Some of the industries where control rooms are especially important include military installations, process facilities, and utility. However, because of budget constraints and scheduling issues, many companies are forgoing the design process altogether and making bad decisions in order to save time and money, which in the end will only cost them more of both.
These crosscut methods can do a lot of damage to your company’s control room in the following ways:
- The business cannot expand or hire more people because they have no room for construction/additions
- Poor lighting that causes eye strain on employees
- Control rooms that are conducive for a lot of noise and distract employees from doing their job properly
- Command centers that fail to meet ISO standards (Internal Organization for Standardization)
Here’s what you can do to avoid taking missteps that will not only ultimately cost you lots of money, but could cost you time, energy, and maybe even lead to dangerous conditions.
Get an Architect
During the planning stages of the control room design process, it would be ideal to have an architect who specializes in control rooms to help make decisions very early in the process, like before a location is even selected. These design experts will be able to help clients anticipate what questions to ask and understand strengths and weaknesses in certain spots of the project. Most architects that specialize in designing control rooms are experienced in this area and will have a method of how to go about making proper designs that result in construction and even commissioning the project.
The control room design process involves designing everything around the operator in the data center, taking into consideration safety while also thinking about situations in the facility (everything from more consistent states to shutdowns). The design team will ask themselves what is expected at this particular organization and will also take a look at how an operator functions in their role in the center. Then, the team will interview operators to understand what they need in order to succeed and learn about their typical workloads and workflow.
Don’t Be a Copycat
Sure, you will want to take a look at what other organizations are doing when it comes to the data center design, but one thing you will not want to do is straight-up copy their design. It’s important to realize that every data center will be different and unique—which is a good thing. While it may be more expensive, each data center requires its own customized design based on specific analysis of the organization and how it works. Taking shortcuts in the design process—or simply copying off of another organization—will most likely result in more challenges than those designs that are personalized.
It’s funny to think about how it wasn’t so long ago that DVDs were the top-of-the-line way to watch a movie, and before that, VHS. Just as you allowed yourself the space to make digital downloads of your favorite films, it’s important in control room design to allow yourself the space to change and make additions to it. Changes you’ll want to consider will include organizational growth and technology advancement.
Don’t Take the Red Box Approach
The creation of data centers often resides within larger projects handed over to Engineering Procurement and Construction organizations (EPCs). They might think of the data center as a “red box” and only consider the number of heads needed to be in the room, without thinking about design and other considerations. Don’t take this approach, as it fails to include everything mentioned above.
Software Is Not Design
Software simulations can show you what the facility will look like, but they shouldn’t be solely relied on for the process. You want to make sure the client and designer collaborate and include multiple iterations of the designs in order to figure out all of the logistics of how the control room will function.
A Leader Will/Should Rise
Design projects fail usually because they don’t have a leader to take charge. It’s important that you have some point person to keep everything on track and be able to communicate changes/updates.