Construction Manager Role
The construction management business is the overall planning, oversight and control of a construction project from its creation on the computer screen or drafting board through completion and handover to the client. The construction manager's role in a project is that of the overall leader; they are tasked with completing the project while staying within the budgetary limits of the project and finishing it on schedule.
The construction manager's role can be separated into seven primary categories: project management planning, cost management, time management, quality management, contract administration, safety management and construction management professional practices. The construction management business has three major players--the client, the architect and the contractor, who is responsible for project management.
Traditionally, the construction management business has been based on a two-contract system. The client hires the architect, who develops the drawings and schematics for the project; the architect then hires the contractor, usually through a low-bid process, to serve as project manager. The contractor is then responsible for construction process, including scheduling and budgetary issues, which would be the construction manager's role.
Over the past few decades, the construction management business has seen new construction methods appear. One rapidly gaining popularity is the design-build approach, where architects and contractors team up to present a combined proposal to the client before the project is awarded. The proposal includes a design and the contractor's cost of building it. The client can the choose which proposal best meets their needs and budgetary requirements. In this case, the construction manager's role would be more expansive.
The construction manager at-risk (or CM at-risk) method has been around longer than the design-build method and has also seen its popularity rise over the past few years. The CM at-risk delivery method requires the contractor to play a greater role than if they were to simply bid on a project, but are not responsible for any part of the overall design. In their proposal, the contractor presents a guaranteed maximum price, a total they will not exceed in the course of completing the project. With this method, the construction manager's role is to serve as a consultant and liaison to the client during the preconstruction phase, which includes development and design. Once the design is completed, the construction manager then handles their regular role as the builder, but cannot exceed the guaranteed maximum price quoted in their proposal.
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