• The salient features of Tamil Nadu  Building Rules are given below.
  • For details please visit the respective website – few of the links are provided after this write-up.
  • Please look out for amendments from the respective authorities as and when its published.
  • These are only guidelines . Please consult your Architect /Consultant /respective authority.

Any building constructed in Chennai and other parts of Tamilnadu should follow TNCDBR – Feb, 2019 Building Rules. This comprises new set of rules entitling Tamilnadu Combined Development and Building Rules 2019 for Buildings in Tamilnadu. This came into effect as per GO No: 18 dated 04.02.2019. This one is available for public reference in CMDA website. Under this rules, the Govt of Tamilnadu revised and reissued various existed building rules under various acts for Corporation, Municipalities, Town panchayat and Village panchayat.

For a brief power point presentation please Click here for TN Building Rules

For building Plan application process please Click here

For checklists on enclosures of application relating to non high-rise buildings, please Click here


Planning Permission

The Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority regulates developments in Chennai Metropolitan Area through issue of Planning Permission (PP) under section 49 of the Tamil Nadu Town and Country Planning Act 1971.Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority has delegated powers to the Local Bodies within the Chennai Metropolitan Area to issue planning permission for ordinary buildings and buildings under normally permissible categories of Industrial, Residential, Institutional and Commercial use zones and also sub-divisions & small layouts.  Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority issues planning permissions to major developments like Special buildings and Group Developments and other buildings under special sanction of the Authority by itself, layouts for which powers were not delegated to Local Bodies and for Multi-storeyed / IT Buildings (MSB) with Government’s approval.

The ‘B’ Channel is in-charge of processing PP applications for Special Buildings and Group developments.

The ‘C’ Channel is in charge of processing PP applications for major Industries and Institutional buildings for which powers were not delegated to local bodies. The Layout channel is in charge of processing PP applications for major sub-divisions and layouts for which powers were not delegated to local bodies.

The MSB & IT MSB channel is in charge of processing PP applications for all types of Multi- storeyed buildings including IT and ITES.Non MSB IT or ITES buildings are also dealt in this channel

The details of the Norms set by CMDA for execution of Planning Permission

The First essential requisite follows the procedure.It a lot easier to get permission to construct a building now.  Those tedious delays are things of the past.  The new streamlined procedure of the CMDA ensures that you get your permission early.

1. What is Planning Permission?

Before you undertake any development, you have to obtain Planning Permission from the CMDA, which is a must under the Town and Country Planning Act. The permission is valid for 3 years from the date of issue.

2. How do you obtain Planning Permission?

Two categories of applications have been prescribed. Form ‘A’ for laying out of lands for building purposes Form ‘B’ & Form ‘C’ an undertaking from the applicant/owner.

You can get an application form from the office of CMDA, Chennai Corporation, Municipalities, Town Panchayats and Panchayat Union Offices.

3. What are the documents to be attached to the application?

Form ‘A’ for laying out of lands and Form ‘B’ &‘C’ for building construction. Form ‘B’ duly filled in signed by the owner and Licensed Surveyor, Architect and Power of attorney holder/lease holder along with the documents, plans and other particulars detailed out in the checklist.

4. With whom should you file the application?

With Chennai City Municipal Corporation / Municipality / Town Panchayat / Panchayat Union as the case may be depending upon location for all ordinary buildings and other buildings for which powers to issue planning permission has been delegated.

In case of Special Buildings (Ground + 3 floors) group development or Multi-storeyed building (more than 4 floors), applications directly admitted in CMDA.

5.On what basis is planning permission issued?
Your application will be scrutinized for its conformity to the land use for which the site has been designated under the Master Plan or the Detailed Development Plan, compliance of the Development Regulations.  If it satisfies the Development Regulations, planning permission will be issued, and if not, planning permission will be refused by the local Authority / CMDA.

6. Will the site be inspected?Your site will invariable be inspected by the Building Plan Inspector / Town Planning Officer of the Local Body /Officers of CMDA.

7. What are your rights if you are aggrieved by the decision?
If permission is refused by the local body or CMDA you can prefer an appeal to the Government.

8. What happens if you do not apply for Planning Permission at all?

If you carry out any development without proper permission, it will be an unauthorized development.  Construction made without permission can be demolished or kept under lock and seal under the Act.

In case of deviation to be made with reference to an approved plan also, permission is to be obtained.  A revised plan showing the deviations should be submitted and the procedure for the approval of the original plan will apply to all such deviation plans also.

9. Should you pay a licence fee / Development charge?

If your application is fit to be approved a demand will be sent to you by CMDA / the local body for payment of development charge. The rate will depend on the location of the site, proposed use and the floor area.

10. What is your obligation as a developer within the CMDA?

Obtain permission for any development / construction you decide to carry out. Complete development as per the approved plan within the time prescribed in the planning permit.

11. Where you can get details on land use and clarification on Development Regulations?

At the Counselling and Consultancy Counter in the first floor of CMDA’s Office complex at Thalamuthu-Natarajan Maligai, No.1, Gandhi-Irwin Road, Egmore, Chennai-600 008.

12. What services are rendered at the counselling and consultancy counter?

  • Information of Land uses both oral as well as in writing across the table.
  • For copies of plans approved by CMDA both for plots as well as buildings (Approval Number .to be given and fees to be paid depending on size).
  • For copies of Development Regulations (Master Plan), Application forms, check lists.
  • Clarifications on applicability of Development Regulations.
  • Admission of planning permission application for Special Buildings / Group developments and Multi-storeyed / IT buildings, also ordinary buildings with stilt parking floor.
  • Sale of other forms and publications of CMDA.
  • Advise on the preparation of plan in accordance with the Development Regulation.


Decoding TN Combined Development Regulations and Building Rules, 2019:

1. All Rules relating to planning and building permit for construction and layout have been brought into single document and these rules are applicable to the entire State, except hill areas.

2. The Rules come into being from February 4, 2019. The applications in which the demand letters are yet to be issued and the applications which will be received after this day will be examined under the new rules

3. The rules aim at efficient and sustainable utilization of scarce land making housing more affordable and achieving inclusive, sustainable and denser developments.

4. The Rules have been simplified to reduce discretion and to promote voluntary compliance.

5. Obtaining a completion certificate is made obligatory for all developments excluding residential building upto 12m in height, not exceeding 3 dwelling units or 750 sq.m floor area and all types of industrial buildings.

6. To ensure compliance with approved plans and to curtail deviations in construction at the initial stage itself, inspections have been mandated during construction at the plinth level and at the last storey level.

7. To reduce the number and length of commutes, mixed use development will be promoted. Accordingly, the primary residential use zone and mixed residential use zone have been combined.

8. The special sanction provisions to permit activities in each zone, available in the Chennai Metropolitan Area, are removed to reduce discretionary decision-making.

9. Provision is made to notify areas of special character such as Continuous Building Area (CBA), Economically Weaker Section (EWS) Area, and Transit Oriented Development (TOD) Area in places where development plans are yet to be prepared.

i) Continuous Building Areas (CBA): Buildings without side set back are permissible in a plot or site in continuous building areas.

ii) Economically weaker section areas (EWS):  Areas declared as slum by Tamilnadu Slum Clearance Board (TNSCB) are categorised as EWS areas.

iii) Transit Oriented Development (TOD): In order to encourage Transit sensitive Activities, premium FSI is allowed in these corridors.

Building Rules:

A. The validity period of building permits will be modified as five years with provision of extension by another three years so as to be coterminous with the validity period of planning permissions.

B. To ensure ease of living to all, special provisions for differently abled, elderly and children have been incorporated to provide a barrier-free environment.

c. To promote environment, rain water harvesting, re-use of waste water and solar energy capture are made compulsory.

Non-High Rise v/s High Rise Residential building –

Non High Rise Buildings: All Buildings not exceeding 18.30m in height (60’-0”)

High Rise Buildings: All Buildings exceeding 18.30m (60’-0”) in height

Non High Rise Residential Buildings are divided into two categories:

  1. Ordinary residential building (Individual residences/Duplex houses)
  2. Group developments (Flats & row houses)

Requirements for Site approval-

1. Location of Building:  Site within 15 meters of any tank, reservoir, watercourse, river, fresh water channel or well, are not permitted to build unless to get a clarification from development authority.

2. Reconstitution Deed – If development is more than one plot or site, then reconstitution of the individual sites into one site in reconstitution deed format has to be submitted to the authority by the applicant.

Planning Parameters for Residence and Flats upto 300 sq.m (1.35 grounds) –

We can build Ground for residences, Ground+1 floor for residences, Stilt + 2 floors for duplex house/flats and Stilt + 3 floors for flats/Penthouses.

Planning parameters for Non High Rise Buildings –

(For Upton 16 units & upto 3230 sq.ft)

i) All buildings not exceeding 60’-0” in height,

ii) The minimum road width, FSI, set back etc. for Non High Rise buildings up to 16 dwellings or up to 3230 square feet of commercial building shall be regulated according to the table below:




Continuous Building Areas

Economically weaker section Areas

Other areas







Minimum road width



10’-0 up to 20’-0”

20’-0” and above


Maximum Height

GF + 2F or Stilt + 3F subject to a maximum of 40’-0” height

GF + 1F or Stilt + 2F subject to a maximum of 30’-0”  height

GF + 2F or Stilt + 3F subject to a maximum of 40’-0”  height


Maximum number of dwelling units/commercial use

Up to 16 dwellings or up to 3230 square feet of commercial use

Up to 16 dwellings

Up to 8 dwellings

Up to 16 dwellings or up to 3230 square feet of commercial use


Maximum FSI



Minimum Set backs

Where Street Alignment/new road is prescribed, it shall be from that street alignment/ new road line. In the case of others, it shall be from the property boundary.


Front set back



Abutting road width

Front set back

Upto 30’-0”.


More than 30’-0” up to 60’-0”


More than 60’-0” up to 100’-0”


More than 100’-0”



Side set back


Height of the building

 Plot width


Upto 23’-0”

Up to   30’-0”

3’-3” on one side

Above 30’-0”

3’-3”  on either side

More than 23’-0” upto 40’-0”

Up to   20’-0”

3’-3”  on one side

Above 20’-0”, up to 30’-0”

5’-0”  on one side

Above 30’-0”

5’-0” on either side


Rear set back


Height of the building


Up to 23’-0”


More than 23’-0” upto 40’-0”


Structures in setback spaces:

In cases of Non High Rise buildings.—

(i) Sun-shades not exceeding 0.6m

(ii) Motor room of area not exceeding 2 sq.m. each and height not exceeding 1.8m, without affecting parking and driveway requirements.

(iii) In case of Non High Rise Buildings with height upto 9.0m, open single flight or spiral staircase or open double flight staircase so long as such structure do not fall within 0.50 m from the side boundary or 1m from the rear or front boundary of the site or street alignment.

(iv) A compound wall of height not exceeding 2.0m

(v) Watchman booth not exceeding 2.5m.x 2.5m. in size at each gate and height not exceeding 3m.

(vi) Gate pillars without or with arches with a min. headroom clearance of 5.50m available atleast to a width of 3.5m.

(vii) 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 meter from the abutting walls and the open Transformer without affecting parking and drive way, subject to the safety measures stipulated by Tamil Nadu Electricity Board.

Decoding FSI: 

In line with the government’s earlier decision to increase the FSI to permit denser development and make housing more affordable, the Floor Space Index permissible for various developments has been revised upward.

1. Residential (Non-high-rise buildings)

Earlier FSI: 1.5   

Proposed FSI: 2.0

2. Commercial (Non-high-rise buildings)

Earlier FSI: 1.5

Proposed FSI: 2.0

3. Institutional

Earlier FSI: 1.5   

Proposed FSI: 2.0

4. Industrial

Earlier FSI: 1 t0 1.5   

Proposed FSI: 1.50

5. High-rise buildings in 12 m wide road

Earlier FSI: 1.5   

Proposed FSI: 2.0

6. High-rise buildings in 15 m wide road:

Earlier FSI:  1.75

Proposed FSI: 2.5

7. High-rise buildings in 18 m wide road:

Earlier FSI: 2 to 2.5   

Proposed FSI: 3.25

Premium Floor Space Index:

1. Road width: 18 metre

Earlier premium FSI (% of normally allowable FSI): 40 pc

Proposed premium FSI (% of normally allowable FSI): 50 pc

2. Road width: 12 metre below

Earlier premium FSI (% of normally allowable FSI): 30 pc

Proposed premium FSI (% of normally allowable FSI): 40 pc

3. Road width: 9 metre to below 12m

Earlier premium FSI (% of normally allowable FSI): 20 pc

Proposed premium FSI (% of normally allowable FSI): 30 pc

The rates applicable for computation of premium FSI charges:


A. 50% of guideline value for the excess FSI area over and above normally permissible FSI area for non-high-rise building.

B. 40% of guideline value for the excess FSI area over and above normally permissible FSI area for high-rise building.

C. Premium Floor Space Index (FSI) will be allowed free of charge for affordable housing project.

D. Premium FSI of up to 0.5 will be allowed free of cost for Information Technology (IT) developments.

E. Premium FSI for the sites located within a distance of 500m from the centre line of the corridor in case of Metro Rail (existing or proposed) shall be charged at 50 pc of normal FSI.

F. Premium FSI for TOD developments at selected locations along designated corridors will be provided at concessional rates

Other features:

1. The planning parameters have been simplified by removing minimum plot extent requirement, plot frontage requirement, and plot coverage for many of the developments.

2. The plot extent in aquifer recharge area is reduced from 440 sqm. to 220 sqm. and plot frontage is reduced from 15m to 12m.

3. Reduction of minimum plot size will greatly help low-income households and economically weaker section households obtain plan approvals and thereby avail institutional finance.

4. In sites abutting road of less than 6m, eight dwelling units will be permitted and on roads having width more than 6m, 16 dwelling units will be permitted. This will also boost development of affordable housing within cities.

5. Affordable housing is defined as a dwelling unit with 40 sqm in Chennai Metropolitan Area and 60 sqm in the rest of the state.

6. For high-rise building on sites abutting 18 m road there is no restriction on number of floors and the maximum setback for high-rise buildings is capped at 20m.

7. Minimum road width for non-high-rise buildings up to 18.3m is reduced to 9m from 10m. 

8. In accordance with the National Building Code, extended basements will be permitted in high-rise buildings up to 4.5m from the boundary in the front setback and 3m from the other sides.

9. The total area required for parking in buildings is maintained at the current levels, but accounting for improved technology and greater variety in vehicles, the driveway requirement is reduced to 6m from 7m and the aisle width requirement for perpendicular parking is reduced to 6m to 4.5m.

10. In industrial and institutional developments, OSR space shall be reserved but can be maintained without gifting it to the local authority subject to supervision and monitoring that the space continues to be maintained as open space.

11. In case of layouts, half of the area reserved as public purpose plots must be gifted to the local authorities free of cost for public purpose use.


  1. https://chennaicorporation.gov.in/images/TNCDRBR-2019.pdf
  2. https://www.tnurbantree.tn.gov.in/arcot/wp-content/uploads/sites/113/2020/08/Tamilnadu-Combined-Development-and-Building-Rule-2019-1.pdf
  3. https://www.tn.gov.in/tcp/rules.htm
  4. https://www.tn.gov.in/tcp/building_plan.html


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