A research effort currently underway is described in this paper. The project comprises the design and implementation of project performance measurement systems in construction companies, with the dual purpose of supporting continuous improvement for company operations and to generate a database with empirical information on projects. This database will be useful to develop third party benchmarking to contribute to the improvement of the industry as a whole. This research proposes the development of computer models that combine empirical information with expert knowledge to perform model based benchmarking. The achievement of the objectives of this research should affect the way in which performance is measured and decisions are made in projects. The implementation of performance measurement systems, that include measures adapted to lean construction can be a real driver for continuous improvement of project processes. The compilation of empirical information, and its integration with the experience found in the industry and in project teams, will provide new evidence on project performance. This will assist in exploring the mechanisms and existing interactions through the use of simulation models. The proposed analysis may take a first step in deriving first principles on project performance. This research project lends itself to a collaborative research effort which could be carried out in different countries and locations.