CM at Risk: A Delivery Method Focused on Collaboration


Understanding the different project delivery method options can seem daunting due to the myriad of factors to consider. And it’s important to choose the best method for the complexity of your project. As a continuation of our series of delivery method posts, we will focus on Construction Management at Risk (CM at Risk) and explain the benefits to owners of choosing this method.

Understanding CM At Risk

With the CM at Risk delivery method the Owner hires a Construction Manager / General Contractor (CM/GC) to build and deliver the project to the Owners’ satisfaction. The CM/GC is a part of the collaborative project team from the beginning and is selected by the Owner based on certain qualifications. By choosing a CM at Risk, the CM/GC holds the risk of subcontracting the work and the responsibility of the delivery of the project.

The Benefits

From the beginning the CM at Risk becomes a collaborative member of the project team, assisting with budgeting, cost estimating, scheduling and advising on alternative design implications. During the design phase, this allows the Owner to fully realize the benefit and value of preconstruction services—before the impact of changes becomes costly.

In the construction phase, the CM at Risk serves as the single point of responsibility for the project and has more control over the budget and schedule. For example, the CM at Risk holds the trade contracts for the subcontractors—bringing a high degree of cost and schedule certainty to the project.

Another major benefit to an Owner with this delivery method is that the majority of the project risk can be transferred to the CM, as defined in the contract.

Is CM at Risk right for your project?

CM at Risk is generally considered for larger, more complex projects, fast-track projects, or projects where the Owner wants a high level of collaboration. Some of Hourigan’s CM at Risk projects include Obici Hospital, Apple REIT Expansion and Renovation and the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center.

We will continue to discuss delivery methods and the benefits of each in future blog posts.

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