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
Do You Need A Permit To Build A Deck?
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.
What Happens If You Build Without A Permit In Ontario?
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:
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
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.
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.