Ponder over Planning Permission No More

These days you can change your home’s external cladding, fit a couple of delux windows to your roof and even add a conservatory – and all without the need for planning permission.

That’s because all of these home alterations come under the realm of ‘permitted development’. So, you shouldn’t be surprised to learn that fitting new doors and windows is no big deal as far as your local planning department is concerned.

The exception to this rule is if the windows you plan on fitting are bay windows (some local authorities in England and Wales consider them ‘an extension.’) That’s because the windows extrude from the building and permanently alter its external dimensions.

If the property in question is a Listed Building then you will, of course, require permission from Historic England to alter its appearance in any way. Being in a conservation area also merits special attention and you will have to contact your local authority to inform them of your intent. And at which point they could refuse… so it’s definitely worth checking first.

Elevated side extension windows

If it’s a side extension or conservatory that you plan on getting fitted then it’s still possible to go ahead and fit windows. But there are restrictions in that the glass has to be obscure-glazed (having level 4 or 5 obscurity). The windows should also be at least 1.7 metres above the ground and/or non-opening. This is to protect the privacy of a neighbouring home which is often overlooked by a renovated property.

Meanwhile, if the new windows or doors are larger than those they are replacing, or inserted into a new area of your home, then this will have to be approved by your local authority Building Control team beforehand. There is no point in going ahead and fitting them only to be told to remove them at a later point because they don’t conform to specific regulations.

Different types of windows

When it comes to choosing your windows there is a variety of different types to select from. What you ultimately go with depends on where in your home they are being added to.

The most popular type of windows for home owners in the UK are double-glazed; triple glazing is sold too but proves less sought-after due to the mild climate on these shores. In Norway, for instance, where there are arctic winters, triple glazing is practically standard.

Other types of windows available include those made from uPVC, bow bay windows, Tilt and Turn, aluminium and casement windows (the latter are usually fitted in period properties, such as Victorian, Georgian and Regency style homes).

Today’s adorable doors 

Contemporary doors are produced in a range of smart and stylish designs. Here at Sovereign Home we produce and install uPVC doors in a huge number of shades and finishes. There are French doors for conservatories and doors with the best security locks around for the front and back of the house. There are also smart sliding doors for patios and bi-fold doors which provide excellent space-saving options.

Get in touch today

Why not take a look for yourself at some of the latest window and door designs on our website? You can also call the team here for advice, tel: 01277 810 910.


Ever Considered a Conservatory Kitchen?

If you’re the type of person who likes a lot of light around them in the house then you have no doubt considered investing in a conservatory in the past. There is no better way to embrace daylight and the sun’s rays, after all.

And that’s why it’s understandable many families these days are opting to combine open plan living with the addition of a conservatory kitchen. Not everyone wants – or can afford – an extension, after all. So, how do you go about fashioning a kitchen conservatory? Well, here are some expert tips right here:

Check you have planning permission

You wouldn’t normally need planning permission if your conservatory isn’t too large (ie more than three metres beyond the rear of the house if attached, or four metres for a detached property). If you’re planning something bigger or with two storeys this would be considered an extension and requires approval from your local planning department.

Who will, however, certainly need to check with the Council’s Building Control team for a conservatory kitchen. They will want to ensure that your drainage is in line with their regulations and that electrical works are similarly fitted in an expert fashion.

If the property is a Listed Building you’ll need permission from Historic England to make any changes at all. The same applies if your home sits in what is termed an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

Design aspects of a conservatory kitchen

  • Talking of location, where the conservatory is added to your home obviously depends on its current situation (a conservatory is usually at the back or side of a property). If the back of your home is south facing then consider getting special solar responsive windows. This ensures the conservatory kitchen isn’t too warm – especially when you’re cooking!
  • Forget cooking with gas – it can be too complicated to connect pipes in a conservatory kitchen. There are some terrific electric appliances around today anyway, such as induction cookers. Just make sure you have enough sockets for all those plugs!
  • Obviously plumbing is crucial for your kitchen. The length of your current pipes could dictate where your sink, dishwasher etc will go – unless they can be easily extended. It’s perfectly possible to plan the rest of the kitchen design around the fabled Kitchen Triangle (ie the sink, cooker and fridge all being within reach from one position).
  • Having so much glass makes you very visible in your conservatory kitchen. Invest in some vertical fabric blinds or pull-down versions. You could have curtains too for a cosier feel.
  • You are going to be doing a lot of cooking in this space, and there’s going to be lots of warmth – especially in the summer. So, in order to avoid the room becoming too stuffy and uncomfortable to sit in, place adequate ventilation. This could be in the form of ceiling fans, opening roof vents or sliding doors which can be left ajar.

Get in touch today

If you’re considering a conservatory kitchen then do get in touch with the team here at Sovereign for a no-obligation chat. We will be happy to discuss options and come up with recommendations unique to your situation. Call us on 01277 810 910.


A Compelling Case for Composite Doors

Thinking of investing in a new front or back door? If so, experts agree, composite doors should be your first choice.

Why? Well, they don’t just look good thanks to a wealth of contemporary designs and colours, but security-wise they are well above standard. And the latter is nothing to be complacent about. Figures from the government’s Office of National Statistics (ONS) show there were 291,816 residential burglaries in England and Wales between June 2018 and June 2019. Not surprisingly, when the nights are darkest (October to February) the number of break-ins increase by more than one third. This begs the question, how secure are your doors and windows?

What makes composite doors so strong?

The main reason composite doors get such high praise from those in the home security realm is because of the way they are constructed. Unlike timber and uPVC glass doors for instance, composite doors are capable of withstanding salt erosion (perfect for those who live near the sea), chemicals and UV light (which can quickly fade colour in ordinary doors).

Composite doors are also twice the thickness of uPVC doors. That’s because they comprise either a thick foam core which is coated in Glass Reinforced Plastic (GPR) or a solid timber core with an inner thermo-plastic. Here at Sovereign Home we are proud to be able to announce that our own 48mm thick timber composite doors are around 10 per cent thicker than our nearest competitors, making them the most secure on the market.

Hardly lacking when it comes to locks

Shockingly, a recent survey by the online consumer site MoneySupermarket showed that five per cent of house burglaries are caused by the thief simply walking in through the front door! But if you’re not the absent-minded type and do actually remember to secure the door when you go out – is your current lock good enough? After all, the same survey showed that thieves got in by the front door in almost three quarter of burglary cases in England and Wales.

Our composite doors are all fixed with the Ultion system of locks to ensure once you’ve turned the key, it can’t be picked. That’s because if a burglar does attempt to prise open the door by tampering with the lock a second, hidden lock springs into action. This provides double protection – regardless of whether you leave the key in the lock overnight or not.

Household items most regularly stolen

Those burglars that do manage to penetrate a home’s defences usually look for cash, says the MoneySupermarket survey. Next most popular items are laptops and other electronic devices. Almost one third of burglars also make off with jewellery, including watches. Make sure it’s not yours they’re after…

Get in touch for your peace of mind

At Sovereign Home we offer a choice of up to 256 different colour combinations of doors. They range from contemporary shades to beautiful and realistic woodgrains. To find out how a composite door can improve your home security and, at the same time, enhance the appearance of your home, get in touch today. Call 0800 1777 771 or email us at info@sovereignhome.co.uk. We look forward to hearing from you!