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DIY CONSERVATORIES

What style of conservatoryy
What style of conservatory and other considerations?

How do you envisage using your new conservatory. Will be it a playroom, an office, a dining room, a second living area or an all-weather extension to the garden?
It is very important to choose before you purchase the conservatory as things like insulation and heating can be added to the conservatory if it’s a room that you will use day in and day out.

Mark out the size and shape of your proposed conservatory using pegs and string and peg out the things you want in your conservatory, including furniture such as a sofa, table, chairs, etc. You can then judge whether you have as much space as you would like. Always remember to peg out the new door openings especially if the new French doors open inwards as doors take up a lot of room inside when they are opened.

Make sure you choose a conservatory shape and design that will enhance the look of your home, and try to match the construction materials and colours to those of your house.
You may find that you like the idea of a fantastically original design but, other people who may want to purchase your property in the future may not think so.
Conservatory Syles
How much will it cost?
The cost of your new conservatory will be an important factor in your choice, remember that although a conservatory is classed as a temporary structure you may find it lasts for years, long after you’ve moved on.

Cheap conservatories may not always be the way to go but a cheap quality conservatory may be a bargain, see our quotation page for a free local quote.
Dwarf wall conservatories tend to cost less than full-height frame models, but the extra labour and materials it takes to build the dwarf wall may cost more than a full height one. We would advise that you get quotes from local reputable builders and make your choice from there.

Do I need Planning Permission?
Under the new Planning regulations that came into effect in October 2008 adding a conservatory to your house is to be considered to be permitted development up to a certain size and projection (see below), a Planning application will be required if the new conservatory exceeds any of the following:
1) No more than half the area of land around the 'original house'* would be covered by extensions or other outbuildings.
2) No conservatory forward of the principal elevation or side elevation fronting towards a highway, a highway would include public footpaths and roads

Do I need Building Regulations?
Most conservatories do not fall under the jurisdiction of the building regulations and a building regulations application will not be required if the conservatory meets the following conditions:
1) Is built at ground level and is less than 30 metres square in floor area.
2) At least 50% of the new wall and 75% of the roof are either glazed or made of a translucent material.
Conservatory base
1. Site Preparation and Conservatory Foundations
Site preparation
Before you can start building you need to prepare the site for your new conservatory, this is a good time to try to find any hidden services e.g. drainage, electrics etc, before digging out the foundations.

Digging foundations
As I’ve explained above, be careful when digging foundations as services such as drainage and electrics are common in back gardens, after all, they’ve got to go somewhere.

Conservatory Foundations
The foundation for your conservatory will be similar to that for a house extension foundation and will usually need to be between 600mm and 1000mm deep. Conservatory foundations are not dependent on the weight of the conservatory, they are more dependent on the type of ground that the conservatory is to be stood in. Once the foundations have been dug, they should be filled with weak mix concrete to provide a good solid base.
Image showing a typical conservatory foundation detail

Typical Conservatory Foundation Detail

The Typical foundation shown is not suitable for conservatories where a Building Regulations application is required.
Care should also be taken when building near drains, trees, and shrubs as these will affect the foundation's depth.
We would always advise that you make a simple phone call to your local authority building control if you are unsure about the foundations of your new conservatory.

Pre-fabricated Conservatory Base or Steel base Conservatory
The Pre-fabricated Conservatory Base construction consists of a heavy-duty steel frame base and modular facing brick wall panels that are designed to match the property. The pre-fabricated steel base system helps overcome problem situations where manholes, underground drainage, and uneven or sloping ground, can affect the construction of a normal trench fill or strip conservatory foundation. This type of base also helps when the finished floor level of a house is a lot higher than the outside garden level and infilling with hardcore and raising a concrete floor is not an option.
Conservatory wall
3. Conservatory Dwarf Wall and Cills
Small Dwarf Wall and Conservatory Base.
This is the traditional base and wall structure for a conservatory. It is generally built in materials such as facing brickwork matches the existing house. This type of wall is normally positioned between 600mm to 900mm high from the inside finished floor level of the new conservatory and provides the home owner with a good view of the garden. This type of wall is often used as short radiators can be positioned below the windows at a position in the conservatory that is furthest away from the main house.

¾ Height Wall Conservatory
This is where a 1700mm high wall and 400mm fanlight windows form the side wall of a conservatory. The side fanlight windows sit between the conservatory roof and the wall structure. This option is usually used with obscure glazed glass for privacy from a neighbour, but still allowing light into the conservatory. This type of wall is ideal for positioning flat screen TVs, pictures and radiators.

Full height Conservatory Side wall or Existing wall Conservatory.
This is a full height (2100mm) wall structure formed from either brickwork, panelled brickwork, block or render and normally matches in with the existing cladding on the main house. If a gap is left (150mm) between the neighbours boundary and the new conservatory then guttering cab be provided to the full height wall, if a gap is not provided then a box gutter is normally provided to keep the roof guttering on the homeowners land. The full height conservatory side wall provides the optimal amount of privacy as no glazing or light is provided through the wall.
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4. Conservatory Dwarf Wall and Floor Detail
Image 1 Conservatory wall, floor and foundation detail This is a standard detail in ordinary ground conditions and no trees are present.
Diagram conservatory wall

Typical Conservatory Specification:

Conservatory Walls:
Outer skin to comprise 103mm thick matching facing brickwork with a 100mm wide cavity and a 100mm thick Thermailite Turbo blockwork inner skin.
Cavity to be closed at all windows, door junctions and at eaves level with a proprietary cavity closure 'Thermabate' or equal, installed by manufacturers instructions. Maintain a continuous cavity between new and existing walls.
Skins to be tied together with 225mm long vertical twist wall ties spaced at maximum 750mm centres horizontally and 450mm centres vertically and at 225mm centres at window and door reveals. Provide additional ties within 225mm of side openings at no more than 300mm centres. Blocks to be laid in a 1:1:6 cement:lime: sand mortar with struck joints. Ensure that cavities are kept free from debris by employing the use of timber cavity battens pulled up as work proceeds.
Vertical damp-proof courses to be provided at all un-bonded jambs: (note proprietary cavity closer at jambs and cills).
At all low roof abutments i.e. porches, and conservatories ensure stepped D.P.C.'s cavity tray with stop end is provided and linked to code 4 lead flashings and soakers.
Code 4 lead dressed beneath cavity trays and over roof slopes with alternate perpends left open for weep holes all as necessary to form a weatherproof junction.
Provide polythene lapped and continuous cavity trays with stop-ends, above all lintels and over short piers between closely spaced openings.
Provide open perpends or PVCu proprietary at 300mm centres, min. 2 no per opening.
Bond new blockwork to existing walls with stainless steel masonry connectors and ties raw bolted to existing walls.

Conservatory Floor:
Floor finish to client's requirements.
100mm Concrete (GEN 3) floor slab with a 25mm insulation upstand at the perimeter.
100mm Kingspan insulation.
1200mm Gauge damp proof membrane to PIFA Standard 6/83A:1995.
150mm Sand blinded hard-core mechanically compacted in 150mm layers. (floor slab to be suspended where the depth of fill exceeds 600mm deep).

Conservatory Foundations
Super Strength Grade (Celcon or similar) concrete
foundation blocks to BS EN 772-2:1998 and
BS EN 771-3:2003. laid centrally below the load
bearing walls.
Concrete foundation 600mm wide. Minimum 225mm thick GEN 1 mix.
New and existing drains around the extension
are to be surrounded by granular material
Where new foundations abut existing footings which are sited at a different level, it is necessary to ensure no permanent undermining occurs. This is overcome by raising the depth of the foundation concrete to the underside of the existing foundation.
Foundation depth according to site conditions.

Note: This is a standard detail in ordinary ground conditions and no trees are present.
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