Finding R&D: Architects & Engineers


The key questions to ask yourself for any project you have undertaken are:

Have you gone beyond “the norm” within your industry?

This could be using new techniques, or re-thinking how something can be achieved because you were constrained by conventional methods. This could be from the types of materials used, all the way to the overall process and project management.

Have you then had technical difficulties and challenges in achieving what you have set out to do?

Also remember that this type of work could be for projects you have tendered for but have not ended up doing the work. So, if you have tendered for a project where the design involved technical advances and challenges, but you didn’t go ahead with the project, you could still claim for your time and costs in tendering.


  1. Incorporating new materials into building design and construction: Our client was designing a set of new build apartments. They trialled and tested a new heating system to be incorporated into the building. Costs claimed were staff time, some testing materials and a subcontractor who installed some of the units.

    Claim size: £40k of costs, £10k corporation tax saving.

2. Adopting new technology: Our client was adopting 3D scanning technology to survey historic buildings – costs claimed were staff time and some materials used for trialling the equipment.

Claim size: £30k of costs, £10k tax credit refund from HMRC.

3. Development of residential properties in a historic mill in north of England: Client was attempting to design the layout of the building to (a) maximise energy efficiency and (b) retain original features. This involved several technical challenges such as incorporation of different materials and complex CAD designs.

Claim size: £75k of costs, £25k tax credit refund from HMRC. 

4. BIM modelling: Adopting software to customise for the requirements of a project. Costs claimed were staff time, software and subcontractors.

Total claim size: £70k costs claimed, £18k corporation tax refund from HMRC.

5. Software design to create lighting systems to maximise light and efficiency in a space: The brief from the customer was to achieve a level of natural lighting throughout the building. The team investigated and designed techniques to achieve this using different models. Given the wide number of variables and uncertainty over how different aspect would interrelate, it took considerable time and technical work to come up with the best solution.

Claim size: £25k costs, £6.5k corporation tax saving.

6. Design of an off-grid containerised weather station that could be moved into place and withstand extreme weather conditions: This involved the experimentation of different materials and structural design. Due to the unique elements of the location and environment, most of the design and implementation was a technological advance and incurred several technical challenges.

Claim size: £110k costs, £37k HMRC refund.

7. Incorporating new materials into building design and construction: Our client was building a large recycling plant and was finding methods to reinforce the concrete forecourt to increase the life of the ground used by heaving goods vehicles. Costs claimed were subcontractors – designers and engineers – and materials used in the testing phase.

Claim size: £120k of costs, £40k tax credit from HMRC.


Use this link to book in a 15-minute scoping call with one of our consultants.

If you qualify, you can then book in to complete the rest of the information online in a 45-minute consultation.

One hour of your time, that’s it 😊