Home » Do I Need A Permit To Build A Deck? – The Information You Need To Know Now!

Do I Need A Permit To Build A Deck? – The Information You Need To Know Now!

by Richard

Most towns consider a deck an “addition,” which means that permits are normally necessary before construction. Furthermore, some decks do not require any licenses at all!

This post will provide homeowners with the information they might want when considering “Do I need a permit to build a deck?”. Let’s check it out!

Do I Need A Permit To Build A Deck?

A homeowner may wonder, “Do I need a permit to build a deck?” The short answer is yes. However, the long answer is it depends on your local building codes and regulations. 

As a general rule, if the height of your deck is greater than 30 inches off the ground, you will need a permit. Most decks are considered tall and require approval from building authorities before they can be built or modified in any way.

However, some exceptions apply, including outdoor living spaces with lower heights, such as patios at 15-19 inches high on average.

You’ll have to agree to this and many other permissions for safety reasons. Any deck taller than 30 inches must have a railing, which must also follow specific rules.

The code for building a deck varies by location, but 30 inches is the standard. Any decks that exceed this size must be allowed and built according to criteria established in your municipality.

The permitting procedure is as easy as researching the permits you require and what conditions must be satisfied to gain approvals. With all these new requirements, it’s critical!

Why Do I Need A Permit To Build A Deck?

In our research, the answer to “why do I need a permit to build a deck?” resides within various laws and regulations found in states, cities, or municipalities.

Homeowners may frequently have to go through various stages to obtain permission from these towns before receiving their permits. Varied criteria depending on where you reside!

Another answer for “why do I need a permit to build a deck?” is that the plan is complicated. Permits are in place for a reason: guarantee your hardwood lifespan a long and safe life.

Governments issue permits to verify that any outside construction project follows building codes. Cities and HOAs may also impose restrictions depending on how they will appear in your neighborhood.

So it’s important for the first step of this job right off the bat will involve familiarising yourself with every permit possible!

How To Get A Permit

The application procedure will change based on where you reside. In general, the procedure consists of several steps.

Step 1: Get in touch with the building inspections department in your city.

You may accomplish this by visiting your municipal hall or conducting a fast Google search.

The city’s department will advise you on the next steps. They should be able to inform you what the regulations are for installing a deck in your region. They should also inform you of the documentation required to apply for the permission.  Also, provide documents that are needed and how best to complete them!

Step 2: Complete the application and submit two copies of the construction plans with a site plan.  

Building plans should contain details such as:

  • The beams, joists, frost footings’ sizes, spacings, and positions
  • Descriptions of how you want to place the steps, guard railings, and so on.
  • The sorts of fasteners and hardware you’ll be using.
  • What materials do you intend to use?

Plan these projects yourself using a sheet of ¼-inch graph paper. However, without expert assistance, creating an appropriate plan may be difficult.

Many homeowners employ contractors to create building plans, which is sometimes the best choice, since you still receive professional service at a reasonable price!

You must also provide a site plan. Finding your home’s professional property survey is the first step to making a site plan. However, your home likely has this document with its closing papers if constructed after the 1980s.

The document you are looking for might be in the building department. If not, get sketching! Use your property survey to draw out a scale representation of how large it will be on paper before making changes and additions with ink or pencil.

The inspector wants to ensure that your deck is set back from the property borders, which guarantees that:

  • Adhere to fire regulations. If your deck catches fire easily, it should be located far enough away from nearby homes to avoid catching fire.
  • Comply with planning/zoning rules/HOA requirements. Some neighborhoods require a certain amount of space in between properties for aesthetic reasons.  

Step 3: Wait for approval.

You must wait for permission to obtain a permit. This procedure usually takes around two weeks, but it might take up to six weeks during peak seasons.

What Happens If I Don’t Get A Permit?

If you fail to get a permit, you may be liable for more than simply fines.

For starters, an inadequately built deck might be hazardous. Because of an unstable foundation or inferior materials, people may be dangerous when walking on it.

A deck construction without permission may potentially result in legal issues. The city may:

  • Levy a substantial fine on you.
  • Require demolishing of the deck.
  • Not allow you to sell your house until the issue is remedied.


Hopefully, this topic – “Do I need a permit to build a deck?” has provided insight into the different types of permits needed and more information for these projects. To avoid fines from your local city building department, be sure to check with them first!

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