Construction Manager-at-Risk or CMAR is an integrated team approach to the planning, design, and construction of a highway project to control schedule and budget and to assure quality for the project owner. The team consists of the owner, the designer – which might be an in-house engineer – and the at-risk construction manager. A CMAR contract has two parts: pre-construction services and construction.
The CMAR contractor and the designer must commit to a high degree of collaboration. This is especially vital when the agency is using CMAR to implement new construction technologies. Additionally, using CMAR furnishes a means to negotiate the allocation of risk between the owner and the contractor through its pricing mechanism. A Project Pricing Structure (PPS) is used throughout the progression of the project. Some agencies use a guaranteed maximum price (GMP), which is established at a point where design is sufficiently advanced where the contractor can furnish a price with a minimal contingency for possible increases in scope. The aim of this project delivery method is to engage at-risk construction expertise early in the design process to enhance construct-ability, manage risk, and facilitate concurrent execution of design and construction without the owner giving up control over the details of design as it would in a design-build project.