The Golden Rule


The Control Room is like your Facility’s Brain

The decisions made by the operators in your control room are incredibly impactful; they can cost or save millions of dollars and even human lives.

A Costly Mistake

On July 25, 2010, a 40-foot-long pipeline segment ruptured, pouring more than 20,082 barrels of oil into Michigan’s Kalamazoo River.

Across multiple shifts, the operators in the Edmonton control room failed to recognize the initial or subsequent alarms as a line-break. It took nearly 17 hours for the control center to shut down the pipeline, resulting in one of largest inland oil spills in U.S. history.

It was disclosed in September 2014 that the Kalamazoo River cleanup cost an estimated $1.21 billion. The post-disaster response from the control center was to update organizational structures, internal processes, training, instrumentation, and the Pipeline Control and Leak Detection Systems.

Could more have been done in the control room to help the operators make better and faster decisions?

Designing a Control Room that Allows for Better & Faster Decision Making

Everything in the control room needs to be designed to support the operator. From the way that the workstations facilitate equipment and tasks, to the way that the environmental design of the space impacts their alertness – everything has an impact.

The Golden Rule for Good Control Room Design is that the Operator is at the Center of the Design

Tresco control room design process

Setting Yourself up for Success when Upgrading Your Control Centers

Over the next few months, we will publish a series of blog posts that aim to help Control Room Supervisors, Facilities Managers, and other individuals that are tasked with building or upgrading control centers.

We will cover a range of different topics that can all be broadly categorized into one of four primary considerations of good control room design:

  1. The People
  2. The Space
  3. Technology
  4. Flexibility & Scalability
Control room console

The common theme across all four categories is the focus on the operator at the center of the design. This is also the foundation that all our designs and products are built from.

If the design process for the control room begins with a particular product, then the process isn’t being done correctly. The products that you select need to support the functional requirements of the space; starting the process with a particular product imposes the constraints of that product onto the space before you have understood what problems you are trying to solve.

At Tresco, our design process looks like this:

Do you have a control room project that you want to talk with us about? Are there specific topics that are of interest to you?

I encourage you to contact me with any comments or questions about the work that we do.

Evan Turner headshot

Evan Turner

Canadian Sales Manager


Tresco has been manufacturing custom consoles for 24/7 use critical operations centers since the early 1990s. We place a strong emphasis on operator-centered design. We want to share our collective experience working on hundreds of unique control room projects to help people make better control room design decisions.



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