Construction managers (CMs) are often involved in large and complex construction projects. CMs offer a unique skill set and experience as they are trained specifically for building construction management through a higher education degree program.
CMs can be involved in construction projects in many capacities. This post will highlight three of them: pure CM, construction manager-as-agent, and construction manager-at-risk.
Pure CM is when the CM takes on the role of a traditional contractor as an agent to the owner. In this role, they contract with subcontractors and suppliers for the construction project.
Also referred to as construction manager-as-advisor, this relationship puts the CM in purely an advisory role as an agent to the owner. In this capacity, the CM is not bound to any construction contract, nor to any contracts with subcontractors and suppliers, and offers independent judgment. The beneficial aspect of this relationship is that the CM helps the owner make decisions before, during, or even after the construction process. Oftentimes, owners are not well versed in construction and need the expertise of a CM for that insight. This relationship is essentially about the management of a construction project.
Construction manager-at-risk, or construction manager-as-constructor (CMc), is a specific project delivery method (AIA Document A133-2009). With this role, the CMc assumes the construction project with a GMP, or guaranteed maximum price; they guarantee that the project will be delivered on budget and on time. That assumption of the contract makes the CMc liable should the project not meet budget or schedule. However, if it comes under budget and on time (or earlier), the CMc is often rewarded by sharing the cost savings with the owner.