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Replacing a 2 Story Deck

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Posted by: from Lisle
2/3/2019 at 7:56:39 PM

I would like to replace a 2 story deck. I believe I need an architect's drawing. Should I do this myself or is it better to have the contractor do this.

REPLIES (7)
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Date/Time2/3/2019 at 9:59:53 PM

The question to ask before the question of architects drawings is 'do I need a building permit?' It's possible if you are replacing an existing deck (like for like) you might not need any permits; however best to check. Permit or not you will still be required to meet Code.

Drawings prepared by an architect are required for more complex structures but typically not for a residential deck however it's your choice. Contractors may or may not have the ability to provide quality drawings - you could ask to see a sample of their drawings if they are offering that service. Proper detailed drawings are a good idea when hiring a contractor and will help to work through all the details in advance and avoid potential conflict.

Details to watch for (aside from structure) are how the railing posts are secured to resist the lateral forces prescribed in the Building Code.

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Date/Time2/4/2019 at 7:02:04 AM

Hi Isabel

Your best bet would be to get BCIN designer to

do up your drawings( Building Code Identification Number ) in your area. Sometimes they work independently sometimes through a Architect's office. They can provide you with demolition & building drawings that you can present to your local building office usually without any problems.

This should cost you about $ 750.00 or less.

You can do them yourself , but unless you know the code very well be prepared for some delays. Replacing a deck one for one is fine without a permit but as soon as you change the size and especially if it's a 2 story one

getting a permit would protect you in the future if something was to happen.

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Date/Time2/4/2019 at 10:24:27 AM

From what I've heard, when a set of applications and drawings come across the dest of the municipality permits desk, they will always process the permits of agencies first. Likely because, they know it will be a quick approval/denial, as these agencies are proficient in supplying all necessary documents, and they can process them with ease. Once they've processed all professional applications, they move on to the DIY ones. Of these, they'll start with the most organized ones, and work through to the 'sloppy' ones. You can technically submit a crayon drawing on a cocktail napkin as long as it's to scale, just expect it to go to the bottom of the pile.

If it's not an expedited project, you certainly can produce your own drawings. Infact, theres lots of computer programs available online that can assist you. If you decide to do it on your own, make sure it's neat, to scale, and you're using the proper legend symbols to convey your project. Make sure you read up on what your township code applications require, and do some reading to make sure you're handing in all required documents with your first submission. Missing documents can stall a project for a long time.

Hope this helps, and thanks for reading.

- Chris

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Date/Time2/4/2019 at 12:43:13 PM

There's no reason you can attempt to submit your own drawings for permit approval, however, most areas will require a deck at this height to have engineered drawings submitted which will require a structural engineer - not an architect. Drawings range in price from $500 - $2000 CAD

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Date/Time2/4/2019 at 1:24:02 PM

In addition to the other comments, I would like to see a little more information. If you are removing the entire structure or just upgrading the decking and railing, that is different from replacing the deck. The former, if the framing and structure are not an issue, then you are not replacing the deck, just doing an upgrade. If you are replacing the entire structure, different scenario. It requires a building permit. You can do the drawing yourself, showing size, height, railings, pilings, and other supports. Also, type of material being used. It isn't difficult, you just need to be accurate and fairly precise. The Building permit will be approved, only if it meets the standard building code. If in doubt, call your local building inspection office and they can assist you.

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Isabel in Lisle
Date/Time2/4/2019 at 1:56:55 PM

It is on a 6plex so the deck is for the ground floor main entrance to one unit and second exit for 2 units on the second floor. The metal saddles for the posts are rusting. I will need a building permit for sure and as the old decking is greater than 20 years old I don't think it would meet current building code. The old decking will need to be removed entirely and the new one installed as quickly as possible so it would need a bigger company not just a guy or two. Your responses have been very helpful.

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Date/Time2/5/2019 at 5:19:27 PM

Good to hear you appreciate the suggestions & that you will be pulling a permit.

I've inspected several similar reconstruction projects which went horribly wrong - contractor was paid in full - owners later learned there were countless mistakes (incorrect railing heights, no slope to vinyl decking, incorrect lapping of membranes, no saddles for posts, uneven riser height, etc., etc.)

Suggest in your agreement with your contractor that you don't pay in full til it passes inspection.

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