‘the first commercial organisation to be licensed by The Law Society to produce the official CON29M Report’
The 10th July 2018 was a momentous day and landmark in Terrafirma’s history to date because after months of hard work we became the first commercial organisation to be licensed by The Law Society as a ‘Report Producer’ of the official CON29M Report. The report is a mandatory requirement for property and land purchase in coal mining areas and The Terrafirma CON29M Report offers property and legal professionals a level of interpretation, risk transfer and client protection not previously available and contains an expert professional opinion. It’s also backed by comprehensive terms and conditions, with all liability for the outcomes of the report passing to Terrafirma, protecting the client, lender and solicitor.
In July of 2018 The Law Society published new guidance on CON29M (2018) which comprises eleven questions for the investigation of past, present and future coal mining activity in England and Wales. The Terrafirma CON29M Report offers expert interpreted answers to these eleven questions (14 for commercial properties) using Coal Authority licensed data and satisfying all the requirements as stipulated by the new Law Society guidance.
More data and interpretation at no extra cost
As holders of the first commercial license for the CON29M legal form, The Law Society has recognised the quality of Terrafirma’s data analysis, professional opinion, terms and conditions and suite of reports. This is indeed a huge achievement and a momentous occasion in both the development of Terrafirma and in the evolution of environmental reports. The previous CON29M form raised questions which may have result in the need for further interpretation and additional reports, at an extra cost to the client and causing transactions in coal mining areas to experience delays. The Terrafirma CON29M, however, automatically includes this additional data and interpretation at no extra cost, resulting in a dramatic reduction in the number of delayed transactions.
The Terrafirma CON29M offers many improvements including better data processes, risk screening and assessment which all help to ensure a prospective purchaser will have a better understanding of what coal mining risks face their property. This will eliminate the requirement for a solicitor to report on a liability they may not have detailed knowledge of and reduce the amount of time a solicitor spends reporting back to the client or the lender.
385,000 buildings lie within 50 metres of a coal mine entry, of which 85,000 are within 50 metres of a previously-accepted coal claim. This clearly demonstrates the risks facing those involved in property transactions in coal mining areas. For environmental risk assessment generally, including contaminated land and flood, the age of relying on answers to data queries alone is over. Now both a professional opinion and interpretive data modelling is a standard in assessing these environmental hazards. Yet application of the due diligence process to coal mining is only now available in the Terrafirma CON29M to assess the risks the ground poses. Only by combining comprehensive and varied sources with expert professional interpretation can a clear, accurate and reliable picture be built of the likely hazards present.
The CON29M was originally established in 2000 by The Coal Authority in order to provide properties or sites in Great Britain with information relating to any past, present and future underground surface coal mining activity. The CON29M is a legal form used for conveyancing to report on coal mining information and forms part of the conveyancing enquiries pack that solicitors request for clients for land and property purchases. It was up until this point only available from The Coal Authority, but The Law Society is now able to license the CON29M report to commercial companies if they can meet the required competencies and quality levels dictated by its exacting standards.
The Terrafirma CON29M Report and why it’s different
The Terrafirma CON29M is a very real alternative to The Coal Authority CON29M:
it provides expert interpretation to all 11 questions (14 for commercial properties), it uses Coal Authority licensed data and it meets all of those requirements stipulated by the new Law Society CON29M (2018) guidance. Finally, and probably most importantly, it takes this information and translates the risk of coal mining activity into a clear professional opinion.
And just in case you’re wondering The Terrafirma CON29M is accepted by all lenders. As specified by The UK Finance Mortgage Lenders Handbook that if you’re purchasing a property that you know to be located close to a mineshaft then you must ensure that your conveyancer carries out the relevant searches and that you are told of any risks and you must act accordingly. The Terrafirma CON29M meets all of the guidance related to coal mining hazards and is supported by a full risk assessment as well as being one of only two official report producers to be licensed by the Law Society.
What about data?
You’re probably thinking where do we get our data from now and you will be pleased to learn that the Terrafirma CON29M Report uses the exact same official licensed data as The Coal Authority Report and what’s more is updated on a weekly basis. The latest date and version number is clearly displayed on each of our reports.
A Terrafirma v Coal Authority CON29m head-to-headSo how does the Terrafirma CON29M Report compare to The Coal Authority’s? So, as well as answering all of the same CON29M our report provides 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).
Terrafirma provides three different CON29M reports:
- CON29M for residential properties
- CON29M for non-residential (commercial) properties
- No Coal Search Certificate which covers residential and non-residential (commercial) properties
More on Terrafirma the company
Terrafirma is a leading provider of environmental information and data intelligence, translating complex physical, financial and legal environmental risks into clear, accurate and reliable advice. Through innovative data-driven services, protected by an expert professional opinion, Terrafirma offers a comprehensive suite of solutions to ensure that the client is confidently equipped to better understand the ground.
Our innovative and collaborative approach to environmental risk and impact assessment ensures that professionals and consumers alike are forewarned to the reality and variety of risks the environment can pose to properties and land across the UK. From historical mining to the future of shale gas extraction and the impact of ground gas to the risks of natural ground movement, Terrafirma can not only provide insight to data but the expert solutions required to inform and action where necessary.
Our leading Advisory Panel provides expert guidance and counsel, with a focus on educating property market stakeholders to ground hazards.
More on Terrafirma solutions
Our suite of solutions is comprehensive and translate complex ground risks into clear and reliable advice. Aside from the Terrafirma CON29M which focuses purely on coal mining we have The Terrafirma Ground Report which accurately quantifies the risk to a property from all known ground hazards and also includes a CON29M Coal Mining Report as well as all other mining searches, all natural ground stability hazards, mineral planning, Oil and Gas (Fracking), Sinkholes and Radon. This report also includes our enhanced liability protection and expert professional opinion and interpretation.
For those properties not deemed to be at risk from mining or ground hazards, we recommend the TerraSearch Assure which provides complete protection from all ground risks through a built-in £10 million bespoke Professional Indemnity cover which protects all parties within a property transaction. It is this professional indemnity cover that sets us apart from other ground risk reports and can be relied on by the Client and by any person acting in a professional or commercial capacity in relation to the Report.
If you would like to find out more about the Terrafirma CON29M mining report or any of our other solutions, please complete the enquiry form found on this website.