Understanding the difference between construction and installation

Construction vs. Installation: Understanding the Distinction

When it comes to home improvement projects, it’s crucial to understand the difference between construction and installation.

Two terms commonly used in this context are “construction” and “installation.” In this article, we’ll specifically explore the distinction between construction, which involves building or erecting a structure from scratch, and installation, which refers to adding a specific feature or component to an existing structure. To provide a practical example, we’ll delve into the comparison between constructing a building and installing a solarium.

These photos show examples of construction vs installation. Read on to learn more . . . 

Construction of a conservatory foundation

Construction of a conservatory addition – this part is done by a contractor or home builder.

Greenhouse installation

Installation of a greenhouse on a pre-constructed foundation. The installation is done by Sunshine Rooms.

Construction: Building from the Ground Up

Construction is the process of creating a structure or building by combining various materials, labor, and expertise. It encompasses the entire process, from planning and design to the final stages of the project. Construction projects may involve starting with an empty plot of land or a site where no structure exists and bringing it to life by erecting a new building.  Construction may also involve preparing an existing structure for an addition, like a garage, a deck, or a spare bedroom. 

During construction, various tasks take place, such as excavation, foundation laying, structural framing, roofing, plumbing, electrical work, and finishing touches. Each step requires meticulous planning, coordination, and compliance with building codes and regulations. Architects, engineers, contractors, and skilled tradespeople collaborate to ensure a successful construction project.

Installation: Enhancing an Existing Structure

On the other hand, installation involves adding a specific feature or component to an already existing structure. This process typically aims to enhance the functionality, aesthetics, or energy efficiency of the structure. Installation projects are often smaller in scale compared to construction projects and can be completed relatively quickly.

Let’s consider the example of adding a solarium to an existing house. A solarium, also known as a sunroom or conservatory, is a glass-enclosed space that allows homeowners to enjoy natural light and surrounding views while being shielded from the elements. 

Solarium installation involves tasks such as designing the solarium, obtaining necessary permits, inspecting the prepared site, and assembling the prefabricated components on site. 



When installing a solarium, the construction of the main building is already complete, the foundation has been prepared and the main building is ready for the prefabricated components to be added.  The focus is on integrating this additional feature seamlessly. While installation projects may not involve extensive structural work, they still require careful planning and attention to detail to ensure proper integration with the existing building and compliance with local regulations.

Key Differences and Considerations

Construction projects involve building an entirely new structure, while installation projects focus on adding a specific feature to an existing structure.  In the case of sunrooms and solariums, this means that the concrete and any other parts of the main building are prepared to receive the pre-fabricated solarium

Construction projects tend to be more complex and time-consuming, requiring extensive planning, skilled labor, and adherence to various building codes and regulations. Installation projects are often less complex but still demand proper planning and professional expertise.  

Construction projects can vary greatly in scale, ranging from residential homes to commercial buildings or infrastructure projects. Installation projects are typically smaller in scale and involve adding specific features or components to enhance an existing structure.

Time and Disruption
Construction projects generally take longer to complete and may require temporary displacement or accommodation for the occupants. Installation projects are usually quicker, resulting in minimal disruption to residents’ daily lives.


Construction projects tend to involve higher prices due to the extensive work involved, material expenses, and labor requirements. Installation projects are generally more cost-effective, depending on the scope and complexity of the installation.

What does this mean to you if you are planning to add a solarium, conservatory, greenhouse, or pool enclosure? 

Adding one of these glass units is considered an installation BUT before the installation can begin there is a bit of construction involved to prepare the place where the new structure will be placed.  This usually involves the foundation, running electrical lines (if requested or required), adding HVAC components, and the like.  There may also be partial demolition in the area where the new sunroom will be added to the home. This is also part of the construction process, not related to installation.

When you purchase a solarium from Sunshine Rooms, you’ll be buying a pre-fabricated unit that is manufactured at our facility and assembled at your home.  Before we can assemble and install the unit, our contracted installation specialists will inspect the area to make sure everything is ready for a smooth installation.  Some of the specific terms you’ll hear in conversations are curb, knee wall, and door drop – these are all components that contractors must have prepped and ready before the new room can be installed.

After the installation of the new room has been completed the contractor who provided the related construction usually has a few small items to complete.  

The process of getting your home ready for a sunroom, solarium, greenhouse, or pool enclosure is worth the effort. You’ll get many years of enjoyment from your new addition because the addition was installed correctly after constructing a solid foundation and prepping for the addition. 


We are thrilled with the way our room turned out. Based on the ideas from our dealer, our room was very versatile.

Polly Enting


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