We are a small professional services firm that has been in partnership since 1972, with the experience and project lists of firms many times our size. Vermeulens developed the elemental estimating systems, line item estimate computer reports, and computer graphic takeoff processes that have become standard throughout the industry. We focus entirely on pre-construction cost control services. From Principal to Project Manager to Estimator, we are fully committed to your project. We are nimble and responsive.
Prior to starting Vermeulens, A.J. (Buster) Vermeulen was in Partnership with Frank Helyar. Together they wanted to develop a standard for pre-construction estimating that would be an improvement over the traditional trade-based estimating. They established the Elemental Estimating Method which grouped cost by function or design discipline regardless of what trade would build it. Expo 67 in Montreal provided a wonderful testing ground for this new approach. The new Elemental Estimating Method passed with flying colors and became the standard for the Canadian Institute of Quantity Surveyors.
Buster Vermeulen started Vermeulens in 1972 with clients in both Toronto and Boston. In 1973, with tremendous foresight, Buster decided that computers would be the way of the future in estimating. He purchased our first computer from Hewlett Packard in 1974 for 75% of the price of a house in Toronto. This early desktop computer had a full keyboard, an 80 character LED display, dual cassette tape drive mass storage, and a built-in thermal printer. As there was no software available, James Vermeulen, while in high school, wrote an early spreadsheet-like program to streamline the entire cost reporting process. This replaced the manual calculator and typing that produced all cost reports. In addition, editing cost reports were made significantly easier.
Buster Vermeulen purchased our second computer from Hewlett Packard in 1981, the same year IBM came out with their first PC. However, this new desktop computer was now a full-color graphic computer with floppy disc drives. Once again, James Vermeulen, now in university, did the programming. This time, not only was the cost reporting program enhanced, a complete digitizing program was written to calculate areas including graphic output. Truly, a picture is worth a thousand words, and this digitizing program revolutionized our reporting to clients. This graphical analysis has stood the test of time and is an integral part of our cost control process on current technology platforms.
With the development of parallel estimating, Richard Vermeulen modified the assemblies based reporting to a hybrid line item trade/elemental approach. This facilitated the advantage of having both elemental parameters and trade comparisons available in every cost report. This was successfully extended to mechanical and electrical estimating and was adopted by the Canadian Institute of Quantity Surveyors as the new standard for elemental estimating. Later in the decade, our reports adopted a parallel multi-component format which facilitated understanding costs attributable to different program or construction types (such as New/Renovation). Along with our database of graphic area analysis, the “whole cost” program estimating method was developed for complex building types. This method attributes all costs associated with a particular room in a building program for the purpose of approximating the impact of re-sizing or eliminating that space without having to re-design and re-estimate.
Richard Vermeulen created the database of Vermeulens projects spanning 20 years of construction cost and graphic analysis information. This led to Vermeulens Index of bid results, the first index based on actual bid prices for complex projects in the non-residential construction market. Presented at national conferences since 2007, our Market Outlook continues to accurately forecast escalation in all markets across North America. Near the end of this decade, we developed the Real Time Reconciliation process to track all estimating and design review items to reconcile scope to budget. Along with market analysis, we developed benchmarking to provide bid data-based estimates.
Green at No Cost, written by Richard Vermeulen, is a Value Process based system of evaluating all aspects of building design and function leading to the first comprehensive cost/benefit based approach to urban and regional planning. Green at No Cost takes urban design elements apart, identifies optimal pieces, and puts these pieces together in optimal relations. To enhance the integrated design process, Value Process reports were developed to comprehensively track all value analysis, reconciliation process, options, sustainability, and design optimization.