Deck construction is considered an addition to a home, and therefore requires permits and inspections to ensure it’s safe.
A basic deck usually requires only a Residential Building Permit. The following types of permits could be required, depending on the complexity of the project:
- Residential Building Permit for construction of architectural and structural elements
- Electrical Permit for all electrical installations such as hot tub, spa or similar
- Plumbing Permit for all installations of plumbing and gas piping systems
Building a deck can either be an express review or a route-through review, depending on the complexity of the project.
Construction Document Requirements
Submitted construction documents must contain sufficient information for plan reviewers to be able to review the proposed construction work.
In addition to the Residential Permit submission requirements, when building a deck you need to submit the following information:
- A scaled plat
- Elevation drawings of all sides of proposed decks
- Footing details (minimum footing depth is 24 inches)
- The size, spacing and length of all posts, joists, and beams shown on a framing plan (“bird’s eye view”)
- Handrail and guard details and dimensions
- Stair details and dimensions (if applicable) including a note relative to stairway illumination (e.g., “all stairs shall be provided with an artificial light source which will illuminate the stair including all treads and landings”)
- Attachment details, such as the attachment to the house, joist to beam connections, rail to post connections, post to footing, etc.
- Hot tub manufacturer’s information showing structural loading requirements (if applicable)
Throughout your building permit process and depending upon the extent of the work, you will be required to complete different inspections.
Inspections required for a deck:
- Footing Inspection: footing holes are inspected prior to concrete placement. At the time of the footing inspection, you must have the ledger board attached to the existing house.
- Framing Inspection: joists, beams, connections and mechanical attachments are inspected prior to placement of decking. In this inspection, lag screws, thru bolts and expansion anchors at the ledger board are inspected and turned to insure proper installation and tightening. Access to the inside of the house may be required.
- Final Inspection: all remaining items are inspected
Call Arlington to schedule your inspection appointment 24 hours in advance:
- Integrated Voice Response (IVR): 703-222-3700, 24 hours
- Permit Specialists: 703-228-3800, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Monday – Friday
The cost for permits varies depending upon each project.
- Some home center stores have deck design services available to the public. These plans are generally not acceptable for submission to the County during permit application.
- Any permit expires 6 months after the last approved inspected activity on the site.
- If someone other than the permit holder is tasked with getting the permit, they must have an Affidavit of Permit Authorization.