The foundations of UK construction are rooted deeply in innovation. The same tools and attitudes that push challenging projects to completion up and down the country each year are currently being relied on to weather a storm of uncertainty in the industry.
Nervous lenders, still shaken up over the 2018 collapse of Carrillion, are now anxiously watching Interserve stuggle to pin down a rescue deal. The enormous question mark of a potential no-deal Brexit hangs over the whole building trade, while the grinding gears of the economy as a whole recently dragged construction output down into its biggest one-month slump since 2012.
None of this is great news – but complex challenges and towering obstacles are business as usual in the building game. While its girders may be groaning under the pressure, UK construction’s still standing firm – and it’s innovative problem-solving that’s keeping it that way. The 3rd quarter of 2018 actually saw a leap of 14% in private housing starts, and investment in new dwellings is continuing the upward trend it’s been following for a while.
All told, the industry’s attacking 2019 with the best tools at its disposal: reaffirming its commitment to innovation and development. Forward thinking and careful planning are all the more critical when the way ahead is obscured, and the right combination of caution and determination are a strong defence against an uncertain future. That means hitting the hardest targets with the heaviest weapons, solving sector-level issues with next-level thinking. Sustainable build techniques and modernised construction methods are gathering momentum, and virtually every project throws up opportunities to develop new materials, approaches and processes.
Looking ahead, we’ve got the 2019 government spending review coming up, which will probably be setting the tempo for the sector up until at least the 2020/21 tax year. Many businesses are looking for some much-needed stability – along with a powerful, practical statement of support for construction. Among the major hopes for the review are boosts to grants encouraging UK developments and more aid for start-up firms.
A lot of eyes are set on where the government goes with this, with some seeing 2019 as an opportunity for significant technological reforms to the sector. A closer focus on things like off-site manufacturing and other advanced technologies, for example, would be a strong step toward further cementing innovation’s position at the heart of the sector’s future.
With the time until Brexit so short, it’s easy to find yourself shrinking back into short-term survival planning. That’s a danger the construction is well equipped to resist, but it does require commitment and nerve. In that light, it’s been incredible to watch so many UK businesses leaning into the challenge, staking a claim to the future through innovation and development. RIFT R&D is committed to making sure that claim is honoured. As Sarah Collins, RIFT’s head of Research and Development puts it:
“2019 promises to be a year of precarious uncertainty for many UK businesses, which is why it’s so encouraging to see companies still prioritising research and development. Being specialists in R&D, we are in a unique position, in that we can not only assist companies to maximise their claims but allow them to futureproof their business and utilise the R&D benefit in the best possible way.”
Get credit for your business innovation with research and development tax credits claim assistance from RIFT. Find out more about R&D tax credits for the construction industry, deep dive into the world of business innovation with our insights, or contact RIFT R&D today to find out how we can maximise your benefits.