Ultimate Guide to Gamification for Building Projects

Have you ever found yourself playing a game on your phone or computer for hours on end? If so, you’re not alone. Games are becoming more and more popular every day, thanks to their ability to keep us entertained and engaged.

playing computer game

According to Statista, in 2020, there are 3.24 billion people playing computer or video games on a regular basis across the globe. Also, 38% of video game players still come from the 18 to 34 age demographic, and 7% percent are 65 years and older.

But what makes games so popular and engaging? Can we use gaming mechanics to our advantage in other areas of life, such as building projects?

The answer is Yes. We can use game mechanics in a variety of ways to engage a wider audience in achieving certain objectives.

Games contain many elements that make them effective for learning and motivation. These elements are known as “game mechanics.” When applied to non-gaming activities, these game mechanics reduce cognitive load and motivate people to pursue goals.

Here is why it happens so.

Most games require players to solve problems, which is a very valuable skill. Games also require players to learn new skills and apply them in conjunction with other skills they have learned in order to progress. Games provide feedback on player performance, which helps players learn and improve their skills.

team cooperation

They encourage player interaction, cooperation, and even competition. So, they’re ideal for team building.

Games inspire users’ creativity and imagination, and they are excellent tools for teaching, learning, and assessment. Thus, game mechanics are gaining popularity in many fields, including education, training, health care, marketing, and human resources.

Building projects are one important application area where gamification is actively being used. Developers and building owners are beginning to incorporate gamification into their projects to achieve a variety of goals.

Some of these goals include increasing employee engagement, encouraging better communication among team members, and motivating employees. Gamification in building projects can take many different forms.

In this post, we will explore what gamification for building projects is, how it works and what benefits can be achieved with its help.

What is gamification?

Gamification is the use of game-like elements in non-game contexts to achieve specific goals. It engages and motivates people by incentivizing desired behaviors and increasing user engagement.

gamification at work

The term “gamification” was coined in 2002 by Nick Pelling. However, gamification has been around for centuries in the form of rewards systems. We truly don’t need computers, cell phones, or other forms of technology to gamify almost anything.

Here is one of the early examples of gamification. In 1896, Thomas Sperry and Shelley Hutchinson founded the Sperry and Hutchinson Co. The company was founded in Alabama, but by 1930, it expanded to a national audience.

The company operated a catalog from which customers could purchase a wide range of goods. The catch was that the purchases were made with S&H (Sperry and Hutchinson) Green Stamps rather than cash. Customers could acquire stamps by shopping at participating merchants in the program.

Spending a certain amount of money at these stores earned the customer a stamp, and spending more money earned more stamps. After collecting a sufficient number of stamps, they were organized in booklets and shipped to Sperry and Hutchinson to redeem catalog products.

using coupons at the grocery store

While the S&H Green Stamps system appears complex, it was one of the first loyalty reward systems. Retailers and food stores could participate in the initiative and obtain stamps, knowing that the stamps would be a big draw for their businesses.

Customers were encouraged to spend money at these specific businesses because they could receive a valuable incentive in the form of stamps.

Meanwhile, S&H made enough money from stamp sales to cover distribution and prize costs. For several years, the program soared because it proved to be a profitable recipe for Sperry and Hutchinson.

Despite the absence of a formal name for it, gamification took off in the 1980s. Many businesses started to use games, contests, and other gaming mechanics as a way to engage customers and increase sales.

In 1981, American Airlines started its AAdvantage program; it was one of the first loyalty reward programs. Other businesses followed suit and introduced their own schemes for rewarding customers, such as airlines, hotels, credit card companies, and retail stores.

In 1983, Holiday Inn launched its well-known IHG Rewards Club. The program offered members points for every dollar they spent at Holiday Inn, which could be redeemed for free nights and other benefits.

In 1987, National Rental Car launched its pioneering frequent-flyer program. The company awarded points to customers based on their car rental history and how often they rented from National Car Rental.

These are some of the earliest examples of gamification. They were successful in motivating customers to continue doing business with these companies. In each case, the companies gained new customers and increased loyalty from their existing customer base.

What does gamification mean for building projects?

Although gamification has been around for a long time, it was primarily used for marketing purposes.

However, developers and building owners have quickly seen the potential of gamification as a means to engage building occupants and improve occupant health and productivity. With the rise of mobile devices and the popularity of apps, gamification has become a powerful tool for building owners and managers.

We cannot ignore the great contribution of building rating systems like LEED, BREEAM, and WELL in achieving better buildings for people and the environment. However, there is one major contribution these rating systems made is participants to the gamification.

Building rating systems reward building projects for improving occupant experience, reducing environmental impacts, and achieving other sustainability goals.

These systems use points, levels, badges, and other gaming mechanics to motivate project teams to participate and achieve the desired outcomes. Thus, they have become a great source of motivation for building projects to embrace gamification in their projects.

For example, the WELL building standard uses a point-based system to reward projects for improving occupant health and wellness. Buildings can receive points for complying with specific criteria such as daylighting, fresh air supply, and other features that promote wellness.

To give a more specific example, the WELL V09 feature requires building projects to stimulate physical activity and exercise by creating, executing, and monitoring physical activity incentive programs.

Points are awarded for projects that provide physical activity participation rewards, a subsidy for physical activity costs incurred by occupants, paid time off for physical activity, and other wellness-related incentives.

Another great example of WELL Building Standard encourages gamification is the V03 Circulation Network feature. This WELL feature suggests building projects to use gamification to direct building occupants to use the stairs instead of the elevator. Projects can achieve this goal using a series of different strategies.

For example, they can build stairs as piano stairs which will play a tune as people walk up and down the stairs.

Another way building owners can encourage occupants to take stairs is to reward them with a badge or point for every set of stairs they climb. In this way, building occupants are encouraged to take the stairs not only for their health but also for a chance to earn rewards.

You may be thinking at this point why would building owners and managers want to encourage people to take the stairs? There are a few very good reasons to do this.

First, building owners are looking for ways to reduce energy costs. Elevators are a major contributor to energy consumption in buildings. Also, more people using the stairs means fewer people using the elevator, which can lead to less frequent breakdowns and fewer repair costs.

In addition, more people using the stairs can lead to a reduction in absenteeism as well as improved employee satisfaction with the building.

Thus, it is clear that there are many benefits to using gamification to encourage people to take the stairs in buildings.

One big benefit that you may not have considered is the impact of gamification on occupant health. In fact, studies have shown that active lifestyle interventions in the workplace have a positive impact on employee health. This means reduced health care costs for the employer, employees, and most importantly the government.

Hence, governments should actively support building owners and local authorities in their efforts to use gamification for promoting physical activity in the workplace.

When to implement gamification in a building project?

Building owners and developers can implement gamification at any stage in their projects. Because there are always positive improvements to make no matter a building is new or existing.

However, certain features of gamification should be better implemented at the early stages of the project. For example, if you expect occupants to take piano stairs and it is the way how you would like to encourage them to use stairs, it would be best implemented during the design phase.

Otherwise, developers and building owners risk making a design change that may be either very costly or impossible at all. Therefore, it is important to carefully plan out the implementation of gamification features in a building project.

Incorporating gamification early on in the conceptual design phase not only saves money but also guarantees gamification elements work better with the overall design.

What are the benefits of gamification for building projects?

There are many benefits of gamification in building projects. Here are some of the most important ones:

Encourages physical activity

A sedentary lifestyle has devastating effects on human health. Gamification can be used to encourage people to live more active lifestyles which are crucial for maintaining good health.

Increases productivity

Gamification has been shown to increase productivity in the workplace. This is because it engages employees and encourages them to do their best.

Here are a few ways of how can gamification increase productivity in the workplace:

  • By providing employees with goals to achieve
  • By giving employees feedback on their performance
  • By awarding points and badges to employees for completing tasks
  • Reduces absenteeism
  • Increased employee satisfaction

Improves communication

Although we live in the digital age and we have all the tools we need right at our fingertips to communicate with others, we still lack effective communication.

This is mainly because we don’t have a well-structured strategy that incentivizes us to communicate better and more often. Gamification can help to address this issue.

Businesses and organizations have been leveraging tools and software to work on projects as a team for years now. These tools are designed with game-like elements and help individuals quickly share information with co-workers which results in better project outcomes.

Using these types of tools and software project teams can assign tasks to specific team members and keep track of deadlines. Employees that are consistently meeting deadlines and contributing positively to the team are rewarded with badges, points, or other incentives.

Thus, it is clear that gamification can be a powerful tool for improving communication in the workplace.

Saves money

Building owners and developers can save a lot of money implementing gamification in their projects.

However, most of these benefits are not immediately translated into money savings. For example, a business owner may want to start a wellness program that requires implementing a fitness-monitoring system that communicates with occupants’ smartphones.

With this type of system, the occupants can get real-time updates on their physical activity as well as a comparison of their achievements with other users. This leads to more engaged and healthier employees that are constantly motivated to do better.

By setting up a fitness-monitoring system like this, the business owner is able to save on healthcare costs of the employees in the long run. Also, this information can be used to save money on health insurance premiums as long as the consent of the employees is given.

Incorporating gamification practices in buildings generally encourages people to adopt more active lifestyles by motivating them to use systems like lifts and elevators less often. This can save money not only on the energy bills of a building but also the maintenance or replacement costs in the long run.

Increases occupant engagement

Occupant engagement is a key factor in the success of any building. It can be defined as “the degree to which occupants are attracted, interested, and involved with their work or living environment.”

There are many ways to increase occupant engagement in buildings. One way is through gamification. When done correctly, gamification can increase occupant involvement by motivating them to learn more about their environment, take actions to save energy or water, and interact with other occupants.

A study by the University of Michigan found that when people are engaged in their work, they are happier and more productive. This is because when people feel a sense of attachment to their work, they take greater ownership and are more likely to do better work.

Through gamification practices, occupants are able to connect with each other and feel more engaged in their surroundings which can improve occupant engagement overall.

Reduces absenteeism

Gamification has been proven as an effective way of reducing absence rates among employees due to illness or injury. It is also a known fact that implementing gamification in the workplace can increase productivity.

Completing Absentee Voting Ballot

This is mainly because employees that are rewarded for good performance tend to be more productive. They work harder to maintain their high standards and achieve greater results.

Encourages better communication among team members

Gamification in the workplace has been proven to encourage better communication among team members.

For example, when employees use a building management system or an app their awareness of how they interact with others is increased. When using such tools, occupants receive instant feedback on what they did and don’t do which can lead them to take more actions related to energy and resource conservation.

This type of feedback helps to break down communication barriers between team members as they can see how their actions impact the rest of the team. It also allows for a more open dialogue about ways to improve overall productivity and conserve resources.

Leads to innovation

Innovation is key in any business or organization. When people are encouraged to be innovative, they are more likely to come up with better ideas that can lead the company in a new direction.

When using gamification techniques for building projects, occupants are able to see how their actions impact other users and feel connected to each other which leads them to work together as an innovative team rather than individuals who all do their own thing.

Innovative ideas are more likely to be developed when people from different backgrounds come together and work towards a common goal. This is what gamification helps to facilitate in the workplace by breaking down barriers between team members and encouraging collaboration among them.

Improves employee health & wellness

Employee health and wellness have a direct impact on the overall success of a company. When employees are healthy and happy, they are more productive and less likely to take sick days.

There are many ways to improve employee health and wellness in the workplace. One way is through gamification. When implemented correctly, gamification can motivate employees to be more active both physically and mentally. It can also encourage employees to learn more about their health and wellness.

Teaches new skills

Gamification can also be used to teach new skills to employees. This is done by incorporating games or challenges that require employees to learn new skills in order to complete them. This type of learning can be more fun and engaging than traditional methods, which can lead to a better retention rate for the new skill.

What are the game design elements that can be used in a building project?

There are many different game design elements that can be used in a building project. Here are the most common ones:


One of the most commonly used game design elements is points. Points can be awarded for completing tasks or challenges, and they can be used to track the progress of users or team members.


Another common game design element is the levels. Levels can be used to track the progress of users or team members and to give them a sense of accomplishment as they progress through the game.


Badges are another common game design element that can be used in a building project to reward users or team members for completing tasks or challenges. Badges can be used to show the user’s progress or to showcase their skills.


Awards are another way to reward users or team members for completing tasks. Awards can be anything from trophies to items that are used in the game.


Another useful game design element is the leaderboard. Leaderboards are important because they give users or team members a sense of accomplishment by showing how well they rank against other users or team members.


The final game design element that can be used in building projects is rewarding. Rewards are given to users or team members for completing tasks or challenges and can be anything from points to badges to awards.


One of the most important aspects of a game is the roles that are played by the users. In a building project, the roles can be anything in the game context depending on the type of project.


In gamification for building projects, teams can be anything from a work team to a group of users completing tasks together. In most cases, it is useful to create different types of roles in the game so that each user or team member has their own responsibilities and goals.

Planning Board

Planning board is a digital tool that uses gamification to help manage projects by assigning tasks to specific team members and keeping track of deadlines. It is created with the goal of improving communication and productivity among employees.

Time Pressure

Time pressure is a game design element that can be used in building projects to create a sense of urgency among employees. When time pressure is used, it is important to make sure that the tasks are achievable so that employees do not feel overwhelmed.

Performance graphs

Performance graphs are another game design element that can be used in building projects to give users or team members a sense of accomplishment. Performance graphs are created by tracking the progress of each user or team member and presenting it visually so they can compare their results with other users.

Feedback loops

Feedback loops are an important part of game design because they give users or team members information about their progress. In a building project, feedback loops can be used to show the user’s progress on specific tasks or challenges.


Scarcity can be used in building projects to create a sense of urgency among employees by making them aware that there are limited resources available for completing tasks or challenges.

Virtual goods

Virtual goods are game design elements that can be used in building projects to give users or team members a sense of accomplishment. Virtual goods can be anything from points to badges to awards and they are usually used to motivate users or team members.

Win states

Win states are the objects that make an individual or group feel like they have won the game. In a building project, win states can be anything from an item that is used in the game to a badge or award that is given to users or team members.

What are some good examples of gamification in buildings?

Here are a few examples of gamification according to the building function:


Schools are prime examples of gamification because they can use a lot of the same tools that games do to help students learn. In many schools, students are given badges or awards for completing tasks, and then their results are shown on leaderboards so that they can compete with other classmates.

For example, students can complete tasks in the classroom and then receive points. When they accumulate a certain number of points, they are given badges or awards that show how well their scores rank against other students.


In hospitals, gamification can be used to help patients take responsibility for their own health by giving them tools to track their daily habits and progress. For example, hospitals can use apps that allow patients to check in on their health and see how much improvement they have made over time.

Most patients tend to forget about taking their medication and following doctors’ orders, but by using apps that track progress, they can stay more on top of the treatment.


Offices can use gamification to help employees learn about the company’s products and services.

For example, an organization could create a game where users are given tasks that require them to learn about different aspects of the company. When they complete the task, they are rewarded with points or badges that show their progress.

Businesses can also use gamification to motivate employees and make them more productive. For example, office buildings can use time pressure to create a sense of urgency among employees or they can use performance graphs to give users or team members a sense of accomplishment.

Employers can also use feedback loops to show the user’s progress on specific tasks or challenges. Finally, scarcity can be used in building projects to create a sense of urgency among employees by making them aware that there are limited resources available for completing tasks or challenges.

Another great use of gamification can be the employee onboarding process. Employee onboarding is the process of bringing a new employee into an organization and teaching them the ropes. By using gamification, employers can make this process more fun and engaging for employees.

Some good examples of gamification in employee onboarding games teaching organizations’ policies and procedures, as well as the new employee’s role in the company and how they can contribute.

Games can be followed by tests and quizzes that allow employees to test their new knowledge. Additionally, gamification can help employers can give employees feedback on their performance and show them how they can improve in the future.


Airports are prime examples of gamification because they can use many game design elements to help passengers feel more satisfied with their experience. For example, airports can use leaderboards to show passengers which queues are the shortest so that they don’t have to wait as long.

They can also use badges or awards to give passengers a sense of accomplishment for completing tasks such as checking in and going through security.

Additionally, airports can use gamification to educate passengers about the airport’s rules and regulations. By doing this, passengers are less likely to break the rules and cause delays.

Finally, airports can use games to keep passengers entertained while they are waiting for their flights. Some good examples of airport games include testing passengers’ knowledge about different countries or providing them with trivia questions about aviation.


Gamification can be used in a variety of settings to improve the user’s experience. In this post, we have looked at some examples of how gamification can be used in building projects.

We have seen that it can be used to motivate employees, educate passengers and help patients take responsibility for their own health. So, now that you know quite a bit about gamification, it’s time to start thinking about how you can use it in your own projects.

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