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THE FUTURE of house building is in our hands, quite literally, says Grand Designs presenter Kevin McCloud.

A lot has changed since Grand Designs aired its first episode 14 years ago.

A lot has changed since Grand Designs aired its first episode 14 years ago. Market crashes, soaring fuel prices and deadlines on carbon emissions, may have pushed house builders towards cleaner, greener houses.

But as the Channel 4 programme celebrates its 100th episode this month, it seems nothing can dampen man’s enthusiasm for building his home.

“It’s just what human beings do,” he said, speaking at the NEC earlier this month. “The reason that Grand Designs works is that we all like to express ourselves... and the ultimate expression of that is of course is building a house.

“In this series there is Carl and Mary’s house in South London, which is brutal, and glass, and concrete, and a lot of people don’t like it but I happen to love it.

“The viewers get very upset by the idea that a building is not comfy or cosy. I get excited when we can show these extreme projects, partly because they are exemplars of excellence, but because it really helps viewers form a view.”

Already, one in ten new houses in Britain are self-built, which is as high as half of all new homes in Germany and Austria. And McCloud believes the trend will only continue.

“We could get there. We’re working with government at the moment to try and kickstart a self-build revolution and it’s really happening.

“We have local authorities which are gearing up to create the kind of self-build parks and schemes.

“Imagine you’re 23, you’re a young couple, you’ve got a young baby. You dream of building your own home, but you can’t afford it. Why not get together with five or ten other couples and build the block of flats between you?

“I’m interested, not just in the self-build concept as you see on Grand Designs, which is very isolated and risky, but actually custom-build.

“Where groups of people can work with the developers to see a building come up that they don’t physically build, but which they’re acting as clients on.

“The owners get the most fantastic, adapted, custom-built apartment and it works for developers too as they can have pre-sales which are fundamental.

“And it’s happening. It’s already happening in Holland and Germany.”



Cathrina Hulse
Multimedia Journalist
Annette Belcher
Multimedia Journalist
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