3 Reasons the Construction Manager-at-Risk Project Delivery Method Could Be Useful

After decades of dominance by the design-build and design-bid-build project delivery methods for construction projects, many alternative delivery methods are starting to curry favor with construction professionals. When getting the project done for the lowest possible price isn’t the most prominent concern for project owners, there are several delivery methods that should be considered. One we’ll take a look at today is the construction-manager-at-risk (CMAR) approach; below, we explain the potential benefits of this delivery method.

1. The CMAR’s fiduciary duty is to the owner. Even the prime contractor in a design-build or design-bid-build project is not solely dedicated to advocating for the owner in a construction project. In a CMAR project, though, the owner gets a consultant and adviser through the construction manager.

2. Project owners can have a more precise cost estimate. One of the most attractive features of a CMAR delivery method is the obligation of the construction manager to deliver the project at a guaranteed maximum price (GMP). Depending on the CMAR’s contract, the CMAR could be personally responsible for project costs over the GMP. To have an accurate GMP, though, you need to bring in the CMAR at the right stage of the project.

3. You have some flexibility when hiring a CMAR. If you are the project owner, the CMAR can be brought on when you’re ready. You might want the CMAR to be heavily involved in the selection of the prime general contractor. Or, if you want to be more hands-on with the design team, you can hire the CMAR during the pre-construction process. As the project owner, you have some latitude when it comes to the CMAR’s actual duties.

Considerations Before Hiring a CMAR

Because your CMAR will become your de-facto liaison with the design and construction team, you need to make sure you choose one who has a good rapport with the crews executing the project. Choosing one who already has clout with local construction enterprises is important. If your CMAR has institutional knowledge of projects that are similar to yours, he or she can provide added value by recommending raw materials and trustworthy subcontractors.

Another important component of the CMAR project delivery method is to contract with a skilled construction attorney. Granular liability issues can be quite murky with this delivery method, and you certainly don’t want to accidentally create a greater amount of liability than you’re comfortable with.


DDA Engineers, P.A. has operated under many different types of project delivery methods throughout decades of being in business. We have worked on a variety of projects for government, retail, and educational clients, to name a few. Our structural engineering firm provides consultative services and champions creative solutions during any phase of construction. Call us at (305) 666-0711 to discuss your options.

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