How do I buy an Orangery Extension? – An interview with Emma Worboys, Designer at Westbury

So you’ve been dreaming about it for a while, that beautiful and bright living space, and you may now be thinking but ‘how do I buy an orangery extension?’ We understand that the thought of starting any building project can be daunting, which is why it is our aim to ensure that every step towards building that dream space is transparent and stress-free.

There is something enchanting about that first timber frame that goes up. Watching our clients instantly beaming at what is about to happen. We are creating a room that will not only provide valuable, extra living space but be enjoyed and spark happiness for years to come. One of the Designers responsible for making this magic happen and helping many our clients start their journeys towards that perfect new home extension is Emma Worboys. We caught up with her to give you an insight into how to buy an orangery. 

Emma, tell us about how someone may start their journey to owning an orangery or garden room. what are the first steps?

‘Each home is completely different. The first steps would be to simply make an enquiry, call, ask questions and share your vision with us. We usually ask for photographs of where the orangery is intended to be built, to get a feel for the style of the property and what our clients are hoping to achieve within their homes. It is also useful for us to know the size of the project, as well as the address of the property, so that we may begin to understand if any planning restrictions will be of influence. For example, if the building is listed or located within a conservation area. Our Orangeries have a starting price of £55,000 + VAT, usually an extended area of over 15m².’

That seems simple enough, so what about the foundations and structural work?

‘At Westbury, we have a structural engineer that can check the details of each project, as well as over 30 years of experience in conforming to building regulations within the company. However, some of our clients prefer to have their own structural engineer, but this is not a requirement. We can undertake the whole project from planning through to building regulations. In terms of foundations, these can vary from site to site as it is dependent on the type of soil (clay, chalk etc.) any trees that are in the close vicinity, and particular individual aspects of the property/area that it will be built on.’

Are there different planning rules and restrictions between the type of extension I’m looking to build?

‘Planning rules are more dependent on the existing property, rather than the garden room, orangery, or conservatory itself. 

For example, a listed building would more likely have planning granted for a garden room with the pitch of the roof matching the existing building, rather than an Orangery (although this is not always the case). 

Generally, if there are no specialised planning requirements then there is greater flexibility in which building is erected – our designers always say ‘the home dictates the design’. Our designers also consider the needs of each client within their home and design to include these where possible. We submit drawings in the knowledge that they will overcome any issues or policies resulting in a smooth, easy process.’

We offer both supply and install or supply only to clients, can you tell us a bit more about those services?

‘That’s correct, with supply and install we work closely with our clients’ chosen contractor, providing detailed working drawings and assisting, as necessary. They will prepare the site foundations, masonry walls, plastering, plumbing and electrics. Ready for our team to arrive and install the Westbury structure. It is then our responsibility to make the building watertight. In brief, this includes a complete design service incorporating planning applications as required and installation of the timber and glass construction with a 10-year guarantee.

In regards to the supply only service we would still carry out the design stage, but have the components delivered to the customer and advise the contractors on installation. ‘

How long does it take to build a garden room or orangery, from start to finish?

‘From initial enquiry to the last finishing touches by Westbury, the process can take a minimum of 6 months. However, each project is unique and this can vary for every client.

Our process starts with the first enquiry which sparks our design team to begin work on putting together a guide price. If our client would like to proceed, we then will organise a visit to meet their designer, who will take more information and gain a greater understanding of the intended project.

They will then design the garden room, issuing a formal quotation within 2-3 weeks.

If our client would like to move ahead with the proposed design, we can issue our first invoice and start preparing the planning application (if required) and begin a site survey for our technicians to create working drawings.

The planning applications can usually take around 8 weeks to come through, but once agreed, our craftsmen can start making these designs a reality in our workshop. This is often an incredibly exciting time in the process to owning a new Orangery Extension so we welcome clients to come along and watch their project progress.

The manufacturing takes around 6-8 weeks, on average, to be ready for installation. Installation can take around 3-6 weeks.’

And finally, we’ve seen an increase in the demand for roof lanterns, but why? What makes them so special in our home extensions?

‘Lighting creates, enhances, and transforms each space so is considered an integral element for our designers to consider. Roof lanterns have a significant edge over vertically positioned windows due to their ability to let in a greater abundance of natural light, whilst also limiting the heat and brightness on a summers’ day, due to their solar reflective glass. This also reduces UV light entering the room, meaning our clients do not need to worry about their furniture fading. 

Westbury roof lanterns, in particular, are equipped with automatic vents which open when the room reaches a certain temperature and close as it becomes cooler, or it starts to rain. So our clients can always enjoy a relaxing and comfortable space. ‘