RA Architects

A Newport-based architectural practice has received £16,000 in research and development (R&D) tax credits, thanks to the innovation demonstrated in its sustainable projects.

RA Architects, based in Newport, Wales, formed in 2012 as a design-led architectural practice passionate about improving the quality of life for people within spaces. They provide services to commercial and domestic clients across the UK, delivering efficient creative buildings whilst helping people overcome planning constraints and introducing new sustainable energy-saving designs.

Innovation was evident in many of its projects, including the use of custom-built steel framing and sustainable products such as permeable tarmac, energy exploration, sewerage farming onsite and specialist window/door design. For one client, the practice designed unique windows that would structurally support the roof timbers whilst also being aesthetically pleasing. For another client, a building had Grade II listed status, so the architects had to ensure the historical value of the building was preserved, researching and making bespoke materials they could use to adhere to strict regulations.

Adopting a modern approach to their work, the practice received the cash payment from HMRC across two R&D claims, secured by the firm’s advisers R&D tax specialists Access2Funding, who identified all aspects of the business’ recent projects that qualified for research and development tax relief.

Richard Andrews, Principal Architect at RA Architects said: “Access2Funding was fantastic at communicating with us and made the process very clear so we could understand what was needed from us for the claim.

“I was actually in talks with another R&D specialist at the same time as Access2Funding, but they began categorising and normalising some of our projects – making us believe we were not being innovative – when in fact, each different project has its specialisms and essences of research and development. Access2Funding was able to drill down into this R&D, unlike the other provider, and I would not hesitate to recommend them because of this professionalism.”

RA Architects plan to invest the money claimed back into the business to provide licencing software for new staff.

Lee Ford, Regional Sales Manager at Access2Funding, said: “At different points of the design-build process in architecture, innovation is frequent. From material innovation to technology innovation and sustainability, this is a sector that relies on ambition – and where there is ambition often lies innovation. It was a pleasure assisting Richard with his claims and uncovering the R&D in the practice’s work.

“For a project to qualify as research and development, it needs to have encountered a scientific or technological problem along the way that was or was attempted to be solved using innovation, and many architectural projects will use modern technologies to problem-solve. The costs involved in attempting to overcome the uncertainties can qualify for research and development tax relief.”

R&D tax credits are an HMRC incentive to encourage UK businesses to continue to grow by innovating. The incentive being a reduction in corporation tax or a cash payment.

There are many architectural practices that are under-claiming or not claiming at all – because they don’t understand that what they do constitutes R&D and wrongly believe that any innovative solutions involved in projects are just part of their job.