The construction sector fared badly in the recent recession and typically has been viewed as an industry with low levels of innovation. However, with a growing population in the UK and increasing concern about the environment, it is a potential source of technological developments in the form of green and sustainable construction; improving energy efficiency of building materials; and off-site modular construction to reduce costs and delivery time. Engineering in the UK falls into two categories – innovative high-technology and low value-added manufacturing. In the former, they use high level of design to produce technologically complex products and processes, and as such, there is an obvious argument to claim R&D tax credit. In the latter, there is a constant demand to develop processes and products at reduced costs and increased throughput and this potential leads to eligible R&D activities.
Examples of eligible R&D activities:
- Developing new products such as lighter-weight, stronger, resilient or easier to process building materials;
- Reducing the impact on the surrounding environment through new construction processes;
- Developing off-site manufacturing and modularisation techniques to improve delivery time and reduce costs;
- Integrating renewable energy technology in buildings to reduce carbon footprint;
- Developing novel techniques for land remediation/reclamation to minimise effect on surrounding environment;
- Developing unique water treatment plants to optimise capacity and efficiency;
- Designing with composite building materials to improve the energy efficiency of a building;
- Integrating new materials to improve product performance and manufacturing process;
- Streamlining manufacturing process through automation;
- Developing a pilot plant to investigate the concept of a new process to increasing throughput.