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Self-build and custom housebuilding

Self-build housing can be described as ‘any instance where a person is involved in some way in the production of their new home rather than buying from a speculative home builder’. The level of involvement can therefore vary greatly, from simple purchase of the site and appointment of a contractor, to project management of the design and construction and undertake all the building work oneself. There are also examples of community self build where a group forms on its own or is brought together by an organisation, and the participants either work on each other’s homes until all the units are complete or subdivide land into plots and organise the construction of their home individually. Such is the possible scope of involvement in the construction process that the term ‘custom build’ housing is now also commonly used.

We would like to positively encourage self and custom build within the district as it helps to increase the provision of housing, and often delivers better design and build standards. We are currently working on developing a number of ways to enable those interested in self and custom build to get started on their plans. Information on the progress so far can be found below.

Custom build dwellings policy

We have developed a custom build dwellings policy as part of the Policies, Sites and Places Plan (PSP). Policy PSP42 Self-Build and Custom Housebuilding sets out how we will enable custom build through the provision of land in South Gloucestershire. Details of the policy can be found in the PSP Plan which was adopted on the 8th November 2017.

Register your details

Following the results from the self-build survey in 2014 and government legislation, we will now hold a Self and Custom Build Register. If you are interested in any part of the design and construction of your own home or are a member of an interested group, then we would like you to apply to the South Gloucestershire Self-build Register. The information will be used in a number of ways such as to help inform planning and housing policy. The government has required councils to establish registers with certain eligibility criteria. Therefore, if you have applied to The Local Self Build Register previously then you will need to apply again as there are some new questions that are necessary as part of this legislation.

Apply to the South Gloucestershire Self-build register

Changes to the self-build register

We intend to introduce a fee for applicants joining and remaining on the register, in order to meet the costs of meeting the statutory duty, and will consult on options later this year.

Further to changes in government guidance, the council will be bringing in local connection criteria (a local connection test) which will apply to all applications to the self-build register.

We intend to bring in local connection criteria from 1 February when the register will be divided into two parts:

Part 1 – people who meet the local connection test and the basic eligibility set by central government

Part 2 – people without a local connection but who meet the basic eligibility set by central government

To meet the local connection criteria applicants will be required to have a local connection to South Gloucestershire Council through residency, close family or work.


Funding is available from the Homes and Communities Agency through The Custom Build Serviced Plots Loan Fund. This provides loans for infrastructure costs on projects with planning permission for five or more plots.

Residential Land Survey (Small Sites)

The Residential Land Survey (RLS) has a list of sites that are identified as available for housing development under current planning policies.

The survey covers small sites that have been identified for residential use as a result of either:

  • the council granting detailed or outline planning consent
  • a resolution to approve subject to completion of a Section 106 agreement
  • a successful planning appeal
  • an allocation in the South Gloucestershire Local Plan
  • a proposed housing allocation in the Core Strategy/site which is progressing through the planning application process

Small sites are defined as those that can accommodate fewer than 10 dwellings.

The RLS sets out small sites with planning permission. The following information is listed for each planning permission:

  • site address
  • description of proposed development
  • application number
  • permission type
  • site status
  • notes

The “notes” section highlights any relevant notes relating to dwelling losses accounted for in previous surveys, extension of time applications etc.

Disclaimer It is important to note that South Gloucestershire Council cannot guarantee that the sites outlined in the RLS will be available for sale or for self-build development. However as part of promoting the self-build initiative central government does ask that councils promote the policy and also attempt to link those interested in self build to the correct information which is readily available. It is however up to those who are interested to engage with potential site owners themselves.

We have a page with South Gloucestershire Council sites for sale or rent.

More information

The following websites and organisations champion self and custom build and provide plenty of interesting and helpful information:

If you would like to discuss anything further or require further information please contact us by e-mail at


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