There was a time when your average conservatory project could take up to six weeks to complete. This wasn’t due to the poor planning or construction materials that the 90s had to offer, nope. It was because I used to run with a bad crew. Back then, during what was to be the first recession I would have to work through, jobs were scarce. We had to make our dough building conservatories and extensions for old people who had all of the cash and nowhere else to spend it.
Whenever we scored marks like these, we always made sure to spend a good amount of time in the planning and consultation phase. Whilst never a bad idea to ensure that you’re getting exactly what the client wants, in today’s fast paced world, a week or so is the limit for this kind of job. We would like to stretch it to at least a fortnight, with multiple sessions that we would charge extra for – again, I’m not proud of this, but it was never my call to make.
The 90s were a time when conservatories were flying up left, right and centre. Of course they were never that hard to build, but we liked to make it seem like hard work. We’d ‘um and ah’ over glass density and angles until the day was over and we’d only laid two lines of brick. All so that, at the end of a total of 8 weeks, an old biddy would have somewhere to sit where she could feel the sun on her face (but not be chilled by the wind).
These days – things are a little different. The orangery has taken the idea the conservatory had twenty years ago and ran with it. Instead of rather formal greenhouse style affairs, we now have grand spaces with more brick, but still including a fully windowed roof. Now, if I had been with my old gang in the tough 90s, we would be rubbing our hands with glee at the amount of ‘preparation’ that we would need to undertake in order to get the job ‘just right’. However, if I even attempted to utilise those old methods now – my company would be out of business within the quarter.
Your take home from this article? Take a trip up North and take a look at the Conservatories and Orangeries in Chester. These gorgeously styled extensions blend seamlessly with the rest of the house, are perfectly finished and go up in the amount of time it would take us to do our ‘planning’ in the 90s – a fortnight. They’re built with environmentally friendly materials and boast the kind of insulation that would put most window fitters to shame.
If you want to instil your outfit with an enthusiasm for sustainability that would rival my 90s crew’s aptitude for laziness, then take a road trip to Chester. The folks up there are lovely, and may even allow you to take a closer look at the fine handiwork of the crews up there. Have a pub lunch, go out on the town, and drive back down the next day. Your younger recruits will come away enthused about the possibilities of the jobs yet to be completed – and you’ll have had a night away from the wife. That’s what we in the building profession call: a win-win.