This study analyses the urban planning efforts of the government for an explanation of some unintended outcomes. A popular perception is that development in Thimphu city could do with better planning. On the contrary, there have been extensive efforts from both the Thimphu Thromde and MoWHS to control land use and regulate building design through policies like the Thimphu Structure Plan 2003-27 and its attached Development Control Regulations 2004. The question driving the research is to explain why despite the rules in place, planning goals are not achieved. The study identifies why and how actors avoid compliance to the original planning codes.