South West leads the growth in self-build homes

South West leads the grow

Research from NacSBA (the National Custom and Self Build Association) shows that self building is 50% more common in the South West than in the rest of the country.

But the South West, as well as the rest of the UK, has a lot of catching up to do compared the rest of the world’ said Peter Johns, the Show’s Managing Director. ‘Self-Build accounts for just 8% of house building starts in the UK, compared to 80% in Austria and 65% in Belgium, Italy and Sweden, putting us at the bottom of the pile’

‘The UK really needs to work harder to change perceptions about self-build. And the Self Build & Design Show South West intends to do just that as well as provide people planning to embark on a self-build project with all the information and inspiration they need for the journey. And self building doesn’t require practical building skills – many self builders employ specialist design and build companies or supervise contractors themselves.

‘The most common barriers to UK self builds are finding suitable plots and obtaining planning permission’ continues Peter who launched SelfBuild & Design magazine to help self builders realise their dream 22 years ago. ‘It is true that land is at a premium in many parts of the UK, but there are ways and ways and means to get the piece of land you covet in the location you desire.’

Here are Peter’s top six tips for those dreaming of a self-build adventure:

  • Once you’ve settled on your desired area, talk to the locals. Make them aware that you are on the hunt for a building plot. Locals are much more likely to have their ear to the ground on such matters and might be able to give you some inside information before a potential building plot even gets onto the market.
  • Keep an eye on planning applications in your target region too. Local authorities publish a register of these on their websites.
  • Use a dedicated and trusted plot finding service such as ‘Plot Browser’ ( which is completely free and lists 1,000s of available self-build opportunities throughout the UK. Be very wary about buying a cheap plot without planning permission. Do your research and recognise that if someone is selling a wonderful plot of land at way below market price, there’s probably something wrong with it!
  • Consider buying an existing building if the location is right. Demolishing an existing building and starting again will be easier for obtaining planning permission. The more flexible you are with location or type of project (consider whether a renovation or conversion would meet your needs).
  • Prevent an oversight from turning into a financial catastrophe by considering whether the plot matches your dreams for your ideal home. Common mistakes include whether the plot can be easily connected to mains water and electricity, as well as whether the footprint is big enough to accommodate the size of the house you wish to build.
  • The facts about planning permission are far more positive than you might think. In England, about 75% of applications for building are granted and then 40% of those that are rejected are approved once amended and resubmitted.

The Self Build & Design Show is the South-West’s premier event for anyone considering undertaking a self-build project. Come and meet hundreds of exhibitors including manufacturers, architects, suppliers, designers, builders and project advisors, take part in seminars, and ask our experts for advice ranging from plot finding, planning applications finance and design through to building methods and the latest products for your home.

The 2019 Show is on Saturday 7 and Sunday 8 September at Westpoint, Exeter.

Tickets cost £6.00 in advance from