Self-build - growth market for merchants?

Published:  19 July, 2011

LONDON: The Government wants to double the number of people building their own homes. Although the term suggest DIY most self-builders do not engage in building work but manage contractors and material supply.

Ted Stevens, chairman of the National Self Build Association, which drew up the action plan for the government says: "most self-builders hire an architect and do a bit of decorating themselves."

Other countries are way ahead, he says. In Austria 80% of all homes are self-built. In Germany, France and Italy the figure is 60%. In the US and Australia it is over 40%. By contrast the figure for the UK is about 10%.

Grant Shapps, housing minister, wants to make land and mortgage lending available to self-builders. The aim is to rebrand it from something for the wealthy over-50s and "bring the opportunity of self-building to the masses".

But this is unrealistic says Steve Turner, a spokesman for the Home Builders Federation. Self-build will never move beyond being a fringe activity for a committed few to something mainstream, he argues.

Overall, self-build saves money, says supporters: the average new build home costs £189 940 compared to a self-build cost of £84 000 if you do the work yourself or £146 000 if you employ contractors.

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