Building a Deck

Wooden deck

Building permits are required for decks with the following exceptions:

  • Freestanding decks (decks not connected to a structure), regardless of size, do not require permits if they are not more than 30 inches above adjacent grade. Freestanding decks and decks that are not structurally attached to the dwelling do not require footings that extend below the frost depth.

Applying for a Permit

Submit an application and two sets of your building plans. Building permits for decks will typically be processed within 5 business days of receiving a complete set of plans.

Code Requirements & Important Information

View the Decks: An Overview of Permit and Code Requirements document (PDF).

Notice: This information is intended as a guide to the subject matter and is based in part on the 2015 Minnesota State Building Code and Hopkins City Ordinances. While every attempt has been made to insure the correctness of this information, no guarantees are made to its accuracy or completeness. Responsibility for compliance with applicable codes and ordinances falls on the owner or contractor. For specific questions regarding code requirements, refer to the Minnesota Building Code.


The Inspections Department will typically make two or three inspections of your deck during the course of construction. It is your responsibility to call for an inspection 1 to 2 days in advance of the time you need an inspection.

Inspection 1: Post Footings

At the time of the inspection, the holes should be dug and all loose material should be removed but no concrete should be poured. The inspector will check:

  • The depth of the footing and its width at the base
  • The location of the footings for compliance with the zoning ordinance

Inspection 2 & 3: Framing & Final

These can be combined into one inspection if the underside of the deck is fully visible, as would be the case with a bi-level home. If it's not possible to view the deck from below, the framing inspection should be made prior to decking being applied. The inspector will check:

  • The size and spacing of joists, beams and columns
  • The attachment to the dwelling including flashing, the type of fasteners and lumber being used
  • Setbacks

When the final inspection is made, the inspector will check:

  • The type of decking used
  • Railings, stairs, and landings