How To Project Manage A Self Build Conservatory, Part 1 Planning!


This has been years in the waiting, deciding if our little country home would be somewhere we would want to stay? Wondering if it was worth spending the funds on? Anyhow finally after 8 years we have decided. This is where we want to stay, BUT, we could do with a teeny bit more room. So I wanted to share how to project manage a self build.

This is by no means and expert guide, I am going to track our journey with all the pitfalls that will no doubt occur when dealing with such jobs.

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A grey painted balcony with rattan direct furniture

Hence the plan to add a garden room/ conservatory was born. And we decided to self build a conservatory.

Our last project was 12 years ago and I have to say I had a shock. How on earth can prices quadruple in that time? But quadruple they have.

We have had a few companies round to give garden room quotes, they have stood patiently as I have given them my wish list. Rolled their eyes when I insisted I wanted a glass roof? I kid you not everybody has tried to talk me out of it.

However living in an area with no natural light means we will be able see the stars at night, so this for me and our home renovations is a non negotiable factor.

And then came the prices that were enough to make the most optimistic of us weep! I am not talking small car prices, think small house! I am not sure whether people are picking prices out of the air? But some of the prices we have received have been HIGH! High enough to price us out of doing the job.

Anyhow we got to thinking, a huge chunk of the cost could possibly be project management fees and decided that after our last build experience ( The company we used were as much use as a chocolate fire guard)

Can you project manage a build yourself?

We decided would project manage and self build the conservatory.

Ok stop laughing! But honestly for us this has been the way forwards. So I wanted to share our journey, from planning to build finish. ( That’s if it gets approved eeeek!, but we have contingencies just in case.)

This is the plan! Image courtesy on Ultra Frame

How to project manage a conservatory.

Be realistic when starting home renovations, read up on planning laws and restrictions in your area before hiring someone to draw up your plans.

Price up all the elements of the build, list EVERYTHING, every single screw, light fitting, flooring, insulation, cutlery draw. Add it all into the costing, and allow for a contingency, things go wrong

How do I start a building project?

Get the plans drawn up via a local architect company, they know the area and restrictions and are used to dealing with the local planning department. Talk over your plans and ideas before submitting and don’t be afraid to make tweaks.

Do you need planning permission for a conservatory?

If your house has not been extended then you may come under permitted development. But there are many restrictions, check out the link above. So far we have no objections. But we are still waiting, and a planning officer wants to inspect the site.

What trades are needed to self build a conservatory?

Find a local builder/ plasterer/plumber/electrician who come recommended, do this and get them lined up in advance they get booked up. If a tradesman is ready to go think hard about why?

Do what you can yourself, digging out, preparation work and knocking off rendering, all these jobs add up.

Source a glazing company, we spoke to a conservatory/ garden room company with a great reputation and was totally honest with them. We explained we wanted to project manage/ self build and enquired if they do a glazing only price? We were surprised that the company we wanted to work with were happy with this arrangement. It’s always worth asking. And I have to say so far their service has been exceptional.

How long does it take for a conservatory to be built?

If you are project managing yourself it takes longer, this is because no one tradesman is taking full responsibility for the build. The glazer can not measure until the walls are built. So if you are limited for time and patience this is not for you.

Magnet Kitchen Brochure

Waiting for planning!

This has to be the worse bit, until planning is in we can’t order or prepare just in case. We have got a few kitchen quotes but this all depends on the final build. It’s difficult to get excited until you know it is actually happening. Which is making it difficult to visualise to order sofa’s, lighting ect.

I suppose at this stage patience is key, doing things this way takes longer. A self build required nerves of steel. But ultimately doing it this way enables us to also install a new kitchen.

If we don’t get planning permision?

We have a contingency, we will ultimately be disappointed, but worse things have have happened in the world. The shiny new kitchen will still be very exciting.

Duck Egg Blue Kitchen form Magnet

Surprises so far in our home renovations.

We are removing our balcony from our bedroom to make way for the garden room. But also because it is a wooden structure and not in great shape and makes our kitchen appear dark. It needs to go whether we get planning or not.

How To Project Manage A Self Build, Renovations Balcony Door

This is not a huge wrench as we barely use it, and are currently waiting for our Juliette balcony. But in order to have that fitted we have had to replace the doors with inwards opening doors. An added expense but a necessity.

Check out my stories to keep up with the house renovations progress. And I will keep you updated, fingers crossed for planning!

3 thoughts on “How To Project Manage A Self Build Conservatory, Part 1 Planning!”

  1. This is so exciting. I think project managing it yourself is a good idea especially if you have discussed the things you want with the experts and know they are feasible. You’ve got to make the most of your location, can’t wait to see what you do. x

  2. Looking forward to following your progress and the finished project. It sounds like it will be lovely for star gazing on clear nights.

  3. Oh this is so exciting Sarah, and if anybody can manage this project it is you. Your house is so beautiful with those stunning views at the front and back, I don’t blame you for staying put. Fingers crossed for the planning permission and then go, go, go x


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