Architectural Design for Control Buildings

Information isn’t the only thing that drives human performance; it’s the overall environment in which people interact with information that makes the difference. The ergonomics of man to machine is primary; beyond display technology, there are things like ergonomic seating that sustains the operator for long periods of time without injury or fatigue. It’s not just the posture from seating that’s critical; it’s the posture of the entire body over the course of the work day that’s important. Having flexible console furniture that has adequate desktop and storage space, adjustable desktop equipment, and desktop surfaces that move up and down are key postural human factors that deserve attention. The ergonomics of man to machine is our focus within the control room standards that we apply.

Control Room Architecture
However there are also primary environmental factors to consider:
  • Indoor air quality (IAQ) and the way it is delivered to the workplace so it doesn't interfere with operations.
  • Room lighting- the frequency (color temperature), duration, and light levels to foster alertness and restore vigilance in operators without creating glare or affecting displays.
  • Room acoustics and the ability afforded operators to both hear and communicate clearly without being distracted by others.
  • Furniture ergonomics and flexibility that allow for body posture and movement for better alertness.
  • Materials and finishes, that contribute to proper lighting and acoustics that ensure the durability of 24/7 spaces.
Integrating these elements of critical design into environments that improve human performance and well-being is the primary goal of experienced architects and designers who have carved a specialized niche in the 24/7 mission critical industry. These specialists blend key human factors within uniquely designed control facilities focused on the human-machine interface within activities too important to fail.
When to Bring in an Architect

Sometimes my customers need professional architectural assistance. Control room building design goes beyond the consulting, space planning and outfitting that we offer. There may be more required than a basic modernization of FF&E. It may make sense to expand a renovation project within a building to include other aspects of the building's use. It could also mean a new hardened facility with safe-haven / shelter-in-place, or greater functionality. When a specialized building project is required, key human factor elements should be embedded in the design of areas intended for 24/7 use. It may be a ground-up original design for critical operations combined with separate office space to make the building more affordable; after all, the “lowest cost per square foot you'll build is what you're building today”. Prices rarely come down, so combining functionality is to the owner's advantage, and enjoying an economy of scale construction program may be worth considering. Starting with redefining functional adjacencies, allowing for further future growth, defining a plan for the future, as well as better energy efficiency could be the answer for satisfying both immediate and long term needs.

Architectural Design
Designing a control building with modern technology concepts, computer access flooring (whether low or deep profile systems) greatly helps in integrating building LV / IT systems, communications, and even HVAC. When considering an overhaul of your control room, large command and control center or EOC, expect application of modern control room standards and consider what elements should be included in your plans that ensure your future building brings greatest value to your organization.
Team Approach
I should clarify that Americon is not an architectural firm. If you should need the services of an architect, or other professionals that specialize in critical facilities, I can make a recommendation. I often partner with these firms to bring my customers a broader approach to control room design and implementation.
Contact me by email or phone at 707.539.3321 for more information and assistance. I’ve been in the industry for many years and work only with the best in the business.
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