How To Build a Deck in Australia

When it comes to building a deck, the most important things to keep in mind are that you plan properly, seek permission and meet all of the Australian safety standards. This way, your deck will not only look amazing, but it’ll be safe to use for years to come. Check out our deck building steps below.

Australian standards deck building

1. Get the right permits

The first thing you’ll need to do before building a deck is to speak with your local council about whether or not a permit is required. In a lot of cases, most projects will be allowed as long as they don’t impact the privacy of neighbours or are not over an existing easement.  

2. Plan

Next up comes the planning phase. This is important because it will help you to list all of the materials you need, and provide an outline of the entire process so you can stay on track. To start, you’ll need to decide on which material you will use, timber or composite planks.

Traditional timber is readily available and slightly cheaper, offering a great visual finish. While composite decking can cost slightly more, looks great and is extremely durable. It also comes with a 25 year warranty for peace of mind and in return makes a great investment.  

Following this, you’ll need to draw up a design that factors in your specific needs and any restrictions in terms of space. Think about what the deck will be used for, how big it needs to be and what shape will work best. You’ll also need to calculate how deep your holes will need to be for bearers and stumps etc. 

Finally, grab all of the important bits and pieces that will be used to bring everything to life:

  • Hand or powered saw
  • Electric drill and bits
  • Chisel
  • Spanners
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Measuring tape
  • Screwdriver
  • Square
  • Shovel
  • Hammer
  • Wood and metal stakes
  • Spirit level
  • String line 


3. Measure and set out your deck

Once the planning is complete, you can begin to measure out your deck, making sure you subtract the thickness of the chosen decking boards, joists and bearers to obtain the required height of your deck. Now hammer star-pickets in the ground and run string lines around the perimeter of your deck area making sure everything is square to the house using the 3-4-5 method.

Look over your design plan to determine how far your stamps will need to be positioned. Measure and mark where each stump will need to go using builders marking spray paint. 

4. Install stumps and bearers

This process involves a few steps but isn’t too difficult. Grab a shovel and start by digging holes for the stumps where you have spray painted markings. Remember to dig to the required depth, which will be outlined in your plans and permits. When this has all been done, organise for an inspector to check everything off before you begin installing the stumps.

Install your stumps first to the perimeter and secure them in. Run string lines from your perimeter stumps in the direction you intend to run your bearers. This will make sure the remaining stumps are in a straight line. Install the rest of the stumps to the string line. Cut the stumps to the correct height. Remember to subtract the thickness of the decking, bearers and joists. Sit your bearers on top of the stumps and securely fix them down. 

Continue the entire process above with all the stumps and bearers. Once set overnight, remove the support posts and back-fill the holes with soil.

5. Fit and install the joists

Start by marking the wall plate and the outside bearer in 450mm increments. Snap a chalk line between your 450mm marks to mark the other bearers and install the joists to these lines. 

6. Position and lay the decking

Last of all, it’s time to lay the actual decking. You’ll firstly need to cut the decking material to the correct size. From there, line up the first piece and secure it using a fastener and drill. Then, all you have to do is position the second piece of decking, secure it, and keep going with each consecutive piece until your deck is finished. 

Australian standards for deck building

For more information on how to build a deck and the Australian standards for deck building, feel free to get in touch with our friendly team. At Melbourne Decking, all of our carpenters are fully trained, licensed and insured, working to the highest standards and requirements. Contact us today to find out more.

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