• Molly Jones

Part 3: Why Construction Management Multi-Prime May Be the Right Delivery Method for You

When it comes to construction projects, there are a lot of different factors to consider. The delivery method you choose will ultimately depend on a number of factors, including the project's scope and scale, budget, and preferences. In this blog post, we'll look at construction management multi-prime, one of the most popular delivery methods used today.


As part three of the six series on project delivery methods management multi-prime focuses on five different areas:

  • the organization of the project team

  • when the project team members are typically engaged in the process

  • key attributes of this delivery method

  • contracts

  • accountability

So let's dive in.


What is construction management multi-prime?


Construction management multi-prime is a delivery method in which the construction manager acts as a liaison between the owner and multiple contractors. In this arrangement, each contractor is responsible for a different phase or trade of the project. The construction manager oversees the entire project to ensure it is completed on time and within budget.


The advantages of this delivery method include greater control over the construction process and increased transparency between the owner and contractors. However, there are also some disadvantages to consider before deciding if construction management multi-prime is suitable for your project.


Construction Management Multi-Prime (CMMP) is known as Multi-Prime (MP). The American Institute of Architects (AIA) calls this Construction Manager as Advisor (CMA). It has some distinguishing characteristics that make it perfect for specific projects.


The Construction Management Multi-Prime Team

With this delivery method, we have the same project phases that we've discussed before:

  • Planning

  • Design

  • Bidding and construction.

However, in construction management multi-prime, during the planning process, when you're onboarding your architect, you are also onboarding a construction management advisor. This advisor will serve as your support person and your advisor throughout the construction management multi-prime process.


During design, we're bringing on engineers and other specialty sub-consultants at that point in the process. And this is very similar to design bid build in that your cost commitments are not known until the end of the bidding process. However, what is fundamentally different about this project delivery method is that the owner manages each contractor or set of contractors. Those contractors may have subcontractors that are engaged with them as well.


What are the key attributes of Multi-prime?


The most obvious attribute distinguishing Construction Management Multi-Prime from other delivery methods is that you have multiple prime players (thus multi-prime).


The owner retains the architect and a construction management manager who acts as an additional advisor to the owner. There are many separate contracts: Owner to the designer, owner to construction management advisor, and owner to multiple prime contractors.


An important thing to remember is that the owner performs the role of the general contractor. And, as with other delivery methods, the owner warrants the sufficiency of the plans and specifications to the contractors.


There are many separate contracts. There's. . .

  • designer

  • owner to construction management advisor

  • owner to multiple prime contractors.

The owner performs the role of the general contractor. With the design bid build, the owner warrants the contractors' sufficiency of the plans and specifications.


Contract relationships in Multi-prime


As with the design bid build, the owner will have some owner-directed consultants with whom you will have contracts.


You'll also have a contract with the architect, who will then have a subcontract with their consultants.


You'll also have a contract with a construction management advisor and multiple contracts with contractors.


The number of contractors and contracts you'll have will be adjusted to suit the needs of your project.


Side note: Your construction management advisor has an advisory role to play with your contractors.


So factors to consider in multi-prime projects. Regarding owner involvement, the owner controls the entire process, and you act as a general contractor.


The owner chooses contractors based on price and qualifications, and the number of contractors you have a prime contract with can vary depending on the type and size of your project.


As for accountability, there are multiple contracts with the owner. There is no contractual relationship between the contractors and the architect. There is also no contractual relationship between the architect and the construction management advisor.


The construction management advisor acts as an agent to the owner; however, they assume no risk on the project.


With cost control, the cost can be controlled by the owner. This is directly related to the amount of hands-on involvement the owner has in the execution of the project. The same thing with a schedule, you can control the schedule, but it is directly related to the amount of engagement you have as an owner in the project.


And with regards to risk assignment, the owner still warrants the sufficiency of the plans and specifications to the contractor. And now, multiple contracts with prime contractors set up even more silos where conflict couldn't instill on your project


Is Construction Management Multi-Prime the right delivery method for you?


There are five areas that we like to look at:

1 - Owner Involvement - For Multi-Prime, the owner controls the entire process and acts as the general contractor. The owner chooses contractors based on price and qualifications, and the number of contractors will vary based on the type and size of the project.


2 - Accountability - There are multiple contracts with the owner. But there is no contractual relationship between the contractors and the architect. And there is also no contractual relationship between the architect and the construction management advisor. The construction management advisor acts as an agent to the owner, but they assume no risk on the project.


3 - Cost control - Cost can be controlled by the owner. And that is directly related to the amount of hands-on involvement the owner has in the execution of the project.


4 - Timeline - Similar to cost control, the schedule can also be controlled by the owner, but it's directly related to the amount of engagement the owner has in the project.


5 - Risk assignment - The owner warrants the contractor's sufficiency of the plans and specifications. The owner also has multiple contracts with the prime contractors, setting up many silos where conflict could instill on the project.


As with any project delivery method, there are pros and cons to using construction management multi-prime that should be considered before making a decision.


I hope you found this helpful.


Don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns about whether this delivery method is right for your project.












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