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How Does Construction Manager At-Risk Differ from Design-Build?

by Jerry Rolfson, Sr. Architect / Design-Build Group Leader
November 26, 2018
cmar-vs-db

As an architect for over 20 years, I recognize that there are many different construction delivery options currently available for prospective owners considering a building project. These methods range from very contractual (Design-Bid-Build or Plan/Spec) to very collaborative (Design-Build). However, a new construction delivery method has recently emerged called Construction Manager At-Risk (CMAR) which falls somewhere in between.

This CMAR construction delivery option attempts to bridge the gap between the limitations of traditional Design-Bid-Build (Plan/Spec) and the collaborative advantages of Design-Build. However, having been heavily involved in both delivery models over my career, there are significant differences and limitations to CMAR when compared to the cohesive, integrated, and collaborative process that is Design-Build.

Consider these three important distinctions between CMAR and Design-Build:

  • Standard-of-Care vs. Commitment to Performance
  • Teamwork vs. Integration
  • Build-as-Designed vs. Build-to-Perform

The Water Design-Build Council has an excellent resource article that further explains these distinctions and gives insight into why Design-Build can be better for a project in the long-run if collaboration, no change orders, and transparency are important factors for a building project.

 

Steve Savoie


Jerry Rolfson

Senior Architect/Design-Build Group Leader

 


How Does CMAR Differ from Design-Build?

This blog post by the Water Design-Build Council delves into the benefits and drawbacks of Construction Manager At-Risk and why it does not offer all of the collaborative benefits of Design-Build.

HOW DOES CMAR DIFFER FROM DESIGN-BUILD

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