Frequently Asked Questions

Welcome to our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page! Here, you’ll find answers to some of the most common questions about our products and services. We hope this resource helps clarify any questions you might have. However, if you need more detailed information or personalised assistance, please don’t hesitate to give us a call.

Please select from a category below

Orangeries and Conservatories

What’s the difference between an orangery and a conservatory?

A conservatory normally has a full glass roof, whereas the roof of an orangery is solid with a smaller glazed lantern set within the flat area.

How high will the orangery ceiling be?

All of our orangeries are made to measure so the ceiling height can vary, however we generally match the height of the existing house.  In most cases this is around 2.4 metres (8ft).

How does the orangery roof drain?

There are a few options but most commonly the roof drains out through the fascia or parapet and into hoppers and downpipes.

Further information can be found here: Orangery Roof Design

Will I need to maintain the orangery?

Yes, but not too much. Both timber and aluminium orangeries should be cleaned along with the rest of the house windows.

Assuming self-cleaning glass has been used on the lantern, the only work required above window level should be clearing the drains of and leaves or other debris.

Any tree resin or other organic build up should be wiped off and sills and frames.

How deep do conservatory foundations need to be?

Where Building Control are involved, they will dictate the foundation depth.

It depends on the ground conditions, but it’s normally a minimum of one metre. The weight of the conservatory or orangery is not the issue, it’s a case of getting down into solid ground and in the clay of clay soils,  ground that won’t be influenced by variations in moisture content.

The most common scenario where deep foundations are required is a combination of shrinkable clay soils and high water demand trees that are nearby.

Foundations can be a pain, but it’s important to get them right.

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What pitch are the roof lanterns?

The standard pitch of our timber lanterns is 20 degrees; we have found this to be the most appropriate pitch for most situations.

However everything is made to measure, so it’s no problem to set the lantern at a different pitch if required.

Are the hardwood lanterns maintenance free?

The majority of the outside of the roof is made from either aluminium or wood resin, meaning little maintenance is required.

We recommend the solar-control glass for the thermal properties, but an additional benefit it the self-cleaning coating which works far better than one would imagine.

What is an up-stand?

Roof lanterns should sit on an area of flat roof that is raised up slightly above the rest of the roof. This is referred to as the ‘up-stand’ or ‘kerb’.

Generally the up-stand should be about 150mm above the rest of the flat roof and the roof covering or membrane should run up and over it.

Do I have to have finials?

No. We offer a choice of finials that have been purpose made for us in a special resin composite, but for clients who prefer a simpler look we can fit a discreet aluminium ridge end cap that also is fabricated to our unique specifications.

Can I have lights in the lantern?

Yes. If required we can machine a channel in the ridge and rafter(s) to accept a lighting cable.  This cable is then fitted after the lantern has been installed and hidden with a timber cover.

The position of any lighting is determined at the approval drawing stage.

Can my builder install the lantern?

Whilst a competent tradesman should be able to instal one of our lanterns, we do not offer lanterns on a supply only basis.

Somebody who has never encountered one of our products before will inevitably have some queries. Assembling the timber frame is very straightforward, the critical part is getting the external cappings, glazing and roof vents etc all fitted correctly.

If the client if faced with paying a builder to instal the lantern, they are better off paying us to do so, as we will be more efficient.

How can I ensure the lantern will fit my roof?

Depending on the circumstances, we may conduct a site survey although that is normally not necessary.

Otherwise there are two options:

  1. You build the up-stand and tell us the dimensions
  2. We give you a drawing to build the up-stand to
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Windows and doors

What is the u-value of the glass?

The u-value of our double-glazed units its 1.0 W/m²K.

Triple glazing is an option for certain components, is has a u-value of 0.7 W/m²K.

The lower the u-value, the better the insulation properties.

Are the windows secure?

Yes, the timber windows we manufacture have Part Q Pas 24 certification, the standard for secure windows.

The windows and doors have lockable handles and multi-point shootbolts.

Are the windows internally glazed?

We generally prefer internal glazing, but can manufacture both internal and externally glazed windows with a choice of bead designs.

Our default window style is internally glazed with an ovolo bead.

To find out more, please visit timber windows

What ironmongery options are there?

Lots. We have a few standard ranges, but can in principle are happy to fit ironmongery from any supplier, subject to compatibility, if there is a specific range that needs to be matched.

To get some ideas, please visit our ironmongery page.

Do I have to have ovolo moulding on timber windows?

No, for a more contemporary feel, our timber windows can have a chamfered bead and moulding.

What are astragal bars?

Astragal bars are decorative sections of timber, Accoya in our case, that are bonded to the inner an outer panes of the double-glazed unit to give the impression of multiple smaller panes.

When coupled with an internal spacer bar following the line of the timber, the untrained eye cannot detect the unit is nor made from several panes.

To find out more, please visit timber windows

What are flush windows?

Casement windows comprise a fixed outer frame an opening sash. On some windows, particularly plastic ones,  the opening part sits further to the outside than the frame which is aesthetically unappealing.

Our timber windows feature a deeper frame allowing the outside faces of both the frame and the sash to be flush.

To find out more, please visit timber windows

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Planning Permission, Listed Building Consent and Building Regulations

What is the difference between planning permission and building regs?

Planning permission relates to the size and design of the extension, building regulations or building control cover the technical aspects.

More information on this article: Differences between planning permission and building regs

Does a conservatory need planning permission?

Many conservatories and orangeries fall within ‘Permitted Development’ and as such do not require planning permission.

However there are many scenarios where planning permission is required, such as for larger orangeries or where the house has already been extended.

In these cases we will take care of the planning application for you, it is normally a formality, but can take two to three months.

Does a conservatory need Building regs?

For a conservatory/orangery to be exempt from building control, the internal floor area of the conservatory must be less than 30m², the conservatory must be built at ground level and the conservatory should be separated from the house by doors of external quality.

Pease visit Building Control to find out more


Do you deal with listed Building Consent?

Yes, as per planning permission, we will deal with listed building consent on your behalf.

Do I need an architect?

If you are undertaking other extensions or renovations and the orangery is a part of a much larger project, then you will probably need an architect. Whilst we can easily include the planning permission aspects of a larger scheme, we would generally prefer not to get drawn in to technical details.

However if the orangery is the main part of the build, then we should be able to take care of all aspects of planning permission and building control.

What if planning permission is refused?

In over twenty-five years of submitting planning applications, our success rate is around 98%.  This is partly due to the fact we wouldn’t take on a project that was unlikely to gain planning approval; we’re in the business of building orangeries rather than submitting speculative planning applications.

If planning permission is refused, we will either appeal, submit a revised application or cancel the project.

In the unlikely event the project is cancelled, there will be a small, pre-agreed charge to cover our costs.

How long does it take to gain planning approval?

The target determination time for householder application is eight weeks. However in the post-Covid working-from-home era many local authorities have been taking much longer than this and there seems no sign of things improving.

Waiting for planning approval can be frustrating all round, so it’s always a good idea to get the application submitted as soon as possible is the approval is in hand. for when you are ready to start works.

Is an extension limited to an area of glazing equivalent to 25% of its footprint?

Yes, however use better components that are required by Building Control which allows us to use more glass.

Often we will also produce quite in-depth energy calculations (SAP calcs) taking into account many other factors.

Pease visit Building Control to find out more


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Design and Sales

Do you have a showroom?

Our new showroom located at our Bedfordshire factory is due to open in the summer of 2024. We moved premises in 2023 and maintaining continuity of production during that transition has been the primary concern.

If, at the time of reading, this section has not been updated then it probably means the showroom is not yet complete. We have to prioritise work on projects for existing clients whilst slowly progressing the showroom in the background.

We are more than happy to arrange factory visits or viewings of completed projects where appropriate.

How do I get a quotation?

Just give us a call, send and email or submit a form on our contact page.

If you have drawings for an orangery or conservatory, or you know the dimensions of the lantern you require, we should be able to issue a quotation remotely. However for a new project, it’s probably best that we make a site visit to assess the practicalities and establish your requirements.


Can I amend the design after I place an order?

Yes. On all of our projects from a simple lantern to a full orangery build we will issue a set of final drawings for the client’s approval at some point after the order is placed. Only when these drawings are approved will manufacture commence.

Our unique combination of being a smaller company yet one who both manufactures and installs gives us great flexibility and affords our clients breathing space.

In most cases there is a period of several months between placing an order and starting on site. It’s not uncommon for clients ideas to develop further during that period, or new inspirations for colour schemes to arise.

Do you provide free drawings?

Yes. If appropriate our designer will visit to assess the site and discuss ideas. He should be able to give a ‘ball park’ indication of likely cost at that point. If, as is typically the case, his rough estimate is considered acceptable, he would then go away to produce some Computer Aided Design (CAD) visualisations to represent the proposed concept.

We do not charge for these drawings, and potential clients are under no obligation to proceed any further after receiving them. We are happy to do this for free because the majority of recipients do ultimately turn into paying customers after deciding the proposal represents excellent value.

It’s perfectly understandable a proportion of people will have a change of direction or circumstance during this process, all we ask is that we are kept in the loop and provided with useful feedback.

What are CAD visualisations?

We use three dimensional Computer Aided Design (CAD) software to create a virtual model of the orangery. Often this will include a full model of the house so the orangery can be seen in context.

This virtual model can either be presented on a laptop to give the full experience, or exported to flat two dimensional renders and printed or sent via email.

The beauty of modelling is the ease of making changes. Whilst it can be a bore to go through countless iterations with indecisive clients, it’s better to spend the time getting things right prior to the build.

Can you give a price over the phone?

Yes. However for a full build it can only be very rough.

There are many factors that can affect the costs, an accurate quotation can only normally be issued once the site have been surveyed and a design established.

When do I need to decide on options, colours etc?

There will be a set of final approval drawings issued at some point after the order has been placed.

The onus will be on us to ensure these decisions are made at the appropriate time.

Do use employ high-pressure sales methods?

No. We are a small company and like to have a good relationship with our clients.

It can be a competitive marketplace and sometimes we need to work hard to win business, but we do this by demonstrating our professionalism, by presenting an attractive proposition and by treating potential clients with respect.


What is your lead time?

Clearly this will fluctuate, but for a lantern it’s generally around eight weeks, for a full orangery build it’s typically  about six months.

However we do get people booking well in advance to secure a particular timeframe, and delays in planning permission are a constant battle therefore it’s not uncommon for earlier build slots to become available, so please ask.

I already have architect’s plans, does that help?

Yes. Whist we most usually take care of the initial design and planning application, we do get a significant number of clients who have already commissioned an architect to do so before approaching us.

Typically the design needs a bit of fine-tuning where our orangery-specific experience comes into play, but the drawings are generally a big help.

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Construction and Installation

How long does the build take?

Most roof lanterns are installed in a day or two.

A full orangery build from foundations to final finishing typically takes around ten weeks, although this can vary considerably depending on the scope of works.

If we are only installing the orangery or conservatory structure, with the groundworks and final finishing being undertaken by others, our part should take a anywhere from a week to a month, depending on the size and complexity.

Do I need to be at home whilst you are working?

No. We need power and water but for much of the build we don’t need access to the house.

We have successfully completed a number of builds where the clients have been abroad for the entire duration, with details being confirmed by email.

Will the builders have loud radios?

No. Most of our workforce are of an age where loud music has lost its appeal, but not quite at the point in their lives where they need the volume turned up to maximum in order to hear the shipping forecast.

When we instal lanterns or orangeries on sites where other builders are the main contractors, there is occasionally a more youthful contingent whose blaring, repetitive music is quite annoying. This must be awful for anyone living in the property.

How much mess will there be?

Not too much. The cliché about making an omelette is relevant here, but on the whole the mess is rarely an issue.

For a full build the worst part is always the beginning in particular the foundations. These are often completed within a week and from then on it the process becomes progressively cleaner. We do try to contain any mess from the excavations, we will cover walkways and driveway with boards and can fence off the rest of the garden.

Once the footings are complete, we will normally have a skip on site to dispose of ongoing rubbish, such as offcuts and packaging.


What happens when you knock through?

We will use a temporary partition and sheeting to prevent mess from getting inside and plan things to the house remains secure.

If we are inserting a steel beam in order to create a wider structural opening, we try to do this as late as possible in the process. however in most cases it the steel needs to be in place before the orangery roof goes on. In this scenario we would insert the steel and leave the wall below it in place until the orangery is secure and watertight. At that stage we would do the final knock-through.


Do you bring a portaloo?

Yes, we are obliged to provide welfare facilities for our workforce. Unless another arrangement has been made we will hire a portaloo from a third party provider.

This can normally be tucked away somewhere discrete, but it does need to be accessible by a vehicle.

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Pricing Information

How much does an orangery cost?

There is a cliché relating to the length of a piece, of string, but orangery builds and their costs do vary greatly.  A good proportion of our full-builds cost between £50k and £100k, but a number are outside of that range.

We can normally give a better indication of price over the phone, so please give us a call on  0800 211 8112

Is an orangery cheaper than an extension?

It depends. An orangery will generally add far more value to the property than an extension, the extra light and drama given by the roof lantern can provide a real ‘wow factor’.

Where do you sit in the market?

We are quite a small company with lower overheads than some of our larger competitors, which helps us to keep our prices keener.

However we build orangeries to the best standards we can, we could reduce costs be using cheaper materials and methods, but this would detract from the end result.

Are there hidden extras?

No. We provide clear and itemised quotations and firm contracts, the price agreed is the you pay. Obviously if the client changes the specification then we will need to adjust the price accordingly, but that is in the client’s control.

The only proviso is when the foundation depth is unknown, we would typically give a price for a one metre depth, with an extra over cost for every 100mm below that. This is clearly stated in the quote.

What is cheaper, timber or aluminium?

In most cases aluminium costs a bit less than hardwood and Accoya.

Will the orangery add value to my property

It should do. We have built orangeries on smaller properties where we’ve almost doubled the ground floor area, this greatly enhances the house value.

On the other hand we’ve transformed much large properties, opening up the kitchen to a new orangery or simply creating a different type of space that soon becomes the most popular room in the house.




Is the price fixed or will I end up paying more?

Fixed. One of the advantages of the creating a CAD model of the extension is we can clearly calculate build costs. We then issue a clear, firm and itemised quotation.

However when the foundation depth is unknown, we would typically give a price for a one metre depth, with an extra over cost for every 100mm below that. This is clearly stated in the quote.

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Climate Control

Will my orangery get too hot in summer?

No. The technology for solar glass has improved over the years, to the point where it can be cooler inside the orangery in the summer months than outside.

We strongly recommend climate control glass for the roof lantern, this blocks about 82% of solar heat gain and is the most important factor in keeping the orangery cool. For fully south-facing orangeries it;’s recommended to have the solar glass in the side windows also.

Will my furniture fade?

If solar control glass is fitted in the roof and, where relevant, the side windows, furniture should be protected against fading.

This does depend on the material itself and we can make no representations fading will not occur, other than to say we have not had it reported as an issue.

Is the solar control glass tinted?

The solar control glass we fit in roofs does have a slight blue tint, however this is barely detectable when in situ.

Many clients have been nervous about the level tint of prior to installation, but they have all been happy with it once the glass has been fitted.

Will I be able to use the orangery all year round?

Yes. We take down plenty of old conservatories that are too cold in the winter and too hot in the summer. The orangery we rebuild in their place is a world of difference and can be used all year round.

How much insulation do you use?

The level of insulation required for new extensions is being increased regularly in the charge towards Net Zero. However this does benefit householders by improving comfort and reducing energy bills.

Typically an orangery would have 150mm of PIR insulation in the roof, 100mm in the floor and 150mm of quilt insulation in the cavity walls. There is also insulation behind the fascia and within the structural posts.

Do you offer triple glazing?

Yes, for roof lanterns and some window and door designs.

The u-value of our double-glazed units its 1.0 W/m²K.

Triple glazing is an option for certain components, is has a u-value of 0.7 W/m²K.

The lower the u-value, the better the insulation properties.


Will I need air conditioning?

No. With recent improvements in solar control glass, air conditioning should not be required.

Is underfloor heating sufficient to keep the orangery warm?

Yes. Most orangeries feature underfloor heating, either a wet or electric system.

Both types have their own programable thermostat and in the case of a wet system, zone valves, so the orangery heating is independent of the rest of the house.

There can be an issue with some types of wood flooring, where the heat output has to be limited, in which case we’d need to assess the design of the building to ensure the heat input can match the heat loss.

Will the orangery get cold in the winter?

No, the orangery is designed to be used all year round.

We fit a huge amount of insulation in the orangery to prevent heat loss. Our double-glazed timber windows are the most thermally efficient on the market, with low-e glass and double weather seals.

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What colours do you offer?

For our timber products we have a standard range of paint colours which can be found here: Timber Paint Colours.

Please contact us to ask for a free hardwood paint swatch. We can also match any colour reference or sample.

For aluminium products, the ubiquitous anthracite RAL7016 is most popular, but we can match any RAL or BS reference.

Is everything made to measure, or do you use standard components?

Everything is made to measure. We fine-tune all aspects of the build and manufacture to suit.

We improve efficiency by using standard components and details, where possible, but these are combined together to produce a truly bespoke product.

What is better, timber or aluminium?

There are arguments for both.

Timber has better insulation properties and many people prefer the more classic look and nicer feel.

Aluminium is often better suited to more modern, on-trend, designs.

Can you supply just the fascia or entablature components?

No, not as a stand alone item.

If we are supplying a lantern, or windows and doors then we would consider doing so.

What area do you cover?

This will depend on the scope of the job and our workload, but we can typically install lanterns and timber orangeries (excluding building work) across most of the south east of England.

But please contact us to find out more

The area in which we would undertake a full build is more limited, this would generally be Herts, Beds, Bucks, Oxfordshire and Northamptonshire.

Please visit our Area Covered page to for more details.




Do you do repairs?

No. We are not set up to provide a repair service.

If you have an old, leaking or rotten conservatory, we can offer a replacement. Either reusing the existing base, or completely demolishing and starting from scratch.

Please visit our Replacement Conservatory page.


What is Accoya?

Accoya has been described as a ‘miracle wood’. It is a timber that has been specially treated to be stable and resistant to rot and decay.

Incredibly is for 50 years above ground and, incredibly,  25 years below ground.

Please find more information on our Accoya page.


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