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Q&A “Do I Need a Permit for My Deck Remodel?”

Q: “I have a deck attached to my house in Ross, California which is not in good condition and needs to be fixed or replaced. Would I need a building permit to rebuild it larger than it is now? What if I just replace it as is? What about installing a concrete pad for a Jacuzzi?”

A:  The short answer is “it depends” and here’s why; There are exemptions to requirements for permits in Marin County, but they all involve a deck less than 30” above the ground. If your new deck is higher than this, railings (and stairs if you have them) are required that must meet current building codes. For example, you may not pass a sphere (think baby’s head) through any point in the railing (or stairs) larger than 4”. There are many other safety-oriented requirements for both stairs and railings.

There are also code requirements for the concrete piers that your deck sits on. If your deck is at the end of it’s lifespan, it’s extremely unlikely that the concrete components of your deck meet today’s code requirements. As such, the Town of Ross will not allow an entirely new deck on top of your old concrete foundations. It’s also possible that your deck will require structural engineering calculations as part of your permit submittal.

Also, any new plumbing or electrical work on your property requires a permit. Building without a permit could subject you to fines and/or a lower resale price for your home at some point in the future.

You might be surprised how many options you have! The best way to find out what they are is to invite a professional out to your home for a consultation.