What Is CMAR? (Including Advantages and Disadvantages)

Alternative Delivery 101: CMAR

Who uses CMAR?

To complete and develop projects, professionals in the construction industry, such as project owners, business owners, project managers, construction supervisors, or members of management, use CMAR. If a project owner hires them, construction managers and general contractors frequently serve as CMAR consultants.

What is CMAR?

The project delivery method known as “construction management at risk,” or CMAR, involves hiring a general contractor to provide advice on the creation of a construction project. Typically, the project owner consults before hiring a general contractor to finish the project.

After that, a general contractor consults with the project owner and works with a group of architects to create a design that suits the owner’s requirements and financial constraints. The general contractor becomes the project’s construction manager once they officially sign on. Duties of a CMAR consultant may include:

GMP contract elements

When a project owner hires a contractor to finish a project, they may create a Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP) contract, which establishes the budget, offers project insight, and mandates that the general contractor pay for any costs that go over the budget. When drafting a GMP contract, a project owner and construction manager may talk about the following clauses:

Project budget

A budget is a crucial component of the GMP contract because it specifies the materials you can order, the time frame for completion of a project, and the cost of labor. It also establishes the amount of compensation you can expect from the project manager after it is finished.

Project description

A project owner and construction manager will include a detailed, logical plan for the project from start to finish. This will ensure that there is no misunderstanding throughout the project and that everyone collaborates on the same concepts and timetable. The contract will specify the precise timeline, materials, tools, and blueprint for the project.

Payment schedule

The agreement on a payment schedule can also be specified in the contract. A construction manager may decide they want to be paid at the conclusion of the project or at specific project milestones.

Extra expenses

The contract factors in additional funds to cover any potential unforeseen events, such as materials arriving late and pushing a project past its deadline, as well as the total cost of labor and materials. There is frequently language in the contract stating that the construction manager is responsible for paying any costs that exceed the predetermined budget.

Advantages of using CMAR

The following are a few benefits of utilizing the CMAR project delivery method:

Improved cost control

Better cost control can be achieved during different project development and completion stages by using the CMAR project delivery method. Usually, the construction manager aids in selecting the best architect for the project, which could result in expensive labor costs. To help the project owner better plan their budget, the construction manager provides cost estimates for both materials and labor throughout the process. This makes it possible to better control costs so that no unforeseenly high costs arise during the project.

The next stage of a project can be started if the cost projections and budget line up. The construction manager can collaborate with the project owner to identify problems and adjust material and labor costs if a cost estimate is out of line with the budget.

Limited risk

Since the GMP contract details all standards, regulations, and contingencies for the budget and project completion, CMAR permits lower financial risk. The agreement gives the owner assurance that the construction manager will stick to the budget; otherwise, the construction manager will be responsible for paying for any materials that are purchased outside of the budget. Project experts can consult the contract to assess financial constraints and project requirements.

Relieves stress

An owner of a construction project may find it less stressful to manage and coordinate the project with the help of a CMAR consultant. Leading a project collaboratively may feel less stressful than leading a project independently because construction managers collaborate with project owners to design and manage a project.

Disadvantages of a CMAR contract

The following are some drawbacks of utilizing the CMAR project delivery method:

Potential for contract inconsistencies

The project owner might be held financially liable for any cost issues brought on by any contract errors that result in budget inconsistencies. A trusted expert from outside your company should review the contract to look for any errors or inconsistencies in order to ensure that it is accurate.

Risk for communication errors

If someone sends a message incorrectly or with inaccurate information, there may be communication errors because the construction manager serves as a liaison for the project owner and architect. A construction manager must communicate effectively to ensure that all messages are understood by all parties, especially when they involve sensitive information like deadlines and budgets.

Possible financial ambiguity

It may be unclear how much work a construction manager has done with the project owner prior to establishing a GMP contract. To ensure that everyone involved receives the appropriate compensation, it’s crucial to keep track of all the hours spent collaborating with the project owner to design the project and draft the GMP contract.


What is a CMAR?

Construction manager at-risk (CMAR) is a delivery method that, in most cases, requires the construction manager to commit to completing the project within a Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP).

How does a cmar work?

The Construction Manager at Risk (CMAR) delivery method requires the Construction Manager (CM) to commit to completing the project within a Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP) that is based on the construction documents and specifications in effect at that time in addition to any reasonably inferred items or tasks.

Is cmar same as design-build?

At its core, CMAR is fundamentally a conventional design-bid-build delivery method. Although it makes use of some of design-build’s preferred collaboration focus, the engineer’s and the contractor’s performance responsibilities are still clearly separated.

Why do contractors like cmar?

In conclusion, establishing and maintaining a strong collaborative working relationship between the owner, designer, and CMAR firm produces favorable outcomes, such as fewer change orders, better construction quality, improved communication, an accelerated schedule, and increased cost certainty over the course of the project.

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