Decks

A building permit is required if you're altering a deck that previously had a permit, if it's 24 inches or more above ground, or if it has a roof. The cost is $75.

Forms

You need a set of drawings and the following forms to make an application:

Requirements

Designer qualifications

Who may design a shed or detached garage:

  • an architect, professional engineer or qualified designer with Building Code Identification Number (BCIN) is permitted to take responsibility for the design
  • the homeowner is permitted to prepare and take legal responsibility for the design of a deck for their home, provided they understand and are willing to take responsibility for the applicable requirements of the Ontario Building Code
  • any person is permitted to prepare and take responsibility for the design of an unroofed deck 55 sq.m (592 sq.ft) in area or under, provided they understand and are willing to take responsibility for the applicable requirements of the Ontario Building Code

Drawings and documentation

Download an example of a deck drawing (PDF). Drawings you submit must include:

  • property survey of the lot showing the location of the existing structures for reference, the proposed deck and dimensions to all property lines (from the proposed structure)
  • manufacturer's information and approved engineered details for any aluminium, vinyl or glass guard system and/or composite deck material including guards that are combination of wood and aluminium
  • manufacturer's technical information and approved engineering torque calculations for helical piers
  • engineer's design is required if helical piers are supporting a roof
  • deck drawings include:
    • clear description of what is existing and what is proposed
    • plans show overall dimensions
    • height of deck from grade
    • joist size, span, spacing and overhang
    • beams size, span and overhang
    • pier diameter, depth and spacing
    • size and connection of ledger board
    • detail of connection of post to beam
    • connection of pier to post
    • stair dimensions showing or indicating rise, tread and handrail height
    • fully detailed guard rail including dimensions and connection of guard post to deck
    • type of lumber being used for structural components
    • size and type of material for deck board

Application process

Prior to submission, ensure that all necessary and applicable permissions and approvals are met.

A complete application must be submitted with all the required forms, documents and applicable drawings. Building permit fees (see below) are required at the time of submission. Additional fees such as development charges and parkland will be calculated and invoiced at permit issuance.  

In person

Bring forms and/or digital copies to the IPPW counter on the second floor of city hall. We're open 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday.

We accept cash, cheque payable to the City of Waterloo, or debit.

By mail

Send forms and/or digital copies and a cheque payable to the City of Waterloo to:

City of Waterloo 
Building Standards
100 Regina St. S.
PO Box 337 STN Waterloo
Waterloo, ON
N2J 4A8

By email 

Send digital forms to building@waterloo.ca (attachment limit is 10MB total). Submissions larger than 10MB can be uploaded through 2Big4Email.

Submit payment:

  • in person at the IPPW counter on the second floor of city hall (cash, cheque payable to the City of Waterloo, or debit accepted)
  • by mail - send cheque payable to the City of Waterloo to:

City of Waterloo 
Building Standards
100 Regina St. S.
PO Box 337 STN Waterloo
Waterloo, ON
N2J 4A8

Note that for email submissions, the permit application will not be accepted until payment is made.

Submission requirements

Digital copies are required for most permit applications. Digital copies are optional for decks, sheds and small residential renovations.

Digital files must be in PDF and complete with a digital signature with BCIN declaration and/or an architect/engineer stamp as applicable.

Submitted files must not be secured or password protected. Files must be extractable.

If submitting by email, send to building@waterloo.ca (attachment limit is 10MB total). Submissions larger than 10MB can be uploaded through 2Big4Email.

If submitting on a digital storage device, use a rewritable disk (DVD-RW or DVD+RW) or a USB memory stick.

Tips and contacts

Design tips and additional building code requirements

  • maximum overhanging of joists is 16" for 2x8 joists and 24" for joists 2x10 or larger
  • piers must be a minimum of 4'-0" deep - if piers are within 4'-0" of the home they must be as deep as the existing house footers to reach undisturbed soil
  • ledger boards must be at least the same size as the floor joists
  • decks 5'-11" or less above grade the guard is required to be 35" high
  • decks 5'-11" or greater above grade the guard is required to be 42" high
  • beams that bear off the house must be designed by a professional engineer
  • cedar is not a permitted lumber type for structural components of a deck (posts, beams, joists)
  • if wood boards are used as part of the guard system in place of pickets they must have a minimum thickness of 5/4"
  • fasteners used for joist hangers must be in accordance with the manufacturers specifications

Contacts

  • Ontario One Call locates any buried infrastructure on the property and will identify it safely for you, call 1-800-400-2255
  • Use our interactive map to determine how your property is zoned. For questions, contact our planning staff during business hours at 519-747-8752.
  • Grand River Conservation Authority must be contacted if you are constructing a covered deck within the floodplain. Check this map (PDF) to determine if you are in the floodplain.