Construction R&D tax advice on your terms
R&D in the construction industry
So much can happen during any construction project: Unexpected sparks of inspiration, unforeseen difficulties, uncertainty and delays. Simply put, your sector is a challenging one.
R&D is all about seeking advances, overcoming obstacles and resolving uncertainty. On most construction or engineering projects, there’s a healthy dose of all these things. But while R&D projects do align in some way, there is no one particular type or version of R&D in construction.
In your sector, R&D usually relates to the innovative use of materials or overcoming problems on site. Often there are unique circumstances in which only a bespoke solution will meet stringent performance standards.
Examples of qualifying R&D in the construction industry
- Creating, or experimenting with, new materials for use in construction or engineering projects.
- Developing new or improved technology into existing buildings.
- Adapting equipment or processes to meeting new regulatory requirements e.g. fire, health & safety, sound and thermal.
- Creating and deploying new mechanical and electrical systems into buildings.
- Modifying existing components and fittings into projects.
- Developing new or improved equipment for use in construction.
Construction businesses we’ve helped
R&D happens across a diverse range of construction businesses. From civil engineers to construction equipment manufacturers, there is a hotbed of qualifying construction R&D. We look at some firms that we’ve helped:
Jaime Turner, Technical Director, Structural Metal Decks
Having worked with ForrestBrown we are far more aware of the full extent of our innovation. We have introduced processes to proactively record relevant costs. This means that for preparing comprehensive future claims, a lot of groundwork has been laid. That’s a great position to be in.
Mike Camilleri , Finance Director, CMB
ForrestBrown assembled an A-team of experts to help us settle our HMRC enquiry. They took complete control of the process, and proactively sought out the information required to successfully resolve our case.
A construction manufacturer
This manufacturer received a benefit of £99,000 for creating a new method of manufacturing staircase towers. The towers were previously manufactured separately and required welding and bolting, but they developed a new simplified process which produced them as one entity.
Terry Mitchell, CEO, Amorgard
We used to claim R&D tax credits through our accountant, but they recommended finding a specialist to ensure we captured the full value of our R&D. ForrestBrown’s engineering specialists were able to significantly increase the value of our R&D tax credit.
A civil engineering firm
This company received a benefit of £1,250,000 having created a new method of diverting flowing river water to enable the repair of a weir. Standard solutions could not be used because of the age of the structure, limited access to the weir and extreme weather conditions.
David Longbottom, Director, Construction Automation
I spoke to several advisers who downplayed the risks of R&D tax relief. I knew that if there was an enquiry it would rest with me. But the way ForrestBrown has gone about our claim has been very professional. The support they offer puts me at ease, and I know that they’re ready if HMRC have any questions.
Angela Phillips, Finance Director , CDW Systems
Working with a specialist has given us confidence, saved us time and maximised our outcome. The process is simple and the team at ForrestBrown are a pleasure to work with. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them.
A housing developer
A leading housing developer explored new ways of removing contaminants from the land. They received a benefit of £90,000 having created a new sustainable urban drainage system which is as effective as standard drainage.
Speak to us about your construction R&D tax relief claim
Find out how our team of chartered tax advisers, construction sector specialists and former HMRC inspectors can help. Whether that’s a full R&D tax relief claim – or targeted consultancy for your existing claim.
The ForrestBrown way: assembling the best team for you
We hand-pick a specialist team to manage your specific needs. ForrestBrown’s sector specialists have decades of construction experience, offering a unique peer-to-peer service for you. Our specialists work side-by-side with chartered tax advisers, lawyers and our QA team that deliver robust specialist advice that protects you from risk.
Jenny Tragner CA ATT
Jenny is a director at ForrestBrown and leads our technical approach on all aspects of R&D tax credits.
She began her career at KPMG in 2002 where she gained her CA and ATT qualifications before joining their R&D team in 2007. In 2013 she moved to a consultancy practice where she led a team of R&D tax specialists. At the same time, she was recommended to HMRC’s R&D Consultative Committee – a seat she has held ever since. She joined ForrestBrown in 2015.
Jenny founded our Learning Lab as a structured training programme for new joiners, and a way of delivering continued professional development for all staff. For our team, it builds upon their formal tax qualifications by teaching the key technical and soft skills required to be an R&D tax specialist.
In 2020 Jenny initiated the CIOT working group that drafted the PCRT guidance for R&D tax credit advice.
Through her work, Jenny plays a key role in maintaining ForrestBrown’s excellent relationship with HMRC.
Mike Harrison BSc Eng ACGI MNI
Mike joined ForrestBrown in late 2019 and is a structural and mechanical engineering specialist. With over 35 years’ industry experience he brings a wealth of expertise to share with our tax advisers and clients. This aids our preparation of technically robust R&D tax credit claims.
Having spent much of his career working in ports, harbours and offshore, Mike’s niche specialism is the “ship-to-shore” interface. His work has taken him from the Middle East to Asia, North America and Europe. This international experience has immersed him in diverse working cultures and embedded an understanding of best practices in many sectors.
During Mike’s inshore, offshore and dry land career, he has developed a wealth of experience with materials and structures in some of the harshest environments. He understands how their nuances are explored during critical problem-solving phases of the R&D process. He has worked on many high-profile projects globally including the CaTRo project in Kazakhstan for Chevron (which involved designing some of the facilities for the precision navigation of large barges along a purpose-built 80km canal in the Caspian Sea), to facilities used by the latest and largest cruise ships and container vessels.
For Mike, it all started at Imperial College where he graduated in mechanical engineering with a special focus on structures and polymers. He has co‑founded his own successful engineering company which was later acquired by Swedish industrial giant Trelleborg. After successful roles over the next decade, Mike became an independent consultant providing forensic engineering expert witness services to the port and shipping sectors.
Aside from his professional career, Mike also project-managed the building of his own eco home on the Severn Estuary. Over the course of a year, this immersed Mike in another sphere of R&D, allowing him to acquire further invaluable knowledge which he also brings to his role at ForrestBrown.
Senior Tax Specialist and ex-HMRC Inspector
Mark was one of the original tax inspectors assigned to the specialist HMRC R&D units when they were formed in 2006. And he worked in the Croydon unit until 2018. He helped companies use the incentive and ensured they followed the rules. The wealth of experience Mark accumulated is now delivered to ForrestBrown clients through our enquiry support service.
Having been at the tax authority since 1984, Mark actually specialised in HMRC enquiries long before his time at the R&D unit. In 1990, his principal role became conducting full enquiries into companies. This included those who had made honest technical errors and, in more serious cases, those suspected of committing tax avoidance or evasion.
Mark’s technical knowledge of the R&D tax credit legislation is vast and means his experience encompasses the broader tax landscape as well as HMRC’s enquiries processes. With this knowledge, Mark is well placed to provide expert advice on how best to resolve an enquiry.
In addition to his work in enquiry support, Mark contributes to our in-house development programme, the Learning Lab. By sharing his knowledge and experience he helps the next generation of tax professionals at ForrestBrown to thrive.
Rebecca Wass CTA
Senior Tax Manager
Rebecca brings many years of experience to ForrestBrown, having worked for both Big Four and Top 10 firms focusing on corporate tax. Between these roles, she saw a different side to the tax industry during a training and development position for software company Tax Computer Systems. Here she helped tax professionals around the UK get to grips with their flagship software, Alphatax. Rebecca is CTA qualified and enjoys exploring beyond the finance function of businesses to uncover all their R&D.
Gareth Randle Pr Tech Eng MSAICE
Joining ForrestBrown with 20 years’ experience in structural engineering, Gareth supports our R&D tax credit practice and clients with his extensive technical knowledge. Gareth is a member of the South African Institute of Civil Engineers, a registered Professional Engineering Technologist, and holds a range of other professional accreditations.
Gareth graduated with a degree in civil engineering, specialising in structures, from what is now the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. Prior to this, he had already gained two years’ experience in traffic and transportation engineering. After graduating, he moved to the UK where he worked for three years on listed-building refurbishment projects, as well as new mixed-use developments and schools.
Taking up the opportunity of a working holiday visa, Gareth then relocated to Brisbane, Australia, where he furthered his experience in large mixed-use developments and oil and gas projects. He returned to Cape Town, and spent more than a decade working for one of South Africa’s most reputable civil engineering consultancies. As an associate he led an incredibly wide variety of projects including award-winning high-end residential structures, public buildings, civil infrastructure, and commercial and industrial developments.
With a keen interest in sustainable design, he gained further accreditation in green building principles, and worked on a number of renewable energy projects. His firm were early adopters of building information modelling (BIM). Gareth led and trained his department in this regard, helping them to further push boundaries with their work.
Changing consultancies to follow a desire to work in healthcare, Gareth led the structural team designing the Kuwait Children’s Hospital, set to be the largest of its kind in the world. His final career step in South Africa was to set up his own independent consultancy which he ran successfully before moving to the UK and ForrestBrown.
Robin has a background in mechanical engineering, gained through extensive industry experience in automotive engineering. It was this that he studied at the University of Leeds before going to work for a Tier 1 supplier to the automotive industry. Robin spent five years at this manufacturer developing sealing systems for companies including Toyoda Gosei, Honda and Aston Martin.
He moved to Bentley and had the opportunity to broaden his experience to whole closure systems (bonnets, doors, tailgates etc.). First working on other sub-systems like hinges and latches, and then managing at a systems integration level ensuring that individual components worked together. During this time Robin worked on the Mulsanne, Flying Spur, Bentayga and GT.
Ten years on, Robin switched to Dyson to work on their electric vehicle project. He was the engineering manager for closures. As part of this role he managed a large team and had ownership of the body test facility. There were many technical challenges to overcome, creating lightweight yet premium solutions for this electric vehicle. Several uniquely innovative designs were produced, including one which has been registered for a patent with Robin as an inventor.
Robin brings this wealth of mechanical and electromechanical engineering experience to ForrestBrown. As one of our sector specialists, he works with the competent professionals at client companies to articulate precisely where the activities which qualify for R&D tax credits occur.
Phil Smith CTA
Senior Tax Manager
With a growing interest in innovation, Phil joined ForrestBrown in 2014 to work with our manufacturing and engineering clients. He trained at Cooper Parry in Nottingham and qualified as a chartered tax adviser in 2009. Phil then moved to Burton Sweet and later Hazlewoods, where he advised owner-managed businesses on personal and corporate taxation. He brings over a decade of experience to our team.
Alex Price CTA
A chartered tax adviser and a director at ForrestBrown, Alex works with a wide range of businesses, big and small. He offers them insightful advice, drawing on his twenty plus years’ experience built up at Deloitte, PwC and ForrestBrown.
Alex is responsible for growing the number of businesses we support with R&D tax credit advice. His considerable experience means he is expert at identifying eligible businesses, and communicating the value of R&D tax credits and their ability to create technical (STEM) jobs.
Alex builds relationships with people who are interested in seeing how R&D tax credits can be used: whether that is for themselves or businesses that they advise or represent. He is our lead contact point for firms of accountant and trade associations that want to work with us to support their clients and members.
Read more about ForrestBrown’s R&D tax credit partner programme for accountants.
Construction innovation — the value of R&D tax relief
The construction sector has its enduring challenges: raw materials cost on the rise, bad debts, finding skilled technicians (and their associated high salary overheads). R&D tax relief can play a positive part in rising above and moving beyond these difficulties.
Government funding for construction
R&D tax relief rewards innovation – and provides the basis for future innovation too. Used strategically, the incentive can be used to demonstrate an early return on projects and influence commercial decisions. You can use your benefit to invest in your future R&D and business growth: whether that’s accelerating R&D, hiring new technicians or making more competitive bids.
Beyond just claiming
The number of businesses claiming R&D tax relief in the construction sector has boomed. But, there’s a notable difference between claiming the incentive – and actually maximising its full potential. R&D tax relief is not just a source of cash. It’s a strategic mechanism, designed to propel your business into the future.
The risk of bad advice
As take up of the incentive has boomed, the number of R&D tax relief advisers has risen as well. This comes with its own risks. Many advisers offer cheap and quick services ill-suited to the complexities of your tax affairs or your projects. HMRC scrutiny of R&D tax credit claims is at an all-time high. You need advice that’s measured, sensitive to risk and robust.
Why choose ForrestBrown
What does the best R&D tax advice for your business look like? The answer is unique to you. ForrestBrown will customise our service to meet your requirements. Whether that’s handling your entire claim or supporting you with specific expertise on a consultancy basis.
R&D, especially in construction, entails all sorts of different work. Don’t cram your diverse innovation into a rigid R&D tax service. ForrestBrown’s flexible approach helps save you time so that you benefit from a robust claim and better value for money.
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