For a number of years, the Welsh Assembly has had devolved powers over planning. It has been know to add some extra hurdles for planning and Building Regulations.
Wales made complying with the Code for Sustainable Homes (CSH) a requirement when it was still only voluntary in England. This added considerable extra cost to construction projects.
With CSH subsumed into Building Regulations in England, it has also been rescinded in Wales. The Welsh Assembly has since insisted on the installation of fire suppression or sprinkler systems in all new homes.
Read more: How to Overcome Fire Safety Problems
Many saw this as sensible, but others resented the additional charge for just being on the other side of Offa’s Dyke.
For a while, it seemed like self building here was harder than anywhere else in the UK, but this looks to be changing.
Now, the Welsh government has allocated £210m to a new scheme aimed at diversifying the housing market. The scheme offers loans to self builders.
Under this initiative, due to go live in mid 2019, the scheme will provide loans for pre-agreed building plots. These are repayment free for up to two years, or until home owners choose to complete or mortgage the property.
The upshot is that self building now has the real potential to be a viable option for everyone in Wales, not just for those who are better off.
This project will make permissioned plots available through local authorities and housing associations. Individual sites will have passports detailing the price, approved designs, estimated construction fees and choices for personalisation. Interested parties can view all of the plots currently available, as well as those being prepared on an interactive map online.
Approved applicants can make a reservation with a deposit of 25% of the site’s value. The development loan covers the balance of the plot (75%) and the full construction cost. To apply, applicants must meet the qualifying criteria, not own another property at the time of completing works and won’t be able to rent or sell their completed new home for five years.
People can apply for up to five sites but will only be offered one. Once accepted, will be precluded from applying for another.
It’s open to everyone, not just first-time buyers, so those looking to go up or down the housing ladder can also get involved.
The Federation of Master Builders Cymru and NACSBA have welcomed the scheme. It should prove a big boost to small construction companies who have struggled against the dominance of the big developers and deserve to succeed.
For more details, go to gov.wales/self-build-wales