Several years ago I spent a lot of time training and setting up sales software for Conservatories, Orangeries and Window and Door sales forces. One of the things that became immediately apparent was that sales reps struggled with their customers to sit at ease and view a laptop screen and they struggled with the viewing angles and light issues on laptop screens and always seemed to be uncomfortably huddled together around the laptop.

Customers have to feel at ease with the sales environment and to overcome this was easy in showrooms Read the rest of this entry »


There are lots of methods of surveying doors. I have listed some of the methods and procedures that I have used to survey and to train surveyors to be able to carry out a door survey succesfuuly.

Hopefully if you are struggling with the survey side of things you may pick up some handy pointers from this article  Read the rest of this entry »

The Renegade Conservatory Guy who is a respected in the industry for his views, has recently taken interest in my cavity tray and vertical dpc articles and has asked the same basic questions to some of his readers, whether to fit them or not and is there a difference between the sales guys and the technical guys in their views on this issue? (Link to his article at bottom of page) I would like to thank him for his interest and his reader’s views, which range from quite sensible approaches to some that I found comical in content and humour.

In light of such diverse opinions I have decided to publish some more technical information which may or may not, help those who are unsure on the decision they need to make on guaranteeing a waterproof conservatory. (My original article links below)

Do you sell, survey and install cavity trays on Conservatories ? If you don’t sooner or later it will cost you.

Do all Conservatory and Orangery surveyors specify vertical dpc’s against the house walls on Conservatory and Orangery Installations

After many years surveying and managing installations across a very broad area of the country, I can categorically tell you if the house is face brick cavity construction, the only way you can guarantee 100% waterproof integrity of the conservatory is to fit cavity trays. If you don’t then the water ingress is always going to be a roll of the dice. “Some people may have rolled lucky sixes years, but you won’t keep winning on the roll of a dice forever”

It appears there are very varied opinions on whether or not cavity trays and vertical dpc’s are required in certain areas of the country or not. Some offer them as part of the sale. Some opinions are purely based on cost of sale. Some have said, they have never had a single leak in thousands of installations fitted without cavity trays, or vertical dpc’s. Then there were those who stated that they have installed in the Scottish Highlands and had no problems. Others will insist that their areas are classed as “sheltered areas”.

To clarify this point I have published a map that shows areas of wind driven rain and it appears to show only a very small proportion  of the UK as being a “sheltered area”

Read the rest of this entry »

I think it’s fair to say, that the  majority of good companies fit vertical dpc’s between the conservatory frames and the house wall, but there are some out there that don’t.

Over the years I have seen the costs of remedial works as a result of not fitting vertical dpc’s and the subsequent remedial efforts to rectify the associated damp ingress. I’ve been told by several installation companies lately that they do not fit vertical dpc’s where the conservatory frames meet the house wall.

“My advice is, always fit vertical dpc’s where any conservatory frames abut house walls, why take the chance of possible water ingress. The cost isn’t even worth mentioning in the grand scheme, as it is negligible”

You will all at some time seen damp ingress in the bottom corner of the frame at internal cill and ring beam levels, some people will try to attribute this to poor mastic seals. The fact of the matter is, that you should be able to dry fit a conservatory frame against a house wall installing correctly fitted vertical dpc’s without any water ingress taking place.

“They built houses and fitted timber frames without mastic for years using properly installed dpc’s as water barriers and didn’t have damp ingress problems, provided the dpc’s were correctly”

In this article I have tried to outline the importance of fitting vertical dpc’s where the conservatory frames abut the house wall and inserted a few diagrams to show successful dpc installation methods. Read the rest of this entry »

Could your knowledge of how to protect your customers health from this hazard be used as part of the sale and survey procedures?  Should you take the appropriate cheap simple building procedures to reduce the potentially deadly health risk to your customers? Will it make you appear more professional in the customers eyes if you are seen to be looking after their health?

One report has suggested that people do not know or understand and appreciate the dangers of radon gas, which can cause lung cancer at certain levels and there is insufficient knowledge among professional builders and surveyors, resulting in a lack of expert help or advice being available to people who are considering having work done in affected areas.

Dr Michael Clark of the Health Protection agency basically said “We don’t want to alarm people. We all get an amount of radon gas in our homes but some homes in certain areas have higher levels and some relatively cheap, simple precautionary building procedures can significantly reduce the risk of exposure to Radon Gas”

What is Radon? ………..And how can you protect your customers health simply and cheaply?………..

Read the rest of this entry »

The general consensus of opinion on whether to fit cavity trays or not has and always been split into two camps

Camp one containing not all, but a fair proportion of unscrupulous sales reps and surveyors, that will say, “You don’t need cavity trays because your property isn’t facing the prevailing weather” purely to keep the cost of sale down and secure their commission. Some don’t care at all and will have moved on by the time the devastation takes place

Camp two are the sales reps and surveyors, who want the conservatory to be waterproof for its life span, no matter which direction the driving rain comes from, guaranteeing the profitability and professionalism of the company

If you are selling, surveying, or constructing a conservatory, how can anybody tell a customer “You don’t need cavity trays because your conservatory is facing North East and the prevailing weather comes from the South West” or “we don’t fit cavity trays in this area there is no need for them”

What are you going to tell that same devastated customer when you get the one storm coming from the North East and the water pours in, causing damage to the property and furnishings?  I can see the conversation unfold,

”It’s nothing to do with the conservatory it’s your walls that are at fault“ Then you tell them “we can resolve it, if we fit cavity trays for you ” They reply with “Why didn’t you tell me I needed cavity trays in the first place for my conservatory to be guaranteed waterproof, you never mentioned cavity trays” or “You told me that I didn’t need cavity trays” followed by “you’ll be paying to put it right now and fit cavity trays and you’ll be paying for all the damage you’ve caused and I want compensating”

As a professional, giving a bad advice and bad recommendations you could be deemed legally to be at fault.

“Is it better to lose a sale, or lose a bucket full of money for your company by making a total financial loss carrying out remedial works and associated costs at a later date?” Read the rest of this entry »

Here we go, Stage three Complete! is the final part of the perfect survey, which if adhered to and used in conjunction with stage one and two, will ensure that a successful profitable installation will take place.

I like to get the survey reviewed by the manager that will be overseeing the installation prior to the order process. This way the manager is aware of contracts that are coming his way and the contract is checked by a fresh pair of eyes, you also get a second chance to pick up on any sales or surveyor errors and any oversights.

It is always better for an installation manager to take an hour to go through a survey with a surveyor, rather than take days to sort out chaos during and installation.

  • Surveyors must have full knowledge of consents required and building regulations.
  • Surveyors should have an understanding of good building practice regarding base construction.
  • Surveyors must have full technical product knowledge in respect of frames, roofs and glass designs colours along with maximum and minimum manufacturing parameters.
  • Surveyors must fully understand your pricing structure and be able to accurately second cost all contracts Read the rest of this entry »