Reference Number: 
CTAS-953

The authors of “Construction Law” (Brunner and O’Connor) submit that modern construction management was developed in the 1960s and early 1970s. Brunner and O’Connor describe a construction manager as a “party with construction expertise who comes into the process to protect the interests of the owner and to take the lead in coordinating the design and construction services”.1  Further, these authors describe—

 “The duties and responsibilities of a construction manager vary greatly from contract to contract. Under some construction management contract models, the construction manager functions as an agent to the owner. Under this contractual scheme, the construction manager's relationship to the owner is similar to that of the architect, although the construction manager performs different services—such as coordination and scheduling of the work—rather than preparing plans and specifications.2

The U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics states that a construction manager “coordinates and supervises the construction process from the conceptual development stage through final construction, making sure that the project gets completed on time and within budget. They often work with owners, engineers, architects, and others who are involved in the process. Given the designs for buildings, roads, bridges, or other projects, construction managers supervise the planning, scheduling, and implementation of those designs. Construction managers plan, direct, coordinate, and budget a wide variety of construction projects, including the building of all types of residential, commercial, and industrial structures, roads, bridges, wastewater treatment plants, and schools and hospitals”.3

The Tennessee Attorney General describes a  “pure” construction manager as a construction manager who acts primarily as the owner’s agent in administering, managing, and overseeing a construction project, and who consults with the owner in all phases of construction, from planning and design, to construction and post-construction”. The Tennessee Attorney General further states that “in contrast to the conventional approach to construction projects utilizing a general contractor, a project employing the “pure” construction contract management method of operation generally calls for the owner to contract directly with each of the various trade contractors. The owner employs a construction manager to perform many of the functions, such as coordination and scheduling, traditionally performed by the general contractor. In the “pure” construction management scheme, the construction manager is not in direct contractual privity with any of the trade contractors.”  See Op. Tenn. Att’y Gen. 08-16 (January 31, 2008).

The method of procurement for construction management services varies depending on the type of project.  Following is a summary of the requirements for solicitation of construction management services.

Construction Management Services for County Projects—Counties are authorized to contract for construction managers and construction managers at-risk under T.C.A  § 12-4-107 (formerly § 12-4-106) using a written request for proposals (RFP) process with public advertisement in accordance with the county's purchasing laws, rules and regulations.  The RFP must indicate the service requirements and factors that will be used to evaluate the proposals.  Factors may include the construction manager's qualifications and experience on similar projects, qualifications of personnel to be assigned to the project, fees and costs, or any additional factors deemed relevant by the procuring entity.  Construction management may be performed by (1) a licensed general contractor, as long as none of the services performed by the general contractor involve architectural and engineering services, unless, with regard to those services, the general contractor is also licensed as an architect or engineer; or (2) a licensed architect or engineer, as long as none of the services performed by the architect or engineer involve any of the services required to be performed by a contractor, unless, with regard to those services, the architect or engineer is also licensed as a contractor.  Actual construction work performed under the coordination and oversight of a construction manager must be procured through competitive bids. A construction manager is prohibited from undertaking actual construction work on a project over which the construction manager coordinates or oversees the planning, bid, or construction phases of the project, except when bids have been solicited twice and no bids have been submitted. If the construction manager can document that a good faith effort was made in each bid solicitation to obtain bids and no bids were received, then the construction manager may perform the construction work at a price agreed upon by the construction manager, the architect, and the owner of the project.  The county governing body, at its discretion, may perform work on the project with its own employees and may include the coordination and oversight of this work as part of the services of the construction manager.

Construction Management Services for Education Construction Projects—Construction management services for education construction projects are deemed to be professional services and are to be procured through a request for proposals process set out in T.C.A. § 49-2-203(a)(3)(C). The factors to be considered include the construction manager’s qualifications and experience on similar projects, qualifications of personnel assigned to the project, fees, and any other criteria deemed relevant.  Cost cannot be the sole criterion. Construction managers cannot perform actual construction work except in instances where bids have been solicited twice and no bids have been submitted. A school system can perform work on its project with its own employees and have a construction manager perform the coordination and oversight of the project. Actual construction work under the direction of the construction manager must be competitively bid.  Construction management for school construction or additions may be performed by (1) a licensed general contractor, as long as none of the services performed by the general contractor involve architectural and engineering services, unless, with regard to those services, the general contractor is also licensed as an architect or engineer; or (2) a licensed architect or engineer, as long as none of the services performed by the architect or engineer involve any of the services required to be performed by a contractor, unless, with regard to those services, the architect or engineer is also licensed as a contractor.


            1Philip L. Bruner and Patrick J. O’Connor, Jr., “Project Delivery Methods and Contract Pricing Arrangements”, Construction Law, November 2009, 6:57.

            2Philip L. Bruner and Patrick J. O’Connor, Jr., Governmental Regulation: Licensing and Permitting”  Construction Law, November  2009, 16:15.

            3U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics,