Frequently Asked Questions

What is the CON29M Report?

Set up in 2000 by the Coal Authority, mining reports provide information on past, present and future underground and surface coal mining activity for any individual property or site in Britain. The Law Society have created a legal form to report on coal mining information for conveyancing which is known as the CON29M. This is requested by a solicitor in behalf of their client as part of the conveyancing enquiries pack when a property or land is purchased.

What is the Terrafirma CON29M Report?

The Terrafirma CON29M Report provides expert interpreted answers to all 11 questions (14 for commercial properties) using Coal Authority licensed data and meets all the requirements as stipulated by the new Law Society CON29M (2018) guidance. It translates the risk of coal mining activity into a clear professional opinion.

We are licensed by the Law Society as a “Report Producer”, providing the same answers as the Coal Authority CON29M Search. When your client asks for a CON29M Coal Search, you can now provide the Terrafirma Report.

We provide the following CON29M reports:

  • CON29M for residential properties

  • CON29M for commercial (non-residential) properties

  • No coal search certificate for residential and commercial properties

Is the Terrafirma CON29M Report accepted by all lenders?

Yes, our CON29M report is accepted by all lenders. The UK Finance Mortgage Lenders Handbook states ‘if you are hoping to buy a property that you believe may be close to a mine shaft, you should ensure that your conveyancer undertakes relevant searches and advises you on any risks’ and ‘you must ensure that any other searches which may be appropriate to the particular property, taking into account its locality and other features are carried out’. Our CON29M fulfils all of this guidance for coal mining hazards by providing a full risk assessment and is licensed by the Law Society.

How is the Terrafirma CON29M Report different from the Coal Authority?

Our Report uses the same official licensed data as the Coal Authority Report and is updated weekly. We always show the latest date and version number of the data update on every Terrafirma CON29M Report. We also provide equivalent loss of value insurance protection for residential properties covering any subsequent change in Coal Authority data (up to £100,000 for the lifetime of the property ownership).

In approximately 5% of cases, the Coal Authority Search highlights site proximity to a mine entry and recommends an Interpretive Report at additional cost. In a further c.5% of cases, the Coal Authority recommends further Subsidence Claims data is purchased.

Terrafirma tries to reduce the propensity for additional cost. We provide an expert interpretation of the data and provide a comment for the lawyer to cut and paste into their due diligence report. We automatically include the additional mine entry and subsidence claims data in every Report and factor the results in our overall interpretation.

We calculate that the Terrafirma saves the lawyer £8 on every report, as well as removing the time delay and process of ordering additional Coal Authority reports.

Does the Terrafirma CON29M Report include Chester Brine?

The Cheshire Brine Subsidence Compensation Board have decided that they will remove their data from the Coal Authority CON29M Search from 31st May 2018. They have licensed Groundsure to sell their own “Cheshire Salt” Report from 1st June.

The Terrafirma CON29M will answer Coal-related questions only, but the TerraSearch® Coal report will continue to assess brine risks, using data sourced from Groundsure reports.

What other reports do Terrafirma provide?

Terrafirma offer a comprehensive suite of solutions to translate complex ground risks into clear and reliable advice. In addition to our CON29M which is solely for Coal Mining, we also offer a report called The Ground Report. The Terrafirma Ground Report accurately quantifies the risk to a property from all known ground hazards, including a CON29M Coal Mining Report, 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.

If the property isn’t deemed to be at risk from mining or ground hazards, we recommend the TerraSearch Assure which gives complete protection from all ground risks through built-in £10 million bespoke Professional Indemnity cover protecting all parties within a property transaction. For more information please contact Terrafirma or your Search Provider.

What are Terrafirma’s terms and conditions?

Our terms and conditions are available here. We provide protection up to £10 million indemnity per Report, backed by comprehensive Professional Indemnity insurance. The Report can be relied upon by the Client and by any person acting in a professional or commercial capacity in relation to the Report.

How does the TerraSearch Coal Report differ from the Terrafirma CON29M Report?

Our TerraSearch® Coal Report is ‘CON29M-Compliant’. They use the same official Coal Authority data and answer the same questions as the Terrafirma CON29M Report, however, they are not licensed by the Law Society as a CON29M Search. In addition, the TerraSearch® Coal Report includes an assessment of all brine extraction risks.

For more information on the differences between the two coal mining reports, please contact us.

When can I expect my report to be delivered?

Providing the information that Terrafirma have been given is correct, we aim to deliver the majority of our CON29M Reports within 24 hours, normally within a few hours. Complex sites, or those requiring additional expert risk assessment may take up to 5 working days. Please contact us if you wish the delivery to be expedited.

What are the size-bandings?

We do not differentiate on site size for CON29M Residential, provided it is a single unit residential property, either existing or currently being built (e.g., a single plot on a residential development site).

We define Commercial as a non-residential property, commercial or development sites, multiple unit residential sites, or non-residential sites. We charge a fixed price for commercial properties up to 25 hectares, increasing in 25-hectare bands thereafter. We do not vary the price for No Coal Search, up to 100 hectares.

What is the Terrafirma cancellation policy?

Terrafirma operate a 24-hour cancellation period. If you or search provider can notify a member of the Terrafirma team within 24 hour working hours of ordering a Terrafirma CON29M Report, we will cancel the report free of charge. If a CON29M Report is cancelled after the first 24 working hours, you will be charged at the full price.

Do we need to amend our client care letter when we use the Terrafirma CON29M?

We have created recommended wording for you to copy and paste into your client care letter, with different options dependent on whether you work on an opt-in or opt-out basis.

For yours and your lenders information and protection, we recommend that you undertake a ground report. This expertly examines whether the site may be situated on or near land that could be at risk from historic coal mining, quantifying the risk to a site from nearby mine entries, hazards, shallow mining and subsidence claims, as well as past, present and planned coal mining activity. The purpose of this search is to try to ensure that any recorded or suspected risks are identified prior to purchase because, without expert interpretation and recommendation, you may become responsible for uninsured damage, lose material property value by risk association, or spoil the use or enjoyment of your new property.

Licensed by The Law Society, the Terrafirma official CON29M Coal Mining Report provides expert interpreted answers to all 11 legal enquiries (14 for commercial properties) using Coal Authority licensed data, satisfying Law Society and Lender compliance.

Why do you recommend a Building Survey in the professional opinion?

Although we can pass a report for having a low risk of any ground movement moving forwards, without visiting the property we have no way of knowing if there has been any movement due to subsidence in the past.

We recommend a Building Survey so the purchaser can identify any subsidence damage (amongst other risks covered in the survey) and the options for repairs and maintenance before exchanging. We recommend either a Level 1, Level 2 or Level 3 Building Survey dependent on various factors such as the coal hazards identified, the age of the property, etc. We include links within the professional opinion to give more information on the different types of survey, and how to find a local surveyor.