As a construction manager (CM) we approach our lead role a bit differently. The CM acts more as a fiduciary agent to the owner and remains responsible for almost all phases of the building process including bid solicitation, job management and accounting. There is generally a closer alliance between the CM and the owner than evident with the GC and owner.
Virtually all of the hierarchy below the CM’s administration level is made up of independent contractors and suppliers. The administration of employee benefits is avoided in this way.
As a CM we work directly with each sub-contractor and supplier and even with a general contractor to come up with value-engineering ideas that maximize cost savings to the owner. Individual contracts and purchase orders are issued to all of the separate trades and suppliers, and the CM then oversees their work throughout the course of construction.
The conventional owner-wisdom is that the mark-up taken by the GC on sub-contractors and suppliers is avoided through the use of the CM.
Architectural services may or may not be supplied by the CM.