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Custom and self-build housing is housing built by groups or individuals for their own use. 

  • Self-build is where a person directly organises the design and construction process of their own home, which can include building the home themselves or employing someone to build the home for them
  • A custom-build home is where they are working with a developer, who takes on more responsibility e.g. finding land to build on, constructing the home and arranging finance

Under the Self-build and Custom Housebuilding Act 2015 (as amended by the Housing and Planning Act 2015), relevant authorities are required to keep a self-build and custom housebuilding register. The definition of relevant authorities includes:

  • district councils;
  • county councils in England so far as they are councils for an area for which there are no district councils;
  • London borough councils;
  • the Common Council of the City of London;
  • the Council of the Isles of Scilly;
  • the Broads Authority and National Park authorities in England are the relevant authority for the whole of their respective areas, to the exclusion of any authority mentioned above

The statutory duties require relevant authorities to:

  • keep a register of individuals, and associations of individuals, seeking to acquire serviced plots of land to build or commission their own home (self-build register);
  • have regard to the self-build register when carrying out their planning, housing, land disposal and regeneration functions;
  • grant sufficient development permissions in respect of serviced plots of land to meet local demand - the level of demand being evidenced by the number of entries on the self-build register in a base period

Custom and Self Build Registers may be used by CLH providers where there is an interest in part of a scheme being set aside for self-build as is sometimes the case. In order to enable groups to make the best use of the Registers, relevant authorities should ensure that they are regularly reviewed and maintained so that Self and Custom Build housing can be developed. There are a number of steps a CLH group interested in self build may take, such as:

  • expressing an interest and making contact with their Local Planning Authority;
  • periodically checking their Local Planning Authority’s land availability register;
  • ascertaining contact details for the relevant planning officers, in order that they have a point of contact to ask questions and check status; and
  • asking the question if and when land will become available

Custom and Self-Build Registers should make it easier for people to find suitable "shovel ready" plots which should, in turn, enable the self-build and custom housebuilding sector and relevant CLH organisations to contribute to the faster building of more high quality, new homes.

More detailed information on Custom and Self Build Registers can be found here and here:

A detailed guide to Planning for Self and Custom Build Housing, produced by the local Government Association and the Planning Advisory Service is here.

Last updated in March 2018