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The 3 Vital Steps to Getting a Deck Permit

Aug 22, 2007
Many municipalities consider that a deck is a permanent addition to a home. Therefore there are rules that set out the depth of footings, prescribe choices in terms of materials and clearly indicate dimensional aspects involved with building a structure such as a deck. Thus it is a wise decision to visit your local municipal building department prior to the start of a deck building project. Individual homeowners who plan to construct a deck for themselves share the same responsibilities of following the local building codes as professional contractors and carpenters.

Local municipalities create these building codes to establish building standards for safety purposes, for aesthetic reasons and to ensure that what is constructed will last for extended periods of time. "Working to code" means becoming acquainted with and understanding local building codes and making use of them during the construction process.

Step #1:

Do your homework ahead of time. Get as much information as possible in advance about local construction requirements and incorporate it into your deck planning process. Municipalities often have pamphlets, brochures and deck building bylaw guidelines for this purpose that homeowners can easily access by visiting the local municipal building department. And they're free! If you have questions phone or make an appointment to speak with staff members at the building department. They can readily answer your questions and clear up any misconceptions on your part.

Step #2: Draw up your deck plan indicating its placement on your property in relation to your home, its dimensions and material types. Make sure that the different elevations are clearly drawn and labelled. Include a copy of your property site plan for reference if required or possible. Be prepared for changes to be made to your deck plan.

Step #3: In the event that approval has been given to your project, pay for and obtain your deck permit. Once construction begins make sure that the municipal inspection personnel are notified when you have reached the various stages for construction inspection. Ensure that the work done is of a high quality to clearly demonstrate that you are closely following the apporoved plan and completing all construction work in the correct manner. Unfortunately, failure to comply with local building codes can in extreme situations result in a stop work order and/or demolition of what has been built.

In addition to building codes there are 2 other very important factors that homeowners must be aware of and comply with in the deck planning and construction process.

Zoning ordinances govern property uses as well as the location of structures within its boundaries. They can set minimum setbacks from property lines and regulate the size of a deck. Some municipalities choose to follow deed restrictions to regulate the value of properties or architectural choices. These controls may limit the style of a deck or the material choices used in its construction.

Easements and rights of way are also factors to consider in the deck building process. They guarantee for example utilities access to their lines and may affect the specific location of a deck. Generally, utility companies welcome the opportunity to locate the path of underground lines through a property and will do it for no charge.

Building codes and the permit process are established to be safeguards for the proper construction of structures within the community. Following these building code standards will ensure that your deck will not only look aesthetically pleasing to those who use it but will last for many years and provide a seafe environment for the present and future owners.
About the Author
Richard Vande Sompel is a professional deck builder of 35 years and over 850
decks built and is the author of "How to Plan, Design and Build a Deck from
Start to Finish". To Discover More About A
Deck Permit and Claim your 2
FREE Deck Plans, Insider Report, MP3 Audio and discover everything to know about
building a deck visit:
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