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Certainty in uncertain times for construction

Alex Price
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These are uncertain times, and uncertainty of any kind creates problems for business.

Problems of long-term funding, of short-term cash flow. Staffing for today, staffing for tomorrow. Construction businesses must know that goods, services and skills will be delivered safely, reliably and on time.

That’s for supply chains simply to function, before increasingly important environmental concerns are factored in. Without doubt, Brexit has presented challenges. But firms across the construction industry are accustomed to invention.

Finding ways to get around problems on site and pushing the boundaries of materials science is your bread and butter. This solution-finding approach means the sector is no stranger to R&D tax credits, which have become an established source of funding.

Firms have used the incentive to ease cash flow problems, to recruit skilled technicians and to lessen increasing materials costs.

Hidden gold

Yes, the sector widely understands its eligibility for R&D tax credits, in theory. It’s just that not all qualified activities are being fully uncovered.

If you’re investing in doing something faster, more cheaply, safer and more sustainably it’s likely you could qualify for this valuable source of funding. It’s only fair that all of your projects need to be considered to deliver the full benefit that your investment deserves.

The best R&D tax credit claims deliver both a maximised benefit and robust methodology that stands up to HMRC scrutiny.

If you’re not claiming, you might have some misconceptions and it’s important to dispel these. Construction R&D claims are worth an average of £48,246. Maybe you just don’t think of your project as R&D.

“Construction R&D claims are worth an average of £48,246”

But think about it, have you encountered any complex problems on a recent project? It’s likely that research and development has taken place, especially if you’ve had to develop a unique solution.

Beyond just actually claiming, R&D tax credits should be optimised to work as efficiently as they can for you. They are powerful when used cumulatively, year on year. We describe this as a virtuous circle of innovation and it occurs when the R&D tax credit is used to offset further R&D. For example, an apprenticeship scheme to train the technicians of the future. That’s the pathway to STEM skills proliferation, and the key to consigning productivity issues to the past.

Alex Price CTA is a director at R&D tax consultancy ForrestBrown. He can be contacted on 0117 926 9022 or by email at

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