Grass Mat Standards

New customers often ask: “Does your grass mat surfacing conform to the grass mat standards?”. And honestly, it’s a question that all buyers should be asking when it comes to safety in playgrounds.

Are you new to the world of grass mats? You might have a whole host of questions related to the relevant grass mat standards. Luckily, PlaySmart is here to help! Additionally, if you have more questions, feel free to leave a comment, or email us at or call us on 01564 742811.

What are the Grass Mat Standards?

The British Standard, better known as BS EN 1177 (2018), specifies a method for determining the impact reduction of playground surfacing. This defines a “Critical Fall Height” (CFH) for surfacing. A CFH represents the upper limit of the surface’s effectiveness in reducing head injury.

What do the Tests Involve in order to meet this Grass Mat Standard?

Testing provides a method for assessment of safety surfaces. In accordance with EN 1177 (2018), independent testers strike the specimens with an instrumented headform from a series of different drop heights.

The instrumented headform measures impact energy to determine the head injury criterion (HIC) and peak acceleration (gmax). The certificated Critical Fall Height is the lowest drop point that produces a HIC value of 1,000 or a gmax value of 200.

Are there Different Types of Tests?

Technically, yes, there are two types of test conditions – concrete base and field base tests.

The grass mat standards stipulate that testers should carry out all laboratory tests on a flat, rigid concrete. These are known as concrete base tests. Alternatively, testing teams can test surfaces on a substrate of sufficient mass, density and thickness. As long as this makes no significant contribution to the test result.

Products installed in combination with natural materials (e.g. soil) cannot be meaningfully tested in the laboratory. This is because they influence the performance of the surface. Therefore, these surfaces require alternative tests. These are known as grass base tests. Providers cannot use these tests to indicate the performance of the product under other conditions or in other locations. For example, if surfacing is installed and tested on a clay-based soil, it is almost certain that a greater critical fall height will be achieved under tests when the base is wet as opposed to when the base has been subject to a dry period.

When a supplier quotes a certification for a specific fall height that sounds too good to be true, they may have done a grass base test. Therefore, you should always check with your supplier before purchase. We recommend that you always ask for proof of certification for concrete tests, as these will give the most accurate results.

Always ask your supplier to clarify exactly what ground conditions their product has been tested on. For example, if the test states the mat was tested with a 140mm soil layer and mesh on a grass base, you will need to replicate these conditions on site in order for the grass mats to comply to their certification.

What if the Product is Part of a System?

PlaySmart installs our SmartPlay product as part of a system, with a few different variations available. For products such as our SmartPlay shock pads, the entire system must be tested. We lay the SmartPlay system over another grass mat layer. Therefore, this is a composite product. As a result, the surface with all its layer(s) must be tested as a whole to BS EN 1177 (2018).

With regard to the construction of the Grass Safety Matting we recommend you use a supplier that offers a minimum 5‐year guarantee on its product. Additionally, we recommend surfaces that have undergone a flammability test certificate and can supply spares and support if problems arise in the future.

Do you have any more questions on grass mats, the grass mat standards, or the SmartPlay system? Feel free to leave a comment, or email us at or call us on 01564 742811.

2 thoughts on “Grass Mat Standards

  1. Just fix the mat into the ground using the pins. These mats have been safety tested to and comply with.

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