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We are an independent award-winning agency, registered with the Chartered Institute of Ergonomics & Human Factors. Our highly qualified and experienced team put end users at the centre of the design process, helping to build buy-in to the outcomes. Our control centre design service combines the science of ergonomics and human factors with human-centred design to help our clients optimise operational performance and elevate staff experience. Our service can also act as a catalyst for wider reaching improvements within client operations, delivering a range of benefits beyond the control room and enhancing the service delivered to customers.

At the core of our approach is adherence to key regional and industry-specific regulations, standards and guidance such as the international standard for ergonomic design of control centres (ISO 11064) coupled with over 45 years of experience in the industry. As part of this we proactively develop 3D design content as early as possible in our projects and iterate it as part of codesign activities with project teams to facilitate early interactive ideation through the use of VR and AR. This immerses user representatives in key design decisions, giving them a shared hands-on design experience and a sense of ownership of decision-making.

Our designs can be found across sectors including transport, energy, utilities, and emergency services. We have also provided control centre designs for clients providing data centre services, major international experimental physics projects, and a client that operates a growing fleet of unmanned robotic ships.

What challenges do we solve?

We help our clients to progress from the initial decision point for starting a control centre design project to defining the full purpose and detailed aims for it, as well as building a strong business case. To achieve this, we blend our skills and capabilities from across a range of disciplines such as human factors, service design and strategic design.

Our process incorporates addressing pertinent governance and ensuring risk management through a balanced focus on both the design and human factors of the control centre. We help clients who want to be sure that they are following the correct process in their control centre design project and want to have evidence of that to share with colleagues and others, when necessary. It includes engaging directly and rigorously with user representatives to define operational and human-centred requirements. It also combines collaboratively developing the design of the physical set-up alongside the user representatives with capturing traceability to the agreed requirements. In parallel we help clients to track risk management throughout the project stages and, where relevant, we assist with detailed human factors-led studies covering specific risk factors that are identified, such as workload management, alarms rationalisation, and systems integration / automation.

We also help clients to make sure that their control centre design focuses on critical aspects, such as room layout (circulation routes, sightlines, furniture & equipment), the setup of workstation desks (meeting DSE best practice and improving efficiency of work tasks), application of technology and key environment considerations (e.g. lighting and control of noise).

We help some clients to tackle under-performance at the core of their operation by improving inadequate design in their existing control centre. This can include helping them to address specific challenges, such as improving the effectiveness of collaboration between their staff or improving how efficiently they perform critical tasks.

In other cases, have helped clients to reduce staff turnover by elevating staff experience as part of the design of their control centre. This design interventions and features that this focus brings can encourage a continual learning and improvement culture, as well as physical movement & postural change throughout long shifts to help staff sustain cognitive performance, mood & energy levels for longer.

We have designed many control centres in sectors such as transport, energy, utilities, and emergency services, to name a few. We have also provided control centre designs outside of these sectors including for data centre services, major international experimental physics projects, and remote operation of a fleet of unmanned robotic ships.

Why work with us?

Our control centre design service returns value that is visible across performance statistics, the ongoing growth & development of operations teams, and in customer satisfaction levels. For example, an outcome of a recent railway project was a +30% reduction in delays experienced by passengers during specific severe incidents affecting key infrastructure. For the same project a +20% improvement in punctuality of the overall train service was experienced.

Our user-centred design process builds on the foundations of the international standard for ergonomic design of control centres (ISO 11064) and takes account of all other relevant, regional, and industry specific regulations, standards and guidance including EEMUA Publication 201 Edition 3. One of the important results of this approach is that our output includes a rigorous record of the human-centred rationale for design decisions, providing the client with clear traceability of the management of identified design risks.

Our work draws on best practice in control centre design across sectors globally. Coupled with the range of ways in which we blend multiple skills and capabilities to address key challenges this helps clients to bring about transformative change within their operations team by building key organisational habits like continual learning, progressive and innovative thinking and operational improvement.

We tailor our impartial and independent control centre design service to the specific needs of each client, ensuring alignment with the status and aims of their project overall. Our scope is concentrated around activities such as:

  • development of the business case & design brief

  • feasibility studies

  • early design development

  • agreeing a single design concept

  • documenting the associated human-centred design rationale

  • comprehensive concept design pack including suggestions for products & solutions

Across the spatial coordination and technical design stages and through implementation we can act as design guardian and facilitate further user engagement to address any potential deviation from the design intent.

As the implementation stage draws to a close we support handover, training and upskilling of staff and help with preparations for onboarding others in the future.

Highlight Case Study – Control Centre Design

Network Rail

Network Rail South East Route needed to relocate the Kent Integrated Control Centre (KICC), including 38 desk positions, within central London. The KICC is responsible for running the day-to-day operations and co-ordinating incident management in the Kent area of the railway.

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