Control Room


Are you thinking it is time to invest in your controls and control buildings but not sure where to start?

Many companies are moving to new consolidated centralized control rooms but this can be an expensive, multi-year commitment. An alternative may be to re-use the existing control rooms by undertaking extensive refitting, however, this will almost certainly lead to compromise and the cost may be close to that of a new building. So how do you decide how to proceed? Leveraging UCDS’s experience of involvement in over a hundred control room projects across multiple industry sectors around the world we can help in the decision process.

Driven by today’s demands for safer, more reliable, cost effective and efficient operations, control room designs are relying more heavily on automation and centralized supervisory control. The operator, however, has retained a critical role in making these systems work. Our methodology, based on the International Standard ISO 11064, ensures that all important aspects of the operation of a modern control room are considered. Our approach focuses on four main areas:

  • Developing a shared vision by defining the needs and requirement of your organization

  • Determining the suitability, number and style of control room(s)

  • Reviewing your current practices and how they will be impacted by proposed changes

  • Identifying areas to improve the operator’s ability to detect, diagnose and respond to abnormal situations, including:

    • Console Furniture

    • Ergonomics

    • HVAC and lighting

    • Noise Control

    • Traffic Flow

Service Description

We schedule a site visit to evaluate the existing control rooms. Typically, one or two representatives of User Centered Design Services visit the site for three to five days, depending on the number of control rooms. During the visit UCDS performs interviews with multiple representatives of those departments involved in the management, implementation, use, and maintenance of the control room. This typically includes: Senior Management, Department Management, Instrument Engineers, Instrument Supervisors and Technicians, Process Engineers, Training Supervisors, Trainers, Procedure Writers, Control System Engineers and Technicians, Operations Supervision (all levels,) Field and Console Operators, Health and Safety, and Process Safety Management.

Following the site visit we generate a report detailing the current state of the control room(s) along with identifying specific gaps versus Best Practices.

For additional information or to book a workshop please E-mail us at:

© 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.