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Our Vision

To transform how we understand the ground.


About Terrafirma


Across the UK homes, infrastructure and land are at risk from complex ground hazards that can remain hidden for years. Every day, decisions worth millions of pounds are being made without considering the consequences of these hazards, putting the investments of individuals, families and businesses at risk.

At Terrafirma, we are passionate about improving the understanding of the ground, and the complex ways it interacts with the built environment. Our geologists, soil scientists and mining engineers clearly communicate ground risks through our pioneering reports, expert advice and innovative ground risk models.

Terrafirma exist to ensure people and organisations have access to accurate and understandable information on ground hazards, so they can make informed decisions without needing to be ground risk specialists themselves.

  • 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 receives an Outstanding Achievement Award at the Modern Law Conveyancing Awards 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 'Sinkholes' on Channel 5, a documentary exploring how the misunderstood 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 an Outstanding Achievement Award at the Modern Law Conveyancing Awards for his contributions to risk assessment in the conveyancing process. The team grows and moves to into offices at Aztec West, Bristol.

    September

    Tom stars in 'Sinkholes' on Channel 5, a documentary exploring how the misunderstood hazard impacts the UK.

  • 2018

    June

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

    September

    Terrafirma launch the Ground Report, a flagship report aimed at providing expert opinion on the risk from mining and natural ground hazards and recorded ground movement, including a CON29M report as standard.

    July

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

    November

    Terrafirma receives highly commended for the Innovation Award at the Mortgage Finance Gazette Awards for producing the first commercial CON29M, reducing liabilities for lenders and conveyancers alike.

    June

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

    July

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

    September

    Terrafirma launch the Ground Report, a flagship report aimed at providing expert opinion on the risk from mining and natural ground hazards and recorded ground movement, including a CON29M report as standard.

    November

    Terrafirma recieves highly commended for the Innovation Award 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.

    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.

  • 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.

    September

    The new Coastal Hazards module is available within the Ground Report, providing property-specific information on coastal flooding, landslides and erosion prior to purchase.

    May

    The Council of Property Search Organisations (CoPSO), appoints Tom Backhouse, CEO of Terrafirma as a new Board Member and Director.

    November

    Terrafirma win the Innovation Award at the Mortgage Finance Gazette Awards for the property-specific Coastal Hazards risk assessment within the Ground Report.

    November

    The National Ground Risk Model: Climate™ is launched as a tool to help banks, building societies and insurers identify and manage the future physical risks from climate change.

    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 and Founder

Danny Powell-Thomas

Operations Director

Lucy Oxer

Legal and Data Director

Dr Tim Farewell

Science and Communications Director

Chris Milne

Technical Director

Maura Partridge

Head of Searches

Tim Longden

Product Owner

Ben Magnin

Head of Research and Development

Theodore Faull

Head of GIS and Data

Edward Ramstedt

Business Development Manager

Victoria Stinchcombe

Marketing Coordinator

Luke Parsons

Key Account Manager

Sebastian Colcutt

Account Manager

Dan Berriman

Non-Executive Director

Nina Sundown

Product Manager

Charlie Coleman

Geologist

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 join the Conveyancing Association as affiliate members

We are pleased to announce Terrafirma has today joined the Conveyancing Association. They join a select number of Affiliate Members offering professional opinion and expert ground...

Terrafirma partner with property data analysts Hometrack

Following the launch of the National Ground Risk Model: Climate (NGRM: Climate™) in November last year, Terrafirma have partnered with Hometrack, the leading provider of insight...

Terrafirma's Climate Change Pledge

As we help others to understand and prepare for the increasingly dramatic impacts that climate change will have on the built environment, we recognise the contribution we as a comp...

Terrafirma Launches First Ever Climate-Focused Ground Risk Assessment

Terrafirma, the leading experts in ground risk assessment, today launches the National Ground Risk Model (NGRM): Climate™. This provides lenders with an expertly modelled, ground...

Memberships and Accreditations