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The AIA Project Delivery Knowledge Community (PD) promotes the architect’s leadership role in all project delivery methods by assembling and distributing knowledge and best practices for a variety of project delivery methods, e.g. design-build (DB), integrated project deliveries (IPD), and public-private partnerships (P3).

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CM at Risk is a "Contractor"

  • 1.  CM at Risk is a "Contractor"

    Posted 10-13-2016 10:01

    "CM at Risk" is no different from a contract for construction between an Owner and Contractor. In other words, a "CM at Risk" is a Contractor. Calling himself a Construction Manager does not change anything about the contractual relationship with the Owner, nor does it affect project delivery. If the CM were functioning only as an adviser, then the relationships would be different.


    Methods of project delivery include:




    Construction Management where the CM functions as an ADVISOR, not as the Contractor




    Can you clarify your request? How exactly is the project to be delivered? Which of the contractual relationships does the Owner prefer?


    As far as format is concerned, you should use UniFormat to organize the project information. CSI published a document called PPDFormat in 2010. It explains how to write an RFP using UniFormat. If you want to know more, I'm happy to help.




    Cliff Marvin, AIA Assoc., CSI, CCS, LEED-AP

    Robert Schwartz & Associates

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    212.691.3248, x15 office

    718.760.7160 mobile


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  • 2.  RE: CM at Risk is a "Contractor"

    Posted 10-14-2016 17:54
      |   view attached

    Absolutely not true, Clifford-there really is a HUGE difference between a Construction Manager and a traditional Design-Bid-Build General Contractor.  Per the AIA A133 Agreement Between Owner and CM, the CM at-Risk relationship requires the following (emphasis mine):


    "§ 1.2 Relationship of the Parties -- The Construction Manager accepts the relationship of trust and confidence established by this Agreement and covenants with the Owner to cooperate with the Architect and exercise the Construction Manager's skill and judgment in furthering the interests of the Owner; to furnish efficient construction administration, management services and supervision; to furnish at all times an adequate supply of workers and materials; and to perform the Work in an expeditious and economical manner consistent with the Owner's interests."


    This is the exact polar opposite of a traditional Design-Bid-Build General Contractor's vendor-relationship with the Owner.


    The trick, however, is for we architects to not only know the difference among delivery alternatives, but to proactively help our client draft and properly administer CM at-Risk Contract Documents as open-book, fee-based, early teamwork to the benefit of our mutual client.  That is the only way to achieve actual professional collaboration in the Owner's interests, not the traditionally adversarial old GC's self-profit model that you are referring to.  


    If we architects don't understand project delivery relationships, everything will revert back to the needless conflicts and other problems common to old fashioned D-B-B contracts.


    We owe it to our clients to do better.  See my attached white paper on the subject titled "If We Keep On Doing What We've Always Done...", as recently published on the AIA CCA Knowledge Community website.  I welcome questions and comments.




    Dale L. Munhall, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP

    Senior Associate, Director of Construction Phase Services



    8600 Indian Hills Drive,  Omaha, NE 68114-4039

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  • 3.  RE: CM at Risk is a "Contractor"

    Posted 10-18-2016 22:12
    Dale is right! 

    In fact, my proposals offer clients a discount if they choose a CM early in the design process.

    Tim Mead, AIA, Architect

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  • 4.  RE: CM at Risk is a "Contractor"

    Posted 10-14-2016 19:07

    Don't forget IPD


    Marc Chavez FCSI AIA CCS CCCA

    Technical Director



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  • 5.  RE: CM at Risk is a "Contractor"

    Posted 10-16-2016 13:18

    For more clarification on the very important differences in contractual relationships between a conventional design-bid-build contractor, and Construction Manager as Advisor, and a Construction Manager as Constructor, as well as other commonly used PDMs such as the different forms of IPD, refer to the AIA Contract Relationship Diagrams, October 2015. I just posted this to the PDKC Library for quick reference.

    Robert Bostwick AIA
    President, Director of Design
    Bostwick Design Partnership
    Cleveland OH

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  • 6.  RE: CM at Risk is a "Contractor"

    Posted 10-17-2016 23:10

    There is another variation of the CM model that has been left off of the list.  The missing evolution profile is CMGC and / or CMGC At Risk.


    Richard Bryant, AIA

    Alta Vista Design Architecture & Planning LLC

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  • 7.  RE: CM at Risk is a "Contractor"

    Posted 10-18-2016 18:32
    Since that is the prevalent method of project delivery it is no wonder our glorious AIA has no doubt left it off, due to them being totally out of touch with reality.

    Ed Tannebaum, AIA

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