Typically, many ADOT projects follow a common course: Design – Bid – Build.
That means ADOT (or a consulting engineer working for the department) designs the project, solicits bids and then awards a contract to the lowest responsive and responsible bidder to build the project.
While this method works well for many projects, some situations call for different options…
You might remember that we told you about one of those options – the Design-Build process
– a while back. It involves pairing a design team with a construction team to create one team that works together and delivers a freeway project from beginning to end.
But, there are more than two ways to build a road and today, we’re focusing on yet another alternative contracting method: Construction Manager at Risk
The Construction Manager at Risk method (or CMAR for short) allows ADOT to select a designer and contractor separately. But, instead of designing the entire project and then bringing on a contractor, CMAR lets ADOT bring a contractor on board very early in the design process. During design the CMAR contractor serves as an advisor and works closely with project designers. The relationships among the three key parties (owner, architect/engineering team and the CMAR contractor) are collaborative, trusting and non-adversarial. This kind of relationship produces a more manageable, predictive project which saves time, money and change orders.
It also affords the designer an opportunity to tailor the design of the project to the CMAR contractor’s preferred means and methods; provide more detail; and, potentially, reduce construction time.
Another significant feature of the CMAR method is the Guaranteed Maximum Price.
The GMP is the total itemized dollar amount that the CMAR contractor guarantees to complete the project at. The amount is negotiated between the CMAR contractor and ADOT and can include, but isn’t limited to, a construction schedule, all traffic control, quality testing, survey replacement of materials, public information and coordination costs. Projects can also have multiple GMPs for different portions of work. When to go with Construction Manager at Risk
If the CMAR method provides so many benefits, why isn’t it used on every project? Well, not all projects are great contenders for CMAR.
CMAR is most beneficial when:
- There is a need for immediate transportation improvements
- The design is complex, difficult to define, subject to change and/or has several design options
- There is a high coordination requirement with external agencies that make cost over-runs and construction schedule a pressing concern
- The project is sequence or schedule sensitive.
The method is less suitable for straight-forward projects that are easily defined and lack schedule sensitivity.
When the project is all finished, drivers won’t be able to tell which method was used, but having different options gives ADOT the ability to build the state’s highway system in a more effective manner.