Dream it, build it, live it - Building your own home
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Dream it, build it, live it - Building your own home

​Every year, around 10,000 people in the UK build their own home. However, at present, there is no robust data currently collected on the scale of the sector.

Self-Builders come from all walks of life, including:

  • young people keen to get onto the housing ladder, with self-build being an affordable option for their first home;
  • families needing more space and wanting a larger property that is bespoke to their needs;
  • retired people wanting to downsize or build their dream home;
  • DIYers looking for a project to sink their teeth into.

Whatever your motivation, whether you are a total novice or someone with plenty of experience in the construction sector, self-building can be an accessible route to a new home.

The section below aims to address a number of frequently asked questions about self-build and custom build housing, which we hope will assist you. If you need any additional information or have any further questions, please get in touch using the ‘Contact Us’ e-mail link on the top corner of the page.

Click to expandWhat is Self-Build and Custom Build housing?

In line with national guidance, self-build and custom build housing can be defined is follows:

Custom Build

This is when people commission the construction of their home from a developer/enabler, builder/contractor or package company. With ‘custom build’ the occupants usually don't do any of the physical construction work but still make the key design decisions. Around a 60 per cent of all private homebuilding is currently delivered this way.

Self Build

This is when someone gets involved in, or manages, the construction of their new home (with or without the help of sub-contractors). At present around 40 per cent of projects are defined as ‘self build.’

Group Projects

This is when a group of people set themselves up as an organisation to procure the construction of a number of homes as a collective. There are many ways this can be done – for example, by creating their own development company, or by setting up as a housing co-operative, a co-housing organisation or as a housing association. This is currently a small share of all private homebuilding - accountable for roughly 3 per cent nationally.

Click to expandWhat are the key things to consider before building my own home?

If you are thinking of building your own home, there are a few key things to consider:

  • The length of time it will take
  • Budget
  • Technical and advisory services needed, and where to get them
  • Finding land

Guidance documents Pre-application enquiries (PDF 64KB) and Planning Policy and Guidance (PDF 119KB) are available from the Documents section of this page.

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Click to expandWhat are the benefits of self-build?

​There are a number of advantages associated with building your home.

• You can build in your preferred location or area (subject to availability).
• You can design a home to suit your lifestyle and meet future requirements.
• You can get more for your money
• You can design a home that makes use of new, modern and innovative products.
• You can build a property more quickly than being part of a larger, phased development
• You can have an opportunity to develop construction skills
• You can experience a sense of achievement from seeing your venture develop from inception through design to completion.

Click to expandDoes Leeds City Council have a self-build register?

​An online register for people interested in self-build and custom build is available here.

The register will allow the Council to get a better understanding of the needs of people who want to build their own home in Leeds.

The register is in line with the requirements of the Housing and Planning Bill.​​

Click to expandAre there any eligibility criteria to meet for the inclusion on the self-build register?

Applicants to the Council’s self-build register must meet all of the following criteria to be eligible for entry:

  • Aged 18 or over;
  • A British citizen, a national of a EEA State other than the United Kingdom, or a national of Switzerland; and
  • Seeking, along or with others, to acquire a serviced plot of land in the Local Authority’s area to build a house to occupy as that individual’s sole or main residence.

Local Authorities cannot adopt any further eligibility criteria than the points outlined above.

Click to expandWill the Council publish details of people who are signed up to the Self-build register?

The Council will not publish details of individuals who have signed up to the register.

The only information which will be published on a periodic basis is:

  • The number of individuals and groups on the register:
  • The number of serviced plots sought across the City; and
  • Preferences which people have indicated i.e. location and property type.

Click to expandCan Leeds City Council help me to find a site to build on?

​The Council is in the process of identifying sites that could be potentially suitable for self-build and custom build housing. Once ready for sale, details of the sites will be listed on our Land for sale page.​​​​

Click to expandDoes the Council have any useful information that will assist with designing my own home?

Yes, the Neighbourhoods for Living document (PDF 6.4MB) is a useful guide for developers and designers in Leeds regarding:

  • The themes and principles of residential design;
  • The character and essence of Leeds;
  • Submission requirements and analysis based process.

For any Council sites that are put on the market, a design guide will be included in the market documents, which will highlight key design principles from Neighbourhoods for Living to consider, specifically relating to the plot and character of the surrounding area.​​​

Neighbourhoods for living

Click to expandHow does the planning process work for self-build housing?

The Council is in the process of producing an easy to follow guide on planning for self-builders.

In the meantime, until this information is published, please take a look at our Planning application forms, guidance notes and validation criteria page.

We encourage self-builders to have an agent familiar with the planning process as it can be quite complicated and involve various technical requirements even for small-scale projects.

Details of agents can be found on the Royal Town Planning Institute and Royal Institution of Charted Surveyors; links to the web sites can be found under the External links section of this page.​​

Click to expandDo I have to pay Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) on self-build developments?

Self-build projects are exempt from CIL.

A self-build exemption form must be completed and submitted with supporting evidence before your project starts, along with notifying the Council’s Planning Services section, and a further form submitted within six months of completing the project. If the evidence is not submitted to the Council within six months, the full CIL charge becomes payable.

Click to expandHow can I find out more about self-build and custom build housing?

If you have any further questions, then please e-mail the Housing Growth Team using the Contact Us form on this page.

A useful guide is the Custom Self Build Toolkit which has been produced by the National Custom and Self Build Association (NaCSBA). The toolkit provides a comprehensive overview of this type of housing along with a number of case studies from across the world.

Alongside this, there are a number of external agencies who may be able to assist if you are thinking of building your own home. Links to these agencies can be found in the External links section.​

To view documents in PDF format you will require the free Download Adobe Reader Adobe Acrobat Reader

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