X.I. Decks

  1. Written permission from GHI is required for all decks. A deck is distinguished from a patio by the use of structural members to directly support the flooring material. Location and construction plans must be submitted for approval to the Technical Services office. Structures may not be built over buried utilities, and permission is contingent on determination that no buried utilities are located where the new structure is to be built.
  2. All work must be installed in a workmanlike manner and in accordance with current building codes for Prince George's County and the City of Greenbelt.  County and City permits are required for all decks.
  3. All wood in contact with or within twelve (12) inches of the ground must be pressure preservative treated. Other exterior  wood members must be decay and termite resistant, such as pressure preservative treated wood (CCA, thirty [30] years) or redwood. Composite material, primarily from approximately equal parts of hardwood sawdust and polyethylene, polypropylene, or vinyl plastic, is acceptable for decking and railings, however not for framing or structural members unless listed for said structural use by the manufacturer and specifically allowed by current building code(s) in force.  Composite material must be installed according to manufacturer's instructions and applicable codes.  (Products made from at least 50% recycled materials are encouraged.)
  4. Footings shall be concrete, not less than fourteen (14) inches in diameter and not less than thirty (30) inches deep.
  5. Railings: A thirty six (36) inch railing is required at portions of a deck that is thirty (30) inches or greater above finished grade.
  6. A deck covered with a solid, weatherproof roof is considered to be a porch or an accessory structure.  It shall be subject to all applicable GHI regulations for porches. additions, or accessory structures including but not limited to the following:
    1. Placement
    2. Size
    3. Neighbor Approval Requirements
    4. Gutters and Downspouts
    5. Roof Style
    6. Materials
    7. Addition Maintenance Program
    8. Required Building Permits
  7. Uncovered decks are subject to the following size limitations:
    1. Service side: Not larger than that allowable for a serviceside addition.
    2. Garden side: Not larger than one-third (1/3) the area of the total garden side yard minus the area of any gardenside addition, based upon gross areas of the deck and the yard.
    3. End side:  Not larger than one-third (1/3) the area of the total end yard minus the area of any end side addition, based upon gross areas of the deck and the yard.
    4. The allowable size of an uncovered deck shall be reduced by the size of any existing or proposed addition.
  8. Decks shall not be constructed on or over a swale, or so as to interfere with a swale, downspout, or other drainage feature. Because not all drainage flows are immediately apparent, careful consideration must be given when planning placement of a deck; consultation with GHI Technical Staff is recommended.  The member shall be responsible to correct all drainage problems subsequently caused by deck placement.  GHI is not responsible for damage caused to a deck placed over a swale when the swale must be repaired.
  9. Decks shall not be located so as to create inaccessible yard areas. Where fences are to be relocated as part of a deck project, such location shall be indicated on the plans submitted for GHI permit.
  10. Where two adjacent decks are a similar elevation, permission may be granted to erect a privacy sreen.  Any such screen shall comply with  other requirements for privacy screens stated in Section VIII.