Research from the Self Build Association and Building Societies Association (BSA) has found that almost a 1/3rd of adults (32%) are interested in a project to design and build their own home. The same percentage said that the aim to live in a home that has less impact on the environment, by being more sustainable was a key benefit of building a new home. “This mirrors our experience” explained Perry Mears of Barnstaple architects Peregrine Mears Architects. “Probably most of us dream harbour a dream to take on a Grand Designs project. However, as the research showed, the lack of finance is the major challenge.”
Paul Broadhead, of the BSA, said: “It’s great to see that there are so many aspiring self and custom builders. Mutual lenders are leading the way to help these self-build dreams become a reality, with 21 building societies currently lending to people building their own homes.”
Opportunities are as varied. Some favour a greenfield site, generally allowing more flexibility in design and construction. Others take on a brownfield site, where the land has been previously developed. Quirky buildings which have found a new life are numerous in all shapes and sizes. Barns, former warehouses or commercial buildings, churches or chapels, cinemas, schools or civic buildings, water towers, bunkers and more have all provided development opportunities, seeing a new life as fine, individual homes.
Perry continued “There are challenges. Planning permission will be required and for Listed Buildings or, if a building is located in a Conservation Area, more stringent rules apply. It is essential to consider the structural integrity of any existing buildings and ensure that compliance with the Building Regulations can be achieved. Our expertise and experience allow us to advise and guide clients through the self-build process. We always share their excitement for their project. It’s really rewarding.”
We’ve worked on numerous self-build projects in some lovely locations including locally in North Devon and the wider county, Cornwall, Somerset and Dorset from our offices in Barnstaple, Exeter and Truro.
Finding the right site, with or without planning permission, or a characterful building suitable for conversion is never easy but there are experts who can help. Our friends Recoco Property Search is a leading company acting exclusively for buyers, who through their contacts and expertise are able to root out great opportunities for their clients.