For public institutions, there are three project delivery methods approved by state law:
- Construction Manager as Constructor (CMc)
In this blog, we will discuss Construction Manager as Constructor (CMc)—a new construction project delivery method signed into law in March 2014. Public educational institutions have been able to use the CMc method since that year; in June of 2017, all other state institutions will also be able to use it.
Contractors work on projects with different project delivery methods. The same contractor might be working on five projects—all with different delivery methods. It doesn’t change who they are as a contractor. It does change the roles, responsibilities, and contractual obligations they have on a given project. This fluidity of delivery methods can be confusing when owners think of companies as “Design-Builder”, “Contractor”, or “Construction Manager”. These are all delivery method roles—not definitions or limitations on them as companies.
A defining characteristic of a Construction Manager (CM) contract (of any type) is the timing of their involvement in the project. In the traditional Design-Bid-Build delivery method, the construction entity is not involved until the “Bid” portion of the project. Design occurs without the involvement of a construction entity. When a construction manager is involved by contract, they are involved in “pre-construction” activities. Therefore, during design, they can be contracted to offer schedule, budget, and constructability input or feedback to the owner. This early involvement can be beneficial if the owner and/or design firm do not have strong construction experience to draw upon internally.
CMc is sometimes also known as Construction Manager at Risk. This implies that there is additional risk being taken on by the CMc that “normally” does not exist. “Normally”, is related to the standard term of CM. In the construction project world, CM refers to a Construction Manager as Agent (CMa) or Advisor. The CMa is a construction partner in the long-standing Design-Bid-Build project delivery method. Their role is to serve the owner as an adviser or non-constructor. They advise on schedule, constructability, scope of work, etc. They do not self-perform any portion of the work. It is truly the work of managing construction—while not pounding any nails or laying any bricks. The contracts they manage as a CMa are all held (or signed) by the owner.
As a CMc, or at risk, work can be self-performed. In addition, the contracts for the other firms performing work (subcontractors) on the project are held (or signed) by the CMc, not the owner. These two realities create the inherent risk being assumed by the CMc. By holding these subcontracts, the CMc is responsible for the schedule, quality, and cost of the work covered by these agreements.
In order to create a transparent and open competition for publicly funded work, the CMc law signed in 2014 requires some very specific steps, processes, and communication. In our next blog, we dive in to specifics and complexities of the law making that possible.