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Our Vision

To transform how we understand the ground.


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Our Story

Terrafirma was founded in 2015 with a clear ambition, to use our academic background to translate the scientific principles, complex processes and dynamic factors that control ground movement into opinion, advice and intelligent solutions that could enable smarter decision-making and transform ground risk assessment.

We have grown into a company unafraid to challenge the status quo, confident in our ability to positively disrupt and influence regulation, decision-making and business. It is how we became the first commercial company to be licensed to produce an official CON29M report, it is how we became the UKs leading provider of ground risk reports and it is how we continue to push the boundaries of what is commercially possible with geo-science and GeoData.

Our future is one where our innovative and intelligent solutions are at the core of simple, day-to-day decision making. Buying a house, developing land, investing money, planning our towns and cities; all will be influenced by Terrafirma and a better understanding of the ground.

  • 2015

    August

    CEO and Founder, Tom Backhouse formed Terrafirma with the ambition to educate the conveyancing sector about mining-related ground stability risk.

    August

    Tom Backhouse formed Terrafirma with the ambition to educate the conveyancing sector about mining-related ground stability risk.

  • 2016

    January

    Tom reaches out to local universities and Terrafirma works with numerous student interns from the University of Bristol’s Earth Sciences department.

    July

    The TerraSearch suite of searches was launched, bringing Assure, Assess and Action to the market.

    January

    Tom reaches out to local universities and Terrafirma works with numerous student interns from the University of Bristol’s Earth Sciences department.

    July

    The TerraSearch suite of searches was launched, bringing Assure, Assess and Action to the market.

  • 2017

    February

    Terrafirma launch regulated coal reports utilising licensed coal data and expert opinion.

    July

    Tom received a special ‘Outstanding Achievement Award’ at the Modern Law Conveyancing Awards 2017 for his contributions to risk assessment in the conveyancing process. The team grows and moves to into offices at Aztec West, Bristol.

    May

    Terrafirma COO, Danny Powell-Thomas, presents his master’s research on desk-based mining risk assessment at the inaugural Geologist’s Association Student Symposium.

    September

    Tom stars in Season 1 of Sinkholes on Channel 5, a documentary exploring how the hazard impacts the UK.

    February

    Terrafirma launch regulated coal reports utilising licensed coal data and expert opinion.

    May

    Terrafirma COO, Danny Powell-Thomas, presents his master’s research on desk-based mining risk assessment at the inaugural Geologist’s Association Student Symposium.

    July

    CEO and Founder, Tom Backhouse received a special ‘Outstanding Achievement Award’ at the Modern Law Conveyancing Awards 2017 for his contributions to risk assessment in the conveyancing process. The team grows and moves to into offices at Aztec West, Bristol.

    September

    Terrafirma CEO and Founder, Tom Backhouse stars in Season 1 of Sinkholes on Channel 5, a documentary exploring how the hazard impacts the UK.

  • 2018

    June

    Terrafirma become Executive Member of CoPSO (Council of Property Search Organisations) to help set and improve industry standards.

    August

    A second series of Sinkholes is broadcast with Tom starring yet again.

    November

    Terrafirma are ‘Highly Commended’ for Innovation at the Mortgage Finance Gazette Awards for producing the first commercial CON29M, reducing liabilities for lenders and conveyancers alike.

    July

    Terrafirma becomes the first commercial organisation to be licensed by The Law Society to produce the official CON29M report.

    September

    Terrafirma launch the Ground Report, a flagship report aimed at providing expert opinion on all types of ground hazard.

    June

    Terrafirma become Executive Member of CoPSO (Council of Property Search Organisations) to help set and improve industry standards.

    July

    Terrafirma becomes the first commercial organisation to be licensed by The Law Society to produce the official CON29M report.

    August

    A second series of Sinkholes is broadcast, with Terrafirma’s CEO and Founder, Tom Backhouse, starring yet again.

    September

    Terrafirma launch the Ground Report, a flagship report aimed at providing expert opinion on all types of ground hazard.

    November

    Terrafirma are ‘Highly Commended’ for Innovation at the Mortgage Finance Gazette Awards for producing the first commercial CON29M, reducing liabilities for lenders and conveyancers alike.

  • 2019

    March

    Terrafirma host first Advisory Panel meeting - a team of experienced professionals across legal due diligence, geology and mining to explore new ideas and current challenges.

    May

    Tom features on BBC’s The One Show, explaining sinkholes in the UK, their impacts and links to a changing climate.

    October

    Launch of the inaugural application of the National Ground Risk Model.

    April

    Terrafirma expands its Executive, Development and Marketing team and establishes the GeoData division. Terrafirma welcome Chris Milne as Technical Director to the team to bolster the company’s geological and engineering expertise.

    September

    Terrafirma appoint renowned commercial and legal data expert Lucy Oxer as Chief Data Officer.

    March

    Terrafirma host first Advisory Panel meeting - a team of experienced professionals across legal due diligence, geology and mining to explore new ideas and current challenges.

    April

    Terrafirma expands its Executive, Development and Marketing team and establishes the GeoData division. Terrafirma welcome Chris Milne as Technical Director to the team to bolster the company’s geological and engineering expertise.

    May

    Terrafirma CEO and Founder, Tom Backhouse features on BBC’s The One Show, explaining sinkholes in the UK, their impacts and links to a changing climate.

    September

    Terrafirma appoint renowned commercial and legal data expert Lucy Oxer as Chief Data Officer.

    October

    Launch of the inaugural application of the National Ground Risk Model.

  • 2020

    January

    Terrafirma appoint Dr Tim Farewell as Science and Communications Director who joins from Cranfield University with a wealth of experience in environmental data science.

    January

    Terrafirma appoint Dr Tim Farewell as Science and Communications Director who joins us from Cranfield University with a wealth of experience in environmental data science.

Meet the Team

Tom Backhouse

CEO & Founder

Danny Powell-Thomas

Operations Director

Chris Milne

Technical Director

Dr Tim Farewell

Science & Communications Director

Lucy Oxer

Chief Data Officer

Ben Magnin

Head of Research & Development

Tim Longden

Head of Operations

Maura Partridge

Head of Searches

Robin Morris

Head of Software Development

Theodore Faull

Head of GIS & Data

Edward Ramstedt

Business Development Manager

Victoria Stinchcombe

Marketing Coordinator

Evy Hughes

Geologist

Robert Waggett

Software Developer

Dan Berriman

Non-Executive Director

Nina Prior

Product Manager

Luke Parsons

Account Manager

Join the Team

We welcome expressions of interest from bright individuals who would like to join our team, and regularly offer work experience and internships.

News and Press Releases

Terrafirma Celebrate 5 Years of Helping Property Professionals Understand the Ground

This week Terrafirma celebrates 5 years of positive disruption and innovation across the UK’s property and conveyancing sectors with bold plans for an engaging educational series...

CoPSO Appoint Terrafirma CEO, Tom Backhouse as New Director

The Council of Property Search Organisations (CoPSO), the major trade association for the property search industry, has appointed Tom Backhouse, CEO of Terrafirma as a new Board Member and Director...

Introducing an Exciting New Webinar Series

Terrafirma are committed to providing the best training and support, our expert team of geologists and engineers are on hand to answer your questions. We are pleased to announce our new series of webinars are now available to book on the...

Response to Coronavirus and Business Continuity Plan: A Message from our CEO

To our clients, our partners, our suppliers, our colleagues and our friends. These are uncharted waters we find ourselves in. There is unfortunately little doubt we will face both personal and professional hardship in the...

Memberships and Accreditations