As I thought, my last post about the potential problems arising from solid roof conversions on existing conservatories drew plenty of comments. And quite rightly, as it is a potentially massive bump in the road should this new industry continue to be unregulated. However, there was a particular part of one comment I want to draw your attention to:

Kevin Ahern: Personally, I am pretty convinced there are plenty of companies fitting glass roofs on conservatories as a retro fit to replace polycarb, with no thought of the extra weights involved , and quite probably fitting new conservatories without taking support through to the brickwork.

Some of you will know Kevin is one of the industry’s great characters and cuts straight to the point. But this is a point he raises well. We are all starting to realise the risks involved of retro fitting solid roofs onto old structures, but I wonder how many of us out there consider the weight of a new glass roof on to old frames? Probably even less than those doing a professional job with solid roof conversions. Glass is clearly heavier than polycarbonate, but how many of us are checking the existing structure? How many are changing the old window and doors frames for new, giving the structure better support? Obviously swapping to a glass roof doesn’t require building regs or planning, but companies should still be ensuring that the work they are doing is safe.

But I digress. The wider point that needs to be made is that our industry could be sitting on an even larger ticking time bomb that we don’t yet realise exists. For years now our industry has been retro fitting upgraded roofs to conservatories that were built for lighter structures. How many of these new roofs have been installed poorly onto old structures? Obviously we’ll never find out numbers, but law of averages and common sense would dictate that there will be a certain percentage of these that are unsafe.

In hindsight, we really should have taken a step back as an industry and objectively looked at this. The biggest problem emerging now is the massive lack of regulation. It has allowed us all to be lulled into thinking that this is an easy way to rejuvenate an ageing industry quickly and earn good money out of it. Unfortunately, we are probably all guilty of running head first into something without thinking of all the potential ramifications. It’s common sense really. When putting something heavier onto older structures, in fact changing any part of the structure in general, we should have had solid and clear oversight from a higher order, like buildings regs or planning. I know we don’t really like them, but when you consider now the potential problems that might occur in the future, perhaps we needed their involvement from the start.

What do you think? Does the industry face a bigger problem than we can estimate? Is the risk smaller than some make out? All comments welcome in the section below.