Why innovation must lead the response to the Roadmap to Recovery

Julie Barry from our member company RIFT R&D Tax Credits discusses the importance of innovation and taking advantage of available support such as tax credits in the Roadmap to recovery.

In light of the Covid 19 crisis and resulting economic downturn, the Construction Leadership Council has released a ‘Roadmap to Recovery’  to drive the revival of the construction and built environment sectors, and through them the wider UK economy. Throughout the UK, the construction sector employs 3.1 million workers and exports billions of pounds worth of products every year, providing the sector with a unique opportunity to be one of the main driving forces behind an economic recovery.

The roadmap looks at three key phases, which will be delivered over two years: Restart, Reset and Reinvent. It’s too early to say how well followed this plan will be, with many businesses within the sector focussing on the ‘here and now’ instead of looking ahead into the unknown. Constructing Excellence has responded positively to the document, recognising the collaboration needed across the industry to ensure a stable future, whilst also acknowledging the key challenges that face this sector particularly in relation to poor leadership, a worsening skills shortage, a lack of investment in technology and low levels of productivity.

It is widely accepted, by organisations including Constructing Excellence and those working in the industry, that the construction sector needs to be more productive, sustainable and ultimately, more profitable as a whole, but the progress needed to get there isn’t moving as quickly as many would like. Covid19 has made it clearer than ever that investment in innovation, digitalisation and sustainability driven by collaboration within supply chains and through supporting working regulations, is essential to the survival of the industry. Interestingly, businesses operating with cutting edge technology and processes, specifically those within MMC, were generally more resilient to the implications of Covid, offering them and their contractors an advantage over others in the industry.

The Construction Leadership Council’s Roadmap to Recovery demonstrates a clear desire for transformation, specifically in relation to ‘increasing prosperity across the UK, decarbonisation, modernisation through digital and manufacturing technologies as well as delivering better, safer buildings.’ It’s apparent to us that in an industry which has been reluctant to embrace change, innovation holds the key to success across these vital areas.

RIFT R&D have helped hundreds of construction businesses across the sector maximise their investment in innovation and sustainability, knowing how vital it can be not just to the companies themselves, but to their supply chains and the industry as a whole. The reality is, innovation is a gamble, there is no sure way of knowing whether what you are putting your time and money into is going to pay off, and the risk is yours to bear. However, through the R&D tax relief scheme, the government can offer lucrative financial incentives to alleviate or mitigate the risk, enabling construction companies to go further than ever with their innovative projects. It is crucial in the current climate, when businesses are looking toward innovation and sustainability to ensure their stability within the industry, that schemes such as the R&D scheme are fully utilised.