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    Choosing Your Conservatory Base

    Find out all you need to know about conservatory bases with our helpful guide.

    A conservatory is often judged on aesthetics alone, with many home owners choosing a conservatory based on style and design.

    It is important however, that the conservatory base is also considered. Your conservatory must be built on solid foundations.

    Your choice of conservatory base will ultimately impact the cost as well as quality of your build. A large amount of its construction will relate to base work.

    Conservatory Base Specification

    Choose Your Conservatory BaseConservatory bases really need your special consideration. The foundations must be suitable for the size and design of your conservatory.

    A fundamental part in the building process, it must be done right. Before the design, manufacture and installation of your conservatory you will at first need a site survey.

    A flat level surface is needed to build a conservatory and this is where a conservatory base comes in. A base can be made from many different materials but ultimately, your material will be dependent on your floor surface. For example, a raised base is used if your floor is sloped.

    Conservatory base construction is similar to that of an extension to your home. Just because a conservatory is lighter however, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the foundation will be shallow. In order to know precisely how deep your foundation must be, the ground must be first excavated and inspected.

    Foundations are laid before the conservatory base is built. This is to allow the rest of the structure to be built on top. There are many different types of bases which can be used. Your installer will be able to recommend the best type for your conservatory.

    Types of Conservatory Base

    Choosing Your Conservatory BaseThere are two main styles of conservatory bases: traditional build and steel bases. Traditional build involves your installer measuring and digging the foundations whereas a steel base is specifically designed for your conservatory.

    Which Conservatory Base?

    The conservatory base you choose will depend on your existing groundwork and conservatory style. Access to digging machines may be difficult, especially when building is close to your existing property. If there is no alternative, then sometimes foundations have to be dug by hand.

    Speaking to a professional such as your conservatory installer is generally advised. They will be able to provide you with the information you need in order to make an informed decision. We recommend you speak to one of our trusted suppliers who will be able to offer their expert advice.

    Conservatory Base: Traditional Build

    Conservatory BaseYour installer will measure, dig and fill the foundations with concrete. This involves waiting for concrete to set in order to start on your brick built conservatory.

    This process can take weeks to complete, depending on the company chosen. Be prepared for your home to become a building site for that period.

    Conservatory Base: Steel Base

    A steel conservatory base includes a framework of steel beams which are put together to form a foundation.

    A steel base conservatory will not require the same foundation technique used in a traditional build. Compares to the traditional build, there is virtually no waste and the process is generally a lot quicker. However, a steel base may not be the best foundation for your conservatory and property. Your trusted installer will be able to tell you if your groundwork is suitable.

    Other Conservatory Base Styles

    Concrete Conservatory Base

    Conservatory Base StylesA concrete base is a popular choice. Easy to build, laying a concrete base is fairly simple.

    The only disadvantage is the time it takes for the concrete to set. How quickly your concrete sets will depend on the time of year and current temperature.

    If you are in a hurry to get your conservatory built then perhaps a concrete base isn’t’ the best options.

    However, concrete bases are good for under floor heating. If you are looking to use your conservatory all year round then concrete is a good choice.

    Wooden Conservatory Base

    A wooden conservatory based is made using lengths of thick timber. The timber is secured together using bolts. This creates a strong and supportive base. A wooden base is often the best choice for a sloping area.

    Raised Conservatory Base

    This type of conservatory base has the walls take most of the conservatory weight. A raised based is mainly used if your conservator slopes into the garden. This conservatory base is more complex than the other main types. Not a straight forward base to build, this base is also more costly.

    Conservatory Base Construction

    Conservatory BaseBelow is a brief outline of a conservatory base construction. Methods will vary slightly from company to company and it of course depends on your individual specifications.

    1. Site Inspection
    • Selecting the site for your conservatory
    • Organising space for waste disposal
    • Preparing the ground

    2. Preparation

    • Outline is marked
    • Digging begins

    Conservatory Base3. Cavity Wall

    • The outer leaf of the cavity wall is built (outside ground level)
    • The inner leaf of the cavity wall is built ( inner to floor level)
    • Existing air bricks are transferred through the base work

    4. Conservatory Floor

    • Footings are dug
    • Concrete is poured into the trench to form the foundations. This creates a protective membrane.
    • Concrete is floated to form a level surface area to built upon.
    • Any drainage pipes are identified and protected.

    5. Base Completion 

    • Depending on specifications, cavity trays are installed. Standard flashing is also used.
    • Any remaining dwarf walls are built as requested by home owner
    • Walls are insulated

    Conservatory Base Cost

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    Frequently Asked Conservatory Questions

    In most instances the council tax will not increase on a property unless the additions another living quarter or self-contained annex. This means the addition of a conservatory should not increase the council tax payable on a property. To be absolutely certain you can always check the government's website which gives advice on council tax.
    The main difference between a conservatory and an orangery is how the roof is constructed. A conservatory roof is over 75% glazed whereas an orangery roof has less than this amount. A conservatory also has over half of its wall space glazed whereas an orangery can include more brickwork than this.
    Yes, you can put a conservatory on the front of your house. This is because conservatories come under the category of a permitted development. As such in most instances you do not need planning permission. This applies if the area surrounding the original house is not more than 50% covered by other buildings or additions.
    There are many ways of gaining temperature control. Conservatory blinds, ventilating windows, cooling film and air conditioning to name a few. You might also want to consider replacing your conservatory roof with a tiled or solid design.
    There are many ways of keeping your conservatory warm in the Winter. If you have a small conservatory then an electric heater will suffice but those with bigger conservatories may want to look into installing underfloor heating.
    Glazing is also very important in a conservatory. Most heat can be lost through glass so ensure your conservatory glazing is thermally efficient. You can also tackle draughts or cold spots by installing conservatory blinds.
    This will largely depend on your location. You will find that certain areas have different setbacks based on the use of the building. We recommend that you check with your local council or take a look at the Goverment's Planning Portal.

    You must notify your neighbour if you want to:

    - Build on or at the boundary of your 2 properties - Work on an existing party wall or party structure - Dig below and near to the foundation level of their property
    Replacing your conservatory roof can indeed make your conservatory warmer however, this will depend on the type of roof you choose. A solid or tiled conservatory roof will offer greater insulation than a plastic or glazed roof.
    A solid roof can be put on a conservatory. There are many solid conservatory roof designs available - just ask your chosen installer for a recommendation. The majority of new-build conservatories with a solid, tiled or glazed roof will not require planning permission. They are covered under what is known as 'permitted development'. However, building regulations will apply if you want to build an extension.
    When it comes to your home improvement, it's important to have all the necessary legal documentation. The installation of a conservatory, orangery or porch does not require a FENSA registration form.
    The average life span of a uPVC conservatory is largely dependent on the quality of materials and build. Typically, a uPVC frame can last up to 25 years but some can last for decades ensuring they are well maintained.
    Planning permissions used to say that a certain percentage of roofing must be translucent in order for a conservatory to be exempt from planning permission. Changes to building regulations however, now means that you may not require planning permission for roof replacement.
    Swapping your existing conservarory roof for a tiled or solid roof replacement can be done without needing to file for planning permission. Planning permission may be required however, if the height of your extension is changed following completion.
    A conservatory is defined as a 'building that has no less than 75% of its roof area made of translucent material and no less than 50% of its total wall area made of glass.
    It is possible to convert a conservatory to an orangery but it isn't a simple process. A surveyor will need to come out and assess your property and conservatory to see if it is at first , feasible.
    Both extensions and orangeries often require planning permission and in order to satisfy requirements, a new structure will have to be built.
    If a conservatory is within two metres of a boundary, a conservatory should not be higher than three metres. It must also not extend beyond the rear wall of the original house by more than 3m if an attached house or by 4m if a detached house.
    For construction work to begin a trench will need to be excavated to a minimum depth of 600mm. A conservatory needs footings just as much as any extension does.
    Solid ground will need to found first and needs to be accepted by Building Control as being a minimum of 1 metre in standard conditions.
    Foundations will need to be dug and because conservatories are lightweight in structure, their foundation loads are usually quite low. This can often lead to the notion that shallow foundations are satisfactory however, shallow foundations are more susceptible to subsidence.

    Conservatories that are built with foundations shallower than the Building Regulations advise, are likely to encounter problems.

    Building Regulations state:

    A2. The building shall be constructed so that ground movement caused by :-
    (a) swelling, shrinkage or freezing of the subsoil; or
    (b) land-slip or subsidence (other than subsidence arising from shrinkage), in so far as the risk can be reasonably foreseen, will not impair the stability of any part of the building
    Usually, there are no planning requirements when it comes to building a conservatory to a bungalow. However, the conservatory will be subject to certain conditions so be sure to check with your local building authority or with the Government's Planning Portal to ensure your conservatory remains within these guidelines.
    When is a conservatory not a conservatory? In order for a structure to remain a permitted development (a conservatory), the build needs to comply with a number of rules. A conservatory must be ground level, must not be more than 30m2, must be thermally separated from the original building, have its own heating and have glazing in critical zones that meet Part N of the building regulations.
    An extension refers to an additional structure that is anatomically in-keeping with your main property. An extension often requires planning permission unless it is classified as permitted development and is built with opaque cavity walls and brick-based foundations. Extensions are a big home improvement and investment, needing the work of an architect.
    Conservatories or glazed extensions are perfect for those looking to add extra space on a budget. Typically, they are less of a logistical strain and in most cases do not require planning permission,
    A conservatory can be built under permitted development rights, not needing an application for planning permission. A conservatory however is subject to the limits and conditions listed here. Building a conservatory onto an extension however, will be subject to different conditions. In some cases and under the permitted development regulations, you cannot attach an extension to an already extended part of a dwelling. It has to be attached to the original walls of the dwelling house.
    Conservatories are generally much cheaper than a single-storey extension of the same size. The price difference will largely depend on size and how complex the structure is to build, as well as the quality of materials.
    A conservatory or single-story extension can be built without planning permission if: It's a maximum of 4 metres high or 3 metres high, within 2 metres of a boundary and the conservatory or extension does not cover more than half of the garden.
    From now until 2019, you can extend outwards by up to 8 metres for detached homes and 6 metres for other property types. For this, instead of applying for planning permission you will need to undergo a Neighbour Consultation Scheme.
    In most circumstances, building regulations tend to apply when you build a new extension or a very large structure to your property. However, most of the time, conservatories are exempt from building regulations when they are erected at ground level and the floor surface areas is less than 30 square metres.
    The average life expectancy of a conservatory depends on the quality of materials used as well as the installer. Generally speaking a conservatory built with uPVC window and door frames can last up to 25 - 30 years.
    It is possible to build either a conservatory or a single-storey extension without gaining planning permission if: firstly, it has a maximum height of 4 metres or 3 metres high if situated within 2 metres of an existing boundary. The conservatory itself does not exceed over half the size of the garden.
    Yes you can! Whatever the shape of your existing conservatory, you can be sure that there is a solid roof equivalent to meet your exacting requirements.
    Changing roofs from a polycarbonate to a solid roof means that building regulations will apply. Your chosen installer will be able to answer any questions you have and help with any red tape such as contacting local authorities to resolve building regulations compliance.
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