A Buyers Guide to Consevatory Design

A well designed and correctly specified conservatory can provide a superb room, Providing valuable extra space, and making a great financial investment. But only of you get the design and specification right. It is difficult for us to distill decades of experience and un-rivalled product knowledge in to a single web page, but here are a few things to consider when planning your conservatory.

1. Conservatory guide to statutory requirements

This covers the potential need to obtain
• Planning Permission
• Building Regulations
• Permission under the Party Wall Act
• Permission Under any property covenants

There is insufficient room to go into the full details of the above on this page, some of which is covered elsewhere on many of our other pages, however, since every home in the country is individual and the interpretation of regulations varies from one Local Authority to another then it is important to obtain written confirmation prior to starting work whether or not the conservatory will be defined as Permitted Development and consequently will not require a Full Planning Permission application, or an application for Prior Approval, it should be noted that a conservatory can now have an unlimited amount of brickwork to the side elevations, after the ammendments to the Building Regulations in September 2010

2. Conservatory guide to site considerations

The factors here to consider, that will affect your conservatory design are

Height restrictions on the existing house - that may mean a boxgutter conservatory or low pitch conservatory is required. You can view lots of examples of projects incorporating boxgutter on our boxgutter conservatories page

Obstructions on the house wall, such as pipes and boiler flue outlets need to be dealt with. Soil pipes and such are easily boxed in, but of course a boiler flue cannot expel into the conservatory. Many flues can be ducted, but at worst the boiler itself may need to be resited. Boiler flues are a real safety issue and work needs to be undertaken by an approved Gas Safe engineer. The minimum distance from a boiler flue to the conservatory is typically 300mm, but this can vary and should be confirmed in each individual case.

Outside ground level, will extra build up be required, or if the outside ground slopes towards the house a retaining wall may be required.

Underground and drainage issues. Of course building over pipes can be straighforward but inspection chambers are more complex. More often than not inspection chambers can be raised and sealed inside the conservatory and only really present a problem if they are in the line of the foundations.

Soil conditions especially clay in the soil. If this extends to any serious depth then this will need to be addressed in the foundations stage, possibly with the installation of Clayshield foundation protection. Proximity of trees can also affect the foundation solution required.

3. Design and size

Thought needs to be given to making the room blend in with the existing house. Take time to browse as many basic conservatory designs as it takes to help make the right choice, many companies can provide a photo style image of your chosen design imposed on the existing house, to confirm that the design will suit. Most modern conservatories are built with a dwarf wall, rather than the old glass to ground style, because clients seem to prefer the more solid feel this gives. However the amount of brick wall can vary, and it is a good idea to have a lower wall if the ground falls away, so as to retain more of a view of the garden It is also common to build a full height wall or wall up transom height when the conservatory is tight on to a boundary. The high wall can then form the boundary and you can maximize the size of the room. Regarding the size of the conservatory, mark out on the ground the size of room you feel you actually want, then compare that with a room in the existing house. Draw it up to scale on some graph paper and add the furniture you plan to put into the room, whichever method you employ, take the time to ensure you make the room not so big as to ruin the garden, but big enough to be fit for your purpose.

4. Environmental considerations
This is where conservatory design and specification becomes much more of an art than a science, because the biggest issue affecting the conservatory is the weather. Firstly you need to work out how much direct sunlight will shine on the conservatory, and how much you want to control the temperature in the room. It is possible to control the heat build up in a conservatory, yet still allow light transmission, using the latest technology glazing solutions. You just need to remember that you cannot turn glass coating off and solar heat gain is a good thing on a cold, crisp, bright, Winters day.

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