CMAR: An Integrated Delivery Approach Method to Design and Construction
When funding public work, cost accountability remains a high priority and is often mandated by stakeholders. In the spectrum of project delivery methodologies, the Construction Manager At-Risk (CMAR) model is designed for just such a purpose.
Several team-centric efforts should take place between the design team and the CMAR early in the project. The development and adherence of the following shared objectives will guide the project team to a higher level of success:
- Establishing clarity of client priorities specific to the development of the building program and project objectives;
- Developing an overall project schedule that incorporates thoughtful design process milestones;
- Development of quality bidding documents;
- Facilitating a work session(s) with the entire integrated project team to develop a conceptual cost model for the project upon completion of the programming phase.
One of the principle benefits in engaging a CMAR process is the perceived higher level of cost control. Additionally, the CMAR has a vested role in safeguarding the owner's interests. This model provides management and coordination, purportedly minimizing owner involvement time. If proper allowances and contingencies are built into the Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP), the owner’s fiscal risk is limited because contractually any costs exceeding the GMP that are not change orders are the financial liability of the CMAR.
This model is most successful in projects that have scope complexities and pressure to finish in a limited time. CMAR may also be applicable to some projects that involve complex integration between disciplines or multiple phases of construction, such as large-scale remodels to existing facilities, where the oversight and coordination delivered by a construction manager is extremely beneficial.
Of course, as with any process, there are disadvantages to this procurement method, including the high level of communication needed between the client, CMAR and Architect. Since the process involves two separate contracts between client/CMAR and client/AE team, there is a potential of misalignment of contractual obligations.
The greatest success is achieved when all parties are vested in and value the development of the design, cost, quality and time it takes for a superior project.