FAQs

Read our FAQs on the Self Build Wales scheme.

For applicants - General

The Self Build Wales scheme has been established by the Welsh Government to help remove the barriers and uncertainty that prevent people in Wales from building their own homes. 

In doing so, underdeveloped or underused land will be transformed into suitable plots for new self-build and custom-build homes.

Plots are available with pre-approved designs to choose and planning permission in place.

The scheme is delivered by the Development Bank of Wales on behalf of the Welsh Government. 

 

Finance through the Development Bank of Wales

Removing the constraint often associated with self-build developments, the Development Bank of Wales manages a £40 million fund which provides self-build development loans to cover 75% of the cost of the plot, and full building costs.

For more information on finance visit the For applicants page.

Self-building is one of the few activities where building bespoke is more cost effective than purchasing the ready-made equivalent. It removes developer profits and provides you with the opportunity to build a home that is more tailored to your lifestyle as well as your budget. 

You do not have to currently live in Wales to apply for the scheme but you must build your new home in Wales.

Currently, this is the only scheme of its kind in the UK.

Plots are available to everyone, not just first time buyers. Self Build Wales is designed to suit as many needs as possible including those that need a bigger house, looking to downsize but stay in their area or are looking for an adapted home. However the property must be the applicant’s main residence and only property upon occupation on the completed build. 

Sites will be ‘Open for Applications’ (green status) for up to 6 weeks on the Find a Plot map and list. Depending on the number of applicants it could take up to two months to fully assess and for final decisions to be made although, in most instances, it should be much sooner than that.

If you wish to find out more information about the scheme, you can:

Yes – provided you have the means to repay the self-build development loan within the 24 month term. This could be through the sale of your existing home if downsizing. You will need to seek advice from a mortgage advisor who will be able to assess individual circumstance to ensure the scheme is suitable.

Yes – provided you meet the affordability and eligibility criteria for a mortgage to repay the self-build development loan within the 24 month term. Prior to applying for the scheme, we recommend all customers seek advice regarding their individual circumstances to ensure the scheme is suitable.

The Self Build Wales scheme can only be used to purchase a plot via the interactive map, and fund the subsequent development on that plot. The Self Build Wales loan cannot be used as a funding mechanism to build a property on a privately owned plot.

We recommend that you contact a financial institution which specialises in self-build mortgages in this instance.

For applicants - Building your home

Each plot will come with a plot passport containing the designs that have been pre-approved for that site. Applicants should build a home using one of the pre-approved designs from the plot passport. Designs range in size and cost from 2 bedrooms up to 5 bedrooms.

Energy efficiency will be a key priority for every plot.

Please note such designs are only starting points and designs can be adapted to suit specific occupants and sites. However, doing so may affect the overall building costs.

The maximum term of the self-build development loan is 24 months. Once the build is complete, the applicant pays back the loan in full via a standard mortgage or through the sale of their existing home if downsizing. Therefore, the property should be in a suitable condition to obtain a mortgage within 24 months. As much of the planning regulation and site works have been completed prior to application, it is anticipated that the time required to build the majority of homes would be significantly shorter than 24 months.

All properties built under the scheme will benefit from full insurance backed structural warranties from suitable providers such as LABC, NHBC, Zurich, Checkmate, CRL etc. together with building regulations sign off. This will be covered as part of the plot cost.  

The maximum term of the self-build development loan is 24 months. Applicants unable to complete the build / repay the loan within this period will be assessed on a case by case basis.

Applicants can withdraw their application at any point prior to the purchase of the land. Once the land has been purchased, if the applicant wished to withdraw, they would be at risk of losing some or all of their deposit and could be liable for any fees or charges incurred throughout the process so far.   

In the event of an exceptional change in personal circumstances during the build, the Self Build Wales team will assess each case on its own merit.

Because we insist on using TrustMark registered builders, all self-builds will come with enhanced protection through a network of Scheme Providers and Trading Standards integration in the event that things do go wrong.

Successful applicants are not able to rent or sell their new home for a minimum of 5 years from completion. If the property is sold within the initial 5 years, all remaining proceeds - after the lender has been fully paid - will be payable to Self Build Wales.

In exceptional circumstances, the Self Build Wales team will review this on a case by case basis. If you find yourself in this position please contact the Self Build Wales team as soon as possible and we’ll work with you.

Successful applicants must occupy their new home for a minimum of 5 years from completion. Renting out is not permitted during this period. 

In exceptional circumstances, the Self Build Wales team will review this on a case by case basis. If you find yourself in this position please contact the Self Build Wales team as soon as possible and we’ll work with you.

If you had to sell the home within five years, all of the sale proceeds after the mortgage lender has been fully repaid would be due to Self Build Wales.

In exceptional circumstances, the Self Build Wales team will review this on a case by case basis. If you find yourself in this position please contact the Self Build Wales team as soon as possible and we’ll work with you.

Building Regulation Part L, as a minimum, in line with industry standards.  However, maximising the energy efficiency of your new home will increase your chances of being awarded a plot as priority will be given to the most energy efficient properties.

For applicants - Sites and plots

All plots are located within sites around Wales.

To find a plot first you must find a site on the Find a plot page. 

To see the details of a plot (the plot passport) you need to visit an individual site page.

However, only sites with a green status (open for applications) will have plots available on the site page.

Sites with a red or amber status will only contain details on the site as they are not ready yet to progress to the application stage.

You can use the expression of interest form on these pages to sign up for email notifications to track this progress.

The availability of the sites (and therefore plots) is dependent on which plot provider (Local Authority / Housing Association) are participating in the scheme.

Sites with a red status are Under Consideration. This means that the site has been identified by the plot provider (Local Authority / Housing Association) as potentially suitable for development but is subject to initial viability checks. You can submit an expression of interest in these sites through the site page and we will contact you when they change status.

Sites with an amber status are In Planning. This means that the site is undergoing enabling works to ensure it is in a fit state of readiness for development and / or awaiting planning consent. You can submit an expression of interest in these sites through the site page and we will contact you when they are open for applications.

Sites with a green status are Open for applications. These sites are ready for development and have full plot passports available with outline planning consent in place. These plots are available for applications (but only for a limited time – normally around six weeks).

Sites with a grey status are closed - Site is no longer available for applications.

This can vary, the process of assessing the viability of a site, gaining planning permission and installing services/utilities are all subject to many variables. All of which can affect how long it takes to prepare a site to be open for applications (green status).

 

A green site which is open for applications is normally valid for a period of up to six weeks. After that, it will be marked closed.

Applications are not on a ‘first come, first served’ basis and will be assessed on the priorities set by the plot providers.

You can sign up for email notifications through an expression of interest form on a site page.

These allow you to receive updates on when that particular site changes status.

For example, you can receive an email update when:

  • A site with a red status (under consideration) changes to amber status (in planning).
  • A site with an amber status (in planning) changes to green status (open for applications).

This allows you to track the progress of a site with no plots available up to the point when it becomes open for applications and the plots become live.

If you can't find any sites in your local area don't worry, you can complete a registration of interest to sign up for updates.

This means we'll send you an email notification when a site appears in your defined local area(s) so you can visit the website to find out more.

Please note Self Build Wales is unable to control any of its email notifications being blocked or treated as junk mail by email providers (Gmail, Hotmail, Outlook, Yahoo Mail, etc). We strongly recommend checking your junk folders if you are expecting any notifications from Self Build Wales and marking any received correspondence as trustworthy.

A plot passport will provide the following information for each individual plot of land:-

  • Price of the plot
  • Planning conditions
  • Plot provider (Local Authority or Housing Association) priorities for the area
  • Approved property designs
  • Estimated build costs
  • Application process
  • Any other information that is relevant to that particular plot

Application priorities are set by the plot provider (Local Authority / Housing Association) and can differ from site to site. These can be anything that meets their local housing and social needs.

Priorities for the site you’re interested in can be found in the plot passport but don’t worry if you don’t meet them all, they are not eligibility requirements to apply.

These priorities are to help the plot provider decide on who the plot should be awarded to where there is more than one application.

You can apply for up to five plots at any given time, but once you have been successful and built your new home they won’t be able to use the scheme again in the future.   

If sites no longer appear on the map, it may have been deemed unviable to progress by the plot provider.

You can apply for multiple sites in the same area to maximise chances of building a home in your desired location. 

For applicants - Finance

Yes. As applicants are expected to raise a mortgage to repay the self-build development loan once a plot is awarded, you must consult a mortgage advisor prior to submitting your finance applications to the Self Build Wales team.  Finance applications must be submitted via a mortgage advisor using the application pack which you will receive once a plot is awarded. 

Land transaction tax (LTT) replaced stamp duty land tax in Wales from April 2018 and is collected by the Welsh Revenue Authority. The tax collected is used to support public services in Wales.

You must pay land transaction tax if you buy a property or land over a certain price in Wales.

The current land transaction tax threshold is £180,000 for residential properties and £150,000 for non-residential land and properties.

For more information visit https://gov.wales/land-transaction-tax-guide

Self Build Wales is not providing a mortgage through this scheme, it is anticipated in most cases that the loan will be repaid by taking out a mortgage on your newly built home via a standard high street lender.

Once the property is completed applicants will raise a standard mortgage via a high street lender and use these monies to repay the self-build development loan.

Applicants will pay a 25% deposit of the plot purchase price. You will not be charged any upfront costs in relation to the purchase of the plot or building the property. Once the deposit has been paid, there will be nothing to pay until the build is complete. 

We will have a network of registered advisors at different builder’s merchants across Wales. These advisors, together with your chosen builder, can help you estimate your build costs and can also guide you towards the best materials to use. Register of Independent Advisors list is available to help advise on costings and materials.

Applicants do not have to make any repayments on the loan until the property is completed. Once the property is completed the applicant will either raise a standard mortgage via a high street lender, or use funds from the sale of their existing home, to repay the self-build development loan.

The maximum loan amount will depend on the individual plot and the projected value of the completed property. The loan can also be used for any professional fees incurred provided that the end value still meets the targeted loan to value (LTV).

The maximum term of the self-build development loan is 24 months. Applicants do not have to make any repayments on the loan until the property is completed.

Interest is charged on the loan but only on the amount of funds drawn down at various stages throughout the build. Interest will be rolled up and only becomes payable at the end of the 24 month term or when the build is complete, whichever is sooner. An arrangement fee is also payable but, this will also be added to the loan and does not have to be paid until the build is complete.

Before you can move into your new home, your current property will have to be sold and the self-build development loan repaid. 

Yes - there is no reason why you will not be able to take out a mortgage through a high street lender, provided the build satisfies building control standards with a required warranty and you meet the eligibility criteria. The application process requires you to obtain an ‘agreement in principle’ for the mortgage so this will be in place before the build commences.

Applicants have until the property is complete to sell their current property. Once the property has been complete it must be the applicant’s only residence. Applicants experiencing delays in selling their current property will be assessed on a case by case basis.

For applicants - Finding builders

All builders will have to be TrustMark accredited. If you are a TrustMark registered builder, you can build your home yourself. If the builder you wish to use / you as a builder are not TrustMark registered they / you can register before they / you start work on your new home. Information on how you / your builder can become registered can be found here.

TrustMark is a Government Endorsed Quality Scheme that covers work a consumer chooses to have carried out in or around their home. In order to conduct building work on Self Build Wales homes a builder must be TrustMark registered, unless stated otherwise in the Plot Passport. When a consumer chooses a TrustMark registered business, they are engaging a business that has been thoroughly vetted to meet required standards, and has made a commitment to good customer service. For more information on TrustMark please visit the website https://www.trustmark.org.uk.

Because payments are made on a phased basis and paid retrospectively, any potential risk of loss will be minimal. When a consumer chooses a TrustMark registered business, they are engaging a business that has been thoroughly vetted to meet required standards, and has made a commitment to good customer service. For more information on TrustMark please visit the website https://www.trustmark.org.uk.

However, if this circumstance does occur Self Build Wales will work with you to find an alternative builder to complete your new home.

For builders

TrustMark is the Government Endorsed Quality Scheme that covers work a consumer chooses to have carried out in or around their home. In order to conduct building work on Self Build Wales homes a builder must be TrustMark registered. When a consumer chooses a TrustMark Registered Business, they are engaging a business that has been thoroughly vetted to meet required standards, and has made a commitment to good customer service. For more information on TrustMark please visit the website https://www.trustmark.org.uk.

To use the scheme, applicants must use a builder that is TrustMark registered.

You need to register through a TrustMark registered scheme. More information on how to register can be found by visiting https://www.TrustMark.org.uk/tradespeople/how-to-join.

Each build will be assessed on its own merit, if the build is not going to plan. The amount of contingency required is dependent on the complexity of the construction project. Typically we would expect a contractor’s contingency budget to be 5% of the total build cost.

Funds will be awarded to the contractor on completion of specific milestones throughout the build. Evidence of the work carried out and the associated costs must be submitted to the Self Build Wales in a timely manner.

Applicants will be able to build on a plot as soon as their application is accepted. Viability checks would have been complete, planning permission would be granted and utilities would be connected prior to beginning the application process.

The maximum term of the self-build development loan is 24 months. When the property is complete the applicant pays back the loan in full via a high street mortgage or the sale of their existing home. Therefore we would expect the property to be in a suitable condition to obtain a mortgage within 24 months.

Funds will be released on completion of stages throughout the build in line with Self Build Wales’ on going monitoring of the site. Stages will include (but are not limited to) preliminary costs & foundations, wall plate level, wind & watertight, first fix & plastering and completion. All stages and associated costings will be pre-agreed.

All construction must comply with current Building Regulations as a minimum standard, you need to make sure that the home meets the minimum target for energy performance.

More information can be found here.

Each plot/site will be prepared for development by the 'plot provider’ (Local Authority or Housing Association). This will include viability checks, outline planning permission, or full planning permission in some cases, and connecting services/utilities.

Some plot providers may submit set designs to the scheme, and others may wish to submit basic guidelines. If the customer is happy with the set house design and does not desire to make any changes, there is no requirement for an architect. If the customer would like to make amendments to the original designs such as altering the internal layout or increasing/decreasing the footprint of a house, they would be required to submit amended plans for approval at their own expense.

Plots with guidelines will require an architect to produce final designs to submit to the Local Authority for full planning permission.  

Elements of the build (utilities, windows etc) may be subcontracted however the principal builder would remain liable for all work undertaken. The joint tribunal contract (JTC) signed by the applicant and builder would capture this.