In most communities, a building permit is required to build a deck. The main reason is to ensure the safety of anyone who uses the structure. There have been many unfortunate instances in which decks, stairs or railings that were built with poor design or materials have collapsed, causing injury or death. Most commonly in such cases, the required deck permit was not obtained. When a deck building permit isn’t obtained and something goes wrong, the homeowner is subject to civil and criminal penalties. It makes sense to obtain planning permission from the local building department, so the deck can be inspected as a means of protecting you and others.