Conservatories have been popular in the UK since Victorian and Edwardian times, today they are still one of the most popular home improvement projects and thanks to the introduction of modern building techniques, they have become more affordable and even desirable. Conservatories are an ideal way to acquire more living space without having to move house. In most cases planning permission is not needed and they also add value to your property.
Conservatories can be used as a sun rooms, dining rooms, breakfast rooms, family dens or even a home office. Unlike traditional (and more expensive) extensions, conservatories let in the light and warmth whilst at the same time providing a cosy shelter from the elements. Roughly 60% of conservatories require planning permission and each local authority has different rules and regulations, so before planning a conservatory you must always contact your local planning office.
The general rules are that you do not need permission as long as you extend to no more than 115% of the house's total volume, the conservatory covers no more than half of the garden, and the conservatory juts out from the house by less than 3m. In addition if your home is a Grade II listed building or in a conservation area, there will be restrictions on the materials you can use. Conservatories are traditionally built on the back of properties leading out to the garden, although you can have them on the side or even the front.
If you are on a limited budget and keen on DIY then there are self build "kits" available with full instructions. However, even with a conservatory kit, you still need to construct the base and the project will be too demanding for most DIY enthusiasts. You could of course pay for a bricklayer to build the base then do the rest yourself or get a carpenter to erect the conservatory.
But there are added complications when you use more than one contractor, if you encounter problems you may find the contractors will blame each other and nothing gets resolved. Building a conservatory is a big project, but if you choose the right builder it can be a relatively quick and hassle-free process. Choose your builder wisely, pick someone with lots of conservatory experience and ask for testimonials from previous customers. Never pay for the conservatory up front, although paying for materials is normal practice.
For a small 3m x 4m Victorian style conservatory with dwarf wall and no planning required, expect to pay from around £5000 upwards, with an average cost of around £8,000. But bear in mind that prices will vary depending the size of the conservatory, which style of conservatory you choose, the materials your conservatory is made of, and whether you opt to add extra features such as underfloor heating or blinds. To get an exact price, please use the free quote service provided on this website, to get started, simply click the "post your job" button to begin gathering quotes from local builders and conservatory specialists.