Although competitiveness is a widely used word in the construction industry, with past papers modelling competitive behaviour (Drew, 1997; Katsanis, 1995), there is considerable variance in both the definition and context of this term. As part of a 3-year multi-institutional research project, referred to as ‘The Big Ideas’, Salford University is using the System Dynamics (SD) methodology to model the competitiveness of construction firms. The competitiveness of a firm is represented in a ‘competitive index’ (CI), which is an amalgamation of elements that impact upon a firms perceived competitiveness. By incorporating the CI into a SD model firms will be able to increase their understanding of the possible impact their possible actions may have on their competitiveness. This paper examines competitiveness definitions, when used as a business idiom, and how this is related to a firm’s capabilities. The SD methodology has then been used to quantify and model firms’ competitiveness.