Published On: Mon, Sep 11th, 2017

The conservatory is fighting back….

Many in the general building trade have never really considered the conservatory to be a real threat to their lucrative extension market. Even with the onset of, and evolution of, conservatory-based orangery systems, builders still considered their offering as vastly superior. 2017 has seen a massive sea change in the extension market, and one that importantly has been firmly driven by householders. The conservatory market is now competing strongly with extensions, and looks set to be the product of choice for many homeowners. Derivatives of the conservatory are coming in all shapes and sizes, but its the orangery systems and solid roof varieties that are really capturing the imagination of Britain’s home improvers.

When you delve deeper to try and understand this change in attitude, you are confronted with a number of key drivers that are relevant to many other aspects of the fenestration sector. Home interest and improvement media always provide a useful starting point. Surveying the wealth of television shows centring on home improvement you are greeted with a common theme – that of working to a budget. Featured orangeries or solid-roofed conservatories score well in this area when compared to the costs associated with a traditional extension. Often you find that the perceived value of an orangery is higher than that of a standard extension. This is compounded when you scan the quality Sunday newspaper home supplements’ estate agent adverts. Showcasing their premium properties, details are very seldom without an internal image of an orangery-styled conservatory. Clearly an aspirational selling point. The budget and value aspects are all intertwined with homeowners’ desires to maximise living space. The difference nowadays is that a conservatory can offer all-year-around comfort. This is made possible by the great strides manufacturers have made in improving the performance of the systems they offer to the market. The solid roof market has been a fantastic contributor to this, but the design of orangery systems and glazing improvements have also added to drastically improved energy performance. With house sales on the slide, more and more homeowners are investing in their current properties, with the requirement for additional space being the all-important requirement. I always try and avoid my friends’ home improvement woes or queries, but my ears pricked up recently when they were discussing the merits of an orangery over a brick-built extension. The overriding message was that all of the above was very much in play, added to the fact that they were materialistically boasting of their newly planned orangery!!! A truly game-changing moment if ever there was one……

John Cowie – Editor