Residential Decks

Apply for a permit online for your home deck project. Get application requirements and forms for building or altering a deck. This includes roof deck permits and balcony permits.

Do you need a permit to build a deck?

Residential building permits are required to construct or enlarge a deck that is more than 30” above the ground.

Deck height is determined by measuring from the adjacent grade to the top of the walking surface for building permit requirements.

Residential building permits include one and two-family homes.

Permit application requirements

You will need to provide the following when applying for a building permit:

If the conditions are true for your deck projectThen include the application requirement
You plan on building a deck that is more than 30” above the ground.
Site plan (what to include on your site plan is listed below this table)
Structural plans (what to include on your structural plan is listed below this table)
  • The project will disturb 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
    • Outside an environmental or greenway zone
  • The project will disturb the ground with mechanical equipment; and
  • The project does not qualify as a simple site (description in cell above).
Erosion Control Plan (this can be part of the site plan)

More than 500 square feet of impervious area will be added.

An impervious area is the area of a property that does not allow rainwater to percolate naturally into the ground. This can include paved areas.

Mitigation Form and/or a Stormwater Plan
A septic tank or cesspool is on the site.
The homeowner will be building the deck
A contractor will be building the deck

You will need the contractor's CCB number to complete the building permit application.

Don't have a contractor yet? You can update the contractor's information later.

The deck is not designed with the prescriptive building code.

Check the State's prescriptive deck design guide.

Engineering calculation packet. Engineering details should be cross-referenced on the plans.

Construction plans

NOTE: Please clearly distinguish between existing conditions and proposed work.

Site plan 

Scale site plans to most appropriate scale, e.g. 1”=10’ or 1/4”=1’.

Missing media item.
  • 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
  • Location and size of all trees 6” or greater in trunk diameter, and root preservation zones of trees designated to be preserved per the requirements of Title 11.50 Trees in Development Situations

Structural plans

The scale on structural plans should 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 the deck
  • Connections to existing construction

Construction drawings and supporting documentation are required to show the scope and that the proposed work will meet all applicable codes.

Step 1: Determine construction and permit requirements

Check your property's permit history

You must resolve open permits or notices of violation before you apply for another permit.

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 on Portland Maps. Older recorders are available through a public property records request.

Learn how to find your property's permit records.

Check if you need to decommission 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.  

Check if your deck project needs a zoning permit 

Required setbacks could impact your project. Some decks may not need 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, schedule a 15-minute appointment or call to talk to a city planner.

Learn more about when a zoning permit is required and how to get started with a zoning permit application.

Check construction requirements for decks

Design your deck so it meets city and state codes:

Permits are reviewed under multiple city and state codes including: 

Other codes may apply based on the scope of work. Check the City and State Codes, Administrative Rules, Code Guides and Program Guides for a comprehensive list.

Estimate permit fees

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.

Estimate your permit fees

Still need help? Schedule a 15-minute appointment 

This is an optional step. 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:

These are experts we recommend you meet with first for this project. While only some review groups are listed, the groups listed above will help get you started. 

Step 2: Apply for a building permit

After you have completed all required forms and gathered all the application requirements for your deck project, you'll be ready to start your application online.

We recommend you gather all your application requirements before you start.

You can submit your permit application request online using Development Hub PDX (DevHub) or in person at the Development Services Center downtown. 

I'm ready to apply

Step 3: Plan review and make corrections to an application (checksheets)

After you submit your application you can check the status of a permit on DevHub or online. Learn about the different review stages and how to check the status of your permit application.

A checksheet is sent to the applicant when a reviewer needs additional information or a correction has to be made to the plans.

Learn about how to send us corrections and how to prepare corrected paper plans.

Step 4: Pay for your permit

We'll contact you when your permit is ready, and notify you about any fees due. You'll get instructions on how to get your approved permit and pay your fees.

Your permit is not issued until all fees are paid. 

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, check 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 re-inspection.

Contact residential inspectors about your permit inspections

If you have questions before or after your inspection, you can talk to an inspector.

More information on permits and building a deck

Find more helpful information about building a deck: