Know Building Codes for Decks in your Area
October 30, 2009
Many people don't realize the importance of knowing what the building codes in your area are regarding decks. In fact, many don't even realize the codes exist. Although they may not be as strict for a deck repair as for an original deck install, they may still exist.
You don't want to put a lot of time, energy and money into building a beautiful deck only to get a fine because you didn't get a permit or follow some city ordinance or code. Deck repair, deck install or deck replacement - it doesn't matter - check with your local building officials.
Building codes will do more than just tell you if you can build decks in your area. They'll often have specific requirements about the size of your post, distance between railings, size and spans of your beams and deck posts as well as load capacity, railing height and more. You'll save a lot of time (and possibly money) by paying a visit to your local city officials and learn what the legal requirements are before implementing your plans for your deck.
You may find that the plans you've put together for your deck are all within their requirements but it's always better to check first. To really be on the safe side, I suggest you get a list of the local codes regarding decks and use them when planning your deck. If you're planning to hire a contractor, they may already be knowledgeable of the local codes. If not, make sure they are made aware of them and follow them to the letter. If something is not done right and a fine or citation is issued, it will be issued to you, not the contractor!
In summary, pay a visit to your local city building department or ask to see the inspector and learn about the codes involving a deck repair or deck install on your property. It's better to be safe than sorry!