It has been while since I have written a post. This is in part due to the demands of fieldwork as I have been out and about visiting selfbuilders and their homes. But it is also the case that I have been working hard to produce a report on the first stages of the research.
The first iteration of this was the presentation I gave back in January. At this time, I presented data collected in the first two stages of the project to map selfbuild in Britain and also to describe what I saw going on in terms of where selfbuild currently sits in relation to the wider field of housing production and consumption. This was a useful exercise and has fed into the report that I will release next Monday (2nd June 2014). It has been exciting working on and with this data, not least because it has helped me to work through the complex landscape of selfbuild in Britain and make sense of this in my own mind.
In putting together the report, I have been struck by several things:
(1) The need for a clearer definition–selfbuild does not capture the diversity of the population and routes of delivery engaged to procure such housing;
(2) The need for better quantifications of such housing–while the VAT return data aids in this, our knowledge of the extent for self-provision could be improved if the Survey of English Housing included a question on whether selfbuild was a route into current owner-occupation and The Department for Communities and Local Government ‘s Housebuilding Statistics on private investors could be disaggregated further to include selfbuild, self-organisation and self-commisioning of homes.
(3) The need for products and services that are tailored to the selfbuild experience–one example of this is would be financial products that further aided selfbuilders in managing and maintaining their cash flows.
These are just some of the recommendations that the report will draw attention to, so watch this space!