The architect and presenter of Channel 4’s Amazing Spaces and The Restoration Man shares his latest tips and ideas.

George Clarke on why Britain should be a nation of self builders 1

Britain should be a nation of self-builders. We are passionate about our homes, and thousands of us would love the opportunity to construct them ourselves. So it’s strange that so few landowners and councils release land for this purpose. The UK is near the bottom of the global league table for the number of selfbuilders per capita: the National Custom & Self-Build Association (NaCSBA) puts the figure at somewhere around eight per cent of new-builds, compared with almost 50 per cent in some European countries. Further afield, the market for build-ready plots is stronger – New Zealand, for example, is particularly encouraging of those who want to construct their own homes. The main issue in the UK seems to be availability of land. Planning consent is hard to come by, and in my experience, once people get it, they often sell to developers for profit. But there’s hope for budding builders out there. The NaCSBA’s self-build portal (selfbuildportal.org.uk/ needaplot) links those who want to take on a project with people in their area with land to sell. I think the best way to do it is to form a co-operative or community land trust, in which a group of self-builders come together to buy a large piece of land and build several homes on it. With more people involved, you’ll have more options when negotiating development funds from a bank. Plus, if everyone contributes to actually creating the homes, project costs can be dramatically reduced. At the moment, group self-build developments have far more chance of getting off the ground. I’d like to see a selfbuild revolution in Britain, but we would need to work together to make that happen.

 George Clarke on why Britain should be a nation of self builders 2

Credit: Darren Chung, Jefferson Smith

Kevins Column

Top self build highlights at Grand Designs Live 2019 hosted by Kevin McCloud

Find top experts, specialist exhibitors and a wealth of inspiration for your self-build or renovation project all under one roof.
visit-award-winning-grand-designs-live-hosted-by-kevin-mccloud
 
 
inspiring-garden-office-builds-for-working-from-home
Self Build Homes

5 inspiring garden office builds for working from home

Considering a self-build office in your garden? These 5 projects serve up some brilliantly inspiring ideas.
self-build-guide-planning-your-grand-design
Self Build Homes

How to plan for your dream self-build

Take this time to carefully consider and plan your future self-build. Here are a few essential top planning tips.
how-to-manage-your-self-build-during-coronavirus
Self Build Homes

How to manage your self-build project during the coronavirus crisis

What effect will the Coronavirus have on your self-build project? Try these top tips from a project management expert to keep it running as smoothly...
hedge-house-interior-tour
Self Build Homes

Inside a unique, 180 foot long new build in the West Midlands

Take a look inside this striking new build in the West Midlands countryside and find out how much it'd cost to call it home.
building-a-home-in-your-garden
Self Build Homes

Building a home in your garden: what you need to know

Considering building a new house on your home's existing land? Architect Harry Thorpe explains some key considerations.
add-a-balcony-to-your-self-build
Self Build Homes

Bold balconies to add style to your self-build

Balcony packages are a simple way to add a stylish new element to your home. Discover how architects and self-builders can best use them to...