Project Delivery Method: How are We Building? Part 3

Save Your Church Money Blog

This is the third part in a series of articles describing the different project delivery methods. The first part dealt with “Design-Bid-Build”, the second part dealt with what to look for in an architect. This article will deal with the project delivery method know as “Construction Management” or “CM”.

Construction Management
In this method the church hires a Construction Manager (CM) to oversee the project and coordinate the interaction between the architect and contractor. There are variations to this method. Three of the most common are CM as advisor, CM as agent and CM at risk.
CM as advisor: Acts as advisor to the Owner; Architect and contractor maintain conventional roles.
CM as agent: Given the authority of the Owner; Allows Owner to step back from the project; Assumes financial authority.
CM at risk: Acts as project coordinator and general contractor (GC); Includes early cost commitment; CM assumes all liability as the contractor.
The diagram below illustrates the CM as adviser:

This method was devised to better deal with larger more complex projects which the average Owner may not be able to adequately oversee. This is more appropriate for complex projects like hospitals, schools and large manufacturing plants.

• Strengths
o Careful monitoring of cost and schedule
o Direct contractual relationships with church
o Potential to “fast track”
o Early cost estimating input
• Weaknesses
o Additional cost for CM
o May not provide a stipulated sum or guaranteed maximum price (GMP).
o More complex relationships
o Often the most costly method
o Church may assume more financial risk
o Multiple warranties
o Construction manager loyalty conflict
o Less direct communication between the church and the architect or contractor.

Even though this method is well known, a church needs to carefully consider all of the ramifications of utilizing this method. From first glance, many people would perceive this method to have the highest degree of transparency and cost accountability combined with low risk. While this is the intent of the method, it may in fact have the highest amount of complexity and cost for churches. A church should carefully compare the pluses and minuses of this method with other before making a decision to employ the “CM” method.