Decks are wonderful additions to gardens, aren’t they? They can transform even the most unappealing and dull gardens into beautiful slithers of paradise. Whether you want to add some seating space, level your garden, or add entertaining space to your garden, we bet you have considered a deck.
But building a deck comes with hundreds of questions, most of which are easy to answer, but some haunt you. They follow you throughout your life as you struggle to find the answer, and no matter where you turn, you can’t seem to get the help you need.
One of these questions is where you need consent or not to build a deck. No one seems to know the answer, do they? And the last thing you want is to be hit with a fine or have to tear down your hard work. So you put it off, and your dream garden remains just that, a dream.
Well, no more! Today we are here with the answers you need! Let’s find out everything you need to know about consent and building a deck!
Do I Need Consent To Build A Deck?
Let’s get straight into it; whether you need consent to build a deck or not depends on a few factors! The first factor is the state you live in. states have different rules and regulations about building work and permits, so it’s best to check on your state’s website before completing any construction work yourself or hiring a professional.
Checking on your state or local government’s website for planning and building work permits should be your first step. Some states might not have any regulations, but you will find that most do. On average, it seems that any deck less than 30-inches off the ground will not require consent or a permit.
However, if you are building a deck higher than 30-inches off the ground, you will need to apply for a permit. Why over 30-inches? Well, it’s all to do with safety! A deck this high will need railings, and these need to be up to code too. You will need a permit to build your deck and its railings according to your city, state, or municipality standards.
As we mentioned earlier, you can check the requirements online or speak to someone in the planning office. Some cities and state’s permit rules can be a little confusing to follow or seem unnecessarily complicated; you can always ask for help understanding these to ensure that your deck is built in line with the regulations.
If your deck is under 30-inches in height, it will be considered a porch deck or patio and will not require a permit. You will still want to consider the safety and height of your deck, but generally, these decks do not require a permit, and you are free to build it yourself or hire a professional.
If you hire a local professional to build your deck, chances are they will be aware of the regulations in your city or state and can provide you with advice if needed.
They might also be able to help you wade through the official jargon and understand how to get the permit and the regulations your deck and its railings must meet. Social media or online review sites are an excellent place to find reputable builders and landscape gardeners that can make your decking dreams a reality.
What about the Home Owners Association?
If you live in an area with a Homeowners Association (HOA), then there may be additional hoops you need to jump through. An HOA often has its own permits and regulations when it comes to external home improvements, and that includes decks.
HOAs have their own permits with varying rules and regulations, often stipulating that your deck or other improvements must be in line with the style of your home and those around you. You might be asked to submit your plans for consideration and even make adjustments to your deck to comply with their regulations.
You might even need to meet with your HOA to discuss these plans further before going ahead with the work. It’s worth factoring in the time it takes to get your permit when planning your deck and hiring professionals to help you.
Check with your HOA before undertaking any work about the required permit and any requirements you must meet. You might need to adjust your plans slightly, but the HOA should have clear guidance to help you understand their regulations and ensure your deck meets them.
What happens if I don’t get consent to build a deck?
If you build a deck that needs consent without consent, then you could find yourself in trouble. If a member of the HOA sees your deck, you could be reported and end up with a hefty fine or needing to tear your deck down entirely! What happens if you are caught varies from state to state, depending on the rules in place.
In some cases, you might be able to apply for the permit late to ensure the work is allowed. In other instances, you might be fined or required to make changes to your deck for it to meet regulations. Your worst-case scenario is being asked to tear down your deck as it is unsafe or does not meet the regulations required.
It’s best to avoid this altogether and check that you need a permit before undertaking any work. Wait until your permit is approved and secured, too, if required, and then hire your professionals and carry out your work.
And just like that, we have come to the end of our deck journey today! As you can see, in most cases, you will need a permit to build a deck that is 30-inches or taller. You can check for information about this with your HOA, municipality, city, or state’s website, where you can find information about permits and when they are required.
Remember to secure your permit before undertaking any work to avoid fines or having to tear your deck down at a later date!