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Wellbeing Sep 4, 2018

Congratulations! You just found out your dispatch center is getting a new building! You can't wait for the architects to finish the building design so you can start planning your new dispatch furniture layout. Not only can you not wait, you shouldn't wait! Here's why.


Designing your new PSAP

When new construction is underway, an architect and/or project consultant will almost always be involved.

Often the dispatch room is the largest room in the building and for that reason it is the one that is often changed to accommodate the surrounding rooms and offices.

The real challenge with space planning this way is that communication team space can end up oddly shaped or smaller than expected, which results in cramped quarters, little room to grow, and inefficient walking space between dispatcher positions.

There are two approaches to take when your getting a new dispatch building/room.

  1. You can wait for the architect to finish the building design and tell you this is the room you have for the dispatch center and you can plan using those restraints.
  2. Another approach is to be proactive and design the dispatch center floor-plan that works best for your workflow and equipment needs, then present that to the architect as the floor plan you need them to fit into the building.

The second approach is much better for getting the dispatch center floor plan of your dreams. And, it may surprise you to know, most architects appreciate the customer buy-in and guidance.

PSAP Interior Image_sm-1

Working with an architect

There are many advantages to working with an architect. In the world of public safety, there are architects and consultants that specialize in the unique needs of public safety answering points:

Power requirements, including UL

Raised flooring and raised platforms

Electrostatic-free flooring

Server rooms

Locker rooms

Administration areas

Dimmable room lighting


Protective wall, window treatments

In addition, architects and their teams add value by preparing and providing:

  • Feasibility studies
  • Infrastructure
  • Schematic design
  • Design development
  • Project management
  • Construction documents and administration
  • Bidding and negotiation
  • Recommendations for reputable service and product providers

While an architect and consultant firm will design a building from the ground up, your agency will benefit by providing examples of an ideal 911 dispatch floor plan, early in the process.

You can get help from space planning experts

You can enlist console workstation manufacturers to help you long before the architect generates their first interior drawing. And their service is at no additional charge to you.

Console workstations manufacturers have space planning and design teams that provide suggestions for efficient traffic patterns, convenient placement of shared resources, and effective configurations for blended teams. These factors can then be supported by the architects work on the interior room segmentation.

Summit floorplanWeber floorplan

Design your comm center floor plan early

The number of positions your team will need is probably the easiest thing to determine. In addition to that, consider the space you are in now. Questions that will inform the development of your dream center might include these:

  • What is the best thing about our existing center?
  • What is our least favorite thing?
    • What can we do differently this time?
  • Could we work better together if the space planning changes?
  • Will operators be more comfortable with a different work stations layout?
  • Will teams benefit from more shared resource storage like file cabinets and book shelves?
  • Does the staff require lockable personal storage or lockers? At the desk or in a different area?
  • Do we expect significant growth in the next 5-10 years?

It is never too early to get a floor plan and budgetary quote for new dispatch consoles. It gets the design process out of the way early and it helps you with funding requests as they come up. Even if you don't get the funding, you can file away the quote/drawing and have it updated when the next budget talks begin.

architect quote 2

About the Author

Eddie Creegan 2

Eddie Creegan's expertise in facility needs and dispatch furniture solutions helps him engage communications centers to understand challenges and to develop lasting solutions. Eddie started his career in 1986, installing commercial office furniture and public safety consoles. He received installation certification for multiple product lines and started his own installation company in Phoenix, Arizona. In 2005, Eddie moved from installation to sales as an independent rep for Watson and began working directly for Watson in 2013. Eddie predominately works with customers in Southern California, Arizona, Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and Wyoming. Connect with Eddie on Linked In.

Also by Eddie Creegan, The myth of the ergonomic edge.

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