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Timber decking is incredibly versatile, but before you install decking it is important to understand what rules and regulations you need to follow.

I don’t know about you but I love a well designed and built timber deck. Our customers regularly send us incredible photos showing how our anti slip timber decking has been used to transform gardens and other outdoor spaces. The range of colours, textures, structural properties and workability of different species makes timber the perfect material for anyone from architect and designers to the humble DIYer to express their imaginations.

Timber’s tried and tested durability and performance makes it the product of choice for any project. Timber decking looks equally fantastic as part of a simple ground level deck in a back garden, to more ambitious projects. A favourite of mine is the aerial walkway at the world renowned Eden Project, which has Gripsure decking used high above the canopy.

Before you get started with your decking installation, it is important to do some research and ensure you understand the rules and regulations.

Do I need planning permission for my new garden deck?

As with the majority of building and construction projects, most decking areas require planning permission before they are built. The majority of retrospective planning applications are rejected. If you do not have the correct planning permission, you could be ordered to dismantle your new deck.  Not having planning permission for a deck can also make the sale of property more complicated. It is therefore always worth checking whether your decking project will require planning permission. As a rule of thumb, planning permission will not need to be obtained if: 

  • The decking is lower than 300mm above ground level
  • The decking (along with all other extension, out houses and garden building) take up no more than 50% of the available garden space.

There are many circumstances which determine the need for planning permission, and whether that permission will be passed or declined including; elevation, proximity to a highway, and the effect the structure will have on neighbouring dwellings. Contact your local authority planning department so they can advise you on what you need to do.

What building regulations do I need to follow to install decking safely?

Building regulations are a set of standards to ensure that buildings and structures, including decking, are constructed in such a way that makes them safe for those who are using them. If your decking needs planning permission, you will also need to follow building regulations. You can find more details on these here. These regulations stipulate the types of materials that may be used in different situations and the construction method required to make sure the structure will be safe and fit for purpose. For commercial projects, the regulations also incorporate instructions on how to comply with the Disability Discrimination Act when incorporating changes in level in a public area.

What guidance should I follow to build a timber deck?

NHBC, the UK’s standard setter for new homes, has recently released technical guidance on the selection of timbers for the structural elements for timber balconies and terraces on new build properties. The Timber Decking and Cladding Association’s (TDCA) code of practice for raised timber deck structures on new homes gives guidance for new build homes. Both are also a great reference for anyone building a raised decking on an existing property.

The TDCA has also published a professionals’ manual for building and installing timber decks which gives general guidance and information regarding material selection, substructure design, and aftercare.

As always, when seeking guidance and advice ensure that the people offering it are qualified and experienced enough to do so. When it comes to planning and building an elevated deck platform it is crucial to get the legalities and design aspect of the structure right.