Deck, Porch & Patio Specifications


Before any construction can begin, construction plans must be approved by the Department of Building and Safety. This requirement applies not only to new construction but also to work that physically alters a structure. It also covers any work regulated by the Michigan Building Code, Michigan Residential Code, and/or City Ordinance.

Decks, Porch or Patio Permits

  • All decks, porches, and patios must be built in accordance with the Michigan Residential Code.
  • All decks porches and patios require a building permit.
  • Guardrails are required on structures 30 inches above the floor or grade below and shall not be less than 36 inches in height.
  • Open side of stairs with a total rise of more than 30 inches above the floor or grade below shall have guards.
  • Guard openings on stairways, raised floor areas, balconies and porches shall have intermediate rails or ornamental closures which do not allow passage of a sphere four inches in diameter.
  • Stairs with four or more risers require a handrail installed 34 inches to 38 inches above tread nosing.
  • Stairs - the maximum riser height shall be 8 ¼ inches and the minimum tread depth shall be 9 inches. There shall not be a variance of more than 3/8 of an inch based on the smallest riser or tread.
  • Open risers shall not be constructed in a manner to allow a 4-inch sphere to pass between them.
  • Closed or solid risers require a nosing not less than ¾ of an inch or greater than 1 ¼ inches. Nosings are not required for stairs with a tread depth of 11 inches or more.
  • An open, unenclosed porch, paved patio, or terrace may project into a required front yard for a distance not exceeding ten feet.
  • Decks and porches with roofs shall be considered part of the principal building for purposes of determining setbacks.

Requirements for Permit Submittal

A completed application for a permit must be submitted. If the proposed project will have a roof/canopy over it, a long-form building application is required. Non-covered, unenclosed structure proposals may use the short form application.

A detailed plot plan showing all items on the property, including residence, garages, sheds, pools, driveways, walks, or any other items on the property.

All power lines must be shown. Distance/measurements from the deck, porch, patio to all items or structures adjacent to the proposed deck, patio, or porches must be provided.

A detailed drawing showing the following information: All lumber dimensions and types Post spacing - depth of posts or an approved anchoring process. Assembly techniques (screws, nails, bolts, etc.), sizes, and where they will be used. Handrail, stairway, guardrail details All elevations; all items shall be dimensioned.