Thursday, 17 May 2012 3:15 PM
Conservatories are great. Back in the olden days they had the potential to become sizzling hot in the summer but freezing cold in the winter, but no more.
The new breed can be enjoyed all year round, which with the UK's bafflingly inconsistent weather is probably for the best.
We've caught up with Paul Schofield from Apropos (who make conservatories, obviously). Here are his top ten tips for building the perfect conservatory:
1. Select the right material and colour for your home
Conservatories are no longer simply made of white uPVC. These days, homeowners have an abundance of affordable choices when it comes to conservatories; which can be made from aluminium, wood or uPVC, in an infinite number of colours and styles. Therefore, choose a conservatory design that suits your home best.
2. Work out a build schedule
Quality conservatories cannot be built in a day, particularly if you have chosen a bespoke design. Schedules differ from company to company, so ensure that you give yourself enough time to organise the relevant tradesmen and undertake the preparatory work for the installation of your conservatory. You may require the services of a professional project manager. If so, ensure they are professionally registered with the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), The Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists (CIAT), or the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).
3. Check for planning permission
Conservatories do not require planning permission if they meet 'permitted development' criteria. However, this is not always the case depending on the proposed location and the type of property for which the conservatory is being proposed. Therefore, it is always advisable to consult with your local planning authority before undertaking any work. For further information visit www.planningportal.gov.uk.
4. What is its purpose?
Why go to the expense of installing a new conservatory just for the summer? A modern, bespoke conservatory can be used for any purpose all-year-round; such as kitchen-diners, living rooms or dining rooms. So think, how can you maximise your new conservatory’s potential?
5. Make it as energy efficient as possible
Traditionally conservatories are not the most energy efficient rooms in a home. However, energy and thermal technology has come on in leaps and bounds over the last decade. As a rule, homeowners should ensure that their conservatories are as energy efficient as possible, by checking the U-values and energy ratings of any proposed conservatory.
6. Ensure there is enough ventilation
Ventilation is an absolute must in any modern conservatory design. Trickle vents should be placed on the ridge of the structure, and should be equally spaced throughout. Poor ventilation will create unbearably hot conditions even during the mildest summers.
7. Do you require building regulations?
Some conservatories do not require building regulations. However, if the proposed conservatory will be open to the rest of the house it will need to adhere to building regulations and fitness for purpose. Once again, further information is available at www.planningportal.gov.uk.
8. Consider privacy
By design conservatories do not offer much privacy. However, with simple design elements, such as a part-glass part-brick wall, privacy issues can be overcome. Homeowners should consider the issue of privacy, and consider how their conservatory can be designed to give them the most privacy whilst still retaining a bright and airy feel.
9. What about maintenance?
Aluminium conservatories do not need much maintenance, but nonetheless, some minimal maintenance will be required that should involve nothing more than a bucket of mild detergent and a cloth. Even so, for hard to reach glass roofs, homeowners should consider incorporating self-cleaning glass in the designs for their conservatories.
10. Future proof your conservatory and reap the financial reward
A conservatory can be a considerable outlay for any homeowner, so it is advisable to make it as future-proof as possible. Ensure the energy and thermal ratings are as high as possible, incorporate the latest design elements (such as folding sliding doors, electronic vents, etc), and give your conservatory a specific purpose (eg. a kitchen). Well-designed conservatories can add as much as 11 per cent to the value of a property, so it pays to maximise the potential of any conservatory you may be considering.
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