Fiona Scott Media Consultanccy

Brexit is not a concern to those who are planning to build their own home according to a recent survey by the UK’s only national centre dedicated to the self-build sector.

Almost 400 people were questioned when they attended an open weekend at the National Self Build & Renovation Centre (NSBRC) based in Swindon, Wiltshire during the autumn.

Harvey Fremlin, managing director of the NSBRC, said: “We surveyed visitors to our Autumn Show to find out why they were visiting, what type of work they were considering and whether external factors, such as Brexit, would influence their decision to go ahead.

“To our surprise of the 384 people questioned, 78.42 per cent said they were undeterred about Brexit and would still push ahead – only 9.74 per cent said they were worried and 7.89 per cent said they were worried yet still would go ahead. At a time of such economic uncertainty and concern, we found this a very positive outcome.”

This result did not seem to reflect how people actually voted in the 2016 referendum.  Of those questioned 42.52 per cent said they voted to remain in the EU, 32.02 per cent voted to leave, 15.75 per cent didn’t want to say how they voted and the remainder said they were neutral.

The survey asked a number of questions around self-building which is growing in popularity and which can be affected by economic factors.

“We’ve found over the years that wider issues in the economy can affect people’s decisions when it comes to self-building and can lead to more, or less, interest. For example following 2008’s credit crunch we saw a definite swing towards people improving their existing properties.  Then, as confidence grew, this shifted and now about 60 per cent of our visitors are building one off new homes,” Harvey Fremlin said.

The survey also found visitors came from all over the country to find out about the latest techniques, products and innovation in self build, environmentally friendly techniques in building and home renovation. The top five places where visitors came from were:

  • Wiltshire – 70
  • Gloucestershire – 29
  • Hampshire – 25
  • Wales – 19 
  • Oxfordshire – 18

(Around 77 people listed the UK generally as their home). The most popular age group for visitors was 50 to 59 and the under 20s were represented by just one visitor.

The top three motivations for visiting the centre were:

  1. To self build a new home – more than 46 per cent
  2. To undertake home improvements – more than 19 per cent (19.74 per cent)
  3. To renovate a property – also more than 19 per cent (19. 21 per cent)

Their reasons for undertaking such a project were:

  1. To have better designed home – 38.28 per cent
  2. To have more environmentally friendly home – 23.18 per cent
  3. To achieve more space - 17.19 per cent

“It’s not surprising our top location is Wiltshire as that’s where the centre is based. However to see we are attracting visitors in one weekend from all over the UK including Scotland and Ireland was amazing. Also the age group does show that at the moment, those who are thinking of self build tend to be in the more mature category, what we would describe as ‘empty-nesters’, and are either upsizing, downsizing or are renovating their existing home. The fact that almost a quarter are actively considering how to make their home more sustainable is very encouraging.”

The survey was carried out in the autumn during the National Self Build & Renovation Show at the centre which is based near junction 16 of the M4. It is the only independent and permanent UK centre which showcases the latest technologies around self build homes and renovations. An employee-owned organisation, the NSRBC has thrived since employees took on the venture five years ago (2014).

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