Over the past forty years, the construction industry has witnessed the evolution of the construction management (CM) delivery methodology. Today, when we speak generically about CMs, we usually refer to CM-At Risk, which is different that CM-As Agent. The latter refers to an entity, which acts as an advisor to the Owner but does not directly manage the construction process. The former, or more familiar role, is CM-At Risk, in which the CM actively and directly manages the construction process and provides certain financial guarantees with respect to the project execution and completion.
We are painfully aware of the lack of alignment that often occurs between the interests of the Owner, the Architect and the CM. The CM engages directly with subcontractors, vendors and the construction supply chain. The Owner depends upon the CM to deliver a specific set of services, within a specific set of cost and schedule targets, and with certain contingencies and defined shared cost savings. The CM is tasked with the management subcontractors and vendors, which it must work with repeatedly. To remain effective, CMs must forge and maintain good working relationships with its supply chain. There is an inherent conflict between the CM’s clear obligation to the Owner and its less clear interest in maintaining ties with its supply chain.
What can the industry do to mitigate conflicts and ensure greater alignment of interests between the Owner, the Architect and the CM? How can Owners leverage the CM’s relationships to reduce risk and cost on its projects? What steps can Owners take to ensure that the change management process is handled as diligently as possible?
This summer, we will explore potential solutions to the aforementioned problems. We will also identify ways to mitigate potential disconnects and lack of alignment between the key members of project teams. We look forward to your feedback and recommendations.