deck permit

Why Permits are Required for Building a Deck

If you are building a deck, it is worth checking if a permit is necessary. As per Senate Bill No.721 or SB-721, or widely known as “Balcony bill”, “the law requires inspection of exterior elevated elements and associated waterproofing elements, as defined, including decks and balconies.”


Getting a permit before construction begins is quite a bit like a hassle, but the process ensures that the structure is built to standards and regulations. Securing a permit does not only ensure safety but also saves you from penalties and legal woes.


Securing a building permit will cost you extra money. Some homeowners consider this daunting, but we cannot skip the SB-721 law. The best way is to work with a company or inspector that will streamline the process. A local property inspector knows the ins and outs of the building codes, thus making the building phase at an accelerated level.


There are two common reasons why a deck permit is likely to be denied. First is non-compliance with zoning law. Depending on your local zoning law, it is best to consult first your zoning department before starting a project. The location where you are installing your deck must not affect the overall comfort of the neighborhood.


Second is an incorrect plan. Your proposed deck plan should indicate the correct dimensions of sizes and footings for beams and joists. Any error on your design drawing can cause project delay.



What will happen if a deck or balcony permit is not secured?

Building standards were created through constant learning. And if you decide to continue with your deck project unpermitted, these can result in serious consequences.

  1. Deck or balcony projects without a permit will be shut off immediately by building inspectors when discovered. Taking it down completely will not only cost you more money but also imposes legal responsibilities.
  2. Homeowners and contractors will probably pay fines and penalties depending on your area.
  3. You are still required to secure a deck building permit. That being said, you will have to go through the process of permit applications including submitting copies of the proposed design and paying for the permit fee.
  4. You will be required to work with a licensed inspector or contractor.
  5. Most likely you will face thorough inspection since the first project was unpermitted. Making sure that the project is sb-721 compliant, this could potentially delay the construction phase.


No one wants to build a beautiful deck only to be torn down apart even before its completion. No one wants to be in danger because of a collapsed deck. No one wants unnecessary physical injury and financial burden. No one wants to face lawsuits for having a non-compliant deck.  No one wants any of these setbacks.


Getting a deck permit saves you time and money, but also ensures overall safety. Always get in touch with certified inspectors. Hiring professional inspection services will leave no room for mistakes. Certified inspectors will take care of the permit and inspection process that will meet the existing sb-721 code.


Deck Inspectors for Southern California is happy to offer our services in Los Angeles, Orange County as well as San Diego and all Southern California surrounding areas like: Glendale, Pasadena, Burbank, Santa Monica, Anaheim, Temecula, Vista, Escondido, Carlsbad, and El Cajon