Self-build and custom housebuilding projects

What are self-build and custom build projects?

Self-build is a versatile term. It allows an individual to design, build and live in a property that has been made to their own specification.

Typically, an individual will buy a plot of land. They will then get planning permission to build their home.

They might build the property themselves, or employ contractors or subcontractors.

Some self-build projects can be led by a community group. This approach to housebuilding helps support local communities and economies, by providing affordable housing. It encourages civic engagement and pride, via the design and delivery of the homes.

Custom build refers to the process where an individual works with a developer to help build a home designed to the individual's specifications.

The developer might find the plot, manage the construction or arrange financing.

Custom build could be seen as a more 'hands-off' approach, but the property will still be tailored to the individual's needs.

Visit the National Custom & Self-Build Association's website for more information about either type of project.

What are the benefits?

The self-build and custom build approaches can:

  • help to increase housing provision
  • often deliver better design and build standards
  • help to promote the individuality and character of a local area
  • support local developers and building firms

Register your interest

We keep registers of people who are interested in carrying out their own self-build or custom build projects. This helps us understand the demand for such projects within our districts.

If you register your interest, you are not making a commitment. We use the information to understand local demand - registration does not guarantee that a suitable plot will be identified, or become available, for you.

To be eligible for entry onto the register, you - or all members of the group or association you represent - must be:

  • aged 18 or over
  • a British citizen, a national of an EEA state other the UK, or a national of Switzerland
  • seeking - either alone, or with others - to acquire a serviced plot of land in Babergh or Mid Suffolk, to build a house to occupy as your sole or main residence

We review the register regularly. If we have reason to believe that an individual or any member of an association is no longer eligible, these entries may be removed.

While we use the information on the register to guide local policy on self-build homes, we cannot by keeping this register make a commitment to provide self-build or custom build plots to the specific individuals on the register.

Apply for the register

You can apply to formally register your interest via our online application form:

Apply to register your interest for a self or custom build project

Sources of information, advice and funding

The following sources are external websites, unless otherwise stated. We do not hold responsibility for their content. They are provided as a guide only.

The following sites could be useful when seeking a plot:

The Planning portal provides a range of guidance and information on Self-Build projects, from considering the location, submitting planning permissions and acquiring land, as well as financing a project. It can also be used to connect self and custom builders with local trades and skill providers:

For information on different types of self-build - and to learn what could be best for you and your budget - visit: