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Research Purpose Statement, Essay Example

Pages: 4

Words: 1056

Essay

Overall, the concept of construction management at risk is a practical method of procurement that emphasizes a bidder’s particular qualifications for a project rather than a single focus on price (AIA, 1996).  That is, unlike a traditional project management scheme that focuses on a singular, unchanging role throughout the project, the role of the construction manager changes in construction at risk depending on the stage of the project.  In the initial stages, the construction manager serves as a consultant to the project’s owner; he provides consulting services during the development and design phases.  Once the “pre-construction” phase has finished, however, the construction manager changes back into the traditional role: the general contractor during the building phase of the project (AIA, 1996).  The flexibility of the construction manager during the project is one of the key advantages of this management method that allows for a number of advantages and disadvantages.

There are a number of advantages and disadvantages to this method of project delivery.  As the Transportation Research Board of the National Academies points out based on an existing literature search, there are five main advantages.  First, the constructor (or whichever entity controls the process) is able to have substantial decision making power throughout the process; this includes making substantive input to the design and implementation of the project (Transportation Research Board of the National Academies, 2010).  In addition, other potential advantages include: the enhanced ability to accelerate the delivery’s project schedule; enhanced cost certainty at an earlier point in the design process than design-bid-build; the ability to dampen volatility inherent in the project management process due to changing prices; the owner holds natural control over the pace and scheduling decisions of the project (National Transportation Board, 2010).  The four most commonly cited disadvantages  were: 1) Reconciling potential conflicts between the construction manager at risk and the designer;  2) The owner must administer two contracts- a design and a construction contract; 3) There is uncertainty regarding the final price until it is finished; 4) Related personnel must be trained to understand and properly implement elements of the CMR project delivery (Transportation Research Board of the National Academies, 2010)

Indeed, although this type of project management is new, it has already been used in a number of different settings: traffic project procurement, school building procurement, and general building procurement (Cunningham, 2005).  Indeed, the National Transportation Board (2010) states that numerous states and department of transportation’s across the country have either undertaken projects with or experimented with portions of projects that included CMR project delivery,

Problem Statement

The problem being addressed in this study is in which industries construction management at-risk is typically employed and efficiently used versus other commonly used construction management methodologies.  This problem is important because although the management technique has emerged as a plausible alternative in private project management, some state and local governments are researching its plausibility for public projects. The study will use a mixed quantitative-qualitative study to explore the topic: Quantitative methods will be used to establish in which industries construction management at risk projects are prominent; a qualitative case study approach will then be used to examine which industries are likely best served by the construction management method.

The concept of construction management at risk (CMAR) has fundamentally changed how construction projects are managed in numerous industries (AIA, 1996).  Unlike the methodology prescribed in other popularly used methods such as design-bid-build, CMAR focuses on one individual serving as a building consultant (agent) during the pre-construction phase of the project, who then transitions to a traditional management role during the building phase (Transportation Research Board of National Academies, 2010).  The management system has afforded construction managers new flexibility regarding how and when decisions are made in the construction process; construction managers also assume higher levels of risk than they would under another management system (Kenig, 2000).  CMAR has introduced a new set of construction management innovations that have not been fully explored in a robust comparative context. (Minchin, 2009; Minchin, Thakkar, & Ellis, 2007).

With an increasing number of state governments contemplating whether to consider CMAR bids for construction, the specific problem to investigate is in which industries does CMAR evidence a more cost-efficient and successful building process (Minchin, 2009; Kenig, 2000).  This problem is particularly interesting due to the existing bifurcation between public and private use of CMAR: CMAR has a longer history of use in private projects, while public adoption of the construction model is gradually gaining acceptance (Tulacz, 2002).  Greater knowledge about where CMAR has proved successful would be useful in many different circumstances.  Construction companies could bid more effectively and competitively in certain industries where the model is used successfully; policymakers could regulate construction bidding more effectively knowing where CMAR bids are likely to be more successful than other projects (Walewski, Gibson, & Jasper, 2001; Minchin, 2009).

Purpose Statement

The study type proposed is mixed in nature, including quantitative and qualitative elements. The quantitative section of the analysis will focus on statistical and regression analysis; the purpose of the analysis is to determine a baseline of project management types and their frequency of use in the public and private sector. The qualitative section of the analysis will focus on case studies related to construction-at risk-projects undertaken in various sectors.  The objective of the qualitative section of the study is to supplement and augment the quantitative analysis through exploring finished construction-at-risk projects and identifying variables related to success and failure.

References

AIA (1996). Handbook on project delivery.AIA, Sacramento, CA.

Kenig, M. (2000).Clarifying CM. vs. CM At-Risk. School Construction News (3) 1, 12.

Minchin, R.E. (2009).  Fall and rise of the largest construction manager-at-risk transportation construction ever. Journal Construction Engineering and Management. 135(9), 930-938.

Minchin, R. E., Thakkar, K., and Ellis, R. D. (2007). “Chapter 3: Miami Intermodal Center—Introducing `CM-at-risk’ to transportation construction.” Alternative project delivery, procurement, and contracting methods for highways, K. R. Molenaar and G. Yakowenko, eds., American Society of Civil Engineers, Reston, Va., 46–59.

Sanvido, V., and Konchar, M. D. (1998).Project delivery systems: CM at risk, design-build, design-bid-build, Construction Industry Institute.

Transportation Research Board of National Academies (2010).Construction manager-at risk project delivery for highway programs.  Policy Paper.  Available at: http://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/nchrp/nchrp_syn_402.pdf.

Tulacz, G. (2002, June 17).  Owners’ risk-shifting boosts CM-at-Risk firms. Engineering News Record. Available at:http://enr.construction.com/features/bizLabor/archives/020617d.asp 

Walewski, J., Gibson, G.E., Jasper, J. (2001). Project delivery methods and contracting approaches available for implementation by the Texas department of transportation. Texas Department of Transportation.

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