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Last edited 12 Feb 2021
Research and development in the construction industry
Research and development (frequently identified by the letters R&D) is a term which covers all activities that aim to create innovative new products and processes with the aim of bringing them to market. R&D can also be used to improve existing products and services.
Large companies and corporations may invest significant amounts in R&D as the creation of new, innovative products could give them an advantage in the market place, both in terms of generating profits from sales and enhancing their prestige.
Many large and medium-sized corporations have departments which focus solely on R&D and are staffed by engineers, research scientists, designers and so on. Other companies may outsource their R&D to specialist research organisations, either because they do not have the in-house experts and/or equipment to undertake the research or because it is cheaper to do so.
 Government assistance
Governments may commission research organisations to undertake R&D in specific fields, e.g researching water distribution efficiency. In many cases, R&D results in innovations that benefit society. In addition, the UK government gives tax relief on research and development and provides other incentives and grants to businesses to help bring new products to market, to develop new processes, or to improve existing products or processes.
The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills defines R&D as activities that ‘directly contribute to achieving an advance in science or technology through the resolution of scientific or technological uncertainty’.
R&D tax relief should be considered at the start of a project as it can have a significant impact on costs and may even determine whether a project is feasible or not. For further information see research and development tax relief.
- Building Research Establishment (BRE)
- Building Services Research and Information Association (BSRIA).
- Fire Protection Association (FPA)
- Timber Research and Development Association (TRADA)
- Water Research Centre (WRc)
Innovate UK is the UK’s innovation agency. It works with people, companies and partner organisations to find and drive the science and technology innovations that will grow the UK economy, delivering productivity, new jobs and exports. Its aim is to keep the UK globally competitive in the race for future prosperity.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Advanced construction technology.
- Case study.
- Construction innovation.
- Development appraisal.
- Innovation in construction projects.
- Modern methods of construction.
- Qualitative research and the built environment.
- Research and development in disaster response
- Research and development tax credits.
- Research and development tax relief.
- Research in the construction industry.
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