In order to determine if you need a building permit before beginning construction, we have broken down the process into 3 steps. It may seem like it’s not worth your time, but in this case there are many benefits that can come from getting the work done early.

The “do i need a permit for a deck not attached to house” is a question that many people are asking. The answer to the question, is yes you do need a permit to build a deck.

The very concept of red tape irritates us, yet the law is the law, and a permit to construct a deck is almost always required.

Your local government must examine all deck construction to verify they conform with the current International Residential Code (IRC). The IRC establishes basic standards for residential construction projects, including guidelines for building, plumbing, mechanical, fuel, gas, energy, and electrical systems. The purpose is to guarantee that all construction is safe, well-built, and compliant with current building codes.

Obtaining the permission is quite simple. Even if you plan to perform the work yourself, ask yourself, “Do I need a permit to construct a deck?” before making any design or material selections.


Why Do I Need A Deck Building Permit?

A building permit allows you to make renovations to your house based on the scope of work outlined on approved architectural drawings. For almost every building activity, homeowners are obliged by law to get a license. In most cases, any changes to the authorized scope of work or plans must be re-approved, so be sure your plan is complete before submitting an application.

What Are the Requirements for Obtaining a Deck Permit?

When getting authorization to construct a deck, there are two main building regulations to follow.

  • A permit is required if you are installing a deck linked to your house or other structures on your land.
  • A permit is also required if the deck is not linked to anything and is 30 inches or taller.

A permit is not necessary if the construction has free-standing deck footings, is 30 inches or less in height, and is less than 200 square feet. Most permits for basic-build decks may be given while you wait if you do your study ahead of time and have a sketch of your layout with you. The specific criteria are determined by your city and state law, but some pieces of information are always necessary when filing for a deck permit.

The following information is required:

  • A thorough design of your planned deck, including how it will connect to your house.
  • The projected deck’s length, breadth, and height, as well as the location of the beams.
  • Proposed joist thicknesses and spacings (26, 28, etc.).
  • Where will the steps be situated and how broad will they be?
  • Height of the guardrail
  • A list of materials.
  • Concrete heaps, screw piles, and deck blocks with posts are all options for footing.

It would be beneficial to provide scale measurements of your yard that demonstrate where the property boundaries are.

By obtaining a deck permit, you can ensure that your deck is both safe and compliant with current requirements. You’ll know it passed a certified professional’s inspection. It’s a strategy to safeguard both your money and your family. A permit should be obtained if your designs comply with building rules, zoning restrictions, and structural criteria. You will be charged a fee as well.

What Happens If I Build Without A Permit?

If you move forward without authorization and are detected, you will face the following consequences:

  • A stop-work order will be posted on your door, requesting that your project be stopped down immediately. The large orange Stop Work Order sign warns employees that if they continue working on the project, they will be fined and penalized. Until the problem is rectified, your project will be left alone.
  • You and your contractor may be required to pay hefty penalties. The cost might range from 3 to 10 times the cost of obtaining the permit, depending on your location.
  • You’ll also have to pay for the permit you should have gotten in the start, in addition to the penalty. It’s possible that you’ll have to pay to have professional drawings made out.
  • A building contractor must be legally licensed with the municipality if you hire them.
  • Someone will go out and double-check that the work done so far is up to code. If the inspectors are unable to see what they want, such as the frame behind drywall, you may be required to disassemble components of the structure to provide them access. Because you didn’t get a permission before starting work, you’ll probably be scrutinized more closely.
  • If they uncover anything that isn’t up to code, you’ll have to spend more time and money fixing it, and in certain situations, you may have to destroy all you’ve done and start again.
  • You may be required to remove the deck if it fails to satisfy code and poses a safety hazard.
  • It’s possible that you’ll be forced to pay back property taxes.
  • If you don’t have a permit, your insurance company won’t cover you if someone is gravely wounded.
  • Should you decide to sell your property, it may be found that there was never a permit obtained for a deck, which might cost you money at the negotiating table. It might potentially put a halt to the selling of your house.

Is it possible to get permission after you’ve started working on your deck?

You won’t be able to seek a retroactive deck permit if your deck was constructed without a permit, but you may still be able to secure approval. Simply measure the current deck and create blueprints as if you were beginning from the ground up. Bring your designs in to check if a permission is possible. Unfortunately, construction regulations may have changed since the deck was erected decades ago. If they have, you may need to make some changes to the structure to bring it up to code.

Before returning for a final inspection, the building inspector will review and approve your permit or provide orders to remove, repair, or rebuild specific parts of your deck.

You may need a zoning permission instead of a construction permit, depending on where the structure will be put on the property.

What If You Want To Repair Or Replace A Deck’s Roof?

You may still need a permit depending on the scope of the repairs. You won’t need a permit if you’re merely changing some deck planks and railing. If you’re changing or installing structural elements like joists or roofs, you’ll need a permit to guarantee that everything is up to code. When you’re finished, have the deck inspected.

When constructing a deck, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Zoning regulations change from one state to the next, as well as from one county to the next. Each will have its own set of rules and licenses.

Some local ordinances may prevent you from putting a deck on your property.

Zoning rules establish minimum standards for items such as:

  • You may construct your deck as far away from the property’s border lines as you choose.
  • Appropriate septic system clearances must be followed.

Building a deck without a permit is not illegal. However, if you want to build one in the future, it’s best to check with your local building department first. Reference: building a deck without a permit.

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