“We would like 40% of people to be building their own homes.”

Claire Phillips catches up with Harvey Fremlin, MD of the NSBRC, about this year’s show.

Harvey, thanks so much for catching up with Wigwam today, we know how busy you are preparing for the upcoming NSBRC (National Self Build & Renovation Centre) show this weekend. Are you looking forward to the event?

Yes, I am so excited, it’s been an interesting 18 months with the lockdowns and the pandemic, so to be in position to have a larger capacity at the event this time is exciting.

Is this the first show you have held since the pandemic?

No, we managed to do two smaller shows in between lockdowns, but this event will have a footfall of around 500, which is still under capacity for the 67,000 sq. ft that the show can hold - but we are being mindful to adhere to current rules and allow enough space for social distancing.

Yes, I was going to ask what the NSBRC stance is on wearing facemasks at the show now that they are not compulsory?

Well, we are very customer focused and really wanted to put the ball in their court too, so we sent a survey to the 400 people who had already bought tickets to see what they preferred, and it was 50/50 on masks or no masks. With that in mind NSBRC staff have taken the decision to wear masks as a courtesy to our customers, but we won’t force visitors to wear them, it will be their personal choice.

That’s good to know, now back to some nitty gritty show intel. As someone who has no idea about building or renovations, what should I expect from this event and why do people love it so much?

Our aim with the service we provide is to help people with inspiration and to alleviate the challenges that can come with building and renovating. There are 55 stands covering everything you could need. From a company like Potton that do everything for you from start to finish to providers that specialise in insulation, windows, flooring, wood, garden rooms, sustainability and much more. We also have a renovation before and after home where you can physically go in and look around - it’s really something.

The events are free, run over two days and are so popular that often visitors book into one of the nearby hotels so they can explore the show for the two full days.

Yes, I have to say when I visited, I was mind blown by the before and after home, the possibilities really are endless. Who would you say is your target audience right now in terms of attendees?

The average customer is around 55 years old, either looking to build a new home or improve the one they have.  We must get 10,000 projects per year at the NSBRC, so the show is a perfect way for people to fact find. Building programmes on TV like Grand Designs have made home builds more popular, it also dramatizes when things go wrong, which is good for us, as we are a company you use to avoid mistakes and slip ups. We do this by offering courses on how to do projects correctly and holding an event where you can talk to experts and get trusted advice and guidance.

NSBRC Self Build Show 2021 Exhibitors

Are younger people coming into the market now so many of us are using our homes differently?

Currently only 10/12% of people build their own homes over the course of a year. We would like it to be nearer to 40% like some other countries.  The government are introducing a Help to Build scheme, which mirrors the Help to Buy scheme, where you put down 5% and the government contribute. So, we hope that will encourage younger people to build their dream home instead of just buying.

Why do you think more people should build their own homes instead of buying from a developer?

There are so many great reasons to build your own home, it will be bespoke to your needs, often more energy efficient, more sustainable and you get a much better-quality home overall. Personally, it often turns out to be very purposeful too and gives people a great sense of achievement.

Thank you, Harvey, plenty of food for thought. I may have to reconsider buying and investigate building! Good luck with your event this weekend.

The National Self Build and Renovation Centre Show is this weekend, Friday 23rd & Saturday 24th July.

Tickets are free when booked in advance at

NSBRC, Lydiard Fields,
Great Western Way,
Swindon SN5 8UB

Claire Philips

Claire Phillips
Blogger and Magical Mummy