skip to main content

CM-at-Risk: Contracting for Owners, Consulting Engineers, and Contractors

February 14–15, 2019


Douglas D. Gransberg, Ph.D., P.E., M.ASCE
Wylie K. Bearup, Ph.D., P.E., DBIA

Purpose and Background

In the past decade, the pressure to deliver construction projects at a faster pace has grown and with it has come the use of alternative project delivery methods that furnish the ability to overlap the design and the construction process, thus compressing the project delivery period. Each of these methods has its advantages and its disadvantages. It is critical that engineers, architects and owners understand the fundamentals of each method and how it can potentially impact the quality of both the design and the construction. Each has its own technical distinctions, contractual models and potential ethical challenges. Hence, an early step in most capital project development processes is to decide which project delivery method is best suited for the given project. When a project's success depends on the construction contractor's means and methods, owners and their consultants need to get early contractor involvement in design and select some a method that retains a construction manager (CM) in some capacity to preform preconstruction services during design.

This seminar will boil each project delivery method down into its essential components from concept through design to construction and discuss the relative benefits and potential pitfalls of each. Case studies from current project delivery method research by the instructor will be presented to synthesize the theory that will be presented and illustrate its implementation. The following delivery methods will be covered:

  • Construction Manager-as-Agent (CMA) Also called Agency-CM
  • Construction Manager-at-Risk (CMR)
  • Construction Manager/General Contractor (CMGC)

Seminar Benefits

  • Participants will be able to select a CM-based project delivery method that best suits the characteristics of a given project.
  • Participants will learn how to draft the solicitation documents to procure a CM-based contract, including how to modify the design contract to accommodate CM project delivery and draft the preconstruction services contract.
  • Participants will understand the pitfalls of CM-based project delivery and when not to use it.
  • Participants will understand the mechanics of developing a guaranteed maximum price (GMP) on a CM-based contract.

Learning Outcomes

  • Learn to select projects that will potentially benefit from CMGC, CMR, or CMA delivery
  • Find out how to develop a CM-type contract pricing structure that leads to a guaranteed maximum price (GMP)
  • Understand the complex relationships between design and construction in each of these delivery methods
  • Learn how to accrue both time and cost savings by properly implementing a CM-based project delivery program

Assessment of Learning Outcomes

Learning objectives are achieved through case studies, computer demonstrations and classroom discussion.

Who Should Attend?

Construction project owners, design consultants, construction contractors, and attorneys.

Seminar Outline | 1.4 CEUs

TIME: 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Day 1

  • Introduction to CMGC, CMR, and CMA
  • Project selection parameters
  • Developing the CMGC/CMR/CMA solicitation and design contract
  • Evaluation and award procedures
  • Vertical (building) case study

Day 2

  • Preconstruction services
  • Developing design and construction work packages and sequencing
  • Developing a project pricing structure and/or GMP
  • Horizontal (highway case study)
  • Summary and wrap-up
jump to top