Even if you know you want a conservatory to extend your home, there are many things that can still create hurdles, such as a lack of information being available, or even worse, a lack of trust in the information you find as you feel it is tainted with sales agendas.
It’s very normal to possess a slight fear of the unknown, but the reality is you will be very hard pushed to find an accurate quote without having a specialist visit your home because, to build a conservatory to its highest efficiency, decisions need to be made based on your specific needs and location.
To outline why we advise you to find a company that offers an expert local consultanty service, we’ve provided you with a simple checklist so you know what types of planning are involved, as well as what you can expect within the process of getting your conservatory installed.
The first thing to look at is the space you have available to build in. Do you envisage the construction taking up a large part of your garden or patio area? Even if the outdoor space appears quite awkward, you’ll be surprised how it can be embraced and transformed by the right type of extension, but it’s always good to have a strong idea of what you would like to make the most of the specialist’s advice.
Depending on what way your house faces, different types of styles and materials will become more suitable for your needs. As you are not an expert in the pros and cons of each material, this is where a consultant becomes invaluable.
Style and Design
As taste is subjective, this is where you are likely to have the most fun. It is important you are happy with how the finished construction will look because you’re the one who’s going to be using it for years to come. Therefore, try and decide what is most important to you before you meet the consultant. Do you want it to look like it's been there forever or do you want it to make a bold statement? Do you want more brickwork or glass? Do you prefer the convenience of uPVC of the natural look of wood? Having a good understanding on your preferences will give you a great starting point when discussing your vision.
Planning permission is required by UK law in order to allow you to build on, or change, the use of land or buildings. You should seek a company that will assess your specific conservatory design and its location against current planning policies and guidelines to establish if planning, listed building or conservation consent is required from your local council. Also, check that if permission is required, the company you're dealing with will prepare full plans and submit them to your local authority on your behalf. Some companies will offer this for free but some may want to charge.
Complying with Building Regulations is actually a separate matter to planning permission. The majority of conservatories in England and Wales are exempt from needing an application but there are circumstances where an application will be necessary. Your company will need to prepare full working drawings (including full structural and heat-loss calculations where necessary) and submit them for approval, notifying your local authority at all key stages of the installation.
Timescales and disruptions
Building conservatories, when done right, is a highly skilled job that requires a great deal of planning and consideration. It is more important to be well informed and to plan correctly than it is to build a construction that you might not have permission for, which would be a great waste of time, money and effort. Therefore, it is very important to get the advice of an expert consultant who should advise you of any issues right away and give you a more accurate indication of how long your construction should take to install. The important thing is that you buy from a company who agree to not only keep you informed of any updates but that they deal with all issues on your behalf as they arise.
As you can see from this quick summary, there is an awful lot that goes into planning your conservatory, but if you want to learn even more before meeting with an expert, take a look at our Conservatories Buying Guide.