Construction Management, is a service that uses specialized, project management techniques to manage the planning, design, and construction of a project, from the beginning to the end. The purpose of CM is to control a project's time, cost and quality. CM is compatible with all project delivery systems, including design-bid-build, design-build, CM At-Risk and Public Private Partnerships. No matter the setting, a CM's responsibility is to the owner, and to a successful project.
Every construction project features some amount of CM. However, professional construction managers (CMs) are typically reserved for capital projects which are generally lengthy, large-scale, high budget undertakings, like commercial real estate, transportation infrastructure, hospitals, industrial facilities, etc. The project's commissioning entity is the owner. Few owners maintain the staff resources necessary to pay close, continuing attention to each of the projects details – yet these details can make or break a project. As such, these projects require a dedicated management professional. Construction Managers adhere to CMAA's Construction Management Standards of Practice which establishes industry standards of service and serves as a guide to the range of services that constitute professional construction management.
Construction Management Experts
At its core, a capital project is made up of three parties (excluding the CM):
- The Owner, who commissions and subsequently funds the project.
- The General Contractor, who oversees day-to-day operations and manages specialized subcontractors.
- The Architect, who designs the project.
These parties perform vastly different functions from one another, and in most cases, come from different organizations. The CM's job is to skillfully manage these three parties in order to deliver the project on time, at or under budget, and to the owner's expected standard of quality. It is important to understand that professional CMs are not general contractors or constructors. They typically do not perform the actual construction tasks themselves, but rather act as an advisor to or agent of the owner, charged with assuring projects progress smoothly and achieve the owner’s business objectives.
To control a project's time, cost, and quality, the CM leads a team of specialists. These specialists oversee different aspects of construction project management, including scheduling, safety, cost-estimation, design, quality assurance and more.