25 Sep 2017

Custom build celebrated at Build It Awards 2017

Custom build celebrated at Build It Awards 2017

The 2017 Build It Awards were held recently celebrating exemplary custom build projects and councils, as part of a host of awards for the more conventional self-build industry.

Hosted by Marcus Brigstocke at Hilton Bankside, London, three of the awards are dedicated to the custom homes sector: Best Custom Build Project or Model, Best Collective or Group Self Build; and Best Council for Self / Custom Builders. The awards are a way of acknowledging the successes of these entrepreneurial organisations, providing examples of best practice for the whole industry.

Best Custom Build Project or Model

Graven Hill Village Development Company (GHVDC) won the coveted Best Custom Build Project or Model, sponsored by Custom Build Strategy. The judges commented that, “GHVDC was setting the mould for repeatable, large-scale custom build across the UK.

Best Project Graven Hill Build It Award 2017

The Build It Award 2017 for Best Custom Project went to Graven Hill

“With impressive early-phase plot sales and the first self-builders due to move in within the next few weeks, Graven Hill has become the blueprint for many councils and project enablers to follow,” they commented.

Other companies shortlisted included: Potton – Custom Build by Potton, TOWN Custom Build and ZeroC Holdings.

Best Collective or Group Self Build

The Best Collective or Group Self Build, which was sponsored by Self Build Zone, was awarded to Older Women’s Cohousing (OWCH) and their New Ground Cohousing development, designed by Pollard Thomas Edwards. The other shortlisted projects included Rural Urban Synthesis Society (RUSS) for Church Grove and Cambridge Cohousing with Town for Marmalade Lane (previously K1).

Best Collective Build It Award 2017

Best Collective Build It Award 2017 being collected by Mario Wolf for OWCH

Cohousing offers innovative models for community-led design, which provides an example of community engagement that many a larger scheme could do well to emulate.

With OWCH completed and the residents moved in, the judges felt that, “it was impossible to ignore the drive and energy the participants put into building a tailor-made community. This is sure to become a template for delivering housing that truly serves the needs of its occupants.

For the second year running Paul Kempton, Managing Director of Self-Build Zone presented the Build It Award for the Best Collective or Group Self Build project.

“To me, OWCH have demonstrated that larger scale projects are both feasible and  worthwhile –  whilst proving  Community-led design can really work. This is precisely why Self-Build Zone and Build-Zone are so keen to lend their expertise to Custom Build and Self-Build projects, no matter what size,” he said.

Best Council for Self/Custom Builders

Councils are going to be instrumental in the delivery of the Right To Build in the future, so it’s very fitting that the Build It Awards celebrate them with the Best Council for Self / Custom Builders Award. This year Cornwall Council, Glasgow City Council and Plymouth City Council were all shortlisted thanks to their pioneering approach, with Plymouth CC winning the accolade (main picture).

“With a programme driven by a dedicated Self-Build Champion, the winning council has been promoting custom build to fellow councils up and down the country, showing energy and passion at the same time as successfully delivering projects in its own jurisdiction,” was the judges’ verdict.

Editor’s comment

The Build It Awards offer a chance to celebrate the best of what’s out there, giving proud companies a chance to showcase and share their achievements. This is crucial in nascent industry – disrupting the status quo can be a thankless task. So Custom Build Strategy extends a huge congratulations to all the winners and shortlisted companies. They are true pioneers crafting a new way of doing things.


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