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    Metrication in the United Kingdom Construction Industry

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    In May 1965 The United Kingdom Government announced its decision, following representations by industry, that it was desirable that British industry on a broadening front should adopt metric units. A metric program for the construction industry was published in February 1967. This industry thus became one of the first major British industries to commit itself to metrication.

    From the beginning the main organizations connected with construction saw the need for maximum interchange of information on individual plans and specialist programs. Arrangements were made to monitor the changes, identify existing and potential difficulties, and coordinate the various timetables. Government departments and local authorities with building programs adopted a policy of supporting the industry in its determination to go metric by specifying and designing in metric themselves. Central and local government requirements for their building projects constituted the greatest single motive force for the change during the early part of the program. Trade associations representing the manufacturers of the industry's supplies announced early programs designed to make metric sized supplies generally availabe during the period of 1970 to 1972.

    The change is now well on the way to completion but it is likely that part of the industry will continue to do some work in imperial units for some years. The structure of the industry and the nature of the work it carries out go far to account for this; for example, some maintenance work is likely to continue in imperial even when all new work is in metric.


    metric system, standards, units of measurement, construction industry, weights and measures, government policies

    Author Information:

    Clarke, AB

    Committee/Subcommittee: S03

    DOI: 10.1520/STP32267S