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Design Built / CMGC

Design-Build (DB) and Construction Manager at Risk (CM@Risk ) or CMGC, which stands for Construction Manager/General Contractor) are two distinct project delivery methods used in construction and have some key differences:

  1. Project Team Structure:

    • Design-Build (DB): In a DB approach, the owner typically contracts with a single entity, the Design-Builder. This entity is responsible for both the design and construction phases of the project. The design and construction teams work collaboratively under one contract.

    • CMGC (Construction Manager/General Contractor): CMGC involves a three-party arrangement. The owner hires a Construction Manager (CM) during the pre-construction phase to provide input on cost, schedule, constructability, and other factors. After the design phase, the owner can choose to continue working with the same CM or select a General Contractor (GC) through a competitive bidding process.

  2. Design Responsibility:

    • DB: The Design-Builder is responsible for both the design and construction, which can streamline communication and coordination but may limit design creativity and the involvement of specialized designers.

    • CMGC: In CMGC, the owner typically hires an architect or designer separately to develop the project's design. The CM provides input during the design phase to ensure constructability, cost control, and schedule adherence.

  3. Risk Allocation:

    • DB: In a DB contract, the Design-Builder assumes more risk because they are responsible for both design and construction. If there are design errors or unforeseen issues during construction, the Design-Builder is often accountable.

    • CMGC: CMGC allows for a more collaborative approach to risk management. The Construction Manager can provide valuable insights during the design phase to minimize risks, and if issues arise during construction, the risk is often shared between the owner and the CM/GC.

  4. Cost Control:

    • DB: The Design-Builder has direct control over cost and schedule, which can be advantageous for project efficiency. However, the owner may have less visibility and control over individual costs.

    • CMGC: The CM often provides cost estimates and cost control measures during the pre-construction phase, allowing the owner to have more control over costs. This transparency can be beneficial in managing budgets.

  5. Flexibility:

    • DB: DB is often more streamlined and straightforward, making it suitable for projects with tight schedules or where the owner wants a single point of responsibility.

    • CMGC: CMGC can offer more flexibility for owners who want to be actively involved in the design and construction process. It allows for a greater degree of customization and input.

The choice between Design-Build and CMGC depends on the specific needs and preferences of the owner, the complexity of the project, and factors like risk tolerance, project schedule, and budget constraints. Each method has its advantages and drawbacks, and the selection should align with the project's goals and priorities.

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