Has Metrication Run Out of Gas—

by Michael J. Bartos, Jr., (A.M.ASCE), Asst. Editor; CIVIL ENGINEERING—ASCE, New York, N.Y.,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1979, Vol. 49, Issue 8, Pg. 49-53

Document Type: Feature article


The U.S. is the only major country not to have adopted the International System of Units (SI) as its official measurement system, but the Metric Conversion Act of 1975 established official policy of voluntary conversion. Since then the move to conversion, or metrication as the British labelled it, has been slow and deliberate, but steady nonetheless. Identification of preferred units is well under way, and promulgation of codes and standards in SI has begun. Leader in this area is the American Concrete Institute, which plans to have all its specifications, codes and standards in SI by 1983. Before the construction industry can convert, however, products must be available in SI. Some will be the same size as now, but expressed in SI units; others will have new sizes. Construction projects that do not require SI products (e.g., earthwork) could be done in SI now. An example is the Choke Canyon Dam in Texas, a Bureau of Reclamation project bid and built in SI. The article describes differences between old metric system and SI, proper SI use, GAO report on metrication, other aspects of metrication.

Subject Headings: Standards and codes | Metric systems | Concrete | Construction industry | Professional societies | Earthwork | Canyons | Dams | Texas | United States

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