Purpose This research aims to identify and measure the correlations between building information modelling (BIM) and lean construction (LC) principles at the design and construction phases. Design/methodology/approach The study investigates BIM-LC principles correlations using the Istanbul Grant Airport (IGA) as a case study. The Delphi technique, performed quantitatively, contributes to the identification and quantification of a set of correlations between 11 selected BIM uses and 13 LC principles, which are supported with practical examples from the case study. Findings Together, the two research methods provide an evidence-based approach to understand the correlations between BIM and LC. The correlation analysis results in 46 correlations, and the correlations between the LC principles and BIM uses are intensified with the LC principles. Practical implications A quantitative understanding BIM use and LC principles correlations and appreciation of their specific uses can guide the practical implementation of BIM and LC, especially in large and mega projects. Originality/value BIM and LC practices represent approaches to improve performance in construction projects. While BIM has both information technology (IT) and process perspectives, the LC approach is mainly a process and product-oriented philosophy for project efficiency, effectiveness and the elimination of non-value-adding activities and waste. Many studies have investigated how the two approaches complement each other and concluded that their combined implementation in projects can improve efficiency and effectiveness. However, to date an analytical and granular investigation identifying and measuring correlations between BIM and LC based on empirical data is lacking. This paper fills that gap with an evidence-based analysis of the tightness of coupling and correlations between BIM uses and LC principles.