Land Development Services

Fairfax County, Virginia

CONTACT INFORMATION: Regular hours for calls and emails are 8 a.m. – 4 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and 9:15 a.m. - 4 p.m. on Friday.

703-324-1780
TTY 711

12055 Government Center Pkwy
Fairfax, VA 22035

Bill Hicks,
Director

Decks

Deck on back of home

La Voz del Condado de Fairfax

Liliana Rios discusses building a deck in Fairfax County on WUST Radio (1120 AM).

This information is the most common for how to obtain the necessary permits for your project and is not representative of all the conditions you may encounter.

PERMITS

You will be required to obtain a residential addition building permit to construct a deck or to make alterations to an existing deck. If you are installing new outlets or lighting other than low voltage lighting, you will be required to obtain an electrical permit. Wood patios constructed directly on the ground (no post and beam construction) do not require a building permit.

Fees vary depending on the scope of your project; use the online fee estimator to help determine your costs.

TYPICAL DECK DETAILS

Typical deck construction plans are available from Fairfax County that can be used instead of a plan submission if your deck qualifies as noted below.  A site related plan is still required to be submitted for review.

  • Residential, single level.
  • 18 feet maximum joist span.
  • No hot tub, sunroom, screen porch or roof.

Building Plans

When applying for a permit the plans must meet or show the following, if applicable:

  • Minimum scale of ¼ inch = 1 foot; fully dimensioned.
  • Minimum sheet size: 8 ½ x 11 inches.
  • Code year and local design criteria used for the design.
  • Name, address and occupation of the designer.
  • Footing details including depth below grade (footing depth is 24 inches).
  • Framing plan (bird’s eye view) of the size, spacing and length of all posts, joists and beams.
  • Guard details.
  • Stair and handrail details.
  • Details of all connections.
  • Hot tub weight requirements, if applicable.
  • Decking or guards composed of foreign lumber or plastic must be evaluated by an authorized listing agency.

Most plan requirements listed are not necessary if you agree to use typical deck drawings. You may also draw your own framing plan and supplement your design with elements from the typical drawings.

Using An Unique Material or Product?

You must reference its evaluation report from a nationally recognized listing agency, such as ICC-ES, certifying it meets the requirements of the building code. This is required for products such as composite decking materials or engineered guardrail systems.

House Location Plat

When applying for a deck permit, a site related plan is required to be submitted for review, in most cases a House Location Plat is acceptable.  Please refer to Submitting House Location Plats for details.

Miss Utility

Before you begin excavating for your project, you must first call Miss Utility at 811, TTY 711. Miss Utility is a free service that marks underground utilities.

Inspections

You must notify the county when construction on your project reaches a stage that requires inspection. See the Inspections Timing Checklist below. The county approved site-related plan and building plans must be available on the jobsite. Any special equipment necessary to perform the inspection, such as ladders, scaffolding, or testing equipment, must be on site. For more information on inspection procedures, visit the inspections operational status page. Schedule, cancel or modify an inspection through FIDO or use the Fairfax County smartphone app.

Inspection

Permit

Requirements

Footing

Residential Addition

  • Footing holes are dug and ledger board is attached.

Framing  

Residential Addition

  • Posts, beams and joists are installed. (Not required if the deck is 48 inches or more above the ground.)

Final

Residential Addition

  • All remaining items are installed.

 

How to Ensure Safety of Your Deck

The safety of your deck depends on the quality of the workmanship during the building process. Learn more about deck safety from Building Official Jay Riat.

Fairfax Virtual Assistant