Management

How construction firms can get tax relief on R&D

11 September 2019

As an industry that thrives on innovation, construction firms are well placed to benefit from the government’s R&D tax relief.

RIFT Research & Development is committed to spreading the word and bringing the benefits of R&D tax credits to the UK’s most innovative businesses. As part of that commitment, we’re delighted to be working with the Chartered Institute of Building. Together, we’ll be working to ensure that the British construction industry always gets the credit it deserves.

R&D tax relief goes so much further than most businesses realise. As an industry that thrives on innovation, it’s shocking that as little as 3% of R&D tax credits claims come out of the building trade each year. So many valuable qualifying projects, activities and expenditures are treated as “just day-to-day business” when they could form part of an R&D tax relief claim.

The stereotypical image of R&D belonging firmly in the world of lab coats and microscopes is holding many firms back at a time when a real surge in innovation is needed. With the long shadow of an uncertain Brexit and a looming skills shortage, it’s more critical than ever for firms to get the rewards their innovations earn them.

What’s more, the UK government is actively trying to encourage claims. With an average R&D SME claim worth £54,000, we’re talking about the single largest incentive scheme of its kind – and far too many are still missing out.

Examples of qualifying activity

  • Overcoming system uncertainty may be necessary where older buildings have been refurbished with systems of varying ages. Integrating newer technology can be a challenge, while meeting the demands of sustainability and restoration. Juggling the requirements for BREEAM status can take significant innovation when you’re working to maintain the character and “essence” of a building.
  • Managing challenging ground conditions through innovation, such as issues with piling or foundations, perhaps requiring dealing with unidentified contamination. Effective solutions may not always be readily identifiable, so businesses innovate to minimise delays, budget overruns and other problems.
  • Recreating old techniques and developing new ones, particularly when dealing with older structures or newer “green” regulations. Certain techniques may have fallen out of use, or may no longer be appropriate. The growing skills shortage is obviously a real concern here. Finding newer, more effective or efficient methods to achieve the required result can mean a lot of innovative R&D work.
  • Bespoke designs for one-off builds. Bespoke projects can be tough to plan around. Not every obstacle or eventuality can be predicted. A lot of work needs to be done at the design stage, naturally, and where there’s no existing blueprint to work from the complications and challenges are heightened. This is exactly the kind of environment that calls for innovative thinking and solutions.

In construction, every project presents its own, unique set of challenges – and with them, the opportunity to innovate. New products, materials, processes and approaches can all count toward an R&D tax credits claim.

In partnership with CIOB, RIFT R&D is determined to raise awareness, and maximise the benefits, of this incredibly valuable incentive and reward scheme.

If you would like to know more about R&D tax relief and how your company could benefit contact Julie Barry, new business manager.

Email: [email protected] Office: 01233 653008 Mobile: 07908 542441

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