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CM at Risk a Win for Indiana’s Public Universities

When House Bill 1196 became law in March 2014, it provided a new construction project delivery method for public agencies. State educational institutions were the first allowed to use Construction Manager as Constructor (CMc), also known as Construction Manager at Risk (CM at Risk), and now two years later the new delivery method is proving to be effective.

The Indiana Construction Roundtable (ICR) recently hosted a panel discussion where heads of facilities from Purdue and Indiana Universities along with prominent general contractors and architects discussed CM at Risk. Over 150 construction industry members attended the event where the participants emphasized the opportunities now available as a result of this new delivery method being available for public projects.

CMc is an alternative to the other methods available for public projects: the traditional Design-Bid-Build and Design-Build, which has been available for public projects since 2005. A CMc is responsible for building the project and serving as a trusted advisor to the owner. The relationship between an owner and a CMc is typically much closer than in other delivery methods.

Michael B. Cline, Vice President for Physical Facilities at Purdue University, said the process to get the legislation passed was difficult. “ICR deserves a lot of credit for getting everyone together and bringing comprehensive legislation to the table.”

Purdue currently has six active construction project utilizing CMc. Cline noted that CMc has been very helpful in innovating procurement. “It allows owners to partner with the private sector and provide the most value for certain projects,” he said.

Indiana University has also been able to successfully utilize CMc on major projects. Tom Morrison, Vice President of Capital Planning and Facilities, emphasized that larger projects with tight schedule are where CMc has made the largest impact. He pointed to the recent residence hall project at IUPUI, stating, “There is no way we would have achieved our schedule without CM at Risk.”

Adapting to this new delivery method was not an easy task. “You had to culturally move people,” said Morrison. “It was like starting to turn an aircraft carrier. You had to say ‘look, we can do a project differently’.”

Morrison and Cline both agreed that CMc is now a part of their culture and it is a desirable option for the right project. “Every project we have used this delivery method on has been successful and we are glad to have this tool in our toolkit,” said Cline.

Moving forward, on July 1, 2017, CMc becomes available as a delivery method for smaller public entities such as school corporations. The ICR will be looking to help guide and facilitate trainings for these entities, and ensure that this expansion is well managed and this great resource is successfully rolled out.

For more information on ICR events, membership, and future initiatives, contact Association Coordinator, Mike Thibideau, at mike@indianaconstruction.com.

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Ali Brown