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Building Products October 2017

DOORS, WINDOWS AND ACCESSORIES benefits that can arise from the popularity of selfbuilding – particularly for small businesses in an industry such as door manufacturing and retail. Their products are normally unnecessary for families purchasing a pre-built home. However, they are imperative for people who have chosen to self-build instead. Door manufacturers and retailers are becoming increasingly reliant on these types of customers. They ensure these businesses remain in demand. This is especially the case for small companies wishing to compete with a lot of the betterknown businesses. It also enhances the potential more trade with local independent trades-people such as joiners, carpenters and fitters who are regularly the ones chosen to complete the work for the customer. Trades-people trust small businesses to supply reliable services and products that help keep their customers satisfied. However, self-building is still not as popular as it could be in the United Kingdom. Although thousands of people express an interest in building their own dwelling, few are actually able to go through with it. At one point, it was estimated that 12 million people have the desire to commission their own home or build the house themselves. In actuality, the number of people who go 48 BUILDING PRODUCTS | OCTOBER 2017 through with it remains less than 15,000. This is a higher figure than we are used to seeing previously in the United Kingdom, but we are still lagging behind most other European countries in this regard. In France and Germany, for instance, almost half of all homes are delivered through self-building. It is so popular in Germany that it is rarely even referred to as self-building; it is simply building. Why is there this contrast between how many people would like to self-build and how many people choose to do it? One of the major problems is that very few first-time buyers – arguably the demographic that would benefit from it most – are able to self-build. Despite government promises that the mortgages for selfbuilding would rise by over 140%, many first-time buyers continue to find themselves turned down. In order to acquire a mortgage for self-building, people are often told they need to provide up to 25% of the cost themselves. This can eventually come to around £30,000 depending on where you live in the UK (it is far more if you live in a major city like London). Considering GOBanking Rates found that 72% of 18 to 24 year olds have less than £1500 in their savings accounts, this makes self-building impossible. The funding model for self-building <<< Continued from page 47 disproportionately favours those who already own a home. It is not just young Britons who find selfbuilding challenging. Everyone, no matter what age, faces difficulty in competing with developers for land, having to liaise with planners and attempting to understand the complex regulations that surround self-building. This alone can take up to a year before any building work even begins. These are among the main reasons why so many potential self-builders who browse products or seek advice from small businesses providing building supplies never convert into actual customers. The process is too long, too complicated. A thriving self-build market is good for small businesses that provide home products like doors, floors or windows. Although it has become fashionable in the last few years, contributing to a rise in people choosing to self-build, the UK is still building fewer self-build dwellings than neighbouring countries in Europe due to its complexity and expense. Continuing to make the process easier is not only beneficial to businesses; it also helps individuals get onto the housing ladder and realise the home of their dreams. Gary Murray is the Ecommerce Manager for Leader Doors


Building Products October 2017
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