The interplay between construction cost data and improving our built environment has led to our arc of innovation
Quantity Survey: Contractors created an independent estimating resource to provide standard quantity metrics for the purpose of eliminating errors – this grew into the profession of Quantity Surveying where the basis of bids became a measured Bill of Quantities – AJ Vermeulen, a graduate PQS, became chief estimator for a construction firm in his native South Africa in 1954.
Consulting Professional Quantity Surveyor: Owners and design professionals came to use the profession for their knowledge of cost data gathered from bills of quantities for the purpose of design optimization and negotiation with the contract market – AJ Vermeulen leads the Toronto office of Hanscomb in 1958.
Elemental Method: As consulting grew, the need for assembling data into design disciplines gave rise to cost elements such as structure, enclosure, etc., and assemblies data as an estimating shorthand – AJ Vermeulen and partner Frank Helyar develop the Canadian standard for Expo ‘67 in Montreal.
Milestone Cost Control: As government, education, and healthcare grew, the public sector and large institutions implemented cost control methodologies that balanced risk, improved transparency, and normalized outcomes in the design and procurement process – the Canadian Institute of Quantity Surveyors and the Ontario Association of Consulting Quantity Surveyors were founded with AJ Vermeulen as founder and president.
Computer Reports: With the development of minicomputers, the ability to assemble and modify line-item cost reports improved service and communication – James Vermeulen sourced hardware and wrote first and second-generation software in 1974.
Graphic Analysis: CRT monitors and thermal imaging allowed James Vermeulen to develop graphic measurement tools and reports in 1978 – these tools were ahead of their time as hardware was not phased out for 20 years, software was not phased out for 30 years – Vermeulen staff worked extensively with On-Screen in the mid 2000’s, the new industry standard in this field.
Elemental/Trade Hybrid: With the increased need for translation between trade based bid data and elemental cost data, Richard Vermeulen developed line item systems that became the new Canadian Standard Elemental Method in 1994.
Database Analysis: As our line item and graphic database grew, normalizing data became key to understanding cost drivers such as location, market conditions, escalation, procurement approach, building type, building program, building complexity, etc. Richard Vermeulen developed our first computer-based data control system, Job Book.
Program Estimating: Complex building types, performing arts in particular, could not be modeled accurately or adjusted easily using cost per square foot approaches – Richard Vermeulen developed his professional thesis on the cost relationship between key net program spaces and auxiliary gross spaces in 1997.
Benchmarking/Comparative Analysis: As our company and client requests grew, we needed both a record of bid analysis and the ability to communicate this internally and externally. Richard Vermeulen augmented Job Book in 2000, to become the first centralized bid database and benchmarking system, putting thousands of projects, and millions of line-item cost data points in the hands of our staff and clients. Our process is a scalable control system at the same time that it allows autonomy for our production staff.
Market Outlook: Cycles of boom and bust characterized the economy from the inception of our firm in 1972. The experience of AJ Vermeulen and the improved ability to analyze data combined to create Vermeulens Index in 2006. Introduced to the industry by Richard Vermeulen at Tradeline, it showed empirical data on construction project bids, as opposed to the industry norm of input data such as labor and materials.
Value Process/Total Benefit: Published in 2009, Green at No Cost showed how value optimization processes, combined with comparative cost-benefit analysis is the only proven approach to delivering measured savings outcomes capable of delivering true environmental, wellness, and economic outcomes.
National Partnerships: For decades we have been trusted advisor to many of the great construction owners and design practices. With scalable processes, we can actively recruit key talent and provide high-quality product and service to many more on a continent-wide basis.
Large Scale Development: As our catalog of master plan projects grows, we can reach out to this sector to leverage our talent, processes, and experience from project inception through design.