Why Construction Management At-Risk May Be the Right Delivery Method for You

As a CM/GC and PM firm, H.J. Russell & Company often works with clients in advance to help determine the best delivery methods for their unique projects. If you’re an Owner seeking a more collaborative delivery process, Construction Management At-Risk (CMAR) may be the ideal solution for your project. Under a CMAR delivery method, the following are just a few of the many benefits an Owner would reap.

Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP) and Continuous Budget Validation

With a CMAR agreement, the cost savings are abundant. However, the most significant of these savings come from a Guaranteed Maximum Price. Under a GMP, owners can lock onto a final construction cost much earlier than with other delivery methods due to a higher level of cost control from the start.

The CMAR provides cost estimates within the contractually set parameters during the design process. If these projections are within the established budget, the project can move forward.

Otherwise, the Owner and the CM/GC will assess the cost estimate and adjust the design to bring it in line with the budget. This approach ensures budget success.

Increased Value for Greater Efficiency

With CMAR, the CM becomes part of the project team from the beginning and provides input to the owner as the project moves from design into construction. Not only does this also provide continuous budget validation, but a CM’s involvement during preconstruction includes constructability reviews, material and structure review for possible alternates that can help save money and drive the schedule, and the elimination of change orders due to E&O and unforeseen conditions.

Early involvement also provides insight into the construction market and how market demands may impact material pricing and subcontract availability. It also provides schedule flexibility by allowing some elements of the project to be bought out earlier.

Reduced Risk

By engaging in a CMAR delivery method, many aspects of the project risks are passed onto the CM, thus reducing the Owner’s potential risks. An example of this risk reduction is that under CMAR, the CM collaborates closely with the owner to determine the “bid package” for each element of the property, which can include landscaping and architectural finishes to mechanical and electrical components and equipment. The CM’s financial risk enables them to choose subcontractors who may not be the lowest bidder but stay on schedule and provide superior quality work. The collaborative nature of the CMAR project delivery also encourages overall enhanced team environment and relationships, reducing finger-pointing or adversarial relationships.

The CMAR process is most effective when the project has an undefined scope and is under pressure to finish in a short time frame. To explore which delivery method is right for your project, reach out to H.J. Russell & Company for one-of-a-kind, experience-backed expertise.

Contributing Writers


Vice President of Operations

Michael Swick has over 22 years of construction experience across commercial and residential sectors. He serves Vice President of Operations for H. J. Russell & Company’s construction division and is responsible for the overall leadership and growth of Russell’s construction group.

Before joining Russell, Michael was Director of Sustainability and Senior Project Manager for Choate Construction Company, a commercial general contracting firm with offices throughout the southeast and annual gross revenues in excess of $1B. As Senior Project Manager, he completed over $350M and 2.6M square feet of construction projects across a wide variety of industry sectors, including hospitality, apartment, senior living, student housing, office, warehouse, public works, athletic facilities, and retail.

Michael has held several civic leadership roles. He was elected president of the U.S. Green Building Council of Georgia in 2014 and 2015 and served as Chair of Atlanta’s Neighborhood Planning Unit-C from 2012 through 2015. He has received many awards, most notably the recipient of Engineering News-Record’s Top 20 Under 40.

Lastly, Michael studied mechanical engineering at Boston University and has an A.A.S. in construction management from Wentworth Institute of Technology. He also studied preservation carpentry at the North Bennett Street School in Boston. He is a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), Accredited Professional.