Five Top Tips For Building Conservatories

Published on 25th January 2017
#AskTheExpert
As the country’s leading designer and manufacturer of aluminium and glass structures, Apropos has built up over 70 years of expertise for bespoke conservatories.

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Paul Schofield, Apropos’ commercial manager, passes on his top five tips for budding bespoke conservatory build project managers:

1. Work out your building schedule

“You may be in a position to work as many hours as you wish, but that may not be the case for the professional companies you may call upon,” says Paul. “Lead times differ from company to company, so factor in their lead times into your own schedule. If you have ordered a bespoke conservatory they need to be designed, approved, manufactured, powder coated, and only then can they be installed.

“This process alone will take approximately 14 weeks, which may seem long, but during that period it will be up to you to ensure all the initial building work, such as the foundations, have been undertaken to the specifications required by the conservatory company. Once the conservatory is installed, you will have further jobs to complete, such as electrics and flooring. If you want a conservatory ready for Christmas, don’t start it in November. Your family may not forgive you for forcing them to eat their turkey lunch on a building site! Plan early and give yourself enough time to reach your goal.”

2. Ensure your conservatory complies with planning and building regulations

“In most instances, you will need planning permission for a bespoke conservatory in its truest sense, 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. Similarly, the Government’s planning portal provides a wealth of information and can be visited at: www.planningportal.gov.uk.”

3. Select the right material and colour

“The days of picking a white uPVC conservatory ‘off the shelf’ are long gone. Today, both aluminium and wood rival uPVC, and all three come in a huge range of colours.

“However, no other material rivals aluminium. Aluminium is maintenance free and lasts a lifetime, and 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 in their structure, therefore providing them with a light, airy, modern feel. It is also versatile. An aluminium structure can make a beautiful addition to both contemporary-style houses and listed buildings. Furthermore, aluminium conservatories can be manufactured in an almost limitless number of colours using a polyester powder coating process.

“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.”

4. Ensure your conservatory is energy efficient

“Conservatories now need to be energy efficient, so ensure your conservatory complies with the current regulations. If you decide to have an aluminium conservatory, ensure the aluminium structure is ‘thermally broken’ to increase thermal efficiency.

“Furthermore, make sure the conservatory’s U-value conforms with the required standards. The lower the U-value the better. For instance, Apropos’ systems have a U-value, which is 20 per cent better than building regulations demand – meaning that, not only do our conservatories exceed industry standards, but they are also highly energy efficient.”

5. Don’t forget ventilation

“I would always encourage ventilation in any design that includes a large glazed roof area,” says Paul. “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 hot weather. Poor ventilation will make your conservatory unbearable in the summer months.”

To discuss your home renovation project with one of our local design experts, get in touch today to book a free consultation, or download our brochure for more inspiration. 

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