Explosion of self-build demand shows appetite for efficient homes and MMC

The soaring demand for custom and self-build homes could give us an insight into what kind of homes people in the UK want to live in.

When new home buyers have the means, and the opportunity, to build their own homes, self-builders are moving towards efficient technology and cutting-edge building methods.

What the numbers are saying

According to data from the government, self-build demand increased by a third between 2020 and 2021. Approvals aren’t keeping up with the interest from the public right now, but the data shows that the demand and interest are soaring.

12,263 individuals joined local councils’ custom and self-build register between October 2020 and October 2021. A 31% rise year-on-year from the previous period. 157 new groups also joined the register – a 12% year-on-year rise.

Only 8,309 planning permissions were granted, however. Various factors influence this number, including barriers to the register, plot availability, awareness, and more.

Homes that have been built, however, show a significant uptake in modern construction techniques and green, efficient technology.

New tech, new techniques

At the same time as the uptick in interest, the builds taking place are racing ahead of other projects on incorporating cutting-edge technology and techniques, including modern methods of construction (MMC) and energy-efficient tech.

According to research from National Custom and Self Build Association, half of new self-build developments include a sustainable heat source in their project. More than half have included MMC as well.

According to the same research, those funding self-build were primarily driven by choice. Rather than buying a speculatively built home, they wanted control over what technology goes into their home.

What it could mean

The numbers highlight the possibility of a gap in demand between what homeowners want (or at least where homeowner demand is heading), and what’s being built.

Those with the means to do so are more frequently choosing to pursue a more environmentally friendly house, a more energy-efficient house, and they’re more frequently choosing MMC to deliver that.

Contrasting that against the wider UK picture, fewer than 2% of UK homes currently have a heat pump despite the government prioritising them as the heating choice for the future, and only 10% of UK homes are currently built with MMC techniques and products.

Although there are strong signs that MMC will see more use in the future if the UK wants to keep up with the demand for new housing.

From a warranty point of view

LABC Warranty’s priority when working with self-build and custom-build customers is to make sure their dream house gets the warranty protection it deserves.

Not all MMC systems or products can be accepted by an LABC Warranty policy, even if they’ve been approved by a third party. So if you are planning to use MMC or new energy-efficient technology in your build, the earlier you get in touch, the more LABC Warranty can do for you.

Use the contact details on this page to get in touch about your dream self-build, and our team will reply as soon as possible.

Please Note: Every care was taken to ensure the information in this article was correct at the time of publication. Any written guidance provided does not replace the reader’s professional judgement and any construction project should comply with the relevant Building Regulations or applicable technical standards. However, for the most up to date LABC Warranty technical guidance please refer to your Risk Management Surveyor and the latest version of the LABC Warranty Technical Manual.

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