Exclusive Q&A: Miller Goodall – Climate Change, Environment Issues & a Post Covid-19 Landscape Posted on: August 10th, 2020 Following our Lancashire Development Plans Event we’ve been hearing exclusively from Miller Goodall – one of our sponsors for the event – discussing environmental issues, changes the industry is making to tackle the climate crisis, and the changes set to happen from the Covid-19 pandemic… Q. Miller Goodall are one of the most experienced acoustic and air quality consultancies. Tell us a little about the firm and the work you’re doing… Miller Goodall was formed when two experienced environmental health officers, Jo Miller and Lesley Goodall, decided to take their skills and specialities beyond local government and set up an acoustic and air pollution consultancy, working in the North West and surrounding region. They developed a strategy to use their understanding of the processes and wider implications of projects to inform the service they could deliver. We bring acoustic and air quality services together under one roof, uniting a highly skilled team of specialist staff to provide a holistic end-to-end approach to our projects. We work across a wide variety of sectors, from residential developments to entertainment, commercial and industrial buildings, helping our clients to develop their projects in line with environmental legislation. We invest time and resources in keeping up to date with the latest acoustic and air quality developments and play an active role in associated institutes and associations, ensuring we always bring our clients the best possible service. Q. There seems to have been a real shift in the last few years surrounding air quality and climate change – are you seeing more of an appetite from developers to make a positive impact when bringing forward new schemes? Awareness of how environmental issues impact on our daily life has never been higher, with government at both national and local levels committed to ensuring that new building projectsconform to strict legislation, introduced to give us all a better world in which to live, work and play. As this cultural awareness has grown, so has Miller Goodall. We now have large offices and two busy dedicated teams, one handling air quality and the other handling noise. The small but loyal customer base we started out with has become a large client portfolio that features developers, architects and councils from throughout the North West and beyond. Q. What are some of the pitfalls and mistakes that are made when developing which relate to the work you do? Some of the main issues we come up against occur when we are not brought into a project early enough and have to work with difficult layout issues. For example, the design of a new commercial or industrial development will have the loading bay directly adjacent to residential properties. This may then result in a significant impact and consequently a requirement to limit delivery hours. If we are involved in a project at the conception of the development, we can recommend a suitable location for the loading bay and extended delivery hours may then be allowed. So, our recommendation would always be to get us involved early. We are happy to look at preliminary plans and make recommendations at the early stages that may then allow the project to achieve its goals. Q. You were recently involved in our Lancashire webinar focused on future development projects and plans in the region. Could you tell us a little about some of the successful projects you’ve consulted on across the area and the impact you’ve helped make? We have been involved with the redevelopment of The Sands Venue Resort Hotel located on the Blackpool seafront in the old Palatine Building. It features a 5 star hotel – the only one in Blackpool – along with bars, restaurants, a spa, gym, and wedding and conference facilities. When it opens in 2021, the Showtown Blackpool museum, which will offer film, music and performance as well as more traditional exhibits, is set to occupy the first floor. Miller Goodall was brought in by architects FWP to develop suitable acoustic conditions for the multiuse building. The various individual spaces within the resort are all quite distinct, and one key element of the project was to ensure that noise from the museum, with its many loud live music exhibits, did not impact on people staying in the hotel above. We worked closely with the architects throughout, with our input focussing on three key areas: A site survey to look at existing noise levels, then specification of the external building fabric and ventilation to allow suitable noise levels to be achievedThe development of detailed design for internal sound insulation between different areas within this multi-use buildingAdvice on room acoustics Miller Goodall was also really proud to be involved with the new Everyman Cinema located within the Holmes Mill leisure complex in Clitheroe, which houses a boutique food hall and hotel as well as a host of other businesses. The luxury cinema sits in the former Boilerhouse area of the original mill building and is the final phase of the redevelopment for the mill. We were brought in by the architect Stanton Andrews Architects on behalf of the developer to ensure that Everyman’s high standard of acoustic requirements would be achieved. In particular, we were asked to provide advice on the planned specification and design of two key areas: General sound insulation to other parts of the building to ensure the cinema was not disturbed by noise from adjacent tenants and vice versaSound insulation within the cinema so that noise from each screen is contained and does not disturb the other films being shown around it Q. Lancashire is really promoting itself as a location to develop and invest – what do you think are some of the attractive features which should make firms take a serious look at developing there? We live in the heart of Lancashire and work in a beautiful environment surrounded by the hills and reservoirs of this wonderful region – what’s not to love! The area is very diverse in terms of city centres such as Preston, Blackburn and Lancaster, providing a mixture of cultural experiences and entertainment venues. The wide range of developments we work on provides an excellent opportunity for our staff to develop their skills and expertise. Q. There are set to be some major changes to the built environment landscape which come as a result of Covid-19 – and air quality, green spaces and sustainability will be high on the agenda. What legacy do you see if having in this regard? We foresee that there are going to be a significant number of vacant office spaces as companies realise that their staff can work effectively from home. An opportunity would be to convert these into suitable residential premises for the first-time buyer market and consequently boost the economy in this area. We would be happy to be involved with both the planning process in converting offices to residential accommodation and providing sound insulation advice to clients to ensure the requirements of Part E of the Building Regulations are achieved. Q. What does the future hold for Miller Goodall? As we continue to grow and increase the range of services we offer, we move on to ever-larger projects, but never lose sight of our commitment to delivering a personalised service that puts the client at the centre of every decision made and action taken. Our key commitment is to our staff, to develop a team of experienced and confident environmental consultants who can provide the service our clients value. Whether that is by working from home or through a mixture of home working and office working remains to be seen; however, the future is promising and we look forward to the challenges that lie ahead.