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Building Safety

Residential Deck Requirements

When is a Permit Required?

A permit is required to build a deck if the deck is more than thirty inches in height above finished grade when it is not over a story or basement. The deck still must meet structural code requirements even if a permit is not required.

How Do I Apply for a Permit?


A permit application for a residential deck consists of a completed building permit application form and two sets of drawings showing the deck dimensions and details of how it will be built.  Two as-built plot plans of the house, showing the deck's location, must also be provided.

Sufficient drawings need to be provided to show the size, shape and construction of the deck; these could include floor and framing plans, a guardrail and or handrail detail, a section, an elevation, and ledger, and bracing details.  Ledger board connections to your house, as well as other bolted and nailed connections also need to be detailed.  Your drawings should produce a very clear design of the deck.  Where there are structural concerns such as cantilever, hot tub, or decks over eight feet in height, structural calculations are always required.

How Much Will the Permit Cost?

Permit fees are based on the construction valuation.  If you are planning plumbing, electrical, or mechanical work, additional fees apply.  Call 343-8211 for a fee quote if you are unsure.

What Inspections are Required?

Structural inspections are required.  The extent of which depends on the overall scope of the project.  Electrical and plumbing permits and inspection may also apply if electrical and or plumbing work is planned.  Please see handout AG.13 on "inspection schedule".

Inspection requests are made by calling 343-8300. You may also request them on-line.  Please follow the instructions on the recording.  You should know your permit number, have a contact name and phone number, know the type of inspection you are requesting, the legal description and site address, and any special instructions such as a morning or afternoon inspection. 

What About Zoning?

Even if your project does not require a permit, it still has to meet the required setbacks from property lines, and other regulations in the zoning code (Title 21).  Please call 343-8380 to find out if there are any restrictions before you start work.

Foundation Requirements

There are several ways to support your deck including sono-tubes, and cantilevering it out from your existing building framing. Each method has its benefits, but you need to gather all of the information before you make that decision.  Building Safety staff are glad to answer questions regarding code requirements, and your local building supply source is another good place to look. In Alaska, frost heave is a real concern, and you need to know which system will suit your needs.  

In general, if your deck requires a permit or is connected to your house (see above), it will require a permanent foundation, such as sono-tubes buried at least 60" in the ground (note that if your soil is susceptible to frost, they may need to be buried deeper). Other systems, such as driven pipe piles, helical piers, and conventional footings are also acceptable.

Can Your Staff Design it for Me?

No, Building Safety Staff cannot design your deck; however, most of the building supply outlets in Anchorage have automated systems that will assist you in selecting beam sizes, joist sizes, and other connection information for gravity loads. Please note that decks must also be designed for lateral loads such as seismic and wind. If your deck requires a permit, we will check your design, so be sure to submit calculations so we can verify that required code forces were used and applied correctly. Questions? Email us at or call 343-8211.

    • Building Safety
    • Acting Building Offical: Ross Noffsinger
    • 4700 Elmore Road, Anchorage, AK 99507
    • 907 343-8301