Ever Thought About Building Your Own Home?

This is a Guest blog by Ipswich Building Society

It’s no secret there’s a chronic shortage of housing in the UK. Alongside this, would-be owners and home-movers are facing increasing house prices which, according to latest data from the Office for National Statistics, are up 4.7% in the last 12 months to £370,000 for a UK detached property.

One of the ways in which the government is seeking to tackle this problem is by prioritising the use of Modern Methods of Construction in house building. Known as MMC, this is where homes are built, whether by owner occupiers or developers, using alternative methods to the traditional ‘brick and block’ construction.

Manufacturing takes place offsite in factories, then they are typically transported to the site in sections and assembled. This method of mass production can enable self builders to save time and money when looking to build their own property.

Whilst this may sound familiar, today’s prefabricated methods are worlds apart from the prefab housing which was used as a quick and cheap replacement for houses destroyed in the Second World War. Some of the mainstream MMC systems include:

  • Closed-Panel Systems: Entire walls complete with cladding, doors, windows and ducting for wires/pipes are fabricated in factory before being transported and lifted into place using a crane.
  • Open-Panel Systems: The external cladding and joinery is fitted on site without a crane (useful when access is restricted).
  • Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs): This idea came to the UK from America in 2000 and provides excellent energy efficiency as the walls and roof are made from solid slabs of insulation
  • Oak Framing: Often constructed off-site, oak frames are quickly erected and encapsulated with highly insulated panels.

A builder talks to an architect

MMC has been recognised by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and the Housing Corporation as “… a process to produce more, better quality homes in less time” and The Autumn Budget 2017 stated “the government will use its purchasing power to drive adoption of modern methods of construction, such as offsite manufacturing”.

This support for MMC will be a boost for anyone thinking of building their own home or who had previously dismissed the idea. It is also worth considering that MMC isn’t limited to brand new projects, and can be integrated into a conversion of an existing property.

Alongside designing the build and the type of construction another big consideration is the financial side of the project.

Self builders can already access specialist mortgages such as those on offer from Ipswich Building Society, with the Building Societies Association commenting “building societies are generally receptive when it comes to accepting MMC as suitable security for mortgage purposes, particularly those that lend in the self-build market as they are more experienced in assessing the potential risks of non-standard construction types.”

Mortgage payments

Mortgage lenders will require you to have certain things in place prior to making an application. For instance, you will need to:

  • Find a suitable plot of land
  • Obtain planning permission
  • Have detailed plans of the property drawn up
  • Provide a realistic projection of costs
  • Have deposit saved / put aside – the percentage will depend on the lender

Criteria will vary between lenders and may include considerations such as building regulations. Those who are in any doubt about which mortgage is best should seek advice from a specialist mortgage broker.


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