Why I started Oliver James
It was a winter’s day and I was working at home. I thought I’d sit in our conservatory make my calls and do the paperwork. I opened the doors, walked across the cold floor and turned on the portable heaters to heat the room. I went back a while later and it was still cold. At this point I turned on another heater and turned up the radiator on the back wall. This had become the norm and up until that moment I’d not given it much thought. I eventually sat down and thought this room just isn’t working; Why should I have to have 2 electric heaters to compensate for a radiator? Why should we have a set of doors between our home and the conservatory? Why do we buy these structures? I began asking friends whether they had the same situation and the answer was yes regardless of the price of the conservatory.
With my knowledge of design, products and build I started to sketch out some ideas that could make a difference. We could have warm roofs, warm floors, skylights that let in as much light as required, doors that opened the whole width of the room to the garden. No separating doors/thermal break to the garden room just take the wall out from the home to the new room. All this could be achieved and in the opposite direction to keeping the room warm, with our build and design process we would also keep the rooms cool in the summer which is as much a problem with the magnifying glass effect of the conservatory.
This was the idea and how and why we started Oliver James Garden Rooms back in 2004, and so much more has evolved. I was right in my thinking I was not alone. Our rooms give the benefits of sitting in our gardens completely integrating the home with the garden. They are used all year around without having to give it a second thought. That’s my story, James.
Why a Garden Room will add Value to your Home
A Garden Room extension from Oliver James becomes part of the official structure of your home, and adds value by way of the increased square footage.
A Garden Room extension must comply with a great many building regulations. We provide calculations for all aspects of structural and heating/cooling performance, which must be verified by an accredited engineer before being placed on record with your local authority.
As the newest addition, your Garden Room extension will almost certainly be more efficiently insulated – in the floors, walls, roof and glass areas – than the rest of your house.
And Why a Conservatory Won’t
A conservatory is not included in the square footage of your home by building surveyors who represent mortgage companies.
In contrast, a conservatory is relatively uncontrolled and unchecked. It does have regulations, but most of them are negative! From October 2010, a conservatory is not allowed to connect to any heating system, or to be controlled by a thermostat.
With no temperature control, you could maybe expect to enjoy your conservatory for 100 to 150 days a year. But then again, why rely on our unreliable climate?
Despite all these differences in fitness-for-purpose and quality control, the VAT levy on conservatories – 20% from 2011 – is the same as for a Garden Room extension!
We liked the idea that Oliver James Garden Rooms would project manage the whole build from start to finish. We are delighted with our garden room, we couldn’t be happier with the results.