Exterior decks are often subject to permits and inspection. Specifically if the deck is 30” above the ground or more a permit is required. The construction of a deck is regulated in the building codes. The same principles of construction that are used in a home apply to the deck. Newer codes require footings to be below frost line, to be of adequate size and strength, for framing to be of materials intended for contact with the ground and for weather protection, for the attachment of the deck to the home of adequate strength, and the framing of the deck to be of adequate and suitable sized and spaced materials for a live loads and dead loads as may be appropriate to the area of construction. Since our snow load is higher than the normal live load it must be used for the live load (70#/SF). Dead load shall be 15#/SF. Included stairs, railings, handrails etc. are also subject to the code provisions. Contact the Building Official for further guidance.
Decks that are less than 30” above the ground do not require guard rails, however, they can be installed as a choice. Guards and railings for these unregulated decks are not subject to the code provisions.