There are so many reasons for why adding a conservatory to your house can be beneficial. You get to enjoy the outdoors while being cosy indoors, you expand the space of your home and add value to the property.
However, as with any large project you undertake, you need to guarantee that you are getting the right conservatory installer for the job. What are some of the key things to look out for while searching? Let’s take a look:
- Have they done similar conservatory jobs to yours?
- Make sure you are comfortable with them
- Look out for experience as much as accreditation
- Be aware that subcontracting can complicate the process
- Get like-for-like quotes and establish a payment plan
- Check their familiarity with planning permission and building regulations
Have they done similar conservatory jobs to yours?
Installing conservatories is a very common project and there are several companies that can be right for the job. It’s a very straightforward approach for homeowners, but it is also likely to be one of the most expensive. Many choose a local, independent firm to fit their conservatory, so this article will be offering advice with this fact in mind.
There are many small firms devoted to installing conservatories, however some tradespeople who can install them will be general builders rather than specialists. Some will be window and door specialists, others will be carpenters and joiners. Both are good options and have their own pros – a specialist may have more dedicated experience, while a general builder may be better equipped to deal with more complex projects that involve other elements.
Whatever you lean more towards, seeing their previous work before you hire is the first step in the right direction – and don’t be afraid to call on their previous clients to get the whole story beyond the portfolio that the tradesperson provides.
Make sure you are comfortable with them
First contact and first impressions are everything. This is where you decide if you are comfortable with the person and whether or not you feel like you’ll be able to communicate your thoughts throughout the project. To get a feel for it, ask yourself these questions; are they polite on the phone? Do they arrive for meetings at the scheduled time? Do they ask lots of questions about the project?
Look out for experience as much as accreditation
So far, you’ve looked at previous work and been impressed, and you’ve shaken their hand and not gotten a bad vibe from them. Great! The next step is to assess their experience. If you’re searching for a tradesperson online, Checked and Vetted allows you to read honest feedback from previous clients. Not only that, but a tradesperson can only become a member and join the website if they have all of the necessities such as qualifications and insurance. On top of that, you yourself can ask them about any qualifications they may have, their length of time in the business, or how they’ll approach your particular job.
As well as being able to prove their experience, many tradespeople may also be part of accreditation schemes. Some of the tradespeople who install conservatories may be members of a variety of professional organisations. So, ask around and don’t forget to google all the names they give – you don’t want to take a leap of faith on something like this!
Be aware that subcontracting can complicate the process
When contracting a firm to build your conservatory, you should ask if they are planning to outsource any of the elements of the construction.
Subcontracting on a job like conservatory installation can include hiring a builder to dig the foundations and do the initial groundwork for the build. Or bringing in a bricklayer to construct the dwarf wall that forms the base onto which the glazing is added. This is all very common especially if the person you hire is a specialist such as a glazer.
However, you should be made aware of this early in the process, and establish your own responsibilities. Usually, the tradesperson you’ve hired will take responsibility for their work and all payments will be part of the initial quotation. However, it is worth checking who will be project-managing the work, and who will be on site during the build.
Getting all the details in writing before the work begins are key to ensuring the process goes smoothly.
Get like-for-like quotes and establish a payment plan
To ensure that you are not overpaying, or underpaying for shoddy work, we recommend that you get quotations from at least three tradespeople. The detail and scope of their quotation can tell you a lot about their process. During this time, it’s important to make sure that all the quotations are like-for-like.
After agreeing to a price through an accurate, written quotation, make sure you have a payment plan in place that you are happy with. A reputable tradesperson will generally not expect, or ask for, the total value of a conservatory job up front. However, depending on the scale of the job, a small deposit is not uncommon.
Check their familiarity with planning permission and building regulations
The majority of conservatories are exempt from needing planning permission as long as they adhere to certain requirements, mainly concerned with the size of the extension. Other restrictions may apply if your home is listed or live in a conservation area.
Although it is unlikely, it is always worth checking with your local planning office to inquire about the relevant permissions, and it is important that your tradesperson is aware of them before beginning work.