Building information modelling (BIM) is becoming more and more important to manage complex communication and information sharing processes in collaborative building projects. A growing number of design, engineering and construction firms have made attempts to adopt BIM to enhance their services and products. However, there remain many uncertainties in the implementation strategies and actual performance. Neither the success nor the bottleneck can be justified objectively since there is no common benchmarking for firms that are applying BIM. This article describes applied research to generate an instrument for benchmarking BIM performance. The instrument aims to provide insight into the current BIM performance level of design, engineering and construction firms. The purpose is to justify the qualification of the parties to be commissioned for projects, as well as to raise awareness and establish a common strategy for innovation through BIM. The benchmarking instrument is based on a quick scan method. It combines quantitative and qualitative assessments of the 'hard' and 'soft' aspects of BIM. The use of this instrument by BIM consultants in the Netherlands has taken place since early 2010. © 2010 Earthscan.