As engineers, we solve technical challenges every day. We turn architects' dreams into reality and stop them from turning into nightmares for contractors and developers.
In our firm we regularly overcome major engineering challenges and create innovative solutions to complex problems. One such project was the design of a mixed-use leisure facility that included a first-floor ice rink above a swimming pool.
This was no mean feat, but our team relish a challenge. A major challenge was the requirement to maintain the ambient temperature of the building to reduce or remove any condensation that would arise from varying temperatures and at the same time guarantee the design life and structural strength of the construction materials used on the project.
What we didn’t know was that our innovative engineering solutions qualified for R&D tax credits. Although we were sceptical about the scheme, the qualifying activities and the HMRC process, we decided to give it a try and sat down for an initial review of our projects.
We quickly realised how difficult it was to develop a compliant and comprehensive claim ourselves, so we commissioned a firm of specialist management consultants that deal exclusively with businesses in the engineering and construction sector called Invennt.
Invennt helped us realise the potential of the incentive and simplified the process. There were certain areas that were quickly identified as qualifying cost and activity within our projects, specifically with regards to the uncertainties with various heritage works we have completed on prestigious historical buildings such as Kensington Palace, Selfridges and Harrods.
What we learned from the workshops is that works which we thought to be standard engineering were exceptionally unique solutions because we used standard technologies and techniques in new and intuitive ways to deliver the project design.
Value to customers
Quickly the nature of our discussion changed from one where we had been certain that none of our projects would qualify, to having to temper the enthusiasm of our employees, as we were overjoyed with being able to demonstrate how our bespoke and innovative solutions brought value to our customers, organisations and the wider industry.
As a team, we were able to achieve considerable returns through the scheme and it provided us with the two best performing years we have had financially over the past decade.
Moving forward, the process helped us to establish and formalise a structure to benchmark our innovations and continuously improve whilst boosting the overall morale of our company.
We have now been able to identify what we are doing in our day-to-day practice that is innovative, and that’s allowed us to build on it and improve. Since filing our first claim we have continued to benefit from the scheme for the past five years.
The claim development process also highlights the areas of excellence within our business and has made innovation pay to reinvest in further R&D and deliver better value, better projects and a better society.