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Construction Management

Construction Management is a Project Delivery System based on an owner’s agreement with a qualified construction firm to provide construction leadership and perform administration and management within a defined scope of services. The Construction Manager works throughout the various phases of a project (from planning through design and construction) and cooperates with the owner and the designer in furthering the interests of the owner.

For most public construction projects, the Construction Management firm works as an agent for the owner, coordinating and monitoring the various trade contractors, who are directly contracted by the owner. As the agent to the owner, the Construction Manager renders services to expedite the process, including recommendations regarding phased construction (or fast tracking), scheduling, procurement, and division of work into trade contracts. The Construction Manager also monitors costs, time, quality and safety, but does not take responsibility for them and thus does not have a vested interest in the financial ramifications for issues that arise. The key role is to provide leadership and administration for the project, from start to finish.


  • Early involvement by construction professionals allows for:
    • Early cost estimates
    • Early project planning and scheduling
    • Value engineering and constructability studies during the design phase
    • Advise to owners regarding ways to gain efficiencies in project delivery
    • Recommended methods for selecting and awarding of trade contracts
    • Maximized organization of bid packages which increase bidding and scheduling efficiencies
    • Accelerated site preparation and installation of utilities
    • Coordination of early procurement of materials and equipment with long lead times
  • Improved relationships between designer and constructors emphasizing cooperation over adversarial posturing
  • Better service to owners by virtue of improved relationships
  • Overall better coordination of projects due to early cooperation of major parties
  • Time compression of the design/construction process, frequently significantly reducing overall project duration
  • Cost savings due to time compression
  • Fewer disputes, claim and delays, which are reduced by the early establishment of cooperative relations

Because of the success of Construction Management within the private sector, most states passed special legislation (or modified existing laws) to allow for the adoption of Construction Management by public agencies. However, this does not eliminate many aspects of the traditional bidding process for contractors.

Typical Guidelines

  • The Construction Manager is often precluded from doing any actual work on the site
  • All trade work is competitively bid
  • Bid packages require public advertisement
  • Regular reports must be submitted to public bodies of progress, expenditures, staffing and safety compliance
  • Records are subject to audit at any time
  • All trade contractors must follow public bidding requirement, which usually include:
    • Bonding
    • Prevailing wages
    • Equal employment opportunity requirements and disadvantaged business enterprise participation

Selection Criteria

Just as with the public bidding process, the selection process for a Construction Management firm requires openness and objectivity. Public knowledge is often mandated and Requests for Qualifications are sent to prospective firms, followed by Requests for Proposal being sent to qualified firms.

Selection criteria should be clearly outlined and often includes:

  • Overall track record in past and existing construction management contracts
  • Experience on the type of project being contemplated
  • Experience with this public owner or similar owners
  • Current work load
  • Availability of experienced personnel
  • Knowledge of the community, its trade contractors, suppliers and labor
  • Ability to manage safety requirements
  • Demonstrated abilities in scheduling, cost control and quality control
  • Skilled in phased construction, if required
  • Experience in partnering, total quality management, and alternative dispute resolution
  • Knowledge and skill in value engineering, constructability and cost reduction
  • Ability to attract and work with minority contractors
  • Ability to work with design firms
  • Solid marketing and public relations skills

Selection Process

Typical Services

Preconstruction Services

  • Evaluation of the owner’s program
  • Scheduling and attendance at regular meetings
  • Preparation and update of project schedules
  • Recommendations on procedures for phased construction
  • Preparation and update of budgets
  • Evaluation of alternatives through value engineering/constructability/cost containment
  • Recommendations on temporary facilities
  • Guidance on procurement of long lead time items
  • Division of the work into trade contracts
  • Recommendations for advertising, selecting and awarding trade contracts
  • Setting qualifications and performance standards for trade contractors
  • Consultation on equal employment opportunity and affirmative action programs
  • Education of vendors in the marketplace
  • Assistance in permit acquisition

Construction Phase Services

  • Assistance is preparing and negotiating trade contracts
  • Establishment of an onsite organization to administer the projects
  • Conduct periodic meetings
  • Written reports on the progress of the work, including a daily log
  • Monitoring and coordination of trade contracts
  • Regular updates of project schedule
  • Monitoring the construction budget
  • Cost and accounting records
  • Procedures for the review and processing of applications by trade contractors for payment
  • Change order procedures
  • Review of trade contractors’ safety procedures
  • Procedures for processing shop drawings and samples
  • Project close-out procedures
  • General condition items not included in trade contracts

Additional services can also be negotiated as part of the Construction Management contract.