The following is a brief description of the deck building process. We have also written an article titled “Design Considerations” that we encourage you to read if you’re seriously considering building a deck.
Before considering any deck building project, you should determine what your budget is, make sure there are no zoning conflicts, and check with your Home Owners Association so you know their requirements.
The first step in the deck building process is to set a time to meet at the jobsite, preferably when both decision-makers are home. Although decks may look quite simple, no two decks are alike, materials vary considerably, every jobsite is different – thus we don’t give “general bids” over the phone without first seeing the property. A typical first meeting will take 1 ½ to 2 hours. Larger jobs may take more time.
The goal during the first meeting is to find out the scope of the project, including size, how the deck will be used, what materials you’re interested in, and do you want enhancements like lighting, grilling stations, fire pits, pergolas, etc. With simple projects, we are able to give immediate cost to construct.
For larger projects, we’ll schedule a second meeting and provide you with a “footprint” drawing of the proposed deck, along with the estimate, samples, and other materials. There is no fee for the estimate to this point. If additional designs are desired, including 3D drawings, we enter into a retainer agreement for these services.
After a contract has been signed, we then acquire a building permit. Permitting consists of two parts. First we draw a set of plans so the building department can verify the design and materials. The second part of the permitting process requires acceptance from the zoning department. Most projects require permits. It is the responsibility of the contractor, not the homeowner, to acquire the permit. This also places the liability on the builder and not the homeowner.
As the permit is being acquired, we also order materials so they can be staged and ready for delivery. During this period we often like to bring the crew leader to your home to see the project, meet homeowners, etc. It typically takes at least two weeks or more to look at a job, draft a contract, draft plans, acquire the building permit, and acquire materials.
Project durations vary depending on factors like deck size, height, access, weather, efficiency of the builder, number and type of accessories, and type of materials being used. Spring and the early summer months is the peak deck building season since most people want projects completed prior to the warm summer months so they can enjoy their newly built decks. Make sure you plan ahead if you want your deck completed early in the year so you don’t end up months out on a deck builder’s schedule.
We build decks year around. Although bad weather can impact a job, we don’t usually lose many working days to cold, snow, or rain. Wind is usually our biggest weather obstacle and is more prominent in the spring. The advantages of building a deck in the fall and winter months are that there aren’t usually material delays and lumber prices are usually less (lumber is a commodity, thus supply and demand dictate price).
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