Planning Your Deck Installation: What You Need to Know About Local Building Codes

Shane Chapman / Backyard Building Expert

Shane Chapman

Backyard Building Expert

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Building a deck in your backyard can dramatically enhance your home's outdoor living space. However, understanding and adhering to local building codes is crucial to ensure the safety and legality of your construction. If you're a homeowner in Saskatoon or Regina looking to undertake a deck-building project, it's essential to familiarize yourself with the specific requirements laid out by local authorities.

In this article, we are going to explore the importance of local building codes, which are not just bureaucratic formalities but safeguards that ensure your deck is sturdy, safe, and a lasting addition to your home. We'll guide you through the key building codes that apply specifically to deck construction in our regions and detail the permit process, ensuring you know exactly what needs to be done before you start building. 

Moreover, we'll cover common pitfalls many homeowners encounter when dealing with building regulations. Our aim is to equip you with the knowledge and confidence to navigate these requirements smoothly, transforming your understanding of what can often seem like a daunting aspect of home improvement projects.

Understanding the Importance of Local Building Codes

When we plan to embellish our homes with new decks or patios, understanding local building codes is not just about following rules—it's about ensuring safety, durability, and legality in the construction process. Local building codes are essential guidelines that serve to protect residents from potential hazards caused by improper construction. These codes dictate specifics, such as how deep your footings need to be to withstand frost and how high your railings should be to prevent accidents.

Moreover, adhering to these codes not only ensures that your deck will be safe to use season after season but also prevents potential legal issues that could arise from non-compliance. If a deck or patio is found to be non-compliant with local codes, it might be necessary to reconstruct significant portions, leading to more expenses and time consumption. Thus, by understanding and following these codes from the start, we help you save money and time and ensure your peace of mind.

Key Building Codes for Deck Construction in Saskatoon and Regina

In Saskatoon and Regina, there are specific codes that we must adhere to when constructing decks. Let's lay out some of the fundamental building codes that apply to our deck-building projects:

1. Foundation and Footing Requirements:

- Footings must be deep enough to extend below the frost line; this depth can vary within our regions but generally ranges from 48 inches to 54 inches.

- We use either poured concrete or pre-formed concrete footings, ensuring they can bear the load and stresses from Saskatchewan's variable weather conditions.

2. Deck Height and Railing Regulations:

- Any deck higher than 24 inches above ground requires a railing to prevent falls, ensuring safety for everyone, especially children.

- Railings must be at least 36 inches high for residential decks.

3. Beam and Joist Specifications:

- Beams and joists must be sized and spaced according to the deck's dimensions and the weight it will support, including furnishings and occupancy.

- The use of pressure-treated wood or other durable materials is required to withstand moisture and decay.

By keeping these guidelines in mind, we ensure that every deck project we undertake is built to last and complies with all local safety standards. This commitment not only enhances the usability and aesthetics of your outdoor space but also significantly increases your home’s value.

Navigating the Permit Process: A Step-by-Step Guide

Embarking on a deck-building project involves more than just picking the right materials and tools; it also requires adhering to specific legal stipulations like obtaining the necessary permits. Here, we break down the permit process to help ensure your deck project in Saskatoon or Regina is not only beautiful but also fully compliant with local regulations. Obtaining a permit might seem daunting, but it’s a crucial step for ensuring the safety and legality of your build.

Firstly, visit your local building department’s website or office. They provide the specific applications and list of documents you’ll need. Typically, this includes detailed plans of your proposed deck, including its dimensions and distance from property lines. Next, submit your application along with any required fees. It’s important to provide accurate and detailed information to avoid delays. After submission, there will be a review process where a city planner or inspector may suggest amendments. Once approved, you receive your permit, and it’s essential to keep it displayed at the construction site. Remember, the permit process is in place to ensure that your deck is safe and adheres to all structural standards.

Common Pitfalls to Avoid When Complying With Building Codes

Building codes can be tricky, especially for first-time builders. Awareness of common pitfalls can significantly streamline your project and ensure you remain on the right side of local regulations. One major mistake is underestimating the importance of checking zoning laws, which can lead to illegal construction if your deck does not conform to area specifications. Also, using incorrect materials or fasteners that don’t meet the required standards could compromise the deck's integrity and safety.

Avoid bypassing the importance of structural supports like joists and beams spaced at the proper intervals. Overlooking these can lead to a weak deck structure, risking collapse. Always ensure that every aspect of your deck, from the railing height to the stair width, is in line with local codes, as inspectors are stringent about these details. Staying informed, meticulous planning and regular consultations with local building authorities can effectively prevent these common compliance issues, ensuring your deck is built to last and legally sound.


Building a deck is a fantastic way to enhance your outdoor living space and the beauty of your home. By understanding the vital aspects of composite decking, the tools needed, the proper steps for installation, and the importance of adherence to local building codes and permits, you are well on your way to successfully completing your project. We are committed to assisting you every step of the way, from choosing the right materials to understanding the nitty-gritty of legal requirements.

If you’re ready to transform your backyard into a delightful retreat or a hub for your social gatherings, don’t hesitate to contact us at The Ultimate Deck Shop. We offer a vast selection of high-quality decking tools and materials and provide expert advice to make your DIY deck project a smooth and fulfilling experience. Start your journey toward an incredible outdoor space today!

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About the Editor...

Shane Chapman // Backyard Building Expert

Shane Chapman, President and Co-Founder of The Ultimate Deck Shop, is a seasoned expert in the deck building industry. A former award winning deck builder (Fresh Decks), he now leads Canada’s top destination for backyard building materials.

Shane is committed to simplifying the shopping experience, providing exceptional customer service, and empowering both DIYers and professionals with his expert advice.

Get in touch with Shane to connect, collaborate or ask questions at LinkedIn.