Architect assembles own construction team to put plan for environment-friendly homes into action.
Architect Bill Dunster is offering a range of off-the-shelf green homes in a novel project that cuts out the traditional housebuilder.

He is to put his idea into practice by building 30 houses on a site near Cambridge, and is planning a further 200 at a site in south London.

Dunster has put together a design-and-build package, including a project team, contractor and consultant, to realise the scheme.

The project will get under way once a sufficient number of customers have signed up. The customers themselves will form a development company to fund the work with self-build mortgages.

Dunster said he had adopted this route because he had been unable to obtain conventional funding for the carbon neutral developments he wishes to promote.

He said: "We can't get anyone with conventional access to large sums of money to fund schemes because the big financial institutions are very risk-averse.

"The only way to build a scheme is to take the risk away from the big financial institutions and distribute it among the people who want the product."

Dunster has identified customers by bringing together individuals on his website, which promotes this kind of development. The range of five housetypes is based on the architect's Bedzed development in Sutton, south London.

He said: "We now have a guaranteed maximum price, so it is very low risk because people know what it's going to cost. It's just like buying a car."

He added that the designs had been approved by self-build mortgage lenders for loans.

The first site, 14 miles from Cambridge, has been chosen because it met all the zero energy criteria, which include being on a brownfield site and close to public transport.

Dunster has put in a bid for a site in south London that will allow for 200 houses "within walking distance of the Northern Line".

He said the sites would now be advertised on his website.