Self Build Guild

  1. The Self Build Spectrum

The ‘Starter Home’ is aimed at young people on above average incomes. But what about everyone else? Could self-build become a viable first-time option?

2.The Guild – Access and Enablement

Self-build , but how do you buy land, design a home, get it through all the technical hurdles to borrow money or pass building control? We propose a ‘Guild’ which shares knowledge and enables self-build through collective agency.

  • Member-owned cooperative organisation
  • Provides access to consultants
  • Workshop for making kit-of-parts building components
  • Standard system ensures compliance Building Control, mortgage lenders, HCA funders

3. The Self and Collective

The Guild is based around the collective power.  Individuals of different circumstance can then trade time, money (or both) for a service which enables self-build.

Client: The National Custom & Self Build Association

Finance is often an obstacle to self-building.  Access to land, specialist and expert knowledge, and not least funding, preclude many would-be self-builders, and render self-build as a privileged housing option available only to aspirational ‘grand-designers’.   As opposed to focussing on the ‘Starter Home’ as a product, we have addressed the process.  This approach is rooted in the understanding that the process of making, doing, even imagining and designing your own home has many benefits for a wide number of people.  Be it skills building, confidence, a creative output, a sense of self-achievement and reliance, these are gains often cited by self-builders.

We call our model the Self-Build Guild – a cooperative set-up to provide access to specialist knowledge, technical assistance, and professional equipment and machinery.  The Guild benefits from the skills and knowledge brought by consultants who work with the organisation, and works to negotiate and purchase land for self-build projects.  Most importantly, the workshop facilities enable self-builders to make the component panels of their homes, based on an easy-build, cost-efficient timber cassette system to achieve high construction standards through off-site fabrication.

In the Guild tradition, makers with limited financial assets can trade time (or sweat equity) for materials, providing a way in which self-build could feasibly be made available and accessible as a first-time housing option for many people.

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