Conservatory Tips

The main reason people look to DIY is the massive savings that can be made. With the average size of a conservatory being around 4m by 4m and probably either a Victorian or Georgian style you can expect to pay in the region of £9,000 + VAT to have it installed by a specialist. It is usually after hearing quotes like this that the customer feels the need to explore the possibility of DIY. When they find that the actual material cost of the conservatory concerned is £3,150 + VAT it becomes clear that the savings involved are substantial.

Conservatory Tips – For your safety when installing your conservatory you should observe the following points:

  • Always use relevant “Personal Protective Equipment” (i.e. gloves, hard hat, goggles, safety shoes etc.) when erecting the conservatory.
  • All power tools used outdoors should be 110 volt and connected through a transformer.
  • Window frames supporting the conservatory roof should be installed strictly in accordance with the system manufacturer’s instructions.
  • The use of a stable working platform (scaffold or trestles) is highly recommended for any conservatory installation.
  • Do not rely upon incomplete structures to support your weight (either directly or via ladders).
  • Frequently check the window frames for “square, line or plumb” during the installation.
  • Only “Low Modulus, Neutral Cure” silicone for sealing UPVC brickwork, concrete or lead.
  • Check tightness of all fixings prior to glazing roof or frames.
  • Building sites (whether large or small) are dangerous places, as such, the General Public (particularly children) should be kept away until the
    installation is complete.
  • Remove all debris from the site upon completion.

A guide to Surveying for a conservatory installation

The process of surveying for conservatories is vastly different to that of surveying for window installations and great care must be taken to avoid potential problems and additional costs when it is time for installation.

Any potential problems or obstructions must be considered in three dimensions, both above and below. Take note of all above ground drainage such as manholes, rainwater pipes, soil pipes and gullies and attempt to ascertain from these the route of below ground drainage as any drains passing under the conservatory must be exposed and encased in 150mm of concrete.

Another area to consider is that of ventilation both to habitable rooms and under suspended timber floors. Any under floor ventilation must be maintained as this is necessary to prevent rotting of structural timbers. This can be easily achieved by the use of 100mm diameter pipes encased in the conservatory floor which provide an air duct to the original vents. Building over openings which provide the only ventilation to habitable rooms or most especially bathrooms and kitchens not only contravenes the Building regulations but will lead to increased condensation within the building and consideration must be given to the provision of additional ventilation.

Height obstructions such as first floor windows, soffits and overhead telephone wires are fairly obvious considerations but there are other heights and levels which must be taken into account, particularly floor levels and ground levels if the building work is to be priced accurately from the survey.

After carrying out the survey to the area where the conservatory is to be installed, it is then necessary to familiarise yourself with the rest of the site and its surroundings.

Firstly, are there any mature trees on site. It may be that the tree trunk is sited some distance from the proposed conservatory but take note of the branch spread as it is likely that the root spread will be of a similar size, possibly causing problems with the foundation excavation. It should be noted that it is necessary to apply for planning permission should any trees need to be felled.

The second consideration should be that of access, particularly if a large amount of building work is required. The labour cost will obviously be higher if all materials need to be manhandled through narrow openings in small quantities.

Lastly, it is prudent to check whether planning consent or building regulation approval is required so that an application can be made in good time. Whilst on site the surveyor should check to see whether the house has been previously extended and the size of such extensions as well as the relationship of the conservatory to the boundaries and highways so that the information can be compared with the requirements outlined in the Building & Planning Regulations section of this site.

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