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Conservatory Buyers Guide

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After your house and car, a conservatory is probably the biggest single sum expenditure most people ever make, so it makes good sense to do some research and proceed with caution, obtaining more than one quotation before choosing your conservatory supplier.

It could save you money as well as ensuring that you have a stress & hassle free experience and, most importantly of all, make sure that you end up with a well designed and constructed conservatory.

All the important points that you should consider when looking at conservatories are contained in our Conservatory Buyers Guide Download that you can print & use to assist you when getting your quotations.

A few 'Golden Rules' for purchasing a conservatory and some points needing a bit more explanation are detailed below:


1, FENSA
It is fashionable at the moment to claim that FENSA Registration will solve everybody's problems; clean up the Home Improvement Industry and guarantee consumers a fair deal and good workmanship.

This is simply not realistic. The Scheme and the Organisation are very new and do not regulate selling methods. Inspections started in July 2002 and it is only reasonable to expect that some of the initial Registrations will be rescinded as a result of poor inspection results & consumer complaints in the first few years. Many conservatories will not even need Building Regulations Approval; so will not be covered by the FENSA scheme.

Our advice is to use a FENSA Registered Company as well as using the tried & tested methods listed below.


2, Price
Price is, of course, a major consideration. But conservatories are like everything else in life, you tend to get what you pay for. The key considerations for purchasing a conservatory are:
  •  That the supplier is well established and expert in all aspects of Planning Permission and Building Regulations for  conservatories.
  •  The professionalism & experience of the Surveyor, as it is he or she who will specify what is to be built, the exact sizes,  and also the construction specifications and materials, such as foundation depths, wall construction and drainage  requirements, etc, for your conservatory.
  •  The quality of materials and manufacture. Maintaining Quality Control systems, rejecting Sub-Standard Products, etc,  adds to the price, even though you might not be able to actually see the result in the finished conservatory.
  •  Construction and installation quality are probably the most important considerations. This is where taking references  and/or looking at a company's finished work can be important.
  •  How will any unexpected problems be dealt with during the course of the work and at who's cost?
  •  How do the company provide for service calls during the Guarantee?

All of the above cost money and a reputable company must build it into the Price. Our advice is to be very suspicious if any of your Quotations are wildly different in either direction, either too cheap or too expensive. As long as you have ensured that the Specifications are the same, the quotations should be in the same 'ball park.'

Ask about some or all of the above. You should be able to satisfy yourself on all of these points as well as getting a fair price.

And you are entitled to be suspicious if the person sitting in front of you doesn't know all the answers.


3, Discounts
Don't be pressured into making a quick decision by the offer of a discount. Many conservatory and double glazing companies operate in the same way, using "discounts" and pressure selling methods.


4, Finance
Check the APR (Annual Percentage Rate of Interest). It could be approaching 30%, when Building Societies and Banks are offering 5-10%.

Usually these loans are for 10 years, so it may fit into your monthly budget, but just multiply the monthly repayment by 120 months to compare the total to the cash price.

Taking a loan through the conservatory company will almost certainly be the most expensive way to borrow.


5, General
Take your time. Get several quotations. Consider the whole 'package,' not just the price. Get references. Check the paperwork. If you are not comfortable, don't sign. You can always ask for the Contract to be left with you to post it in, if you would like to 'sleep on it.'


Buyers Guide Download - Click Here to Download




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