Grant Shapps: self-build home package.

Self-builders to get ‘off the shelf’ homes

Published:  15 July, 2011

LONDON: Housing minister Grant Shapps is planning to tackle the housing crisis with an ‘off the shelf’ self-build home package.

Mr Shapps is in talks with major retailers, including Tesco, B&Q and Ikea, to offer a one-stop service for self-builders. Would-be homebuilders would buy a plot of land from a shop and select a kit design from a catalogue.

"Why shouldn't anyone be able to walk into their local DIY store or builders' merchant and get the information needed to start what is, after all, a do-it-yourself project on a grand scale," said Mr Shapps.

He has also written to banks asking them to make more finance options available to self-builders.

Mr Shapps' plan could deliver 20 000 new homes a year, says Ted Stevens, chairman of the National Self-Build Association. It has been working with civil servants on how to encourage more people to build their own homes. Their report is due to be launched by Shapps next week.

"He wants to make self-build so straightforward you could almost order a house at the check-out," said Mr Stevens. "They wouldn't win many architectural awards but if you are looking for an affordable home maybe Tesco could be the place to go."

Big retailers could buy up tracts of land and build the infrastructure, then divide it into relatively cheap plots, he said. Architects would still be needed – to design the kit homes and to adapt and customise individual homes.

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