Arrant Construction

cropped-logo
What Are the Positives and Negatives of Construction Management Vs. General Contractors

What Are the Positives and Negatives of Construction Management Vs. General Contractors?

When you start on a construction project is a complex venture that demands careful planning, coordination, and execution. Two prevalent approaches in the construction industry are construction management and general contracting. Each methodology comes with its unique set of advantages and challenges, influencing how projects are conceptualized and delivered. In this comprehensive exploration, we delve into the positives and negatives of construction management versus general contractors, aiding you in making informed decisions for your construction projects. 

Construction Management 

Pros 

  • Collaborative Approach 

Construction management fosters collaboration among various stakeholders, including the owner, architects, engineers, and subcontractors. This collective approach can lead to innovative solutions and a more comprehensive understanding of project goals. 

  • Flexibility in Design Changes 

Construction management allows for flexibility in design changes even during the construction process. This adaptability is particularly advantageous for projects where evolving requirements or unforeseen challenges may necessitate alterations to the original plans. 

  • Cost Transparency 

Construction management often provides more transparency in terms of costs. Owners have direct access to project budgets, subcontractor quotes, and other financial details, facilitating better control and understanding of the financial aspects of the project. 

  • Faster Project Delivery 

With proper planning and coordination, construction management can lead to faster project delivery. The ability to proceed with certain aspects of the project while design is still underway, known as “fast-tracking,” can expedite the construction timeline. 

Cons 

  • Complex Coordination 

The collaborative nature of construction management requires effective communication and coordination among various parties. If not managed well, this complexity can lead to delays, misunderstandings, and potential conflicts. 

  • Potential for Budget Overruns 

While construction management aims for cost transparency, the potential for budget overruns exists. Unforeseen issues, changes in project scope, or mismanagement can contribute to exceeding the initially estimated budget. 

  • Higher Management Fees 

Construction management services come with management fees, which can be higher compared to the general contractor’s fee. This can contribute to higher overall project costs, especially for smaller projects. 

General Contractors 

Pros 

  • Single Point of Accountability 

General contractors serve as the single point of accountability for the entire construction project. They manage the entire process, from obtaining permits to coordinating subcontractors, providing clients with a streamlined and simplified experience. 

  • Simplified Communication 

Working with a general contractor often simplifies communication for the client. Instead of dealing with multiple entities, the client communicates primarily with the general contractor, reducing the potential for miscommunication. 

  • Risk Management 

General contractors are responsible for managing risks associated with the construction project. This includes handling unexpected challenges, ensuring compliance with building codes, and addressing issues that may arise during construction. 

  • Efficient Project Oversight 

General contractors have a broad understanding of the construction process, enabling them to efficiently oversee the entire project. They coordinate subcontractors, manage schedules, and ensure that the project progresses according to plan. 

Cons 

  • Limited Client Involvement 

Clients may have limited involvement in decision-making during the construction process with a general contractor. The process is often more linear, with less room for changes once the project is underway. 

  • Less Flexibility in Design Changes 

General contracting typically follows a more traditional approach, which may limit flexibility in design changes once construction has commenced. Alterations to the original plans may be more challenging and time-consuming. 

  • Less Transparent Costs 

The costs associated with a general contractor’s services may be less transparent compared to construction management. Clients might not have as clear a view of individual costs, subcontractor quotes, or other financial details. 

FAQs 

What is construction management? 

Construction management is a project delivery method where a professional construction manager is hired by the owner to collaborate with architects, engineers, and subcontractors throughout the entire construction process. This approach emphasizes teamwork, communication, and flexibility. 

What are the primary benefits of choosing construction management for a project? 

Construction management offers benefits such as enhanced collaboration among stakeholders, flexibility in design changes, cost transparency, and the potential for faster project delivery through methods like fast-tracking. 

How does cost transparency work in construction management? 

Cost transparency in construction management involves providing the owner with direct access to project budgets, subcontractor quotes, and other financial details. This transparency helps owners better understand and control project costs. 

Can construction management handle design changes during the construction process? 

Yes, construction management allows for flexibility in design changes even during the construction process. This adaptability is one of the advantages of the collaborative and iterative nature of the construction management approach. 

What are some challenges associated with construction management? 

Challenges with construction management can include complex coordination among various parties, the potential for budget overruns, and the need for effective communication to avoid delays and conflicts. 

What is a general contractor? 

A general contractor is a professional responsible for overseeing the entire construction project. They act as the single point of accountability, managing subcontractors, obtaining permits, and ensuring the project progresses according to plan. 

What are the key advantages of working with a general contractor? 

The primary advantages of working with a general contractor include having a single point of accountability, simplified communication for the client, efficient project oversight, and risk management by handling unexpected challenges. 

How does risk management work with general contractors? 

General contractors are responsible for managing risks associated with the construction project. This includes handling unexpected challenges, ensuring compliance with building codes, and addressing issues that may arise during construction. 

Is client involvement limited when working with a general contractor? 

Yes, client involvement in decision-making may be more limited when working with a general contractor. The process is typically more linear, with less room for changes once construction has commenced. 

Can general contractors accommodate design changes once construction has started? 

While general contractors can accommodate design changes, the process may be more challenging and time-consuming compared to construction management. Flexibility in design changes is often more limited in the general contracting approach. 

How does cost transparency work with general contractors? 

Cost transparency with general contractors may be less explicit compared to construction management. Clients might not have as clear a view of individual costs, subcontractor quotes, or other financial details. 

How do I decide whether to choose construction management or a general contractor for my project? 

The decision depends on factors such as the project’s complexity, the desired level of client involvement, flexibility in design changes, and the priorities of stakeholders. Consider the unique needs of your project to determine the most suitable approach. 

Can a project switch from construction management to a general contractor or vice versa? 

While it’s technically possible to transition between construction management and general contracting, it can be complex. It’s advisable to carefully consider the chosen approach from the project’s inception to align with its specific requirements and goals. 

Conclusion 

Construction management offers flexibility and collaboration, while general contractors provide a streamlined, accountable approach. Ultimately, the selection hinges on the unique needs of each project and the priorities of the stakeholders involved. By weighing the positives and negatives of each approach, stakeholders can make informed decisions that align with their vision for a successful construction project.

Scroll to Top