Thursday, 14 July 2011

NASBA Self Build Action Plan Published Today

Self Build Action Plan

The Minister for Housing and Local Government, Grant Shapps, commissioned a report in January this year by the National Self Build Association on how to promote the self build sector in the UK. with the  aim to  make it a more accessible option for more people.  Today the report has been made public (click on the orange writing above to view) and next week a formal announcement will be made by the Minister.

While a lot of it is aimed towards community self build projects and housing associations there's much in it that will be a great help to the individual builder. I've not yet had the time to read every word but briefly below is my simple interpretation of the key points.

1. The disposal of land for development should be more transparent ensuring that it's listed on public websites and made available to self builders.
2. Simplify the outline planning & change of use procedures.
3. Improve pre-application advice which at the moment it says is "unreliable and inconsistent".
4. Extent the time limits for implementing planning permissions from 3 to 5 years
5. Better customer service from local authorities.
6. Encourage more lenders to provide finance for these projects.
7. More transparent pricing from utility providers using OFGEM & OFWAT to publish the information.
8. Building regulations to be made more accessible to self builders with possibly, a domestic only version of the guide .

I like the following quote from the report.
Self build also brings many others benefits – self builders are generally very committed to environmental 
sustainability, so their homes often have small carbon footprints. Many self builders are also sticklers for detail and quality. And they usually work very hard to come up with a customised design to suit their own particular needs – so they work hard to create their perfect home. This is irrespective of whether they do a DIY build or procure their home from a package company. They are also renowned innovators, and many of the new technologies that have found their way into mainstream construction, started out in the self build sector.routes emerging, there is a clear gap in the information market to explain these and to help would-be self builders work out the route that’s likely to be the best one for them  to follow. 

This report can only be a positive step, unfortunately the actions that will be taken as a result of the report will be too far away to benefit our build but at least it will give us a bit of ammunition if we're faced with difficult bureaucrats!!

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