The City of Portland welcomes the opportunity to work with you on your deck permit. Learn more about what's required when you build a deck. You can also schedule an appointment to discuss your project.
Building permits are required for most decks. A building permit is not required for decks where no part of the walking surface is more than 30 inches above adjacent grade. Learn more about construction requirements for decks:
What you need for a residential deck permit
The following information must be submitted when applying for a permit to construct a residential deck. Construction drawings and supporting documentation are required to show the scope and that the proposed work will meet all applicable codes. Since every project is unique, there may be some situations where you will be asked to provide additional information.
- Building Permit Application for Building, Site Development and Zoning Permits
- Simple Site Erosion Control Requirements Form
- If the project will result in disturbing the ground with mechanical equipment and
- If the project qualifies as a simple site (less than 10% slope, more than 50 feet from a wetland or waterbody and outside an environmental or greenway zone
- Erosion Control Plan
- If the project will result in disturbing the ground with mechanical equipment
- If the project qualifies as a complex site
- Can be part of the site plan
- Site plan (Scale site plans to most appropriate scale, e.g. 1”=10’ or 1/4”=1’)
- Property lines, with dimensions.
- Total area (in square feet) of the lot
- Adjacent streets and any easements
- Property address and R number
- North arrow
- Distance between buildings and between buildings and property lines
- Grade elevations, for lot, at property corners and corners of structure(s)
- Area (in square feet) of any existing/proposed buildings and decks
- Dimensions and area (in square feet) of any proposed paving.
- Location of sewer and water lines and method of stormwater disposal
- Structural Plans (Scale of plans to be ¼”=1’)
- Deck elevations
- Foundation plan showing location and size of footings and posts
- Deck framing including dimensions, lumber size, spacing and span
- Guardrail detail, showing attachment to deck
- Connections to existing construction
- Any engineering calculations may be attached to the plans and engineering details
- incorporated into the plans or cross-referenced on the plans
- Mitigation Form and/or a Stormwater Plan (if your project will add more than 500 square feet of impervious area)
- Disclaimer for Existing On-site Sewage Disposal System (if house has a septic tank or cess pool on site)
Who can do the work
Contractors must have a license to work in Oregon. The Oregon Construction Contractors Board (CCB) issues licenses to contractors. The permit application and their company materials must list the license number. Need help finding a contractor? The CCB website has good tips on how to search for one. Plumbing and electrical contractors have additional license requirements.
If you are doing the work yourself, then you can sign the trade permit applications. You cannot do electrical work yourself. You must hire a licensed electrical contractor to do any electrical work. The State of Oregon has some helpful information for homeowners:
Building permit application and important forms for adding a deck
Things you need to apply for this permit may include some or all of the following. If you aren't sure what forms you need, contact the Permitting General Information phone number. You might also want to read our step-by-step guide for completing a building permit application.
Deck permit forms include:
Step 1: Research your property and what you need for your deck project
How to check the permit history for a house
Depending on the age of your house, we may have the permit history. It is important to verify the permit records, and not rely on the tax information from the county assessor’s office.
Some records are available online, visit the How to Request Public Property Records webpage.
Residential deck code and rules
Permits are reviewed under multiple city and state codes including:
Other codes may apply based on the scope of work. The City and State Codes, Administrative Rules, Code Guides and Program Guides webpage has the codes, administrative rules, code guides and program guides. Here are some helpful guidelines:
- Building Codes Division Ready Build Deck Plan
- Fences, Decks and Outdoor Residential Projects (Brochure 3)
Some fences may need a zoning permit
Required setbacks that could impact your project. Some decks may be exempt from requiring a building permit, but may still require a Zoning permit, depending on specific site conditions or placement on the lot. To find out setback information and determine if you need a zoning permit call the Planning and Zoning Information phone number.
Decommissioning a Septic Tank or Cesspool
If your house was not connected to the sewer when it was built, you will likely need to decommission the cesspool or septic tank.
Permit fees are based on the type of permit, the work proposed, the valuation of the work, and the staff that need to review the work. Read more about permit fees.
Step 1b: Still need help? Schedule a 15-minute appointment
This is an optional step. If you still need help, we are here for you if you have questions about the information and materials you need to apply. You can schedule a free 15-minute appointment with any of these reviewers:
- Meet with a City Planner to receive information about planning and Zoning and Tree Code requirements that apply to your property.
- Meet with a Building Code and Engineering Reviewer to get help with building code and engineering requirements.
- Meet with a Permit Technician if you have questions about the permit process or if you need help with application requirements.
If you need help, these are experts we recommend you meet with for this project. Not all review groups are listed. The groups listed above will help get you started.
Step 2: How to apply for a residential deck permit
If you need to submit paper plans, you can set up an appointment to pick up plans or drop off plans in person. Or, please call us and we will work with you.
Step 3: Plan review and making corrections to an application (checksheets)
You can check the status of a permit review on Portland Maps permit/case search. Many people might review a single permit. The Permit Review Process webpage has more information about the groups who review permits.
A checksheet is sent to the applicant when a reviewer needs additional information or a correction has to be made to the plans. Read more about how to send us corrections and how to prepare corrected paper plans.
Step 4: Get your deck permit
We'll contact you when your permit is ready, and notify you about any fees due. You'll get instructions for how to get your approved permit and pay your fees. Your permit is not issued until all fees are paid. Read more about the pre-issuance process.
Step 5: Start building and get ready for inspections
The inspection card lists all the inspections you will likely need during your construction project, and what work needs to be done first.
Once your building permit is issued, erosion control measures and sometimes tree protection measures must be installed, inspected and approved prior to beginning any further ground-disturbing activities.
All permits need a final approval inspection to be complete.
Step 6: Schedule an inspection, get inspection results and make corrections
To schedule an inspection, call the automated Requests for Inspections phone number. You'll need your IVR or permit number and the three digit code for the inspection. Get the results of the inspection on Portland Maps permit/case search the next day.
Read more about why work does not get approved and how to schedule a reinspection.
Contact residential inspectors about your permit inspections
If you have questions before or after your inspection, you can talk to an inspector.
Additional reading and information
Find more helpful information about building a deck: