Contact Us

Grand Designs? Self-Build Meets Modular, A Manchester Mashup

Cosy self build, in a modular format

It had to happen, and now it has. Modular, the housebuilding technology touted as the future of residential, has collided with self build, the housebuilding methodology also touted as the future, to produce modular self build.

MyPlot, a platform launched by Salford-based land promoter Strategic Land Group, streamlines the self-build process, from sourcing the right plot through to hiring the experts. This includes experienced self-build providers, mortgage advisors, architects and contractors. They say it is the first ever platform to offer everything in a single location. 

Self build has often been tipped for greatness. MyPlot said that it accounts for just 7% to 10% of new housing in the UK (8% in the most recent figures, or around 12,000 homes per year). However, in countries including Austria self-build figures are as high as 80%.

MyPlot aims to support the government target of increasing annual completions to 20,000. Despite constant hype and government encouragement, self build has consistently failed to deliver, thanks largely to the difficulty of securing mortgage finance, the high upfront costs, and the sheer time and labour involved. Laments began in earnest in 2013.

Modular housing is another good idea whose heyday is tomorrow. Whilst some have blamed the planning system for its slow progress, the high upfront costs of creating, equipping and stocking a factory capable of reliable high-quality off-site construction are a deterrent to developers who already face the high upfront costs of land and planning. Modular building's promised economies of scale only kick in once production growns, adding another cost and risk.

Although Birmingham City Council is investing in modular, and significant backers like Legal & General are moving into the sector, output is still small and has not always won plaudits.

“In recent years the government has been very supportive of self build, introducing policies to oil the wheels and make it more attractive financially, but it’s often the practical considerations that put people off, such as financing the project and living arrangements during the build," MyPlot Director Paul Smith said.

"Those who do believe self build could be an option usually don’t make it past the first hurdle of finding a plot, let alone securing planning and a self-build mortgage. MyPlot democratizes self build, removing the mystery from the process.

“There is also a job to be done to challenge the assumption that self build is something pursued only by the wealthy or those with Grand Design-style ambitions. In reality, it’s a financially savvy option, costing around a third less than it would to purchase an equivalent property."