Do I need a permit to build a deck?

A: My advice to anyone considering building a deck should visit the Building Department that covers their property. The rules vary from town to town. Our state of New Jersey is heavily regulated when it comes to footing depth, attaching a deck to a home, railings and steps. I have seen non-permitted work that was done properly torn-out just because no permits were issued or work inspected. Start out on the right track with the authorities and they might even prove helpful with advise should you need it.


There are some general rules about permits for deck. Decks that are within 18" of the ground generally don't require permits. Some jurisdiction also have a value threshold and so a structure that has a value bellow a certain fair market value, say $2500.00 don't require permits.

But there is really no need to guess about these issues. Most building departments have very good web sites and information desks. Contrary to popular belief, I have found that building and planing offices are eager to provide information. They often have helpful pre-printed or on-line forms and brochures.