RECESS is an acronym of Research Centre for Soft Soil which is a new Research and Development (R & D) initiative by Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia (UTHM), following the concept of United Kingdom's Soft Soil Test Site situated at Bothkennar, Scotland. Its establishment was officiated by Tan Sri Dato' Ir Hj Zaini bin Omar, Director General Public Works Department Malaysia on 28th January 2004.

The UTHM campus is constructed on soft soil and its expansion and development has aroused the concern by virtue of the existence of soft foundation soil and previous history. Thus, RECESS, was established in order to carryout field trials and adopt this as a national center for soft soil research in Malaysia. Exposure to new applied technology and full-scale testing will be a valuable meeting place for industrialists and researchers to share information in dealing with hazards arising from construction on soft soil.

The topography of the test area is relatively flat with the original ground about 1.35m to 1.80m above the mean sea level. The Center is situated on an area which has water table of 0.5-0.65 meter from ground surface. The site was previously planted with oil palms which required good drainage. Earth drains varying depths from 0.6m to 1.0m were provided in grid formations. Sungei Sembrong (the main river in Batu Pahat district), flows through the plantation which is about 1.5 miles north of the site. The test area will be 10 ha and there is approximately 20m of soft saturated soil. The water table at the site varies from 0.5m to 0.63m from the ground surface.