frequently asked questions
Commonly asked questions about community housing projects.
We've listed some questions that we're commonly asked, but if can't find the answer you're looking for here, please don't hesitate to ask us...!
We grouped questions into the following categories:
What's the difference between "community-led" housing and the term that you're using - "community-focused" housing?
We're differentiating ourselves slightly from the conventional route where a group will be responsible for the full process, using available resources and toolkits when required and calling upon professional consultants for more specialist services. The group leads the process. Whereas our option is still very much focused on creating community housing projects that are co-designed by the residents, but we lead the process, making it simpler and faster.
The aim is for the management and decisions about governance of the completed project to still be led by the community.
What do you charge for your services?
The only additional cost is a development management fee (typically around 5% of the project cost). However, this cost can be saved because our faster standardised system - we can keep our other consultancy fees (for our architectural, planning and engineering services) lower than other practices.
Also, on a more conventional housing project, a developer will be looking for a profit of at least 20%. In our model, the community itself is the developer, and therefore this cost is saved. Our fee covers our costs in assisting. Whilst some other prices (such as infrastructure and building works) may be more than a typical developer will pay, because of the smaller scale and the desire for better quality and more sustainable materials an systems, the overall project cost should be less. Plus the value will be much greater.
Are you able to do initial site visits and feasibility studies free of charge?
No. We charge a (very reasonable) fee for our services... please remember we're not for profit!
Can you work on projects anywhere in the UK and also overseas?
We offer our full range of services anywhere in the UK. We can provide consultancy work for international projects - if this is of interest please contact us to discuss.
Do you have a printed brochure you can send us?
We don't, this website should provide all the available information before undertaking a project. Once you register, we'll then send you more details. If there is anything further you need to know, please get in touch with us.
Land & Planning
As a community-focused scheme, would there still be a payment due to the local Council, for social housing or affordable housing?
If this is referring to the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) or a contribution to the Section 106 Agreement, then probably no. Any homes that are classed as being Custom and/or Self Build projects will be exempt from CIL and could be included as part of a Section 106 Agreement. This would need confirming with the Local Authority and you will most likely still need to complete the relevant forms.
There may also be a requirement to provide affordable housing as part of any proposals. This would need further review of the site to determine the need for this (that we undertake in Stage A), and the type of affordable housing that would be required.
I have signed up to my Local Authority's Right to Build Register, is it possibly to contact offer people that have done the same?
The register is not a public register and so the Council cannot (for GDPR reasons) divulge information to third parties.
The Council can however, and some are doing it, let people on their register know that there are groups in the area seeking members and email everyone on the register (including associations of individuals) the contact details of the groups in question so they can discuss off line.
The Council can also be proactive and have details on their Custom and Self Build website of groups looking for members (this is often done in Germany). There is however no obligation to do so, although Government Guidance encourages promotion – see https://www.gov.uk/guidance/self-build-and-custom-housebuilding - Paragraph: 022 Reference ID: 57-022-20170728 and Paragraph: 004 Reference ID: 57-004-2016040.
We’re overcoming this issue by having our own database of individuals (that can register here) who want to be part of community housing project.
What is the difference between Traditional housing projects and and Community housing projects?
Traditional housing projects are built by developers or housing associations with limited consultation with the people that will eventually live in the development. Community housing projects aim to include the end users in both the design and management decisions with the aim to enhance the lifestyle of the residents.
What's the advantage of living in a Community Housing project?
There are huge benefits - we've listed these on our Why page.
Tenure & Management
Who manages a project once it's complete?
This will depend on the type of homes and the management structure put in place. The options will be presented, discussed and decided upon by the community group during the co-design workshop stage. There may also be a mix of different home types that will be managed and maintained in different ways. For example, some of the homes may be for social rent and therefore could be managed by a local Housing Association. Other homes could be owner occupied and maintained by the home owners, perhaps with the shared amenities being managed and maintained by the community as a whole with any repairs being paid for through a service charge that everyone contributes to.