Decks, Patios, Porches, and Pergolas

The following information pertains to patios, decks, and porches. 

About Patios

Patios fall under the category of landscaping and do not typically need a building permit. By definition, a patio is a courtyard built directly on or in the ground that is often paved and adapted as a recreation area or for outdoor dining. A patio can be paved, bricked, tiled, or made of rocks. If a patio is to include an additional structure such as a pergola or a retaining wall greater than 4 feet, a permit will be required for those structures. Please contact the Planning and Development office if you need further clarification.  

About Decks and Porches

A deck, defined as a platform or structure typically made of wood that is constructed above the ground, requires a building permit. A porch is a deck that is fully or partially covered by a roof overhang extending from the adjacent house and also requires a building permit.

General Code Requirements

These are the code sections and requirements for basic decks, porches, and associated stairways set by International Residential Code 2015. For more complex deck, porch, and stairway projects, please call the Planning and Development Department for further assistance.

  • Protect the house from decay at the deck connection to a minimum of 6 inches above the deck floor (IRC Section 317)

Stairways (section R311.7.1)

  • 3/4 inches - 1 1/4 inches nosing required for solid risers (R311.7.1) 
  • 3 feet in clear width (R311.7.5.3) 
  • handrails may project 4 1/2 inches into the required width (R311.7.1) 
  • maximum rise 7 3/4 inches, minimum rise 4 inches (R311.7.5.1) 
  • minimum tread 10 inches, measured nosing to nosing (R311.7.5.2) 
  • landings for stairways (R311.7.6)

Guardrail and Handrails (sections R311.7.7 and R312)

  • handrail required when there are four or more risers (R311.7.8) 
  • handrail height 34 inches to 38 inches (R311.8.1) 
  • gripping portion, not more than 2 inches, cross-section (R311.7.7.3)
  • guardrail is required if the walking surface is greater than 30 inches above grade (R312.1.1) 
  • guardrail height, minimum 36 inches
  • construct guardrail such that a ball with 4 inches diameter cannot pass through any openings (R312.1.3) 

Electrical (NEC 2017)

  • The National Electrical Code (NEC 2017) requires the installation of lighting and properly installed GFCI electrical outlet(s) for new decks and porches.

Applying for a Building Permit

The following documentation must be submitted before a permit can be approved and issued.

  • Submit a completed Building Permit Application (PDF) and Support Statement (PDF).
  • Provide a Construction/Framing Plan for review or meet with the inspector to go over the proposed project.
  • Provide a Site Plan showing the location of the house with the deck, porch, or stairway addition highlighted and with setback dimensions from new structure to property lines.

Submit Your Application 

Application packets may be submitted in the following ways:

The Planning and Development office is located on the fifth floor of Lebanon City Hall. 

Our mailing address is:

Lebanon Planning and Development
City Hall, Fifth Floor
51 N. Park St.
Lebanon, NH 03766

Our business hours are Monday through Thursday, 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. We are closed on Fridays.