Self build is not just for those with ‘Grand Design’ aspirations. Community self build is also a real option if you have a genuine housing need. If you are part of a group of people who are in the same situation then this type of scheme might be the answer you are looking for.
In these circumstances, individuals come together and work with local authorities and other groups to self build their own homes. The schemes allow everyone to take part in the planning, design and construction of new dwellings and in the process gain valuable skills and experience.
The end result is a new home, whether it’s owned outright, under a shared ownership scheme or rented. It is possible to generate equity in the property through your labour input.
It is preferable (but not essential) for some members of your team to have construction skills. It is also possible to incorporate a training scheme such as National Vocational Qualifications (NVQ) to enable non-skilled members to gain skills and qualifications as the work progresses.
Participants in these schemes usually find that not only have they learned new skills and a lot about themselves but a strong community bond is formed and a sense of pride at what has been achieved.
Importance of Design
If a group’s construction skills and experience are a little thin on the ground then this can be accounted for at the design phase. It is possible to tailor the design of the building to the skill levels of the workforce. Architect Walter Segal was a pioneer in the design of homes that could be built with little need for skilled labour. The Walter Segal Self Build Trust continues to promote his philosophy and their website is worth a visit.
Further Information on Community Self Build
If you are interested in taking part in this type of scheme then the place to head for more information on how to get started is the Community Self-Build Agency.
For examples of community self build projects have a look at:
- Ashley Vale Action Group, Bristol.
- St Minver Community Land Trust, Cornwall.
- Low Impact Living Affordable Community (LILAC), Leeds.
Don’t forget to come back and have a look through our site for more information on all aspects of the self build process.
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