Grand Designs presenter appointed by National Self-Build Association as £30m government fund announced

Grand Designs presenter Kevin McCloud has been named as a new champion of the self-build industry as the government announced a new £30m fund for self-builders.

McCloud, who has been appointed by the National Self-Build Association as an ambassador, will raise public awareness of the benefits of self building and help the industry to promote itself.

He today accompanied housing minister Grant Shapps on a UK trade delegation to Almere in the Netherlands, to learn lessons from the Dutch self-build industry.

Shapps - who wants to double the size of the self-build industry in the UK - will shortly launch a £30m fund to finance projects similar to Almere, the largest low-cost self-build experiment in Europe.

McCloud said: “In the past we have built some of the poorest performing, most expensive and smallest homes in Europe. That’s not something to celebrate.

“But there is another way. What if we became a nation of self builders like the Dutch? What if each household in the UK had the option to build their own place? What if large-scale developers provided finished-slab, fully-serviced sites for homebuilders?

“We’d see more customised homes that reflect where they are, to higher space standards and to a better quality. We’d see people sharing skills and saving money. We’d see neighbours working together on community self build schemes and local construction economies thriving. And we’d certainly see more energy efficient buildings and a wider embracing of green technologies.”

Shapps claimed the self-build industry was “riding the crest of a wave”, adding that the number of mortgages available to self-builders is set to rise by 141% and that more than 100,000 people are looking for self-build plots across the country.

He said: “Despite this self-build surge, we continue to lag behind the rest of the world. I am determined to change this so anyone who wants to embark on a self-build project has the opportunity to do so.

“That’s why I am delighted Kevin McCloud has agreed to represent the industry.”

The minister is also writing to mortgage lenders to highlight “the business case for lending to self-builders.”

McCloud is also backing a new industry-sponsored self build website ( offering help and advice for aspiring self-builders.