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CM/GC Resources

Accelerating Project Delivery Methods CM/GC Resources

Construction Manager / General Contractor Project Delivery Method

The Construction Manager / General Contractor (CM/GC) project delivery method allows an owner to engage a construction manager during the design process to provide constructibility input. The Construction Manager is generally selected on the basis of qualifications, past experience or a best-value basis. During the design phase, the construction manager provides input regarding scheduling, pricing, phasing and other input that helps the owner design a more constructible project. At approximately an average of 60% to 90% design completion, the owner and the construction manager negotiate a 'guaranteed maximum price' for the construction of the project based on the defined scope and schedule. If this price is acceptable to both parties, they execute a contract for construction services, and the construction manager becomes the general contractor. The CM/GC delivery method is also called the Construction Manager at-Risk (CMR) method by state law in some states.

Authority/Legal Basis – Laws

State DOT's must request FHWA's approval to use this under Special Experimental Project No. 14–Innovative Contracting.

Since 1990, the FHWA has been allowing the State DOTs to evaluate non-traditional contracting techniques which are competitive in nature but do not fully comply with the requirements in Title 23 United State Code. Federal-aid construction contracts that utilize a method of award other than the lowest responsive bid must be evaluated under FHWA's Special Experimental Project No 14 (SEP-14) - "Innovative Contracting". The non-traditional practices originally approved for evaluation were: cost-plus-time bidding, lane rental, design-build contracting, and warranty clauses.

Based on the generally positive experiences of State DOTs, on May 4, 1995, FHWA decided that cost-plus-time bidding and lane rental were techniques suitable for operational use. Warranties became operational through an interim final rule on August 25, 1995.

On December 10, 2002 in response to section 1307 of TEA-21, FHWA published the final rule which established regulations for design-build contracting as 23 CFR Part 636. Subsequent modifications required by section 1503 of SAFETEA-LU resulted in revisions published in a final rulemaking on August 14, 2007. Among the revisions made by SAFETEA-LU were the elimination of the dollar thresholds for "qualified" projects; and permission to release an RFP or award a design-build contract prior to completion of NEPA. Design-build procurement processes which deviate from the requirements of 23 CFR 636 may require an SEP-14 work plan and approval.

Since 2012, FHWA has decided that three additional practices are operational and no longer need SEP-14 approval: Alternate Pavement Type Bidding; Construction Manager/General Contractor (CM/GC) Project Delivery, and Alternative Technical Concepts (ATC) on design-build projects.

Authority/Legal Basis

  1. Laws
  2. Regulations
  3. Orders
    • None
  4. Policy


  1. General Information
  2. Training

State DOTs should request SEP-14 approval by submitting a workplan to the FHWA Division Office for transmittal to HIPA-30. Example workplans are available at the SEP-14 Current Projects List web site.


The FHWA does not presently have regulations concerning CMR. State DOTs must request FHWA approval to use this under SEP-14

General Information

Evaluations / Reports


State DOT Construction Manager at-Risk Web Sites

Construction Manager at-Risk Procurement Documents

General Information

Evaluations / Reports


Page last modified on August 14, 2013.