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 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.

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 to 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.

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.

Myths about R&D tax credits for construction companies

ForrestBrown education and awareness team

Speak to our award-winning team

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

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.

Jenny Tragner CA ATT


  • Our technical director and ForrestBrown’s leading expert on R&D tax policy.
  • Chartered accountant and ATT Fellow working in tax since 2002.
  • Holds a seat on HMRC’s R&D consultative committee.
Jenny Tragner 2019

Malcolm Henderson

Senior Tax Specialist and ex-HMRC Inspector

  • Supports our quality assurance team and enquiry support service.
  • Worked with HMRC for 26 years including as a specialist R&D tax inspector.
  • Provides valuable insight into HMRC’s working practices.
Malcolm Henderson - Technical specialist and former HMRC inspector

Gareth Randle Pr Tech Eng MSAICE

Sector Specialist

  • 20 years’ international engineering experience with a specialism in structural engineering.
  • A member of the South African Institute of Civil Engineers and a registered Professional Engineering Technologist.
Gareth Randle

Mark Andrew

Senior Tax Specialist and ex-HMRC Inspector

  • Provides strategic advice via our advisory and enquiry support services.
  • Joined HMRC in 1984, specialising in R&D tax in 2006.
  • Also shares his technical knowledge via our in-house training program.

Mike Harrison BSc Eng ACGI MNI

Sector Specialist

  • 35+ years’ of construction, manufacturing and marine engineering experience.
  • Graduated from Imperial College in mechanical engineering.
  • Built his own eco-home on the Severn Estuary.
Mike Harrison

Adam Kotas CTA


  • Passionate about advising UK businesses on how to use R&D tax credits strategically.
  • Responsible for expanding our reach to help more UK businesses grow.
  • Chartered tax adviser (CTA) with 14 years’ tax experience.
Adam Kotas director

Alex Price CTA


  • Leads our R&D tax credit partner programme for accountants.
  • Responsible for expanding our reach to help more UK businesses grow.
  • Chartered tax adviser (CTA) with 20+ years’ tax experience in the Big Four.
Alex Price director

Phil Smith CTA

Senior Tax Manager

  • Provides a range of specialist R&D tax advisory services to our clients.
  • Qualified chartered tax adviser (CTA) with over a decade of experience in tax.
  • Advised hundreds of businesses on R&D tax relief.
Phil Smith senior tax manager

Robin Taylor

Sector Specialist

  • 20 years mechanical engineering expertise, helps our tax team understand and articulate our clients’ R&D projects.
  • Specialist in automotive body structure and electromechanical systems.
Robin Taylor

Max Brough ATT

Tax Associate

  • Association of Taxation Technicians qualified (ATT).
  • Formerly with Jaguar Land Rover and expert in engineering R&D.
  • University of East Anglia politics graduate.
Max Brough tax associate

Peter Beavis MSci PhD

Senior Sector Specialist

  • Doctorate in chemistry and granted a patent for a polymeric material.
  • Chemicals/materials specialist who helps translate clients’ projects to HMRC.
  • Commendation from the MoD chief scientific adviser.
Peter Beavis Sector Specialist

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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