Setback Rules under Tamilnadu Combined Development and Building Rules

In Tamil Nadu, the implementation of the Tamil Nadu Combined Development and Building Rules, 2019 has consolidated various rules that were previously enforced by different authorities. These new rules are applicable throughout the state, except in cantonment areas.

Under the new rules, the development regulations have introduced a set of updated planning parameters for both residential and commercial buildings, taking into account the height of the structure. These planning parameters include factors such as minimum road width, floor space index (FSI), and setback spaces. However, it’s important to note that the regulations for buildings with a height of up to 18.30 meters differ from those for buildings exceeding this height.

In this article, we will focus on one crucial planning parameter: setback spaces for buildings with a height of up to 18.30 meters.

What are setback spaces?

“Setback spaces,” as defined in the Tamil Nadu Combined Development and Building Rules (TNCDBR), 2019, refer to the open areas located at the front, sides, or rear of a plot. These spaces exist between the building and the street alignment or the boundary of the plot, depending on the specific situation. The dimensions of setback spaces are determined by factors such as the height of the proposed building, the width of the plot, and the width of the abutting road.

Why Setback Spaces?

“Setback spaces,” as defined in the Tamil Nadu Combined Development and Building Rules (TNCDBR), 2019, refer to the open areas located at the front, sides, or rear of a plot. These spaces exist between the building and the street alignment or the boundary of the plot, depending on the specific situation. The dimensions of setback spaces are determined by factors such as the height of the proposed building, the width of the plot, and the width of the abutting road.

Most importantly, Step Back Spaces have a bearing on the floor area that can be constructed.

Because, though a Floor Space Index (FSI) of 2 is allowed for Non High Rise Buildings, it can be achieved only after providing for Set Back Spaces.

Set Back Spaces are essential for Building Plan Approval for a healthy and organised community life.

  1. Safety: Setbacks ensure that buildings are set back from roads, walkways, or neighboring properties to maintain a safe distance. This helps prevent accidents, provides space for emergency access, and promotes a safe environment for pedestrians and vehicles. . In times of emergency, the open space around the building will aid the movement of fire tenders. Also, Set Back Space may prevent a fire from spreading to neighbouring buildings.
  2. Ventilation and Lighting: Setbacks allow for adequate airflow and natural lighting around buildings. They prevent overcrowding and allow sunlight to reach the surrounding areas, improving ventilation and reducing the risk of dampness. Neighbours will also continue to enjoy light, ventilation.
  3. Aesthetics: Setbacks play a role in maintaining a harmonious streetscape and preserving the overall visual appeal of an area. They help create a sense of openness, prevent a continuous wall of buildings, and provide green spaces or landscaping between structures.
  4. Privacy: Setbacks help maintain privacy for adjacent properties by ensuring a suitable distance between buildings. They prevent buildings from encroaching on neighboring properties and maintain a sense of privacy for residents.

Therefore, the applicant for building plan approval should always adhere to the norms for setback spaces as approved in the plan.

Norms for Setback Spaces

Non-high-rise and High-rise buildings

The new guidelines are introduced for setback spaces in the approval of building plans. These norms vary depending on whether the buildings are classified as non-high-rise or high-rise.

For non-high-rise buildings, there are two sets of guidelines. The first set applies to buildings with up to 16 dwelling units or up to 300 square meters of commercial space, while the second set applies to buildings exceeding 16 dwelling units or 300 square meters of commercial space. The specific details for each category are provided below.

1.Setback Spaces for Non-High Rise Buildings with up to 16 Dwelling Units or up to 300 Square Meters of Commercial Space:

Front Setback

Abutting Road Width Front Setback

Up to 9.00 Meters

1.5 Meters

More than 9.00 Meters to 18 Meters

3.0 Meters

More than 18.00 Meters to 30.5 Meters

4.5 Meters

Above 30.5 Meters

6.00 Meters

Side Setback

Height of the Building

Plot Width

Side Setback

Up to 7 Meters

Up to 9 Meters

1 Meter on One Side or 2 Meter on One Side

Above 9 Meters

1 Meter on Either Side

More than 7 Meters Up to 12 Meters

Up to 6 Meters 

1.0 Meter on One Side

Above 6 Meters Up to 9 Meters

1.5 Meter on One Side

Above 9 Meters

1.5 Meters on Either Side or 3 Meters on One Side

Rear Setback

Height of the Building

Rear Set Back

Up to 7 Meters


More than 7 Meters up to 12 Meters

1.5 Meters

2) Set Back Spaces for Non-High Rise Buildings exceeding 16 dwelling Units or exceeding 300 square meters of commercial building:

Front Set Back

Abutting Road Width

Front Set Back

From 9 meters upto 18 meters

3.0 Meters

More than 18 Meters Upto 30.5 Meters

4.5 Meters

More than 30.5 Meters

6.0 Meters

Side Set Back/Rear Set Back

Height of the Building

Side Set Back/Rear Set Back

Up to 7.0 Meters

1.0 Meters

More than 7.0 Meters up to 12 Meters

1.5 Meters

More than 12.0 Meters up to 16.0 Meters

2.5 Meters

More than 16.0 Meters up to 18.30 Meters

3.0 Meters

Structures Allowed in Setback Spaces for Non-High Rise Buildings:

  1. Sun-shades not exceeding 0.6m.
  2. Motor rooms of an area not exceeding 2 sq. m. each and a height not exceeding 1.8m, without affecting parking and driveway requirements.
  3. In the case of Non-High-Rise Buildings with a height of up to 9.0m, open single-flight or spiral staircase or open double-flight staircase so long as such structure does not fall within 0.50 m from the side boundary or 1 m from the rear or front boundary of the site or street alignment.
  4. A compound wall of a height not exceeding 2.0m
  5. Watchman booth not exceeding 2.5m.x 2.5m x 2.5m in size at each gate and a height not exceeding 3m.
  6. Gate pillars without or with arches with a min. headroom clearance of 5.50m are available at least to a width of 3.5m.
  7. Meter rooms for meter boxes or electrical panels along the boundary wall or external walls of the building with the projections not exceeding 0.60 meters from the abutting walls and the open transformer without affecting parking and drive way, subject to the safety measures stipulated by the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board


By adhering to the setback space norms outlined in the TNCDBR, we can ensure compliance with regulations and contribute to the creation of safe and well-planned communities.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to be legal or financial advice. Readers are advised to do their own independent research and consult with professionals before making any decisions based on the information in this article-Edit







  1. Muralikanthan avatar

    Hello….I have purchased two EWS plots next to each other. it is under GCC limit and is RERA approved plots. could you tell me whether I can combine both the plots (I get 1200 sq.ft. when I combine) and construct one house. what are the setback limit that I need to check on a 9 meter road. is there any FSI rule applicable ?

  2. Gopinath avatar

    I have purchased a plot at potheri and it is a Rera approved. My plot area is having a length of 32 feet and width 20 feet, road with 24 feet. While constructing what is requirements of set back to be provided on front,back and both sides please

  3. Anand avatar

    I have plot at Chennai commercial area plot. Plot size 35×35=1225 sq.ft. I have decided to construct commercial bulding stilt+2 floors. Set back details required. The front area facing the road is 25 feet.Please advice. Thanks.

  4. JAYARAMAN R avatar

    Sir, I own a building in corner plot with 30 ft road on one side and 20 ft road on other side. Plot size is 2160 sq.ft. I intend to settle it to my children subdividing into two halves who desire to demolish the existing structure and build separate structures. Can the setback in between the two structures waived? The buildings will be facing the 30 ft road. Another building and 20 ft will be on the sides. Yet another building on the back Please clarify.

  5. Sandeep Anand avatar
    Sandeep Anand

    Hi Professionals, I want to build a commercial property in my plot sized 62.5ft x 42ft the front road width is 30ft. How much built-up area can I construct? and what are the setbacks to be considered? Please advice. Thanks.

  6. Krishnamurthy avatar

    I have an ancestral property at Thiruvannamalai Town. Width of the house is 10.5 ft facing road x 125 ft length. Setback on either side not possible to construct a residence as per the Govt. guidelines. Kindly guide me please.

    1. Gopinath avatar

      Such buildings are very common in old areas. Such houses/buildings without setbacks shall follow the guidelines as described for ‘Continuous Building Areas’. Only by the local body can declare the area/plot as Continuous Building Areas, so please verify with the local body to confirm.
      For areas declared as Continuous Building Areas – there is no need for side setback or rear setback. However front setback will be required as per the road width & height of the building.

  7. Bharath avatar

    I have purchased a land in Thirunindravur near avadi. 30×32 ft. And road with is 30ft.. back side another land comes. what is the setback to be made and also FSI in that area

  8. Dr Muthu avatar
    Dr Muthu

    For hospital building <18.3 M setback allaround setback mentioned as 6M.
    My property has a common road (government road) 32 feet on one side(not frontage). Previous regulation mentions if side road is more than 23 ft no setback is needed.
    Do clarify whether setback of 6M needed for my property on the side where 32 feet common road is available (not planning to construct compound wall)

  9. D senthil velan avatar
    D senthil velan

    Hi, I have 1270 sq ft plot with abutting 20 ft road. In that can I construct gf with 1 bhk and FFand 2ndF with duplex 3 bhk. Front 1 M set back and rear 1.5 M setback and 0.5M setback on both sides. Is this allowed

  10. KAVITHA avatar

    I have purchased one plot at Chennai I.e. not continuous area. Plot size 30×60=1920 sq.ft. I have decided to construct stilt+2 floors. Set back details required.

    1. Er.Punith avatar

      *Side set back on either side – 1.5 m (r) 5 feet
      *Rear set back – 1.5 m
      *Front set back will depend on your road width . Thank you 😊
      *Fsi area for your plot = 1920 × 2 = 3840 sq.ft .
      *after deduction of set back remaining area for your plot is = 25 × 50 = 1250 sq.ft ×3= 3750 .
      So upto 3 floors you can build. And stilt floor is not included in the calculations.

      1. Ar.Sideeq avatar

        I have some doubts have to discuss in details…
        May i know your contact details?

  11. . kumaran avatar
    . kumaran

    hi.. I have an plot of 30*80.. i.e the front area facing the road is 30 feet and length of the plot is 80 feet.. @ chennai/CMDA
    Im planning to build 2BHK in Gd floor and 2*2BHK in First floor and 2*2BHK in Second floor ..
    Im planning to leave 5 FT set back area in front and 5FT at rear.. 2 Ft in one side (E) and 5 Ft (W) in another side..

    However my builder says.. if am leaving 5FT (E) in one side then I should not leave any space in another side (W)..

    but the rule says i should leave a minimum of 5 FT in one side..

    pls clarify my query

    1. jayaram avatar

      if below 7 meter not required
      else more than 7 meter must be provided.


  12. deepika avatar

    hi, we are planning to buy an apartment. the space between the apartments is 2 feets, is it ok (approved) or should it be 5 feets?? please clarufy.

    1. ChennaiRealties avatar

      We would suggest you to see the sanctioned/approved Building Plan. Satisfy yourself that the everything is as per the Sanctioned Plan. Or else please contact a professional in your area. Thanks

  13. Jayakrishna avatar

    Hi, I have 40*60 plot on 60 ft road. As per the set back rules do i have to have 4.5 m front set back. Am I correct? 4.5 m is about 15 ft which is too high.

    1. ChennaiRealties avatar

      Please consult a professional

    2. Er.punith avatar

      Please check the road width sir , if your plot is connected with the main road then you will have to provide 4.5 m set back. Major roads in chennai are within 100ft .

  14. Marvin avatar

    I’m building a house in Chennai. If I’m doing a setback violation, but Fsi achieved is within the permissible limit, will I be charged a fee

    1. ChennaiRealties avatar

      The Authorities do not have the powers to condone the Violations of Development Rules after collecting a fee. Such violations will have to be regularised by a Government Order only.For more clarifications we would request you to consult a professional in this regard.

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