By Legal Futures’ Associates Future Climate Info 
Independent audit by renowned environmental consultancy reveals robust and secure approach to residential and commercial property risk reporting.
Future Climate Info (FCI), the innovative environmental risk report provider, recently invited Ashfield Solutions to undertake a detailed, independent examination of FCI’s reports, data and quality processes.
While FCI was confident that reports complied with industry good practice and guidance for its clients, they wanted an external view to better understand how they compared in the marketplace in terms of quality and suitability for the residential and commercial conveyancing market.
Ashfield Solutions are an independent national environmental consultancy with a highly respected team of professionals and a wealth of experience in environmental due diligence, land remediation and flood risk.
Because of their independence, they are frequently asked by their clients to provide an objective second opinion on environmental risk reports, from risk screening products, through to more detailed risk assessment and recommendation reports. This made them a natural choice for us when seeking an external audit team.
The full audit team included subject matter experts for flood risk, GIS, data management, business information systems and land quality assessment.
They examined and compared residential and commercial environmental report formats; the capture, storage and quality processes in managing and updating the data and the methods for how this data is then screened and interpreted to form the guidance for conveyancers.
“Our consultancy role requires us to have an in-depth understanding of the information requirements underpinning land quality and flood risk decision making” said Paul Wood, Senior Adviser, Ashfield Solutions. “Our audit confirms that FCI’s reports meet all of the key requirements for residential and commercial conveyancing transactions.
Indeed, we were very impressed with the high level of rigour and detail applied to their historic land use data and how this translates into actionable professional advice from FCI’s in-house consultants.”
Following a series of technical sessions and forensic inspection of datasets, Ashfield came to the following conclusions:
- FCI reports “accurately and effectively capture risks in the context of Law Society Guidance for contaminated land and flooding.”
- Historic mapping data is “very robust, at a high resolution and with a high level of metadata capture.”
- The external audit of historic data by the Legal Deposits Library “gives an even higher level of confidence.”
- Historic land use mapping is provided at a very high level of granularity, which could be “unique in the market” in identifying contaminated land.
- There are robust data capture, storage, backup and update processes for key datasets.
- Membership of CoPSO/PCCB and RICS “provides assurance and is respected and understood by the conveyancing market”.
“It’s crucial that we don’t allow ourselves to become complacent, and so as an organisation FCI will always seek objective critical analysis of our products and services. This ensures we maintain our high standards. We are naturally delighted to have confirmed the quality of our data, reports and experts here at FCI“said Tim Champney, Managing Director, Future Climate Info.
“The results of the audit sit well alongside our ongoing regulation under the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), and the Property Codes Compliance Board (PCCB) which maintains the principles of the Search Code. Residential and Commercial conveyancers can take great assurance from these conclusions that FCI reports provide the robust clarity, certainty and support that they need to keep transactions moving, especially in this very challenging market.”
More details of the audit and its outcomes can be provided on request at email@example.com