Control rooms are technology driven environments where mission-critical activities are monitored and problems solved quickly and accurately. To work comfortably in these environments, operators require control centers with adequate space for the operators to move around and with furniture designed in shape and size for the work being performed. The equipment and storage requirements for the console workstations are the backbone of the design.
Designing a control room for consoles and video wall displays is the focus of the designer whether that’s an architect, consultant or a furniture-video manufacturer. The space planning piece of the project is critical to its success. However, mission goals much be understood and funding allocated before moving forward with a solution that meets all requirements. Embarking on a solution that the owner can’t afford just wastes time, money and wreaks havoc with the delivery schedule.
Factors to consider for control room space planning.
When designing a control and command center, a variety of factors must be considered including, but not limited to the following:
- The physical plant; doors window and potential obstacles affecting the control room furniture design and layout
- Design of control room furniture and video wall systems
- Space allocated for control room consoles and video displays
- Orientation of control room consoles and video wall displays with consideration to adjacent space and fire egress
Let’s discuss these factors in more detail.
- Interaction with participants – It’s critical that the control room designer interact with the client to understand requirements and preferences. This is something that continues throughout the design process with the designer making adjustments as more information is gleaned from the client and other participants. Other participants could include electronics systems integrators, general contractors and end users.
- Space planning – Before deciding on the type and design of command center consoles, the designer must have a vision for the layout based on the known and the experience that the designer brings to the process.
- Ergonomics – The designer must space plan and propose control room console designs with the latest ergonomic features. The operators will be working in an intensive 24/7 environment where technology and furniture has to be durable to stand up to continuous use for many years.
- Ergonomic features would include:
- Console furniture design that brings all tools near the operator in a manner that is comfortable and convenient
- Adjustable desktop and/or keyboard surface
- Adjustable arms for monitors, phones and task lights
- Easy access to cable management system for installation and maintenance
- Personal storage that keeps the floors and desktop clear
- Large desktop space for reading and writing materials
- Adequate overhead and task lighting
- Personal environment control at desktop level
- Versatility – Technology changes rapidly, but control room console furniture and video systems are too expensive to discard. Therefore, both console furniture and video wall systems should be designed in a way that can be modified, or expanded to meet new technology and equipment requirements.