That is a good question, It depends on the situation. Here in the city of Woodstock there is several criteria that determine if you need to get a building permit.
If your deck height is less than 24" from finished grade. Is less than 108 Square feet. is not attached to your house. Than i building permit would not be required.
However, getting a permit and having it inspected is the only way to ensure your deck is built to minimum building code standards.
It is my opinion that the entire deck should be screwed together with the exception of the support beams. they need to be nailed together to form a single unit. and any joist hangers or other engendered connectors must either use an approved nail or screw. Do NOT use deck screws By screwing the lumber together with ACQ screws you will have far fewer squeaks. If the need to replace a deck board should arise, you will be able to do so in an easy manner. Nailing with an air nailer is faster and can be used on the under-structure to save some cost, but the deck boards should be screwed down.
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If you choose to build your own deck, or choose to have it built by someone, a permit should be obtained. If you do not, there could be problems down the road. If you sell your property, with any additional work done. a decent real estate agent or lawyer will find out that things were never inspected and may result in what you think was an asset into a liability.
If you’re living in a new home, The building inspector will be around for the next few years at different points. You may get caught. If you’re lucky you may be just asked to excavate your footings, to check the size and depth. If you’re not so lucky you may have remove the entire deck. A building permit will cost you $100.00 and will take five to ten business days to be issued, so plan ahead.
As a rule it should be attached to ensure that it remains stable. When one or more side is anchored to the wall, the deck should remain motionless. When a small amount of movement is given to the deck that is when things start to magnify. Just like an old wooden chair, eventually someone ends up on their butt.
However, if the deck is less then 24 inches off the ground it could be built on deck blocks to save some time and money. Keep in mind that a deck built in this manor will have movement due to the freezing and thawing of the ground. The farther away from your home the more frost there will be in the ground. Over Time you will see that the deck will tilt one way or another.