I am having troubles with the Builder regarding Control Joints having to be cut through the cornice. Is this really necessary?

Yes. There are many ways to create a control joint which look quite ok including the filling of the cut with silicone or to insert a flexible control joint into the cut, depending on the profile of the cornice. A neatly cut and filled cornice control joint certainly looks much nicer than a diagonal fractured cornice which requires time consuming repair and repaint.

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