Command and Control Centres:
The key part of nearly all the large projects we have been involved in has been the Command Control and Communications Centre. If the heart of any system or network is not designed to operate at maximum efficiency all the implementational expense can be a waste of time. Where the operations need human involvement like in emergency services control rooms; detail for tasks, responses, equipment and environment become crucial.
CONTROL ROOM PLANNING, DESIGN & IMPLEMENTATION
Command control and communication is the essential factor in bringing together order out of chaos.
The disciplines and information systems that support the core functions of a control centre have necessarily become more complex as the amount of possible information available grows and the decision making processes reduce, but inline with the necessary increase in discipline.
Operators are being asked to undertake a mix of tasks; visual, dexterous, verbal, some interacting with electronic equipment, others paper based, and sometimes under great pressure. Job descriptions and operator responsibilities need to be reconciled with an efficient and comfortable working environment.
Equipment selection, operator training and furniture supply have to mesh-in with architectural programmes. Recording and monitoring systems need to be incorporated to provide adequate and essential management control functions.
A Systematic approach to control room planning, design and implementation can help to ensure that the best solution possible is achieved in a cost effective way. If communication to the police services is a criterion, then compliance to British Standards becomes a necessity.
The following list of primary tasks has been compiled from Gordon Herrald Associates' extensive experience in control room design. The precise amount of effort required for any particular task will depend on how much has already been carried out, though past project experience suggests that attention must be given to all aspects for the smooth and successful implementation of a new control centre.
- Feasibility studies with cost estimates
- Policy documentation and user manuals
- Accommodation strategy
- Considerations to comply with British and European standards. e.g. BS7807, BS4737, BS5979, BS7042, EN50133, BS EN ISO 11064
- Inspectorates and certification
- Market research (Control rooms and equipment)
- Identification of control functions and their interrelationships
- Man-machine interface advice; ergonomics, human factors
- Design of the integration of control room systems
- Task analysis
- Development of job descriptions/ operational specifications
- Determination of space requirements
- Workstation and room layouts
- Map design and other job aids
- Simulation trials
- Compartment layouts
- Physical and electronic security measures
- Electrical design and specification
- Standby power; Generator and UPS specifications
- Interior design advice especially lighting and environmental control
- Planning the changeover to a new or refurbished control room
- Furniture design including workstations
- Tender documentation and design specifications
- Project Management/ Client Engineer tasks including acceptance testing
- Staff training
Annual reviews are also important. To try and bring accountability to the Town Centre CCTV installations a British Standard, BS7958 has been published as a Code of Practice for Closed-circuit television (CCTV) - Management and operation.