New Civil Engineer: Construction industry spent record £351M on research last year

Date: November 26, 2019

The UK construction industry increased its research & development spending for 2018 to a record high of £351M.

The figure, from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), represents a 9.7% increase from the previous year.

R&D tax relief specialist Catax has attributed the increase in spending to the greater interest there has been in developing modern methods of construction (MMC).

Catax chief executive Mark Tighe said: “The construction industry is a huge employer in this country but contributes a relatively small amount to the UK total of R&D spending.

“However, the sector is experiencing some interesting changes, not least the rapid growth of offsite construction methods. This is likely to be a contributing factor behind this large jump in overall R&D spending last year.

“More broadly, this is the second full year that Brexit Britain has shrugged off the political poison after the EU referendum and posted great gains in terms of R&D investment, running head and shoulders above the long-term average.

“For the first time in history a quarter of a million people nationwide are engaged full time in keeping the UK at the cutting edge. This is going to make a huge difference to Britain’s prospects outside the EU.”

Meanwhile, the amount UK businesses across all sectors have invested in R&D has grown since 2017, rising by £1.4bn to £25bn in 2018,

In September, in a response to a report by the parliamentary select committee for housing, communities and local government, the government pledged to set up an MMC working group to examine assurance, insurance and mortgages for MMC for the residential sector.

The response from the government to the report also stated that the group has been “exploring a range of opportunities” to support the uptake of off-site manufacturing technologies across the housing market.

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Construction industry spent record £351M on research last year

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