What is Construction Management?

Construction Management (CM) is a professional service that provides a project’s owner(s) with effective management of the project's schedule, cost, quality, safety, scope, and function. CM is compatible with all project delivery methods. No matter the setting, a construction manager’s responsibility is to the owner and to a successful project.

At its core, a capital project is made up of three parties (excluding the Construction Manager):

  • The owner, who commissions the project and either funds the project directly or finances it through a variety of methods.
  • The architect/engineer, who designs the project.
  • The general contractor, who oversees day-to-day operations and manages subcontractors.

The construction manager represents the owner’s interest and provides oversight over the entire project directly for the owner. His/her mandate is to work with all parties to deliver the project on time, at or under budget, and to the owner’s expected standard of quality, scope, and function.

Construction managers are uniquely qualified through combined education and experience to work with the owner, architect, general contractor, and other stakeholders to determine the best possible sequence of construction operations and develop a detailed schedule and budget, while also

establishing plans for project safety and security and helping the owner manage risk. This requires using project management information systems (PMISs) and complex planning techniques, like critical path method, as well as knowledge of construction methods.

A 2013 study by McGraw-Hill Construction and supported by the CMAA Foundation showed that using professional CM saved money, avoided or mitigated problems, and produced higher quality results for owners.

Professional CMs use industry-standard practices to manage projects successfully. The CM Body of Knowledge and Standards of Practice address all six areas of CM services: schedule, cost, safety, quality, function, and scope.