Planning your conservatory
The first thing to consider is what will the room be used for: do you need it to be a playroom or a dining room. A lot of people like to use their conservatory as a breakfast room, or another space to relax in the evening. Knowing exactly what you want your conservatory to be will help you decide which room it should lead off from. A general tip is that a conservatory which is attached to a room which is used a lot will be a well used conservatory, and a conservatory leading from a little used room will become a little used conservatory.
Is planning permission needed for a conservatory?
Planning permission is not usually required unless you are extending a listed building, or are in a conservation area. Since 1st October 2008 Conservatories are now allowed under the permitted development for a house. Although it is still worth visiting our Council Links page to access your local council website and obtain more information specific to your own area. More information about planning permission for conservatories can be found at the government’s Planning Portal website.
Building regulations only apply if the conservatory exceeds 30m² floor space, has no connecting doors to the property, or is a kitchen/conservatory extension. Again, it is advisable to check details with your council and their website can be found through our Extension Guide section.
Mapping out the area and getting quotes
One of your first considerations will be the size of the conservatory. Mark out the area with sticks and string. Mark out both the internal and external measurements. You will want to see the effect on the garden from the external measurements, and these are the measurements suppliers will quote you.
It will probably be more interesting for you to see the internal measurements. Fill the area with furniture such as sofas and plants to make sure you have as much room as you would like.
It is always a good idea to get several quotes for major works such as this. When comparing quotes ensure the specification is the same in each, such as the glass type used and the number of window openings. It is also useful to meet the person who will be doing the work as it is often subcontracted. Do you have confidence in them? Discuss what they will be doing with their rubbish and other detritus. Take a look at How much does a conservatory cost? for a clearer idea of the kind of money you can expect to pay.
Building your conservatory
You will be asked to decide what materials you want for your conservatory.
There are three main types:
uPVC is the most popular. It combines low maintenance with low cost. It can come in white or wood grain. It is however not favoured by planners in conservation areas or on listed buildings.
Hardwood is suitable for listed buildings. It requires periodic maintenance and can be finished with paint or wood stain.
Aluminium conservatories are less common on house conservatories. It is more expensive than UPVC and not such a good insulator. It is however very strong and often used on commercial buildings.
Try to match any brickwork and render details with your existing building so that it looks like an integral part, not an add on.
How long will the work take?
This is a very common question and, of course, the answer varies. As a rough guide: experienced fitters should take 3-4 days. For a DIY enthusiast it will probably take 2-3 weekends.
You will need to put blinds in the conservatory to reduce glare and heat build up. They will also reduce any damage caused by the UV light fading furniture and carpets.