Conservatory Construction – step by step

Many people do not fully understand what conservatories are, or what they are used for. Within this blog we have put together everything you need to know about conservatories. This includes what a conservatory is, whether or not you require planning permission, how to choose the correct conservatory, then last of all the full design and build from start to finish. Once you have fully read this blog then you will be able to decide for yourself whether or not a conservatory is right for your home and which conservatory would best suit your requirements.

What is a Conservatory?

A conservatory is just an extra room which is added to your home, it is made up from mainly glass, with the rest made from brick walls. Other terms and definitions of a conservatory would be a green house or a sunroom. A conservatory is built as an attachment to your property with an entrance into your home. Conservatories are best situated in the garden area which has the most sunlight and fresh air. This gains the best use of the conservatory throughout the summer months, with radiators or underfloor heating to gain best use throughout the winter periods.

Do you need Planning Permission to build a Conservatory?

A conservatory construction is regulated under the permitted development right, which allows the householders to improve and extend their home without the need to apply for Planning Permission where that would be out of proportion with the impact of work carried out.

However, before a conservatory can be constructed, the follow conditions must be obeyed.

  1. The conservatory cannot be greater than 50% the land around the ‘Original House’. Calculate the full area of your property, then deduct any building including your house, extension, any other building including sheds.
  2. The conservatory cannot be forward of any principal elevation or side elevation facing a highway.
  3. The conservatory roof cannot be higher than the highest part of the house roof.
  4. The conservatory cannot extend beyond the rear wall of the house greater than three meters, on an attached house, or four meters on a detached house.
  5. The maximum height of a rear conservatory/extension can be is four meters.
  6. An extension/conservatory of a single story must not extend more than three meters from the rear wall of the original house, or by seven meters of a boundary opposite the rear wall of the house.
  7. If the conservatory/extension is built within two meters of the boundary, then the maximum eave height can be three meters tall.
  8. The eaves and ridge height cannot exceed the height of the original house.
  9. Conservatories/extensions built on the side of a single story (bungalow), have a maximum height of four meters with a width of no more the width of the original house.
  10. The conservatory/extension roof cannot be higher of the original one story roof and to match the existing house.
  11. No verandas, balconies or raised platforms.
  12. On designated land – rear single story extension/conservatories are not permitted to have cladding on the exterior side and no side extension / conservatories.

General Building Regulation which apply to a conservatory:

  1. The conservatory must be separated by quality walls, windows and doors.
  2. The floor space must be less than 30 square meters, which must be built to ground level.
  3. Conservatories must have a separate heating system which will be operated by its own independent controls.
  4. Double glazing and electrics must meet Building Regulations, electrics must be installed by Part P installer.
  5. The conservatory cannot block ladder access to rooms situated within a loft.

Any structures that are built between your conservatory and your property, is bound to by Building Regulations approval, regardless whether your conservatory is an exempt structure or not.

The Conservatory Base

Here at Peterborough Doors and Conservatories, we believe that the conservatory base is one of the most important aspects of your conservatory. Many factors affect the conservatory base structure such as; the overall ground condition, the original house brickwork, footings, base insulation, also the water drainage. All features must be thoroughly planned before any conservatory base can commence.

The Conservatory Base Construction

As a basic rule we always recommend using engineering bricks to build below damp course, whilst constructing a conservatory foundation. These engineer bricks are heat treated which makes them more durable than those of stand bricks. Standard bricks can absorb soaking water during winter periods, this water will then freeze, when it expands this can blow the brick face off. This will never happen to engineered bricks as water cannot be absorbed.

The conservatory base will be constructed using the same colour and size bricks of your existing property. If you require to extend an existing wall for your new conservatory, then this will be toothed into the house to gain best results. It is essential that we use the correct damp proofing on your new conservatory floor. Damp proof membrane will be installed at DPC level, this will prevent water admission into your conservatory, not forgetting other damp problems.

For those garden areas with excessive water exposure, a rubber membrane will be sprayed onto the internal and external walls of the conservatory, ensuring that no water can pass through to the conservatory interior.

Conservatory Floor Finishing

To ensure that your conservatory floor is fully level we always consider using latex self-levelling compound to finish the conservatory floor. This leaves a prefect smooth finish ideal for laying carpets or tiling.

Floor insulation should be installed underneath the concrete, we often use Kingspan insulation or insulation to the same quality. This is due to the acids within the concrete mixture which will eat into other insulated products such as polystyrene, after a period of time, then water in the concrete will make the polythene float. As Kingspan insulation is created with dense thermally efficient and very robust materials, this insulation will not move when concrete is poured over the top of it. This insulation is especially appreciated during the winter periods as there is definitely a difference in the temperature of this conservatory base.

Conservatory Dwarf Wall & Fittings

The next step once the foundations are completely dry and stable is the conservatory dwarf wall. This dwarf wall will commence from the base and then constructed to the height no more than one-meter height from the base. Once this wall is complete then external sills will be positioned on top of the conservatory dwarf-wall. These sill are pre-ordered and made to measure also customised to your existing property. The first conservatory frame will be fully secured to your home, this will be continued to the remaining frames attaching to your property. All door fitting will now be secured, which are pre-ordered and made to measure.

Types of Conservatories

Now that you have decided that you would like a conservatory so the next decision is to select which type of conservatory design which best suits your home and your requirements. There are many styles of conservatories to choose from, whether you require a fully bespoke conservatory which is designed unique to you including materials, or from a variety of projects you can base your conservatory from.

Here are varies types of conservatories available:

Victorian Conservatory

Victorian conservatories are extremely popular style conservatory which is eminent due to its pitched roof, with either three or five facets. It has a beautiful curved attendance which delivers maximum living space. With its elegant comforting appearance, this conservatory looks stunning on Victorian buildings, providing a classic and effective expression.

Edwardian Conservatories

The Edwardian conservatories are very similar to the Victorian, however it has a rectangular floor plan which capitalizes internal space. This conservatory is ideal if you would like to bring a classic enduring arrival to your home. The Edwardian conservatory has a four sided pitched roof, which exploits the outside light into your home. This conservatory is the perfect place to relax, enjoying a bright and open room.


Orangeries have a rectangular floor plan just like the Edwardian and Victorian conservatories. With its traditional sophisticated exterior that has revolved from its original arrival when it was used nobility to grow exotic fruits within the noble home. Orangeries are made from customarily brick pillars with large double glazed windows, generating a huge bright open living space.

Gable Conservatories

Gable-end conservatories provide a rectangular floor space with a large triangular front, with anterior windows that extend right up to the roof. The Gable-end conservatory infiltrates the feeling of light and space. This conservatory offers prodigious style and space for your family to enjoy.

Loggia Conservatories

Loggia conservatories originated from the Italian revival period combined erudite British innovation. The Loggia conservatory is one of the most modern building systems, providing one of the best solutions to building additional rooms. This conservatory looks like a stunning extension which replaces traditional conservatory types making a more affordable orangery. This Loggia conservatory provides a beautiful comfortable room that can be enjoyed all year round.

The Loggia conservatory will add significant value to your property, more than any other conservatory style could, making the Loggia conservatory the best investment when it comes to either an extension or conservatory.

Lean-to Conservatory

The Lean-to conservatories are rectangular in shape with a roof that leans down from your property making a beautiful addition to your home. The lean-to conservatory is one of the simplest conservatories, which makes it ideal for most types of properties. Due to its simplicity it makes it easy to install, being practical and far less expensive than other conservatories. The lean-to conservatory is extremely popular for smaller spaced gardens.

Garden Rooms

The Garden room is built in a rectangular shape, with its roof sloping from the main building. The Garden room is uncomplicated and suitable for most house styles. Many modern homes have Garden Rooms added, as they generate the idyllic balance between a conservatory and a modern extension.

Combined Conservatories

By combining varies conservatory styles allows a conservatory to be constructed bespoke to you. When we combine a conservatory it is often formed with a combination of a Victorian, Edwardian or Gable conservatory design, which all link at ease with the lean-to conservatory. Creating a bespoke conservatory allows you to create the exact conservatory for your taste and requirements.

Conservatory Roof Choices

Previously when purchasing a conservatory there would only be one roof option, this was polycarbonate. Polycarbonate roofs have previously experienced problems such as leaks, overheating, cold spots, not forgetting poor sound insulation. However, with improved conservatory roof technology, these problems have virtually disappeared.

We at Peterborough Doors & Conservatories – offer a huge range of materials that will make your conservatory into the perfect living space. From our glass conservatory roofs which have reflected coatings which help regulate room temperature. To tile Guardian roofs which are fully insulated to reduce heat loss.

Glass Conservatory Roofs

The ideal choice if you are looking for a sleek architectural style conservatory roof, is a glass roof. Conservatory glass roofs can be manufactured to suite all conservatory styles. They are available in a wide range of sizes and shapes, we can even supply a large atrium style roof, if required.

A glass conservatory roof is constructed by placing the glass units along robust aluminium frames. Our double glazed glass roof are thermally efficient, which can be fitted with uPVC ‘caps’, which will match the frames if you opt for an uPVC conservatory. These conservatory glass roofs are extremely robust and will withstand any British weather, not forgetting extreme high winds and snow. Our conservatory glass roofs are superiorly manufactured with the latest technologies. So your conservatory will no longer needs to be built like a greenhouse. Our highly refined roofs are manufactured to retain heat whist reflecting the sun’s glare, which allows you to use this conservatory all year round.

Lantern Roofs

Orangeries or Loggia conservatories often integrate a glass lantern roof which will cover the whole roof area. By adding a crown feature from the featured pillars, this allows the lantern to sit neatly covering the whole ceiling perimeter.

Lantern roofs are manufactured in various shapes and sizes, allowing a square or round edge design to sit smoothly into your orangery or conservatory. The lantern frames are also available in a wide range of styles, colours and pitch. The glass type is also variable whether you require double glazed, triple glazed or even integrated blinds. We can even integrate lighting or speakers within the ceiling border to really set the mark.

Tiled Conservatory Roofs

In older style conservatories one of the biggest problem and complaints would be, is that they allow too much light and heat into the conservatory, while in the winter periods they allow heat to escape. This is why tiled conservatory roofs have become incredibly popular in the recent years.

Tiled conservatory roofs have been manufactured to fit at ease to any conservatory style, providing a vaulted or sloping ceiling. Tiled roofs are also manufactured in a variety of different finishes to match practically any home. Tiled conservatory roofs can easily integrate skylights or double glazed sections to allow additional light via the roof.

There are various tiled conservatory roofs on the market, we at Peterborough Doors & Conservatories, tend use Guardian Tiled Roofs. They obtain extremely high thermal efficiency due to the insulation within the tiles. They can reach a U-value as low as 0.12 W/m²K which is even better than the average house roof.

Tiled conservatory roofs can be installed very quickly which allows older unused conservatories to be used again within days.