Unhealthy living environments need to know
put UK youth at risk
How far has self build come?
39% of children under the age of 15 are at risk of health issues
caused by their own homes, according to new research by Rand 30 October 2019 was a momentous day on two counts. Firstly,
Europe. A dangerous climate inside the house can include poor it was the first ever Right to Build Day – the day of reckoning for
air quality, a lack of natural light, cold temperatures or excessive local authorities across England. They have to own up to how
noise. Almost 2.5 million under-15s report that they are living in well they have handled the first tranche of self build legislation
damp or leaky homes, with rot or mould, and more than 750,000 introduced in 2016. To remind you, under the law championed
say their homes do not stay adequately warm. These problems by Richard Bacon MP, all councils in England were obliged to
are 1.7 times more likely to cause health risks, such as asthma, keep a register of those wishing to construct their own homes.
eczema and poor respiratory health. Children in homes with a Subsequent legislation within the Housing Act further compels
combination of these issues are up to 4.2 times more likely to councils to permission enough serviced plots for these parties.
experience complications. Eradicating such problems tends to
be a priority for self builders, keen on the best home possible. The National Custom and Self Build Association (NaCSBA)
have successfully lobbied the government to write to each of the
M U ST-ATTE N D local authorities demanding they report on how they have met
EVENT! their legal responsibilities. Some will take great pride in how well
they have embraced the challenge. Most will say they have
INCLUSIVE BUILD IT LIVE complied, or will find a way of making it look like they have at
DESIGN least tried. Meanwhile, others will be wondering what on earth
29th JAN KENT EVENT CENTRE they can say to cover up three years of inactivity or, in a few
FROM £47 8th - 9th FEBRUARY shameful cases, intentional obfuscation to avoid meeting their
MANCHESTER legal obligations. It will be interesting to see the results and I’m
architecture.com EVENT CITY MANCHESTER sure NaCSBA will be pushing for those local authorities who
SELF BUILD & 22nd - 23rd FEBRUARY are not pulling their weight to get their houses in order. If you
RENOVATION SHOW are actively looking for land for your project, visit www.nacsba.
31st JAN - 2nd FEB builditlive.co.uk org.uk/campaigns/right-to-build-portal to get your name down.
SWINDON The other great event was the soft launch of Build It’s Self
nsbrc.co.uk Build Education House at Graven Hill in Bicester. No doubt you
will be reading all about this project in the book bundled with this
issue but let me add my congratulations to the team involved for
a truly magnificent achievement. The house itself is superb and
showcases all that is good about self building. Immediately you
notice how much light and space has been created using a
modest footprint. The spot of land is relatively compact and the
design is built to make the most of the approved plot passport’s
maximum dimensions. The scheme features non-square rooms,
a basement and a SIPs attic room which, combined with an
open-plan design that uses pocket doors and a triple-height
hallway, creates the appearance of a much larger house than
the external dimensions would have you believe. If you get the
opportunity to drop in, then do so. I bet, like most of us there,
you’ll have the feeling that you’d be happy to move in tomorrow!
While at Graven Hill, I took the opportunity to check up on
progress at the main site. The first release of what will eventually
be 1,900 plots is almost sold out, with a range of individually
designed homes at or nearing completion. The whole place is
as far from a typical housing development as you could imagine,
with a massive variety of schemes, from traditional through to
contemporary. It’s going to be a great place to live, especially
as everyone will have their own self build story to tell.
is a self build consultant and project
management specialist. He is also
NaCSBA’s general manager. He
has first hand experience of the
processes involved and is a regular
expert at the Build It Live shows.
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