Ask The Expert – Constructing Conservatories

Published on 25th September 2016

traditional conservatory by Apropos

Paul Schofield, Apropos’ commercial manager, provides the answers to some frequently asked questions:

What are the main considerations when constructing a conservatory?

“Lead times differ from company to company, so find out how long the job will take to complete from the point of order. Similarly, you will need to know how long the actual building work will take, so that you can make plans to work around any disruption to home life.

“Also enquire as to whether or not the conservatory company undertakes every aspect of construction. You may need a separate tradesman to undertake other aspects of the build, and you will need to know whether or not you will be required to supply building drawings.”

Do I need planning permission?

“Nine times out of ten, you will need planning permission and building regulations, unless your proposed conservatory is acceptable under ‘permitted development’. Planning can be a minefield, but many local authorities are very good at providing advice and guidance, and will give you a definitive answer relating to your plans.”

Who will install it?

“Apropos’ designs, supplies and installs its own bespoke conservatories. We have also recently begun to offer a full construction service, to undertake other aspects of the build.”

How long will it take?

“From the point of order, a typical bespoke conservatory by Apropos will take about 14 weeks. A site survey will be undertaken within the first week, and in the following five-to-six weeks the general arrangement drawings (GAD) will be commissioned and approved by the client, and, if required, planning approval secured. In the next five-to-six weeks the conservatory will be manufactured, and the aluminium frame will be powder-coated subject to the colour chosen by the client. Finally, the installation of the conservatory will take about one week.”

What style should I choose?

“The days of just picking a white uPVC conservatory ‘off the shelf’ are long gone. There are now many bespoke styles available, which will suit your property better, so consider which style will suit your property best. Apropos specialises in bespoke, modern, clean, contemporary structures made from aluminium; but, we have catered for all tastes in our 70-year history.”

What structure material is best?

“Aluminium, without a shadow of a doubt. Aluminium is maintenance free and lasts a lifetime. For instance, Apropos’ first ever aluminium structure is still standing 70 years after it was first constructed. Aluminium is strong, meaning conservatories are able to hold more glass, therefore providing them with a light, airy, modern feel. In comparison, timber frames can be high maintenance, will eventually rot, and, in many respects, are less environmentally friendly than aluminium. Conservatories with a white uPVC structure are simply passé.”

What features should I pay attention to?

“Aluminium conservatories need to be ‘thermally broken’ to increase thermal efficiency. The system’s U-value will show how much heat is lost through the structure. The lower the U-value the better. For instance, Apropos’ systems have a U-value of 1.54, which is 20 per cent better than building regulations demand.”

Do I need ventilation? 

“Absolutely. I would always encourage ventilation in any design that includes a large glazed roof area. Ventilation should always be at the ridge of the roof and equally spaced throughout the structure. I would also recommend a solar control if the conservatory is south facing, which will reduce heat by as much as 60 per cent in weather.”

Get in touch today to book a free design consultation and find out more. 

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