Much has taken place over the course of 2016, led by NaCSBA, which has had a hugely positive impact on the growth of the self and custom build industry but as ever, more can and will be done. Heres a brief look into some of the key work NaCSBA has been involved in over the past year.

Launches in early 2016
NaCSBA kicked off the year with the launch of the Right to Build Portal, which coincided with the launch of Englands Right to Build Registers on 1st April 2016. Richard Bacon MP hosted the event at the House of Commons, and revealed the findings of the associations latest survey into custom and self building, run in conjunction with Ipswich Building Society. This revealed that 9.7m people want to see a larger proportion of new homes being built via custom or self build routes, which would in turn increase public support for building more new homes.

The survey also stated that 1 in 10 members of the public were aware of the introduction of Right to Build Registers in England eight months on and we are confident that this number has grown significantly.

Task Force
Also in April, NaCSBA announced its intention to form a Custom and Self Build Task Force to work with local authorities to implement the Right to Build. At the time only 35% of LPAs had adopted a register, and throughout 2016 we have been working hard to increase this.

When launched in early 2017, the industry-led task force will offer direct expert advice to LPAs to help bring forward land for custom and self build. We know that LPAs are the key facilitators (and potentially key developers) but dont always have expertise in CSB planning policy, land assembly, infrastructure, finance, land marketing and so on.

To prove how effective a Task Force would be, NaCSBA agreed to join with the DCLG in a series of presentations based at the Right to Build Vanguard Authorities. These presentations are intended to assist LPAs to understand the different options for implementing the Right to Build events are planned to continue across England and Wales throughout 2017 with similar events also planned for Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Study trips
MP Richard Bacon, together withNaCSBA’s Michael Holmes and Ted Stevens successfully led a study trip to The Netherlands on behalf of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Custom and Self Build. The delegation comprisedcouncillors from throughout the UK, including Glasgow, Oxford, Nottingham and Teignbridge – all hoping to learn how Dutch development models can be transferred to similar projects in the UK.

Delegates were shown many successful schemesinAmsterdam, Nieuw Leyden, Almere and The Hague by the various development teams responsible for self and custom build in the vicinities. In addition to reviewing successfully completed self build projects, the delegation was introduced to a number of group housing projects and self refurbschemes that have become highly popular in The Netherlands, which make use of otherwise redundant buildings.

The trip has successfully inspired the development process of a number of custom build schemes in the UK, most notably in Nottingham and Glasgow.

Self Build on a Shoestring
In partnership with Grand Designs Live, NaCSBA successfully ran the Self Build on a Shoestring competition for the fourth year. The competition attracted entrants from all over the UK, as well as further afield.

This years winner was a collaboration between Bristol-based Ecomotive, and Reading-based planning consultancy Barton Willmore. The teams entry called modulhus – consisted of a number of standard modules that can be arranged in a variety of ways to create a standalone home, a terrace or even a low-rise block of flats. The design offered a menu of options; the home could be provided as a bare shell, or it could be fully finished ready to occupy. And the teams standard 66 sq m two bedroom self finish home would cost just 49,644.

NaCSBA has always believed that it is possible to build a modest new home for 50,000 or less, and the winning design demonstrated that a comfortable two bedroom Starter Home could be constructed on a self or custom build basis for less than this sum. The team won a 5,000 prize, and are using this to build a prototype modulhus over the next few months.

NaCSBA garnered much needed publicity from the competition, with plenty of coverage in the national press including the Daily Mail, Metro and Evening Standard.

Meetings with Government
In October, the Government launched the new Home Building Fund administered by the Homes and Community Agency The inclusion of self and custom build came as a result of NaCSBA’s work to promote the sector and the Government support for the sector. The news of the fund followed a meeting held at Downing Street between Chancellor Philip Hammond, Communities Secretary Sajid Javid, NaCSBA and MP Richard Bacon, the Chair of the APPG for Self Build, Custom and Community Led Homebuilding and Placemaking.

In a separate meeting, NaCSBA held an informative briefing with Sajid Javid and Housing Minister Gavin Barwell to ensure that the Prime Ministers new cabinet had adequate knowledge and understanding of custom and self build, and the role it has to play in boosting the nation’s housing supply.

Prior to the Autumn Statement, NaCSBA visited Downing Street to meet Teresa Mays senior policy team. At the meeting NaCSBA presented on how self and custom build can help turn around the housing market, discussed the demand for custom build homes and outlined what further action the Government could take to boost growth.

Number 10 were keen to have a meeting ahead of the publication of the Housing White Paper, which is now expected to be released in the New Year.

Work in Wales & Scotland
NaCSBA has held successful meetings with the Welsh Governments planning policy team to encourage support for custom and self build. This includes the potential commencement of the Right to Build legislation, which is available should the Welsh Assembly decide to commence it and extend the right to the people of Wales.

In addition, NaCSBA has been working hard with the Scottish Government to help establish a set of policies to support custom and self build, which was pledged in its document ‘Homes Fit for the 21st Century: The Scottish Government’s Strategy and Action Plan for Housing 2011-2020’. In the coming months NaCSBA will be in discussion with planning authorities throughout Scotland to explore how they can encourage more of this type of housing, following on early initiatives in Glasgow and the Highlands.

National Audit Office
Richard Bacon MP and NaCSBA recently met with Sir Amyas Morse of The National Audit Office his role is to scrutinise public spending for Parliament. Discussions were held on how public spending on housing could be used more efficiently if the custom and self build sector were larger, and therefore the volume of new homes being built each year were significantly higher, increasing supply and ultimately influencing the affordability of house prices and rents.

The NAO will report on housing supply and the challenges on capacity, and will include information on the custom and self build sector this will be used to influence future public spending by the DCLG.

Meeting With Bank of England Prudential Regulation Authority

NaCSBA has commenced an ongoing dialogue with the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) which is responsible for regulating the financial sector, including stage payment mortgage lenders. NaCSBA is working with lenders, the PRA and the Building Societies Association to ensure adequate funding is available as the sector grows following the introduction of the Right to Build.

Right to Build Expo & Research
At the Right to Build Expo in early December, NaCSBA revealed its latest research findings, that approximately 18,000 people have signed up to Local Authority custom and self-build registers.

By requesting freedom of information data from Englands 336 councils, NaCSBA uncovered that about 14,300 people have signed up to the registers between 1stApril and 31stOctober 2016. In addition, 12 councils became Vanguards in 2014 and set up their own demand registers at this point. Since then about 3,700 people and groups of people have signed up to the Vanguard registers. Therefore, about 18,000 people are predicted to have signed up to exercise their Right to Build across England in the first base period. Local authorities have three years to meet this demand by granting permission for sufficient serviced building plots.

The research also found that many Local Authority registers now have over 100 people signed up, but many still have under 10 names. As local authorities and developers bring forward more custom and self build opportunities and public awareness of these schems grows, the numbers joining the Right to Build registers is expected to grow significantly.

The Right to Build Expo in December, which was made possible by sponsors Wood for Good and Self Build Zone, was attended by planners, developers and custom build professionals. Throughout the day councils and other industry experts shared their insight and discussed what needs to happen next to increase the sector further.

Custom and Self Build Toolkit
The toolkit, aimed at providing key factual content and case studies for local authorities and community groups has been updated throughout 2016, as new custom and self build schemes come on stream. A new forum feature launched this year has proved popular, allowing local authorities to share best practice or to seek advice and guidance from colleagues.