# Changing Building Materials to Metric

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• posted on March 12, 2006, 3:25 am
With the thread about metric conversion I got to thinking about construction. Having dealt with cars that have both sae and metric bolts is a pain in the butt, but I see a much bigger problem. All standard construction in the US has studs spaced at 16 or 24 inches. A sheet of plywood, sheetrock, etc is usually 8 by 4 feet. Roofing shingles, carpetting, linoleum, are all sold in yards, feet or inches. Plumbing pipe is one half, three quarters one inch and so on.
We cant just change these things, and it would be totally rediculous to have separate building materials for both inches and centimeters. How can we ever change this? I surely dont want to buy a sheet of plywood or sheetrock that wont fit across my 16" walls or floor studs/joists. And if we keep the size the same, but change to metric measurements, instead of saying a 4 by 8 foot sheet of plywood we would have to say a long decimal equivalant with POINT something at the end.
Something like carpeting or linoleum probably could be changed to the nearest whole metric number because it does not rely on spaced studs or joists, but then if a room was built to be 12 feet, and the flooring ends up being a half inch less because of the conversion, many people would be quite angry. So, they darn well better make it larger, not smaller.....
Then comes the plumbing pipe. It MUST fit the old pipe. We can not just change to the nearest metric number. And I'd sure hate to have to go to the store and ask for a 3.856 by 5.891 CM electrical box, when I can not ask for a 3x5 box.
Then comes dimentional lumber. It's bad enough we now have 2X4's in buildings that are 2" X 4" 1 5/8" X 3 5/8" 1 1/2" X 3 1/2". Lets not make this worse by adding yet another mismatched size, because the number has to be metric.
I think building materials should just be left as they are. Even if they were to leave the size as it is now, but change to metric numbers, do you really thing many people would ask for that "3.856 by 5.891 CM electrical box"? I'd probably not even be able to remember all those numbers.
About the only place in building where I could see the change not being a real problem would be with liquid measurements. For example, a gallon of paint or a quart of roofing cement.
And finally nails, screws, wire, etc..... I am going to turn this into a question.... Is a #16 common nail 16 cm long? Is a #8 screw a metric number? (of course the length is still in inches). Is a #12 guage wire in metric, or what does that "12" mean? I'm just guessing on this, I dont know metric well enough...
Mark
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• posted on March 12, 2006, 3:52 am

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• posted on March 12, 2006, 4:02 am

Not much of the rest of the world had to change anything. They've been doing everything in metrics right along. The problem would be if they had to convert to the English system. They don't specify "3.856 X 5.891 electrical boxes - they're probably called 4 X 6 boxes, the CM being taken for granted.
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• posted on March 12, 2006, 4:48 am

easy. Had we done it when it was required by law (1970?) it would have been harder. Doing it now would be harder still. Doing it 20 years from now, hardest.
Of course, we can wait until the rest of the world finds we have lost our economic power and they no longer have to accomodate us. Without much of an economy, it will be easy.
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• posted on March 13, 2006, 6:20 pm
On Sat, 11 Mar 2006 22:02:59 -0600, "PanHandler"

Hmmm.. French plywood is apparently sold in 250x122cm panels.
Thats about a millimeter more than 48" wide, and almost 12mm more than 8' long
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• posted on March 12, 2006, 4:06 am

today most materials are still standard. However hardware, fuel etc. ids sold by kg and litre and alows them to charge more for less. From my view it had a bit to do with merchandising and maximizing what the market could possibly bear. jesse
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• posted on March 12, 2006, 7:05 pm

Bullshit.
Mike
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• posted on March 13, 2006, 3:47 am
Michael Daly wrote:

It's a strawman argument used by the naysayers. That the free market would still operate under the new system just goes right over their heads.
Harry K
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• posted on March 13, 2006, 5:26 am

A pretty poor one - if they were really concerned about getting ripped off in buying fuel, they'd insist it was sold in kilograms and not litres or gallons.
Mike
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• posted on March 13, 2006, 5:31 am
Michael Daly wrote:

And they'd specify the temperature of the liquid.
R
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• posted on March 13, 2006, 8:37 pm

Temperature and volume or mass without temperature. Mass isn't affected by temperature, whereas density is. Currently, gas sold in Canada is measured in litres with correction to 15C. If the underground storage tank is warmer, you are getting ripped off. If colder, you are getting a bargain. Obviously, both differences are probably only pennies per tankful.
Commercial aircraft are fueled by weight, but pumped by volume. The conversion is done based on actual temperatures, not an assumed temperature like auto fuel.
Mike
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• posted on March 15, 2006, 2:13 am

Uh, the whole point of doing the correction is so that you don't get ripped off.
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Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
It\'s not just anyone who gets a Starship Cruiser class named after them.
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• posted on March 15, 2006, 2:48 am
Chris Lewis wrote:

A 50 degree temperature differential would make an 8-10 gallon difference in volume for a 500 gallon tank. A bit more than pennies...
R
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• posted on March 15, 2006, 3:13 am

Most likely in the advantage of the consumer. Below ground storage temperature for fuel is relatively stable year round. The delivering tanker may well be 50 degrees higher (but the load was probably temperature corrected anyway) and after dropped, it would densify as cooled.
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• posted on March 15, 2006, 4:25 am
Edwin Pawlowski wrote:

The first time this was brought to my attention was by an oil company employee. He asked me if I had ever seen an oil truck with snow on it. Nope. He pointed out that all the trucks are kept in a heated garage for a reason, and it ain't security. The truck pulls up, offloads X gallons as read by the truck's meter. The warmer oil coming out of the truck is what is metered. The normal outdoor temperature is closer to the temperature in an underground tank, at least around here (obviously an indoor tank is different), so why heat the trucks if accuracy in metering is the intention?
R
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• posted on March 15, 2006, 3:44 pm
Edwin Pawlowski wrote:

Densifying as it cooled would result in -less- fuel than paid for unless the load was temperature corrected.
Harry K
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• posted on March 15, 2006, 5:15 pm

Precisely. That's the whole point behind temperature correction.
By doing this correction, the consumers gets the same quantity of fuel per buck no matter what the temperature is.
The "15C correction" means that it's figuring out how much volume you get if the temperature was at 15C. Which is equivalent to paying a fixed rate for the fuel _weight_, but you're metering it by volume.
If the pumper trucks are trying to stay warm to "ding" someone, they're dinging the gas station, not the consumer.
--
Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
It\'s not just anyone who gets a Starship Cruiser class named after them.
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• posted on March 15, 2006, 10:53 pm
On 15-Mar-2006, snipped-for-privacy@nortelnetworks.com (Chris Lewis) wrote:

My understanding was that it determined the volume based on an assumed temperature of 15C regardless of actual temperature. To do as you suggest, wouldn't the dispenser need to know the actual temperature as well? When I worked at an oil company recently, I looked over the info on dispensers and underground tank equipment and there was no part or mechanism for measuring fuel temp.
PS - they are dispensers and not pumps. In the old days, there was a pump for each hose. Now there pumps are at the tank and maintain a pressurized system. The hose is connected to a dispenser with no internal pump.
Mike
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• posted on March 19, 2006, 4:27 am

The temperature sensor would be in the pump ... er ... dispenser. I suspect you missed it. There's some fairly fancy stuff in them these days in order to ensure accurate flow measurement.
--
Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
It\'s not just anyone who gets a Starship Cruiser class named after them.