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Before Building a Deck

Contacting Building Departments

Material Deliveries

When ordering deck building materials, you will more than likely be asked for a drop off point or location the truck can unload them. Where the materials are dropped off on the property in relationship to where the deck is being built plays a big part on ease of construction. Having the shortest distance possible to and from the materials and work area is paramount for a quicker and less tiresome job. In addition, being able to spread out the pile of lumber once it's dropped off will help later when trying to go through the pile and locate the right board or boards to use.

Preparing for the Mess

As with any construction project there will always be some cleanup and minor details needed at the end of the project. Thinking that a deck will be built with little disturbance to the surrounding area is usually wishful thinking at best. Just the constant walking back and forth during construction to gather materials and tools is enough to eventually ware a path in and ruin grass areas. Sawdust, bent nails and pieces of lumber will be scattered around during construction making the entire area look like worst than it really may be. As with most home improvement projects, these are relatively minor issues in comparison to the entire construction process. Not even the best of builders will be able to clean up every little piece of debris. Knowing what to expect will hopefully keep these issue in perspective and put your mind at ease.

Blocking off the Work Area

Should you decide to build a deck or have one built for you, block off any doors that open to the deck and work area. Always limit access to the construction site, materials and equipment by roping off or restricting access to the areas. Taking the necessary precautions will greatly reduce the chance of sustaining an accidental injury.

Buried Utility Lines

Don't take an unnecessary risk by digging footings without knowing if any underground utility lines exist in and around the work area. You could be making a costly or even a deadly mistake. Plan ahead and call the Underground Facility Protection Organization (UFPO) and local utility companies. The UFPO is a free service and calling them for a mark-out has become law in many states. You will also be required to contact any other local utility companies that are not contacted by the UFPO. They will usually require a few weeks advanced notice.

Other pipes and buried objects

On any given property there may be a network of underground lines that property owner may not be aware of. Knowing where lines exit the house can play a big part in avoiding issues during construction. Lawn irrigation, sprinkler heads, buried pipes for drainage particularly for leader pipes are often in the way for deck projects and almost impossible to located. In usually best if the homeowner discusses this with the builder prior to having any work done.

Septic Systems

Another important consideration before building a deck is the location of a underground septic systems and waste lines. Excavating near lines and tanks are always a concern and building a deck above a tank is usually prohibited. If a system exists in the proposed deck area, you would want to check if a schematic drawing for the system exists. The diagram may show the locations and depth of tanks, lines and leach fields at the time the system was installed. The town municipal building or environmental agency may also have a copy on record.

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