Construction management (CM) is a professional service that uses specialized, project management techniques to oversee the planning, design, and construction of a project, from its beginning to its end. The purpose of CM is to control a project’s time, cost and quality—sometimes referred to as a project’s “triple constraint.” CM is compatible with all project delivery systems, including design-bid-build, design-build, CM At-Risk and Public Private Partnerships. Professional construction managers may be reserved for lengthy, large-scale, high budget undertakings (commercial real estate, transportation infrastructure, industrial facilities, and military infrastructure), called capital projects.
The role of a contractor
Contractors are assigned to a construction project during the design or once the design has been completed by a licensed architect or a licensed civil engineer. This is done by going through a bidding process with different contractors. The contractor is selected by using one of three common selection methods: low-bid selection, best-value selection, or qualifications-based selection.
Seven types of construction
- Agricultural: Typically economical buildings, and other improvements, for agricultural purposes. Examples include barns, equipment and animal sheds, specialized fencing, storage silos and elevators, and water supply and drains such as wells, tanks, and ditches.
- Residential: Residential construction includes houses, apartments, townhouses, and other smaller, low-rise housing, small office types.[
- Commercial: This refers to construction for the needs of private commerce, trade, and services. Examples include office buildings, “big box” stores, shopping centers and malls, warehouses, banks, theaters, casinos, resorts, golf courses, and larger residential structures such as high-rise hotels and condominiums.
- Institutional: This category is for the needs of government and other public organizations. Examples include schools, fire and police stations, libraries, museums, dormitories, research buildings, hospitals, transportation terminals, some military facilities, and governmental buildings.
- Industrial: Buildings and other constructed items used for storage and product production, including chemical and power plants, steel mills, oil refineries and platforms, manufacturing plants, pipelines, and seaports.
- Heavy civil: The construction of transportation infrastructure such as roads, bridges, railroads, tunnels, airports, and fortified military facilities. Dams are also included, but most other water-related infrastructure is considered environmental.
- Environmental: Environmental construction was part of heavy civil, but is now separate, dealing with projects that improve the environment. Some examples are water and wastewater treatment plants, sanitary and storm sewers, solid waste management, and air pollution control.