Board members expect more cost savings, synergy between architects, construction teams
By Eric C. Deines
Despite a mixed experience with an at-risk construction manager on the new county jail project, the Cabarrus County Board of Commissioners elected to once again use an at-risk manager on its next large project.
But as architects begin design work on a $4.5 million county satellite campus building, county officials say it’s a better time to bring a construction manager on board.
Deputy County Manager Mike Downs said the selection of an at-risk manager during the design phase could lead to cost-saving opportunities and an overall better synergy between the architects and the construction team.
“There are many (construction) firms beginning to take on the the construction manager at-risk,” Downs said.
An at-risk construction manager delivers a “guaranteed maximum price” for a project, and absorbs the cost of most budget increases over that figure.
But during the construction process for the jail project, commissioners had to make several budget increases for the project, which seemed to go against the concept of a construction manager at-risk.
Most of the price increases involved in the jail project dealt with after-the-fact changes to the project, said Downs.
“At this point in the process, I think we’ll see some savings,” said Commissioner Liz Poole.
Commissioners voted 4-1 to use an at-risk manager on the satellite campus project.
The opposing vote came from Commissioner Coy Privette, who said there is no proof that a construction manager at-risk saves money.
Commissioner Grace Mynatt said the benefits of an at-risk manager may not solely deal with savings.
“It’s quality and coordination,” said Mynatt, adding that at-risk construction management is supported by the American Institute of Architects.
Downs said the county requires an independent review of a construction manager’s “guaranteed maximum price,” to insure the county has received the best quote for a project.
• Contact reporter Eric C. Deines: 705-789-9141.