Quality topsoil and subsoil should provide good anchorage for plant roots, slowly release nutrients, provide oxygen for plant uptake and drain excess water while retaining enough moisture to sustain plant health during dry periods.
Assessing the quality of topsoil and subsoil is an important aspect of civil engineering, public and private landscaping or remediation projects, public spaces and the farming community.
SOCOTEC assesses topsoil and subsoil quality in accordance with the current versions of BS3882 (Specification for Topsoil and Requirements for Use) and BS8601 (Specification for Subsoil and Requirements for Use) which specify requirements for topsoil and subsoil that is moved or traded. The standards aim to ensure soils are fit for use, safe and healthy for humans, vegetation and the broader environment.
SOCOTEC's analytical service provides suppliers of topsoil and subsoil with all the relevant data required to produce a Declaration of Compliance with BS 3882 or BS8601, together with the analytical information. We are also able to undertake testing for potential contaminants in topsoil and subsoil samples.
In order to classify topsoil or subsoil in accordance with BS 3882 or BS8601, SOCOTEC offers the following testing methods:
Soil texture percentage
Loss on Ignition (LOI)
Maximum coarse fragment
>50.0mm (>75.0mm for subsoil)
Available plant nutrient content percentage
Exchangeable sodium percentage
Visible contaminants percentage