welsh Government about planning and housing to support the National Development Framework for Wales. Northern Ireland remains a focus area for the coming year.
The establishment of the Right To Build Task Force, under its director Mario Wolf, was a major milestone for NaCSBA in 2018, and one which it expects to have considerable impact on growing custom build in the UK.
The Right To Build Task Force is a key strategic support route for local government, as well as engaging with a range of stakeholders looking to bring on custom build homes, with an emphasis on scale and affordability.
The Task Force provides clients with subsidised expert advice, including local authorities, community-led housing and housing associations, and also private sector companies, such as landowners and developers, on a non-subsidised basis.
The Right To Build Task Force also has a duty to share its experiences, creating wider understanding of custom build as a housing choice. To do this, NaCSBA, the RTB Task Force and Wood for Good are delivering a series of Right to Build Expos across the country.
The first two were held in Aylesbury and Wellingborough, areas where the Task Force has contributed to bringing on custom build, with 165 serviced plots at Aylesbury Woodlands, and a range of custom build plots being included at Tresham Garden Village, Northamptonshire.
For local authorities the Right To Build registers provide valuable insight into the short-term demand for custom and self-build. But this needs to be supported by a tool that offers greater long-term scope for assessing demand.
To help deliver this, NaCSBA partnered with Three Dragons planning consultancy to develop a Demand Assessment Tool for evidencing custom and self-build demand.
This will support local plan makers and inform housing strategy and plan making by offering objective, reliable and independent evidence of demand in their region.
The Custom and Self-build Demand Assessment Tool is undergoing testing with a sample group of local authorities, with their feedback being implemented in time for a 2018 release.
The new garden towns and villages offer a huge opportunity for custom build as they represent a chance to innovate and diversify housing supply.
NaCSBA has engaged with both DCLG and the Garden Cities Alliance to see how the sector can be included in the plans, which the Task Force is also working to deliver.
Housing affordability is one of the biggest challenges facing new homes, and NaCSBA’s finance working group has been looking at ways to improve both development and mortgage finance.
Discussions with BuildStore’s Building Society conference, UK Finance, the Bank of England Prudential Regulation Authority Supervisory team and a range of mortgage lenders had a positive impact on the Home Building Fund and helped increase the supply of mortgage products.
NaCSBA also welcomed the announcement that Virgin Money would be the first major lender to offer a tailored custom build mortgage product, more evidence of confidence in the sector.
NaCSBA recognises the potential of custom build homes for delivering diversity and customer choice, but also acknowledges the barriers to its growth.
It knows that more needs to be done to support the sector, helping it to refine its models and communicate the message to both the public and local government and the industry.
To do this, NaCSBA has set up a custom build work group, led by Gus Zogolovich, to work with a range of developers. Custom Build Strategy will be catching up on his progress later in the year.
Last year’s ‘Self Build On A Shoestring Competition’ put forward the challenge to design an affordable home for more older generations. But it needed to be affordable and be capable of being scaled up to create a retirement community through a modular or off-site approach.
Inglis Badrashi Loddo was awarded the £5,000 prize at Grand Designs Live Birmingham for its innovative Apple Yard scheme. This created a 42m² off-site home, with units costing a headline-grabbing £40,000, offering a real vision of affordability.
November’s Right To Build Summit 2017 at the National Self Build & Renovation Centre shared news and insight into the sector.
It gave members and other stakeholders the opportunity to find out more about NaCSBA’s campaigns, as well as gain insight into the sector and the success of the Right To Build from key industry figures.
“NaCSBA has achieved a huge amount in recent years by addressing head on the challenges that face the sector,” said Holmes.
“It has managed to secure an exemption from CIL and s106 contributions, headed off financial regulation that would have starved the sector of stage payment mortgages and ensured self-builders have sufficient time to recover the 3% Stamp Duty Land Tax surcharge on many plot purchases.”
“In addition, it has secured billions of pounds in public sector funding support and overseen the introduction of the Right To Build legislation, which has seen the number of planning permissions for single new dwellings grow by 24% in 2016 and 32% in 2017,” he added.