David Fennings Conservatories - page 7

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CHANGING TO A SUN ROOM YOU CAN USE THROUGHOUT THE YEAR:
Not only should you be ensuring that new glazing is of the highest specification, a
substantial degree of heat loss may well be through the floor. It is only more recently
that substantial Celotex insulation is being used in good quality conservatory
construction works. It may seem rather expensive to break out an existing floor and
introduce this but if there is an existing step down to the Sun Room floor, this exercise can be carried
out much more economically.
PLANNING PERMISSION:
If you are replacing an existing structure with one of the same general dimensions
and design, Planning Approval is generally not required. However, as many people
wish to increase the floor area, the good news is that Permitted Development
opportunities are currently very generous indeed but you should check how this can
be applied to your project to ensure that the rules are interpreted correctly.
BUILDING REGULATIONS:
Many conservatories are exempt from Building Regulations but if you are changing the
existing structure by adding a solid roof, opening up to the main home or introducing
heating, you will certainly need to check with your local Building Authority. There are also
new rules which apply with regards to any construction within 3 metres of a shared foul
water system. Of course if you are planning to introduce any new plumbing, including
washing machines, sinks or similar IMPROVING INSULATION. Many conservatories constructed 10
years or more ago, they will not have been built taking advantage of modern insulation. Even if the
latest thermal glass is introduced, a great deal of heat will be lost through the floor and indeed the
cold penetrates from below ground. Whilst you may not wish to go the expense and disruption of
breaking out an existing floor, the overall advantages and heating cost considerations should be fully
evaluated. If the floor level is below that of the main principal home, you will be able to introduce
Celotex or similar very economically.
INTERNAL WALLS:
Many people now having a new Sun Room constructed would wish the internal walls to be plastered,
thereby creating a new Sun Room which feels more part of the home.
DRAINAGE:
Many older conservatories were constructed with inadequate drainage. If the water
shed from your roof is not ducted into an appropriate downpipe and thereafter a
soakaway, subsidence can result and this may well not be covered by your insurance
policy. Previous soakaways had to be 3 metres from any foundation but the new requirement is 5
metres. It does of course depend on the sub-soil which may well offer good natural drainage and
professional advice should most certainly be taken with regards to this issue.
In conclusion, the full professional assessment should be made regarding your responsibilities in
relation to Planning & Building Regulations. If the existing foundations are substantial enough to
have additional weight added and not least of all very careful research to ensure any new
framework and glazing to appropriately high standards, so that your new investment will
substantially withstand the passage of time and perform in every respect as you would wish.
We have been responsible for numerous re-designs, covering all of the issues outlined above and
will be pleased to provide appropriate guidance and quotations based on our extensive experience
over 40 years.
David R. Fennings
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