Decks, Porches & Swimming Pools

Decks & Porches

Decks and porches are raised floors that are level with or below the first story of a house, supported by a structural frame and without a roof. The difference between them is that a porch provides access to a building's primary entrance. NYC Building Code §3300 governs construction safety and applies to decks and porches. If either is built with a roof, the structure may then be considered an additional room – and different zoning rules and NYC Construction Codes provisions could apply. Water can add substantial weight, so never place any pool on a deck or porch, unless it has been structurally engineered to support the extra load.

Plans & Permits

Construction may only begin after the Department approves construction plans and issues permits for a deck or porch. Only an NYS licensed professional engineer (PE) or registered architect (RA) may design them.


  • Deck & Balcony Depth: Up to 8 feet from the building into the rear yard. NYC Zoning Resolution and NYC DOB TPPN 4/03
  • Distances to Property Lines: At least 3 feet between the sides of the deck or porch and the property line
  • Safety Railings: At least 42 inches high
  • Railing/Post Spacing: Spaces between the rails and/or posts may be no more than 5 inches.
  • Bracing: Required at column and beam connection for elevated decks and porches
  • Floor Loads: Support at least 40 lbs. per sq. foot
  • Anchorage: Use proper anchors, not nails.
  • Materials: Combustible materials, such as wood, are not permitted within 3 feet of lot lines or in multiple dwelling buildings.
  • Storage: Not allowed below a deck or porch

Swimming Pools

All pools installed in New York City must follow the City's safety and quality-of-life standards. The Construction Codes – specifically §3109 of the NYC Building Code – outline the construction requirements. Other City agencies may also regulate pools depending upon, for example, the property's location, landmark status or zoning.

Plans & Permits

The Department requires work permits to install a pool for any building or property. However, there are limited exceptions, such as for some above-ground pools and shallow wading pools, among others. To determine if a proposed pool must have a work permit, speak with a P.E. or R.A. or contact a Department borough office manager.


Once the Department has issued the permit, a contractor licensed by the Department of Consumer Affairs or the homeowner may perform the work. Contractors must meet the Department's and New York State Workers' Compensation Board's insurance requirements. Homeowners who construct their own pools must receive a waiver of the insurance requirements from the borough commissioner where the property is located before beginning work.

NYC Building Code §3109.3 – §3109.5.4.7 outline the technical requirements to construct pools, including:

  • Electrical precautions
  • Disability access
  • Materials
  • Wall and bottom slopes
  • Ladders and handholds
  • Walkways
  • Depth markings
  • Diving boards and towers
  • Fences, gates and locks
  • Overhead clearance

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