As differentiated from Construction Program Management, Construction Management is a professional service consisting of the management activities traditionally carried out by a general contractor but delivered as a professional service on behalf of the Owner. The Construction Manager (also referred to as the "CM") is typically compensated by a flat fee. An objective is to pair the interests of the CM closely with the interests of the Owner.
A major part of the CM's work is advising the Owner and the Owner's architects and engineers on cost, schedule and constructability issues during the pre-construction phase.
Another major part of the CM's work is acting on behalf of the Owner to directly "buy out" and run the project through multiple trade contracts (referred to as subcontracts in traditional general contracts) buying and coordinating the work under those contracts in such a way as to save the Owner time and costs. Typically, the trade contracts are between the Owner and the individual trade contractors with the CM identified in those agreements as the Owner's Representative. The objective is to reduce the Owner's costs and risks, especially for projects that must be highly accelerated with construction starting before design is complete, or in projects that are of such a nature that it is not feasible to fix a final price before construction starts. CM services may be ethically and cost effectively provided to an Owner by the Program Manager as an additional service so long as the Program Manager is not engaged by the Owner to help select the CM and so long as the Program Manager has the full capabilities required of a CM. Brookwood is qualified to provide both Program Management and CM services.
Today there are several other definitions of CM in use. In some cases, "CM" refers to construction contract administration which may also include on-site services as well as advisory services prior to the award of construction contracts. There might be one or more construction contracts which the CM would be administering. This service is also sometimes referred to as Contract Administration ("CA") services. Brookwood also offers these services.
Also, CM-at-Risk is a project delivery method that uses the term "CM". It is similar to the CM services first referred to above, but in this project delivery method the CM is essentially a general contractor as it is typical for the CM in those cases to hold the trade contracts, thereby making them subcontracts to the CM. Also, in CM-at-Risk, the CM often issues to the Owner during or at the end of design a Guaranteed Maximum Price. Thus, it would be a conflict of interest for the CM in a CM-at-Risk role to also provide Program Management or CA services.