Are you looking to build a new deck? Maybe you already have a design in mind, or you’ve picked a contractor.
Before you go any further, there are some important things you need to consider. You can’t just decide to build a deck one day, hire a construction worker and get it done. You must comply with the laws and regulations of your state.
For instance, building a bigger deck requires complying with stricter rules and regulations. You must also consider the building code in place and the safety regulations. Do I need a permit to build a deck? The short answer is yes.
It might seem as though building a deck is not that big of a deal and you can do it without notifying your local governing agency. Unfortunately, that could become a safety issue or a fire hazard.
Not getting a permit could lead to fines and other legal problems. You risk receiving a stop-order on your deck or having to tear it down completely. If you fail to follow the building code, someone can get hurt.
Selling your house with an unpermitted deck will be very difficult, and the contractor that worked on it could lose their license.
Why Do I Need a Permit to Build a Deck?
Image source: Precision Remodeling, Inc.
Remodelling a home in almost any capacity requires a construction permit. You wouldn’t just tear down a wall without letting anyone know, right?
Getting a permit might seem like a hassle and an unneeded expense. At the end of the day, it will actually save you money in the long term. For starters, you won’t risk facing fines or having to tear your deck down. In short, building a deck without a permit is illegal and punishable by law.
In addition to that, building codes are there to protect you. Imagine if your house had no fire exit; that would be very unsafe! The same thing applies to your deck.
Any construction should be built with safety in mind. Your deck should allow for safe passage in case of fire. In the opposite case, it might burn even quicker and aid to fire being spread to adjacent buildings.
Different Municipalities to Take Into Consideration
Image source: PJ and Company Staging and Interior Decorating
Before you start building your deck, you need to get approval from state, city, and local municipalities. Keep in mind that each can have their own rules and regulations you must follow.
Government-issued permits confirm that your structure is safe and durable. Cities and municipalities issue permits to ensure your structure doesn’t have a negative effect on the neighborhood. Figure out which permits you need to make your deck as safe as possible.
Here are some things you need to consider:
- Distance between supporting posts
- Thickness of planking
- Dimensions of structural beams
- Height of railings
- Amount of weight the deck can support (people, things, snow, etc.)
- Number of inspections needed
Steps to Take to File For a Permit
Step 1 – Check with your local government agency
Before you can apply for a permit, you need to know what documentation to use in your application. You can usually find that information on your local government’s official website. Search for “Department of Planning and Development.” There is usually a Q&A section with frequently asked questions.
You can also reach out to the agency to help you with gathering all the right documents. In short, you need to make a list of all the things you will need.
Step 2 – Reach out to a designer
Find a designer, an architect, or a contractor that will design the deck for you. You can discuss deck layout ideas with them. They’ll take all the measurements and present a viable design. A contractor can even apply for a building permit for you!
Step 3 – Find the rules of your state/county
Image source: Urban Oasis Design & Construction LLC
You will need to provide drawings of the deck you want to build. You should also offer some information about your building, such as square footage and property details.
There might be other information you’ll need to provide. Find what works in your state.
Step 4 – Provide copies of scale drawings of the framing plan
You need to provide copies of the view of the deck. Some authorities might request the front and side view as well.
Most contractors use computer software to draw their design, but a hand drawing on graph paper will be accepted as well.
Increase the Value of Your Home
Image source: Stump’s Decks and Porches
Research shows that home improvement can drastically increase the value of your home. While some projects won’t provide a high return, decks and patios have a very high average ROI often exceeding 100%.
If you’re selling your house and you have an unpermitted deck, you will get in a lot of trouble. You might face fines and even legal proceedings in court.
As labor costs are often the highest expense when it comes to home improvement, you can minimize those by building a deck yourself. All you have to do is get a permit!
Ending thoughts on “Do I need a permit to build a deck?”
Many people think obtaining a permit is just a waste of money. In reality, building codes and safety regulations are there to protect us and our neighbors. Everyone wants to live in a secure environment, and building codes make sure of that in their own way.
Building a deck without a permit is very risky, as your local government can stop the construction process at any moment. If you’re lucky, you’ll just have to obtain a permit and start construction all over again. If you’re less lucky, you’ll have to pay a fine and might even risk going to court.
If you’re still not convinced, consider the fact that selling your home will be very difficult if you’re unable to provide permit documentation. You simply won’t be able to sell your house.
Laws and regulations are there to protect you and the citizens of your city. Don’t take that lightly, and get a permit before you start building!
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