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Topic # 164292 4-Feb-2015 13:41
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Has anyone here built a conservatory in the last few years?

The wife and I are looking at building a conservatory onto our ex state house in Chch. Being a 1960's build it features a rather cramped/oddly shaped lounge. We are hoping to increase the living space we have available and increase the overall floor size of the house without going to the cost of building an extension. We have contacted a number of companies (mainly aluminum joiners) and are awaiting initial design/quote's. 

Have any fellow GZer's built a conservatory recently and can offer advice or ideas? I've been reading up on consents and council regulations but am just trying to get my head around any other costs which may be due and what things we should be looking out for in design/features. We've estimated a budget of around 20-25,000 (with a 15% contingency on top) for a 4x4 metre double glazed unit managed start to finish, does this sounds realistic?

Any tips/thoughts would be appreciated.

Cheers

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  Reply # 1231115 4-Feb-2015 13:46
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My experience with conservatories is that they aren't great spaces to be in for a lot of the time, as they get too hot or too cold. In summer they can cause a house to really heat up. But they are good if you want a glass house as part of the house for plants. So  there is a reason why they are a cheaper option, as they are only usable spaces at certain times.Whereas an extension is usable all of the time, and you can put anything in an extension.  I don't think they add much to the value of your house either, as people have a love hate thing with them, as the ones produced in NZ tend to be pretty ugly looking beasts..

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  Reply # 1231118 4-Feb-2015 13:51
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I would chose a design that does not have a glass roof and would definitely go for a double glassed option.




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  Reply # 1231121 4-Feb-2015 13:55
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It's like my greenhouse - too hot in summer, too cold in winter. Double glazed or at least double layer plastic walls would be essential (PSP Twinwall is a good product).

Do you want it to be living space, carpeted and usable, or more an extension you can store things in and use for things like drying clothes?




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  Reply # 1231191 4-Feb-2015 15:46
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If I was going to build a conservatory type extension I would:
- Have all windows double glazed
- Put a solid roof over the top and look at taking any water runoff into a storage tank for watering (depending on the size of the roof and location of the extension)
- Insulate under the floor and continue flooring flush into the room (no steps)
- Consider doors out and location of steps down
- Definitely have openable windows with restrictor stays and/or insect screens
- Only glaze the largest wall. Keep the two return walls solid. A large glazed area is going to be great but too much is terrible. You'll need a builder to extend the floor out anyway, so why not get him to put the walls in, too.

Just my 2c.



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  Reply # 1231192 4-Feb-2015 15:48
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Thanks for everyone's thoughts.

We would want it to be a livable space with either tiles or carpeting which would be generally divided off from the main living area but would have a stacked divider allowing it to be opened up. Most likely used as a dining space. Double glazed is a must (have been told it's a requirement with all new builds/extensions anyway) as well as a solid insulated roof.

Just had one company come out to discuss options and it looks like due to post-EQ foundation requirements and extra work required for drainage we could be looking around $35,000 all included.





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  Reply # 1231194 4-Feb-2015 15:52
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Disrespective: If I was going to build a conservatory type extension I would:
- Have all windows double glazed
- Put a solid roof over the top and look at taking any water runoff into a storage tank for watering (depending on the size of the roof and location of the extension)
- Insulate under the floor and continue flooring flush into the room (no steps)
- Consider doors out and location of steps down
- Definitely have openable windows with restrictor stays and/or insect screens
- Only glaze the largest wall. Keep the two return walls solid. A large glazed area is going to be great but too much is terrible. You'll need a builder to extend the floor out anyway, so why not get him to put the walls in, too.

Just my 2c.


Agree with pretty much everything you've listed! Only having one wall glazed would be akin to building an extension anyway. There is a price premium to pay for having the floor remain flush (as our floor is a good 55cm above ground level) but it would be a requirement. There would be one set of external doors would would be north facing and would eventually be connected to the deck on on the next side of the house.

Thanks for your thoughts.

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  Reply # 1231195 4-Feb-2015 15:52
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mattwnz: My experience with conservatories is that they aren't great spaces to be in for a lot of the time, as they get too hot or too cold. In summer they can cause a house to really heat up. But they are good if you want a glass house as part of the house for plants. So  there is a reason why they are a cheaper option, as they are only usable spaces at certain times.Whereas an extension is usable all of the time, and you can put anything in an extension.  I don't think they add much to the value of your house either, as people have a love hate thing with them, as the ones produced in NZ tend to be pretty ugly looking beasts..


I'd totally support the above post.

When it comes to re-selling, a conservatory can really put people off purchasing a property. Only last week my parents looked at a house with one, and saw it more as an incumberance than a benefit (and vowed to remove it should they purchase the property). It was a hot day and the conservatory was essentially unusable.

Aesthetically, they're generally unattractive - especially as their joinery rarely matches that of the house they're attached to (not helped by the inevitable placement on the side of a house where they end up standing out even more).

I'd seriously recommend looking at the cost of a proper extension or even an external dwelling - while the up-front cost may be considerably greater, it will also provide a significant advantage come selling time, given either one room will be much larger or (ideally) the house has an additional room (especially important given your comment re current house layout).

We had a 'sleepout' built two years ago - it's currently used as a home theatre/lounge. While separate from the house, it'll give you an idea of what you can get: our total cost came in at around $60k for the COMPLETE build including all fittings (carpet, paint, TV, receiver, speakers, sofas... ) - plus it has its own bathroom with toilet/shower, which is inevitable one of the more costly components of a build. I'm thinking the cost may have also included the building of the deck between the main house and the sleepout, which is large.

While it's not in woood and has alumunium joinery (so doesn't perfectly match the weatherboard of our 1920s' house), it fits into the environment nicely. It's also sold me on the idea of having a living space isolated from the rest of the house, as it means we can listen to stuff as loudly as we like without disturbing the kids plus really gives us a sense of our own space (I'm currently putting plans together for a house design based on such a living versus sleeping zone split - not that we probably will ever be able to afford to build it!).



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  Reply # 1231205 4-Feb-2015 16:04
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jonathan18:
mattwnz: My experience with conservatories is that they aren't great spaces to be in for a lot of the time, as they get too hot or too cold. In summer they can cause a house to really heat up. But they are good if you want a glass house as part of the house for plants. So  there is a reason why they are a cheaper option, as they are only usable spaces at certain times.Whereas an extension is usable all of the time, and you can put anything in an extension.  I don't think they add much to the value of your house either, as people have a love hate thing with them, as the ones produced in NZ tend to be pretty ugly looking beasts..


I'd totally support the above post.

When it comes to re-selling, a conservatory can really put people off purchasing a property. Only last week my parents looked at a house with one, and saw it more as an incumberance than a benefit (and vowed to remove it should they purchase the property). It was a hot day and the conservatory was essentially unusable.

Aesthetically, they're generally unattractive - especially as their joinery rarely matches that of the house they're attached to (not helped by the inevitable placement on the side of a house where they end up standing out even more).

I'd seriously recommend looking at the cost of a proper extension or even an external dwelling - while the up-front cost may be considerably greater, it will also provide a significant advantage come selling time, given either one room will be much larger or (ideally) the house has an additional room (especially important given your comment re current house layout).

We had a 'sleepout' built two years ago - it's currently used as a home theatre/lounge. While separate from the house, it'll give you an idea of what you can get: our total cost came in at around $60k for the COMPLETE build including all fittings (carpet, paint, TV, receiver, speakers, sofas... ) - plus it has its own bathroom with toilet/shower, which is inevitable one of the more costly components of a build. I'm thinking the cost may have also included the building of the deck between the main house and the sleepout, which is large.

While it's not in woood and has alumunium joinery (so doesn't perfectly match the weatherboard of our 1920s' house), it fits into the environment nicely. It's also sold me on the idea of having a living space isolated from the rest of the house, as it means we can listen to stuff as loudly as we like without disturbing the kids plus really gives us a sense of our own space (I'm currently putting plans together for a house design based on such a living versus sleeping zone split - not that we probably will ever be able to afford to build it!).


Some good points I'll grant you. To be honest, if the cost starts coming in at around 35-40,000 as its starting to look than we may well look at a proper extension. A well done conservatory doesn't have to be a hindrance to on selling (not that we are going to sell anytime soon) but I can appreciate it's not in everyone's taste. Personally, considering our location and property type, I don't envision it would be difficult to sell our house with or without a conservatory and the benefits of having it in the mid term outweigh to possible negatives in the long term.

At this stage it comes down to costs, if we can build one for x% less than an extension would cost than we will do it. If that cost ceiling is exceeded than we will really need to reconsider our objectives and look at other options.

Thanks for your thoughts

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  Reply # 1231226 4-Feb-2015 16:44
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Disrespective: If I was going to build a conservatory type extension I would:
- Have all windows double glazed
- Put a solid roof over the top and look at taking any water runoff into a storage tank for watering (depending on the size of the roof and location of the extension)
- Insulate under the floor and continue flooring flush into the room (no steps)
- Consider doors out and location of steps down
- Definitely have openable windows with restrictor stays and/or insect screens
- Only glaze the largest wall. Keep the two return walls solid. A large glazed area is going to be great but too much is terrible. You'll need a builder to extend the floor out anyway, so why not get him to put the walls in, too.

Just my 2c.


I would also look at having a concrete slab with tiles, with a full height window in front, and northish facing to get the free passive solar energy, which will keep the room warm in the evening. Some councils around NZ are now encouraging this type of green design.



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  Reply # 1245701 24-Feb-2015 16:25
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In case anyone is interested we finally got 2 quotes in (after putting up with companies not returning calls/emails, not showing up or having 'computer issues' that delayed quotes).

In the end we went with a 4.2 x 3.5 double glazed unit with one wall being a sectioned sliding door and the other 2 being a mixture of glass and windows. There would also be a removable interior door of varying style. Both are a simple box design with slanted/insulated roof with a selection of frame styles and colours.

The first quote came in at around $36,000 all inclusive (except for drainage which I would do). That included a set of interior section doors and external doors, flashing's, guttering, the pad (engineer specified), consents, inspections, building work for current structure, refuse removal etc.

The second quote came in at over $50,000 for a consented build and $31,000 for a non-consented build*. Much the same design with a slightly higher quality finish and bi-fold doors.

*The non-consented design was sold to us as a 'wind breaker' which according to the company (take with a grain of salt) does not require consent as long as it is under a certain size and not considered part of the floor plan (there were several other conditions as well around how it is built and what the company would not be able to build). We would also have to sell the house without the external doors (removable and reinstallable after selling) and emphasise that this is not an enclosed space (even though to anyone with any sense it would be). It would be insured as a 'wind break' for much the same value (confirmed with insurance). If anyone was considering getting this sort of structure I suggest you consult with your council (as we have).

The cost is roughly split half way between foundations/site work/consents and the panels/glass/installation.

For obvious reasons we are leaning towards the first quote. Putting aside the possible legality of the 'wind breaker' (which research shows is likely legit but can cause issues with the council and may require compliance) having something with an engineer's tick and consents is much more valuable in the long run than saving 5 grand in the short term.

So far it has been a very frustrating experience getting anyone to quote for the work. Next step is talking with the bank once the quotes come in for other work around the house (new kitchen/flooring). 

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  Reply # 1245706 24-Feb-2015 16:43
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Don't forget you will need a lawyer to amend the property title to show the increased footprint.  Not sure how much that costs up front, but retrospectively it's damned expensive!  (recent lesson learnt)





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  Reply # 1245747 24-Feb-2015 17:45
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scuwp: Don't forget you will need a lawyer to amend the property title to show the increased footprint.  Not sure how much that costs up front, but retrospectively it's damned expensive!  (recent lesson learnt)



Does this also need to be done if the build is a separate unit on the same section? We built a separate home theatre (connected only by a shared deck), and we'd never been advised of the need to do this, so am not sure what the situation is!

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  Reply # 1245754 24-Feb-2015 18:01
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jonathan18:
scuwp: Don't forget you will need a lawyer to amend the property title to show the increased footprint.  Not sure how much that costs up front, but retrospectively it's damned expensive!  (recent lesson learnt)



Does this also need to be done if the build is a separate unit on the same section? We built a separate home theatre (connected only by a shared deck), and we'd never been advised of the need to do this, so am not sure what the situation is!


I thought that was only necessary on a cross lease or unit titled property.  OP has made no mention of their property being either of those two types of titles.

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  Reply # 1245795 24-Feb-2015 18:39
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graemeh:
jonathan18:
scuwp: Don't forget you will need a lawyer to amend the property title to show the increased footprint.  Not sure how much that costs up front, but retrospectively it's damned expensive!  (recent lesson learnt)



Does this also need to be done if the build is a separate unit on the same section? We built a separate home theatre (connected only by a shared deck), and we'd never been advised of the need to do this, so am not sure what the situation is!


I thought that was only necessary on a cross lease or unit titled property.  OP has made no mention of their property being either of those two types of titles.


That's right - shouldn't be necessary if you have a freehold (i.e. fee simple) section and are building within the boundaries. Always good to get those checked by a surveyor if you are building on or near a boundary and are not sure where it is! As well as building consent requirements, you might also need to think about resource consent requirements, like site coverage, building heights, light planes, number of separate dwellings, distance from boundaries etc etc.

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  Reply # 1245912 24-Feb-2015 21:01
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That seems pretty expensive to me, but without seeing the plan / layout its hard to judge. Could be south island pricing!

I have installed a few conservatories, and agree with the above post. Most that we sell are convinced to get thermapanel for the roofing due glass being too hot.
I dont agree with making only 1 wall glass tho, most conservatories extend out an existing door - with covered in walls as well as the therma panel roof, it puts the outside light source much further away from the room. The existing room may have other windows/doors off another wall that counter this out tho (basically the inside room can become way darker)
However opening windows / doors on all walls are a must to control airflow / temperature (either doors, or windows)

I cant find a link for the panels we use but its similar to this - just flat, not ridged like the one in the picture
thermapanel

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