Understanding that in New York City, the Department of Buildings (DOB) mandates that a deck be allowed and approved prior to installation is more important than knowing “what” are the criteria for establishing a deck. An incorrectly built deck might be harmful or cause damage to your property. To guarantee that your deck is safe to use, specific structural criteria must be observed.

Local building codes establish rules for deck construction in order to prevent potentially harmful building practices. Although codes differ by location, many are based on the International Residential Code, which specifies requirements for a few key areas of deck design and Deck Installation Queens NY.

Many well-known guidelines concern railing height or the space between posts and balusters; however, there are also important guidelines to follow regarding the deck’s structure. Footings must be appropriately spaced and put below the frost line to avoid shifting in freezing weather. Treads and stringers must be precisely spaced, and ledger boards must be secured with specified lag screws. Furthermore, according to NYC code, a deck or porch may only project up to eight feet beyond the face of the building.

When a deck is incorrectly placed, installed without DOB approval, or is too close to the property line, it may eventually need to be removed. This implies that you will have to pay not just to have it installed, but also to have it removed. If the Department of Buildings becomes aware of your “illegal deck,” an inspector may be dispatched to your home to verify the claim’s validity. The inspector can and, in most situations, will issue a violation, resulting in further red tape and additional costs for the homeowner.

Hiring an architect to discuss the sort of deck you want to build is the first stage in the process, because a deck or porch can only be built if there is enough space on your land, as established by zoning restrictions and your property survey.

Architects may also discuss the function and durability of decking materials on the market with you. This can be useful since some of the materials used to build decks require upkeep, which can add to the overall expense of owning a deck.

While your architect will go over specific requirements for your property

There are Some General Rules That Apply to Most Porch and Deck Construction in NYC:

• There must be at least three feet between the deck or porch and the property line on all sides. 

• All decks and porches must have a railing at least 42 inches high, with no more than five inches between railings and/or posts.

• Elevated decks and porches must be braced at the columns and where the beams and columns meet. • Decks and porches must be able to bear a minimum of 40 pounds per square foot plus the weight of the deck or porch, thus structural design and material selection are critical.

• Decks and porches must be securely attached to a home or structure, and there are limits on using wood near lot borders and numerous houses. 

• No storage is permitted beneath a deck or porch.

Before hiring a contractor, make sure they have a home improvement contractor’s (HIC) license issued by the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs and the necessary insurance, as both are required to obtain a building permit. In compliance with Consumer Affairs requirements, your licensed contractor should give you with a comprehensive contract outlining the cost and scope of work.

Work on your porch or deck cannot begin until a permit is obtained. Any plumbing or electrical work included in the scope of the project must be completed by a licensed plumber or electrician. Homeowners cannot do their own plumbing or electrical work.

It is crucial to remember that if your property is landmarked or is located in a special natural area, historic district, or other designated district, requirements from other authorities may apply. These laws may pertain to front, back, or side yard requirements, tree management, and/or grading limitations that might effect the site of your porch or deck.

Upon completion of construction, sign-off inspections may be required, an updated survey may be required, and depending on the type of approval required, either a Letter of Completion or an amended Certificate of Occupancy may be issued.

The process of establishing a deck may take longer than planned; nevertheless, if your deck is built properly and registered with the Department of Buildings, your peace of mind will be well worth the effort. When the time comes to sell your property, you will be able to do so without difficulty, since an unlawful deck may stymie or end a house sale.

Contrary to popular belief, all decks and porches must be authorized by the NYC Department of Buildings and a permit must be obtained before work may begin.

All of our specialists are members of the Home Improvement Contractors of Staten Island (HIC of Staten Island) and are licensed, bonded, and insured.  Before commencing on any home renovation project, homeowners should always speak with qualified specialists, check a contractor’s license with the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs (call 311 for information), and confirm that their project conforms with NYC DOB rules.