Technology

National Tree Map to support hazard assessment for home buyers

12 November 2019

Terrafirma, a specialist provider of hazard models, geodata and ground risk reports, has adopted Bluesky’s database of more than 300 million trees within its advanced conveyancing search service.

As part of a major upgrade, Terrafirma Ground Reports are now the first conveyancing search product to provide detailed, property-specific information on the risks from clay-related subsidence and trees – a major cause of building damage in the UK.

“The addition of the Bluesky National Tree Map data to the Ground Report tackles the problem of tree-related clay subsidence and provides homeowners with the advice and information they need prior to purchase,” said Tom Backhouse, CEO and founder of Terrafirma. “There is nothing else like it available within environmental reports and the advanced analysis we have been doing with the National Tree Map is another example of our commitment to enable professionals and the public to better understand what lies beneath.”

The Bluesky National Tree Map is the most detailed dataset of its kind ever produced. With coverage across the whole of England and Wales, it provides a unique, comprehensive database of location, height and canopy/crown extents for trees 3m and above in height. A standalone geospatial database, the National Tree Map is created to the Ordnance Survey projection and is therefore compatible with all OS map layers.

The Terrafirma Ground Report is a property report designed to enable professionals, such as solicitors, mortgage lenders, property developers, and consumers better identify, manage and resolve risk from all man-made and natural ground hazards. Based on property level Ordnance Survey mapping these Ground Reports include information relating to the UK’s extensive and varied mining heritage, subsidence, sinkholes, radon, mineral planning activity and many more perils.

Terrafirma worked closely with Bluesky to give an accurate prediction of properties which are likely to suffer shrink-swell movements or be affected by nearby tree roots. The new Ground Report includes a simple-to-understand guide to the potential for ground movement as well as the zone of influence of large trees and gives clear guidance on the scope of building surveys and subsidence insurance for affected properties.

In an industry first, the latest Ground Reports include expert-evidence based modelling – assessing the risk of a potential hazard and also analysing a “proof of movement” database that includes more than 120,000 investigated subsidence claims and almost 10,000 sinkholes.