Conservatory Advice - Oak Conservatories
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Top Ways to Utilise Your Conservatory

Top ways to utilise your conservatory

The Great British Summer is officially upon us, and with any luck we will see at least one or two more days of sunshine before the end of it. We love residential living during the summer months and think that one of the best places to enjoy your home during the summer is from the comfort of a conservatory. While we all know that a conservatory is perfect for escaping the summer rain, there are plenty of other ways to utilize your conservatory in the summertime. Here are a few of our favourites!

Playroom

Families with young children, grandparents, or relatives who frequently host all-age get togethers will especially benefit from a conservatory to playroom transformation. We love this option because, even when the weather isn’t cooperating, families can spend time together in a beautiful and safe place. This option is also great for all day parties when children need or want to spend some time out of the sun.

Shaded indoor/outdoor area

For the days when it actually feels like summer, the conservatory is an ideal place to enjoy the season while staying safely shaded when necessary. Some conservatories come with French doors and full length openings, so your seating area is actually extended into the back garden.Furnish your conservatory with indoor/outdoor seating made from rattan or wicker to make it feel more like a garden than just another indoor space.

Top ways to utilise your conservatory

Breakfast nook

Lazy summer mornings practically cry out for an at home breakfast nook. If you don’t have space in your kitchen, or just want to soak up as much sun as you can, set up your conservatory with a small table and chairs in addition to any seating you already have. A long dresser or sideboard can be easily and cleverly converted into a breakfast bar, complete with cutlery,tableware, and even a coffee machine and kettle. You will appreciate this transformation when the sun is shining and the birds are singing, we promise!

Formal dining room

If your summer evenings are spent entertaining guests and throwing dinner parties, a formal dining room in your conservatory is an excellent and timely hosting decision. Let your guests dine under the stars with a fully stocked, formal dining space complete with table and chairs,fancy decor, and a drinks cart. If your conservatory has power, hang a few fairy lights and play soft music to set the tone of your party and your guests will be suitably impressed.

Top ways to utilise your conservatory

Movie room

A movie room is perfect for warm summer evenings when everyone wants to relax and get comfortable together. Turn your conservatory into a home cinema with a big screen TV or entertainment system and access to all your movies and snacks. We love this idea because of its versatility: it can be used as a fun hideout for teenage parties (while you watch quietly from a distance), a family friendly cinema, or even a late night screening room for you and your significant other.

Content provided by our friends at Home Improvement Leads who specialise in window leads and connecting quality home remodel contractors to homeowners like you.

by: Kaitlin Krull

Richmond Oak Conservatories

Established 2008

Let's have a chat to discuss your needs

Call us today: 08456 442257

or 01323 442255 or complete our web form...


Richmond Oak Conservatories Buyers Guide

Need a little more information?

To help you with your buying decision of your bespoke hardwood conservatory or orangery, we have put together the Richmond Oak Buyers Guide.

"What you need to know when planning to Improve Your Home with a Conservatory or Orangery".

VAT on Conservatories

Richmond Oak Conservatory VAT

There is frequently some confusion and misinformation around VAT on conservatories and we hope the following explanation will show how different VAT rates are applied when certain conditions are met. VAT at the current rate is payable on all types of home extensions, including conservatories, orangeries, garden rooms and any other glazed extensions, with a few exceptions, the main one's being listed below.

VAT on Conservatories on Listed Buildings

The Zero-Rating for building conservatories on Listed Buildings is discontinued from the 1st of October 2012. All works not substantially commenced by the 21st March 2012 or completed by the 1st October 2012 are subject to VAT at the current standard rate.

VAT on Conservatories on New Homes

Currently, new homes are zero rated for VAT in the UK. If you are planning to build a new house, include a conservatory in the plans and it will be zero rated.

If you have a new home part way through its build, you may still have time to add a conservatory and legitimately avoid VAT. This generally applies so long as the conservatory has been commenced prior to occupation of the new home, but you will need to check that permitted development rights have not been removed. Ask your architect or builder for clarification.

VAT on Conservatories for Barn Conversions

If you are considering adding a conservatory to a barn conversion or other agricultural building the following rules apply:

Unfortunately, it can be difficult to obtain Planning Approval and Listed Building Consent for a conservatory on a listed barn so you should ask your architect or designer and the Local Authority what style, design or size might be acceptable. • If the barn is going through a conversion from an agricultural property, you may be eligible for VAT at the 5% rate. • If the barn has already been lived in and not been unoccupied for two or more years, conservatories are subject to VAT at the standard rate of 20%.

You must notify in writing the builders and tradesmen, (who must be VAT registered), you are using for the project that a reduced rate of VAT applies and they will invoice without VAT or with VAT at 5% on materials that they source and their labour costs. If you are buying materials yourself, you should reclaim VAT through HMRC within three months of completion of the project.

VAT on Conservatories

Before starting building a conservatory, you should check whether Planning Consent is required and if in any doubt, take advice from a local VAT inspector at the same time.

VAT on Conservatories on Empty Properties

Conservatories added to properties that have been empty/uninhabited for two years or more and are being renovated as a single dwelling, will attract VAT at the reduced rate of 5%. After the work is completed the property must continue to be used for residential purpose.

Before the rate of 5% can be applied, you must have evidence to support the two year non-occupancy of the property. Ask your Local Authority if they can supply this to you.

You should also check with your local VAT Inspector before commencing the work to ensure that the 5% rate applies. .

VAT and Legal Undertakings

A few words of caution if an attempt is made to evade, rather than legitimately avoid VAT.

It is illegal for a company to offer a conservatory without VAT or for a customer to ask for it without the VAT.

If a potential customer asks a conservatory business or builder to build them a conservatory without VAT, they will have committed an offence and by law the company should report this to the relevant authorities.

You will find that most reputable companies will politely refuse the request and leave it at that; but to save any embarrassment and a call from a VAT inspector, don’t ask the question.

For further advice speak to your accountant or Contact Us for our best interpretation of the rules.

This information is provided for guidelines only – You should always seek independent advice in all financial matters.

Richmond Oak Conservatories

Established 2008

Let's have a chat to discuss your needs

Call us today: 08456 442257

or 01323 442255 or complete our web form...


Richmond Oak Conservatories Buyers Guide

Need a little more information?

To help you with your buying decision of your bespoke hardwood conservatory or orangery, we have put together the Richmond Oak Buyers Guide.

"What you need to know when planning to Improve Your Home with a Conservatory or Orangery".

Conservatory Roof Vents

Richmond Oak Roof Vents

As mentioned on the previous page, since heat rises it is sensible to have some form of ventilation in the roof of the conservatory and one or more opening roof vents, depending on the size of your conservatory, is the easiest way to provide this. You will need to make sure that you specify ones that provide good sealing and that are water and draught proof. British Standard 5156 covers the use of glass on sloping roofs, including wind and impact testing.

conservatory-ventilation

Opening and closing conservatory roof vents can be done in several ways. The simplest method is using a Hook & Pole to manually crank the roof vent open or shut. Other than being the most economical way of opening and closing roof vents, it is also the most attractive solution as there is no mechanism to install. For security, the roof vent can also include a locking mechanism that prevents the vent from being opened from the outside.

However you can install a Teleflex® or other mechanism which can be controlled from a winding handle some distance away from the roof vent.

These mechanisms can also be electronically controlled for even easier use from a wall-mounted switch or remote control unit. You can also make them totally automatic with a digital control system that will adjust the opening to maintain your desired temperature in the conservatory and close the vents completely if it rains.

Why do you require Conservatory Roof Vents?

If your conservatory is going to be anywhere but north facing, you should ensure you have at least one or even several conservatory roof vents to allow the warm air to exit the roof.

What most people don’t realise, is that two thirds of the heat in any room is in the top third of the room. Quite simply.. warm air rises… that’s why the floor is normally the coldest point the room. In a conservatory this is usually made worse by the fact that the warm air, just below the glazed roof is superheated by the sun hitting the roof… even with solar control glass, this is still the hottest point. The following applies, no matter the glazing material, glass or polycarbonate. Not that I recommend it, it’s possible to fry an egg on a glass roof.

Despite having all your doors and windows open, there are days when there is no air movement and the hot air just back fills into the conservatory. A conservatory roof vent operates just like a chimney. Warm air rises and just exits the roof via the roof vent(s). Because it’s not possible to have a vacuum, this air is replaced by drawing more air into the conservatory from the outside, thus creating a most welcome draught.

Types of Conservatory Roof Vents

Manual Conservatory Roof Vents:

Manual roof vents are operated by pole with a hook at the end to operate a worm screw, which opens and shuts the vent. This is adequate on an east or west facing conservatory, when the vents aren’t required to be opened as frequently and where there are no more than two vents, otherwise they can be quite an inconvenience.

Electric Conservatory Roof Vents:

Electric roof vents are more convenient as, at the push of a button, they can be opened or shut all at the same time.

Electric Roof vents with Climate Control and Rain Sensor:

Electric roof vents with climate control and rain sensor are far more convenient as, they will operate whilst you are out of the house and ventilate the conservatory ready for you to enjoy when you return home. This is particularly important if:

  • Your hardwood conservatory or oak orangery is south facing and exposed to the sun for any length of time
  • Your oak conservatory is open plan with the kitchen or living room
  • If you leave pets in the house
  • You use your hardwood conservatory or Orangery as a home office

The Climate Control can be set to the comfortable room temperature you require and the roof vents will open, either partially, or completely, depending upon the temperature setting.

Rain Sensor

When the Rain Sensor, set onto the roof detects rain, it will immediately over-ride the climate control and cause the roof vents to close.

Leaks from Roof Vents:

Clients are often advised not to fit roof vents, because they can leak. This false information is used by some sales people to reduce the price of a conservatory by the cost of the roof vents, especially if their company is expensive for these items. If a roof vent is designed and fitted properly with the use of the correct sealants, then it won’t leak. We have fitted hundreds of roof vents without leaks.

Failing Roof Vent Motors or Climate Controls:

Having fitted roof vents for over 20 years, we have had less than 5 failed motors or climate control units.

Timber lined roof vents:

Powder coated aluminium is by far the best material for a conservatory roof vent and will include a thermal break to reduce any risk of condensation on the frame. When the conservatory is painted, usually the roof vent will be colour coded to the conservatory.

Where the interior is natural timber, as with an oak conservatory or orangery, Richmond Oak provide a unique, bespoke oak lining to the interior of the roof vent, in the same colour as the interior of the oak orangery or conservatory.

Advice:

Don’t neglect this part of a conservatory. The small additional cost can make all the difference as to whether the conservatory or orangery is usable all year around, or not. Over the years, we have had many requests for roof vents to be installed in other companies’ roofs, where they have been omitted. Fitting a roof vent retrospectively is usually impossible to do satisfactorily and, even if possible, will be a very expensive exercise.

Richmond Oak Conservatories

Established 2008

Let's have a chat to discuss your needs

Call us today: 08456 442257

or 01323 442255 or complete our web form...


Richmond Oak Conservatories Buyers Guide

Need a little more information?

To help you with your buying decision of your bespoke hardwood conservatory or orangery, we have put together the Richmond Oak Buyers Guide.

"What you need to know when planning to Improve Your Home with a Conservatory or Orangery".

Conservatory Ground Conditions & Foundations

Richmond Oak Ground Works & Foundations

Before any work can be started on the foundations of a conservatory, an understanding of the conservatory ground conditions and subsoil strata on the site is needed. There are several ground conditions that need to be considered and if there is a inspection cover on the site you must also work out how to accommodate sewer pipes.

If you are building on a clay soil you will have to know all about the recommendations in British Standard 8004 or if the clay is very soft the phone number of a foundations engineer.

Building near trees or shrubs will impact on the design and cost of your foundations. A builder or a foundation engineer will know how to make foundation depth calculations using a foundation calculator and a list of mature tree heights.

If you are building on reclaimed land, the existing property will probably be built on substantial footings and your conservatory will also need similar reinforced foundations.

Deep strip foundations are the most common type of foundations used in conservatory construction and the cheapest to build when the ground conditions are suitable.

Trench fill foundations can be quicker to prepare than deep strip foundations enabling the construction of the conservatory to proceed quickly. Raft foundations can be a suitable alternative if trench fill of deep strip cannot be used.

Piled foundations are sometimes used for conservatories where there is no good bearing ground often associated with reclaimed land.

Finally, whatever type of foundation and accompanying flooring is specified, floor insulation must be taken into consideration.

Conservatory Ground Conditions

Before any work can be started on the foundations for a conservatory, an investigation of the subsoil strata on the site will need to be made. The following are the main determining factors in finalising the type of foundation required:

  • The location of drains and inspection chambers directly on or close to the site
  • Whether the site is on clay soil
  • How close trees and shrubs are to the conservatory
  • Whether there Is there a high water table
  • Is the site is on reclaimed land?

Building Over Inspection Covers

Home built after 1939 most often a private sewer system, i.e. one not owned by your local Water Authority. If you are unsure whether your sewer system is private or public you should check with your Water Authority.If the conservatory is being built within three meters of a public sewer, you or your builder have a legal obligation to contact the local water authority and get their approval before building starts.If you cannot avoid building the conservatory over an inspection cover, you will have to replace the existing cover with a sealed, screw down cover to prevent odours and gases escaping into the conservatory.However, if you can, try to move the inspection cover outside the conservatory so that you have good access to potential blocked drains without having to pull up the flooring in the conservatory.

Building Over Sewers

If there is an inspection cover on the site of your conservatory it’s a good indication that the foundations for the conservatory will have to be built to accommodate sewer pipes. Here it’s important to ensure that the weight of the foundation does not have the potential to damage the pipe whether this is beneath the foundation or running through it.

Building on Clay Soils

Clay soils contain very fine mineral particles, silt and sand and can be subject to dramatic changes in volume as their moisture content varies. How much the clay will shrink or expand depends on the ratio of the mineral particles, silt and sand it is made up of.

To avoid shrinking and expansion problems it is usual to excavate foundations to a depth where the moisture content of the clay remains stable. British Standard 8004 recommends a minimum depth of one metre for foundations, but if the clay is very soft you may need a foundation specified by an engineer.

Foundation excavated in a clay soil should be concreted as soon as possible after being dug. Even left over night the excavations can dry out or get wet, in which case it will need to be dug a further 50 to 100mm. Foundations built over a dried out trench bottom may suffer heave when the clay takes up moisture and swells; if built over a wet trench bottom, the clay may swell which will cause settlement later when it compresses under load.

Building Near Trees & Shrubs

If there are trees or shrubs within 35 metres of your planned conservatory they will impact on the design and cost of your foundations. Clay shrinks or swells according to seasonal changes in weather and the moisture below ground level can be taken up by trees, hedges and shrubs, leading to subsidence in very hot weather.

Even if trees and shrubs are being removed as part of the conservatory build or landscaping, deeper foundations may be required as their removal will alter the level of moisture within the soil causing it to swell or shrink. This can also occur when excavations cut tree, shrub and hedge roots.

If you are planning new landscaping close to the conservatory, once again you will need to bear in mind how this could remove moisture will be removed from the soil.

Foundation Depth Calculations

Whether a new tree is being planted or an existing one is to remain, it’s the mature height of the tree that is used to calculate the foundation depth in an equation using the distance between the centre of the trunk and the nearest face of the foundation.

If you have new landscaping, choose your trees according to their water demands and the depth of your foundations. Cypress, Eucalyptus, Oak Poplar

Conservatory Ground Conditions

and Willow have high water demands. Chestnut, Plane Pine and Yew are moderate users, while Beech and Holly have smaller water requirements.

A builder or a foundation specialist will be able to calculate the foundation depth required using a foundation calculator and a list of mature tree heights.

Building on Reclaimed Land

If your home is built on reclaimed land it’s probably built on substantial footings and the new conservatory will need reinforced foundations as well. This is described more fully under the heading Piled Foundations further down the page.

Deep Strip Foundations

Deep strip foundations are the most common type of foundations used in conservatory building and the cheapest to build when the ground conditions are suitable. If the position of the property makes it difficult to get access for machinery, the foundations will have to be dug manually.

The width of the foundation depends on the local soil type, but generally the minimum is 450mm. The concrete used in the conservatory foundations should have a minimum depth of 225mm.

Trench Fill Foundations

If speed is of the essence, trench fill foundations can be more quickly finished than deep strip foundations, letting the building of the conservatory to start quickly. You will need to calculate whether the reduced labour time and cost for building trench fill foundations will offset the greater cost of concrete required for them.

The trench is filled with concrete exceeding 500mm in depth to a minimum of 150mm below ground level. If ground heave is anticipated, the trench sides may need to be lined with a compressible material together with mesh reinforcement.

The trench fill foundation is often specified when soil is loose, in areas with a high water table or heavy clay and if trees are nearby.

Raft Foundations

If trench fill and deep strip foundations cannot be used raft foundations can be an alternative. However, they can pose problems unless steps are taken to ensure that the edge of the raft abutting the existing property will not break away when the raft settles.

This problem occurs if there are different settlement rates for the new conservatory and the existing building and manifests itself when a crack opens at the join or in adjacent walls.

This is most likely to happen where the substrata is not solid, or when trees are nearby that can affect the foundations. Your architect or builder will be able to calculate the weight of the conservatory and ascertain whether the ground is sufficiently consolidated and capable of supporting the load.

Piled Foundations

Piled foundations are sometimes used for conservatories where good bearing ground can only be found at deep levels such as exist on reclaimed land or where there are subsidence problems.

The piles can be dug into the ground although it is more usual to bore them if access for the machinery is available. If there is restricted access, small auger boring machines can be used. These are usually petrol or diesel driven and if noise is likely to be a problem, quieter electrically driven versions are available.

The piles support a reinforced concrete ground beam that spans from pile to pile and it is on this that the conservatory is built.

Floor Insulation

No matter what type of foundation is used and what type of flooring is planned, floor insulation must be taken into consideration. This is usually made from 125mm flooring grade polystyrene; laid below the concrete slab or above the slab, but below the screed.

If you are installing underfloor heating, floor insulation is essential as it stops the heat from escaping to ground and thus make your heating bills more economical while making the floor more comfortable to walk on.

Richmond Oak Conservatories

Established 2008

Let's have a chat to discuss your needs

Call us today: 08456 442257

or 01323 442255 or complete our web form...


Richmond Oak Conservatories Buyers Guide

Need a little more information?

To help you with your buying decision of your bespoke hardwood conservatory or orangery, we have put together the Richmond Oak Buyers Guide.

"What you need to know when planning to Improve Your Home with a Conservatory or Orangery".

Conservatories Near Sewers

Conservatories near sewers require special attention:

Building Over Sewers (on private non-shared drains only)

If there is an inspection cover on the site of your conservatory, you must also bear in mind how the foundations for the conservatory will accommodate sewer pipes. You need to ensure that the weight of the foundation is not imposed on the pipe whether this is beneath the foundation or running through it.

Building Over Inspection Covers (on private non-shared drains only)

If your home was built after 1939 it probably has a private sewer system, i.e. one not owned by your local Water Authority. If you are unsure whether your sewer system is private or public you should ask your Water Authority.

If your new conservatory is planned to be constructed within three meters of a public sewer it is a legal requirement that you contact your local water authority to consult with them and get their approval before commencing.

If the conservatory is being built over an inspection cover then a sealed, screw down cover is required to prevent odours and gases escaping into the conservatory. Depending upon drain routing, if there are no other inspection covers close by it is sensible to move the inspection cover outside the conservatory so that you have good access to potential blocked drains. Doing this will also give you more freedom over the type of conservatory flooring you can use, as it will not be necessary to install it with access to the inspection cover in mind.

Building Over Shared/Public Sewers

On October 1st 2010, the Water Boards took over the ownership of all Shared Sewers and if your proposed extension/conservatory is to be built over, or within 3 metres of a shared sewer you need to get in touch with your Water Board to discuss the best way of dealing with an affected sewer. During these discussions they are likely to recommend one of the following options:

1) Avoid the sewer

Modifications to your plans may mean that the work does not affect the sewer. This is often the easiest and cheapest option. We recommend you discuss this with your builder, keeping in mind that your proposed building should be at least three metres away from the sewer.

2) Divert the sewer

If your plans cannot be modified, you will usually be asked to divert the sewer (if practical). In most cases where the sewer is up to 160mm diameter they may allow your builder to undertake this diversionary work. The builder will have to satisfy your Water Board that they are competent and they must be in possession of a written consent before carrying out any work. Alternatively, your Water Board may be able to provide a quotation for the work, the cost of which will need to be met by yourself.

3) Building over or within three metres of a public sewer

Where the sewer is in a satisfactory condition, your Water Board may allow you to build over or within three metres of it. You must have your Water Board written agreement to do this and it may be necessary for your Water Board to carry out the following checks:

  • A closed circuit television (CCTV) survey before you begin work, to check whether the sewer can be built over or if repair work is needed first. In most cases you will not be charged for the repair work.
  • A follow-up CCTV survey when you have completed the work, to check that construction work has not damaged the sewer.
  • If the sewer is less than 160mm diameter and only serves a limited number of properties, we may decide not to carry out a CCTV survey. Instead, they will use historical records of blockages, repairs and other local knowledge to ascertain the sewer’s condition. Please note, your Water Board will not allow the building over of manholes, rising mains or strategic sewers.
  • Your Water Board will make a charge for every application to build over or near a sewer. The level of charge will depend on the size of the sewer and whether a detailed survey of the sewer is necessary. In some cases, where major ‘strategic’ sewers are involved, a formal agreement may also be required.
Conservatories Near Sewers

DO NOT AVOID THIS PROCEDURE, AS YOU COULD BE REQUIRED TO REMOVE THE EXTENSION/CONSERVATORY, IF YOU DO NOT OBTAIN THE REQUIRED CONSENTS

Water supply and sanitation in England and Wales provision in the UK as higher than most other major countries in the EU. More than 700,000 kilometres of mains and sewers are buried... read more...

Richmond Oak Conservatories

Established 2008

Let's have a chat to discuss your needs

Call us today: 08456 442257

or 01323 442255 or complete our web form...


Richmond Oak Conservatories Buyers Guide

Need a little more information?

To help you with your buying decision of your bespoke hardwood conservatory or orangery, we have put together the Richmond Oak Buyers Guide.

"What you need to know when planning to Improve Your Home with a Conservatory or Orangery".

Conservatory Party Walls

Richmond Oak Party Wall Act

The Party Wall Act 1996 regulates what you can and cannot do when building on part, or close to, a neighbouring property. You will need to refer to the Party Wall Act if you are planning to build a conservatory.

You can download a copy of the Party Wall Act Explanatory Booklet where you will find the workings of the Act described in a simple way, together with numerous illustrations and draft letters to send to neighbours when you are planning to build a conservatory.

The Party Wall Act & Your Conservatory

You will need to refer to the Party Walls Act if you are planning to build a conservatory on an existing wall or structure shared with another property; that has a free standing wall up to or astride the boundary with a neighbouring property; and where it is necessary to excavate near a neighbouring building to build foundations for a conservatory.

If you are on friendly terms with your neighbours you will probably want to maintain that relationship,

Conservatory Party Walls

however, building work often become contentious and it is easy to fall out over a misunderstanding of the regulations.

Understanding the Party Walls Act needs and dealing with your build sensibly and carefully can help to limit potential problems as will taking the advice of an independent professionally qualified or experienced person.

Party Wall Fence

A Party Wall Fence does not mean a fence in the usual sense of a wooden fence. It is a wall not forming part of a building but which straddles the boundary between you and your neighbour.

If in the construction of your conservatory you are planning to build against the Party Wall Fence, or will be excavating within three metres of the neighbouring property; you will need to give your neighbours official notice at least two months before the work commences. It is not sufficient just to tell them in a conversation.

Your neighbour may agree to the start being earlier, but they are not obliged to.

Party Wall Notice

The official notice you send to your neighbour must include:

  • The name and address of the owners of the property
  • The date the notice is being served
  • A statement that the notice is being served under The Party Wall Act 1996
  • A full description of the proposed work
  • The proposed start date for the work
  • What happens in the event of a dispute

If you are working with an architect or builder, they will usually take care of this on your behalf. If you are managing the project yourself, you can find a sample letter to use for this on page 29 of the Party Wall Act Explanatory Booklet.

The neighbouring party or parties should also respond in writing giving their permission or registering their dissent. If they do not reply within 14-days the effect is to put the notice into Party Wall Dispute.

Party Wall Dispute

In the event of a Party Wall Dispute and the neighbouring parties not being able to come to an agreement, the procedure is as follows:

A Surveyor is, or Surveyors are, appointed to determine a fair and impartial Award.

The Surveyor can be an Agreed Surveyor, or each party may appoint their own Surveyor. Using a single Surveyor should be less expensive, but may lead to one or the other party being dissatisfied with the decision, even though Surveyors must act within their statutory responsibilities and propose a fair and impartial Award.

After an Award has been made and in the event of the parties remaining in dispute, all parties have up to 14-days to appeal to a County Court against the Award.

Once you have agreement, all work must comply with the notice. This should be retained in the event of a subsequent purchaser of the property wishing to establish that the work was carried out in accordance with the Party Wall Act.

Richmond Oak Conservatories

Established 2008

Let's have a chat to discuss your needs

Call us today: 08456 442257

or 01323 442255 or complete our web form...


Richmond Oak Conservatories Buyers Guide

Need a little more information?

To help you with your buying decision of your bespoke hardwood conservatory or orangery, we have put together the Richmond Oak Buyers Guide.

"What you need to know when planning to Improve Your Home with a Conservatory or Orangery".

Glazing next to a Boundary is NOT a good move

Glazing next to a boundary

Why is glazing next to a Boundary NOT a good move?

Almost every week I get asked to include glazing next to a boundary, or on the boundary, which I always refuse. In 35 years, I’ve never done it and I’ll walk away from any job where my client insists it’s what they want! Perhaps, I should explain why?

There are several reasons and I’ll deal with them one by one, but I’ll be leading up to the last one, which is really the most important.

  • Sound Privacy:
    It really isn’t a good idea having glazing close to or adjacent to the boundary with a neighbour, not only from a visual point of view, but also sound. A glass sealed unit is not as good a sound insulator as an insulated cavity wall. Not only that, I have come across many conservatories where there is an opening window close to the boundary. I assure you, your neighbour will be able to overhear every word of your conversations. I hope you are not talking about them!
  • Visual Privacy:
    Do you really want your neighbours looking into your conservatory, or do you want the unnecessary expense of blinds?… If so, what use is the glazing? I am often told my client wants to get the light from that direction, but they’ve now got a roof full of light and when compared to their sitting room, they’ve as much light as they require without the need for it from the boundary wall. Don’t believe patterned or obscure glass will do the trick, you can still be seen moving around through anything other than expensive ‘privacy glass’.
  • Visibility from the conservatory:
    Do you really want to be looking at the boundary wall, fence or hedge?… Close off an unattractive view with a full height brick wall.
  • Maintenance:
    Unless you leave a gap of at least 300mm between the boundary wall, fence or hedge means you will be unable to clean the glass or maintain the frames. Even with so-called maintenance free pvc or aluminium, the glass still needs to be cleaned, gutters need to be cleared and dew on the frames will mean that spores will adhere to the surface and eventually the inaccessible frames will grow green mould.
  • Leaving a gap reduces space:
    If you leave a gap of 300mm, sufficient to get around the edge of the conservatory to clean the glass, you are reducing what could be usable interior space by the same amount. Probably for a minimal extra cost.
  • The Rat-run:
    I regularly see a situation where a small gap of 100-150mm has been left between the wall, fence or hedge. This is a perfect home for the type of little creatures you would prefer not to have as a neighbour.
  • The neighbour decides they want a conservatory or extension some time in the future:
    ... This is the big one! I am always told the neighbours don’t plan to have one and they have no objection to the new glazing adjacent to the boundary. Wake up! Have you never heard of someone changing their mind, moving, or dying and new people moving in with different plans! They then build their new extension, orangery or conservatory right up to the boundary with a nice new brick wall and many of the above situations will then apply. After all, they have no reason to restrict their plans just because you don’t like it. Remember, if they have permitted development rights intact, they can build a conservatory, orangery or single storey extension up to 3m in projection and 4m in height, without involving planning. Instead of sunshine streaming through your side windows or gable, you will then see the blockwork on the side of their wall, a few inches away… for the time being that is, until your windows become so dirty and mouldy you can’t see anything!

At least 4-5 times a year, I arrive at a client’s site where they want a conservatory and find it really difficult to find a satisfactory solution, because of a thoughtless design on the neighbour’s boundary. I don’t blame the neighbour, I blame the sales person, or so-called designer, who most likely hasn’t discussed the potential problems with their client, being all too keen to ‘sign them up’, no matter their requirements. In similar situations, I’ve had sales people just saying “That’s what they want”. However, it’s our responsibility to provide good advice and provide a solution that is “Fit for Purpose!”

I’m often told “No-one else has said it is a problem”. My answer, “I can’t be responsible for other people’s irresponsible advice… or their lack of good advice!” In 35 years, I’ve NEVER glazed adjacent to a boundary!

(Click image to enlarge)

Richmond Oak Conservatories

Established 2008

Let's have a chat to discuss your needs

Call us today: 08456 442257

or 01323 442255 or complete our web form...


Richmond Oak Conservatories Buyers Guide

Need a little more information?

To help you with your buying decision of your bespoke hardwood conservatory or orangery, we have put together the Richmond Oak Buyers Guide.

"What you need to know when planning to Improve Your Home with a Conservatory or Orangery".

The Value of a Conservatory Ball Park Figure

Is there really any value in a conservatory Ball Park Figure?

There’s not a day goes past when we are not asked “Please can you provide a quote or budget price for a conservatory…” from a rough description over the phone. Quite often followed by “…we only want a ‘ball-park figure, we won’t hold you to it”. When you take into consideration the 30+ main considerations which can have significant effects on price, you might see how difficult it is to come up with a meaningful figure. For a conservatory of the same size and design, depending on the choices, the least costly way of being able to do the project, can be one third of the most expensive option.

So why is this so important?

From the client’s point of view:

Understandably, they are trying to assess the cost and whether it falls into an affordable budget. The client is also trying to assess whether the company providing the budget figure can do so within that budget.

From the Company’s point of view:

Firstly: How do we come up with a meaningful figure? Knowing the cost implications of factors which affect both the cost of the conservatory and the associated building work, it’s a dilemma.

The low budget figure: Knowing that most clients are judging whether to come back to them based upon the response to the ‘ball-park’ question, there is a strong temptation to pitch the figure very low, knowing that it will sound attractive. As a result, they’ll very likely get their salesman’s ‘foot in the door’ and let him/her deal with the reasons why the price is considerably dearer, when he gets into the client’s home.

The safe budget figure: In attempting to be more helpful and more realistic, the company providing a safer, higher budget figure, to take into consideration typical requirements and circumstances, is very likely to be judged too expensive and will never get a call back or opportunity to price the job properly. Interestingly, the company having this approach may well be capable of providing the work at a lower cost, to a higher standard, or both. But the client will never know

The Solution: Take up the company’s offer to quote the work, based upon full information and specifications, usually resulting from a No-Obligation site visit. We will not only provide you with sound advice (all our designers have in excess of 15 years relevant experience of conservatory design), but we will provide 3D visual models and a fully detailed specification of what we are pricing for. Click here to read about Factors affecting price...

Richmond Oak Conservatories

Established 2008

Let's have a chat to discuss your needs

Call us today: 08456 442257

or 01323 442255 or complete our web form...


Richmond Oak Conservatories Buyers Guide

Need a little more information?

To help you with your buying decision of your bespoke hardwood conservatory or orangery, we have put together the Richmond Oak Buyers Guide.

"What you need to know when planning to Improve Your Home with a Conservatory or Orangery".

Factors Affecting Conservatory Prices

richmond-oak-factors-affecting-conservatory-prices

The main factors affecting conservatory price are:

Glazed Extensions (excluding Building Work)

  • Location: Instead of having three sides, frequently a conservatory is into a corner, with just two sides, or sometimes into a courtyard, with only one side. Occasionally, a conservatory is freestanding with four sides.
  • Size: width, projection, frame height, height at house wall
  • Type: Conservatory with a glass roof, Orangery having flat roof and central lantern or Garden Room with tiled or slate roof.
  • Material: excluding building work costs, from white PVC at 45% of the cost of Oak, rising through coloured PVC, aluminium, softwood such as Russian Larch or European Redwood (Pine), through various hardwoods, such as sapele, idigbo or iroko, to the very best seasoned Oak
  • Frame type: Storm-proof sashes, standard with 70mm frames. Flush, conservation sashes with 90mm frames and dummy sashes to fixtures. Typical for Listed Properties.
  • Frame features: Do you require glazing bars, such as Georgian style squares, leaded lights or coloured glass features?
  • Doors: number and position of doors or double doors (recommended door width 700-800) or more expensive multi-pane or bifold doors.
  • Window openings: number and position of openings (recommended window width 700-800) Recommended min of 2 full height openings, 4 if conservatory over 10 sq.m.
  • Frame/roof centres: Important – window sashes shouldn’t exceed 800mm, if you want the roof rafters to align with the frames.
  • Roof Design: the simpler the design, the lower the price.
  • Box Gutters: Does the design require a box gutter. If so, does it need to be structural?
  • Insulation: A rated glazing with minimum of 1.2 u value recommended
  • Roof glass: solar control glass should be standard unless in the shadow of a North facing house (0.9-1.0 u value, keeps out up to 78% of unwanted heat)
  • Frame glass: clear solar control glass with 1.0 u value, should be used on South facing conservatories.
  • Roof Ventilation: warm air rises – it’s essential to fit roof vents minimum one up to 12 sq.m., two over. These can be manual, electric or automatic.
  • Planning: Depending upon the position and size, amongst other factors, such as being Listed, in a conservation area, green belt, National Park, or area of outstanding natural beauty, etc. will determine whether you need to allow for Planning Costs.
  • Building Regulations: will be required if, above 4m in height from ground, over 30 sq.m floor space, or open plan with house

Once you have decided upon the design and specifications for you conservatory, the following are the building work considerations, which will cost the same,  whether the frame material be PVC, Aluminium, or any type of Timber.

Building Work

  • Access: Is there good access to the site, or does it have to go through the house, up or down steps, or on a first or higher floor?
  • Demolition: Is there an existing building, conservatory or are there other obstructions to consider, such as boiler flues.
  • Drainage: Are there any shared drains crossing within 3m of conservatory, or manholes in line with footings. A Waterboard 'Build Over Agreement' will be required if your glazed extension is to be built within 3m of a shared drain.
  • Type of base: strip footings 1m deep standard, but additional cost of deeper footings, raft or piling may be required, if poor soil conditions or trees within 7m
  • Ground levels: sloping sites will require brickwork build-up or excavation with retaining walls.
  • Walls: insulated dwarf cavity walls are standard, but sometime full height frames are required and sometime full height or parapet walls.
  • Knock throughs: Are you opening up to the house and does this involve new steel lintels, structural calculations and heat loss submissions for building regulations.
  • Flooring: do you intend to have tiles, laminated timber, Amtico style vinyl, or carpet.
  • Underfloor heating: Do you require electric or wet underfloor heating system? If not radiators and how many?
  • Electrics: How many sockets, lights, switches, TV points, etc. do you require? How near is your consumer unit?
  • Plumbing: Are there any radiators to remove, move, or new ones required? External Tap?
  • Landscaping: Do you require any additional patio work, new steps, etc.?

You will have recognised, that whilst the cost difference between the conservatory main structure remains the major variable, there will be many factors which may be constant, such as size, design, glass specification, and all the building costs, which together significantly reduce the percentage cost difference between the least costly PVC option and the biggest investment you consider making.

Investing in a conservatory or orangery has very similar design and cost factors to take into consideration as when replacing your kitchen. From the designer’s point of view, it is essential to have some idea of your budget.

For example, to offer a plastic laminate kitchen with Whirlpool appliances for £4,500 may prove to be exactly what the kitchen customer wants, however, it could be perceived as an insult to the aspirations of a customer whose budget is £35,000 and wants solid oak doors, granite work surfaces and Neff appliances. Conversely, to raise the aspirations of the customer with the £4,500 budget to that of Oak and Neff, is grossly unfair and could lead to embarrassment.

In the same way, it is important for the conservatory designer to have some idea of your budget before he starts suggesting ideas, size, materials and specifications, so as he/she can best advice you, to meet your requirements and budget.

Contact Richmond Oak for advice from experienced designers, where we can provide you with a choice of material, to meet almost any sensible budget.

Richmond Oak Conservatories

Established 2008

Let's have a chat to discuss your needs

Call us today: 08456 442257

or 01323 442255 or complete our web form...


Richmond Oak Conservatories Buyers Guide

Need a little more information?

To help you with your buying decision of your bespoke hardwood conservatory or orangery, we have put together the Richmond Oak Buyers Guide.

"What you need to know when planning to Improve Your Home with a Conservatory or Orangery".

Conservatory Planning Permission

Richmond Oak Conservatory Planning Permission

Conservatory Planning Permission and Building Regulations are two different issues in the planning and building of a conservatory and should not be confused even though your Local Authority manage both. Since the changes in 2008, with respect to planning, there is no difference between a single storey solid roof extension, a conservatory, an orangery or a tiled/slate roof garden room.

Whilst it is valuable to be aware of the requirements, ​a good quality company will be able to deal with all these matters on your behalf, with their specialist knowledge and at a lower cost than through an architect. Richmond Oak carry out approx. 33% of our work on Listed Buildings and over 50% on work in Conservation Areas, National Parks, Green Belt or, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). We are very familiar with the typical requirements of Conservation work.

Planning Permission – is the Local Authority permission to erect or extend a property, whether it be traditional build, or a glazed extension, such as a conservatory, orangery or garden room. Click here to view full details on 'How to Make a Planning Application'

Building Regulations – where applicable, define how an extension, conservatory, orangery or garden room must be built. BEWARE! Where the building is exempt, other than the requirement for safety, there are no regulations regarding design or specifications for the building work at all and the less scrupulous installer or builder will take advantage of your lack of knowledge.

Properties that have not already been extended often have Permitted Development Rights, although these are not applicable if it is a Listed Building, in a Conservation Area, Green Belt or Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Richmond Oak Conservatory Planning Permission

You will find a comprehensive guide to making a Planning Application at the government Planning Portal. Along with an application for Planning Permission you will need to supply a Certificate of Ownership, an Ordnance Survey based Location Plan and a Design and Access Statement. Sometimes there is also a requirement for a flood risk assessment, or archaeological survey. View an interactive archaeological survey map here.

Click here for further information

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