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Building a Raised balcony Deck - Ground level deck below - Planning permission, Building Control Regulations.

Interesting decking project that required Planning permission AND building regulations control.

There are many different interpretations with different local authorities as to what type of deck requires planning permission. Aspect taken into consideration include, the height of the deck, the volume of the deck structure and the rights to privacy to neighbouring properties. Some local authorities have a very relaxed - modern - attitude to deck structures. Others do not!

The main consideration for this particular deck, was that - together with other recent building works - it exceeded the 'volume' allowance for 'extensions'. The 'other' recent works included a car port - built several years ago!

High level balcony deck with staircase to lower deck. All stages of the high level deck were inspected more or less daily by the Building Controls Officers. It was a little of a novelty for them, as not too many decks in their jurisdiction had incurred their interest. The fact that the deck needed planning consent, meant that it automatically landed on the desk of the building regulations officers.

There were no problems throughout, and it is tr7ue to say that this particular deck was not constructed in any way different to other similar decks built by the same company. If you are building a raised deck, then it has to be serious work with safety in particular at the forefront of minds at all times.

The main 'interest' by the building regulations officers, was that of safe access and egress from the upper floor of the house. This involved ensuring that the structure was solid enough, and conformed with regulations about height of balustrade railings, the gap between all fittings of the balustrade, and the angle of the staircase together with height and tread of the individual stairs.

As I understand it, if the raised deck had simply been a free standing deck - not abutting the house nor giving access to or egress from the house, then the Building Controls Department would have no interest -  CHECK!

The Building Regulations for Deck Staircase.

For interest - please check these before you start any project, as regulations might have changed.

Upon inspecting the staircase, the building regulations officer simply walked up and down the stair, turned to me and smiled. "They are fine than you". I asked how he could be sure without measurement, and he stated that everything in the project had been done correctly, and in any event - he had walked up and down many thousands of staircases in his long career, and could tell by 'feel' if a staircase was just a few mm out or a degree or so at the angle! A professional.

Balustrade exit from the balcony deck to the staircase View of decking staircase and barrier at bottom General view of the decking project - Bacony deck, ground level deck and large staircase.

 Balustrades on the balcony deck Decking staircase that is subject to building control regulations

How we got to this stage! - See below 

Building regulations were required for this project. The fact that it was to be constructed at first floor level, involved structural and safety issues that had to fall within the scope of the Building regulations as described in the document K2.  This document/recommendations, lays down criteria for the height of balustrade hand rails, the gaps between spindles, and also the pitch and general construction of the staircase.

 There is also a construction issue, in that timbers must conform to various standards normally found in British Standards. Foundation holes also fell within the remit of the Building Inspectors - to ensure adequate support for the structure. There were no building regulations control required for the lower deck.

Planning permission was also required, for the simple reason that the balcony deck exceeded the volume allowance whereby planning permission is waived. (Other extension works had eaten into the 'allowance)

The construction images below, should be sufficient for anyone building this type of deck. If you have to scratch you head about any detail, then get a proper professional to do the work for you.

 The project prior to our starting the decking work   Holes dug through concrete in order to reach the base sub-soil down at 900mm! These two holes for the main support posts for rasised deck.

Holes for the support posts were excavated down to base subsoil  12 bags of concrete were required for each hole in order to satisfy the building control regulations in this case

Double timber deck bearer in place using two 8x2 structural timber joists. 

Detail of the bearer fixing and the laying of joist works.  The joist sub frame decks are well under way

View under the balcony deck showing the joist and bearers layout  General view of the site as decking gets underway

Staircase Construction

View from under the balcony deck, with stairway stringers placed in position  The prepared decking staircase stringers in place.

Treads inserted on the staircase to make out access easier to the balcony deck. Overhead shot of the high staircase from balcony to lower deck general side view of the staircase.

Balustrade details.

 The balustrades around the balcony have to be substantial The top rail for the balustrade from 6x2in joist timbers.

 The decking project all but finished.


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