CMAR - Strategic Market Choices and a 3-Part Approach

Being truly competitive (or not having to compete at all) with the Construction Manager at Risk (CMAR) project delivery method requires advanced business development and preconstruction capabilities.

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Roger Martin succinctly defines strategy as five interlinked choices

One of these questions is: Across the potential field available to use, where will we choose to play and not play?

Choices about market strategies are the most highly leveraged decisions made by the leaders of a construction companies. No amount of operational excellence or hard work will overcome the result of poor choices in the markets, customers, and projects. 

Many project owners have determined that delivery methods including Construction Manager at Risk (CMAR) are much better alternatives to Design-Bid-Build (DBB) for many of their projects. This is why CMAR is the preferred project delivery method for many contractors.


Another of the questions is: In our chosen place to play, how will we choose to win against the competitors there?

Whether you are a general or specialty contractor, it is important to understand the key differentiators between DBB and CMAR


Competing effectively for Design-Bid-Build (DBB) projects requires:

  1. Operational Excellence in building the project. If you are not consistently equal to or better than your competition at safety, quality, productivity, and schedule then you may win some projects but won't have a sustainably profitable business. 
  2. Accurate cost estimating capabilities in alignment with how you build the project. 
  3. Disciplined contract management capabilities including identification and management of changes during construction.

Competing effectively for Construction Manager at Risk (CMAR) projects require the same operational capabilities as DBB plus:

  1. Advanced business development to identify and develop relationships well before the project is even conceived. See the example of Bechtel's business development philosophy. This goes way beyond hiring a dedicated business developer or proposal writer. This is a comprehensive management system integrating people and information from all levels of the company. 
  2. Advanced preconstruction capabilities to add value to a project owner and all other stakeholders from the time the concept of a construction program or project is first being thought about through the start of construction. See the comparison of CMAR and DBB delivery - you want to be in a position where your first phone call is BEFORE this diagram even starts. 


Please contact us to discuss your specific vision, market(s), team, progress, and challenges including:

  • Choosing the right market(s) to compete in
  • Aligning the team around those choices
  • Building the business development capabilities
  • Building the preconstruction capabilities

All relationships start with a simple conversation.


Related Training

Leveraging Precon and CMAR for Sustainable Growth
Many contractors in many markets can use this three phase strategy to achieve sustainable growth by leveraging CM at Risk and Advanced Preconstruction Services to build a competitive advantage.
Diffusion of Innovations Curve - Leading Change
The contractors that dominate tomorrow’s market will be those that have built strong capabilities for identifying opportunities or problems and then rapidly making lasting changes throughout the organization.
Definition - Business Development (BizDev)
The process of creating new business opportunities through targeted networking, education, and awareness-building activities.