RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMMES: Nationwide Foundation - The Team

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

randdhs-wolfMario Wolf

Mario is seconded from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) to lead the programme.

Prior to his secondment Mario was senior housing policy advisor to the Minister of State for Housing and Planning, where he led the Government’s custom build homes programme from its inception in 2011. While at DCLG he has been at the cutting edge of self and custom build housing policy during which time he worked closely with Ted Stevens and other industry partners to embed the self and custom build housing model into national housing and planning policy.

Mario is an RTPI-qualified town planner with over 20 years practical experience having worked at national, regional and local government in England. He also worked in the private sector and worked on wide range of development and planning projects internationally in Europe, the USA, South Africa and Australia. He also has comparative research and marketing experience and takes a keen interest in urban design.

Mario is a German national and also a first-time custom home builder, having completed his first project with his wife in Purley, South London, in collaboration with a local builder in 2011.

randdhs-stevensTed Stevens OBE

Ted helped set up the National Custom & Self Build Association in 2008, and he chaired the organisation until the middle of 2014. He lives in Gloucestershire in a house that was self built in 2004.

He has always had an interest in architecture and construction - his first job was as a journalist on the magazine Building Design. Later he became editor of Planning, and he launched the monthly publication Energy in Buildings. During his time as a journalist he was voted RIBA Architectural Writer of the Year and RICS Specialist Property Journalist on the Year.

Later in his career he set up a leading PR firm (Camargue) that specialised in the built environment sector, and during his 50s he was a freelance events organiser – running the RIBA annual conference in cities across Europe, and staging a host of housing, design and construction awards ceremonies.

In 2011 the then Housing Minister, Grant Shapps, asked him to prepare an Action Plan on how to grow the self build sector. He later went on to compile the Self Build Portal, and he helped form the All Party Parliamentary Group on self and custom build. He has travelled widely to see self build projects throughout the UK and continental Europe. He was awarded the OBE in the summer of 2014 for his services to the housing sector.

Ted is project managing the programme, and will be deeply involved in the communications and events that will staged towards the end of 2015.

randdhs-brownSam Brown

Sam works in architectural practice Jon Broome Architects - which has been part of pioneering work in England since the 1970s, principally in developing self-build homes for shared ownership on local authority land by organising groups of people to do the work, usually from social housing waiting lists, and employing the 'Segal method' of construction.

Sam is also a research associate of the University of Sheffield School of Architecture and led on the production of the www.collectivecustombuild.org resource in 2013 in collaboration with Ash Sakula Architects and housing consultant Design For Homes. The website aims to highlight the emerging opportunities in the UK for groups of people who want to build their own homes in simple and clear terms, using a short animated film to curate a rich library of useful resources. The project was launched in Parliament in 2014 and Sam has since run supplementary research trips for associates of the project and interested parties, such as visits to Berlin to explore the 'Baugruppen' custom build movement.

Sam has previously worked with housing industry consultant Design For Homes and has been an occasional collaborator of Public Works, a multi-disciplinary collective working to support the resilience of communities in east London, receiving a Vodafone World of Difference award for his work in 2012. Sam also co-founded Design:HHW, an innovative design consultancy based in Hill Holt Wood in Lincolnshire, UK, working closely with an existing social enterprise to re-train young unemployed people in low-impact building and self-build. Sam has also travelled to visit many other self build projects in the UK and abroad, and contributes to industry publications and colloquia, such as the RIBA's annual housing conference, RIBA Journal and CPD events.

Sam is the research assistant for the project and is responsible for coordination and information management, as well as production of key outputs and assisting Mario and Ted in their roles.

Sam currently lives in Bethnal Green, London.