Replacing your glazed roof with a solid tiled roof
I have been drawn to write this piece in order that I can help clarify some regulatory points on a glazed roof/ extensions conservatory.
Firstly a bit of history on conservatories…
They were back in the day used for bringing on your tomatoes and house plants and were often added on to a property for enthusiasts. Over time these rooms were sold as an economic way to create extra space during the 80s and 90s it was degrigur to own a conservatory along with your shoulder pads, big hair and if very posh an avocado bidet!!! The sales teams for the national and local conservatory companies from the highest to the budget end went into overdrive to shift their product.
We now seem to have another wave of similar sales tactics being employed with regard retro fitting a tiled roof onto your conservatory. As the conservatory was built to house your pot plants it is most likely to have been built without any regulatory approval. As long as you have a thermal break between your home and your conservatory no approval from building control is required.
I have been called by friends and even had a company who supply these retro roofs telling me this is the future for conservatories. I have been telling everyone this is indeed the future and glazed extensions that leak energy by the bucket load are wrong on many levels. But it seems now the conservatory sales teams are telling us what was so great in the 80s is now not and they have solved all our woes with the problem of overheating or freezing cold conservatories but simply placing a roof onto an existing conservatory does not make this a room that can be classified a room that has approval. The conservatory will have not had the foundations inspected or designed by a structural engineer. The U Values would have not been calculated. The structural integrity for snow load and wind load will most likely not have been considered, Yes the new roof may conform to u values but this is it and one part of conformity does not make the whole room suddenly conform.
The problem that this ticking time bomb is storing up is this…
When the client who has retro fitted a new roof on to their conservatory sell their home the mortgage surveyors who are very aware of this will ask for the building regulation certificate. The client will trot off and produce a roof certificate that at the time does conform to building regs. But the rest of the structure does not. To attempt to retrospectively obtain building regulatory certificate for an extension that has had no inspections is likely to fail. This will give the solicitors potential purchasers an open goal to walk away from the sale, the mortgage company to say they will only give a mortgage if the extension conforms, or your purchaser haggles off a large chunk to deal with this issue. Do you really need all this stress when moving home is stressful enough.
Local authority and private building control officers will confirm all the above and if you are unsure as to what to do please call your local authority and ask the question will my conservatory have building regulatory approval if I fit a solid roof on it?
Alternatively (like the celebrities do on the chat shows here’s my pitch) buy our product add space value and all the above is dealt with and you get a stack of paper confirming we have met all the criteria
From Forest to Four by Two
I was listening to a discussion this morning on Radio 4. I could get side tracked about a nice piece of middle ground radio in the morning. Between, “lets leap out of bed, star jump our way to our cereal bowls, what new Ferrari or Riva boat am I going to buy and how wonderful my life is Chris Evans or John Humphries tearing lumps out of one of our honourable!! members”. This morning I was in the mood for a bit of blood sport and the beating JH was going to give one of our honourable members.
Horse and Lasagne was the discussion and the fact, that in the processed food industry meat and ingredients have no requirement for traceability.
In our business, we have for years been able to trace back every piece of timber supplied and fixed to our projects. If you wanted your potential lasagne to jump over a fence you could trace the posts back to the forest, the tree and the date is was harvested. The saw dust used in the butchers could easily be traced back to its origin.
So when you sit back after your Italian stallion lasagne you can look up at your roof and think I know where that timber came from.
I think the food industry needs to get down with us builders for a while.
GOOGLE GOBBLES OUR CASH WHEN LOW TAX RATE IS CAUSE FOR INDIGESTION
I have been considering the amount we spend to enable our Google presence.
I am disappointed to see yet again, that the clever minds at Google et al have worked out a way to pay a pittance in tax, in a country in which they trade. I feel that Google are making fools out of us, particularly when we are doing all we can to sell our products and services, whilst charging sales tax and being taxed on slim profits. Don’t get me wrong, I do not want to pay or charge any more tax than I have to, but I accept a certain morality on this point.
We live in a free-thinking economy and we have choice. But our economy and society need income to provide services that give us all – from the poorest to the wealthiest – a safe society in which to live. The wider question is of course about closing these holes that the bright minds at Google love to find and exploit. Why is it that the minds working in the Treasury, Tax Office and EU do not appear to be quite so bright? Perhaps they should employ the same consultants that Google employ.
Google’s latest ad campaign tells us that we can all create our own businesses from our kitchen table. They need to realise – that freedom; that belief; that hope and opportunity do exist in this society because we all pay our dues to be part of this club – good and bad.
So in our very own David and Goliath way, we are turning off our Google Ad word account.
Owner and founder of Oliver James
The evening of The International Design Awards
Firstly thank you for all the emails we received from all our past and present clients, suppliers and friends in response to our notification that we had been shortlisted for the 2012 International design awards.
It was a fabulous evening and very glamorous. Sitting amongst some truly amazing designs and witnessing really how a very small percentage of the population lives is quite something. Both good and bad.
The award for ‘best beach house’, the award for ‘best ski chalet’, ‘best spa hotel’ and ‘residence over £20 million’. To see the images of the contenders flash up on the big screen was jaw dropping to say the least.
Then we came to glass houses over £50k. By that point in the evening, the table we were sat at had already scooped two awards in other categories. I thought surely there couldn’t be a third. Alas I was correct, and we did not win.
However, I was extremely proud of our work as it was flashed up on the big screen in the presence of designers of the Corinthian Hotel London and The new bar in the Ritz Carlton Hong Kong.
So I was happy.
But – and there is always a ‘but’.
The design that won our category was beautiful and worthy – but is it practical?
A complete glass building on the back of a house will look amazing, but I liken it to a pair of Christian Louboutin shoes. Beautiful, but for the majority of us – implausible and impractical. Or so the girls tell me!
My observation is, we are more Nigel Slater than Heston Blumenthal. I love Heston and his passion but could I live like that every day? I love Nigel and his passion for simply living. He’s aware of the very best and works with the very best, yet he can bring this down to a level that is ‘do-able’ and ‘workable’ for all. His recipes mean that we can all attempt to have a try one evening or weekend.
Our rooms work every day, we sit amongst the best designs in 2012, but could I ask a client to live with a glass box on the back of their home? Only if they had a beach house and a ski chalet !
So I have learnt that we can do all we can to make design work better. And I know how important it is to look at and keep abreast of the latest, most expensive architecture out there.
But for me, finding the best design means finding the solution that works for our clients. And I am ever mindful of that fact. So a great evening and thank you again for your support.
WE’VE BEEN SHORTLISTED FOR AN INTERNATIONAL DESIGN AWARD!
WE’VE BEEN SHORTLISTED FOR AN INTERNATIONAL DESIGN AWARD!
We’d just like to take this opportunity to tell you that Oliver James Garden Rooms has been shortlisted for the International Design and Architecture Awards 2012.
We’ve been shortlisted for the ‘Best Glazed Extension’ award and will attend a prestigious awards ceremony at the Dorchester Hotel next week.
Reaching the shortlist of such a prestigious award truly illustrates the high quality of our projects and the superb abilities of the team.
Although public voting is on offer, at: http://thedesignawards.co.uk/designandarchitecture/voting-2012.html we’re not asking people to vote for us. We know that the voting and registering process takes time and involves providing contact details which may or may not be used to bombard you with e-mails, advertise and sell to you in the future.
So, instead, we’d just like to say, think of us on the evening of Friday 28th September and wish us good luck. Times are tough and if you do know anyone who is thinking of a garden room extension, please mention us to them.
Thank you for being a small part of our success and in your own way, helping us to reach the shortlist in these prestigious international awards.
Founder and Owner of Oliver James Garden Rooms
INTERNATIONAL DESIGN & ARCHITECTURE AWARDS 2012
We entered these awards after thinking to ourselves that we produce rooms as good as the ones shown on the previous years shortlisted and might blow my own trumpet and say we even match the winning entry. It seems the judging panel agreed and we have been shortlisted and have to attend the ceremony at the end September at the Dorchester. I am now thinking that there’s no way at this point I will fit into my Dinner Jacket !! An incentive to shed a few kilos, Oh No
South Bucks Project – Photos
Further to our weekly update of the project in South Bucks we have now had some completed photos of the project taken by our client.
I am aware that lots of get togethers with friends and relatives are now being arranged. One for the OJ team I feel needs to be pencilled in.
Our client has yet to have the garden landscaped, but I’m sure you will see the results of our design and build. I do not have too much to say here and will let the images speak for themselves. In my opinion a project on a smaller property that has had a huge impact on the ground floor living space.
Are conservatories the new bidet?
Research at Cranﬁeld University has shown that the average south-facing conservatory reaches a comfortable temperature for only two hours a day, unless energy is expended on artiﬁcial heating or cooling. Home owners are tiring of their ‘too hot/too cold’ conservatories. I’m getting several calls a week from people who say they’d never buy a house with one again. They’re telling me that they’re left with a room that they just don’t use!
Due to environmental concerns, building regulations have stated since October 2010 that newly-built conservatories must not connect to any heating system or be controlled by a thermostat. Rather than oﬀering an open plan solution, they must also be ﬁtted with lockable thermal doors to separate the conservatory from the rest of the home. With our unreliable climate, is a conservatory a sound investment?
Garden Rooms: The all-year-round solution for modern living
So what’s the answer in the world of home improvements? It’s all about creating a more modern look that is both beautiful and functional. Clients want to integrate their rooms seamlessly, not have to close them oﬀ from the elements. Our unique Garden Room designs oﬀer homeowners the ability to combine rooms into stunning living areas, whilst highlighting their outside space at the same time.
We oﬀer the complete package, from initial design drawings to building regulations calculations, right through to build and ﬁnishing. As the newest addition to your house, your Oliver James Garden Room will almost certainly be more eﬃciently insulated than the rest of your house. You can enjoy it for 365 days of the year!
Is the conservatory the new bidet? Tell us what you think James@oliverjamesgardenrooms.co.uk
Cat Flap at Number 16
This past week I was having a discussion with one of our clients about her lovely big fat cat and the cat flap/door.
This reminded me of a past client who had a similar situation. The past client was instructed by his wife to ask us if we had considered the cat flap. Picture the scene. A group of builders having their morning meeting (tea with loads of sugar) and the husband/client has to inform us that we need to consider the cat and it’s exit and entrance. The poor chap really wanted to ask a builder question and join us in our progress meeting (tea drinking with lots of sugar, discussing last nights game). We did ask if this was a serious request in the diplomatic way only a builder/football authority can.
Our current client who’s a woman who deals with guys in her work enviroment and is not a football fan painted a picture for us wise old boys. ‘The cat needs to get in and out whilst I’m away at work all day. I do not want a cat litter tray in my lovely new garden room and want to know the cat can get in for it’s food.’
This has made me realise that requests as odd as they seem to us wise-all-at-one-with-the-world builders and authorities on the beautiful game, need to be considered and actioned. So we have now designed a cat flap that comes through the wall and numbered it 16 C; and yes the first client did also get the cat flap and joined us in the morning meetings even though he supports Wolverhampton Wanderers.
It’s all in the detail as they say.
Conservatory Tax and Conserving Customers
I have been drawn to comment on the news recently about the government considering legislation for home owners to make their homes more eco friendly by way of legislation and tax.
We have been carrying out SAP calculations (heatloss calcs) since we began creating our rooms. I can say that in almost every instance our clients are well aware of energy costs and employ numerous forms for decreasing their energy output; increased loft insulation, higher rated windows and boilers, water harvesting all spring to mind. Our rooms conform to the latest building regulations and we have no impact on the energy requirements of the existing house.
One simple regulation that could help reduce energy output in an instant, that the wise ministers should employ, would be to make conservatories conform to building regulations and to not deny that people use these as habital rooms. It really makes me wild that slick sales guys sell these products and avoid telling the whole story of the conservatory. Customers are left with a room that they will eventually turn off and close the doors to when they get their latest quarterly meter readings.
To my mind customers are way ahead of the government as energy costs increase. The last government dogged the issue of conservatories in the last round of building regulations. It seems the lobbyists from the conservatory companies had another escape. Customers do not need legislation to save energy they need knowledge and legislation that protects vulnerability.
As an aside, to carry on this I have linked in these guys AECB who talk a great deal of sense when dealing with energy consumption. Is it really in the interests for energy companies and their shareholders to sell less of their product?
Got that of my chest