Conservatories are an excellent way to enhance your existing property and increase your amount of living space without the upheaval of moving house. They are also an excellent way to add value to your property but it is worth spending a little time ensuring that you are spending your money wisely. Often thought of as an easy option, they are a complex construction project that needs to be properly planned and thought out.
Before you begin any serious preparation, take a look at your site. It may be worth getting a professional in to inspect your proposed location – the type of foundations required will depend upon the soil. Also take a look at the surrounding area for trees and bushes. Even if they are not in the area you are planning to build on consider future growth and their existing root system – we’ve all heard horror stories of property owners being unaware of the damage roots are doing under their homes.
Another consideration is your pipework, and that of your neighbours (particularly relevant in older properties). A survey here is absolutely essential as a thorough knowledge of the underground piping is vital. One point of law to be aware of is any building work within 3 metres of a public sewer requires permission from the local water authority, and permission must be sought before any work starts. If you find you do have sewer pipes running below your proposed area it would be worth considering having them relocated for ease of access in the future. Foundations should never be built directly over sewer pipes due to the risk of damage from the weight.
Inspection covers also carry restrictions – existing manhole covers will need to be replaced with a sealed, screw down cover. This is to prevent the escape of unpleasant odours. Should you have any of these in your proposed site area it would be worth investigating whether they can be moved to enable access to your drains without lifting the floor, should it ever be required.
A more mundane consideration is access to the site! You will find the excavation of a few inches of soil can quickly result in needing to remove tons, and convenient access to the road will make this significantly easier.
Bear in mind as well that your conservatory is not an independent building project, it will be joined to your house. Some alteration therefore will be necessary – consider doors and windows, the relocation of guttering and where the water and electricity pipes will need to run. Heating is a consideration too, needing to be extended to allow for radiators so you can use your new space all year round.