Build It and SelfBuild & Design Merge

The UK’s best self build and renovation magazines are merging to form Build It incorporating SelfBuild & Design, delivering even better value for our audiences
Chris Bates, Editor of Build It magazine
by Chris Batesmith
5th January 2023

Your favourite magazines just got even better! It’s been a busy time for the Build It and SelfBuild & Design (SB&D) teams, as we’ve been tackling the ambitious project of merging everything that makes these two titles great.

Our goal is to form one dedicated brand that delivers an even better experience and essential resource for both readerships.

So, starting with the February 2023 edition, subscribers and newsstand buyers of both titles will receive a new combined edition of Build It incorporating SelfBuild & Design.

As Build It’s editor, I want to take the opportunity to share why we’re merging and how this move will benefit both readerships going forward.

So, read on to find out more – including a note from SelfBuild & Design’s launch editor and longstanding contributor, Gerald Cole.

Why are Build It and SelfBuild & Design merging?

Both Build It and SelfBuild & Design have long been seen as the most detail-led titles for UK self builders, renovators and home extenders.

The two brands are already share the common goal of arming you with the practical tools you need to enjoy project success, and joining forces will give us the best possible platform to do that.

The union will deliver an even more valuable resource for readers, providing the most detailed, tailored and practical advice for people taking on a major home building project

As we deliver this merger, we’re striving to retain the most useful and inspiring aspects of both magazines − from design-led guides to expert contributors. So, you can be confident that you’ll find the ideas and advice you need to get your project moving, all under one roof.

Starting the Journey

Launched eight years apart, the first editions of Build It (est 1989) and SelfBuild & Design (1997) reveal a close alignment of values.

Build It’s strapline was ‘your dream home built by you’ and it carried articles on everything from plot finding to design guides, package builds and real reader stories.

Build it First Edition

SelfBuild & Design majored on ‘designing and building a home of your own’, with guides to serviced plots, a land-finding pullout and the benefits of using a package home company.

SelfBuild & Design Magazine First Edition

As the two merge, we’ll be retaining both titles’ laser-sharp practical focus.

Serving Your Home Building Information Needs

Both Build It and SelfBuild & Design run a series of focused live events where you can speak face-to-face with the magazines’ experts and recommended partners.

Our combined exhibitions in Kent, Oxfordshire, Devon and Cambridgeshire will now be conglomerated under the Build It Live brand. This will give visitors unrivalled access to 100s of specialist self build suppliers, the opportunity to interact with 1,000s of products in person and the chance to gain first-hand project advice from our expert teams.


In addition, SB&D’s excellent website will now complement the Build It array of invaluable project tools. pulls together thousands of self build plots and renovation opportunities, all with images, guide prices, site details and – crucially – planning consent in the bag.

Essential Project Tools from Build It

Build It incorporating SelfBuild & Design now offers the most comprehensive suite of tools to enable self build and renovation success, including:

  • The Build It Estimating Service provides an affordable way for you to get accurate costings for your self build or home extension. So you’ll have a detailed reference point for your project costs to help with pricing work and comparing quotes like-for-like.
  • Our expert-led Virtual Self Build Training gives you focused access to detailed, impartial advice on a range of core topics. All sessions are delivered by recognised industry experts.
  • The annual Build It Awards celebrate the most impressive products and services in the self build and renovation market. You can see the latest shortlisted and winning suppliers in the Best of Self Build & Renovation supplement, bundled free with your first edition of Build It incorporating SelfBuild & Design.
  • Build It’s website,, is a fabulous curated resource packed with an archive of advice-led content, inspirational reader homes and digital-only content, such as our ready-reckoner Self Build Cost Calculator.
  • Build It’s unique Self Build Education House, completed on Graven Hill in Oxfordshire (the UK’s largest self and custom build site) is a must-see experience house. Visit today to explore the choices we made, learn about our build journey and understand the budget and practical implications of the manifold decisions you’ll make on your own project through detailed infographics.
  • is our free building plot and property finder, offering the UK’s best self build and conversion project opportunities – listing over 2,000 genuine plots and properties with planning permission.

Reader Survey: Help Us Deliver Better Value for You

Both Build It and SelfBuild & Design have so much to offer to self builders and renovators, and the value we give you will only increase going forward.

I’m pleased to say we are in the process of consulting readers on what they love (and don’t love) about the two mags, so that we can ensure that we’re giving you the best of both worlds.

If you’re a regular reader of either of the original titles, I would love to hear your thoughts as we usher in this bold new era − so, please do get in touch to give us your views via our Reader Survey.

Take Our Reader Survey

Topping Out

Long-standing SelfBuild & Design expert and reader favourite, Gerald Coles, gives his take on the magazine’s roots and how Build It embodies the same values:

Selfbuild − later retitled SelfBuild & Design − was launched in a drizzly November in 1997. Not the best time of year for starting a build but excellent for planning and dreaming!

The Selfbuild dream started with Peter Johns, managing director of Waterways World, publisher of Britain’s best selling canal boat magazine. Peter saw room for a magazine for self builders in a market that was then dominated by Build It and by Individual Homes (the precursor of today’s Homebuilding & Renovating).

Having just completed my first self build, I immediately applied to be editor of this new magazine − not, I hasten to add, with any expectations of success.

My motive, quite frankly, was the opportunity for spleen venting, because, in my experience, the magazines as they existed in the mid-1990s did not reflect the full reality of self build.

This isn’t to say they weren’t useful. Build It, I found, was the most practical and best suited to my budget and experience, in part due to its advocacy of kit homes available at the time. In fact, my wife and I ended up choosing a Norwegian timber frame kit which arrived on a low loader and, miraculously it seemed, was erected within a couple of weeks.

But, as seasoned self builders know, that can be a relatively minor part of the build process.

Far more taxing for us was the 18-month struggle to gain planning permission, or the insistence that our design match the decidedly Stalinist style of our ex-local authority neighbours. Or, indeed, the sudden decision by building control to require hugely expensive piled foundations rather than stick with the standard metre-deep footings we’d previously agreed.

I could go on, and did during my interview, which proved wonderfully therapeutic but left me quite unprepared for the shock of being offered the job!

The concept Peter and I settled on had practicality and honesty at its heart. Its essence was that building your own home is a stunningly aspirational idea − and one that’s achievable for anyone, including complete beginners and the economically challenged.

But success depends on reliable information, from general overviews to warnings of potential pitfalls and how to avoid them. The magazine was, in a sense, a trade publication for the consumer, but presented in a way the reader would hopefully find both accessible and inspiring.

In my view, Build It also embodies those virtues and I recommend it as an excellent match for all SelfBuild & Design readers.

Gerald Coles


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