Conservatories & Orangeries – Most asked lockdown questions

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During the last few months we have been able to compile some of our most frequently asked questions put to our design team from our potential clients.

Rather than the usual list of FAQ’s you will often see, we have compiled the real questions that have been asked. 

We hope you enjoy these and would love you to get in contact with any you wish to add to the list!

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How much does a conservatory cost?

The realistic investment required for a glazed extension is dependent on initial factors that need to be considered. Firstly, functionality, why you want to use the new Living Space which will dictate the appropriate size. 

Secondly, design style aesthetics relates to both personal preference, such as a conservatory or orangery,  and how it will complement the architecture of the existing property. 

Finally, what window, door, and roof material is chosen, for example hardwood, aluminium or uPVC. Also, other considerations related to what building work is required in regards to foundations, structural knock throughs when creating an open plan space within an existing property and associated planning requirements.

The realistic investment guideline for a 5m x 4m size seasoned oak framed conservatory suitable for a dining area of 8 guests having solar control glass, would be between £60,000 & £70,000 including building work, flooring, lighting, underfloor heating, planning & building regulations fees and VAT. 

An oak orangery would be between £70,000 & £80,000. A similar size and design in another alternative hardwood would probably be £4,000-£6000 lower in cost, depending on the proportion of frames to brickwork. Aluminium might reduce the cost by a further similar figure and the project in PVC would be half the cost of oak.

Why can’t I get a conservatory cost online from you?

It would be great if we could do that. 

However, there are too many questions that have to be taken into account, including access and site conditions. 

We have written a helpful blog post on the subject here:  Factors affecting conservatory prices

An important part of the process is the discussion that takes place during the consultation. 

More often than not, what a client believes they want is limited by what they know and at least 60% of the time our clients find our ideas more expansive and end up investing in something quite different to what they originally asked for.

Do I need planning permission for a conservatory?

That depends upon a number of factors. 

Firstly, if the property is listed or in a conservation area or other designated areas, planning will be required. 

Also, the property might have had its permitted development rights removed for a number of reasons. 

If the work projects towards the front of the property it will require planning, as it will if it is in any way being built off of an existing extension that was built after 1948. In simple terms, if none of the above apply, you can build up to 3m from the original rear of a semi-detached or terraced house, or between 3m & 6m with neighbour consultation.

If the property is detached, the distances are increased to 4m and 8m. You can also extend up to 50% of the width of the property on either side, so long as the extension does not step forward, or to the rear of the existing property (and of course if there is space to do so).

What is the best type of design, a conservatory or orangery?

There is no such thing as the best conservatory or orangery.

As long as it provides the right amount of space to perform its purpose, satisfies your visual requirements, looks right on the property, has the correct glass and ventilation and meets a budget you are prepared to invest.

How big can I build a conservatory?

There really is no maximum or minimum size, other than there must be the space to build it, and that it must meet your practical requirements and be affordable.

Will the conservatory get too hot in the summer?

A glazed extension will get too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter if the correct glass and adequate ventilation is not provided. 

For the best part of the past two decades there has been no excuse to provide inadequate glazing or ventilation. It goes without saying providing the correct solar control glass, roof vents and adequate frame ventilation contributes to the investment. However, this is something you should not compromise on or you will have an unusable space. All Richmond Oak conservatories are designed and built with the highest specification of solar control glazing to ensure your new living space can be used all year round.

Do you replace frames on an existing wood conservatory?

Although it may be possible to replace frames on an existing conservatory designed and built by others it is something that often leads to the unveiling of further associated issues. Our experienced team is happy to provide honest and knowledgeable advice as to the realistic solutions. 

Are glass extensions high maintenance?
Oak conservatory with blue tint solar control glass

With easy clean or self-cleaning glass and powder-coated aluminium roof capping you should have no problems keeping the roof clean. 

Aluminium and PVC frames need to be washed down several times a year, but painted surfaces on timber need attention and painting every 4-5 years to keep looking good. 

Frames with translucent finishes need appropriate annual maintenance.

How can I trust you?

We have to earn your trust. No matter who you are dealing with, don’t just accept their word for their claims. 

Ask for evidence, arrange to speak with existing clients. Visit an installation. Be suspicious of accreditations. Unlike, Which? Trusted Traders, who verify all client reviews, many trade accreditations only require a monthly fee.

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What guarantees do you offer?

A deposit and 10 year insurance backed guarantee.

I thought oak was a protected wood?
Leaded Light Glazing Oak Windows - Sevenoaks

No - Oak used in construction is grown in forests throughout Europe, especially Poland and France. 

What is important is that the timber must come from an FSC certified source, guaranteeing the forest from which it comes is properly managed and being replanted. 

Our sustainable seasoned oak comes with a ‘chain of custody’ certification which allows the timber to be sourced right back to the tree from which it was cut.

How long is the whole process?

From the design proposal stage and receiving confirmation to move forward with the project, the whole process may take up to 6 months to complete if planning permission is required.

Otherwise, depending on the existing schedule of projects to be completed, the joinery production schedule and associated building trades availability, you should realistically allow 4 months. 

If you're particularly keen to move forward with a project then it is always best to start the design consultation stage earlier so as to avoid unnecessary delays.

What is the process?
The Richmond Oak Conservatories Process

There are 3 key stages to a project; design consultation, design proposal, and design installation.

The initial consultation meeting is with one of our experienced designers to establish what the project brief entails and explore possibilities. 

Following this meeting, within the next 2-4 weeks, design concept visualisations are proposed and may involve up to 3 face to face meetings / remote video meetings to agree on a project solution. 

The final stage, once a client decides to proceed further, is to make the design a build reality. 

This will involve our team carrying out a technical site survey and producing relevant drawings, looking after the planning application if required, liaising with associated building trades and the joinery starting manufacture of the frames.

For further useful information make sure to visit our Conservatory Advice Hub

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Need a little more information?

Click the link below to download our brochure, or give us a call on
08456 442257

Richmond Oak Brochure Download

To help you with your project decisions regarding your bespoke hardwood conservatory or orangery, we have put together the new Richmond Oak Brochure.

"The first step to your dream living space starts here... add more space, more light, more 'Wow' to your property & home!"

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