METRIC DESIGN GUIDE
Pub. L. 100-418 designated the metric system as the preferred system of weights and
measures for U.S. trade and commerce. This law also directed all Federal procurement,
grants, and other business-related activities to be metric by September 1992, unless this
was impractical or likely to cause loss of markets to U.S. firms. Presidential Executive
Order 12770, July 29, 1991, designated the Secretary of Commerce to direct and
coordinate metric conversion efforts by all Federal departments and agencies, and
authorized the development of specific dates for metric conversion in industries where
September 1992 was impractical.
Executive Order 12770 also authorized the Secretary to create an Interagency Council on
Metric Policy (ICMP) to assist the effort. The ICMP established 10 working
subcommittees, each responsible for the conversion of Federal procurement in a major
industry. The Construction Subcommittee was established to oversee metric conversion in
the Federal construction industry.
In industries where a September 1992 conversion deadline was not feasible, the Execuive
order authorized a department or agency to consult the Secretary of Commerce to establish
a more feasible date. The Construction Subcommittee evaluated the construcion industry
and proposed an alternate conversion date of January 1, 1994. This date allowed time to
revise standards after some experience with pilot projects. The Subcommittee requested
this time because, in the spirit of the law, it was going to propose using as many modular
hard-dimension products as are made at any given time.
The General Services Administration (GSA) order, GSA Metric Program (ADM 8000.1B),
dated November 11, 1992, required that all procurement be in the metric system of
measurement by October 1992 or waivers be issued, supported by an assessment. This
order established the alternative date of January 1, 1994, for construction.
Cooperation between Government and the private sector has been vigorously pursued as
required by the Executive order. The Construction Subcommittee established a
Construction Metrication Council in the National Institute of Buildings Sciences. The
meetings of the Construction Metrication Council are attended by Federal agencies
involved in construction, professional societies, trade organizations, product
manufacturers, labor representatives, code organizations, and design firms. Attendance at
the Council is extended to other parties interested in monitoring and assisting the metric
conversion of the Federal construction community.