Self Build

Self Build

Self build your dream home

The idea and vision of self build is appealing to many, the chance to build your own home - built to your needs in an ideal location.

The foundations of your new home can start here...

Registering your interest with us, helps us to identify the number and location of plots of land required. 

Register your interest for your own self build today.

A bit about self build

Example drawing of a self build site layoutExample drawing of self build site layout

We successfully bid for and won DCLG funding to become a Right to Build Vanguard Authority in 2015. 

Since then we've created a self build and custom build function which aims to support people to design and build their own homes. 

Self build can potentially be lower in cost than buying an existing property – and open up the opportunity to people with modest budgets as well as those with grand plans.

The Government wants to increase self build as a means of accessing housing and we are one of 11 Right to Build Vanguard Authorities in the country.

As a chosen vanguard we have to maintain a register of people interested in constructing their own home.

Register your interest for your own self build today

If you would like to know more about the Right to Build project or have any queries about the registration, please contact us by email or call 01954 713419.

Many people join the self build register and then wonder what happens next, find out more about self build below...

Custom build housing can happen in a number of ways, from building a single house to larger developments.

Self Build Individual plot
An individual purchases a plot of land and builds a house. 
They can manage the construction process and build the house themselves or they can employ a builder, architect and project manager etc. who manage the build.

Collective custom build
Groups constitute themselves as a body to design and develop a custom build housing development which they then live in. 

They may build this themselves or with help from a developer to manage the project.

Community-led housing projects, who build mostly affordable homes in the community, will help a group of people to build homes together, either individually or in cooperation with a builder or housing provider.

Developer led build
Developers with large sites divide them it into single plots and offer a design and build service.  This gives people a chance to customise existing house designs to suit their needs and can sometimes offer a chance to finish the house yourself internally.

A Cohousing project involves a constituted group of people creating their own neighbourhood of homes, with shared facilities such as a communal house.  

A community ethos is at the heart of this type of housing.

We currently don't have any new plots available for self build projects but check back here or on Rightmove for new sites that become available.


If you are planning to build your home on your own, there are broadly three ways of financing a project: 

  • You are able to use your own savings (if so, you can probably stay in your existing home until the new one is built). 
    Sometimes people are able to supplement their own savings by arranging an informal loan from family or friends.
  • You sell your current house to raise the finance you need or use your existing property as surety for a loan to fund the new house. 
    If you have to sell your current home you might then live in a caravan on-site, or with relatives, or rent a house while the new home is built.
  • You borrow the money you need by taking out a mortgage on your proposed self-build home.

The Self Build Portal Website is a great place to find advise on Financing and Fees.

If you would like to know more about the Right to Build project or have any queries about the registration, please contact us by email or call 01954 713419.

We also have a Facebook page designed for registered Self builders to communicate and share ideas -

Some external links which provide information and guidance on Custom Self Build are below;

Contact Details 
01954 713419

The main source of land for self-build plots in the future is likely to be delivered through the planning system following revisions to planning policy and the local plan. These revisions are currently under discussion.

The emerging local plan gives developers a requirement to provide self-build/custom build on schemes of 20 homes or over (Policy H/8).

Meanwhile have audited our own land holdings to bring land plots forward to the market, at market value. 

The net receipt of these land sales will help fund more affordable council new-build homes across our District. 

When we advertise a plot it is sent out to our applicants via email, you can also find them on Rightmove.

 The process of bidding:

  • Plots of land become available once we have received outline planning permission on them.
  • we will notify all applicants on our Register about plots for sale - via email and on our dedicated SCDC Self Build Facebook page
  • we will follow this up with an email containing the sales brochure and the Bidding Document – and we will remind you of the bidding deadline around a week before its date
  • as a Self-Builder, you can put in a ‘bid’ on the piece of land. A Bid is a formal offer to purchase the land and is the price you are prepared to pay for that land
  • prior to making a formal bid, you may want to seek independent valuation advice regarding the land value. Often our land plots will have a suggested value expressed as “offers around £XXXX” – but not in all cases

Closed bidding

At the council we use a closed bidding process.

  • You return your bid to us in a sealed envelope. These envelopes are opened at the same time under strict guidelines by our Procurement Officer and a Council official.
  • You are responsible for filling out our bidding document and ensuring that it gets to our South Cambridgeshire District Council offices ahead of the deadline. Our advice would always be to hand deliver it to us, as we will provide a receipt. We will not accept bids by email.
  • The successful Bidder will be notified as soon as possible after the opening of sealed bids and the collating of that information.
  • Unsuccessful bidders will be notified shortly thereafter by email

Typically, a self build project takes about two years to build - from finding the site, building and to moving in. 

In most cases, just over half this time is spent securing the plot and lining up suitable contractors.

Approximately 6-9 months is spent onsite constructing the house. 

A simple house, on a flat site with a good crew, an accurate budget and reasonable weather, can be completed within 6 months. 

As you add in complexities such as a steep site or bad weather, then timescales lengthen.

However, the main factor is how quickly you find the land.

We aim to regularly advertise plots as they become available.
It does depend on whether you find land that suits you.

We hold an active register of people interested in custom, self build properties within South Cambridgeshire, so we can identify the number and location of plots of land required. 

If you wish to apply for the register, please complete the online form. 

We will appoint a lawyer at SCDC to deal with our land sale to you and you will need to appoint your own lawyer for the purchase.

You will need to be in a position to pay a 10% deposit upon exchange of contracts.

We will endeavour to deal with legal queries in a timely manner and conclude the sale to you as soon as possible.

We have a full-time Self Build Development Officer in post, who has the role of finding, and bringing to market with planning, the SCDC owned land plots. This officer will also be your main point of contact through the sale/purchase process

Following your land purchase, our officers are happy to offer general advice and signpost you to the relevant bodies for assistance and advice.

However we are not in a position to provide any detailed post purchase advice around planning, tendering contracts, services and infrastructure, construction, project management, and so on.

We also are unable to provide specific advice around self-build financing – but we can signpost you to various resources in this regard.

  • The scheme is limited by the land that becomes available, so we cannot guarantee when or if a suitable plot of land will be offered.
  • Most plots that become available will have services supplied up to the boundary (electricity, gas, sewerage, roads etc.).
  • Plots will be available at market value.
  • Planning conditions
  • Building Control compliance
  • CDM (Construction Design Management) requirements
  • Health & Safety Executive
  • Insurance for site if building out yourself with sub-contractors
  • Appointing a Clerk of Works or other similar technical expert to check the build on a regular basis

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