Window fitters and conservatory installers help out with jobs involving windows and doors. They can get rid of your old ones and replace them. Working with different types of windows, they’re skilled at fitting your usual uPVC windows, wooden casement and wooden sash windows. They can also install skylight windows, whether that’s to give you some natural light above your kitchen dining table or to create a design feature that will flood your hallway with light and make it more welcoming to visitors.
If your house is too cold and you haven’t thought about your windows in years, you might be losing a lot of heat through them. You can upgrade your glazing to trap the air between panes of glass. It’ll keep more heat inside your home and lower your heating bill at the end of the month.
For those dreaming about spending sunny afternoons reading in a conservatory, a conservatory fitter can help make that a reality. They’ll be able to tell you whether you’re best off building a conservatory or orangery and explain the difference between them so you’re certain that what you’re asking for will meet your expectations.
How does double glazing work?
Double glazing works by trapping air between two panes of glass with the gap being too small for the air to circulate. This creates an insulating barrier between the warm air inside and the cold air outside. There’s less heat lost through the window, keeping the room warmer. Double glazing is also a great sound barrier so you’ll hear less outside noise and passers-by will hear less noise coming from your home.
Should I build an orangery or conservatory?
Orangeries and conservatories are normally cheaper to build than single-storey extensions. The main difference between them is how the roof’s built and the brickwork. Orangeries tend to have less than 75% of their roofs glazed and solid brick walls. Conservatories normally have over 75% of the roof glazed and 50% of their walls glazed, using more glass. An orangery can cost more than a conservatory to build but the running costs of a conservatory are higher in the winter months because of the amount of glazing that’s used.
Planning permission for window fitting and conservatory installer jobs
Planning permission won’t normally be needed but will be needed for conservatories and orangeries if:
- The conservatory or orangery is more than 50% of the size of the house (including more than half the width of the house).
- The build is over 4 metres in height.
- The build has a veranda, balcony or any other elevated platform.
- The build has eaves which are higher than 3 metres within 2 metres of a structure boundary.
For a full list of conservatory requirements, head to the Planning Portal.
You won’t need planning permission for roof lights or skylights as long as:
- They don’t protrude more than 150mm beyond the plane of the roof slope.
- They’re no higher than the highest part of the roof.
- They’re obscure-glazed when they’re in side elevation and either non opening or more than 1.7 metres above the floor level.
If you live in a listed building or you’re unsure if the work you’ve planned conforms to the rules above, you should contact your Local Planning Authority before carrying out any work as different rules may apply.
Building regulations for window fitting and conservatory installer jobs
Building regulations will normally apply if you want to build an extension to your home. External windows, doors and skylights are classed as controlled fittings, so if you’re replacing them, they need to meet certain energy efficiency, means of escape and ventilation requirements. You can either make sure the tradesperson’s registered with a Competent Person Scheme like FENSA so they can self-certify the work meets the requirements, or if the tradesperson isn’t registered, you’ll need to ask for approval from an appropriate Building Control Body. Either way, you should ask for a certificate of compliance for the work.
Conservatories and orangeries are exempt from building regulations when:
- They’re built at ground level and are less than 30 square metres of the floor area.
- The conservatory is separated from the house by external quality walls, doors or windows.
- There is an independent heating system with separate temperature and on/off controls.
- Glazing and fixed electrical installations comply with the relevant building regulations.
You’ll need building regulations if you create a new opening between the conservatory and the house, or if you’re having your glazing replaced. It’s also forbidden to build a conservatory which limits ladder access to windows in roof or loft conversions, especially when the window’s an escape route in the case of a fire.
Insurance for window fitting and conservatory installer work
There’s no legal requirement for window fitters or conservatory installers to have insurance but it’s a good idea for them to have public liability insurance to cover themselves against any potential property damage and personal injury claims.
Questions you should ask a window fitter/conservatory installer
- Do they have public liability insurance and what does this cover?
- Are they registered with a Competent Person Scheme like FENSA?
- What kind of jobs do they tend to do the most? Can they give you references for previous work?
- Will it be themselves carrying out the work? If not, what experience does the person have and are they covered by insurance?
- Will they give a guarantee for the work and how long does that last?
- Will your home be liveable while work’s being carried out? If not, how long will it take?
See the latest questions that homeowners have been asking window fitters and conservatory installers.
Window fitting/conservatory installing ideas
We’ve got tips on designing your perfect conservatory, advice from Phil Spencer on kitchen extensions and side-returns and kitchen extension ideas. Also, find out what extensions don’t require planning permission.