Benchmarking has long been regarded as an effective process for continuous improvement. The process consists of measuring key performance indicators and comparing the measurements to industry averages in order to identify performance gaps. In the project-driven construction industry, preventing cost overruns on projects is an essential part of organizational success. This paper will benchmark the cost performance of a pool of 1,011 heavy industrial construction projects from Canada and the United States. This includes an investigation into the allocation of cost between project phases, as well as the cost performance in each phase. Raw data is provided by the Construction Industry Institute (CII) based in the University of Texas at Austin. Descriptive statistics is used to analyze and summarize project cost performance. Outliers, counts and averages, and project size will be discussed in relation to their impact on analyzing and presenting cost performance. This study provides practitioners with cost benchmarks for heavy industrial projects and identifies the top project phases requiring improvement in cost performance. Factors to be considered when analyzing and presenting cost data are also discussed.