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Conservatory Planning

"Adding a conservatory to the house is a major decision for most home owners."

11 Easy Steps To Planning Your Conservatory

Authors Website: Conservatory Advice

Adding a conservatory to the house is a major decision for most home owners. Not only in choosing the design and shape of the conservatory, but also in understanding the official procedures that are required for planning permission and building consents. To help customers through this maze of choices we have created 11 easy steps to planning a conservatory.

1.     Do I need planning permission for my new conservatory?
Most houses have ‘permitted development rights’. This means that the house can be extended by up to 50 or 75 cubic meters without having to obtain planning permission. However, if the house is in a conservation area, an area of outstanding beauty or has listed status you must obtain the correct consents from the local authority. You will have to provide detailed drawings and will either need to employ an architect or a specialist conservatory company. More on conservatory planning permission can be found here.

2.     Do I need building regulations?
Conservatories are exempt from UK building regulations if they meet the following criteria: The internal floor space is less than 30 square meters, 75% of the roof is glazed, and 50% of the conservatory sides are glazed and there are separating doors between the house and the conservatory.

3.     Where should I position the conservatory?
Where you position your conservatory will often depend on what you intend to use the conservatory for and the available space on your home. However, one of your key considerations is where the sun will be at any time of the time. South facing conservatories will get the full view of the sun at midday, meaning the conservatory will be hot all afternoon and early evening, whereas a north facing conservatory will not get any sun until much later in the day.

4.     Do I need to employ a local architect?
The answer is it depends on your circumstances. If you are undertaking a series of building works on your property and are looking to obtain a number of decisions from the local council you should employ an architect. A local architect will have established links with the local council and will be better equipped to discuss and compromise where necessary across the entire development. If however, you are planning only to have a conservatory then a specialist conservatory company is your best option.

5.     What are my design choices?
There are numerous conservatory design options. The most popular are Victorian, Lean too, Edwardian, Georgian and P shapes. Most specialist conservatory companies will prepare initial concept designs free of charge which reflect both your tastes and the architecture of the house.

6.     What type of glass should I use?
There have been major improvements in conservatory glass. Nowadays with the right glass the conservatory can be comfortable in both the hottest of summers and the coldest of winters. The most recent innovation for conservatories has been heat reflective glass. This glass has filters which prevent both the heat traveling into the conservatory and escaping afterwards. This means that the heat is more constant. This can be combined with roof vents with heat sensors. When the temperature rises, these vents automatically open allowing the hot air to escape. They are also fitted with rains sensors as well. So on the occasions it is both hot and raining they compromise and do not allow the rain into the conservatory.

7.     What about building work?
Either your architect or specialist conservatory company will organize for a full survey to be undertaken in the area of the house where you will be building your conservatory. They will assess the ground conditions and also look at other works such as drain pipes that may need moving and glass flues that need redirecting. They will then prepare an outline of the work of the building work required for you to obtain quotes. If your house is built on clay or on ground that has been reclaimed the builder may have to dig trial holes to assess what type of conservatory foundations are required.

8.     How long will my conservatory take to build?
This entirely depends on the type, size and complexity of the conservatory. If the effort to obtain sales many companies often under estimate the amount of time it will take. A very simple PVCu conservatory might have minimal foundations built and be erected in a couple of weeks, with a further couple of weeks to finish off the floor covering and electrics. However a complex hardwood conservatory will often take several months from the first day of building through to completion.

9.     Do I need heating in the conservatory?
If you plan to use the conservatory all the year round then it is wise to look at the various options for heating. Electrical under floor heating is the simplest form of heating and be bought in rolls which is laid on the floor. However, although this is easy to install, it is also expensive to run. If you are heating the room all the time then you should consider a wet under floor heating system which will be installed by a plumber. If however you are using the room as a business home office or as a restaurant then conservatory air conditioning is probably the best option to ensure maximum comfort and the ability to control the heat more easily.

10.     What about ventilation?
A conservatory can be ventilated with opening windows and roof vents. Generally in a small conservatory one roof vents is advisable or two for a larger conservatory. Roof vents are positioned in the roof and this allows hot air to escape and pull cool air in. If opening windows are situated at a lower level then they will pull through colder air allowing an air stream in and out of the conservatory.

11.     Do I need conservatory blinds?
This depends on where your conservatory is positioned. If your conservatory is north or west facing you are unlikely to require conservatory blinds ands the conservatory will not be receiving the sun’s rays all the way through the day. However, if you have a south facing conservatory, traditionally you had to have conservatory blinds in order to have protection from the sun. However, nowadays with the introduction of heat reflective glass this is not so necessary and blinds are sometimes chosen as a fashion accessory rather than essential for protection.

© 2007 Charles Turner - Richmond Oak Ltd

Note: This article was submitted by a second party and the contents are subject to our disclaimer.

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