News & Research

Property and construction pioneer Joan Cordell recognised for industry legacy

Pioneering businesswoman Joan Cordell has been inducted into the Australian Property Hall of Fame, recognised for establishing Australia’s leading project activity and building cost platform that still operates after more than five decades.

Inducted into The Property Council of Australia’s Property Hall of Fame at its 31 May 2023 gala event, Ms Cordell was recognised by senior industry figures, who paid tribute to her remarkable contributions.

Cordell Information has been the leading authority on project activity and building cost information in Australia since Ms Cordell launched the business in 1969, after completing an honours degree in statistics and working as a statistician at Australian Paper Manufacturers.

An accomplished businesswoman, she went on to model, launch a finishing school business and complete a Masters degree at Sydney University whilst taking a job as a statistician with Brambles Industries Limited.

Motivated to establish a databank of some nature, she selected the building and construction industry during the 1960’s construction boom, identifying a need for information from the many associated services and long project pipeline.

The original Cordell costings database was completed on index cards and set up around council Development Approvals (DAs) with each project then researched by Cordell’s small team of three.

“During this time it was a fabulous sight to see all of these buildings going up around Sydney,” she said.

“I could see the city skyline as I approached the city and I knew everything that was going on with all of the cranes. It was a real point of exhilaration.”

Within a decade the business had expanded to 110 employees and three offices along the east coast, garnering industry-wide respect for the database, which had become known as the ‘Builder’s Bible’.

Ms Cordell sold the business to Thomson Publications in 1979, allowing it to grow and expand to meet the requirements of the computerised era.

In 2015, CoreLogic purchased the Cordell business and it remains an industry leader to this day.

Cordell Connect provides an online database of construction, infrastructure and building project information; Cordell Construction Monthly provides updates on construction projects; and Cordell Estimator Platinum is a powerful cloud-based estimating platform.

The quarterly Cordell Construction Cost Index (CCCI) has become the media and industry’s leading indicator of construction price movements for residential housing costs in Australia and New Zealand.

CoreLogic International Chief Executive Officer Lisa Claes said the Cordell name was synonymous with construction and Ms Cordell was an inspiration to future generations of businesswomen.

“Joan paved the way for women in a male-dominated field, breaking barriers and shattering glass ceilings. Her remarkable achievements and unwavering determination have left an indelible mark on our industry,” Ms Claes said.

“Joan was truly innovative in pioneering the use of data to enable construction businesses to improve their growth and productivity. These trends may be more mainstream in the property industry today, however at the time her business was unquestionably ground-breaking and unique.”

Property Council Chief Executive Mike Zorbas said the induction of Ms Cordell into the Australian Property Hall of Fame is a well-deserved acknowledgement of her enduring contributions to the industry and community.

“Joan’s foresight, determination and resolve made her the pioneering leader of Australia’s foremost project activity and building cost information system. Joan helped create a smarter, more transparent and professional industry while blazing a trail for other leaders,” he said.

Ms Cordell said she was deeply appreciative of the recognition.

“Being acknowledged in this manner is of immense significance to me as it salutes the proven sustainability of a comprehensive information system for our property industry after more than half a century,” Ms Cordell said.

“It brings me joy to know the foundations we laid in the 1970s continue to be appreciated and are beneficial to a new generation of property leaders.”

The Australian Property Hall of Fame, administered by the Property Council, was established in 2012 and honours individuals who have provided sustained leadership, made a major pioneering contribution and left an outstanding legacy to the property industry and the Australian community. Other inductees have included Harry Seidler ACOBE, Lang Walker AO, Frank Lowy AC, Carol Schwartz AO, Sir John Pidgeon, Sir Keith Campbell, and Sir Albert Jennings.

Learn more about the industry’s leading construction solutions at


CoreLogic Australia

CoreLogic Australia

Subscribe to our newsletter

Receive a weekly email with the latest housing market information, news and updates.

By subscribing to our newsletter list, you agree to receiving updates from the CoreLogic Group about property market research & insights, news & events, products & services, marketing research and special offers.
You can opt-out at any time. See our Privacy Policy to find out more.