Construction is one of the oldest industries in existence, yet despite popular opinion it is also among the most innovative, and after years of under representation in the corridors of power, it is finally getting the recognition it deserves. Ben Pritchard examines the construction sector deal and what it could mean for our frequently overlooked sector.
It might have come six months later than planned, but the recently announced construction sector deal has been welcomed with open arms by the industry. With a strong focus on innovation and research and development, it promises to transform the industry from a laggard to a leader through the use of cutting edge technologies and a highly skilled workforce.
The government have pledged £170m in funding for innovations that increase industry productivity with a specific focus on accelerating housebuilding, which it hopes will be supplemented by £250m of private sector backing.
Business Secretary, Greg Clarke has set a goal of halving the time it takes to complete new-build projects through the adoption of new methods and techniques and the government will also sponsor research to reduce the carbon footprint and increase the energy efficiency of construction projects, particularly in the housebuilding sector.
This is a welcome development, but we at Invennt would argue that we’re already an innovative industry, we just don’t appreciate how difficult our day job truly is.
The sector deal highlights an increase in R&D investment and also an increase in the rate of R&D tax credits to 12%. Currently construction lags at less than 2%. But, as my colleague Tim Fitch pointed out recently in the New Civil Engineer this shouldn’t be an aspiration, it should be the reality today.
All around us on projects up and down the country we conceive and deploy novel solutions that would make other industries blush. Using techniques, technologies and construction methodologies in exciting new ways.
Unfortunately, most people think that ‘real R&D’ is carried out in laboratories by people in white coats. But whether you’re overcoming specific ground conditions, adapting equipment, creating new processes or developing better, safer or greener methods of construction, you are almost certainly undertaking R&D.
At Invennt we wholeheartedly agree with the sector deal and the recognition that construction underpins our economy and society. When done well it can transform peoples lives for the better and we support our clients by identifying the unique and innovative ways they do this, allowing them to make use of the R&D tax credit scheme to reward the good they do and invest in their future.