When is a deck and patio permit required?

When is a deck and patio permit required?

As you start your long awaited project of creating an inviting environment where you can sit back and relax, a permit might not be the first thought that comes to mind. There often lies confusion of what is the purpose of the permit, where could you get one and why would you need one.

When is a permit usually required? 

A building permit is usually required when homeowners or businesses alter structures, plan to construct, or renovate. Some of these include electrical and plumbing work, structural changes, modifications and decks, along with other changes that can be found at your local government building development center sites. These permits are essentially an official permission from the local government authorities to confirm the safety, construction standards, and zoning requirements of building projects. Permits for decks are required based on a certain height and size. 

deck construction

Permit exemptions? 

Not all decks and patios require a permit. Some of these instances include:

  • Building a pergola on a one story structure, it must be no greater than 120 square feet.
  • A deck must not exceed 200 square feet in an area that is no more than 30 inches above the ground, and is not attached to a home according to Section R311.2 of the CA Residential Code.


The need for permits varies according to local building codes and regulations. In many cases both decks and patios may require a permit but the specific requirements can differ. It’s essential for homeowners to check with their local building department to understand the permitting process and whether it applies to their outdoor construction project.

Decks, especially those attached to the house or exceeding a certain length, often require permits. The regulations may require structural design, load bearing capacity, and safety features like railings. Local authorities typically want to confirm that the construction meets safety standards and align with zoning regulations.

How to obtain a permit? 

There are a few ways to obtain a permit. Property owners can go to their local community development website to file for a permit

Contact the local construction company you are working with and they can do the process for you, typically with a permit fee.


Consequences of building without a permit? 

Building without a building permit violates the Contractors License Law. The property owner may have additional liability and costs concerning the building project. 

Building without a building permit violates the Business and Professions Code. Disciplinary action toward the contractor including, suspension of license, penalty up to $5,000, and correction that is made requiring to pay penalties along with the building permit. 

In short, to avoid any headaches later down the road it’s best to obtain a building permit. This ensures that the additions that are being built are inspected and up to code, serving for your safety along with the contractors. Elite Construction and remodel is more than happy to assist in helping to answer your questions at (916) 469-4660. 

deck construction