There are a variety of custom build options, but the common feature of these projects is that they will have some degree of involvement from a specialist developer. This takes away some of the pressure of doing a traditional self build, as you will have knowledgeable people to turn to, to get the ball rolling — or in the case of group custom builds, a support network of people who are in the same boat.
Below we outline the three main routes to a custom built home.
Developer built home on a single plot
This is the custom build route for those who want an individual home situated on its own plot (as opposed to on a development). Many companies will offer this as a package solution and do everything from securing a plot for you, to managing the whole build and offering financing.
This is similar to the package route for self builders, but by removing the need to even find a plot, it really is the most hands off way to build. It is therefore also one of the most expensive routes, but does offer a high level of customisation.
Developer built home on a multiple home site
Many new build homes are built in developments of a dozen or so homes, to larger estates with hundreds of dwellings. Now, developers are well aware that buying a new home off the peg, does not appeal to everyone. As a result, they offer the option for buyers to have a say in the design and layout of that home before it is built.
There are varying levels of customisation available. In some cases, you will be able to buy a serviced plot with utilities already installed and the company will help facilitate planning permission, but the design and build is over to you. Alternatively, some developers offer some basic designs which can be tailored to your needs — much like choosing the spec of a new car.
Developer led group project
Some people don’t just dream of building their own home, but building their community too. Community self build, or cohousing offers just this.
Developers can allow a group of people the chance to build their own homes, and often, the surrounding amenities and green space. Sometimes the group will form first and approach developers; other times a developer will help form the group. In all cases the emphasis is on democratically deciding on the overall design of the homes, or flats — but individuals in the group still have the chance to design their own unit.
Financing is a bit more complex with this route, but generally works out to be much more affordable (often so much so that it offers a sound alternative to social housing). Some operate a share scheme and there are often grants available to the group to help with initial outlays.
Examples: CLTs, HAB, Lilac