Sector Overview – Furniture

Within the latest HMRC statistics on R&D tax credits, we can see that 23.6% of all claims made under the SME scheme, were for companies operating in the Manufacturing sector. This accounts for 20.7% of the total value of claims.
The average claim value was £46,970.

Scientific and technological uncertainties being faced in the furniture industry

During the process of designing new furniture pieces or ranges, companies can find themselves using a range of new materials and techniques within their designs. These can require thorough testing to ensure that they are suitable for use. The use of CAD software and prototypes to stress test, designers can help to provide proof of concept. This aims to eliminate any unexpected issues further down the line. Eligibility for R&D tax credits centres around two key areas. Companies need to be either:

Producing new or improved products.

Design and development of a product involving some degree of uncertainty for which the answers were not obvious.

Examples of scientific and technological uncertainties in the development of furniture

Product integrity
One of the major technological challenges when designing bespoke furniture, is in maintaining the products integrity. When designing a bespoke piece of furniture for a client, it’s common for them to make specifications based on aesthetic choices. These can sometimes create some highly technical challenges when ensuring functionality of the final piece.
Non-functioning design
Often furniture manufacturers will receive ideas from their clients, for design features that will perform a specific function. However, by using their wealth of experience, the designer can see that they will not work as intended. Under these circumstances the team will aim to develop alternative options, to find a practical solution for the final product.
Determination of the correct materials. to use
The use of CAD software is common within the design sector. This is because it should hopefully eliminate many of the technological uncertainties faced throughout the build process. However, this isn’t perfect, as the material manufacturers can often only provide usage guidelines. It is seldom of help when these materials are used in an industry to which they were not intended.
producing new products for R&D Tax Credits
Determining the correct fixtures and fittings to be used
It’s common to find that “off the shelf” fixtures and fittings will be unsuitable for bespoke products. Under these circumstances there will be a need to develop their own, or companies will need to change the design of those available. This is to ensure that the final products functions as intended.

I highly recommended Fiscale for understanding our business and to provide us with the facility to claim credit back on our R&D costs.

Richard Davonport, Davonport