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HMRC internal manual

VAT Construction

Building materials - Note 22 and Note 23: ‘ordinarily incorporated’ test: examples of goods ‘ordinarily incorporated by builders in a building of that description’

The guidance on this page explains our view on articles where doubts as to their classification often arise. Such articles are:

  • aerials and satellite dishes - television and radio aerials and satellite dishes are now regarded as ‘ordinarily incorporated’ into all types of buildings
  • landscaping - in the case of Rialto Homes plc (VTD 16340), it was decided that:

    the planting of trees and shrubs is an ordinary occurrence with the building of new homes

Note: The ‘Blocking Order’ uses a different definition of ‘building materials’ (VCONST12000). Consequently, a developer may need to restrict his credit for input tax on trees and shrubs. The determining factor will be whether the service of planting the trees and shrubs would be standard-rated if a ‘new’ building was being constructed (VCONST02500).

  • mirrors - in the case of McCarthy and Stone Plc (VTD 7014), it was indicated that bathroom mirrors were supplied in about 55 per cent of sheltered home schemes built by builders other than appellants. The Tribunal said:

    …the facts as we have set them out on these items make this a borderline case. We feel however on balance that the mirrors are… ‘ordinarily’ or ‘commonly’ installed by builders of sheltered homes.

Note: It is policy to accept that mirrors are ‘ordinarily’ incorporated in student accommodation and all other buildings used for a relevant residential purpose and all types of dwellings.

  • safes - in the case of Glenie Eldridge Joel (VTD 3295), it was decided that a safe is not ‘ordinarily’ incorporated into a dwelling

Note: It is policy to accept that safes are ‘ordinarily’ incorporated in relevant residential and relevant charitable buildings.

  • solar panels - these are accepted as being ‘ordinarily incorporated’ in all buildings when they form part of the heating system of the building. This follows the decision in F Booker (Builders and Contractors) Limited (VTD 446) (VCONST13420)
  • water softeners - where these are installed ‘in-line’ with the building’s water supply system, they can be treated as part of the plumbing. Stand-alone softeners are not ‘ordinarily incorporated’.