Overview of Construction Manager as Adviser and as Constructor Project Delivery Methods

By AIA Contract Documents

January 11, 2023

One of the first decisions an owner has to make at the outset of a construction project is what type of project delivery method they wish to employ. There are several different project delivery methods, such as Design-Bid-Build, Design-Build, Progressive Design-Build, and, the topic for this article, Construction Manager (“CM”). If the owner opts for the CM delivery method, there are two different contract structures for the CM: CM as Adviser (“CMa”) and CM as Constructor (“CMc”).

The construction manager under the CMa delivery method serves as an independent adviser to the owner throughout all phases of construction. The CM contracts directly with the owner for the services to be provided and is responsible for the administration of the multiple contracts the owner enters into with contractors. During the design phase, the CM advises the owner on budgets and schedule related to the proposed design. Once the preconstruction phase is over, the CM coordinates the construction much like a general contractor would. If the owner decides to proceed with a CMa, the AIA Documents A132-2019, A232-2019, B132-2019, and C132-2019 should be used.

Under a CMc delivery method the owner employs a construction manager to serve as an adviser during the preconstruction phase and also provides construction of the project with a guaranteed maximum price. At an agreed time, the construction manager prepares a guaranteed maximum price proposal for the owner’s review and approval. Once the owner has approved the proposal, the owner and construction manager enter into a separate agreement for the construction manager to provide labor and materials for the project and to complete construction at or below the guaranteed maximum price. Portions of the two phases of CMc, preconstruction, and construction, have the ability to be performed concurrently where the project requires. If the owner decides to proceed with a CMc, the A201- 2017 , B133-2019 and either A133-2019 or A134-2019 should be used.

AIA Contract Documents has provided this article for general informational purposes only. The information provided is not a legal opinion or legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship of any kind. This article is also not intended to provide guidance as to how project parties should interpret their specific contracts or resolve contract disputes, as those decisions will need to be made in consultation with legal counsel, insurance counsel, and other professionals, and based upon a multitude of factors.