Article Date: 09/24/2012

Owners Urged to Consider 8 Key Factors when Choosing a Project Delivery Method

By Steve Rizer


An owner faced with choosing a delivery method for a construction project should consider eight key factors when making the choice, according to a guide that the Construction Management Association of America (CMAA) recently published. Such factors listed in An Owner’s Guide to Project Delivery Methods include project size, type of project, legislative and regulatory requirements, tolerance for risk, schedule, local market knowledge, desired level of involvement, and owner resources and capabilities.


“When these factors are properly evaluated, a good decision can be made on the selection of a project delivery method that best fits the goals and requirements of the owner and the project,” the guide states. “The use of a qualified construction manager can greatly help in developing a project and in making the decision on project delivery methods, regardless of whether this expertise comes from internal staff or from a third-party provider.”


The guide is intended to serve as a primer for owners on the definitions, advantages, and drawbacks of the major methods for executing construction projects. The publication covers design-bid-build (D-B-B), construction management at risk (CM at Risk), design-build, and integrated project delivery. Also included is a comparison of the delivery methods and their perceived benefits and disadvantages. CMAA stressed, however, that the guide is not intended to be an exhaustive analysis of each delivery method.


The document discusses the role of the construction manager on each project delivery method. “Whether provided through owner staffing or a third-party firm, the CM should be engaged as early in the project as possible to guide and assist the owner through all phases of delivering the project. In fact, the CM can be an invaluable source of advice and counsel to the owner when choosing the optimum delivery method for a project.”


CMAA, which describes itself as “delivery-method neutral,” asserted that every construction project or program is unique, and for each, there is an optimum project delivery method. “It requires expertise and experience to select the right delivery method for a particular situation.”


The guide, designed to reflect the current construction market, will be updated periodically to encompass developments occurring in the future, CMAA said.


The Owner’s Guide to Project Delivery Methods and its companion document, The Owner’s Guide to Construction and Program Management, are accessible at



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