Custom build projects invovle an individual, or group, purchasing some land and commissioning the construction of a new home, or homes, from a builder, contractor or package company, or physically building a house themselves. 

This includes serviced plots and ‘shell’ homes, where the purchaser carries out the fit out of a home. The occupant of the home must have a choice and influence in the design of the house and intend to occupy the property for at least 3 years.

As a minimum, the criteria below must be met and the property purchaser must have a choice of:

  • which plot their property sits on
  • the external design of the house (this can involve a choice of 2 or more pre-existing designs)
  • at least 3 configurations of the internal property layout
  • kitchen and bathroom fit-out

We can provide a range of support to anyone purchasing land from us for a custom build project.

Our support

We are one of only 11 local authorities given vanguard status as part of the Government’s ‘Right to Build’ scheme. This required us to:

  • open and promote a register for people who wish to purchase a plot of land to build their own home on
  • make a number of sites available for purchase at market value
  • provide information to the Government about the success of our approach

As a Vanguard Council, we want to make it easier for you to build your own home in Sheffield. To achieve this, we are doing the following:

  • assessing demand for custom build in the city by encouraging people to sign up to our custom build register
  • directing people to suitable guidance and information to support people in making their dream of building their own home a reality
  • identifying sites we own which are suitable for custom build housing and promoting these to people on the register and to developers
  • testing different models for delivering custom build housing to find which ones are most suitable for Sheffield (e.g. working with the Sheffield Cohousing Network, the University of Sheffield and builders and developers)
  • working with partners to help deliver custom build projects

Benefits of a custom build project

Custom build housing has many positive aspects and it will play an important role in Sheffield. There is currently a strong demand for more custom build housing. Our recent Market Assessment of over 2,400 Sheffield Households found that 43% of respondents were interested in building their own home.

Custom builders also get greater choice and control over the home in which they live by designing an entire property or customising an existing design to make living spaces suited to their lifestyle.

It can also be greener and cheaper. Including energy efficiency measures such as increased insulation will give cost savings and environmental benefits. Also as land and property are purchased separately, there is only Stamp Duty Land Tax on the cost of land, not the completed house. You are also able to reclaim VAT on the cost of all labour and materials used to self-build your new home. Self-builders do not have to pay the Community Infrastructure Levy charge.

Ways to custom build

Everyone who chooses to custom build their home will have different reasons. When deciding which is most suitable for you, you will need to consider:

  • type of custom build home you want
  • level of involvement you have (self-building or working with a builder)
  • how much you want to spend

Types of custom build

DIY custom build

The customer buys a plot and builds their own home to their own specification.

Self-finish custom build

The customer buys a serviced plot from an enabler who owns a number of plots on a site, works with the enabler to create a home to their specification which is then built to be wind and watertight. The customer takes over the remaining elements themselves or employs subcontractors.

Full turn key custom build

The customer buys a serviced plot from an enabler who owns a number of plots on a site.  They work with the enabler to design their home to their specification and individual lifestyle. The house is completed by the enabling developer to a fixed budget and timescale.

Independent community custom build

Where a group of individuals join forces to purchase a large site which is split into individual plots.  They are involved in the planning, design and building of their own home. By working as part of a group costs are minimised both in terms of labour and materials.

Supported community custom build

As above a group of individuals come together to share their skills, boost their knowledge of building and create a number of houses collectively. Some groups form themselves and others are formed by housing associations or other agencies.

Cohousing custom build

Cohousing communities are intentional communities created and run by their residents. Each household has a self-contained, personal and private home, but residents come together to manage their community, share activities, eat together.

Affordable custom build

Those on a low income can participate in the planning, design and building of their own homes through custom build.  They can learn a range of new skills and save money through sweat equity.

Empty residential properties

If you are aware of an empty residential property that you might be interested in purchasing, we may be able to help you.

If you can provide us with the full address of the property, we will check whether it is registered with us as empty, and if so we might be able to make contact with the owner on your behalf.  The Houses Into Homes team also offers a Matching Service to put buyers and sellers of empty properties in contact with each other.

Contact Custom Build Sheffield Project Team