Ground Risks and Liabilities Report

Terrafirma Ground Report


Introducing the new Terrafirma Ground Report

Introducing the new Terrafirma Ground Report, a best in class ground risks and liabilities report that includes an expert professional opinion, risk assessment and risk transfer on all potential ground risks.

The 25th Edition of The Law Society Conveyancing Handbook includes new guidance supported by the experts at Terrafirma, on Mining and Natural Ground Perils. To ensure solicitor due diligence, the new Terrafirma Ground Report satisfies the new Law Society guidance and ensures compliance.

The Terrafirma Ground Report translates the risk from mining activity, subsidence, sinkholes, radon, fracking, mineral planning activity and much more. It also includes Terrafirma’s official CON29M report, as well as never-seen before data and technology driven solutions to analyse the potential impact of man-made and natural ground perils on property transactions.

Dynamic next steps and an industry-leading professional opinion ensure the purchaser is fully informed and report terms are comprehensively transferred from the solicitor to the experts at Terrafirma.

Terrafirma Ground Risks Report

The Terrafirma Ground Report includes:

  • The first integrated official Terrafirma CON29M (2018) as licensed by The Law Society
  • All other mining searches (e.g. tin, metalliferous, limestone, chalk, gypsum, clay, Cheshire brine, other brine, Bath Stone
  • Evidence of ground movement analysis, using innovative satellite technologies never-before-seen data
  • All known Natural Ground Perils, including Slope stability, running sands, sinkholes and erosion
  • Mineral planning and future mining or extraction activities and oil and gas including fracking) activities
  • Comprehensive information on the risk of radon exposure
  • Expert professional opinion on natural clay-related subsidence, assessing not only British Geological Survey data but pioneering University-researched soil models
  • All potential physical, financial and legal liabilities associated with past mining activity
  • Terms and conditions that include a £10 million Professional Indemnity Policy (per report)



Introducing The Ground Report

The Ground Report Step by Step

Unique Benefits of The Terrafirma Ground Report

From The Product Card

  • 100% of the risk of reporting on mining and natural ground perils is transferred to Terrafirma, under their market-leading Terms and Conditions
  • Dynamic and colour-coded next steps based on a site and property specific risk assessment
  • Includes an integrated official CON29M, satisfying The Law Society CON29M (2018) guidance report and includes Coal & Cheshire Brine Search Insurance (up to £50,000)
  • Expert risk assessment and analysis included on all ground risks, translated into clear, reliable and practical advice
  • Inclusion of industry leading terms and conditions providing £10 million professional indemnity per report
  • New technologies and data modelling has increased the pass rate to over 97% including for ground risks such as clay subsidence, sinkholes and mining
  • Includes Terrafirma’s unique SinkholeALERT database containing over 9000 ground collapse and an investigated subsidence claim database containing over 120,000 claims
  • Traffic light system and legend, highlighting key actions for conveyancer, lender and purchaser
  • Unique ground movement module using the latest available space data (CGG’s InSAR data from Sentinel-1 satellite)
  • Terrafirma Profession opinion included for all ground risks, providing reliable answers to any potential impact on completion, value, use or enjoyment

FAQ's Ground Risks and Liabilities Report

The Terrafirma Ground Report is a best in class ground risks and liabilities report that includes an expert professional opinion, risk assessment and risk transfer on all potential ground risks and satisfies recent new guidance on mining and ground perils in The Law Society Conveyancing Handbook.

The Terrafirma Ground Report translates the risk from mining activity, subsidence, sinkholes, radon, fracking, mineral planning activity and much more, allowing the purchaser to better understand the ground.

Yes, our Ground report is accepted by all lenders. The UK Finance Mortgage Lenders Handbook states ‘if you are hoping to buy a property that you believe may be close to a mine shaft, you should ensure that your conveyancer undertakes relevant searches and advises you on any risks’ and ‘you must ensure that any other searches which may be appropriate to the particular property, taking into account its locality and other features are carried out’.

Our Ground Report fulfils all this guidance for mining hazards by providing a full risk assessment.

The Council of Mortgage Lenders website provides information to Consumers on Issues affecting lending decisions where properties are close to mineshafts. It states, “While a record of the location of many coal mine shafts is maintained on a register by the Coal Authority, other types of mine shaft are not fully documented, so in areas of risk, lenders may require additional reports before deciding whether to lend.”

Before the Ground report, to fulfil this guidance there would be no option other than to order each report individually (such as a Metalliferous Report, China Ball Clay Search, CON29M, etc). Our Terrafirma Ground report covers all types of mining, including Coal, Tin and metals, Limestone, Bath stone, Brine, Gypsum, Chalk, Clay, Stone and Iron. Therefore, there is no longer any need to order multiple mining reports, or spend time researching which report is required; you can rely on the Terrafirma Ground Report to identify all mining hazards.

Yes, the Terrafirma Ground report includes all known Natural Ground Perils, including; Slope stability, running sands, sinkholes and erosion.

Every Terrafirma Ground Report includes our Terrafirma official CON29M as standard. Unlike other coal mining reports, the Terrafirma CON29M has been designed to significantly increase the pass rate. With improved data processes, risk screening and assessment, your client will have a better understanding of what coal mining risks face their property, and what they need to do next.

We also provide equivalent loss of value insurance protection for residential properties covering any subsequent change in Coal Authority data (up to £50,000 for the lifetime of the property ownership).

More information on the Terrafirma official CON29M can be found by visiting:

If your report recommends Further Action and to inform the lender, it means there is a mine entry, void or significant natural ground peril within the immediate vicinity of the property.

In a ‘world first’, the Terrafirma Ground Report includes an expert analysis of ground movement which identifies ‘real-world’ evidence of past or current subsidence using investigated subsidence claims, satellite-derived surface deformation and Terrafirma’s exclusive SinkholeALERT databases.

We also use British Geological Survey data and pioneering university soil models to assess natural clay-related subsidence, and official Coal Authority data to create our CON29M section of the report.

Terrafirma offer a comprehensive suite of solutions to translate complex ground risks into clear and reliable advice. In addition to our Ground Report which covers all types of mining risk and ground hazards, we also offer a report called the Terrafirma CON29M. As an official alternative to The Coal Authority CON29M, the Terrafirma CON29M Report provides expert interpreted answers to all 11 questions (14 for commercial properties) using Coal Authority licensed data and meets all the requirements as stipulated by the new Law Society CON29M (2018) guidance. It translates the risk of coal mining activity into a clear professional opinion. We are licensed by the Law Society as a “Report Producer”, providing the same answers as the Coal Authority CON29M Search. When your client asks for a CON29M Coal Search, you can now provide the Terrafirma Report.

If the property isn’t deemed to be at risk from mining or ground hazards, we recommend the TerraSearch Assure which gives  complete protection from all ground risks through built-in £10 million bespoke Professional Indemnity cover protecting all parties within a property transaction. For more information please contact Terrafirma or your Search Provider.

Our terms and conditions are available at We provide protection up to £10 million indemnity per Report, backed by comprehensive Professional Indemnity insurance. The Report can be relied upon by the Client and by any person acting in a professional or commercial capacity in relation to the Report.

You will be able to order our Reports through our portal. Contact us direct to set up a reseller account. We will provide you with a password once we have entered into a reseller agreement with you.

The ordering platform allows you to define the outline of the property. If you would prefer to just provide a site plan, we reserve the right to make an appropriate additional charge.

If you wish to integrate with our systems, we can provide an API to accept orders and deliver reports. Please contact us if you would like the integration documents.

Our TerraSearch® Assess report contains all types of mining, including our regulated TerraSearch® Coal Report, and planned and future mineral extraction. Our Terrafirma Ground report contains all of the above, however it includes our Terrafirma CON29M instead of the TerraSearch® Coal, and also includes additional modules such as ground movement, natural ground perils, radon and oil and gas activity.

Providing the information that Terrafirma have been given is correct, we aim to deliver the majority of our Terrafirma Ground Reports within 24 hours, normally within a few hours.
Complex sites, or those requiring additional expert risk assessment may take up to 5 working days. Please contact us if you wish the delivery to be expedited.

We do not differentiate on site size for residential Ground Reports, provided it is a single unit residential property, either existing or currently being built (e.g., a single plot on a residential development site).

We define Commercial as a non-residential property, commercial or development sites, multiple unit residential sites, or non-residential sites. We charge a fixed price for commercial properties up to 25 hectares, increasing in 25-hectare bands thereafter.

Terrafirma operate a 24-hour cancellation period. If you or search provider can notify a member of the Terrafirma team within 24 hour working hours of ordering a Terrafirma Ground Report, we will cancel the report free of charge.

If a Ground Report is cancelled after the first 24 working hours, you will be charged at the full price.

We have created recommended wording for you to copy and paste into your client care letter, with different options dependent on whether you work on an opt-in or opt-out basis.

Policy of the Practice / Recommendation

For your information and protection, and the protection of your lender, it is our policy to undertake / we recommend that you undertake a ground report. This expertly examines whether the site may be situated on or near land that could be at risk from historic mining and natural ground perils, and quantifies the risk to a site from nearby mine entries, natural ground hazards, shallow mining and subsidence claims, as well as past, present and planned mining activity. The purpose of this search is to try to ensure that any recorded or suspected risks are identified prior to purchase because, without expert interpretation and recommendation, you may become responsible for uninsured damage, lose material property value by risk association, or spoil the use or enjoyment of your new property.

Although we can pass a report for having a low risk of any ground movement moving forwards, without visiting the property we have no way of knowing if there has been any movement due to subsidence in the past.

We recommend a Building Survey so the purchaser can identify any subsidence damage (amongst other risks covered in the survey) and the options for repairs and maintenance before exchanging. We recommend either a Level 1, Level 2 or Level 3 Building Survey dependent on various factors such as the coal hazards identified, the age of the property, etc. We include links within the professional opinion to give more information on the different types of survey, and how to find a local surveyor.

“The Terrafirma Advisory panel comprises professionals and academics at the cutting edge of environmental and ground hazard solutions in the UK’s built environment, legal and insurance sectors.”

Terrafirma’s team and Advisory Panel