Self Build on a Shoestring is back for 2016 and now open for entries.

The Challenge

To design a stylish 65 sq m Starter home that can be built for £50,000 or less.

The competition details

  • This competition is open to all.
  • Your design must be capable of being customised to suit the owners – so you will need to show a number of internal layouts and provide a menu of finish or specification options.
  • The Starter Home should work as a standalone or terraced property, and might also be stacked to deliver a modest block of maisonettes or flats.
  • We want entrants to design a Starter Home that provides a reasonable living/dining area, kitchen, bathroom, study area and one or two bedrooms.
  • We are looking for cost-effective, beautiful and green designs.
  • Selected entries will be displayed at Grand Designs Live and the winners will share a £5,000 prize fund!
  • The closing dates for entries is 5.00pm, Friday 16th September.

For more information and entry forms click here

The Challenge

Design an innovative ‘self build’ starter home that can be constructed for less than £40,000.

The home had to have one bedroom, a living room, kitchen and bathroom, and be capable of being easily expanded as the family grows.

The competition was designed to showcase innovative designs that will provide an adaptable home that will last a family a lifetime.

So, the focus was on delivering a ‘modular’ solution that can either be fully self built, or part-built in a factory (to provide a watertight shell) that the self builder can then finish it off.

The Winner

Niall Maxwell from Rural Office for Architecture (in collaboration with Rhodri Thomas (system design), Kieran Rees (system development) and James Blundall (visuals & presentation)).

It was effectively a ‘flat-pack’ home made of 18mm plywood sections that were stamped out using a computer-controlled cutting machine. The machine automatically generates the plywood sections that form the floors, walls and roof. This results in very accurate cutting, and minimal waste. The system needs no additional structural support, so is easy to assemble.

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The Challenge

Design a development of 20 homes for a city site that can be built for less than £75,000 each.

The Winner

Architect Levitt Bernstein, housing provider Circle Housing and a recently formed self build community group, Naked House.

The winning entry created a solution – called SHELL – which provides a professionally built, highly-insulated timber framed ‘envelope’ that individual self builders can then adapt and complete themselves.

The basic SHELL is made using structurally insulated timber panels that are manufactured in a factory and then bolted together on site by a main contractor.  Once the SHELL has been built the home owners complete their apartments to their preferred layout and design.

The average construction cost of each home built according to this plan would be just £70,076 (plus the cost of the land).

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The Challenge

Design an innovative, ‘self build friendly’ home that could be constructed for less than £50,000.

The Winner

Architect Ed Green; an associate with Cardiff based Pentan Partnership.

The winning design was a self build house that utilises an incredibly low cost off-the-shelf agricultural barn structure to form the basic ‘envelope’ for the property. The two/three bedroom home that sits beneath this ‘envelope’ is very generously proportioned (100m2) and super insulated – yet costs just £41,000 to build.

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