29 Sep 2015

What is custom build?

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Custom build – you may have heard of the phrase but do you really know what it is and how it can help you to achieve your dream home? Here Raymond Connor of BuildStore’s Custom Build Homes provides a useful insight.

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The phrase ‘custom build’ was adopted by the government when it launched its housing strategy back in 2011. Using the model of our European counterparts – whereby fully serviced plots are made available for self-build. Over the last four years several schemes, initiatives and consultations have been introduced, with the Self Build & Custom Housebuilding Act coming into force in April this year.

For those of us in the industry, custom build has been a long-time coming and we’ve been working with the government to develop this proposition and create homebuilding opportunities. However, we do acknowledge that for you, the self-builder, and the wider home-seeking audience, custom build is still a relatively new concept and we are well aware that there is some confusion surrounding what it actually means!

Historically, one of the greatest frustrations and stumbling blocks to getting your self-build project off the ground has been the availability of plots in your chosen location. Added to that, the sometimes lengthy process of purchasing land, planning permissions and arranging services, utilities and access roads/infrastructure can all cause complication before you even start your build.

Imagine you purchase a ‘shovel ready’ plot in your desired location, which has already been granted Outline Planning Permission and has all services, utilities, access infrastructure and support services in place – all that remains is for you to decide the design, size and specification of your home and your level of involvement. This is custom build and it’s available now for you to realise your dreams.

Rise in popularity

Custom build sites are springing up across England and range from two to 1900 plots. Each site is managed by an enabling developer and provides a menu of custom build options from which you can choose. For instance, you might build the house yourself or employ a builder/project manager to take care of the build for you. Alternatively you could work with the site’s custom build developer, such as Potton Homes or Fairgrove Homes, who will work with you to design, plan and build your home to your specification. They will then either build your house to wind and watertight – leaving you to finish off the work just the way you want it – or complete the entire build for you, to a fixed budget and timescale.

The beauty of custom build is that you have the choice to do as much or as little as you desire.

Naturally you will achieve greater savings if you are willing to do some of the work yourself, but even if you contract the developer to build your house for you, the fixed budget and timescale will still allow for financial savings. If you are building as part of a community or co-housing group, costs relating to labour and materials can be minimised even further. As with self-build, your custom build home will be design-led, visually unique and possess higher build properties, so you can also expect your home to achieve a higher sale price.

Register your interest

If you think the custom build route could provide you with the ideal self-build solution, the first thing to do is visit the new Custom Build Homes website www.custombuildhomes.co.uk – here you will find everything you need to know about custom build. The site lists plots for sale and provides essential information, such as step-by-step guides, design galleries, exclusive mortgages and insurances and the latest custom build news. Much like searching for a new house on property websites, you can make specific plot enquiries, arrange a site visit, download brochures and find out more about site locality and amenities.

Secondly, register your interest on The Custom Build Register - you can do this direct via the Custom Build Homes site or direct on www.custombuildregister.co.uk. As the UK’s biggest and longest running national record of demand for custom build, the Register is able to influence the provision of custom build sites and inform local authorities, landowners and developers of desired size and specifications from subscriber demand. By registering on the Custom Build Register you will be notified as soon as your preferred scheme and locality becomes available, creating a distinct property search advantage. An indication of how popular custom build has become is the 20,000 potential home builders that have already conveyed their interest on this dedicated Register.

In addition to offering huge scope and flexibility in terms of involvement and design of your home, custom build also presents a range of property options, such as detached, semi-detached and terraced plots to suit your individual budget and lifestyle requirements. It is estimated that an average custom build can be completed within ten months, so if you are keen to create your own bespoke home as soon as possible, it could be that this self-build option is right for you.

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