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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 are an essential aspect of urban planning and building design, playing a crucial role in ensuring the safety, functionality, and aesthetic appeal of built environments. Here are the primary reasons why setback spaces are important:


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.

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.


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.


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.

Functional Infrastructure

Utility Placement: Setback spaces are often used for the installation and maintenance of utilities such as water supply lines, sewage systems, and electrical cables. This accessibility ensures that essential services can be maintained and upgraded without disrupting the main building.

Drainage and Flood Prevention: Proper setbacks help manage rainwater runoff and reduce the risk of flooding. By providing space for drainage systems, setbacks contribute to better water management and environmental sustainability.

Importance of Setback Spaces

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

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 metres of commercial space, while the second set applies to buildings exceeding 16 dwelling units or 300 square metres of commercial space. The specific details for each category are provided below.

1.Setback Spaces for Non-High Rise Buildings Not Exceeding 18.30 Meters Height, with up to 16 Dwelling Units or up to 300 Square Metres of Commercial Space:

Front Setback

Abutting Road WidthFront SetBack
Upto 9.0 Metres1.5 Metres
More than 9 Metres Upto 18 Metres3.0 Metres
More than 18 Metres Upto 30.5 Metres4.5 Metres
Above 30.5 Metres6.0 Metres

Side Setback

Height of the BuildingPlot WidthSide Setback
Upto 7 MetresUp to 9 Metres1 Meter on One Side
Above 9 Metres1 Metre on Either Side or 2 Metres on One Side(Originally 1 Meter on Either Side,
More than 7 metres, Upto 12 MetresUp tp 6 Metres1 Metre on One Side
Above 6 Metres Upto 9 Metres1.5 Metre on One Side
Above 9 Metres1.5 Metre on Either side or 3 Metres on One Side

Rear Setback

Height of the BuildingRear SetBack
Up to 7 MetresNil
More than 7 Metres Upto 12 Metres1.5 Metres

2) Set Back Spaces for Non-High Rise Buildings below 18.30 metres height but exceeding 16 dwelling Units or exceeding 300 square metres of commercial building:

Front Set Back

Abutting Road WidthFront SetBack
From 9 Meters upto 18 metres3.0 Meters
More than 18 Metres upto 30.5 metres4.5 Meters
More than 30.5 Metres6.0 Metres

Side SetBack/Rear SetBack

Height of the BuildingRear SetBack/Side SetBack
Upto 7 Metres1.0 Metre
More than 7 Metres Upto 12 Metres1.5 Metres
More than 12 Metres Upto 16 Metres2.5 Metres
More than 16 Metres Upto 18.30 Metres3.0 Metres

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


Setback spaces are a vital element in urban planning, contributing to the safety, health, and well-being of residents. They ensure that buildings are constructed in a manner that supports emergency access, ventilation, natural light, privacy, aesthetic appeal, and functional infrastructure. By adhering to setback regulations, developers and homeowners can create more livable, sustainable, and visually pleasing environments.

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.

பொறுப்பு துறப்பு:இந்தக் கட்டுரையில் உள்ள விவரங்கள், கல்வி மற்றும் தகவல் நோக்கங்களுக்காக மட்டுமே. இது சட்ட ஆலோசனை அல்லது நிதி ஆலோசனைக்காக தரப்படவில்லை. இதில் உள்ள தகவல்களை அடிப்படையாகக் கொண்டு எந்த முடிவுகளையும் எடுப்பதற்கு முன்பு, வாசகர்கள் தங்கள் சொந்த சுதந்திரமான ஆராய்ச்சியை மேற்கொள்ளவும், நிபுணர்களுடன் கலந்தாலோசிக்கவும் அறிவுறுத்தப்படுகிறார்கள்.-Ed

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. I have a 60*40 ft plot and 40ft road in front. planning to build a commercial complex
    Am I thinking right?
    setbacks sides – 5ft on each side
    front 9ft
    back 5ft
    I can only achieve 30*45= 1350 sq ft
    lift and staircase another 200 ft gone
    So total 1150 sqft achievable.

    This is depressing Sir given the land is so expensive. Any way to achieve more built up area?

  2. We own a land of 15 * 70 in a 200 feet NH road. As per the guidelines we should give front set back of aprox 19 feet. What are the rules if the plot length is less than front and rear setback measurements in guideline

  3. Hari Babu avatar
    Hari Babu

    My ladu size 21+70 ews planning areha Rood 20 ft sidtbaku pls

  4. V. Srinivasan avatar
    V. Srinivasan


    I have purchased two EWS plots next to each other (677 and 665 sq.ft respectively) and located in a DTCP and RERA approved layout at Pudupakkam village. They are registered in the same document by Thiruporur SRO. Could you tell me whether I can combine both the plots (total 1342 sq.ft when combined) and construct one house. What are the setback limit that I need to check on a 7 meter road. is there any FSI rule applicable ? I am planning to construct stilt+3 floors with 1000 sq.ft house on each floor. Please let me know if any additional details are required to answer my question above. Thanks!

  5. Sir, need guidance on Setback:

    Proposed Flats: Stilt+5.
    Corner plot on 50′ and 30′ roads.
    50′ Road’s 2.8 premium fsi sought.

    Number of Units is 16,
    but may become 17.

    What is the allowed Setback ?

  6. 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 ?

    1. V. Srinivasan avatar
      V. Srinivasan

      Hello Sir,

      I am in the same situation like you and I have the same question about my two EWS plots (combined 1342 sq.ft) located in a DTCP and RERA approved layout at Pudupakkam village. Please reply once you get a conclusive answer to your question above. Thanks!

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. 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)

  14. 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

  15. 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?

  16. . 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.


  17. 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. 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

  18. 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. 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 .

  19. 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. 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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