Start a CLT - Building the homes, including self build

Developing Homes

Building a scheme may well be the shortest and most exciting phase of the whole project. It is also a complex and expensive process and benefits from early preparation and the advice and support of professional expertise throughout. 

A CLT can opt for a variety of building contracts or to work in differing partnership models with housing associations and developers to build out the scheme. One important thing to consider when looking at your procurement options is your CLTs attitude to risk and control. If you would prefer to delegate risk through a building contract or partnership then you also delegate some control. 

There are a variety of different building contracts that can be used (the most common is design and build), or it may be appropriate to acquire the homes 'off the shelf' or on a turnkey basis.

You may be interested in self-build or self-finish options - see below - or a refurburbishment option.

If you are thinking about partnering with a housing association or a developer there are different variations of these models too.

There is more information on development options in the CLT Handbook in the Members' Area.

Self Build and Self Finish 

Self Build (also known as Custom Build) and self finish is a specialist area of development that some CLTs are interested in exploring.

Self build involves your potential residents putting in their own time to assist with the construction of the homes thereby reducing some (or even all) of the labour costs. They become in effect the contractor or one of the subcontractors and a site manager will need to be employed to support, advise and supervise them. The scheme will need to be designed with self-build in mind and the self-builders will need to be identified/selected immediately – before the homes are built. You will need to ensure that your self-builders understand the considerable demands on their time and receive appropriate pre-contract training such as at the Centre for Sustainable Technology at Machynlleth. When the homes are next sold of course, the self-builders receive their equity and at this point the affordability advantage is partially lost.

With self-finish, the self-builders either buy or rent the partly completed home with a requirement that they then complete certain works or act as subcontractors to the main contractor for the self-finish component.

A good example of a self-build CLT is that of St Minver in Cornwall. Twelve residents were provided with the plots ready with planning permission, foundations and timber frames allowing the self-builders to fill in the rest. A project manager was appointed to oversee the process. 

For more information about custom build, self build and self finish please visit the Self Build Portal  and Ecomotive.

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