There’s always been a huge misconception whether building permits for decks are required. Today, there is a quickly growing number of deck builders who choose not to bother with properly passing deck permits. Most likely to either avoid the time and cost involved or a negligent understanding of their importance. Some deck builders give creative and elaborate excuses about why you shouldn’t pull or pass a permit.
Most decks REQUIRE permits by law. If your deck builder doesn’t want to pull a permit, get another builder. If the builder is caught mid-construction working on an non-permitted deck, YOU may be required to tear it down and start over. If you are building your own deck and are caught mid-construction, you may be required to tear it down. More importantly, if someone is injured on a deck that you knowingly built or had built without permits, your insurance may not cover it. Worse yet, you can certainly be found legally liable.
Make sure your deck builder passes all inspections that are required. Many jurisdictions mandate pier and structural inspections in order to satisfy the final inspection. There is a trend being noticed on decks in Johnson County, Kansas. Many builders are only pulling permits on decks, screened porches and pergolas in order to perform the work without interruption. They have no intention of ever completing the permit.
Pulling a deck permit is the easy part and simply allows the work to begin. Passing a permit is more important because it oversees that a structure(s) is built safely and follows up to date building codes.
Any permit is worthless without completion of an approved final inspection and/or a Certificate of Occupancy. Most permits are null and void after 180 days of inactivity or failure to close properly. A satisfactorily completed permit is the only way to ensure your deck is built safely and to current building codes. It’s also required to release a homeowner’s liability for personal injury or death.
If you have any questions about the legitimacy or status of your building permit, simply call your local Community Development Department. That would be the city if within limit boundaries and your county if residing on unincorporated land.
Hope this helps,
DW Elite Decks (Kansas City deck builder)