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Construction Manager and Construction Manager at Risk: What’s the Difference?

Aug 7, 2021 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

This is the second part of a three-part series, talking about different construction delivery types to Clients, such as Design-Build, General Contracting, Construction Manager as Administrator, and Construction Manager at Risk. This blog specifically talks about the two Construction Manager Roles. 

Titles, roles, and specialties in the construction field can be confusing to navigate specifically for Clients. Businesses might have a project to complete, but not be too sure who they need or what type of role is best to get it completed on time and budget.

Not sure of the differences? You’re not alone. Today, let’s talk about the role of Construction Manager. A Construction Manager is a company put in place to manage the financial and logistical delivery of a project alongside the Architect for the Client. This can be done through two such roles, Construction Manager as an Administrator, and a Construction Manager at Risk.

Understanding the Functions of Construction Management

Construction management is typically divided into two categories: Construction Manager Administrator (Also called a CMA) and Construction Manager-at-Risk (or CMAR).

Construction Manager Administrator

A Construction Manager Administrator is a combined role of many. A CMA is hired as a consultant on a project. Their role is to provide input and guidance in a variety of areas. The CMA might supply project management, project supervision, engineering and design oversight, financing, development, amongst other duties to help the project’s owner make critical decisions on the project. The owner is then responsible for hiring separate trade contractors, prime contractors, and/or a general contractor to complete the construction of the project.

The Construction Manager Administrator does not take on the risks of a contractor–such as a timeline, budget, or overruns because they are only acting as a consultant on project tasks. The CMA must be mindful of their actions, however, as they represent the best interests of the project’s owner. This role is very popular when working with a public entity, such as a school district or civic entity.

Construction Manager-at-Risk

In contrast, a Construction Manager-at-Risk likely begins the project as a consultant, then converts to a general contractor at a certain time, predetermined by the contract. Once the project moves out of the design phase, the CM at Risk operates as a general contractor, holding a single contract with the owner and any subcontractors needed for the project. The Construction Manager at Risk also takes on the monetary risks for the construction of the project as well as the responsibilities of maintaining the project’s schedule. At the beginning of the project, the owner will typically send a Request for Proposal (Or RFP) for an estimation of the project’s budget, or a process and fee structure for such project.

BCI Construction works in many construction roles, depending on what is needed for a project. As well as CMA and CMAR roles, we also execute general contracting and design-build functions. We can even facilitate projects as a sub-contractor in projects such as rough & finish carpenters, drywall, solar panel installation, and a variety of other construction specialties.

Not sure which role best forts your project? Contact BCI Construction to learn more. 

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