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Self Build and Custom Build Register

What is Self and Custom Build? 

Self-build projects are defined as those where someone directly organises the design and construction of their own home. This covers a wide range of projects from a traditional DIY self-build home to projects where the self-builder employs someone to build their home for them. Community-led projects can also be defined as self-build. 

Custom-build homes are where you work with a developer as an individual or a group to help deliver your own home. The developer may help to find a plot, manage the construction and arrange the finance for your new home. This is more of a hands-off approach but your home will be tailored to match your individual requirements. 

Self build and custom-build projects provide an opportunity for individuals or groups to have   a unique alternative to standard market housing options, enabling them to design and tailor their own home to their specific needs. 

What to Consider on your Self and Custom Build Journey? 

There are many knowledge base websites that can help you on your self and custom build journey. The companies and organisations listed below are external to Sunderland City Council and have been provided for information purposes. The list is not exhaustive and should be used as a guide. The list highlights only a small number of websites that may help you learn about self and custom build opportunities. 

Finding a Building Plot. 

There are a number of different ways that you can find a plot of land to build your self build home. 

Use the following websites to search for potential self and custom build plots in the North East and to research the self and custom build process: 

Alternatively, you can access the Council's Self Build website for updates or information about upcoming consultation events or the Council's Property Services page to see if there are any available plots of land or buildings being disposed of, that would make a suitable plot for a self build home. 

Please remember that before purchasing a plot for self build it is important  to seek the Local Planning Authority's  view on the principle of the development.   The Council provides more information on the planning advice process and how to access this service, here.  

Self and Custom Build Register 

The Self Build and Custom Housebuilding Act 2015 requires local Councils to establish local registers of people or groups looking to buy land to commission or build their own home(s). This will support aspiring self and custom builders in their area. 

What is the purpose of the register? 

The Government wants to enable more people to build or commission their own home. This register will provide an indication of the demand for self/custom build in Sunderland and allow the Council to identify sites which may be suitable for development of this type.   

Why should people or groups register? 

The Council will use the information to explore ways in which it might be possible for people and plots to be brought together. Registration does not however guarantee that a suitable plot will be identified, or become available and does not commit the Council to finding or providing a plot on your behalf. 

This register is the only method to apply to join Sunderland City Council's Self Build and Custom Build Register.  If you have previously registered with a different organisation this is unrelated to the council's register and we will not have your details. 

Who is eligible to register? 

You will need to meet eligibility criteria in order to make a valid application. An individual is eligible for entry on the register if they are: 

  • Aged 18 or over; 
  • A British Citizen, a national of an EEA State other than the United Kingdom, or a national of Switzerland; and 
  • Seeking (either alone or with others) to acquire a serviced plot. 

An association is eligible for entry in the register if each member of the association meets all of the eligibility requirements for an individual set out above. 

If you would like to register your interest for a self-build or custom build plot, please complete the online registration form.  To do this, first you will need to register online. 

Register your interest (Association)

Register your interest (Individual)

Please note that the registration form is designed to be filled in by an individual. If you wish to make an entry as a household or a group, you should nominate a member of your household or group to act as a lead individual. 

There is not currently a fee to register your interest, but there may be in future. 

What does Sunderland's Self-build Custom Build Register tell us? 

So far, as at 31 October 2021, there are 85 entrants in the register. Since the start-up of the Sunderland Self Build and Custom Build Register in 2016, 39 self or custom build homes have been granted planning permission between the 1 November 2016 and 31 March 2021. 

The Council will continue to encourage self and custom build plots through the planning system through application of Core Strategy and Development Plan Policy H1- Housing Mix, when determining planning applications. 


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