Everything you need to know about the self-build register

You’ve got to be in it to win it - so the saying goes. Locating that dream plot to build your home is within reach and as a self-builder you can register with your local authority under the Right to Build scheme which supports people wishing to build their own homes.

The Right to Build scheme launched in April 2016, when the Housing & Planning Act came into effect. Since then local authorities across England have been keeping a register of people and groups interested in building their own homes. Prospective self-builders can demonstrate their desire to build a home with their local authority via the Right to Build Register. 

The Self-Build and Custom Housebuilding Act doesn’t currently apply to Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland so there isn’t a requirement to register but it is something the Welsh Assembly could vote in, if they wished to. Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland have a separate legislative process.

How does it work?

By gathering this information, local authorities can make enough plots available for self-builders on the register. There is no guarantee you will be offered a plot but the legislation creates more opportunity for self-build and custom build in your area. The legislation also ensures that planning permission has been granted on these plots within three years.

What does it mean for a self-builder?

Joining your local self-build register makes your contact details available to local authorities in areas where you’d like to build your home. You can leave details of your bespoke needs including where you want to build, type of home and size. If you meet the eligibility criteria, you’ll be automatically added to their own local registers. They may get in touch to inform you of opportunities in your area but the information you give also helps to determine how many self-build plots become available and help to shape local planning and housing policy.

How do you register?

As a self-builder you can register through your local authority website or some local authorities use the Local Self Builder Register to gather their information.

When applying, you must be able to show proof that you are a British citizen or a member of the European Economic Area or of Swiss nationality and are aged 18 or over. The council will request proof of identification. The registration form will ask you about the type of plot you’re interested in and the kind of property you’d like to build. Remember, the local authority is not legally bound to find a plot to match your needs, they are required to make enough plots available to meet the demand in your area.

Land Planning