HC Deb 04 February 1969 vol 777 cc188-9
9. Mr. Costain

asked the Minister of Public Building and Works how many projects using metric dimensions his Department has sent out to tender.

Mr. Loughlin

None in the United Kingdom, Sir. In accordance with the programme published by the British Standards Institution for the change to metric in the construction industry, the Department began on 1st January, 1969, to design most of its new projects in metric dimensions, except where construction work is expected to start before 1st January, 1970. Overseas, we use metric dimensions in those countries where it is the established practice.

Mr. Costain

This is a welcome decision. Does the hon. Gentleman appreciate that in many countries where the metric system may appear to be used—for example, Zambia—the imperial method is still being learned by artisans? Could this be designed both ways if we must go metric?

Mr. Loughlin

Where the imperial method is common practice we will check to see whether it is practicable, and where we introduce the metric system we will try to ensure that there is no possibility of a design going wrong simply because there is no conversion to imperial standards.