Building A Deck Without A Permit: Ontario

Have you bought a house and want to add a deck? Or thinking of adding one to your pre-existing home? 

Here at Deckly, “Do I need a permit to build a deck?” is one of the most common questions we get. Here’s what you need to know about when a permit is needed, and the risks of building a deck without one in Ontario.

What You Need To Know

If you are a homeowner and considering building a deck, you should also consider what is up to code and getting a permit. Some decks do not require the need for permits by zoning bylaws, but it is important to know what is up to code before starting construction.
Being uninformed and building a deck can result in a failed inspection by an inspector, the need to remove it, and possible fees and charges to you from the city. Bylaws about construction are dependent on your local region, these can affect the size of the deck and how close you can have it to a property line, etc.

Do You Need A Permit To Build A Deck?

In almost all cases you will need to obtain a permit to build a deck. Don’t want to build it yourself? Contact a building professional for constructing a safe dream deck for you.
A permit for a deck can be obtained through your municipality.
Whether you live in the Toronto area or not, you will be required to get a permit if:
If you need a building permit, a deck-building permit can be obtained for homeowners through the city or municipality you belong to.

Applying for a Building Permit

Depending on your region, the exact requirements and information for homeowners to have can differ. However, your residential deck building project will require some basic information universally when applying for a permit.

A detailed drawing of your proposed project will be required. This will usually need to include the scale and size of the yard, where the deck attaches to the house, the length, width and height as well as where you are placing your beams. You will have to obtain and provide other information that may include, guardrail details, size and location of stairs, foundation and materials list, etc.

If your plans meet the codes and your information is up to date your plans should be passed and approved and you can be issued a permit.

A professional can design your deck plans correctly for your permit application.

Note that a fine will be issued if a deck is built without the proper clearance. The best way to speed up the process for building a deck in Toronto is to call a building official for the design of precise plans. Then your municipality can process your permit without issue.

What Happens If You Build Without A Permit In Ontario?

Without a building permit, there may be severe consequences for homeowners. Deck building and construction in Toronto without a permit can have legal consequences. As well as a deck built incorrectly (without a permit) risks putting yourself and others in danger of serious injury.

When applying for a permit you may be required to pay a fee. But the cost is a safeguard against possible charges applied to you if you do not have a permit. According to Ontario’s website, a fine of up to $50,000 could be charged for being found guilty of an offence under the Building Code Act (1992) for a first offence, and up to $100,000 for any following offences. Local rules may matter and change the regulations needed for permits but most codes are universal.

There are many consequences other than just a fee charged:

A deck that does not require a permit to build.

All decks must be inspected to determine the safety of the structure. Get a professional to inspect your plans and provide services when needed.

When Permits are not Required for Decks

There are some instances where it is not needed to obtain a permit to build a deck. You will not need a building permit for a deck in the city of Toronto and most parts of Ontario if:
Deck construction under a permit.
For example, a free-standing, ground-level deck that is 10 x 10 square feet and built in a rear yard would not require a permit.

It is still necessary to make sure that your constructed deck is safe and up to code to avoid failed inspections, removal or fees. Just because the above requirements are met, does not mean the deck should not be inspected by an inspector for other safety measures (like guard rail height and other requirements).

Even though a permit might not be legally required you could still have to report the deck to your city’s office because of zoning bylaws.

Structural maintenance to a deck requires a permit in Ontario.

Deck building can be done without a permit, except when it exceeds the requirements stated. A deck built without proper steps and precautions can be a great risk to health and safety. A permit may seem like a hassle, but it is worth it financially in the long run and for the security of you and those who will be enjoying your deck.

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