Answers to what you should be aware of...

Do I need a permit for a deck?


Most municipalities require one.

With a permit, the municipality will inspect the deck for compliance with the Ontario Building Code (OBC). This ensures a sound, safe structure which should last for decades. Unfortunately, not every deck builder understands the OBC, and while their workmanship may be excellent, the deck may be unsafe.

Building a Deck or Porch in Barrie

Zoning Standards For Decks And Porches

Location Minimum Distance from Lot Line
Front Yard 3m (9.8ft.)
Interior Side Yard 0.60m (2ft.)
Exterior Side Yard (Corner Lots) 1.5m (4.9ft.)
Rear Yard Deck 0.60m (2ft.) Deck
Rear Yard Porch 5m (16.4ft) Porch
Rear Yard (Coner Lots) 1m (3.2ft.)

Do I need a permit for a fence?

Building a Fence in Barrie

Is a fence required for a pools, spa or hot tub?

A pool or spa/hot tub capable of holding water with a depth greater than 0.45m (18") is required to be enclosed by a fence or in the case of a spa/hot tub may be protected by a cover to prevent the accidental drowning of small children.

Zoning Standards For Fences

Location Minimum Distance From Lot Line Maximum Height*
Front Yard 0.30m (1ft.) from front lot line only 1m (3.2ft.)
Interior Side Yard No Requirement 2m (6.5ft)
Exterior Side Yard (Corner Lots) 0.30m (1ft.) 2m (6.5ft)
Rear Yard No Requirement 2m (6.5ft)
Rear Yard (Corner Lots) 0.30m (1ft.) 2m (6.5ft)

* 0.30m (1ft.) setback required from all lot-lines which abut a street.
* Fence height is measured from the top of the fence, excluding posts, to the average grade height for a section of fence.

City of Barrie Building Services: 70 Collier Street, 8th Floor
Phone: (705) 739-4212 Fax: (705) 739-4240 E-mail:

What type of wood can I use for a fence or a deck?

Cedar is a natural outdoor wood that is easy to work with, resistant to twisting, cracking and shrinkage, and has a gorgeous colour. Cedar should be stained or painted every few years. This is our favourite material. Pressure treated wood is a cheaper material that has been chemically treated with special chemicals (that give it the distinctive greenish colour) to preserve the wood.

Most manufacturers of pressure treated wood warrant it against rot and damage by insects for 40 years. Unfortunately, this material is subject to twisting, cracking and shrinkage. Pressure treated wood however, needs little or no maintenance and will last 25 to 30 years. fencing

Hardwoods such as pau lope and Ipe (also known as Ironwood) are new to decks, becoming popular only in the last few years. They are extremely hard, resistant to wear, and very long lasting. They are however, hard to work with, and cannot be nailed. Every connection must be drilled and screwed, thus increasing labour costs. The end result, however, is usually spectacular.

Composites are not, strictly speaking, wood. They come in a variety of materials and from dozens of manufacturers. There is pure polystyrene, resin, reclaimed wood fibre, plastic, fibreglass, carbon fibre, wood fibre mixed with plastic, even steel framing. Manufacturers include Trex, forever wood, Nexwood, Ezdeck, Dexx, Endeck, and many more. We would be glad to discuss their relative merits.

How deep should footings for a deck be? For a fence?

4 feet for a deck, 3' 6" for a fence, at minimum.

How much does a deck cost?

Deck prices can vary over a considerable range: size, materials, complexity, details, difficulty in digging or gaining access; uneven terrain, ground conditions, removal of old decks, patios, bushes, landscaping, rocks or boulders; and weather. Even parking (how far away from the site) can affect the costs of a deck. An upper level deck with 12 to 16 steps can cost more than a lower level deck.

Railings, planters, benches, split levels, skirts, pergolas, type and direction of floor boards, whether the decking is screwed or nailed down, type of materials, size and shape.

We will be happy to come and give you an estimate.

Gerard Whelan

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