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Scottish Government has announced its new Self Build Loan Fund, which enables anyone who wants to build their own home to apply for lending from the £4 million self-build loan fund.

The product builds on the success of the Highland Self Build Loan Fund, which helped people build their own homes and builds on a strong Scottish tradition in rural areas.

The scheme will run for three years and offers loans up to £175,000 to help with the construction fees for self-build projects, both urban and rural.

Specifically, it is open to applications from individuals who have been unable to obtain mainstream self-build mortgage finance, but who will be able to obtain mainstream mortgage finance upon completion of their project.

Lent by Scottish Government, the fund, which is delivered by the Highlands Small Communities Housing Trust as agent, is effectively a loan of last resort. As such, it’s bridging finance for the period of the build, secured via a Standard Security over the applicants house plot/future house

Drawdowns are released in stages in line with the agreed build programme and accompanied by the Professional Advisor’s Certificate.

However, the fund is not available to purchase house plots, as the plot needs to be fully owned by the applicant in order to provide security for the loan.

This effectively means that it’s a route to funding to complete a build, but not to start off on a Self-build from scratch, which NaCSBA feels is a missed opportunity.

Scottish Housing Minister Kevin Stewart said: “We know that people are interested in building their own homes and in some cases, it is the best way for families to tailor their homes to their needs. However, we also know that it can be tough to secure funding and get the right advice, which is why we set up the self-build loan fund to help those that need to access finance.

“Following a successful pilot in the Highlands, we decided to roll the fund out to people across the country. This is now open for applications and I want to see people across Scotland apply and make full use of this fund.”

NaCSBA’s Representative for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland Angela Doran said, “It’s fantastic news to see that, after ongoing lobbying by NaCSBA, Scottish Government will be rolling out the Highland Self Build Loan fund across the whole of Scotland.”

To apply, people need to meet a set of criteria:

Demonstrate that they have been unable to obtain mainstream self-build mortgage finance for a new home (not a conversion or extension); and
Intend to occupy the property as their sole and only residence; and
Own a house plot which is unburdened (i.e. no mortgage finance or ranking agreement); and
Have Full Planning Permission in place and be ready to apply for a Building Warrant; and
Have a defined elemental build cost and construction programme; and
Be able to demonstrate that they will be able to obtain a mainstream mortgage upon completion of their build.

Click the link to the website below, for more information on this fantastic opportunity


Watching George Clark’s television programme Ugly House to Lovely House, he intimated it was the architect’s job to design the best house they could, in line with the client’s brief, irrespective of cost.

What nonsense! I can almost guarantee that the client’s brief will have indicated a maximum budget. And, if it didn’t, that should be the first question the architect asks. Designing a house with complete disregard for budget not only raises expectations but also creates disappointment.

Invariably, it is only when the builder’s prices come in that anyone (including the architect) realises they are over budget. So not only is there disappointment but also a significant delay while the design is modified, planning approval is sought and the build is re-tendered – all very frustrating.

There is no excuse for this. Even though we are only supplying the kit, we try to establish at an early date what the overall build budget is. Some customers are suspicious of our motives and reluctant to discuss this but it’s important we know what they can afford. Otherwise, we’re both wasting time.

There are plenty of online resources offering guide full build prices based on floor area. Whilst these are a good starting point, there will always be a range of prices dependent on the complexity of the design and the level of specification. If, as an example, the range is £1,200 to £1,500 per m2, it is human nature for people to base their calculation on the lower figure.  We have the experience to know the difference between one end of the range and the other and what the most likely figure will be, which avoids any misunderstanding.

When designing a house you need to consider the cost of every line you draw. This is true of the outside lines which determine the overall size and all the internal lines which create the features / complexity of the design.

In our recent experience, George Clark’s words have never been truer. Some of the house designs we now receive to price are so off the wall it is quite apparent the architect has not given cost any thought. And, invariably, the client is none the wiser. This needs to change.

Norscot offers a design service, which eliminates the potential risk posed by architects. Better still, this is included in our kit prices at a fraction of the cost an architect will charge. So, you not only get better value for money but also save thousands of pounds in architect’s fees.

Benefits of Timber Frame Kit Homes

Timber frame kits are one of the most popular methods of construction in the UK, in particular Scotland. Timber frame kit construction allures many self-builders with the benefits it comes with. Read on to find out what the advantages of using this building method are.

Speed of Construction

As timber frame kit homes are constructed offsite, in factory conditions, this means a lot of the work is already completed before the kit gets to site which helps reduce project time scales. As a result, this ensures savings are made at the erection stage as trades people will need to be employed for a shorter period of time. The time spent on construction is also reduced as timber frame kit construction is a dry method. This ensures there is no delays due to bad weather, which can occur with on-site construction methods. With dry construction methods this means once the build is weather sealed, decoration of the interior may commence as there is no drying out period required – again speeding up the process of construction.

Quality Assurance

Timber is a very strong and durable material and timber frame kits have been known to last for centuries. As the timber frame components are prepared using computer controlled machinery they are dimensionally more accurate resulting in a better quality build when erected. Also, timber is more energy efficient than other construction materials and has far better insulating attributes – which helps contribute to the overall quality of a timber frame kit. 85% of timber frame manufacturers (including Norscot) are part of the Structural Timber Association (STA). The STA aims to promote the highest level of standards through their members which ensures they are achieving highest levels of quality across the industry. Ensure your timber frame provider is a member of STA and quality is guaranteed.

Energy Efficiency

Timber frame is hands down the most eco-friendly method of construction. Timber frame houses are known to heat up and cool down more quickly than other house types and timber is a natural insulator of heat. This means that it takes far less energy to maintain the desired temperature in a timber frame home. Also, a timber frame home has exceptionally low U-Values which ensures superior thermal efficiency. Norscot timber frame kits are more energy efficient than current Building Standards demand which means they are futureproofed. There is also less energy needed to construct timber kits than other methods of building.

Flexible Design

Timber kits can vary hugely in their design. They can be produced in a traditional composition or in a more contemporary bespoke form. Timber as a material is very adaptable meaning it can be shaped and modified in a variety of ways, making it perfect for design purposes. The strength of the material ensures it has very good structural properties which also allows – flexibility during the design process.

More Predictable

As timber frame kits are prefabricated off-site they are a more reliable form of construction. Housebuilding often involves trades such as electricians who cannot start their work until the exterior of the house is protected from the weather. With timber frame kits quick erection time, this means these trades can begin earlier than with other housebuilding methods such as brick and mortar. As timber frame construction is a controlled process the materials needed can be readily calculated before manufacture, meaning the price will be determined right at the start and shouldn’t change throughout. Timber frame construction guarantees high levels of accuracy therefore there shouldn’t be any major problems at the erection stage making it a more dependable method of construction.


Timber frame kits are produced to ensure as little waste as possible. Timber is one of the most sustainable materials on the planet. For every tree cut down, a similar tree is planted, ensuring an endless supply. As previously mentioned timber frame kit production demands high levels of accuracy which in turn means less waste is produced. The waste produced by timber frame kit production can be reused as fuel in wood-burning boilers – which Norscot use to heat their factory and offices. Timber is a carbon neutral material so it is not harmful to the environment. Used as a cladding material timber is also fairly easy and cheap to maintain, especially if the colour change over time does not bother you.

It is clear that timber frame kits come with many advantages compared with other methods of construction – to arrange your free timber frame kit home consultation today, call us on 01955 641303.


Fed up traipsing in and out of estate agents and attending house viewings that leave you feeling as though you’ll never find your perfect home? Then self-build could be the best option for you! Each year more and more people are deciding to build their own home, proving self-build is becoming a more feasible and manageable option for many. Read on to discover the six main reasons why you should choose to self-build.

More available support

Self-build has become more achievable as many self-help guides and schemes have become widely available to the public. With the demand for housing on the increase, more support is being offered to help encourage self-builders. The Government have come up with many new initiatives to make it easier and more achievable for people to self-build. Also, more loans are being made available so funding a self-build is challenging. Later this year “The Highland Self Build Loan Fund” will be  launched across Scotland. –

A House to suit your lifestyle

When looking to buy a new home, the list of requirements is usually long and normally unnegotiable for purchasers. When attending viewings of houses that don’t meet many of your specifications this can often leave you feeling disheartened about finding a home that meets your needs. With self-build you can design your own home so that it meets all your wants and desires. Through this process you can choose how much you want be involved at each stage of the build. You can come up with the full design yourself or part-design the house of your dreams alongside an architect – either way you can be part of a house creation that suits your lifestyle seamlessly.

Location Location Location

When looking to re-locate it is often difficult to find an area which matches the image in your head. You want your house to be on a clean street that provides a stunning view and has a big garden. With self-build, it allows you more freedom when choosing the location of your new home. Although you must make sure when buying a plot that you will be granted planning permission for the house design of your choosing. With this freedom, your surroundings could be equally as beautiful as your new home, which may be less possible when buying a ready built home.

Save money in the long run

Whilst self-build is generally a less expensive way to create your new home, it can also save you money in the long run. Any new home has to comply with the building regulations which include specifics on the thermal efficiency. U-values are a measure this thermal efficiency and many speculatively built homes meet these standards and no more. By building your own home you can exceed these standards.  This helps makes your home more energy efficient which in turn results in lower energy bills in the future.

Quality assured

Through building your own home you can ensure it is of the highest quality you can afford. It can not only meet current building requirements but can exceed these and make sure your home is futureproof. As your home has been built from scratch all the materials used would be latest and best available, within your budget, and shouldn’t need replacing for a long time. With quality comes reliability so you can be sure your house will still be standing proud for many years to come and more.

Satisfaction Guaranteed

When designing your own home it becomes unique and unlike any other. Your home, will suit just your specific needs – designed exclusively for you. Your completed build will also give you a great sense of achievement and satisfaction which you may not feel when just buying a pre-built house on the market. You get to watch your own ideas come to life when self-building which will give you a great sense of pride when the build is complete.

With a lot more support and encouragement for self-build, now is the time to be part of it. Take advantage of the loans available and build yourself a stunning new home. Self-build allows you to be in control of so many aspects such as the design, location and the quality of your new home, something which is not possible when buying an existing property. Also through self-build you can ensure you are building a better quality, more energy efficient home. Start your self-build journey now and your dream home can become more of a reality.