American Society of Civil Engineers

A Critical Analysis of Innovations in Construction Manager-at-Risk Project Delivery

by Jennifer S. Shane, Ph.D., (Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering, Iowa State University, 498 Town Engineering, Ames, IA 50011. E-mail: and Douglas D. Gransberg, Ph.D., P.E., (Construction Science Division, University of Oklahoma, 830 Van Vleet Oval, Norman, Oklahoma 73019-6141. E-mail:
Section: Procurement, Contracting, and Legal Affairs, pp. 827-836, (doi:

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Document type: Conference Proceeding Paper
Part of: Construction Research Congress 2010: Innovation for Reshaping Construction Practice
Abstract: Construction Manager-at-Risk (CMR) is an integrated delivery approach to the planning, design, and construction of civil engineering projects. CMR is well accepted in the building industry and is beginning to emerge as a viable delivery method for transportation projects. This paper correlates a comprehensive literature review documenting the advantages and disadvantages of CMR innovation with the output of 19 case studies involving structured interviews of project practitioners in the U.S. building, highway, airport, and rail transit sectors. The primary topical areas include the cost, scheduling, and quality aspects of CMR. The paper concludes that the innovations reported in the literature are not actually applicable to all types of projects. While the case study interviews confirmed at least one instance of each cited advantage, the primary innovation that can reshape construction practice lies in the constructability, biddability, and sustainability input that the constructor makes during the preconstruction services phase of a CMR contract. The paper recommends that owners leverage this advantage by carefully synchronizing both the design contract and the CMR preconstruction services contract.

ASCE Subject Headings:
Construction management
Risk management
Project delivery