The Right to Build Task Force is launching a suite of planning guidance to support the delivery of custom and self-build homes

As part of Right to Build Day 2020*, the Right to Build Task Force is publishing the first phase of a comprehensive suite of guidance designed to support the delivery of custom and self-build homes in England.

The guidance complements existing legislation and regulations, together with the National Planning Policy Framework 2019 (NPPF) and National Planning Policy Guidance (NPPG).

The guidance aims to ensure consistent good practice in the delivery of custom and self-build homes and in particular the Right to Build legislation. It aims to fill identified gaps in what is currently available and to provide a clear steer in areas where different practice is being observed.
These documents will continue to evolve with the market, reflecting the ongoing emergence of good and ultimately best practice. They will respond to changes in legislation, regulations, planning appeals and case law, as well as to the national planning framework and guidance.
In total, the guidance will be made up of an Overview, 16 Guidance Notes and 4 Appendices, which together will make up a significant body of work (see Appendix for full list).

The first phase of the Custom and Self-build Planning Guidance (below) is available on the Right to Build Task Force’s website The documents are open to feedback until 30 November 2020, with final guidance notes to be published by 31 December 2020. The remaining documents aim to be published in three further phases.

Bryony Harrington, Head of the Task Force, said, “The Custom and Self-build Planning Guidance has been informed by the learning of the Task Force as to the delivery of custom and self-build homes in practice and, in particular, the application of the Right to Build legislation. The guidance will be indispensable for the sector, for local authorities and for other stakeholders working to bring on serviced plots, such as landowners and developers.”

“This guidance will help bring much needed certainty and consistency to the market providing a single and trusted source of information. The stated aim of the legislation back in 2016 was ‘to make it much easier for people to find land to build or commission their own home, diversifying housing supply and revitalising smaller builders who have not experienced the same level of recovery as the large housebuilders since the financial crisis’. The need for this legislation to work effectively is clearly as important now as it has ever been and the guidance will help to make this happen.”

About the Right to Build Task Force

The Right to Build Task Force operates as a consultancy, and engages with local authorities, land promoters and others to support and build capacity for custom and self-build. Using funding awarded by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) it has a remit to work with every English authority it has not engaged with to date, meaning that every region will benefit from its expertise.

The Task Force also engages with other industry bodies, and has training sessions planned in conjunction with the Local Government Association and other planning bodies.

The Right to Build legislation is centred on the Self-build and Custom Housebuilding Act 2015 (as amended by the Housing and Planning Act 2016) together with associated Statutory Instruments.

The Right to Build legislation requires all bodies in England with plan-making responsibilities to host a register of anyone wishing to build their own home, creating a demand base that they must then have regard to when fulfilling their wider housing and planning duties.

Expressly, this requires them to ‘permission’ sufficient planning applications to meet the numbers signed up to the register each year. The Right to Build Day marks the close of each annual base period, and, more importantly, the end of the longer three year cycle for which authorities have to ‘permission’ plots for those that signed up in the relevant base period. Right to Build Day 2020 marks the close of the base period 31 October 2016 to 30 October 2017 – when 15,000 joined local registers.

Each year the National Custom and Self Build Association (NaCSBA) conducts a Freedom of Information request of all English authorities to track this activity, with the findings shared both publicly and with government. The first point of action for anyone considering a custom or self-build is to sign up to their local self-build registers, by visiting NaCSBA’s Right to Build Portal (