Complicated Conservatory Terms, Explained

By on 4th August in Home Inspiration

There’s a lot of jargon involved in most building projects, and conservatories are no exception. We’ve taken a look at some of the top complicated conservatory terms and have tackled them one by one to offer an explanation to help guide you to make the right decision when it comes to embarking upon this exciting venture, to ensure you get a great deal and to help you understand exactly what you’re getting.

Planning permission

This is needed whenever building development takes place. There are two types of development:

1. Operational, e.g. building work, but mining and engineering work are also included

2. Material changes of use

Planning permission should not be confused with ‘Building Regulations’.  Planning is about what effect the work or change of use will have on the neighbourhood generally, whilst Building Regulations are concerned with the construction in terms of its stability, safety, heating efficiency, fire protection, etc.

Permitted development 

Permitted development refers to minor kinds of building work that meet certain criteria and therefore do not require planning permission. Some conservatories – depending on size/shape etc – can come under this category, but it is vital that you do check regardless of whether you think you are exempt or not. A good conservatory company should be able to do this for you.

Conservatory Interior

Professional survey 

A professional survey is conducted towards the beginning of the conservatory construction process, usually after a quote is agreed by each party. The company will send an expert to your home where they will evaluate the area where you want the conservatory and can make preparation steps accordingly, such as checking things like floor levels and drainage runs. Afterwards, the company should be able to give you a clearer step-by-step guide of the following developments for your new structure.

Conservatory styles:

There are numerous different types of conservatories available now, meaning that virtually any house-type will be able to find one that is suitable. They can vary in terms of size, shape, material and usage. The most common types are listed below. You should chat to your chosen company to ensure you are getting the most suitable type for your needs and home.

Read in more detail about conservatory styles.

  • Lean-to: The perfect choice for those wanting a modern construction that won’t aesthetically age the property. This type is very versatile as they can be built around corners, at a range of different heights and with different door set-ups.

Lean to Conservatory

  • Elizabethan: A design classic in terms of conservatory construction, the Elizabethan style combines simplicity and style so that it complements rather than dominates a range of property types with eye-catching, attractive features. These include a rectangular design with a three-sided pitched roof for maximum airy appeal.

Elizabethan Conservatory1

  • Orangeries: Traditionally the preserve of the aristocracy and designed to fulfil their requirements for exotic fruits, these exquisitely designed buildings add style and interest to any home. Typically made with solid brick pillars and large glazed windows to capture the light, a new Orangery will help create a new stylish environment with real depth and longevity.


  • Extensions: Rather than viewing a conservatory as a simple ‘add-on’ to your home, add interest, space and value to your home with an extension. An extension that doesn’t compromise on safety and integrity is the perfect way to add to your home without leaving it vulnerable to thieves too. 

Home Extension

  • Wooden/UPVC/Aluminium: As well as the different styles and shapes of conservatories that you opt for, the material you choose is also important when thinking about aesthetic value and how it will fit with the rest of your home’s exterior. The main materials include wooden, UPVC and aluminium constructs, meaning that there is definitely something out there for all house types.

Solar roofing

Solar roofing is used by only the best companies as it is a revolutionary system that enables usage of the conservatory throughout the whole year, as it helps you to control the room’s temperature. It’s also great for reducing ultra-violet rays from passing through the roof which can cause furniture to fade.

Specialised glass

The glass you opt for in your conservatory is really important, not only for controlling the temperature, but also for peace of mind in terms of safety. Things to look out for include reinforced toughened glass, and internal glazing which would prevent the glass being removed from the outside and therefore would stop the structure from being vulnerable to burglars.

House Conservatory

Sloping-ground foundations

Any good company would be able to work with even the most difficult foundations to help build your dream conservatory, even those referred to as ‘sloping-ground foundations’. The foundations and base will be installed level and then steps or a slope can be installed afterwards if required. 

Colour matching 

Conservatories have come a long way in recent years, and a major development that is often overlooked is the variety of colouring options you can now choose from. As well as working with a company that aims to match the construct’s brickwork to your home’s existing style, the actual colour of the conservatory is also something to think about when it comes to matching it with your home. Reputable companies will help match the frames to strong features of focus points of your home’s exterior, such as frames or roof trims. Whether it’s a subtle white shade you’re after or something more flamboyant, there will be something to match your needs, style and budget.


Insulation measures are vital in your conservatory for when it comes to using the room 365 days a year. After all, you won’t want to have spent all that time and money on something you can only make use of once in a blue moon! Insulation measures to look out for when looking for a conservatory contractor include an insulated base (usually concrete), a cavity wall base and a frame that is welded into place with minute precision to eliminate gaps and movement, and therefore eliminate drafts.

Home Conservatory Rear

BS6399 certification testing

This document by the UK National Standards Body outlines the minimum standards a conservatory should be designed to in order to withstand extreme weather conditions. With the UK seeing greater extremes in weather patterns, it is vital that a conservatory is designed to withstand whatever the British weather can throw at it. Therefore you should insist that your new construction complies with BS6399 certification testing to put your mind at rest and so you can relax knowing your conservatory will be strong enough to withstand the harshest conditions. A BSI certification ensures that your construct or venture is of the highest quality possible, as they’ve been accredited by accreditation bodies, such as UKAS and ANAB, across the world and assessed against the highest levels of quality and service.

Decorative glass

Conservatories should be aesthetically pleasing in all aspects, as well as just being an extra room for your family. A great design aspect that is a growing trend is the installation of decorative glass in your windows, rather than just plain options. There are lots of different types available, including:

  • Bevelled glass: Different shapes and polished bevels can be used along with colour to create a truly unique and beautiful glass for your windows. Fine lead tracery is used which often gives it a classic feel, though more and more designers are using it now to give a contemporary appeal, too.

Beveled Glass

  • Etched glass: Etched designs are great for aiding privacy in a room without compromising on the light that comes in. You can go for something simple, such as clean lines or shapes, or go for something more imaginative and intricate.

Etched Glass

  • Leaded designs: Glass with lead details are the ultimate feature of a timeless, elegant home exterior. Opt for classic shapes seen in stately homes, such as diamonds and squares for an instant makeover that oozes class.

Leaded Glass

  • Coloured glass designs: If you want something more show-stopping that will really showcase your personality, opting for pops of colour in your glass is the perfect solution. Whether you favour a floral design or something abstract, adding colour can be really interesting and attractive.

Coloured Glass

  • Cut glass: Brilliant cut ‘V’-grooves, polished or frosted, are cut into the glass to form squares, diamonds and freeform ‘tramline’ borders, giving a subtle yet distinctive finish. Therefore the possibilities with this particular design are endless!

Cut Galss

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