Do I Need A Permit To Build a Deck?

Deck with custom build seating

August 13, 2021

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Before building a deck on your property, it’s important to consider whether you’re allowed to. It’s a strange question, what you can and cannot build on your own property, but it’s the way it is and ensures safety for the landscape, your neighbors, and yourself. Instead of wondering why we need these permits exist, better to focus on if you need them where you live. 

Do I need a Permit in WA for a Deck?

Short answer, yes. You absolutely need a permit to build a deck on your property in the state of Washington. When you need that permit depends on how high off the ground it is. If you want an elevated view, more than 18-inches off the ground, then you need a permit. You’ll also need one if you plan on building a roof deck or in an environmentally critical area, like in landslide-prone areas. 

You may need additional permits as well, such as an addition or alteration construction permit. If the deck you want to build meets any of the following criteria in addition to the others mentioned, plan on getting more permits:

  • The deck will include long beams
  • It will be more than 8 feet above the ground

Beyond permits, there are some codes that apply to building a deck. These municipal codes are specific to Seattle, but make sure to research your local building codes to make sure you’re not violating local laws:

  • You cannot build a deck within 20-feet of the front of your property line or within 5-feet of either side property line in a single-family zone. 
  • You cannot build the deck within 25-feet of the rear property line
  • If building in or near an environmentally critical area, you will need a pre-application site visit before applying for the permit. 

The process seems annoying and needless, but the law is the law and best to follow it or you would’ve built your deck only to get a ticket or having to tear it down. Make sure to look up local codes and the permit requirements before getting to work on building a deck. 

How to Apply for a Deck Building Permit

To get a permit for building a deck, it’s pretty simple, if not tedious, and a bit annoying. You will need to file a permit application with the city Planning Department in the municipality where you’ll be building the deck. Most of the time an application will require you to submit drawn plans showing what work will be done, and then you’ll pay a permit fee. Then, you wait till your plan is approved and a permit is issued. 

If you’re wondering what the price is to get a building permit, they vary a little bit. They are often calculated based on the value of the construction, the size of the project, and a few other factors, so there is no set fee for the permit. Calling your local Planning Department is a good idea if you want to make sure you’re staying on budget with no surprise costs, but they aren’t usually expensive. 

The process can differ a bit from city to city, as they may require different steps or pre-application qualifiers before the permit is issued. Make sure to check your local government’s website or call their appropriate department so nothing holds up building a deck on your property. 

Does a Contractor Help with a Deck Permit?

If getting a permit to build a deck seems like too much of a hassle, no one could blame you. It can seem like a bigger pain than building a deck by yourself. A quick solution to both those problems is hiring a contractor to help get those permits and build your deck. While not all contractors may be up for doing the legwork, we at Masterdecks certainly are. 

We at Masterdecks have specialized in building decks since the beginning of our company. We strive to provide you with the most professional experience possible and are committed to quality, reliability, safety, tidiness, integrity, and communication.

We offer free estimates to make sure you know exactly the price range to expect, another way demonstrates our commitment to integrity and communication. We look forward to helping you better enjoy your outdoor space and taking the permit process of your hands.

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