Were you too busy to plough through the summer's output of construction law books? Fear not, dear reader, your legal beagle has sniffed through them for you
As well giving us our ample share of sunshine, this summer has also produced a healthy crop of construction law books. Let me take you through three of the best.

Derek Simmonds has produced Statutory adjudication: A Practical Guide (Blackwell Science, £35). The intention is to give guidance to those contemplating, or being dragged into, adjudication. Even better, it is aimed at the amateur. He's pitching at those who need most help: he is hand-holding.

He begins by getting the reader to ask whether they should adjudicate at all. And then, if they do insist on getting stuck in, what help is really required? Do they need a lawyer or consultant – if so, what sort? How does adjudication begin and what's to be done before it begins? Where does the adjudicator come from? How much does it all cost – and who pays?

Tony Bingham is a barrister and arbitrator.

Simmonds takes the referring party through all the steps: the key notice, the vital referral and the process afterwards. Tricky bits creep in, especially once the other party challenges the right to adjudicate at all. And I confess that it was at this point that I began to wonder if an amateur was able to cope with all this after all.

Next, Simmonds takes hold of the responding party. This poor chap is another amateur. Thankfully, he is told that it is not a voluntary process: he can choose not to participate, but if so more fool him. And reading Simmonds' advice, once again I had serious doubts that adjudication was really suitable for the DIY approach. I wish it were. Either way, nobody in construction can ignore it. Simmonds' book is your starter for 10.

I have learned, at last, what a project manager is. Then I learned what they do (cop it from the employer when the work goes wrong)

Definitely not for the amateur is arbitration: as far as disputes go, it's a grown-ups-only area. A must is the third edition of The Arbitration Act 1996: A Commentary by Bruce Harris, Rowan Planterose and Jonathan Tecks (Blackwell Science, £55). There are more than 70 new cases in this work that have led to several key points in the 1996 act being analysed afresh.

For me the important point is the quality of the authorship. These three carry an awful lot of weight and their book is maturing into an authority. Interestingly, they express regret about the fact that the 1996 act has received a somewhat chilly reception. In fact, it is brilliant; it is the best in the world. But I know what's up. The problem is that English arbitrators spend half their time looking over their shoulders, fretting about being removed or bullied by disciplinary proceedings. It isn't much fun having your reputation cut to pieces. Something has to be done. The book doesn't say that, at least not so bluntly. It is a professional book for serious arbitral work.

My favourite book of the lot is Construction and Engineering Law: A Guide for Project Managers by Sally Marsden and Pauline Makepeace (LexisNexis, £45). It is my favourite because I have learned, at last, what a project manager is. Then I learned what they do (cop it from the employer when the work goes wrong). And then I learned that it is a tricky job, especially as the standard forms do not agree on whether the project manager exists at all, some refer to "the contract administrator, architect or engineer".

The real point is, if you're managing the interface between contractor and client, you would be well advised to find out what your job is. And this super book will pretty well tell you. Yes, it talks contractual rules and duties of the contractor but, even better, it tells the project manager what is expected of them. It gives them a good talking-to from the client's point of view. It is the first book I can recall that tackles head on the role of the project manager in all its liaising, co-ordinating, advising, recommending, monitoring, supervising, checking and ensuring glory. This is particularly apt since these are the very words that come hurtling out of the client's (or their lawyer's) mouth when the job is late, over-budget and/or defective.