The Enquirer understands that around 50 firms interested in the government backed scheme signed a non-disclosure agreement while competing contractors were vetted by an intermediary.
Rival contractors have accused McAlpine of bypassing the agreement and striking a deal directly.
McAlpine linked-up with ReGen Villages late last year to start working on the software behind a new series of planned self-sustaining community villages.
One source close to the project said: “There are a lot of firms upset about what has happened here.”
McAlpine declined to comment.
McAlpine launched an initiative called the Construction Data Trust last year to share data collaboratively across the industry.
The source added: “Behaviour like this will hardly encourage the industry to share more information.”