Self Build

Groups, organisations and resources for the self builder.
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Self build:

If you are planning a self build project, we have listed some useful websites by owners who have carried out their own self build projects. There are also numerous interesting examples on the Channel 4 site Grand Designs, which has articles on all the houses featured on the TV show. Self build projects are not something to be undertaken lightly and even the most experienced person is likely to need help -consider the benefits of joining a self build group to pool skills and resources.

Another approach is to use a system-build solution -timber frame. is the most popular. A very useful source of information is the Walter Segal Self Build Trust, who have been pioneering the architect's self build solutions for many years, and have a large number of successfully completed projects.

HousePlanner Review: Self Build and Renovation for Dummies, published by John Wiley and Sons
This book really does try to cover all angles. Those already familiar with the 'dummies' format will know what to expect -a comprehensive subject guide interspersed with tips, warnings and background technical information. Aimed at those starting out with limited knowledge, even experts are bound to find useful information within the book's 370 pages.
Subjects covered include the planning process, raising finance, types of construction and managing your project. As well as self build of new buildings, the book also has sections on house renovation, alternative forms of construction and eco homes. On the downside, all those words leaves no room for pictures, which is a pity.
Available through Amazon or from the publishers, John Wiley and Sons.
Self Build and Renovation for Dummies (Paperback)
by N. Walliman
John Wiley and Sons Ltd
Paperback 27 Oct 2006
Price in UK pounds


The National Self Build and Renovation Centre opened in Swindon in February 2007. The Centre is the UK's biggest permanent self build and renovation exhibition and has everything under one roof for homebuilders, with 67,000 square feet of exhibition space, over 200 exhibitor partners, a Potton show-house and a Renovation Zone. Follow this link for tickets to the exhibition.

Self build Information:

  • Books -our suggested titles on self build.
  • BIY -based in Cornwall, Build It Yourself provides environmental self build training and advice.
  • Building Plot -Directory of UK land agents and how to buy land for sale. Information for self build homes and choosing a building plot.
  • Build It Forum -useful discussion forum on all aspects of self build.
  • Channel 4 Grand Designs -the TV series with presenter Kevin McCloud following eight sets of people as they built their own homes.
  • Developing Skills -self build courses in association with Homebuilding and Renovation Magazine.
  • Ebuild -online resource for self-builders, with discussion and events forums.
  • Forever Green -run by architect Rob Hillier, an architect who specialises in environmentally friendly building buildings and working with community self build groups.
  • Green building store -environmentally sensitive building products from Environmental Construction Products Ltd of Meltham, Yorkshire.
  • National Homebuilding and Renovating Show -register online for tickets.
  • PlotSearch -the National Building Plot Register, is the most comprehensive and up to date UK source of Self build opportunities.
  • Self Build ABC -comprehensive resource on self build houses offers details on building plots for sale, purchasing land for sale through land agents, planning and constructing a self build home.
  • -self build finance and insurance, plus useful message board.
  • -information about self-build homes, building plots and plots of land for sale in the UK.

Self Build Groups:

Self Build Projects:

  • AI Passivhaus -partly earth sheltered, this Cotswold house was the first certified Passivhaus in England, and featured on Grand Designs.
  • Bob's Huf Haus -blog account of the construction of a Huf Haus in East Sussex by Bob, a retired civil engineer.
  • Cheltenham House -underground eco house by Tim Bawtree and his wife, Zoe featured on Grand Designs. The house was built build on a small 24m x 6m plot behind their regency house in a Conservation Area of Cheltenham, surrounded by Grade II and GradeII* listed buildings.
  • Cloud 8 -Tom Perry's personal account of the difficulties in building his innovative dream house inBuckinghamshire.
  • Curved House -David and Anjana Devoy's house in Clapham, as featured on Channel 4's grand designs.
  • EcoHomeEu -sustainable self build house in South West France.
  • Eddystone Selfbuild -a personal account of self building.
  • East Cambusmoon Farm -Steve and Deb's blog about their new low energy house specified to AECB Silver standard, being built on a farm in Scotland.
  • Huf Haus Blog -Ric Capucho's account of building his Huf Haus in Switzerland.
  • Lower Oak Barn Conversion -a blog account on the ups and downs of a self build barn conversion near Wrexham.
  • Moonstone -John Croft and Leigh Grainger's Cotswold Ecohouse project.
  • Oxlet Self Build -account of self build project in Herefordshire involving both a new, externally insulated house, and conversion of a stone barn.
  • Peckham House -featured on Grand Designs, this infill house by Monty Ravenscroft features a large sliding rooflight, tango dance studio for partner Claire, under-bed spa bath and a host of other features.
  • Russell House -Ross Russell and Sally Morris' spectactularly colourful self build house in Suffolk with its innovative sliding roof.
  • The Big White House -the self build project built by Darron Coppin and Tom Watkins at the Sussex coastal village of Pett Level and featured on Chennel 4's Grand Designs.
  • Threshing Barn -Philip and Angela Traill's hi tech listed barn conversion featured on Grand Designs.
  • TreeHouseClapham -the story of Will Anderson's eco house in Clapham, diarised in the Independant from Sept 2004 to moving in on 1st March 2006 and subsequently published as "Diary of an Eco Builder".
  • Undergound House -low energy earth-sheltered house built in a disused quarry site in the east of Cumbria and featured on grand Designs in 2003.

Timber Frame:

  • See our timber frame page for timber frame self build systems.

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