Build in Time is a time management game mixed with elements of a light construction simulation. Players need to establish and run a construction business in different time periods set in North America. Covering six decades starting from the 1950's, each period has a distinctive look for characters and houses, as well as the game music. The main character is Mark Retro, a young kid with dreams of running his own business. Players help out by bulldozing properties, creating homes, buying upgrades and so on.
The time management is usually provided through customers who call in with specific wishes for their dream home. Starting with a blank lot the typical process is to send a build team, then a garage crew, followed by the painting team and the decorating team. Successfully matching the customers' preferences based on house or garage style, backyard decoration, colours etc. can be rewarded with a bonus where crews build instantly for a short time.
Based on the player's performance and the amount of stars earned, Mark's story is updated through the decades and the outcome is different based on the amount of stars earned. At the start of a new decade a newspaper is provided with fun facts and major news stories for that time. New decades often provide new options such as new lawn decorations.