Should I expand or renovate?

Thinking of expanding your living space? Conservatories became very popular in Victorian and Edwardian times and with the introduction of modern building techniques, they have become an affordable and much-wanted part of 21st century life. They are also a great way to open your space and provide a large flow through the house and into the garden, making them perfect in better weather.

For many people they are the ideal way to get more space without having to move house. In many cases, you don’t even need planning permission and, as long as it is well made, they are almost guaranteed to add value to your property.

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They can be used as a sunroom, dining room, breakfast room, family room, study room or even kitchen. One of the obvious advantages of conservatories over other types of extensions, is they allow light and warmth from the garden while at the same time providing protection from the elements. Lots of natural light is said to make us happier and more productive.

Most conservatories won’t require planning permission, but as different local authorities might have differing regulations, always check with your local planning office for advice. However, as a starting point, there are some general rules:

  • Separate or semi-detached houses can be extended up to 70 cubic meters. This includes previous extensions that already exist.
  • Similar provisions apply to terraces or ends of porch houses but the limit is reduced to 50 cubic meters.
  • You might struggle to get planning permission granted if the conservatory will take up more than half of the park. Also, the conservatory should not be 20 metres or less from the public road or footpath.
  • If your conservatory sticks out from the boundary of the house more than 3 metres, then planning permission will likely be denied on the grounds that it will be detrimental to your neighbours’ enjoyment of their property. Maybe treating yourself with new windows and doors behind your property is a good choice to consider instead or a built extension onto the side of your property. For Construction Companies Bishops Stortford, visit ashmereconstruction.co.uk/

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A conservatory is usually built behind the property, leading to the park, although it is possible to have it on the side or even in front. Because they are built to feel like an integral part of the garden, they are almost always constructed on the ground floor. Different aspects bring with them different strengths and weaknesses, and so you have to think about the direction you want the conservatory to face immediately at the planning stage.

  • Facing south – This is the perfect position to catch the rays, however it gets extremely hot during the summer with the sun overhead, so you might think about installing vents and curtains and you might need a fan.
  • Facing East – This will create morning sun so it is ideal for the breakfast room. Will not be too hot in the middle of the day or night.
  • Facing West – This will keep the sun from the evening onwards and provide good conditions for many plants. It’s nice if you plan to sit in it in the afternoon / evening after work.
  • Facing north – This will make the sun tilt at the beginning and end of the day and, although it is not too hot in summer, it can be very cold in winter. Unless you use the conservatory only as a sunroom in the summer, carefully consider how you will heat it because it might only become a surplus room if it is too cold to inhabit.