Do You Really Need a Permit to Build a Deck?

Obtain a building permit before constructing your deck.
Obtain a building permit before constructing your deck. (Image: deck image by Albert Lozano from

Building a backyard deck is a common home renovation, but perhaps less known is the need to first obtain a building permit. It may seem an inconvenient nuisance, but is an absolute necessity.

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Health and Safety

Though you are the homeowner, the state still has an interest in keeping people safe on your property. One of the primary reasons you need a permit is to ensure that construction safely proceeds according to code.

Property Disputes

When you apply for a permit, you must outline the size of your property and the size of your proposed deck. This ensures that you do not encroach upon property you do not own or build an excessively large deck.


Many contractors will not work for someone who lacks a proper building permit. If you intend to hire someone to do the work, make sure you have the proper permit.


If you fail to obtain a permit, the consequences can be expensive. The state may require you to tear down your deck and pay fines. Further, your house may not pass inspection if you later sell, because you built your deck illegally.


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