Metrication — An Australian Non-Event

by Carter H. Harrison, Jr., (M.ASCE), Sen. Civ. Engr.; Stevens, Thompson & Runyan, Inc., Portland, Ore.,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1976, Vol. 46, Issue 10, Pg. 51-53

Document Type: Feature article


Australia's experience with metrication indicates that a series of small, but rapid conversions, well planned in advance, can minimize the cost and inconvenience associated with metrication. The Australians have shown that a strong, swift movement conducted by highly motivated and respected business leaders can succeed in converting a nation from one system of weights and measures to another. Government leadership, especially in areas related to construction, proved very beneficial. Failure to have the largest segment of our U.S. economy on a uniform timetable could be disastrous for the designer, the builder, and especially the supplier. The Australians found metrication to be more of a management and communications exercise than a series of technical problems. They found changing over to metrics much easier than expected.

Subject Headings: Metric systems | Motivation | Government | Leadership | Construction management

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