Boards at odds over North Carolina county’s CM-at-Risk policy

Wake County school officials favor CM-at-Risk, while commissioners are wary

The Wake County, North Carolina School Board is happy with its use of construction manager at risk for its construction projects, citing the ability to better keep projects on schedule. Some local small contractors are not pleased, though, with the board’s CM-at-Risk policy that was instituted in 2007. The county’s board of commissioners has offered a sympathetic ear to their complaints.

The key point of dispute is that under this delivery method, the construction manager prequalifies the subcontractors who can bid on the work. Some feel that as a result of this provision they are shut out of the process for work that was previously open to them.

These complaints helped lead to the passage of a state law last year requiring public entities to justify using CM-at-Risk for each project. Under this law, school staff will come back to the school board to request approval for using CM-at-Risk for most of the major projects funded by last fall’s bond issue.

At odds over this issue, the two boards have yet to reach consensus on how CM-at-Risk should be used on future school projects.



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