Get information about residential building permits for adding and replacing decks in the City of Portland.
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.
Important things to know about deck permits
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 determine if you need a zoning permit call the Planning and Zoning Information phone number.
Check out the Deck Design Guide, an easy-to-use document to help design a deck, obtain a building permit and pass inspections, with pre-approved details and construction standards.
If you are hiring a contractor to do work on your project, they must be registered with the State of Oregon and carry a current CCB license.
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. Permit Fee information.
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.
- Simple Site Erosion Control plan
- 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)
How to submit your residential deck permit application
To schedule an appointment to submit your plans electronically (one permit submission per appointment), please email or call Schedule a Permit Intake Appointment and leave a message that includes the following information:
- Your name
- Your phone number
- Your email address
- Description of the work
- Project address
- Permit number or Interactive Voice Response (IVR) number (if available)
We will respond as soon as possible via phone or email with confirmation of your appointment. We ask that you please do not call and send an email message as it can cause staff to book duplicate appointments. Thank you!
We are currently experiencing a high volume of calls and emails. Please wait at least one week after submitting your application before sending a follow up call or email message.
If you are unable to create electronic plans yourself, please call us and we will work with you.
During your appointment time, our staff will guide you through uploading your plans using a secure link we will provide. To file a permit application, you must upload a completed application and all submittal materials.
Most permits for simple decks can be issued by appointment while you wait or online using the single PDF process. You will meet with review staff from different departments who will check your construction documents to verify the proposed construction will meet the various codes. Staff from the following departments will check a typical deck permit:
- Planning and Zoning Review
- Life Safety Review
- Structural Review
- Site Development Review
- Urban Forestry Review
During the review, if information is missing, or if corrections are needed, you will be asked to return with that information.
If the project is more complex and a review cannot be completed right away, the plans will be taken in for further review. You will be sent a checksheet requesting any clarifications or corrections.
When the last technical review is approved, your permit will be pre-issued. Pre-issuance is the last permit check. This step ensures all required reviews took place, all required approval stamps are on the plans, and the fees are charged correctly. You will be contacted when your permit is ready, and notified of your final fee total. Instructions will be given on how to get your approved permit and pay your fees. Your permit is not issued until all fees are paid.
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.
Residential inspections, results and corrections
To schedule an inspection, call the automated inspection request line. You will 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.
Not approved - there are some reasons why the work did not get approved:
- no access - the inspector may not have been able to inspect the work
- incomplete work
- code violations
The inspector will list the corrections needed on the inspection report.
Call for a reinspection after making the corrections. Use the same three digit inspection code.
If you make the corrections the same day wait until 5 pm to request a reinspection. The inspector needs to enter their results before you can schedule the reinspection.
There is a reinspection fee charged for more than one reinspection for a single issue.
Contact residential inspectors
If you have questions before your inspection, you can talk to an inspector. The 1 & 2 family inspector area map list the inspector's name, area, and phone number.
Because of vacation or illness, your inspector may be different than the one listed on the map. If you have questions after your inspection, find out which inspector to call. Their contact information will be on the inspection results and on Portland maps.