Our consultants have worked in and around control rooms for over forty years.  In that time we have provided consulting services to over one hundred sites, including some of the best-known companies in the world:

  • Adgas Abu Dhabi
  • Amec Secco
  • Ameren / Union Electric Company – Meramec Plant
  • Bayer
  • Borregaard Industries Ltd
  • Brillig Systems Inc / Eli Lilly
  • BP Belgium, UK, USA
  • BP Products North America, Inc
  • Calgon Carbon Corp
  • Canfor Pulp
  • Celanese
  • Citgo
  • Chalmette Refining
  • Chevron USA
  • Conoco Phillips
  • Dow Corning Chemicals
  • DuPont
  • EnCana
  • Equilon
  • Equistar
  • Exxon
  • ExxonMobil, Antwerp, Singapore, UK, USA
  • Fluor
  • GE Global Research
  • Genentech
  • Grupa Lotos, Poland
  • Guinea Alumina
  • Holly Refining
  • Honeywell AS
  • Hovensa Refining – Virgin Islands
  • KBC Process Technology Ltd
  • Kennecott Utah Copper
  • KoSa
  • Lima Refining
  • Lyondell Chemicals
  • ICI UK
  • Invista
  • Imperial Oil Limited
  • Mangan Inc
  • Marathon
  • Mirant – Potomac River
  • Motiva Enterprises
  • Murphy Oil
  • National Petroleum Company
  • Noramco
  • North Atlantic Refining / Harvest Energy
  • Northeast Utilities System
  • NOVA Chemical Canada
  • Petrolla Greece
  • Petronas Malaysia
  • Petroplus Refinery, Antwerp
  • Phelps Dodge – Bagdad, Arizona
  • Phoenix Park Gas Processors Ltd
  • Portland General Electric
  • Powder River Coal LLC / Peabody
  • Rio Tinto Aluminium
  • Scanraff
  • Shell Chemicals & Shell Oil
  • Southern Company
  • Suncor Energy
  • Sunoco Refining
  • Syncrude
  • Tesoro Refining
  • Texaco
  • TransAlta Energy Corp
  • Valero
  • Worsley Alumina, Australia

While no two projects have ever been exactly the same, our control building consulting generally falls into one of three general areas:

Operational Effectiveness Studies

Control Building Feasibility Studies

Control Building Design

Example One: A refinery in Louisiana was preparing to undergo a major re-instrumentation project. As part of the project the consoles for several of the process units were to be relocated into one new and one refurbished control rooms. User Centered Design Services, INC was retained to determine the best location for the new control building, the most effective alignment of process units within the two control buildings, the strategy for accommodating field operators in local shelters, and the functional layouts of all the buildings.

Example Two: A large chemical complex in Texas was compelled by API RP752 (Management of Hazards Associated with Location of Process Plant Buildings) to improve the protection provided to operators. User Centered Design Services, INC was contracted to help determine the advantages and disadvantages of an offsite, centralized control building vs. one or more blast resistant buildings inside the plant.

Example Three: A chemical plant in Europe contracted with User Centered Design Services, INC to help create a shared vision between operators, management, and the engineering contractor selected to design and build its new centralized control building.

Example Four: A petrochemical company on the Gulf Coast, being a defendant in a record lawsuit, retained the services of User Centered Design Services, INC to benchmark their control room operations practices against industry standards. UCDS has completed numerous staffing studies using the latest Complexity Analysis and Risk Assessment Techniques.

Example Five: An Aluminum refinery in Western Australia contracted UCDS to rationalize their control buildings and provide conceptual design and Specification for a Centralized Control Room Building, UCDS was also involved in advertising and guiding an Alarm Management and User Interface re-design

For more information about the findings and recommendations for any of these example projects, please contact us at 623.764.0486.

© 2013 User Centered Design Services


UCDS has in-depth experience in designing control rooms and modifying existing field shelters. Our process is compliant with the ISO 11064 Ergonomic Design Standard for Control Buildings. We interview management, supervision and a significant group of the operators to understand functional requirements, what works well in the existing environment, and identification and correction of problems with the existing design. To learn more Click Here


Situation Awareness

Abnormal situations encompass a range of events outside the “normal” plant operating modes, e.g. trips, fires, explosions, toxic releases or just not reaching planned targets. In the past incidents such as Piper Alpha, Milford Haven, Flixborough, Texas City and the 2003 northeast electrical blackout have all been attributed, at least in part, to a fundamental lack of good situational awareness. Early work of the Abnormal Situation Management Consortium® included a survey of the US petrochemical industry. Based on their research the consortium estimates industry losses of around $20 billion per year from abnormal situations, approximately equal to the total annual profits of that industry. Furthermore these studies indicate that companies achieving Best Practices in operations can improve productivity by 5-12%. To learn more Click Here


Fatigue Alertness Management

We have many customers looking to enhance their shift handover procedures and follow some of the Recommended Practices identified in the API documents; others are focusing attention on fatigue and fatigue countermeasures. We have great solutions for both these topics. For more details please contact Steve Maddox. To learn more Click Here



User Centered Design Services promotes Behavior – Based Safety which is a process that helps employees identify and choose safe behavior over an unsafe one. Safety in the workplace is a combination of three measurable components – the person their environment, and their behavior. To learn more Click Here

About the Control Room Operator Performance Group

The purpose of this group is to share ideas and solutions that contribute to improving the performance of the control room operator. Abnormal situations can be managed safely and effectively if we provide our operators with the right training, workload, environment, and interfaces.