Do I Need A Permit To Build A Deck In Georgia? (Find Out Now!)

Stacy Randall
by Stacy Randall

Building a deck can be an exciting and creative project for Georgia homeowners looking to customize their backyard. However, the process of navigating administrative red-tape may seem daunting. One of the first issues to be dealt with is whether you need a permit to build a deck in Georgia.

You need a permit to build a deck in Georgia if it’s over 30 inches off the ground. Decks lower than 30 inches and under 200 square feet are considered patios or porch decks and don’t require a permit. However, residents should reach out to their local government officials as the exact permit stipulations vary by county and city.

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What Size Deck Should I Build In Georgia?

Adding a deck can be a major component of a landscaping project needing a permit. However, it is important to consider the size of the deck you want before beginning the building process. Size is an important factor in determining whether a permit is necessary.

A good rule of thumb states that the longer dimension of the deck should run alongside the house. However, the deck should not exceed 20% of the house’s square footage.

The size of the deck you’re building depends on its location, purpose, and the number of people it will serve. Listed below are some standard desk sizes, prices, and purposes:

A 12 ft x 12 ft deck

This size is one of the smaller decks available. The choice of a 12 x 12 deck is ideal for small gatherings or an outdoor furniture set.

A 12 ft x 16 ft deck

If you opt for a 12 x 16 deck, you’ll get more space for larger gatherings and patio furniture.

A 12 ft x 20 ft deck

This size is considered a large deck that is an optimal size for parties, grills, and other social events.

Determining Whether Or Not You Need A Permit To Build A Deck In Georgia

After deciding on the size, the next step is checking to see whether or not you need a permit to build your deck.

As a general rule of thumb, Georgia decks lower than 30 inches and under 200 square feet don’t require a permit. This rule stems from the classification of decks this size as more of a patio or porch.

However, while deck size and height are important for determining permit requirements, you should never go by these factors alone. Fortunately, Georgia residents have access to resources to help them ascertain the necessity of a permit for building their deck. is the official website for the state of Georgia. The website makes it possible for residents to access information about local government regulations, including construction codes and building permits.

Additionally, also features chat options and a call center for those who prefer to speak with a representative.

Obtaining A Permit For A Deck In Georgia

Contact Local Officials includes links to building permit information for Georgia’s most populous counties and cities. Residents are encouraged to contact their local city planning officials to apply for a building permit, if necessary.

Planning officials will ask you to provide information for the deck you are building, including but not limited to:

  • Blueprint of the proposed deck
  • Measurements of your yard and home 
  • Length, width, and height of the deck
  • The location of stairs, if applicable
  • Width of stairs, if applicable
  • A building material list
  • Guardrail height

Hire A Contractor To Build Your Deck

Another convenient option is to hire a contractor to install your deck. Contractors will be able to obtain any and all required permits.

Plus, experienced contractors are well-versed in the specific permit requirements of the city they serve. Therefore, many homeowners prefer this route as some Georgia counties are very meticulous in their construction codes and permit requirements.

For example, Atlanta County’s Municipal Code is quite specific about installations and repairs needing permits. Whereas, in Augusta County, you only need a permit if the total cost of the project’s materials is over $500.

What To Keep In Mind When Applying For A Permit To Build A Deck In Georgia

Regardless of how you pursue your permit application, it may take some time for officials to review and issue it. Therefore, it is wise to apply for a permit well in advance of when you wish to begin construction.

On average, you can expect a permit application for residential construction to take up to two weeks. Additionally, commercial construction permits may take up to four weeks to obtain.

How Much Does A Permit To Build A Deck In Georgia Cost?

Typically, the cost for a permit varies by county and city. However, sources say to expect a minimum fee of approximately $30 plus a $50 certificate fee.

The Risks And Consequences Of Building A Deck Without A Permit

Based on its size and local bylaws, you might need a permit for your deck construction. Should you begin construction without obtaining a permit through proper channels, you may be susceptible to consequences, such as:

  • Fines
  • Safety risks
  • Being ordered to have the deck torn down
  • Higher property taxes
  • Risk of injury without insurance coverage

Can I Get A Permit After The Deck Is Already Built?

No, it is not possible to get a retroactive deck permit if you built your deck without a proper permit. Therefore, you would still be liable to any of the penalties listed above.

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Related Questions

Will I need a permit to repair my deck?

This depends on the extent of the repair that will need to take place. You should reach out to a contractor or city planner to determine if the repair warrants a permit. Furthermore, you should get a deck inspection following repairs to ensure it is in a good, safe condition. 

How much will it cost to build a deck?

The price to construct a new deck ranges between $4,000 to 11,000. The average cost of a deck per square foot is $30 to $60, including materials and labor. So, for example, the estimated cost of a 12 ft x 12 ft deck is around $6,000, whereas the estimated cost of a 20 ft x 20-foot deck is about $8,800. 

What other residential projects require a permit in Georgia?

You need a permit whenever you intend to: construct, enlarge, move, or demolish a building or structure. Furthermore, you need permits to install or alter any plumbing, electrical, mechanical, or gas system.

Stacy Randall
Stacy Randall

Stacy Randall is a wife, mother, and freelance writer from NOLA that has always had a love for DIY projects, home organization, and making spaces beautiful. Together with her husband, she has been spending the last several years lovingly renovating her grandparent's former home, making it their own and learning a lot about life along the way.

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