- The Savannah (Georgia) City Council has selected AECOM Hunt to act as construction manager at risk (CMAR) for its new $140 million, 269,000-square-foot arena project under an $11.2 million contract, according to Arena Digest. The company, according to city documents, was low bidder against the competing firms of JE Dunn Construction ($12.7 million) and Turner Construction ($13.6 million) and had the highest average score when graded on factors like relevant experience, fees and approach to project management.
- The total value of the project is still an estimate because the final design, and therefore the guaranteed maximum price, has not been determined. However, the city council said the "state-of-the-art multipurpose arena" will feature approximately 9,000 seats, 12 luxury suites, 450 club seats and total parking capacity for 3,000 vehicles. Parking structures will be a separate project. AECOM Hunt's scope of work includes preconstruction services like design review, cost analysis and scheduling; subcontractor and vendor procurement; management of the construction process and project closeout.
- The project design, which city officials have specified must include elements that reflect the unique aspects of Savannah, is expected to take one year and construction another two years. Perkins + Will has been selected as the arena architect under an $8.8 million contract with the city. AECOM Hunt has proposed 25% disadvantaged business enterprise (DBE) participation.
One of the advantages of hiring a company under a CMAR contract is that once the guaranteed maximum price is set, most budget overruns will be the contractor's responsibility, though there are typically contingencies built into the GMP for unexpected costs. The flip side of that, however, is that project savings either go into the owner's pocket or are shared between the owner and contractor. And, like a design-build arrangement, the project benefits from early input from the contractor and, hopefully, results in fewer change orders and design conflicts once the construction phase gets underway.
Sometimes an owner will award the CMAR a small preconstruction contract until the GMP is set so that some work can start while the final amount is being hammered out.
For instance, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority awarded the Turner | Martin-Harris joint venture a $2.6 million preconstruction contract while the GMP was being negotiated. Eventually, the parties agreed on a total contract value of $792 million, which included a GMP of $758 million plus a $4 million owner allowance and a $30 million owner contingency. The CMAR fee was $18 million and included in the GMP.