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Buying a house with a conservatory - What do I need to know?(33 Posts)
I'm considering a house that has an open plan conservatory extension - ie there are no doors between it and the house. I know there are things I need to know and questions I need to ask - probably about building regs - but I'm not sure exactly what these things are! Can anyone tell me, please?
FYI - it's smallish, 3m square, and fully glazed apart from a couple of feet of wall at the bottom on 3 walls. It has French doors out on one side. Its roof is that special plastic instead of glass. Its foundations are unusual, because the garden slopes away from the house, so there's more underground at the back than the front, iyswim...
I have lived for 20 years in a house with no garden and a basement kitchen, so the idea of all that light is very appealing indeed!
Aw cece they are not that bad! We loved ours once we seperated it off: used it as an extra reception room pretty much all year round, lovely space to sit and relax, listening to the rain v relaxing, so much light even on overcast days, made the garden feel closer... The main thing is giving it a "purpose" as a part of the house (and not having it as an oven!)
I wouldn't buy a house with as conservatory. Unless I had the budget to rip it down. Hate the things.
Thanks Aethel - it's (roughly) north facing, so yes, adds light without turning into an oven!
Ooo, call back from the EA. The vendors are seeking retrospective BR and have already contacted the council to arrange inspection... Watch this space!
We bought such a house BUT immediately put doors back in as we wanted the option to soundproof the house and keep the house heat in (we have no idea how the previous owners managed!!)
Which way does it face is perhaps more important: With ours being north facing it only got stiflingly hot occasionally, and we had to heat it for half an hour before use in the winter. I would never buy a house with a south facing conservatory as they can hit forty-five degrees inside on hot days, just not practical to actually live in.
Thanks everyone. I've spoken to my solicitor and the EA this morning and got a bit more information:
- The conservatory required PP (despite its size, because of its construction) - and according to the vendors, it had it (tho I can't find the application on line).
- It will def have needed BR certification and doesn't have it.
- The attic can't be used as a room until it has a staircase and is BR compliant - but I knew that, and the same goes for about half of the other houses I've looked at.
- Buildings insurance doesn't cover extensions that don't meet BR , so if I bought it and it fell down, I couldn't claim to rebuild it, or claim for any damage it did to the rest of the house as it fell. (*hard*, did you know that?!)
- The foundations are the real issue. The lack of doors is easily and relatively cheaply solved, if it turns out to be an issue.
I have told the EA that I think there are two ways forward from this: (a) either the vendors apply for retrospective BR approval, and then I may raise my offer; or (b) they accept my offer of £130k, and if the survey reveals no problems, I'll proceed and carry the cost and risk of 'regularisation'/getting retro approval myself.
>> GULP! <<
We bought such a house BUT immediately put doors back in as we wanted the opti
I'm not certain but I'm pretty sure 6-7yrs ago it would require building regs approval for that work. I would be asking for the documents for it. If it was 15-20yrs ago that would be different.
I would also be concerned that if the ground slopes away from the house that there was some proof that adequate foundations were put in a checked by somebody suitably qualified. If it's got a BR certificate then foundations would be covered.
I would put doors between the lounge and conservatory, or you will freeze to death. We had one put onto our old house, regretted it straightaway. Too hot or cold, noisy and made the sitting room dark.
ours is almost exactly like that, 3m by 3m, french doors and originally had a plastic roof we replaced it a few years ago, new windows and doors and a glass roof.
It has a radiator in it so is centrally heated with the rest of the house and i've never thought of it as cold, infact since any sunshine even on a cold day makes it feel warmer its probably saved money on the heating.
Pros; the space is larger, brighter and much more pleasant than the houses in the row with solid extentions, can get my vitamin D on even days without braving the outside
cons; the leaks! ours was much older than yours though, hence replacing it with glass and PVC but even that has to be maintained, condensation if i've been cooking
i wouldn't be without mine but am still wary about leaving stuff in spots where water could potentially come in.
scuttlebug, I didn't see your post last night... Thanks... Sitting watching the night sky is one of the things I dream about
I have found a couple of sources of info that might be useful and I am just listing them here for reference...
We have the same, bought two years ago. We had an idemnity agreement drawn up as no doors between kitchen and cons. In the winter, I put a curtain up which helps and in the summer, our south facing cons practically heats the whole house. We bloody love it and I'm sitting in it right now, looking at the night sky and the garden and its awesome! Plus I've had some wine...so everything is cool right now :-)
Thanks wonky. The vendors say it was built 6-7 years ago. So 2006-7? Do you know how I find out what building regs were then?
The EPC isn't sophisticated enough to cover your scenario and it is unlikely to be a realistic projection of the house. I would guess that it has received a more favourable outcome as the assessor hasn't known how to deal with it and has added it as if it is a conservatory with proper separation.
It would not currently get building regs with that construction and without separating doors. It may however not have been covered by building regs - you need to find out when it was built.
To meet current regulations it would require either better construction or at least external doors between it and the house.
My concern would be that it sounds like it would leech heat, it's too flimsy to do anything else, and it could become costly to heat your home.
Haha, I'd like that! But I think I might have noticed! I didn't actually examine the glass, but they could have used really good triple-glazed/insulated stuff I guess...
They keep a dragon in it?
Thanks both. There is another complicating issue that I don't think I can explain here without outing myself... I don't know whether it'll help or hinder... I think I need to ask my solicitor about it in the morning... Sorry to be cryptic! I'll explain if I ever get to the point of exchanging on this house, or if I pull out!
As far as environmental impact goes - the house has an EPC giving EIR and EERs at the top of D - ie average... And presumably if the conservatory was leeching heat from the house, it would have got lowers ratings...?
I think that if there are no doors between the rooms it is technically an extension not a conservatory and therefore will require proper ceiling and insulation to meet building regs.
I'm not an expert however
I think it is a case that if it is less than 12 months since the work was done, then the council can insist on you correcting the issue so that it all complies with the regs.
If it is more than a year ago then they would have to go to court to get an injunction for the work to be done. The court is less likely to insist on you reinstating the doors as it is s minor building job. But you can never be certain.
You basically take a chance on whether the council will ever get to know about the work. If you plan to live in the house for years it may not be a problem but if you want to sell again in a few years then you may have queries again from the buyers.
So is there a sort of 'statute of limitations' on building regs? This one is about 6-7 years old.
For building regs purposes it depends on when the conservatory was added.
We bought a house last year which has a conservatory straight onto the lounge with no doors between them. Under current regs there should be doors.
We took out indemnity insurance to be on the safe side but were advised that as the conservatory was added in 2007, we wouldn't have had any issues with the local council anyway.
Design-wise, I liked it: it adds space (obviously), gives a good 'flow' through the kitchen-diner and out to the garden, and seemed to make the room lighter than it would otherwise have been. I don't think temp will be a problem, because of its size, and because there are French doors to open in the summer and a stove for winter. But heat-loss worries me, and so does its construction - tho it looks sound - basically they turned a window into an archway when they added it.
Would someone have had to inspect it to make sure it complied with building regs? If so, how would I find out if this actually happened? And what are the implications if it didn't?
We have one, I love it. It's always bright, even on a dull day, it's noisy when it rains, but I like that too. We have doors between it and the kitchen, but only close them if its really cold. Doesn't get too hot in the summer as we have double doors at the front, a side door and a roof vent.
Our old one was crap, but this ones fab and I'll miss it when we move.
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