Creating considerate constructors – a building site badge

Building sites aren’t the most obvious “low hanging fruit” for applying gamification techniques in the workplace but we can see that the popular  “Considerate Constructors” scheme in the UK is a good real example of Gamification at work.

Let’s game break down how the scheme is worked…

As a site manager or company owner you play to win a single badge – the title of “Considerate Contractor“.  This badge is made meaningful in two key ways:

1. You can display it on the building site, so improving the overall “status” of your construction works within the community.  In return you might hope to be rewarded by more amenable neighbors who might be more likely to agree compromises with you, rather than complain to the local council. Typically this might mean fewer noise complaints, as you agree to do most of the drilling and banging between certain hours.

2. Procuring agencies request that contractors have the badge (already obtained or willing to work to achieve it) in their tender documents.  Without the badge you don’t get the contract – that’s a significant reward incentive!

So, with a meaningful badge at stake, it is then between a scheme inspector and the site manager to decide whether a site has earned it.

This is where the points come in. The inspector awards up to 60 points to each scheme based on the code of practice.   “Recycling just the odd bit of paper? that’s 1 point, Recycling every single piece of waste? 5 points…”

If the site gets enough points they win the badge.  Simple gamification in action.

But, could more gamification techniques improve  this already popular scheme?

It strikes me that the system relies on an expensive inspection regime (a human inspector) and one that is inevitably just a snapshot in time.

A canny site manager can simply do all the “right” stuff at the time of the inspection but can revert to inconsiderate practices once they have gone.

To resolve both these issues we could  suggest a reciprocity based voting system by relevant stakeholders:

  • number of “likes” on Facebook
  • number of passers by who hit a big “Considerate” or “Inconsiderate” button on the pavement
  • number of negative tweets or blog posts (like this one)
  • recycling points awarded on a weekly basis by the local recycling department itself
  • safety points awarded dependent on the number of minor and major accidents on site that week
The exact indicators would need working out but, the more signals there are, the trickier it is for dodgy site managers to game the system. By making the game indicators “silent watchers” it might also free up the site manager to focus on the real job in hand, rather than preparing for yet another costly human inspection.
Maybe then we’d have a few more construction projects finishing on time, something that would be very considerate indeed.
The scheme’s success should also serve as fair advice, to other potential gamifiers, who have reverted to badge spawn as a way of incentivising behavior: it might be better to focus on just one badge and get that right first.
Photo Credit: Elliot Brown (via Flickr)

Toby Beresford

Toby is founder and CEO of Rise the success tracking network to track, publish and share success. He was the 2013 chair of - the International Gamification Confederation and organises the UK Gamifiers meetup. As a gamification leader, he speaks at conferences and hosts workshops. Follow him on twitter @tobyberesford and Subscribe to this blog at Gamification Of Work blog feed

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