19 February 2024

Custom and Self-Build Homes Outperform Standard New Builds in Generating Local Impact

By Self Build Zone
custom self build homes report

New research published in the NaCSBA Custom and Self Build Report 2023/24 demonstrates for the first time that custom and self-build homes generate a significantly higher positive local impact than mainstream housing and that the houses built are more sustainable than the average new build.

The research conducted on behalf of the Right to Build Task Force reveals:

Custom and Self-Build (CSB) developments yield a more than twofold increase in positive local economic impact compared to mainstream housing, considering both labour and materials. This conclusion stems from an extensive analysis conducted across five diverse areas encompassing various rural and urban classifications and regional differences, providing robust and illustrative data.

Examination of Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) indicates that CSB homes consistently exhibit reduced energy consumption, falling within the range of 8% to 42% lower, and lower CO2 emissions, ranging from 7% to 43% lower when compared to typical new build EPCs. These findings are derived from EPC data collected across five case study areas.

This data serves as welcome evidence supporting what has long been acknowledged across the industry. Furthermore, these benefits strengthen the arguments in planning discussions concerning the local impact and importance of custom and self-build housing.

To evaluate the added advantages of this approach to housing, Chamberlain Walker Economics analysed five representative local authority areas. These areas, namely Breckland Council, Durham Council, Folkestone and Hythe District Council, Herefordshire Council, and South Gloucestershire Council, were deliberately chosen due to their diversity in factors such as regional location, urban and rural classifications, and the presence of various-sized hub towns.

The research primarily focused on economic aspects concerning labour and materials, as opposed to land and profit, which primarily benefit landowners and developers. By concentrating on labour and materials, the analysis revealed that custom and self-build housing projects contribute approximately twice the economic impact of mainstream housebuilding. This occurs because self-builders typically favour sourcing materials locally and engaging SME builders and tradespeople for their construction projects.

Regarding materials, the study accounted for the availability of local suppliers. It acknowledged that while traditional building materials were usually procured locally, the emergence of innovative materials and systems sometimes necessitated purchases from more distant sources. Nevertheless, even in such cases, these materials were often acquired from small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

The research findings were used to extrapolate broader conclusions about overall activity. It is important to note that these conclusions are model-based rather than solely reliant on empirical data. Nevertheless, they unequivocally demonstrate the enhanced value of custom and self-build homes to the local economy.

Drawing upon the same set of five local authorities, Chamberlain Walker Economics analysed Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) for self-build homes, comparing them to the average EPCs for speculative new construction.

The research focused on two key metrics: average energy consumption and average CO2 emissions. These metrics have shown significant improvement across all new construction activities over the past decade, reflecting advancements in construction techniques and legislative changes.

The research revealed notably lower average energy consumption for custom and self-build homes in each case study area than the broader local average for new builds. The reduction ranged from 8% to 42% compared to other newly constructed homes.

Similarly, concerning CO2 emissions, the data presented favourable results, with custom and self-build homes exhibiting emissions levels between 7% and 43% lower than the average for new builds within the comparative regions.

While prior surveys have already indicated the environmentally friendly nature of self-build homes, such as more than 50% having renewable energy sources as their primary heating systems, this research contributes a new layer of data to enhance our comprehension of the benefits associated with this housing approach.

Buy the NaCSBA Custom and Self Build Report

Free to members, NaCSBA’s Custom and Self Build Report 2023/24 is available to buy for £295. It’s a vital resource for businesses operating in the sector, packed with market insight, data and policy. Click to download a FREE four page sample.

Explore our Self-Build Insurance products for further details on specific self-build project insurance needs.





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