We got another interesting call last week from someone in Scotland who had found us on Google. This customer was concerned that he had had several quotes to supply and fit a 4m x 4m conservatory but the quotes went from £17,000 to over £30,000 and he wanted to get advice as to why this should be. I told him that the basic cost of the conservatory should be pretty much the same from all the suppliers, but that his installation costs for the base and erection could vary depending on the specification the builders were going to adopt.
We always build to building control guidelines, but then we have the benefit of having a full time team of builders working for us who dig the foundations, pour the concrete, lay the brickwork , plaster the walls and run the electrics etc.
We are able to keep a full time team employed because we supply and install conservatories every day of the year. Lots of double glazing companies sell the occasional conservatory so they have to find sub contractors to fit them on an ad hoc basis. This has led the industry to introduce instant DIY style bases which in simple terms are a steel frame laid on the ground supported by a few concrete slabs and then infilled by a slab of concrete.
I asked our enquirer his address and when he told me it was in a newly built marina right by the side of the water, alarm bells started to ring. This could be the reason for the considerable difference in quotes.I told him to check with the building control to check if it was built on reclaimed land. Sure enough when he came back to me he told me that it was indeed built on reclaimed unstable land and the properties had deep pilings for the foundations.I reminded him to get his eventual contractor to ensure that they put a brick lined sump with an outlet pipe under the damp proof membrane to help leech away any methane gas coming up from under the base. We do the same for Radon gas in Cornwall.