Terrafirma enhance ground hazard expertise with key appointment

Dr Tim Farewell

Dr Tim Farewell, Science and Communications Director – Terrafirma

Leading ground risk experts Terrafirma continue their drive to provide helpful information on ground-related risk in property purchase with the appointment of geospatial environmental data scientist, Dr Tim Farewell from Cranfield University.

Terrafirma have today announced Dr Tim Farewell as Science and Communications Director, who joins from Cranfield University with a wealth of experience in using environmental data science to improve understanding of geohazards and their interaction with infrastructure.

Terrafirma are committed to continually improving technical expertise focused on ground hazards and Dr Tim Farewell’s appointment follows on from the addition of well-known mining and engineering specialist Chris Milne as Technical Director, bringing with him over 30 years geotechnical experience.

“I am excited to join Terrafirma because of the strong focus of the team on collecting and communicating the best and most helpful information on ground-related risks. During my 16+ years in academia, I found the projects which gave me the most satisfaction were those where the results of our work made a real difference in the real world.

Terrafirma seeks to help people and organisations understand and minimise the risk from ground-related hazards. I share this desire and look forward to working with the geologists and data scientists at Terrafirma to develop and communicate the best evidence-based ground hazard products, improving understanding and reducing the risk of ground hazards for both the public and professionals.”

Dr Tim Farewell, Science and Communications Director

While at the National Soil Resources Institute (NSRI) within Cranfield University, Dr Tim Farewell focused his research on soils, geology and the environment and the development of the national soil and Land Information System for England and Wales (LandIS). He formed an integral part of the team awarded The Queen’s Anniversary Prize for soil science in 2017.

Tim led the development of the of the Natural Perils Directory (NPD), which was a key contribution to Cranfield landing the 2017 Prize. The NPD is an industry-agnostic geohazard model that highlights risk of subsidence at property or asset level that is used across insurance, finance, water, utilities and wider infrastructure sectors.

This cross-industry application led to the introduction of the NPD to the conveyancing market in October 2018. Terrafirma adopted the NPD as an advanced clay-related subsidence module in their industry-leading Ground Report, making Terrafirma the first – and still the only – organisation to make this available to conveyancers when considering ground-related risk in property transactions.

The NPD-based module within the Ground Report provides a present day risk score and incorporates future climate scenario data to provide a future risk score for a property or land polygon. With mortgages representing a large long-term financial commitment for house buyers and lenders alike and the financial risks of climate change now firmly on the agenda, this information, along with other ground-related information is enormously useful to homebuyers.

It is enormously exciting to welcome Dr Tim Farewell as Science and Communications Director. He holds values very similar to my own and, as one of the UK’s leading academics in ground hazards and its impacts on infrastructure, his appointment improves our already impressive knowledge-base in this area.

Conveyancers are the experts in property law and we see it as our responsibility to maintain the highest level of in-house expertise to support conveyancers, and importantly their clients, about the risks the ground can pose to their property.

Furthering our own knowledge not only improves our reports and professional opinion, it also informs the hundreds of hours we commit each year to CPDs and webinars educating conveyancers about ground-related hazards and what the potential implication may be for property purchase.

With Terrafirma’s ongoing developments, conveyancers can concentrate on the legal aspects of the property transaction safe in the knowledge that when it comes to ground hazards they can rely on Terrafirma’s professional opinion for their client.”

Tom Backhouse, CEO and Founder


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