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NSBRC '15 Years' Online Surgeries

To celebrate 15 years of the NSBRC, we're hosting a series of special one-off events which will consist of informal discussions on key self build and home improvement topics. We believe these sessions will offer insight and provide inspiration - whatever stage your project is at. We call on our expert panelists to share their views on topical issues and discuss common pitfalls for those embarking on a self build or home improvement journey.

June Online Surgery: Grants, Legislation and Latest News for Self-Builders

Hosted in partnership with NaCSBA (National Custom & Self Build Association)

For our June edition of our 'Online Surgeries' series, we have partnered with NaCSBA to provide a unique update on the political and legislative factors affecting self-builders today. NaCSBA’s aim is to make custom and self build a mainstream choice for all those seeking a home of their own, and shares the NSBRC’s own vision of helping people enjoy better homes.


NaCSBA’s CEO, Andrew Baddeley-Chappell, provided self-builders with an update on:

  • Right to Build – A reminder of its importance, how to register, and how NaCSBA is encouraging Local Authorities to be pro-active (with a couple of case studies) and what is being done by government to ensure LAs are held accountable to their requirements (and how to complain to your local authority if they’re not delivering for you). You can find out more, and register, via NaCSBA’s Self Build Portal.
  • Help to Build – A new government equity loan for people who want to self build or custom build their own home. Is it right for you, and how to apply. This is now open to applications and you can find out more here.
  • Boiler upgrade scheme – The government is providing grants to encourage property owners to install low carbon heating systems such as heat pumps, through the Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS). These grants can help property owners overcome the upfront cost of low carbon heating technologies.
  • Nutrient Neutrality – Why it is an issue, how self-builders are being caught up, and what you need to know.

May Online Surgery: Virtual Passivhaus Workshop

For our May edition of our monthly NSBRC Online Surgeries, we hosted our popular Passivhaus Workshop as an online session in partnership with the Passivhaus Trust.

PassivHaus Workshop - image credit.jpg

Photo credit: PH15 System from Passivhaus Homes Ltd.

Workshop Highlights:

  • Introduction to Passivhaus Principles
  • Surgeries on: Airtightness, Insulation, Ventilation, Windows & Doors
  • Real Life Case Studies
  • Question Time
  • How to improve existing buildings

5 reasons to consider building to Passivhaus standards:

  • Good for comfort - comfortable temperatures are easily maintained whatever the weather using very little energy
  • Good for your health - constant clean fresh air
  • Good for your pocket - 90% reductions in energy needed for heating
  • Good for quality - a rigorous quality control process requires craftsmanship and buildings that are built with care
  • Good for your future - the Passivhaus seal of approval guarantees certainty of performance

Here are the links to each of the contributors profile pages, which allow you to request more information directly via the NSBRC website:

April Online Surgery: Live interviews with real life case studies


Our website features 24 fantastic real-life case studies – highlighting the successes of previous NSBRC visitors who have gone on to complete their dream homes.

During this free online surgery – produced as part of a series of special events to celebrate 15 years of the NSBRC - we bring to life two of our existing case study pages. Our participants share their stories, their ‘top tips’, situations to avoid and answer your live questions.

We interviewed two of our existing case studies:

Mandy & Carlton Ridd: 'After completing various renovations and extensions, Mandy & Carlton self-managed their new build in North Devon using ICF to create a bespoke, modern and energy efficient home.'

Clive Spencer: 'Clive successfully completed a Self Build project in Wiltshire back in 2019, creating a “healthy, uplifting and highly sustainable new home” to the Passivhaus standard, using timber frame, replacing a beyond-repair bungalow.'

Featuring an interview with self-builders, Mandy & Carlton Ridd.
We will also be talking to one of most recent case studies, Clive Spencer.

March Online Surgery: Building Systems

We built on the recent two-day live workshop held at the NSBRC in March on Building Systems - with a panel discussion on the key topics that were covered over the two day live event and provided a series of short talks exploring the key superstructure options including; Timber Frame, Masonry, Insulated Concrete Formwork and more.

If you are in the early stages of a project, and have yet to decide what building method is right for your project, then this targeted session is for you.


Thank you very much to those of you who for joined us for our online surgery on Building Systems. We had 158 attendees – and we thank you all for listening and for the many questions that came through.

The contact details for the presenters are (in order of appearance) below:

  • Dan Wilson, Self-Build Consultant, Potton:
  • Robin Miller, Director, BecoWallform:
  • Alan Budden, Chartered Architect & Certified European Passivhaus Designer, Eco Design Consultants:
  • Garry Dyke, Director, Point 1 Building Systems:

We received some really positive feedback on the evening. If you can spare a minute and leave us a positive review on Google that would be hugely appreciated. It makes a big difference to our team of employee-owners. You can leave your review here:

If you found something missing in the workshop, or have ideas for future sessions, please feel free to drop me a line – your feedback is really helpful.

A couple of events that are coming up that you might want to look at:

Please see the link to watch the session recording below:

February Online Surgery: Planning

Ahead of February's Design, Planning & Sustainability Eco Workshop we discussed one of the key topics affecting self builders; navigating Planning.

In this session, we discuss the planning system, how you can best prepare a successful application and costly pit-falls to avoid.

One important part of any building project is gaining planning permission. We get a lot of questions about planning and we are aware that this is an emotive, and sometimes stressful, subject for many people!

This session features two seminars, designed for self-builders and delivered by genuine planning experts, plus a short Q&A session at the end to get your planning queries answered!

We'd like to thank our expert panelists, Mark Doodes and Kimberly Corps for their contributions:

In case you missed this event, you can watch this session on-demand below:

January Online Surgery: Materials & Energy

Back in January, we hosted the first in our series of online events, where our expert panel discussed two of the key topics affecting self builders in 2022; Materials & Energy.

Materials: We discussed the availability and rising costs of materials in the UK and what budget contingency is appropriate for a self-builder in 2022.

Energy: Will we see rising costs continue and how can self builders mitigate against this?

Expert Contributors:

In case you missed this, you can view the session recording below:


  • Free
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Before you Build your Home…Build your Knowledge with the NSBRC!

If you are contemplating building your dream home, or planning to improve your existing home, why not attend one of our NSBRC Training Courses first to build your knowledge and confidence?

Check out our range of in-person and virtual courses!