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What is self-build?

Read an explanation of what is and what isn't considered to be a self-build project, find the legal definition and access relevant planning guidance

What is self-build?

Self-build is a handy term, but it’s actually self-build and custom housebuilding. It’s where people build or commission their own homes. The rules are the same for both.

People can be:

  • Individuals (which includes singles, couples, families and other households), or
  • Associations (which are groups of Individuals)

People can:

  • build their own home, or
  • manage the construction of their own home, or
  • get someone else to build the home for them

But they must:

  • have primary input into the final design and layout of the home, and
  • be the initial owner and occupier of the home

What isn’t self-build?

There’s a legal definition of self-build and custom housebuilding in the relevant Act and there’s Planning Practice Guidance on the subject, but here are some common examples of what isn’t considered to be self-build or custom housebuilding:

  • Off-plan housing – homes purchased at the plan stage prior to construction and without input into the design and layout from the buyer
  • Build-to-sell – homes built for sale and not for occupation by the initial owner
  • Build-to-rent – homes built for renting out and not for occupation by the initial owner
  • Second homes – homes built for purposes other than occupation as a sole or main residence by the initial owner