Do you need a deck permit?
If your planned deck project has a height equal to or greater than two feet, you will need to apply for a permit. (Decks that are higher than 2' also require a railing that is at least three feet in height)
When it looks like the top of your ledger board is pretty close to 2', here are two methods to double-check.
Quick measure (ledger board height)
The fastest way to find out, get the height at both ends of your ledger board. You can do this by measuring from the grade (ground) straight up to the top of the ledger. Then add 1" or the thickness of your desired decking material. If any of the two ledger heights + decking is equal to or above 2', you will need a deck permit in Edmonton.
If your tallest measured height is less than two feet, it is often worth checking your deck's height at the corners furthest from your house.
This can be important because your backyard should be sloped away from your home. And this slope adds height to your deck the farther out it goes.
To keep things simple, let's assume you have a rectangular deck. It has four corners; if you measured the heights on all four corners, you would likely get four different measurements.
In the quick method, we found the heights for the two corners up against the house. Now we want to see the other two corner heights that are away from your home.
Far Corners (recommended)
You will need a string line, level, and tape measure.
Begin by attaching a string line to the top of a ledger board corner. Choose whichever side has a larger height. I like to use a nail or screw to hold the string in place. It allows me to pull tight.
Start pulling the string line out perpendicular towards the rear property line of your home. You will want to come out the same distance as your future deck. Next, raise the string up or down with your level as a guide. Once it is level, take your height measurement.
It's possible with one person, but more comfortable with two. Another option is to install a stake for the future deck corner. Then level your string and make a mark on the stake, which can be measured after.
Tip for holding a string line straight from the house
If you need to get a reference line that is square with your house. Tie one end of a string line to a stake up against the side of your house.
Pull the string line past the distance from your home needed. Our example was 8 feet. Give yourself a couple extra feet. Then slowly pull the line towards the house.
When it just touches, stake it. This will give you a straight line that is square with your home.
This reference line is especially useful when you have many angles and huge decks. Another technique is the 3:4:5 triangle.