Three companies have teamed up to dive into Big Data to learn why construction industry productivity remains so persistently low.

Portland, Ore.-based construction software maker Viewpoint has formed an alliance with BKD LLP, a national CPA and data analytics company in Springfield, Mo., and Raleigh, N.C.-based FMI Corp., a management consulting and investment banking firm for the construction industry, to analyze years of construction project data.

The data will come from the activities of some 5,000 contractors and 240,000 construction professionals who access Viewpoint software every day, says Maury Plumlee, vice president of global marketing for Viewpoint. Plumlee says careful measures will be taken to protect privacy.

“We are going to be reaching out to specific customers and giving them the opportunity to share their data under very, very specific conditions,” Plumlee says. “For instance, items would be redacted so that we wouldn’t be disclosing or using any information that could be used or released in the wrong way.”

A recent McKinsey Research study cited poor organization, bad communication, contractual misunderstandings and poor short-term planning among the leading causes of poor construction productivity performance.

Companies have plenty of data, says Gregg Schoppman, a principal at FMI. “At the end of the day, what are you going to do about it?” he says. The challenge will be to use the data to change organizational behavior, he adds.

BKD’s Big Data and analytics practice leader Jeremy Clopton says in a press release that the goal is to raise profitability while lowering risk. The group plans to deliver the first phase of research and recommendations in Q4 this year.”