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CA Affiliate member, Terrafirma enhance guidance on natural ground stability hazards

Ground risk specialists Terrafirma has announced a much-anticipated overhaul of the natural ground perils section in the Ground Report. The award-winning report is used by conveyancers to understand whether mining or natural ground instability hazards has implications for the property they are transacting on.

Natural ground perils, such as collapsible deposits, compressible ground, running sands, soluble rocks and landslides, can all cause problems for property in the UK.

Existing natural ground datasets, commonly used by providers of ground stability searches, tend to present the hazards as posing an equal threat to the ground stability of a site.

The issue with this approach is the impact of these hazards or ‘ground conditions’ can vary significantly in terms of damage to an existing property or how they should be viewed if the site is marked for future development. A good example is comparing the potential damage between soluble rocks and running sands. In extreme cases, dissolution of soluble rocks forms large underground cavities. It can result in depressions or sinkholes at the surface, which can significantly impact both existing properties and any future development. On the other hand, running sands rarely trouble existing property but do still require consideration for new development.

Following an in-depth technical review that involved several senior geologists, scientists and engineers, Terrafirma has enhanced the assessment techniques, hazard-specific advice and recommendations for natural ground perils. Where necessary, the enhanced Ground Report section provides property-specific advice and guidance for ground conditions that can pose a significant risk to property. Hazard-specific advice is provided for those interested in the site’s future development, which can be passed along to a builder/developer to ensure the ground conditions are appropriately considered.

Tim Longden MSci FGS, Senior Geologist who led the natural ground perils update project for Terrafirma said: “I’m pleased to see the launch of the natural ground perils update to the Ground Report. It’s a change that means conveyancers who use the Ground Report will now receive better advice and recommendations when a property or site is flagged as being affected by any of the many natural ground perils. It’s an area we’ve had our eye on for improving and was highlighted by conveyancers during a market research exercise attached to the project.”

Tom Backhouse, Geologist and Terrafirma Chief Executive Officer said:

“The bar is set extremely high when it comes to the level of expertise required to understand and interpret ground hazard datasets. Our approach is guided by a deep knowledge of the scientific principles governing mining and natural ground instability and a passion for providing people and organisations with the tools to understand and manage their exposure to ground hazards more easily. For conveyancers, access to all this knowledge, expert interpretation, and peace-of-mind for their clients is available in a simple, reasonably priced report.”

When the Ground Report was launched in 2019 it was the first to offer conveyancers and purchasers a CON29M alongside all other mining and natural ground stability hazards in a comprehensive report. The updates to the Ground Report follow the announcement last week that Terrafirma had added a critical non-coal mining element to their report identification, recommendations and guidance (live on 18th October).

Terrafirma has unveiled a raft of other important updates and changes to their popular CON29M and Ground risk reports. To learn more about these exciting updates and how they benefit your clients, click here.

Join Terrafirma on the 19th October for their Autumn Updates Launch Event. Geologist Tim Longden will provide an overview of recently announced enhancements to Terrafirma’s ground risk reports, and why they are important. This event is open to all conveyancers and property professionals. You can register for free, and ask questions live after the short 30-minute session. In line with Terrafirma’s climate policy, a tree will be planted for everyone that registers, and another for everyone that attends. Click here to register.

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