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British Standard Topsoil Explained

BS3882:2015 is a standard that covers multi-purpose topsoils including acidic or calcareous or other specialist soils that are moved or traded.

It is a set of requirements used for topsoil classification and composition and it specifies characteristics such as acidity, texture and contaminants and includes information on sampling and analysis. It advises on soil handling to ensure that the soil does not degrade during the excavation process or when being delivered or placed.

Changes to the Multipurpose Topsoil Category:

  • The upper limit for extractable potassium – 1500mg/l
  • The upper level for electrical conductivity – 3300uScm
  • There is no requirement for an Exchangeable Sodium Percentage Test
  • Significant changes to the Specific Purpose Topsoil category – reflect the new guidance on Low fertility soils for species-rich, biodiverse habitats

The standard has been revised to align with ‘BS8601:2013 - Specification for subsoil’.

These changes mean that it reflects users experience of previous versions of the standard and growing industry knowledge