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Contents

Cover page
Preface
Introduction

	Context
Feminism
Feminist Research
Housing and Feminism
Self Build Housing

	Method
Sample
Process
Analysis

	Case Studies
Marion
Pam
May
Carol
Jan
K
Tashe

	Findings
Personal Background
Community
Training and Technical
Land Policies
Institutional Support
Shelter and Service
Planning and Design
Building Materials

	Conclusions
Summary
Recommendations
Research
Case Studies of Women's Self Build Housing

Conclusions
The conclusions of this report are presented as three separate sections. The first section contains summaries of advantages and disadvantages of each arrangements for building and the main issues arising during the report. The second section is a set of recommendations for action by different sectors to assist self build women. Lastly the research section looks at the outcomes of this research project and what remains to be done.

Summary


Self Build housing can be entered into in at least four different ways and all have their advantages and disadvantages. Personal preference and need should be the basis of participation in these programs or methods. What follows is a summary of the positive and negative features for each of the methods outlined in the earlier case studies. Not all of these issues are gender specific, though many will have a greater impact on women than men.



Privately Funded Individual Self Build
 Advantages  Disadvantages
  • Self build may be a much more affordable option.
  • No mortgage
  • Labour contributed is transformed into equity in the house.
  • Building commencement depends on self.
  • May use building materials to suit self
  • Self specified completion time.
  • Construction can proceed in stages.
  • Choice of location.
  • Control over design.
  • No waiting list or possibility of rejection.
  • The house may have no potential for sale.
  • Participant will have to find up front funds to build the house.
  • House may not to conform to building regulations.
  • No structured work program.
  • Technical support must be organised by self.
  • Community support must be organised by self.
  • Finance may be difficult to find.



Publicly Funded Group Self Build
  Advantages  Disadvantages
  • Self build may be a more affordable option.
  • Participant will have up front funds to build a house.
  • Labour contributed is transformed into equity in the house.
  • Open to applicants who, due to age, may not qualify in the finance market.
  • Security of tenure while mortgage payments are met.
  • May have a low repayment rate.
  • A high level of technical support.
  • Organised community support.
  • Organised help with construction.
  • A structured work program.
  • House will conform to building regulations
  • Mortgage.
  • Equity hard to determine and may be lost with market fluctuations.
  • Repayment rate may become very high unless specified in the contract.
  • Waiting lists may mean a wait of several years to start building.
  • Lots of pressure to complete within specified time.
  • No choice about who the other participants in the group are.
  • A move to a new area may mean loss of support network.
  • Little choice about location.
  • No input to design.
  • Small house size.



Publicly Funded Individual Self Build
 Advantages  Disadvantages
  • Self build may be a more affordable option.
  • Participant have up front funds to build a house.
  • Labour contributed is transformed into equity in the house.
  • Open to applicants who, due age, may not qualify in the finance market.
  • Security of tenure while mortgage payments are met.
  • May have a low repayment rate.
  • A medium level of technical support.
  • A structured work program.
  • House will conform to building regulations
  • Mortgage. 
  • Equity hard to determine and may be lost with market fluctuations.
  • Repayment rate may become very high unless specified in the contract.
  • Waiting lists may mean a wait of several years to start building.
  • Community support must be organised by self.
  • Pressure to complete within specified time.
  • No organised help with construction.
  • Restrictions on house size, location and design.
  • A move to a new area may mean loss of support network.



Privately Funded Group Self Build
 Advantages  Disadvantages
  • Self build may be a much more affordable option.
  • No mortgage
  • Labour contributed is transformed into equity in the house.
  • Community support must be organised by self.
  • Building commencement depends on self.
  • May use building materials to suit self
  • No waiting list or possibility of rejection.
  • Construction can proceed in stages.
  • Self specified completion time.
  • Choice of location.
  • Control over design
  • House may have no potential for re-sale.
    Finance may be difficult to find.
  • Participants will have to find up front funds to build the house.
  • House may not conform to building regulations.
    No structured work program.
  • Technical support must be organised by self.



This research project clearly demonstrates that women's self build housing has much potential as a feminist intervention. The respondents reported many beneficial but unanticipated outcomes. It is a strategy which address housing need and the wider issues of women's access to technical education and employment. While there are significant differences between methods there are some shared experiences. The accounts of the women who responded to this research indicate that there are some very positive outcomes that results from building a house.

Self-esteem


Building a house is a major learning experience for women. Often they learn skills that have traditionally not been accessible to them. The new knowledge can lead women to overcome the stereotype that women are not capable of such things. Success as a self builder gives a boost to confidence and builds self esteem.

Psychological Ownership of Home

For women it can be a case of rejecting parts of our socialisation to become strong, recognising and rejecting domestic violence and other forms of abuse. The responses from these respondents indicate that the home building process was significant in reclaiming the home as a positive environment. Creating a home that more closely fits their needs, both physically and psychologically, is possible.

Security of tenure

Many of the women said that home ownership was important to them as it represented a secure form of tenure. This was particularly important to the older women who were worried about paying rent and trying to survive on a pension.

Expanded employment opportunities

A number of these women have gone on to pursue employment in the building industry. Self build seems to provide a way into these "male" areas that women find so hard to enter. Several others have reported that building a house has lead to enhanced employment opportunities and outcomes.

Community building

Building a house is a process with many difficulties. The hours are long, the work is hard and very physically tiring; results do not come quickly. Often it involves moving to a new place, all of which can take an emotional toll. Women survive these difficulties best when they have the support of their families and communities.

Building quite often is about building community as well as a house. Women draw on and develop their friendship and support networks in the process. Even when a woman builds as an individual she will be connecting with others with similar experiences and interests. An important achievement for the self build woman is the development of these community links.