Do you need a permit for your deck project?

One of the most frequently asked questions we get at Citywide Sundecks is, “do I need a permit?”

The answer is not as straight-forward as you may hope, but we’re here to demystify this important question. Learn about general guidelines of when a permit is required for a deck and what might happen if you don’t get one.

When is a permit required for a deck?

Each municipality has slightly different guidelines for permitting. When you’re building a new deck you almost always need a permit unless the deck is unattached and less than 100 square feet.

A permit is usually required in BC if:

  • Your new deck will be more than 2 feet off the ground
  • Your new deck will be attached to the home.
  • Your new deck is 100 square feet or more.
  • You’re changing the footprint of your deck.
  • You’re adding a patio cover.

You probably don’t need a permit if you’re renovating your deck and:

  • You’re not changing the size, location, or height of your deck.
  • Not adding a patio cover
  • Not attaching the deck to your home
  • Your deck is lower than 2 feet.

It’s easy to find out definitively if a permit is needed by visiting your city hall’s building permit department (municipal links below).

Don’t assume previous work has a permit

If you have an existing deck that you’re renovating, you still need to ensure the existing deck has a permit. If your original deck was not permitted, your renovation and the original structure could be mandated illegal and torn down.

While the deck may have lived up to bylaws and zoning at the time of construction, laws change all the time. If you are not protected by a permit, your old deck will be held to the new standards when inspected.

What do I need to get a permit?

To get a building permit, you need to provide various documents and drawings as well as fee payment to your city permit department. Below are checklists provided by some Lower Mainland municipalities to help make sure you have everything you need, depending on where your home is.

Deck permit application checklists by BC municipality:

In some historic areas and heritage homes, you may require a development permit as well. Check with your city for confirmation.

What will keep me from getting a deck permit?

To qualify for a permit, your plans need to prove that the construction will be safe.

Permitting departments will also consider:

  • Proximity to your neighbour and property lines
  • Total footprint of structures must be less than 60% of the property square footage.
  • Aesthetic consistency with neighbourhood

Who is responsible for getting a building permit?

It’s the homeowner’s responsibility to have a permit for any work done on their home. If you’re doing the work yourself or hiring someone else to do it, don’t rely on someone else to research the necessity of a permit.  

While contractors may incur penalties for completing unpermitted work, the homeowner is ultimately legally and financially responsible for any infractions.  

What will happen if I don’t get a permit for my deck?

Unpermitted work can incur a fine that is often more than the permit itself. It can also result in you partially or fully undoing work or changing the project scope. However, many people choose not to get a permit for their deck project.

If you don’t get a permit, there are 3 ways you may run into trouble:

  1. a third party complaint
  2. Home inspection upon sale
  3. Insurance claims

People choose not to get a permit because they feel the cost and especially the time required to get a permit is worth the risk of not having a permit.

Many feel that as long as your work is compliant to zoning and bylaws, the risk is negligible. After all, it is not an inspectors mandate to drive around looking for unpermitted work. A neighbour must file a complaint, or there must be signs of deficiencies upon inspection.

Bottom line of deck permits

Getting a permit can be a long, expensive, and frustrating process. For many people, the risk of not obtaining a permit is worth the reward of being able to finish a project in a timely manner.

If you choose not to obtain a permit for your project, you must at least confirm that the project is permit-able. It’s simple and fairly low cost to obtain a permit for a structure after the fact as long as it’s all to code.

If your deck is not permissible and an inspector makes a call to your house during or after the project, you will face much more serious fines and will likely be required to tear the deck down.

While a deck contractor will likely respect your informed decision to forego a permit, they should never pressure you not to get a permit.

If you’re ready to build or renovate a deck, Citywide Sundecks makes it easy. We’ll walk you through the whole process and give you answers specific to your circumstances.

 

Call 604-786-3325 or fill out the form below for a free quote and consultation on your deck project.

Citywide Sundecks

Citywide Sundecks

We pride ourselves on our expertise in quality decks and railings for all kinds of homes and venues. Not only are we the top Duradek distributor in the region, but we are also known for offering a wide variety of the latest decking solutions to suit every taste.

Testimonials

  • Two years ago we hired Citywide to renovate our sundeck and back porch. We were very happy with the results and we are enjoying them every day. Last month we had them renovate our front stairs and walkway. The result exceeded our expectation. Now our front entrance looks good enough to welcome a queen! I like Paul’s workers they are friendly and able. Also, Paul is one of the most organized and punctual people I have ever known. We have had a lot of problems with tradesmen in the past. It’s nice to know Paul for a change.

    Sadako – Burnaby

  • I had Citywide Sundecks replace the 28 year old Duradeck sheeting with the similar material on my sundeck. The job was completed in one and a half days to my complete satisfaction. The deck looks like new with all the joints and seams glued and heat treated to ensure maximum waterproofing. Stainless steel screws were used throughout in reinstalling the original aluminum railings and stairs to ensure longevity and improved appearances. When the job was completed the installers cleaned up the work site. I was impressed and pleased with this Citywide crew. They were professional.

    Stephen – Richmond

  • We had our hot tub and sundeck replaced this summer. Citywide Sundecks did a wonderful job of the vinyl deck. The installation was complicated by the fact that the hot tub was sunk into the deck and the glass railings had to be removed and replaced. The job was done in a timely manner with great efficiency. We truly appreciated the skill of the workmanship, the attention to detail and the concern for aesthetics.

    McBride – Coquitlam

  • Paul and his team did excellent work with attention to detail. The work was done quickly and we are very happy with the result.

    Lora – North Vancouver

  • Great service and a fair price for the work. Delivered on all their promises and even did a nice job cleaning up. I would definitely recommend them.

    R. B. – Vancouver

  • Amazing service. Friendly, prompt, really good product. The installers are wonderful and skilled, friendly. I really would recommend this company. I like the range of products they offer and they took time to explain all my options.

    A. R. – Vancouver

  • We were very surprised when we were told that they were able to start working on the project within a week of us signing our contract. We were kept updated of progress and appreciated being contacted by Paul to see how they were doing and if we had any questions. The work was completed quickly and efficiently. The fellows who did the work were friendly and cleaned up after they had finished for the day. We were very happy and have referred them to our friends.

    Courtland C. – Delta

  • Paul and his crew were hired to rebuild a terrible deck that was built last year. Citywide Sundecks isn’t the cheapest, but they did the job right and on time, and it comes with a 10 year warranty. We should have gone with hime the first time around.

    Job P.

  • Paul and his crew did a great job of taking care of us. We had to replace a deck and deal with some water issues above and below the deck, all which was behind the stucco. This work has been completed and we are very happy. Paul and the crew kept me informed throughout. They were very easy to deal with and answered all my questions as the work progressed. All this was done at what I thought was a fair price.

    Andy S. – Surrey

  • Very happy with our Duradek job.  It was installed exactly as discussed and Paul made sure that we were completely satisfied.

    Rene B. – Vancouver

  • We are very pleased with the restoration project completed by Citywide Sundecks and Railings during the summer of 2015. The beautiful new sundeck was rebuilt in a very professional manner and the installed aluminum railings were a real upgrade on our original wooden ones. We are so glad that we contracted CWS as they were terrific to deal with and they provided quality work from start to finish.

    Bruce & Loreen S. – Richmond

  • I live in Prince George and contacted Paul at Citywide Sundecks to enquire about installing Duradek at my 85-year-old mother’s house in New Westminster. Paul kept us informed every step of the way. His crew was professional and hard working. They completed the job as agreed and ahead of schedule, even throwing in a few extras for my mum at no cost! My mother was very pleased with the outcome and happy to be enjoying her new deck.

    Leanne M. – Prince George

  • We were in a rush to get our sundeck stairs repaired. Paul was very accommodating and had the stairs replaced very quickly. The quality of work was excellent! I would highly recommend Citywide Sundecks.

    Linda & Rob M. – Delta

  • A word of thanks, for the excellent work on my sundecks, stairs, and railing. Your work was done on time and within budget. I must say it's the envy of my neighbours. They ask who did the work, and of course I tell them Citywide. The house looks great, with the new decks and stairs.

    Tony C. – Vancouver

  • We were very pleased with the deck installation performed by Citywide Sundecks.  Paul took the time to show us a recent installation he had done in our neighbourhood, which helped us to visualize how our deck would look after it was complete.  He explained how he would address deficiencies with the existing installation.  His staff were very efficient, courteous and professional.  I would recommend Citywide Sundecks.

    Stephen G. – Tsawwassen

  • I called Citywide Sundecks and Paul was at my home within two hours of my inquiry. He was professional, knowledgeable, efficient and easy to deal with. The gentleman that did the vinyl on my deck came out and completed the job in one day with no mess left behind. The whole process took less than a week from initial inquiry. I would recommend Citywide Sundecks to anyone.

    A. R. – Burnaby

  • We were very impressed with the professionalism of Citywide Sundecks. We really do enjoy our deck. and would recommend Citywide to anyone.

    Alan – Vancouver

Email: info@citywide.ca

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