Construction Manager At Risk vs Design-Build Project Delivery

Two McCownGordon Associates on site.

When you’re in charge of a construction project for a school or other public building, you may be most familiar with the design-bid-build type of delivery method for those projects. At McCownGordon Construction, we encourage all project owners to consider a collaborative project delivery method like construction manager at risk (CMAR) or design-build for their project. 

Ready to learn more about construction manager at risk vs design-build project delivery? 

What is the difference between CMAR and design-build?

Design-build is a common collaborative project delivery method in which the owner hires both the designer and the construction manager at the same time under a single contract. This is a design-led approach where the team works together under the architect.

Construction manager at risk is similar to design-build in many ways. It’s also collaborative and streamlined, but CMAR is a construction-led approach. The construction manager pins down exactly what you want in your project and your budget. Equipped with this information, they work with the architect to deliver a design that meets your needs. 

The vital input of the construction manager gives insight into the costs of certain features and materials, giving you precise control over how your budget is spent. 

A good example in your day-to-day life is to imagine buying a new car. Say you want leather seats and find a car in your budget that has them. The CMAR is the person who would come in and tell you those leather seats cost $5,000 of your budget—and that information may significantly change how much you want them. You could potentially add a variety of other features for that same cost. 

Download the delivery method comparison guide

Why does your project delivery method matter?

Your choice of project delivery method can have far-reaching consequences for your project. The delivery method helps define the factors that lead to your success from beginning to end of the construction process. 

Ultimately, whether or not you go with a design-build or CMAR project delivery will depend on the unique features of your project. We recommend reaching out to pin down the best possible approach to suit your needs.

Read more about the differences between delivery methods

Find the right collaborative project delivery method

Take charge of your project and maximize the budget you have, rather than risking going over-budget with change orders from a traditional design-bid-build project delivery. 

At McCownGordon, our team maintains a customer-focused mentality, allowing us to meet or exceed even your highest expectations. Dedicated to promoting integrity, performance and relationships, it’s our people and values that truly make the difference.

Our customers aren’t simply another project; they’re an extension of our team and community. Together, we don’t just build—we bring creative visions to life. From first thought to final nail, we deliver quality work to ensure our builds stand above the rest. 

We have four regional offices around the Midwest—Kansas City, Manhattan, Wichita and Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas. Call us at 888-304-4929 or use our free online quote tool to start building today. 

Download the deliver method comparison guide