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SMEs Given Thumbs-Up to Kickstart Home Building
- May 5, 2021

Small builders are set to benefit from a £150M ‘help to build’ fund to make it easier for people to commission a bespoke home.

The UK Government initiative is aimed at creating a level playing field between first-time buyers of newly built homes and those who want to build their own home.

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said: “Building your own home shouldn’t be the preserve of a small number of people, but a mainstream, realistic and affordable option for people across the country. That’s why we are making it easier and more affordable – backed by over £150M new funding from the Government.”

This funding is part of an action plan to boost custom and self-build housing, including right-to-build legislation and allocating more funding for the right-to-build taskforce. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has appointed Conservative MP Richard Bacon to lead a review into scaling up the sector.

The PM said: “Self-build and custom housebuilding can play a crucial role in increasing choice for consumers and ensuring people can live in the homes that they want, and that are designed to meet their needs. We know that self and custom builders deliver high-quality, well-designed homes that are energy-efficient, accessible, affordable and welcomed by their communities.”

The Federation of Master Builders (FMB) said the new fund was a positive step, but stressed that the Government must address the lack of sites for development.

FMB Chief Executive Brian Berry commented: “With almost one in two SMEs saying their output is hampered by a ‘lack of available and viable land’, local authorities must allocate more small sites in their local plans for incremental development.”

He added that more funding for time-poor local authority planning departments to help them make quicker planning decisions was also important.

National Custom and Self Build Association (NaCSBA) Chief Executive Andrew Baddeley-Chappell agreed that more parcels of land would be crucial for supporting the sector.

“These could be single plots, small developments and/or larger sites that have been subdivided to include capacity for plots. There are big opportunities for those able to focus their businesses on delivering all aspects of the homes and communities that people want,” he said.

The National Federation of Builders warned that unless local authorities allocated land and granted permission for self and custom builds then the Government’s housing market reforms would fail.

Speaking about the new Government funding, Karen Curtin, managing director at Graven Hill, said: “We are fully supportive of the planned Help to Build scheme which proves that the UK is moving in the right direction when it comes to advocating self and custom build as an alternative to traditional housing. Accessibility has always been at the core of Graven Hill, whether through Plot Passports that simplify the planning process or championing financial support schemes such as Help to Buy. Now, with Help to Build on the horizon, there is even more opportunity for all homeowners to create a home that meets their requirements and lifestyle.

“This scheme will open up self and custom building to more people across all demographics, as a 5% deposit will be needed instead of the usual 20%. We believe it will provide a similar boost as the Help to Buy scheme and look forward to launching new plots and custom homes in our next phases that can benefit from this government funding.

“We hope that the new legislation will encourage developers across the UK to consider self-build plots as a key aspect of their developments. They’ve been hugely popular at Graven Hill, showing there is an appetite for them in the wider market too. This demand must be met to ensure no-one has to settle for a home that isn’t right for them.”

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