The single most important factor for ensuring the success of the collaboration process is the careful selection of the individuals involved. This is perhaps even more critical in construction management-at-risk project delivery than in other design-build delivery methods due to the nature of the contracting arrangements.
Within the typical CMAR project structure, the owner has two separate contracts — with the engineering firm to design the project and the CMAR firm to build it. This contractual separation between designer and builder makes it even more important that all team members fully embrace the prospect of working together to optimize design.
Despite having no direct contractual relationship between them, the CMAR firm and the engineering firm must assign teams that enthusiastically embrace the opportunity to work in a fully integrated fashion. Each team member and organizational leader from both the CMAR firm and the engineering firm must fully buy into the cooperative team atmosphere and the advantages it brings to the project.
This point becomes particularly important when the owner does not decide to use CMAR delivery until after engaging the engineering firm to design the project. Optimally, the designer will know from the outset that the project is going to use CMAR delivery so that the higher level of interaction required of the designer can help inform the engineering firm’s team-selection process.
When CMAR delivery is selected later in the design process, it is critical that the owner clearly communicates, to both the engineering firm and the CMAR firm, its expectations regarding collaboration.
In this case, the engineering firm must be fully aware of the subtle change in its role from a traditional, somewhat isolated designer, to an active member of a collaborative team. At this point, the engineering firm can adjust the composition of the design team, if necessary.