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How to Create Final Deck Drawings

Oct 9, 2007
Once all of the decisions have been made regarding the deck site, substructure, decking, stairs and railings, a homeowner is finally ready to put the ideas on paper and transform them into a workable design. Before beginning gather as much information as possible about deck design and final deck drawings. Visit the local building department in advance of planning your deck in order to obtain information and printed guidelines and sample plan drawings which are generally free and readily available to homeowners.

The sample plans will provide a good example of what will be needed in order to produce a set of drawing plans that will be submitted to the local building department for examination and consideration. After reviewing these drawings as well as the site plan building department staff will either issue a deck building permit or require that one or more changes be made.

The final drawings required generally include 4 types:
1. A site plan drawing - This is a plan of the house and the property surrounding it. It will also include the overall configuration of the proposed deck. If it is possible to locate house plans, plat plans, deed maps or contour plans to property that show the actual dimensions and orientation of the property, it can save considerable time. These may be available at the local city hall, regional office, title company, bank, mortagage company or through a former owner.

The idea is to use personal observations about the site to produce a clear and easy to understand visual document containing neat and concise entries. Outline the property accurately and to scale and mark its dimensions on the site plan indicating any required setback allowances from the lot lines. Note also the relation of the street to the house.

Show the house precisely and to scale within the property noting all exterior doors and all overhangs. Map the location of outdoor water sources showing the locations of all underground lines including the sewage line and septic tank. If the deed map shows any easements note them on the site plan. Mark the location of all downspouts, drainage tiles, drainpipes or catch basins. Note also the direction of drainage in relation to the house and property. Include any established plantings to be retained, walls, fences, walkways, steps and existing paved areas.

2. A Plan Drawing - These drawings show the deck framing from above. For these drawings it is common that railings and decking are not included. A plan drawing would include an accurate dimensional drawing of the deck perimeter clearly showing the design shape of its one or more levels. Footings and post locations would be clearly indicated relative to each other and the house. The placement of all beams and joists would be included so that the framing structure can be easily seen and evaluated in relation to local building codes.

Lumber dimensions for posts, beams, joists and facing boards are an important inclusion in this portion of the plan drawing. It is essential for safety sake that lumber dimensions and types of wood meet the minimum requirements set out by building construction regulations. There must be a clear indication in some manner of the dimensional size and direction of the decking to be used in the construction of the deck. This does not necessarily mean that it has to be drawn. A printed or written note on the plan drawing will suffice to enable building department staff to know what is planned in this area.

Details must be included that show the kinds of hardware to be used in the construction of the deck. These items range from nails, screws, bolts and other fasteners to framing connectors such as joist hangers, post anchors and post caps. The exact locations of doors and windows must be clearly indicated as should any electrical and plumbing fixtures along with their supply lines.

3. Elevation Drawing - These drawings show the deck in cross-section from the side. There should be a seperate elevation drawing for the railing system including all the dimensions that relate to local building codes. Another elevation drawing would illustate views of the concrete footings showing their depth and width or diameter. The height of support posts, types and sizes of hardware and indications of the property's slope would all be included in some manner in one or more elevation drawings.

4. Detail Drawing - Complicated parts of any deck require detail drawings in order to satisfy local building departments and the codes that are regulated by them. A detail drawing would clearly show where the stair railing meets the deck railing. Framing around trees, hot tubs and water features would necessitate the creation of detail drawings. Hatchways for access to electrical and plumbing would require detail drawings as would changes in deck level and special extra framing under portable hot tubs placed on decks.

Once these drawings have been completed, make several copies of each as the building department may require more than one of each. Retain a copy of each final drawing for reference later on, especially if the building department requires changes to be made. All that remains is to head down to the building department, submit the final deck drawings and wait for approval and the issuing of a deck building permit.
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
Final Deck Drawings 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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