Editor’s letter

Have you heard about custom build? The Government is very excited about it, having put money into several developments recently. It captures some of the same benefits as self-build, but as custom build has a flexible range of options, schemes tend to be very varied.

Normally however, a developer will provide a ‘menu’ of options so they can tailor a house to precisely meet their needs. The idea is that you definitely get the layout, services and style you want. If desired you can go the full self-build route, or pay a contractor to build your home.

Community custom build is a further development of the idea, with many schemes popping up across the UK. These are based on a collective approach, where a small group of local people collaborate to fund, design and build their own homes.

In some cases they end up building each others’ houses, fostering a really strong sense of community. This is even more the case in co-housing projects – where people will live cooperatively, sharing things like heating, gardening as well as cooking and laundry spaces.

As affordability of self-build looks to become a greater issue for future generations, such models are really interesting ways of enabling people to have a much greater say in the houses they will live in. This may be a long way from the ‘home as a castle’, but provides appetising food for thought.

James Parker