Here at Groundsure we’re always keen to help answer your questions.

At Groundsure we like to keep things simple, so we’ve designed a user-friendly platform, made ordering products easy, and delivering fast turnaround times for our reports.

Our customer service team are always on hand to answer any questions you may have regarding our products. We’ve collated some of our most frequently asked questions about Avista below, however, if you would prefer to speak with one of our team please call 08444 159 000 or email info@groundsure.com.

 

How does Avista assess contaminated land risk?

Avista assesses the risk of land contamination using sources that give details of historical and current use of the land where the property is situated. These uses include the location of landfill and waste sites, petrol stations, and any industrial sites or processes that may have taken place, or be licensed to take place on or near the property.


How does Avista assess flood risk?

Avista looks at the potential for river, coastal and surface water flooding in order to assess the overall combined flood risk to the property. It will identify if the property is located in a flood storage area, meaning it is especially liable to flooding due to being situated on a functional floodplain. The report also shows you flood events which have happened in the past, and gives you information on current and proposed flood defenses, so you are as informed as possible, able to advise your client on flood risk and appropriate next steps.


How does Avista assess overall ground stability?

Avista assesses ground stability at the property by examining natural and artificial geological cavities and structures that may increase the local potential for subsidence. Mining hazards, sinkholes and other natural cavities, and the potential for previous holes in the land to have been filled in with materials that are not structurally sound (e.g. in the case of previous landfill sites) are all considered. Sensible precautions and next steps are recommended, so that you are able to inform your client effectively.


How does Avista assess planning applications?

Using information supplied by local Planning Authorities dating back 10 years, Avista filters and presents this information to help you understand possible changes to the area around the property. Please note that even successful applications may not have been constructed and new applications for a site can be made if a previous one has failed.

Within the Avista report planning applications are summarised in three categories:

• Large projects include developments of 10 or more houses and/or projects costing more than £250,000

• Small projects include developments of 3-9 houses and/or projects costing less than £250,000

• House extensions or new builds for 1-2 properties


What are the Avista Terms and Conditions?

Just like with any other residential search report from Groundsure, our Terms and Conditions are designed to explain the legal relationship between Groundsure and users of the report. A copy of it is available here.

The opinions expressed by Groundsure in Avista are covered by our Professional Indemnity Insurance, and governed by these Terms and Conditions, visible here or provided in the post on request.
£89 (when you buy the report directly from Groundsure) relates to an Avista residential report for a single residential property up to 15 hectares. For larger sites, customers can request a tailored price.

Please note: The standard Groundsure Terms and Conditions apply to all Groundsure reports including Avista. Individual search providers may have different terms and conditions, so we advise you contact your search provider directly to obtain a copy of these. In addition, your search provider will be able to advise on any ordering or cancellation queries you may have.


What does the flood risk mean?

Groundsure has worked with Ambiental to create flood risk models for surface water and groundwater that represents risk in a consistent way to our current offering. Whilst there are subtle differences in the way that flood risks are modelled by different companies, in this case the key parameters such as the return periods (1:75 year etc), and depth of flooding remain are similar.

Therefore, the way we describe a flood risk within the report remains unchanged, with one exception that we believe will make the report clearer to the end client. This was to change the Floodability ratings from Black 2, Black 1, Red, Amber or Green to a more intuitive naming convention. Floodability will be replaced with Ambiental’s FloodScore™  which uses the following ratings: Low, Moderate, Moderate to High, High and Very High. This is more in line with the wording used throughout the reports when describing flood risk. Overall the flood outcomes they will remain the same for the vast majority of properties. Where there are changes, we believe that most will relate to the more refined modelling method that Ambiental have used.


What information and searches does the Avista report include?

As well as detailed information on the search results that could have an impact, on the last page(s) of most reports you will also find a clear index of all the searches that have not found anything relevant to this property. For example the report will not return a search result for HS2 on a property located in Brighton but if a property is located near to Sheffield and is within 2.5 km of either proposed route it would.

Avista includes the following:

• Front page with address, outline polygon, lending risk assessment and Avista Action Alert score plus the high level rating for all seven environmental searches
• Details of the professional bodies we belong to and work with, to provide confidence in our reports and their findings
• Any recommended next steps with our Avista Action Alert, designed to help conveyancers keep transactions moving
• Easy to understand information on searches in which results have been identified including larger, more detailed maps
• Professional assessment on Contaminated Land
• Any findings across the four main types of flood risk
• Ground stability risk factors
• Other environmental findings, including local occurrence of Radon gas
• Infrastructure including oil and gas, wind and solar
• Transport results that may have an effect on properties, including railways, HS2 and Crossrail
• Planning for large, small and extension applications
• Detailed index of all searches that return results and location of further details

Where the data used is not owned by Groundsure we select quality third party data to make sure you have all the information you need at your fingertips. The providers we work with give us highly detailed, best in class data that is both accurate and reliable, at a reasonable cost. Where we modify data, strict quality control procedures are used, as set out by our in house panel of IEMA accredited environmental consultants.

Groundsure encourages and promotes the continuous improvement of its products and operates a continual data enhancement program in order to identify and correct errors. If a potential inaccuracy is found in a report, it should be reported to Groundsure who will log, check and amend it if necessary. Where 3rd party data is found to be incorrect Groundsure will notify the supplier. Please note, Groundsure are not always allowed to amend such data in the report themselves, but the outcome of the report will be amended accordingly.


Are property boundaries defined and reported on within Avista reports?

Avista uses the Land Registry polygon boundaries of a property as standard. In the rare case that this is not available (most commonly for new builds), we may ask you to provide additional information such as plans. This significantly improves the accuracy and pass rates for sites.

 


If a risk is identified in Avista, what happens next?

We’ve designed Avista to ensure everyone clearly understands more of the information associated with a property, including any risks, earlier, and all of that information is clearly presented and written in plain English.

The Avista Action Alert provides clear next steps designed to help understand what to do next if a risk is identified. The Avista Action Alert also shows at a glance how difficult or time-consuming different next steps can be and indicates to the conveyancer how urgent it is to inform their client and get started.

Avista Action Alert: Having processed location specific results, Avista is able to identify recommended or optional actions.

By further analysing the complexity and time it takes to complete these actions, the Avista Action Alert provides a clear score that conveyancers can use to prioritise work at a glance, improve case management and keep transactions moving.


What does each score on the Avista Action Alert mean?

 

1. Only minimal next steps have been recommended, which should not impact the smooth transaction completion expected

2. The recommended next steps should not prevent a reasonably smooth transaction completion

3. The recommended next steps may impact transaction completion timings

4. The recommended next steps may impact transaction completion timings

5. The recommended next steps are likely to impact transaction completion timings