One of the issues in relation to any construction dispute regarding defective work is whether there can be a claim for the cost of the management time spent sorting out the problem.

In the past it has been very difficult to prove the costs of lost management time. It has always been necessary to keep very detailed, contemporaneous records, which has often meant that in practice it has been impossible to claim the time.

However, in the recent case of Bridge Limited (trading as Bridge Communications) v Abbey Pynford Plc (2007), the managing director had made a retrospective assessment of the time he had spent and the court allowed the claim. It held that, in the absence of contemporaneous records, the managing director’s recollection from memory was sufficient to enable him to be successful in a claim for the costs of lost management time, although they did make a discount (20 per cent) to reflect the uncertainty of the actual amount. That of course is still an 80 per cent better recovery rate than might otherwise have been obtained.

This is likely to result in many more claims for management time although a note of caution does need to be sounded. The onus will still be on the claiming party to prove that the management time spent in resolving the problems has caused significant disruption to the business.