CMGC: Optimized Project Delivery

by | Jun 21, 2021

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Design-bid-build is one of the most traditional and commonly used project delivery methods in the construction industry. Simplistic in nature, the design-bid-build process entails the owner seeking out bids from contractors following the design stage of the project. While there are many reasons as to why this is such a widely utilized delivery method, design-bid-build comes with an array of disadvantages, including little room for flexibility in budget; limited project schedule acceleration; positions the owner to bear the most risk; and leaves limited room for creativity in the overall project. Although a straightforward approach, alternative delivery methods are proving to be far more efficient as the construction industry’s culture evolves into that of a more collaborative nature. One example of a more contemporary delivery method is known as the CMGC.

  CMGC (Construction Manager/General Contractor) is a project delivery method in which the contractor starts at the ground level with the agency during the design stage. Bringing the contractor in this early on allows ample room for creativity and innovation. With such a collaborative environment, the owner and contractor together are more susceptible to figuring out creative methods of saving money and time before the construction stage. While all projects come with their potential issues, a CMGC better mitigates these by allowing multiple perspectives to observe, anticipate, and hopefully reduce the risks during the design process. Overall, the feedback that the contractor provides to the owner during the beginning stages of the process is widely useful for the design quality of the project and for further fostering a culture of partnership.

Largely considered a team-oriented approach, the CMGC project delivery method is gaining further traction in the construction industry and, in particular, the transit industry.  

For example, the LINK US project will transform how the regional rail system operates in southern California by converting the Los Angeles Union Station from a stub-end station to a run-through station by extending tracks south over the US 101 freeway. One benefit of utilizing CM/GC on this project is taking advantage of the contractor’s ideas for staging… Taking advantage of the contractor’s input early on in how to construct while maintaining service is important. Knowing how the contractor would like to stage the work provides the agency with a more cost-effective design for the staging, minimizing disruptions to the traveling public and vital passenger rail operations (Timothy Schmidt, June 8th, 2020).

Such examples of this executed project delivery method is the reason why GLA fully endorses CMGC: it encourages creativity and innovation in design, scheduling, budget, and such, while further promoting a teamwork environment. “The combined knowledge of the owner, designers and contractors fosters a partnership that can result in more successful projects with lower risk, improved designs, greater cost certainty and optimized construction schedules” (EDC-2 Final Report, p. 26). GLA believes that CMGCs will widely become the future of construction.

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