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

Grand Designs Live Online: Self Build & Renovation Weekend 31 July – 1 August 2021

Discover free home project advice and product recommendations from the comfort of your own home. Register now to express your interest.
gdlonline
create-your-dream-eco-home-with-modern-post-and-beam
Self Build Homes

Create your dream eco home with modern post and beam

For a state-of-the-art eco home at a reasonable price, choose a high-quality German modern post and beam or closed panel construction
10-period-home-renovations
Self Build Homes

10 stunning period home renovations

Learn how the owners of these period properties made contemporary changes whilst retaining and respecting their original character and charm.
inside-the-future-of-sustainable-prefab-homes
Self Build Homes

Inside the future of sustainable prefab homes

Inside a modern prefabricated homes factory, designing and producing unique and sustainable modern homes
when-do-you-need-to-consult-a-structural-engineer
Self Build Homes

When to consult a structural engineer for your self build or renovation

A structural engineer is an important part of a self build, extension or renovation. Here's what you need to know about their role in your...
making-distinctive-dream-homes-a-reality
Self Build Homes

Making distinctive dream homes a reality

Discover why any self-build home needs architectural inspiration, planning knowhow and service that puts you first.
self-builders-who-built-their-own-homes
Self Build Homes

6 self builders who carried out the building work themselves

To beat budget restraints, these have-a-go heroes rolled up their sleeves and tackled the construction of their homes themselves.