Construction Management

In Construction Management approach, the Construction Manager (CM) acts as the General Contractor with schedule and cost risks. This approach is similar to the Design-Bid-Build method except that the agreement is signed at the schematic design level. This way, the Construction Manager-General Contractor works cooperatively with the Architect / Engineers throughout the design development process.

The CM typically works on a fee basis and may offer a Guaranteed Maximum Price with split savings incentive with an at-risk approach. The CM will generally bid subcontractor packages to select list subs. More details on variations of the CM approach are offered in The Construction Buyers Guide.

This delivery system allows the project Owner to retain control of the design and construction phases while the Contractor takes responsibility for construction quality, budget adherence, and on-time performance.


Construction Management vs. Design / Build

Construction Management

  • Owner at risk for design
  • Contractor assists design
  • TEAM approach
  • Open book accounting, cost plus negotiated fee
  • Itemized accounting requires more staff accounting
  • More Owner and Architect / Engineering involvement



  • Contractor¬†at risk for design
  • Contractor leads design
  • TEAM approach
  • One sum proposal, or cost plus a fee
  • Less staff accounting for lump sum contracts
  • Less Owner and Architect / Engineer involvement – turn key