Last edited 02 Aug 2018

Construction manager at-risk

Construction manager at-risk (CMAR) is a type of construction project delivery method that can offer an alternative to the traditional process.

The role of the construction manager in the CMAR process is to act as a consultant to the client during the pre-construction design development stages, and then as a construction manager (and sometimes as the contractor) during the construction stages. The construction manager commits to deliver the project within a guaranteed maximum price (GMP), and any costs that exceed the GMP which are not considered to be change orders are the liability of the construction manager. As a result, the construction manager will become very involved in every stage of the project, taking action to keep costs under control.

Before the completion of the design, the construction manager is involved with estimating the costs. This increases the flexibility and adaptability of the design and scope, since the project can be modified as cost, schedule and quality considerations are balanced. The client is also able to make adjustments before pricing is fully completed. This tends to make projects more collaborative, and design solutions tend to have better 'buildability'.

The CMAR delivery method is particularly suited to larger and more complex projects that are more difficult to define prior to construction beginning and have a high chance of changing in scope. It is also suitable for projects that are of a high technical complexity, contain multiple phases, or where the schedule requires that construction begins before the design is complete.

The drawbacks of the CMAR process is that the construction manager may lose out financially if cost over-runs occur. Also, they may compensate for the risk of financial exposure by changing the works to fit the GMP.

The client remains at risk for any exclusions or inconsistencies in the contract documents, as well as the risk that they may not receive the best possible bid from contractors if the GMP is established before the design phase begins.

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