Right to Build Task Force Director Joins Custom Build Homes

Mario Wolf; Founding Director of the Right to Build Task Force and influential expert in the UK custom and self build sector is joining Custom Build Homes, part of the BuildStore Group.

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Custom Build Homes welcomes Mario Wolf as its new Director of Planning & Strategic Engagement. Mario joins the company after a highly accomplished career in the Civil Service and the planning and development sector. He is a Corporate Member of the Royal Town Planning Institute and has enjoyed an extensive career in planning in both private and public sector roles across the globe.

In the Civil Service, Mario led the introduction and implementation of a range of housing programmes and planning reforms spanning almost 20 years. His final two years as a Civil Servant were on secondment to the National Custom and Self Build Association (NaCSBA) as Director of the Right to Build Task Force, where he established a specialist group of industry experts. The group provided support to Local Planning Authorities, assisting in the implementation of their new legal obligations to provide plots for custom and self build housing. They also provided guidance and support to help landowners and builders bring forward projects at scale.

Throughout his time as Director of the Task Force he, alongside his colleague Bryony Harrington (now Head of the Task Force), oversaw a programme of capacity-building events and workshops in the form of ‘Right to Build Expos’. The Expos were held across England and Scotland allowing over 100 Local Planning Authorities to engage with custom and self build housing first hand and gain the valuable insight and education they needed to accelerate delivery of new permitted sites.

The custom build housing sector in this country is on the verge of an imminent explosion in activity as more land is coming forward...

Mario’s leadership of the Task Force proved to be testament to his attitude, vigour and belief that custom and self build housing must be scaled in the UK to reduce the housing deficit, affordability crisis and provide diversification. Mario and his team of experts provided much needed hands-on advice on multiple projects including; the design of Local Authority Planning policies to bring forward plots on volume housebuilder sites, and helped streamline the reserved matters application process for Local Authority Planning teams.

Mario spent more than 15 years at the Department for Communities Local Government (DCLG), now known as the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), as a senior policy adviser in both the Housing and Planning Directorates. He also worked closely with Ministers and industry professionals to introduce a radical programme of support measures for self and custom housebuilding. Mario held posts in the Government Offices for the South East and London and worked in local government and the private sector as a planning consultant. He brings considerable international experience to the sector and is also a custom builder himself.

His new role as Director of Planning & Strategic Engagement will strengthen Custom Build Homes’ strategy to focus on growth of delivery within the sector. This follows positive steps taken by the Government by way of new legislation, change in market conditions and consumer understanding.

Custom Build Homes’ Director, Tom Connor described the significance of Mario’s introduction to Custom Build Homes, as the company enters a new phase of growth. He said:

“As soon as I was made aware of Mario’s interest in joining Custom Build Homes, I was immediately excited. His experience and knowledge of the custom build sector in the UK is second to none, and he made it clear from the outset that he was equally excited to work with our dynamic team. The decision to welcome Mario to the company was very easy,”

Mario will take up this new role at Custom Build Homes, a division of BuildStore, from 1st March, 2020. Mario said:

“I am absolutely delighted to have the opportunity to join Custom Build Homes at such a key point in time. The custom build housing sector in this country is on the verge of an imminent explosion in activity as more land is coming forward through local plans than ever before and landowners identify new ways to build much needed new housing. Custom Build Homes is well-positioned to lead the way in unlocking this significant market potential; to radically scale-up the delivery of serviced building plots and enable many more people to build their own homes in line with the shared ambition between the Government and industry.”

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