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HMRC internal manual

VAT Construction

HM Revenue & Customs
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Zero-rating major interest grants in buildings: ‘person constructing a building’: who is a ‘person constructing’ a building

A ‘person constructing’ a building is a person, who is directly involved in the construction process. At any time more than one person can hold ‘person constructing’ status. However, it is rare that more than one of them will have the right to grant the major interest in the building.

To be directly involved in the construction process, the person must either physically carry out the works or commission them. This has been confirmed in Trustees for Hulme Educational Foundation (VTD 625), where the Tribunal stated:

…in our view, the words… ‘a person constructing a building’ should be given their normal everyday meaning. …In our opinion, the normal meaning of those words mean that a person must either himself construct the building in the sense of putting brick upon brick or stone upon stone, or himself or by an agent enter into a contract or arrangement with another under which that other for him puts brick upon brick or stone upon stone. In other words, the construction must be physically done by the person concerned or by his servants or agents, or the person concerned must himself directly enter into a contract or arrangement for another to do the physical construction works

Examples include:

  • a person who owns (or has an interest in) land and develops a property on it
  • contractors who build that property.

Owning the land being developed does not automatically entitle a person to ‘person constructing’ status. For example, someone who allows their land to be developed by another but does not construct or commission the building does not have ‘person constructing’ status.