|METRICATION: 90% complete|
|Metric-only tape measures available from online stores||Imperial units are predominant on dual unit tape measures in D.I.Y. stores|
|Compost and soil in litres||Turf sometimes sold in strips of one square yard|
|Timber and board in millimetres||Skip hire – skip size given in (cubic) yards|
|Paint and other wood coatings in litres|
|Bricks, blocks and slabs in millimetres|
|Cement and sand in kilograms|
From 1 April 1970, the sale of timber switched to metric sizes. Starting with 1800 mm, lengths were available in increments of 300 mm.
Wood and Board metrication leaflet – 1973
The new metric range of widths and thicknesses were direct conversions of the old imperial sizes. To calculate every new metric size, each inch was substituted by 25 mm, with the result being rounded to the nearest millimetre.
Standard metric sizes for sawn softwood – 1970
The switch to metric units for hardwood was more gradual:
- From 1 April 1970, hardwood suppliers agreed to supply invoicing in metric upon request, but sales remained in imperial units.
- From 1 January 1971, stock-keeping and sales switched to metric units.
The new metric range of thicknesses for hardwood were a subset of those adopted for softwood. In millimetres, the available thicknesses were:
19, 25, 32, 38, 50, 63, 75, 100, 125
Paint in metric cans was first available from merchants and retailers in June 1971. Five metric sizes replaced the previous sizes of pints, quarts and gallons:
Paint metrication leaflet – 1973
|Old imperial size||New metric size|
|1 gallon||5 L|
|½ gallon||2.5 L|
|1 quart||1 L|
|1 pint||500 ml|
|½ pint||250 ml|
The first available metric size was the 5 L tin – which replaced the old 1 gallon size. The whole metric range was available by December 1971. However, existing stocks of imperial cans remained available for some time afterwards, especially the slower moving colours. To avoid confusion during the transition, new cans were labelled in dual units – metric first with imperial equivalent in brackets.
The new metric tins’ spreading capacities were given in square metres.
Action required by : DIY retailers
- Measuring tapes – Metric-only measuring tapes and steel rulers need to be made widely available.