of my favourite tips plus Hints on Extras and
other improvements you can make.
These tips are not in any particular order - some
I think may be original - some almost certainly
are not! Please make use of those you can. I have
put an (***) beside any particularly important
tips. If you know of any "tips" that
might make a worthy inclusion here I would be
delighted to hear them, please e-mail me. If we use your
tip/suggestion we give you credit here in the
TIP 1 - This is a great one -
especially if you have children. I call it the
TIME CAPSULE tip. My Children loved this - simply
put some current newspaper clippings plus a brief
description of yourself and family in a
waterproof/rotproof container. We used a 2 litre
plastic carton with screw cap. Children love to
include some "original artwork" and
written descriptions of themselves. The fun and
sense of occasion was amazing. Perhaps someday
somebody else will share in this also. You can
"hide" the time capsule almost any
where - but the favourite is within the cavity
walls or under the floor if you have a suspended
TIP 2 *** Always calculate your
internal floor area when ordering a conservatory.
Most suppliers will quote sizes based on external
sizes. Typically your internal depth (projection)
is 10.5 inches (275 mm) less than external depth
while internal width is 21 inches (550 mm) less
than external width if you use a cavity wall
construction. A BIG DIFFERENCE! It's the internal
floor area that most people are really interested
TIP 3 *** A follow on from the
above. Always manually mark out the area of your
new conservatory when designing and obtaining
quotations. Do this as accurately as possible. A
few stakes and string will do the job. You could
even get a potential supplier to mark out the
area. Don't however let them remove it when they
leave - you will need the lay-out as a reference
when other suppliers quote.
TIP 4 Unless you feel especially
confident - do not go for the cheapest quotation.
A bit of a generalisation I know - but rarely in
my experience does the cheapest supplier also
supply the best product or the best service.
TIP 5 When obtaining quotations
do not try and "beat every supplier into the
ground". Most of the better companies will
not wish to trade in this way - only the less
professional will usually have the flexibility.
These less professional companies will often
"agree" to your request but end up
short changing you later. I'm not suggesting that
you don't negotiate - what I am suggesting is
that you negotiate fairly. Make a detailed list
of the features "you must have" and ask
each company to give their best price. Don't
expect to get a conservatory with a glass roof,
Pilkington "K" glass and Argon filled
units for the price of a standard double glazed
conservatory with 16 mm polycarbonate in the
TIP 6 It is always good practice
to allow a small contingency (I recommend 10%)
for "extras" or additions you may make
to the order after you place your initial order.
Builders can have unforeseen work or you may
decide to make some changes as work proceeds.
There may be some landscaping or similar.
TIP 7 *** Buy the best possible
conservatory you can afford. For a relatively
small additional sum spent now you can have a
conservatory which will give you many years of
satisfaction. Of course we want value for money -
but don't try doing it too cheaply. Consider
glass roofs, Pilkington "K" glass etc.
TIP 8 When you go on holiday -
please make sure you have adequate shading and
ventilation for your conservatory. You don't want
to come home to a conservatory full of dead
TIP 9 Candles and such like are
wonderful in a conservatory - especially in the
evening. However do remember that these candles
will melt/bend in the day time heat!
TIP 10 *** Do remember to inform
your insurers of your new conservatory addition.
Adequate cover for complete rebuilding should be
arranged as soon as the conservatory is erected.
TIP 11 Unless there is no
alternative do not place doors in the front of
the conservatory. This creates a
"corridor" effect and limits your
usable space for furniture etc. Better to
position the doors on the side - ideally as close
to the main house wall as possible so as to
minimise the interruption to your
"flow" and usable space.
TIP 12 *** If you
"employ" one company to do all the work
- try and meet their builders before placing a
firm order. You may feel the company is the
builders - but in almost all cases the company
sub-contracts out this element of the work to a
separate building contractor. You will most
likely spend more time with this person on your
conservatory project than any other. Ask them if
they can foresee any problems? What do they do
with rubbish? Will they reinstate around the new
conservatory base after construction or will that
be an extra? If you are having electrics or
plumbing installed it is most likely the builder
will in turn be sub-contracting out this element
of the work. YOU CAN SEE HOW PROBLEMS CAN OCCUR -
ESPECIALLY IF INFORMATION IS NOT PASSED ON FULLY
OR "TRADES" DO NOT FOLLOW ON AS QUICKLY
AS YOU HOPED. You must feel comfortable with this
person - so do take your time on this element.
Obviously if you are employing the builder direct
you will have more control over this element.
This is one of the reasons I always prefer to
"project manage" all stages of
TIP 13 If you think planning
permission may be required you should check
personally with you local planners. Do not rely
on the conservatory supplier to do this for you.
Most conservatory suppliers conditions of sale
specifically puts responsibility for obtaining
any approvals on you the customer. You are the
one who is responsible.
TIP 14 A conservatory should not
be a "bolt on" to your property. Always
endeavour to match your new addition into your
home. Match brick work and render details. Make
it feel and look as though it's always been
TIP 15 *** If you have a
particularly large or difficult project in mind
it is often a good idea to have your own
plans/drawings produced for you by an
architect/draftsperson. Of course this will be an
additional cost - but it is my experience that
you will save time and perhaps even money with
this method. You will receive impartial advice on
what is practical and possible and will therefore
be better equipped to "handle" the
sales representatives. You will be able to ask
each representative to quote on a "like for
like" basis rather than having each
representative coming up with their own design
based on their own or company's agenda. You will
discover - if you have not already done so, that
when it comes to conservatories there are lots of
different and conflicting opinions. Your
architect may even be able to recommend some
companies for your project.
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