The “Construction Management Agency” project delivery method was the basic “CM” idea that
emerged in the 1960s as major construction programs, particularly public agency programs, began
to be undertaken after World War II. During that period this early alternative delivery method was
simply referred to as “Construction Management” or “CM”.
For the first ten or so years after World War II, most construction in the United States consisted of
projects that might be categorized as “catch-up” projects. There was almost no construction during
the war that was not part of the war effort. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, some very large public
construction programs for both building and infrastructure projects were begun. Also, during this
period, the Country began to experience much higher costs of money and inflation. Consequently,
“busted budgets” in large amounts almost became the norm for those large programs. Since general
contractors were often the messengers of the bad news, they were the ones who took the brunt of
the blame (though some admittedly profited from the large change orders). Also, during this period,
a number of projects needed to be greatly accelerated, particularly in the industrial and military
areas. In the accelerated projects, the construction and/or off-site fabrications as well as long lead
materials and products orders were often needed to be authorized before design was complete,
sometimes before much design at all had been completed. After World War II, larger percentages
of the construction project were carried out by subcontractors who, in turn, became larger, more
specialized and of greater influence in the industry.
As a result of all of these factors, the idea emerged of a professional manager of construction,
compensated on a fee basis to reduce the adversarial relationship between the Owner and the builder.
In time it came to be realized, though, that the Contractor was not the only party contributing to
the problem, though some Owners began to use “CM” fairly