Building a better future for the construction sector
A more exciting, productive future awaits. Construction: it’s time to get the credit you deserve.Find out more about construction R&D
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. R&D tax credits are an established and valuable source of funding. 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.
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 a former HMRC inspector 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.
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:
A building services/HVAC company
This company was asked to supply the mechanical and electrical services for a facility that undertakes neurotrauma research. The facility had to remain functional whilst the company undertook the work, so it developed a temporary HVAC system to be used whilst the existing system was being replaced. The nature of the research meant the site was highly radioactive and so the systems needed to be effective when in contact with radiation. A lead brick inner skin was added to the site to reduce the effect of radiation.
Kershaw Mechanical Systems
“You can have the best ideas in the world but they need financial backing. The R&D tax credit has given us the confidence that there is support out there, and it has allowed us to take on more key staff and systems.”
A civil engineering firm
This construction firm repaired a 1970s weir for a national resources group. Several factors significantly complicated the project: the age of the structure, extreme weather conditions, limited accessibility, and nearby wildlife conservation activities. This meant that the firm had to devise five different methods to repair the structure. This resulted in a two-year R&D project that provided pioneering methods and new resources for similar projects in the future.
“When we first found out about R&D tax credits, we had no idea of the amount we’d qualify for. So, it was a really welcome surprise when we found out how much money we’d receive.”
A firm of architects
This design-led architecture firm were engaged to design a visitor centre in a UNESCO world heritage site. The R&D in the project lay in the fact that the site was unique, meaning there was no readily available information on how the structure could be built and supported. The firm designed a process for building a visitor centre that was sympathetic with existing grade 1 structures and was sustainable and therefore didn’t impact on the UNESCO site.
Structural Metal Decks
“Having worked with ForrestBrown we are far more aware of the full extent of our innovation now. We have introduced processes to proactively record relevant costs – timesheets for CAD technicians for example. This means that for preparing comprehensive future claims, a lot of groundwork has been laid. That’s a great position to be in.”
A housing developer
A leading housing developer wanted to ensure that their development was sustainable from the ground-up and was sympathetic to its environment. They carried out a number of R&D projects to achieve this. Their activities included exploring new ways of removing contaminants from the land. And they created a new sustainable urban drainage system which is as effective as standard drainage.
Etec Contract Services
“We felt that ForrestBrown really got to understand our business and the industry that we are in. The best thing about ForrestBrown’s service is the amount of money they got for our business by optimising our claim. They worked hard to make sure all our R&D was uncovered.”
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.
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.
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.
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, a former HMRC inspector, 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.
“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.”
“When I talk to clients, it’s clear that the construction sector is where some of the most fascinating innovation happens.”
CA and HMRC R&D Consultative Committee seat holder
“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.”
CTA, Senior Tax Manager
“I love construction R&D because the results of construction projects are so tangible. It’s easy to imagine how their projects affect day-to-day life. It’s visual and interesting.”
ATT, Tax Manager
“With a family background in construction, I have always been fascinated with the built environment. R&D tax credits are a recognition of the continued ingenuity shown throughout the UK's construction sector and I take real pride in playing a small part in enabling the growth it encourages.”
“I’ve got a Big Four accounting background, so I enjoy helping construction firms find cost efficiencies from their R&D projects to help with rising materials costs.”
Senior Tax Manager
“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.”
“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.”
“I’m a bit of an eco-warrior so I find it uplifting when I see construction customers claiming R&D for sustainability projects.”
Senior Tax Specialist & Former HMRC Inspector
“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.”
PhD, CSci, Sector Specialist
“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.”
“I love to draw on my background in mechanical engineering to uncover hidden R&D in the construction sector. I’m passionate about raising the profile of careers in STEM amongst young women and so for me, R&D tax credits are win-win”.