Any viewer of the acclaimed Channel 4 programme Grand Designs will know that innovation and new buildings go hand in hand. Whether it is insulation made from recycled material or load-bearing glass, all of these products have been born of R&D and the scope to experiment and push the boundaries of house building materials.
With the introduction of carbon positive houses which create more energy than they use there are endless unexploited opportunities to claim for the R&D involved in such buildings. New techniques are constantly evolving to improve energy efficiency, reduce waste, increase speed of a build and give a durable finish.
Alongside the need for revolutionary products within the house building sector is the increased need for cost-effective and practical housing in difficult environments. In order for housing to be affordable, it must be built to a good standard using available materials in new and innovative ways. Examples of this can be seen in inner-city areas and in disaster zones where modular housing has become effective.
Examples of problems to be solved through R&D within this sector
- How to create the slimmest, most eco-friendly yet effective insulation possible from renewable materials at a reasonable cost
- How to include renewable energy solutions such as solar panels into housing and businesses
- How to design and build low cost, space-saving properties in inner-city areas and disaster zones
- How to use technology to allow buyers of new build properties to explore before the property is built
- How to continue to develop existing materials such as concrete to remain effective within building
- How to build ‘smarter’ homes that can regulate temperature, energy use and efficiency
Examples of what constitutes R&D in this sector
The HMRC test as to whether a Company is performing R&D is whether there is ‘appreciable improvement’ in a situation as a result of ‘addressing a scientific and technological uncertainty’.
- Developing and designing new methods of insulating a building and preventing heat and light from escaping
- Creating realistic solar panels which are easy to install, are not an eyesore and can be used by general society
- Innovating a new system of modular housing to save space and energy in inner-city areas
- Researching the impact of wasted energy on household bills and endeavouring to prevent this through the use of alternative materials or technology
- Revisiting and testing out changes to existing house building methods to improve efficiency