22 Jun 2018

Four new Right to Build Expos announced at Custom and Self Build Expo, Glasgow

Four new Right to Build Expos announced at Custom and Self Build Expo, Glasgow

The Right to Build Expo travelled to Scotland recently to present the Custom and Self Build Expo, Glasgow, sharing a local picture of the sector and encouraging the scaling up of owner-commissioned and community-led housing.

On the day, the Right to Build Task Force announced a series of dates for upcoming expos across England, delivering on its commitment to share its learnings and showcase its work.

The upcoming Expos are:

Fareham, Hampshire: 6 Sept 2018
Cambridgeshire: 4 Oct 2018
Warrington, Cheshire: 1 Nov 2018
Leeds, Yorkshire, 29 Nov 2018

Glasgow was a natural choice for the first Scottish Expo, as Glasgow City Council is a champion for Self-, Custom-Build and community-led housing, is referenced in its Housing Strategy. In addition, it’s also the only Scottish authority with an appointed Self Build Officer, Angela Doran, who is also NaCSBA’s representative for Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. Doran has been instrumental in supporting Glasgow’s Custom Build pilot site at Maryhill, as well as contributing to policy both locally and nationally.

Custom and Self Build Expo, Glasgow: Unlocking the Potential of Self and Custom Build unpacked some of the formative projects and thinking around the sector, to over 50 delegates looking to progress their house-building ambitions and create homes across Scotland.

“Glasgow is dedicated to promoting people-led housing, particularly Custom Build, Self Build and cohousing,” said Cllr. John Letford, City Convener for Democratic Renewal and Council Business Manager, Glasgow City Council. “We’re keen to promote housing choice and flexibility to build resilient communities that both retain existing and attract new families to the city.”

With planning in Scotland devolved, it doesn’t have an equivalent to the English Right to Build Legislation, but it does have a stronger tradition of Self Building that creates a national context. The Expo set out routes to capitalising on this, sharing examples of innovative and diverse routes to housing.

NaCSBA Chair Michael Holmes reported that, based on the VAT refund returns for DIY home builders, there were 1,300 Self-/Custom Build homes delivered in Scotland in 2016, the last year the data is available for.

“This equates to 8% of all new dwellings in Scotland, or 1 in 10 of all private new build houses, so it’s already a significant part of housing delivery in Scotland,” he said, “although notably lower than the numbers in many European countries.”

“Based on this, NaCSBA is anticipating the figures for 2017 to be around the 1,400 homes mark, and we’re keen for this number to continue growing in Scotland.”

Across the UK, NaCSBA sees Custom and Self Build as a key ingredient to creating additional homes in the wider market, creating better quality and better built homes, that reflect their owners’ needs.

This was a view that was embraced by the attendees, who were keen to learn from some of the leading Scottish examples delivered on the day by presenters.

These included:

Maryhill – the six-home serviced-plot pilot in Glasgow’s Maryhill area.

Balmaha – a 22-home site in the Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority, with 20 homes for the local community supplemented by two self build opportunities.

Bath Street Collective Custom Build – Architect John Kinsley‘s innovative Edinburgh group project.

An insight into the work of the Highlands Small Communities Housing Trust, and its Highland Self Build Loan Fund.

The day also took a detailed look into alternative housing choices, such as the growing co-housing movement and the emergence of student housing co-ops. In addition, Tom McSherry, National Relationship Manager, BuildStore, which sponsored the event, gave an update of the mortgage finance picture for the sector.

The Right to Build Expos are presented by the National Custom & Self-Build Association (NaCSBA), the Right to Build Task Force and Wood for Good, in partnership.

You can find out more about the Glasgow Expo on the Right to Build Toolkit, here.

Keep an eye on the Toolkit’s Expo page for information about upcoming events.


Click here for an overview of Custom Build in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

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