RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMMES: Nationwide Foundation

NaCSBA has secured support from the Nationwide Foundation to fund a programme of work that aims to help more people build their own affordable homes

The Foundation is providing nearly £180,000 to fund a major NaCSBA research and development programme designed to boost overall housing output, and in particular to make it much easier for people on modest incomes to build their own homes.

In most other countries, between a third to a half of all new homes are organised or built by people themselves, yet in the UK less than 10% are currently delivered this way.

This year-long programme involves identifying why other European countries deliver a much higher proportion of their new homes via self build. It also involves working with around 50 local authorities in the UK to help them to facilitate thousands of opportunities for people to build or commission their own homes. In addition the work examines whether new financial products would help the sector grow and make it easier for people in need of affordable housing to access loans enabling them to self build.

The R&D programme focuses on two main ways of boosting output of affordable self build homes:-

  • The delivery of ready-to-go, modestly priced serviced building plots. For example, in France it is currently possible to buy a decent fully-serviced building plot for about £20,000: the project wants to facilitate similar solutions here.

  • How communities can collaborate to jointly commission their own homes. For example, in Berlin around 15% of all the new homes currently being built are now organised by local ‘building groups’; the homes are custom designed to suit their occupants, and they also typically work out about 25% cheaper than conventional market built properties.

Ultimately the work should help both public and private sector organisations implement the new self/custom build policies that have been developed by the Government, and it will help to inform Ministers about what financial and other support may be needed in the future.

A three-strong team co-ordinate the work, starting in the autumn of 2014.

Towards the end of 2015, the team will produce a range of practical guidance material aimed at communities, planners and public and private sector housing providers. It will also communicate the findings widely across the housing and planning sectors and within the financial community.

For regular updates as the work progresses, please visit our Research & Development project news page. If you are from a local authority that is keen to promote self/custom build opportunities and you would value input and support from the team please let us know.

If you want to make contact with the team then CLICK HERE.

The Nationwide Foundation was established by Nationwide Building Society in 1997 as an independent charity. For more information about its work: www.nationwidefoundation.org.uk