In South Africa, small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) are characterised by poor management, weak entrepreneurial performance and low global competitiveness, among other challenges. The primary objective of this article is to identify reasons for this poor performance of SMMEs in the building construction industry. Secondary objectives were to evaluate, benchmark and rank the management performance of SMMEs in this industry. An evaluative, comparative, analysis research design was constructed to do the research. A total of 326 employees from 64 randomly selected SMMEs participated in a self-assessment evaluation process. The Performance Excellence Self-assessment Questionnaire (PESQ) was used to collect primary data. Secondary data on the models of management performance was obtained from relevant publications. The study established management performance benchmarks for SMMEs in the Built Environment. SMMEs in the study area in South Africa do not benchmark their management performance against world-class and SADC best practices. The three lowest ranked criteria out of the eleven management performance criteria evaluated were social responsibility, business processes, and planning and strategy. These criteria were the main causes of poor management performance of SMMEs. The study concluded with a summary of management performance scores and recommendations for improving productivity and benchmarking of SMMEs in the building construction industry against international comparative levels.