Community Self Build Agency

Organisation – Sheerness, United Kingdom

Community Self Build Agency (CSBA) is a non-profit organisation established in 1989 and based in Kent, UK. It promotes self-build housing initiatives for those in housing need such as the unemployed, people on low incomes and the young. They lobby local authorities and housing associations to include self-building provision within their housing strategies, secure funding for self build projects from housing corporations, liaise with training organisations to include options to gain National Vocational Qualifications, and work with architects to design housing with appropriate construction techniques.

Projects are initiated by putting people in touch with others interested in building their own home and setting up a group that can form a housing association or housing co-operative. CSBA's eventual aim is that as self-building becomes more widespread people will form their own groups. CSBA view self-building as not only providing a housing solution but also helping those involved gain skills and experience with many of their unemployed self-builders having secured jobs after completing their homes. Self-building is therefore available to those with or without building skills, who can commit the necessary time, usually 25-35 hours per week, spent at the weekends and evenings.

Housing tenure arrangements can vary according to circumstances, from outright ownership to part ownership and rental agreements. The amount of self-building can also vary by project, for example the Angell Eco Self Build group in Lambeth, London, worked on a project of ten houses completed in 2006. Designed in association with Mode 1 Architects, the structure and shell were built by a construction company, with the self-builders doing everything else, including carpentry, final electrics and plumbing, decorations etc. In other projects such as the Hornsey Co-operative Housing, also in London and completed in 2003, the ten houses were fully constructed by the self-builders using the Segal method and in association with architects, Architype.

Other Work

Phil Bixby, Effective Project Management Techniques for Community Self Build Schemes (CSBA, 1996).

References About

Jon Broome and Brian Richardson, The Self-Build Book (Totnes: Green Earth Books, 1995).

Deborah Singmaster, 'Anna McGettigan, Director of the Community SelfBuild Agency', Architects Journal, 201(20)(1995): 18-19.

Sue Wheat, 'A Home of One's Own', Geographical, 2001,;col1, [accessed 25 May 2010].


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