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An eventful month

Some months I’m sitting here chewing the end of my HB pencil, wondering what to write about. Others, it seems that everything is happening at once. As I write this piece, it’s a few short weeks after the general election results were announced. We’re all reeling from a series of unexpected events that have shattered the cosy confidence of the Tories and given an unforeseen boost to Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party. One possible factor being mooted for the shock outcome was the high turnout of young voters disaffected by a perceived lack of opportunity for home ownership or rental at sensible prices, because we simply aren’t building enough new dwellings – especially at the affordable end. It’s a fair point.

Indeed, one of the high-profile casualties for the Tories was Gavin Barwell, the Housing and Planning Minister. Once again we have a new appointee, the seventh to hold the post since 2010. The new Housing and Planning Minister is Alok Sharma, MP for Reading West. I’m sure the National Custom and Self Build Association (NaCSBA) will waste no time in getting a date in the diary to discuss self and custom build issues with him – especially the 10-point manifesto listing our priorities for the sector. Also on the agenda will be how self and custom build can do its part in meeting what is now a critical shortfall of new homes.

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Build It
September 2017
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Other Articles in this Issue


EDITOR'S LETTER
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READERS’ HOMES
Keen to self-build but eager to stay in the community, Dennis and Maureen Stephens came up with a clever contemporary design for a farmland plot that won over the planners
Finding the perfect home in the UK capital is no mean feat, but Andrew Overin saw the potential to transform a dilapidated terraced house into a modern dwelling
Kevin and Emma Kniveton’s vernacular cottage is anything but traditional, as their self-build has brought passive house design to the Isle of Man, and could help to kickstart many more projects like it
Sue and Richard Cansdale had a very special reason for using new government legislation to convert their cattle barn into a compact, characterful rural retreat
Jayne and Alistair Lewis’s self-build project has resulted in a two-in-one home that complements its rural setting
RENOVATION & BUILDING
Off site-manufacture is a buzz word in the housing world – but is it suitable for self-builders looking to create one-off homes?
The latest UFH systems are designed to depose radiators as the go-to retrofit heating option – but are they all they’re cracked up to be? Chris Bates takes a look at how lowprofile setups could work for your project
10 key things you need to know when planning your new
Be inspired by our hand-picked selection of striking entrances
Rebecca Foster unveils the key factors to bear in mind when planning your dwelling’s new showering zone
Looking for a sustainable, low-carbon alternative to mains gas? Nigel Griffiths explains the benefits and costs of these wood-fuelled heating systems
EXPERT HELP
It’s one of the most popular additions to a modern home, but you need to know the basics before you start planning this new open-plan zone, says Julian Owen
Understanding the intricacies of your council’s development policies will stand you in good stead when looking for the perfect plot and gaining planning consent for your project, says Mike Dade
The external walls will be vital in controlling the thermal efficiency of your new house. Tim Doherty explores the energy performance of key brick and block systems
Whether you’re on an ultra-tight budget or simply want to stay in control of your spending and make the most of your hardearned cash, Mike Hardwick’s tips will help you keep your project on track
Out-of-date heating and plumbing installations are common in heritage houses – even if they’ve been renovated in the past. Alan Tierney reveals his top tips on bringing your property up to scratch
The Speltons want to self-build on a plot large enough to be subdivided into further sites that can be sold off later on. Could a small pasture owned by some friends provide a viable option? Mike Dade investigates the route to planning success
NEWS
This striking home in rural Perthshire is the result
Situated within the grounds of a working farm, this
Richard Bacon MP wants more land to be made available
A selection of sites, aimed at people who want to build
Saffron Building Society has introduced a new interest-only
Featuring attractive grey veining across its surface
Great shopping ideas for your custom home project
It’s never too early to start looking for the finishing touches for your self-build
REGULARS
Got a funny story, a gripe or some superb self-build advice? Write to us at buildit@castlemedia.co.uk or the address below for your chance to win a prize
Our judges have handpicked a six-strong shortlist of self-build, renovation and conversion projects – now it’s your turn to tell us which one you think deserves to be crowned the best home of 2017
12 issues delivered to your door for only £28 PLUS
Essential advice on your problems with building, budgeting, DIY & planning from the most experienced names in the self-build industry
Looking for funding for your self-build project? Each month we round up the best deals from leading lenders – and update you on what you need to know about securing the right finance
October issue on sale 30th August
We catch up with Rachel Pyne, operations director at BuildStore, about how specialist mortgages can benefit self-builders