I feel like blogging comes in waves for me. Whenever I don’t post for a week or more it’s usually because not only are we busy but I’m also working on a bunch of projects. That being said I have so much fun stuff to share that I’m really proud of.
But before we get to any of that I have an exciting future project to share. We are building a deck!
Chris and I (mostly Chris) have been planning out what we want to do with out backyard and working on ideas for a new deck. If you remember photos of our backyard you know that the deck we have currently is almost laughably small. It’s really only big enough to use as stairs to get out of the back of the house.
Originally our plan (or Chris’ rather) was not even to build a deck until later. He was really hoping to work on an in ground sprinkler system this summer. Once he got to thinking about it he really wanted to build the deck first so he knew what he was working with when installing sprinklers.
Thus started the looking at, planning, and of course pinning of deck ideas.
After doing a little research we realized that we would need to get a permit to build our deck. In our county if your deck is more than 30 inches above grade within 6 feet of lateral distance it requires a permit to build.
Unfortunately it wasn’t an easy process for us to get a permit and since we had no idea what we were doing it took us a while to figure it all out.
Months ago we started sketching out ideas and Chris started using some of the free online deck builders to get an idea of what we wanted. From there we went outside and staked out the perimeter of the deck we wanted.
I’m so glad we did this. It didn’t change our plan drastically but it did help us tweak it and finalize a design we were pretty happy with.
It was great to be able to see how the deck would fit in with the shape of the yard. Since our yard slopes and changes depth we wanted to make the most of the space without taking over the whole yard.
For an easier build we also decided to basically add on to the deck that we currently have. Of course we’ll installed new decking, remove the stairs and change the railing to fit in with the new deck.
After we finally got our act together we collected all the paperwork we thought we would need to get our permit. In our county you have to make an appointment to speak with someone about getting a building permit. So I finally called to make an appointment and was greeted by a message that said appointments were three weeks out! Yeah I was a little disappointed at that. I went back online and filled out an automated form to get an appointment and a day later we were emailed our hour and half time slot. Surprisingly we got an appointment that was only a week out.
With our appointment scheduled it was time to kick our planning into high gear. Chris had already spent many weeks pouring over tip sheets, documents and county websites. Now we had to some how figure out what to do with it all and what we actually needed to get a permit.
Having heard about John from Young House Love‘s experience we really hoped that just a few sketches and maybe a print out from the Lowe’s deck builder would be good enough.
Well lets just say that we were in fact wrong. We ended up needing quite a bit more information. We left our appointment with homework to go fill in all the gaps in our plan. We basically had to go back and redraw everything in detail. We were required to show detail views of everything from post and beam connections to stairs and railings. As well as add explanations of exactly which brackets and what types of wood we would be using.
After hours more of work and a several more trips to Home Depot we finally got our act together and sent our permit reviewer a whole new packet of information. Below are just a few of the hand drawings we did. We also had several pages of detail views that we copied from codes and tip sheets online.
Once that was sent in we just had to hope it was good enough.
Luckily this time it was!
So many hours of work, a lot of stress and $282.88 (yes that’s what our permit cost) later and we can now officially start work on our new deck.
Now the real fun begins….
Has anyone else had experience getting a building permit? What was it like for you?