Following my post on why I am interested in selfbuild as a research topic, I thought it might be useful to let you know a bit more about how I have located my project. This is the abstract that I have just submitted to the research council:
The self-building of homes is being promoted as one solution to the shortage of affordable houses in Britain. Currently, self-build projects account for 14% of the new homes built, a percentage equivalent to or greater than that of any single housebuilding firm. This form of housing provision is, however, understudied, with the result that there is very little understanding of who the people are who choose to build their homes, the motivations for this residential practice and experiences of self-building. This project aims to correct this lacuna of knowledge, conducting a systematic enquiry into self-building in Britain, taking seriously the need to know who is using self-build, what their characteristics are and to what extent they succeed in their aims, as well as exploring how the selfbuild market is structured.
The project will be conducted over three years, and is comprised of several different modes of data collection and analysis, engaging selfbuild households, potential selfbuilders, industry professionals and experts, national and local planning authorities. This will be supplemented with a review of planning and housing policies, and analysis of popular representations of selfbuild in Britain.