The Self Build on a shoestring competition in association with NaCSBA is back for another year running. Launching on Thursday 5th May at Grand Designs Live London, and open to all, the brief is to design a stylish 65 sq m Starter Home that can be built for £50,000 – ideally less.

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 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 Government has recently announced plans to build 200,000 ‘Starter Homes’ between now and 2020. It defines a Starter Home as a property aimed at first time buyers under 40, and costing less than £250,000, including the land. (In central London properties qualify as a Starter Home if they cost less than £450,000). 

We believe it is possible to build a Starter Home for much less than this – for example through the use of low-cost ‘modular’ solutions, or by offering a home that the purchaser can finish off themselves.

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Download the brief

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