Custom and Self build homes deliver more

By Jonathan Amos on the

For the first time, research in the recently published NaCSBA Custom and Self Build Report 2023/24 demonstrates that custom and self build homes have a significantly higher positive local impact compared to mainstream housing, and that the homes built are more sustainable than the average new build.

The research commissioned by the Right to Build Task Force shows that:

  • CSB development produces more than a doubling of the beneficial local economic impact of mainstream housing when labour and materials are viewed together. This is based on analysis that tested a model against five areas with different rural/urban classifications and differing regions, providing a robust set of illustrative data.
  • Data from Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) demonstrated that CSB homes typically have reduced energy consumption of between 8-42% lower and CO2 emissions of 7-43% lower than typical new build EPCs. The model draws on EPCs in the same five case study areas.

The data are welcome evidence of what has long been anecdotally accepted, and these benefits add weight to planning debates about the role of custom and self build housing and its impact locally.

Custom and self build demand data

The Right to Build registers are a crucial source of demand evidence for local authorities, however, new findings in the report indicate that the demand reflected by these registers is underestimated by at least two thirds.

The analysis examined postcode data of people interested in custom and self build and compared this data against total numbers who had signed a register, both for a three-year period. This showed that nearly two-thirds were not on a register, but were interested in self building at some point – an at least 64% under-measuring of demand.

NaCSBA works to create more opportunities for more people to have a home that suits their needs, wants and budgets. The findings not only demonstrate to local and national government the benefits of custom and self building, they stress the fact that the registers should not be the sole source of demand evidence. This supports what is set out in the National Planning Guidance, which states that the registers should be a ‘starting point for establishing overall demand for self-build and custom housebuilding’.

A key report outcome is the vital role that the registers play in driving supportive policy and in facilitating more sites to come forward. As such NaCSBA, encourages all of those interested in a self or custom build to sign up to their local register.

Find your local authority’s register at