Keith Pickavance reviews Hamish Lal's guide to winning your delay and disruption case
Records! Records! Records! It is a mantra that has been repeated by so many people (including the Society of Construction Law, in its Delay and Disruption Protocol) that one might think that it did not need further elaboration. However, in his book Quantifying and Managing Disruption Claims (£50, Thomas Telford), Hamish Lal goes further. He identifies what records are needed, why, and what to do with them.

He shows that the key to proving loss and expense has been suffered as a result of disruption is the way the project is measured, the way it is planned, and the need to keep an auditable record of what is achieved. It all sounds pretty obvious. But it is the absence of the obviously necessary that creates disputes.

Lal favours quantifying cost with operational bills of quantity that will enable the user to price the work in a transparent way. On site, records should be kept by activity-headed "gangers" to draw together the planned work content and the resources required. With his theory set out, Lal demonstrates the application of the process on four very different projects.

The book has been written as a guide to a subject that needs much guidance. Much of what is set out is extremely complex but the material is made easier by a preface and a closing "practical conclusions" to each chapter, and then there are appendices setting out the materials used to gather the facts for the examples.

It is a fact that a substantial number of construction claims are based on allegations of unproductive working that have incurred extra cost for the contractor. Now, at last, the industry has a useful guide as to how it should plan, monitor and prove the productivity achieved and, in the process, provide data for the future.

It is a book that will sit equally well on the shelves of those concerned with preparing bidding documents, those in the site hut from where the effects of disruption must be recorded and measured, and those who, when disputes occur, must try to make some sense of it all. And at £50 it is excellent value for money.