Our step-by-step guide will take you though everything you need to know about getting a conservatory and having it installed



Buying a conservatory can mean upheaval for your home and garden, with builders and decorators needing to access your property for days, if not weeks or months.  That’s why it’s important to be clear on what every step of the journey will involve, so you can minimise any upheaval and stress.  To help make the process as uncomplicated and stress-free as possible, we’ve put together this step-by-step guide – which includes top tips from experts and conservatory owners. Below, we outline the key steps involved – from getting a quote, to welcoming the builders, before finally moving into your new conservatory.

Getting a conservatory quote

Shop around

Make sure you shop around and always get at least three quotes. If possible, use a firm recommended by a friend or family member, or a local, trustworthy Which? Trusted Trader. Our Trusted Trader endorsement scheme recognises reputable traders who successfully pass our rigorous assessment process.  To help you ensure you’re asking all the right questions and getting the best service for your money, Which? members can download our handy conservatory checklist, which includes all the questions you need to ask:

You’ll also need to think about whether you go for a local or national firm. Take a look at our page on choosing a conservatory company to find out more, as well as whether conservatory owners were more satisfied with using a national or local firm.

Be clear about your needs

Be clear on what you want to use the conservatory for, but be flexible on the types of conservatory, designs and materials – you may surprise yourself when you see what’s on offer.

When we asked Which? members* who have bought a conservatory about their experiences, 11% said it ended up being different to what they initially had in mind.

Of those people, the top three things people did differently were: Opted for a conservatory that was more accessible from their home Went for a bigger conservatory in the end Decided to use a different type of glass or glass-type material.

Don’t dismiss aesthetics

Many people invest in a conservatory to add wow factor to their home. We found about half of those who changed their mind said it was because they preferred the look of another type or size of conservatory.

So it’s worth being open-minded about options.

Extra costs

Ask for details on exactly what is included in the quote, from installation to fittings, so you don’t get any surprises later down the line –


of conservatory owners paid more than they were first quoted.

Top tip: Be aware that some features, such as electrical sockets, TV aerial points and roof vents can add to the price.

Also, the materials your conservatory is constructed from will influence temperature, light and maintenance issues, so sometimes it’s worth spending a little bit more to make sure your conservatory’s going to be comfortable to use. 11% ended up with a different conservatory to what they initially had in mind.

Make sure you get value for money, and find out the average cost of a conservatory in our guide to conservatory prices.

After getting an initial quote, you should expect a surveyor to visit your home to check things like drainage and floor levels, as well as to take accurate measurements.

Do you need planning permission to build a conservatory?



Conservatories generally don’t need planning permission and don’t have to comply with building regulations. But this isn’t always the case, so make sure you’re clued-up on whether you need to go down those routes. You’ll probably need planning permission if:

your home is in a conservation area, national park or designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) the conservatory is not at ground level your home is terraced or has already been extended the volume of your home will be increased by more than 15%, or 70 cubic metres (whichever is greater).

If you do need planning permission, you’ll need to allow extra time (around eight weeks) and money. Remember to check whether your quote includes the cost of applying for planning permission.  Conservatories are technically classed as ‘non-habitable dwellings’.

But if you want something more useable – for example, if you plan to open up the back of your home to create a large partly glazed open-plan kitchen – you’ll need to think about building regulations.

Building regulations usually do not apply if your conservatory is: separated from your home by an external door under 30sq.m in floor area single storey at ground floor level glazed in compliance with building regulations and British Standards (ask for confirmation of this from your installer) not within 1m of a boundary fitted with a roof that is at least 75% glazed and walls that are 50% glazed If you do need to comply with building regulations, you’ll need to make sure the work is checked by your local authority or a privately appointed approved inspector.

sure you check if your installer will arrange this or whether it’s your responsibility.

Issues with planning permission, building regulations and problems cropping up during construction are at risk of adding delays – and costs – to your build.

Our home improvements checklist will help you to make sure that you’ve done all you can to avoid any problems and stick to time and budget.

During construction

How long will it take?

Typical average-sized conservatories take between three and four weeks to build, including all snagging and finishing off. Large projects could last around six weeks.

Construction work will usually begin with the base, and tends to involve builders being on site for about about three days.  During this time they will clear the ground, dig the footings, lay the base layers and level the floor before building the walls.

Normally the building work would then be left for a few days – ideally over a weekend – to settle.  During the second week the frames will go up and be glazed, and any electrical work started.

This is followed by plastering the walls (if necessary), finishing off the electrical work and then adding the flooring, Depending on what type of floor you choose, as well as the time of year, it’s sometimes best wait a few weeks to let the floor dry out thoroughly first.

Typical average-sized conservatories take between three and four weeks to build How disruptive will it be?

You’ll probably want to meet the team on the first day, but a reputable company shouldn’t need you to be at home for the duration of the work.

If side access is good, disruption should be minimal.

It helps if you have outside water and electrical facilities. Be aware that your power supply may need to be switched off while the electrical work is done, and your garden may suffer some damage due to the number of people coming in and out.

Boards should be used in the garden and then taken up overnight to allow the grass to grow. Top tip: Don’t panic when the base goes down and it looks small. Experts we spoke to say it always looks smaller than you expect at this stage – it will feel bigger as the frames go up.

Will my conservatory or orangery affect my home insurance?

Your insurer needs to know about any changes that alter your home’s structure, habitability, security or value. Adding a conservatory or orangery will give you additional space in your home and may increase its value. These changes will likely affect your buildings and contents insurance premiums.

Give your insurer several weeks’ notice. If you forget to tell them about changes to your home then the terms of your policy may be invalid when you try to make a claim.

*(In March 2018, we surveyed 118 members about their experiences of buying a conservatory in the past five years and experiences with cost in the past five years.