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Building a better future for the construction sector

A more exciting, productive future awaits. Construction: it’s time to get the credit you deserve.

R&D in construction: funding innovation

Imagine a construction industry with reliable cash flow from an established and valuable source of funding. Fully-costed, sustainable products as standard. Supply-chain complexity removed. Cheaper, more efficient materials delivered on time, every time, and more technicians with the skills you need. A return to full productivity.

Construction can overcome its challenges when research and development is fully rewarded with R&D tax relief. For those firms seeking the UK’s premier R&D tax credit consultancy, ForrestBrown is the natural choice.

Nobody is more adept at maximising your claim and helping you to receive the benefits you deserve.


Peace of mind

A robust methodology that is tailored to your business, including even the most complex of projects. Built-in quality assurance maximises your R&D tax credit claim and protects you from risk. It stands up to HMRC scrutiny.


HMRC insight

As the largest specialist R&D tax credit consultancy in the UK, you benefit from our policy-level insight and good working relationship with HMRC. We have two former HMRC inspectors in our ranks and a seat on HMRC’s R&D Consultative Committee.


Unrivalled specialist technical firepower

Our team includes chartered tax advisers, accountants, lawyers and industry specialists. We save you time because you have the right people working on the right part of your claim.

forrestbrown education and awareness team

Speak to our education and awareness team

If you have questions about your eligibility for R&D tax credits, or how we can add value to your existing claim, get in touch with our team on 0117 926 9022 or at hello@forrestbrown.co.uk

Upcoming events

Past webinar

Wednesday 24 April; 12.30 - 13.30

Funding Construction: Increase your cashflow in 2019

This webinar is archived. Provide your email for access to the webinar recording:

Past event

Tuesday 19 March; 17.00-19.00

Bristol: Changing the way we build

Avon Gorge by Hotel du Vin, Sion Hill, Clifton, Bristol BS8 4LD

This event is archived

Past event

Monday 11 March; 17.00-19.00

London: Changing the way we build

Clarkslegal, 12 Henrietta Street, Covent Garden WC2E 8LH

This event is archived

Qualifying R&D in the construction industry

Construction is full of challenges that require inventive solutions. R&D activities usually relate 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.

R&D tax credits reward this innovation. The types of construction activities that may generally qualify include work with new or improved materials, processes and techniques.

There’s potential for an R&D tax credit claim wherever business is taking a risk and attempting something challenging.

New systems support just-in-time logistics; the salaries of technicians, and even a percentage of subcontracted work, can be included too. This should all add up to a significant claim for your firm. That’s money to invest in accelerating R&D further, hiring new staff and ultimately growing.

What counts as R&D in the construction industry?

You could be:

  • Creating, or experimenting with, new materials.
  • Integrating new or improved technology into buildings.
  • Coming up with new ways to implement energy saving techniques.
  • Integrating mechanical and electrical systems into buildings.
  • Solving technical problems that arise during or after construction.
  • Modifying existing components and fittings into bespoke projects.
  • Meeting new regulatory requirements e.g. fire, health & safety, sound and thermal.
  • Developing new or improved equipment used in construction.
  • Redesigning to improve performance, reliability, quality, safety and life-cycle costs.
  • Developing Buildings Information Management (BIM) capabilities.
  • Performing offsite fabrication or offsite construction.

Construction R&D by sector

Qualifying R&D can be found across a diverse range of construction businesses. From architecture firms to civil engineers, HVAC to construction manufacturers, there is a hotbed of qualifying construction R&D. We look at some firms that we’ve helped:

Myths about R&D tax credits for construction companies

  • MYTH 1

    “I’m just doing my normal job, building things. That’s not R&D.”


    Have you encountered any complex problems on a recent project? If so, it’s likely that our sector specialists will be able to uncover research and development – especially if you’ve had to develop a unique solution to fix that problem.

  • MYTH 2

    “Claiming is too much like hard work and not worth my time.”


    ForrestBrown was named ‘best independent consultancy firm’ at the Taxation Awards 2018 in recognition of our technical excellence and service innovation.

    We make claiming easy by assembling the best team for your business comprised of individuals with the right specialisms. R&D tax credits are worth 33p in every £1 spent on qualifying activity. The effect of a successful claim is significant. Read R&D tax credits explained to understand how much you could claim.

  • MYTH 3

    “The projects we do are highly technical and complex, we wouldn’t be able to explain them to anyone else – HMRC included.”


    We do the explaining for you. Our sector specialists talk to the technical people in your business to fully understand the nature of your projects and R&D. The right people work on the right part of your claim, keeping your time to a minimum. We understand exactly what HMRC are looking for in support of R&D tax credit claims. Our team is adept at presenting complex technical information in the format HMRC are looking for.

  • MYTH 4

    “My business is too specialist and complex for the R&D projects to be clearly evidenced.”


    Our chartered tax advisers can help you implement record-keeping processes appropriate for your business in support of your claim. We have often taken on claims prepared by others and been able to make the process considerably smoother for clients. Our blog on record-keeping explains what type of records you should keep and how we can help.

  • MYTH 5

    “I took a financial risk in the past, and HMRC fined me. R&D tax incentives are too risky for me.”


    R&D tax credits are an established government incentive. ForrestBrown have a robust and rigorous process aligned to HMRC’s current thinking. It’s a winning formula. We were named ‘best independent consultancy firm’ by Taxation Awards 2018, in recognition of our technical excellence and client service. Our process is stringently quality assured, risk-free and will maximise the value of your claim.

  • MYTH 6

    “We are an architecture practice, we design beautiful buildings — that’s not R&D”


    Design can involve R&D. If you are solving a complex technical problem through design e.g. via building systems, that could count as R&D. Have you worked on projects where your designs have solved complex technical problems? We count architecture practices amongst our clients and our experts can help you identify whether any of your projects are qualifying.

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Speak to our award-winning team

ForrestBrown have the specialist tax, sector and legal expertise to deliver value whatever your circumstances.

Get in touch

Construction innovation — the need for R&D tax credits

Like other sectors, construction has productivity issues, the underlying causes of which are complex. This was addressed by the government’s recent Construction sector deal. Raw material costs are high, uncertainty is all around and investor confidence is low. Bad debts are too common and skilled technicians too expensive.

Government funding for construction

As an established government incentive, R&D tax credits can be used strategically to demonstrate an early return on projects and influence commercial decisions. They allow firms to invest in their businesses however they choose, whether that’s accelerating R&D, hiring new technicians or taking a leap into BIM. That offers a pathway to improved STEM skills and a key to resolving productivity issues.

Underclaimed incentive

Despite the clear benefits of R&D tax credits, just 3% of all claims made by UK businesses come from the construction sector. There are just over 900,000 construction businesses in the UK, yet only 1,610 construction claims were made in 2016-17 (0.2%). In our experience, this is because the construction industry as a whole is not making use of this valuable source of funding.

Untapped value

In 2016-17, the average SME claim was worth £53,876, and RDEC, £272,881. Yet construction claims are worth considerably less – £48,246 on average for SME and just £166,666 for RDEC. One reason for this might be that some firms are missing out on untapped potential in their claim. Having a specialist on your side ensures your claim includes the full extent of your qualifying activities and costs.


Making a construction R&D claim

The ForrestBrown team will create a robust and fully-maximised construction R&D tax credit claim in four to six weeks – it then goes to HMRC.

We make sure that R&D tax credits deliver maximum value to your firm – from your first claim and well into the future. We achieve this by implementing record-keeping that works with your existing systems. This helps capture all qualifying expenditure going forward, ensuring future claims are more robust.



Gather information


Identify qualifying activities


Create a bespoke methodology


Submit your claim


Deliver your benefit

Meet the team

We will assemble the best team for your business by handpicking individuals with the right specialisms. These include chartered tax advisers or accountants, construction sector specialists, two former HMRC inspectors, lawyers and members of our quality assurance and client relations teams. The right people working on the right part of your claim. The following are just a few of the people you can expect to meet.

Alex Price

CTA, Director


Alex Price

“I’m passionate about encouraging the next generation of talent into technical (STEM) careers and have witnessed how construction companies can use R&D tax incentives to achieve this.”

Adam Kotas

CTA, Director


Adam Kotas

“When I talk to clients, it’s clear that the construction sector is where some of the most fascinating innovation happens.”

Jenny Tragner

CA and HMRC R&D Consultative Committee seat holder


Jenny Tragner

“Construction is so important for the economy and the country. I know how transformative R&D tax credits can be, so I want to see the construction sector fully embrace the incentive and benefit from the funding it deserves.”

Phil Smith

Senior Tax Manager


Phil Smith

“I like working with construction clients over a number of accounting periods to help optimise their R&D tax credit. We’re best placed to do this when we become trusted advisers and establish a genuine relationship with our clients. It’s very rewarding for both of us.”

Andy Royce

Tax Consultant


Andy Royce

“I love it when a construction customer claims for the first time. I can see what a difference it makes to their business and its cashflow.”

Max Brough

Tax Associate


Max Brough

“I’m a bit of an eco-warrior so I find it uplifting when I see construction customers claiming R&D for sustainability projects.”

Malcolm Henderson

Senior Tax Specialist & Former HMRC Inspector


Malcolm Henderson

“Rising material costs, environmental pressures, finite land resource, and a sector that’s a huge UK employer makes construction fascinating to me. I’m excited by the impact that R&D tax credits have on these challenges. We help to grow our clients, which creates jobs and boosts the UK economy.”

Peter Beavis

PhD, CSci, Senior Sector Specialist


Peter Beavis

“Construction leaders frequently look to material science to achieve ever-more challenging improvements in aesthetic, environmental or other beneficial properties. It’s exciting to see the sector increasing knowledge and capability and the first examples of what the built environment will look like in years to come.”

ForrestBrown large company team for rdec claims

Are you a large company?

If you’re a large construction firm, we will tailor our RDEC service to your company’s needs, drawing on our specialist technical firepower to deliver maximum value.

Find out about our large company services
Working with HMRC to process your large company RDEC claim

Our enquiry support service

HMRC are focusing on the quality of R&D tax credit claims. If you’re facing an HMRC enquiry, we can help.

Read more

Why choose ForrestBrown?

When it comes to R&D tax credit claims, ForrestBrown is the premier provider in the UK. We were named ‘best independent consultancy firm’ at the Taxation Awards 2018 in recognition of our technical excellence and service innovation.

We bring together a specialist team that gives you access to considerable technical firepower. We use a rigorous, continually-improving process to deliver a claim that is maximised and stands up to HMRC scrutiny.

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Best Company to Work For - 3 star accreditation
Winner of Tolley's Taxation Awards 2017 - Rising Star

To find out more about claiming R&D tax credit with ForrestBrown, contact our expert team today.

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