Who should you ask to help when budgeting for adding a conservatory onto your home?
A recent survey commissioned by Tepilo revealed that 38% of people want a conservatory in their dream home.
The good news is that a conservatory can be a relatively quick, easy and affordable way to add space and light to your property. And, because home buyers are almost always willing to pay more for extra space, it should add value too; anything between 3% and 10% more, according to Savills.
However, as with everything in life, conditions do apply - and you’ll only add value if the work is done well, if it complements the existing property and if the size of the conservatory doesn’t unbalance the house or compromise the size of the garden.
You don’t usually need planning permission for a conservatory as depending on its size and previous extensions it often comes under your permitted development rights. Check this out with your local authority planning officer though as you don’t want to commit to any work they may well ask you to pull down!
Before you begin, have a think about what you’d like to use the conservatory for. Is it for dining, playing or simply relaxing while you admire your garden? Modern conservatories are suitable for use all year round but may still need a heat source for the winter, as well as some way of keeping it cool in the summer – such as heat-reflecting glass – particularly if it’s going to face south.
Also, check out the different styles of conservatory available, such as lean-to, gable, corner, Victorian or Edwardian. A conservatory can be as simple or as complex as you like – but your choice will depend on several factors, including the style of your property, the space available and, of course, your budget. Growing in popularity is the orangery, which features more brickwork than a traditional conservatory; this may be a more expensive option but, check with your local agent as it may well add more value too.
You now have the choice of buying a DIY kit, employing an architect and builder, and many options in between. When choosing your conservatory, it makes sense to go for a manufacturer – and fitter – which is a member of a regulatory body such as the Glass and Glazing Federation. Make sure you get a contract and avoid any traders who want to work “off the books” for cash in hand, as this considerably reduces your rights if anything goes wrong. For example, if they are cutting corners on paying tax, they probably won’t hesitate to cut corners on the legals of building, so aren’t really the right people to rely on.
And, even if you don’t need planning permission, you’ll need any new openings between the house and the conservatory to pass building regulations approval, any builder or fitter that cannot demonstrate they know the latest rules and regulations is one to avoid and the same if they don’t have insurance and warranty backed guarantees for their work.
It’s also advisable not to restrict any escape routes from the house that you may need to use in case of fire, which is where expert advice becomes invaluable in case the worst happens.
Finally, don’t forget to factor in the possibility of going over budget – as so many projects do – and make sure you have the funds available to cover this eventuality.
Tick all these boxes and you could be spending the summer enjoying your garden in the warmth… whatever the weather.
For more information on choosing and fitting a conservatory and one to one help, visit www.propertychecklists.co.uk