The CMAR Delivery Process: Is It Right For You?

by | Jul 19, 2019

Are you a “hands-on” owner who prefers to work collaboratively through the design and construction of your project? Do you like to maintain control over all project phases? If so, construction management at-risk (CMAR) may be the best delivery method to achieve your project goals.

As collaborative delivery methods continue to gain owners’ understanding and respect for the benefits they can provide to achieve best project value, CMAR truly stands out in the crowd. It provides the flexibility to select both your design and construction partners while allowing collaboration to begin early in design and continue through preconstruction and construction. This is extremely beneficial, especially for projects with tight schedules or complex scopes.

With CMAR project delivery, you contract with the design and construction firms independently, creating an integrated project team. This provides a system of checks and balances between design, construction, and operating and life cycle costs. It also ensures you have expert professionals in all facets of the project and that every member of the team is invested in one thing—a successful project outcome.

The key to this delivery method is the early marriage between the owner, engineer, and contractor. Although the engineer is typically selected first, similar to a traditional design-bid-build project, the construction manager is brought on board early and plays an active role throughout the design and preconstruction phases. This results in cost certainty, schedule certainty, real time constructability reviews, and design challenging value engineering concepts.

This collaboration allows the CM to provide real-time pricing as the design develops and provide valuable insight into constructability, risk, and/or schedule considerations that could impact the project. The CM can also develop a more detailed scope of work based on a well-informed project understanding which generates interest to attract qualified subcontractors for the bidding process. Many CMs also offer self-perform capabilities for certain scopes of work, providing additional options that can be compared to subcontractor bids to determine the best value for the project. Throughout the entire process, the owner is provided with detailed knowledge of construction costs through an open-book experience and is intimately involved in making decisions that drive cost control.

Owners also make an investment with their role in preconstruction services during the design phase, which is critical to the success of the project. This investment helps reduce design, budget, and schedule risks. By nature of early involvement, the CM is better able to understand plant operations and design and program needs. This interaction allows for optimization of solutions between program, design, and costs, as well as leveraging technology and processes. All of these factors become the basis to enable informed decisions that lead to best value.

Utilizing the CMAR delivery method for your project will also enable developing and maintaining a strong, collaborative team relationship that can drive a successful project outcome. The CMAR process inherently reduces change orders, ensures high quality, improves communication, promotes schedule adherence, provides cost certainty, maximizes cost control, and encourages value engineering opportunities—resulting in the end goal of best value for the project and the owner.