Monday, 29 February 2016

Conservatories of the future

The average floor area in a UK home is the smallest in Europe and over 25% of us are dissatisfied with this lack of space.   

Researches from the University of Cambridge have found that the UK has the smallest homes by floor space with the average new build property offering just 76sq m, compared with almost double that of 137sq m in Denmark. Between 25-33% of us are also dissatisfied with this limitation and so the opportunities for the extended living space market in the UK are considerable.

So with the average floor area of 85sq m for all housing stock decreasing in the UK, there is a clear and defined need for additional living space. The PVCu conservatory offered a cheap solution in its first generation guise, but now new generation products and insulated tiledGarden Rooms have come to the fore which are far more energy efficient and are part of a new genre of extended living space products.

Many 'first' generation conservatories or garden rooms, satisfied consumer demand for a cost effective additional room to the home, These conservatory roofs were often glazed in low cost 16mm polycarbonate sheets and within a couple of years they suffered from discolouration, along with water and insetingress.

So we now find ourselves with a replacement market for these first generation conservatories and a new market for extended living space, which includes the latest insulated, tiled conservatory roofs or Garden rooms. While the online media may well be awash with these new extension solid roof 'type' roofing solutions we firmly believe that the conservatory market will continue to flourish.

Old polycarbonate conservatory roof glazing is being replaced with solar control roof glass that’s packed with technological features including, greater thermal performance,  self cleaning properties and solar control, along with the latest development in glass for conservatory doors and windows. There is a clear distinction here in that the glass specified for the replacement window market is designed with solar heat gain in mind, yet this is the exact opposite of what you want in a conservatory. So it follows that everything apart from the base in which a modern conservatory sits on has changed fundamentally.

The insulated tiled conservatory or Garden Rooms, which have breathed a little more life into what was the conservatory extension market, has been good news for us all and the engineered and market leading GardenRoom roof is available through our network of installers and has been a revelation as a true warm roof. It’s currently the only one in the market that has an insulated eaves, an area where many other solid conservatory roofs have suffered from potential condensation.

Like the first generation conservatories suffered from a technical performance perspective, our research and testing has shown that the same could well happen to some of the lightweight insulated tiled roofs in the marketplace today, consumers should be wary before making their choice and ensure they fully research the tiled conservatory roof on offer. Therefore in years to come we could be experiencing the emergence of the replacement sector for the insulated tiledroof market if consumers are not aware of the differences in products for the extended living space market.

Monday, 22 June 2015

Home Extension Ideas

Including a VELUX roof window in your new house extension will let even more natural light into the new room with the added benefit of controllable ventilation when needed. To keep temperatures comfortable on warm, sunny days you can install VELUX roof windows that can be opened and closed with a touch screen pad for added convenience, providing fresh air at your fingertips.

Consumers looking to replacing their conservatories often look at a tiled Garden Room, which offers more of a real room feel than a typical conservatory. It’s also appealing to a new type of consumer too, who wants a house extension to add valuable living space to an existing home. With an internal vaulted ceiling and lighting pelmet, spotlights can be added and importantly this design makes the incorporation of a glazed roof light a perfect choice for added versatility and the feeling of greater light and ventilation.  Remember – the more daylight your house extension receives, the bigger it will feel.            
For more than 70 years, the VELUX Group has created better living environments for people around the world, a passion for daylight, fresh air and better living environments is what started their company more than 70 years ago and it's still what drives them forward today.
Velux offer what is globally accepted as the very best rooflights for a wide range of projects. We are able to call upon their expertise for the specification of rooflights for A New Room and our unique Garden Room product. They offer various colour and opening options are we have designed our roof to work in perfect unison with them. They can be manually opened, remotely opened or even controlled for a mobile or even tablet device.

Roof lights perform an important function, they both let in light and also provide added ventilation. Most of our customers will specify one even, two rooflights in their Garden Room, after all it’s a room that’s a link to the world outside. Speak to your local Registered Installer for some expert guidance on rooflights in our Garden Rooms. 

Monday, 8 June 2015

Building Control Requirements For Tiled Conservatories

Some conservatories come under the remit of Building Control, but more specifically all tiled Conservatories come under their jurisdiction. Here we look at the key issues affecting all installation companies and Tiled Conservatory roofs.

What is Building Control and what is its purpose?
Building Control was established in the UK to maintain the standards set out in the Building Regulations. These Building Regulations cover all aspects of building work from sewers to heating, and from structure to insulation. These Standards are inspected by surveyors to ensure that all new building work reaches the minimum standard.

In order meet the building targets in the UK and to reduce strain on Local Authorities the government made provision for “approved inspectors”. These are companies/people that are registered to inspect building work, in the same manner and working to the same standards as the local authority.

The benefit of approved inspectors is their ability to partner with the private sector, and maintain the same guidance across their entire organisation.

Garden Room roof

How does Building Control interact with the conservatory and tiled GardenRoom market?
Conservatories were treated as temporary structures and they don’t generally come under the remit of either Planning or Building Regulation, when they are categorised under permitted development.

Put simply, if a conservatory is a single storey structure, less than 30m2, thermally separated from the house, not connected to household heating system and designed with the appropriate glass to British Standards, then it doesn’t come under Building Regulations. However, some conservatories will still come under the remit of Building control and certainly all solid roofs will, as they are treated as permanent structures in the same vein as a traditional extension. Therefore for these installations an application for certification will have to be served and the process followed in full. 

What is the process for installation companies when Solid Roofs come under Building Regulations?
Installation companies can serve a Building Notice on their local authority building control service just 48 hours before the commencement of works. A Building Control Surveyor will then inspect at key stages of the installation process to ensure that all materials and workmanship meets the required standards of Building Control and the latest Building Regulations. Alternatively, the whole project can be placed under the control of an Approved Inspector, such as JHAI Limited, the preferred partner of Prefix Systems.

The stages of inspection will usually be agreed in advance and might include:
      Commencement of work: This stage is usually used to agree which future stages of work should be inspected. There may be something unusual, or a matter which you are not sure about, which can be discussed before the work gets too far.
      Intermediate stages: Different types of projects will require different inspections which might include foundations, the floor, damp proofing to walls and floors, the roof structure, any drainage, structural beams and openings, fire proofing and thermal insulation.
      Completion: The main purpose of this stage is to make sure the work meets the various Building Regulations before it is occupied and put into use. When the surveyor is happy with the work they will issue you with a completion certificate, free of charge. This is an important document used by solicitors/personal search agents when you come to sell the property and by mortgage lenders and property insurers.

Replacement tiled conservatory roof

What exactly is Type Approval?
There are a number of registration schemes where they seek to streamline the inspection process for manufacturers, installers, developers, building control surveyors and the end users of buildings. Companies can register details with an approval /inspection authority, and get the products or processes certified in line with building regulations. The system certificate proves compliance for products and systems with the Building Regulations, building standards and warranty standards across England and Wales.

LABC registered systems should be accepted by all local authorities, but there is no guarantee that every building inspector will agree with each detail, it is important for home owners to note that even if the roof system has an LABC type approval certificate the project will still need to be submitted to building control for approval. This is why Prefix Systems have first chosen the route of an approved inspector, who can guarantee that all their inspectors will work to the same approval certificate, and can guarantee product compliance across all of England and Wales.

JHAI Certificate
In partnership with Prefix Systems, JHAI offer Building Regulations approval the way that it should be: fast, helpful and intelligent. They carry out building control on all domestic and commercial projects and offer the same high level of service whether you're a self-builder planning your dream home, a major builder needing quick decisions on a national roll-out or tiled GardenRoom installer and cover all of England and Wales.

JHAI Limited is a Corporate Approved Inspector licensed by the Construction Industry Council (CIC) to give certified Building Regulations approval, operating as an alternative to Local Authority Building Control. For Prefix this means we can take the whole building control process away from customers to allow them to focus on installation processes.

Our tiled Garden Room roof is both structurally and thermally compliant with current building regulations. The local authority may request supporting calculations, which Prefix Systems are happy to provide.

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Glazed Extension Transformation

Transformed to a modern Livin Room conservatory 

February, 2015

A New Room installers undertake a wide variety of projects as we are of course the home improvement experts. This latest case is for a conservatory replacement from one of our Registered Installers Conserv-A-Tech based in Stevenage, involved a very tired lean to conservatory, which had become nothing more than a storage area.

Old Polycarbonate roof
Old Conservatory

The customer’s roof was glazed with polycarbonate which had holes in it following a severe hail storm and was in a complete state of disrepair. Our brief was to come up with a design that would totally transform the way the existing building looked and to make it an all year round room.

Most of the existing conservatory base was used saving time and money and brick piers were built to the front, in keeping with the design of the house. The front of the conservatory was opened up with full height picture windows and French (double) doors were installed. To the outside a Cornice gutter shroud was fitted to add a further touch of modern design.

Glazed extension with glass roof
Modern Conservatory with Cornice Gutter Shroud

On the inside the new conservatory features an automatic roof vent, with rain sensor and the LivinRoom perimeter ceiling. The LivinRoom internal boxed out section has been used to incorporate spot lights and makes the new conservatory feel far more part of the house. It’s also glazed in the latest energy efficient, solar control easy clean glass that not only helps keep the heat in during the colder months but reflects up to 83% of the sun's heat reducing the heat build up in the summer months. 

The homeowners are absolutely thrilled with the end result which is a complete transformation on time and in budget

Replacement modern conservatory
Solar Control glass

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Conservatory Refurbishment

GardenRoom Roof Replacement Project - December 2014

When Mrs. Clark decided to replace her tired conservatory with something a little more practical and more in keeping with her house, she approached her local A New Room registered installer for a new tiled GardenRoom roof.

Existing tired conservatory

The installation was swift but very effective, taking off an old double-hipped Victorian conservatory and replacing the roof only with a stylish new GardenRoom, highly insulated for great thermal performance and complete with Velux rooflight. The existing base, windows and doors have been retained helping to keep costs down and the new ‘squared off’ Edwardian design also allows for a facet, or corner, overhang complete with downlighters.

GardenRoom Roof Replacement

Internally the Garden Room roof with its vaulted ceiling design allows natural light to flood into the room through the Velux rooflight, which also allows additional ventilation when required. To finish off the Garden room roof features a lighting pelmet with LED lights installed providing a subtle yet stunning overall effect in the room.        

A New Room

Many homeowners who have old and inefficient existing conservatories are faced with leaving these rooms unused or to upgrade them to re-discover valuable additional living space, for a modest investment. Given the flexibility of a GardenRoom, they can be a place to entertain, relax, study or even a place to leave the kids to their own devices.

Internal Lighting Pelmet

Our 'A New Room' registered installers are building an impressive reputation nationwide for conservatory replacement and refurbishment projects as well as general home extensions. It also represents the fact that an increasing number of homeowners are looking to rediscover the unused conservatory space with something far more impressive, usable all year round and highly energy efficient. The Garden Room offers an ideal solution for consumers looking to install an insulated conservatory roof onto existing window frames.

Friday, 3 October 2014

Garden Room - slate or tile ?

New colour options - more choice

Further developments to the GardenRoom which addresses many of the issues with other tiled conservatory roof solutions, including new improved thermal performance and more tile / slate options than ever before.

There are also new tile colour finishes that have just been launched which include Chestnut Brown, Terracotta Red and Slate (light) Grey, along with matching hip and ridge cappings which are supplied in one continuous section for speed if installation. There is also an option for a slate finish which is also available in the new colours and is becoming increasingly popular with installers and consumers looking to match existing slate roofs, with the rugged edges designed to replicate a hewn slate tile finish to blend perfectly with it’s surroundings. 

Terracotta Slate Effect GardenRoom Roof

GardenRoom is the latest generation of tiled conservatory roofs and is becoming increasingly popular both for new installations and for conservatory replacement projects. It’s also helping to close the gap between the typical conservatory and single storey extension markets as Prefix customers look to open up new sales opportunities. The Gardenroom roof is available through our registered installer network, more details of which can be found at or call 0800 500 3002

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

A New Room - the home extension experts

Discover your favourite new room…

Whether your are looking for a new family room, a place to relax or a general extension to your home, we can offer you an unrivalled range of options. From high performance conservatories, luxurious Garden Rooms, to traditional Orangeries and even extensions discover your favourite room from your local Registered Installer today.

Tiled roof conservatory
A Garden Room extension

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