Building your homes

Build stage

Although we call this the ‘build stage’, there are a few different ways that groups can acquire homes:

  • build new homes from scratch
  • buy existing homes
  • renovate empty homes
  • convert a non-residential building into homes

Your options will obviously depend on where you are. Some parts of the country are plagued by whole streets of empty homes, or poor quality homes let by absentee landlords. In other parts, these options are few and far between and new build is the only way to go.

Building new homes

Assuming you have secured a site and planning permission, there are a few ways you can build the homes, some of which are explained below. There is no ‘correct’ option – choose whatever suits the needs of the community and the group.


Self build

Members of the group work onsite (often alongside experienced builders) to build the homes themselves. Local councils now have duties to provide self-build plots to individuals and groups. Take a look at how Broadhempston Community Land Trust manage their projects.

Self finish

After builders do most of the work, residents are trained to finish off tasks like fitting kitchens and decorating. As well as learning new skills, they can gain some sweat equity or a discount off their rent in return. Take a look at Bristol Community Land Trust’s story by the National Custom & Self Build Association (NaCSBA) to find out more.

Use a contractor

Groups can commission their own builder and contractors to build out their homes, taking on as much project management as their time and skills allow. Take a look at our Heron story for some ideas.

A partner developer

You can work with a housing association or private developer to work in partnership through the build stage with you. Sometimes the housing association may go on to mange the homes once built. You can see an example of partnership development by reading the story of Keswick Community Housing Trust.