BuildStore CEO Raymond Connor says, “We need to review what custom build really means.”

Over the past 12 months, custom build has been a buzzword within our industry. However, not much has happened over the last year. This was down to the fact that there were very few companies within the wider property sector that knew much about the market’s potential.

custom build

However, the recent Housing White Paper, which has effectively given government endorsement to custom build, has had an enormous effect and brought this route to homeownership to the forefront of people’s minds in the industry.

Since the Paper was published we, BuildStore, have had renewed interest from lenders who are attracted to custom build due to the assistance that professional developers can offer to purchasers.

We are in the process of speaking to a variety of lenders about what custom build entails, and the advantages of entering the market. However, the question always asked by lenders is: “What is the difference between self-build and custom build?”

Each month we seem to have a more firmed up view that custom build is all about developer involvement, with developers providing the opportunities.

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2017 tender and building costs are poised to grow at a faster rate than in 2016

The Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland released their PwC Construction Survey Report 2017 this week, showing that their Tender Price Index increased 6 per cent over the course of 2016.

tender and building costs

“If price inflation continues to grow at the current level, it is anticipated that pricing levels will return to the levels last seen in 2006 and 2007 in the next few years,” commented the authors.

The clear majority of respondents (90 per cent) expected an uptake in residential construction activity in 2017.

The good news for self-builders is that despite the increase in tender costs, the cost of building has only increased marginally over the same period.

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How to Get Planning Permission First Time

Getting planning consent for the perfect scheme can be a major stumbling block on the road to a successful project. Mike Dade shares the secrets that will give you the best possible chance of winning approval.

Most self-builders and renovators, having secured a plot or building to convert or refurbish, want to get on with the build as quickly as possible. With planning applications taking at least two months from submission to decision, nobody wants to go through the process more than once if they can avoid it.

So, what are the causes of delays and refusals in the planning process – and what steps can you take to avoid them and give yourself the best possible chance of securing consent at the first attempt?

Common sticking points

The most frequent causes of delays and refusals can be grouped into three broad categories: content and presentation of the application; conflicts with policy and planning officers’ opinions; and political issues. Many applications are delayed on submission because the council won’t validate and register them.

Forms, plans, accompanying reports and information and the necessary fee must all be correctly presented. The eight-week period for determining the application won’t start until the council is satisfied that everything is present and correct.

Once underway, any conflicts with local or national planning policy (or the planning officer’s interpretation of those policies) can result in rejection – or at least a request for you to make amendments, which will have obvious ramifications for your schedule.

Finally, where the project is locally contentious, applications can sometimes be rejected at committee, even if you have the support of your council’s planning officer.Working with a specialist design and build company, such as Potton, can take some of the hassle out of the planning process. The company’s expert team came up with a sensitive plan to knock down the Kings’ existing 100m2 bungalow and replace it with a new, eco-friendly dwelling that was twice the size. Planning was quickly granted without a hitch.

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Can 200,000 starter homes be built by 2020?

The claim: The government will not be able to achieve the manifesto commitment to build 200,000 starter homes by 2020.

The verdict: It currently seems unlikely because money has only been set aside for 60,000 starter homes. Also, the current plan is for 22% of new developments to be starter homes, which would mean one million suitable homes being built by 2020 – that would be a significant acceleration of house building.

The government announced on Tuesday that it had given the go-ahead for the construction of thousands of starter homes.

Starter homes are new homes built for first-time buyers between 23 and 40 years old, sold at least 20% below market value. The maximum price after the discount has been applied is £250,000 outside London and £450,000 in the capital.

The Conservatives made a commitment in their manifesto for the 2015 general election to build 200,000 starter homes – the pledge to do so by 2020 was repeated in the call for expressions of interest in building starter homes that was released last March.

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Home improvements can affect your Home Insurance

Britain is a nation of property nuts and when it comes to home improvements we spend an absolute fortune.

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Recent figures from SAGA show that just over one in three homeowners splash out an average of £2,000 every year on changing their properties. As the price of buying a bigger and better property goes up, and to avoid the hassle and costs that go with moving, the mantra of many has become ‘Improve, don’t move’.

However, what plenty of property owners don’t realise is that they could be invalidating their Home Insurance by making improvements.

If major building work such as converting a loft into an extra bedroom or erecting a conservatory isn’t carried out correctly, following all the relevant permissions and regulations, or the insurer isn’t informed so that policy terms can be amended accordingly, then your cover may become null and void.

As the buildings element of a Home Insurance policy is based on a property at the point the insurance is taken out, it stands to reason that a change to the structure means that any existing cover may no longer apply.

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