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NIST Special Publication 814
1998 Edition

Special Pub 814:
Interpretation of the SI for the United States and
Federal Government Metric Conversion Policy

Supersedes NIST Special Publication 814
October 1991

Document Content:

Dept. of Commerce Seal

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
William M. Daly, Secretary
TECHNOLOGY ADMINISTRATION
Gary R. Bachula, Acting Under Secretary for Technology

NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY
Raymond G. Kammer, Director

 

Introduction
The International System of Units, universally abbreviated SI (from the French Le Système International d'Unités),is the modern metric system of measurement. Long the dominant system of measurement used in science, the SI is rapidly becoming the dominant system used in international commerce.

The first edition of this National Institute of Standards and Technology Publication, NIST SP 814, was published in 1991 and replaced Letter Circular LC 1132 published in 1982 by NIST's predecessor, the National Bureau of Standards (NBS). It reprinted the Department of Commerce, NIST, Federal Register notice of December20, 1990 entitled "Metric System of Measurement: Interpretation of the International System of Units for the United States";the Department of Commerce, Office of the Secretary, Federal Register notice of January 2, 1991 entitle "Metric Conversion Policy for Federal agencies"; and Executive Order I2770 issued by the President of the Untied States on July 25, 1991 entitled "Metric Usage in Federal Government Programs."

The first Federal Register notice restated the interpretation by the Department of Commerce of the International System of Units for the use in the United States that was last published by the Department in 1982; the second revised the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) to remove the voluntary aspect of the conversion of the metric system of measurement for Federal agencies; and the Executive Order provided Presidential authority and direction for the use of the metric system of measurement by Federal departments and agencies in their programs. The 1991 edition of the NIST SP814 also included a diagram with accompanying text that showed graphically how the SI derived units with special names and symbols were related to the seven SI base units.

Since the publication of NIST SP 814 in 1991,the international bodies that are responsible for the SI made some changes to it. It therefore became necessary to set forth a new interpretation of the SI for the United States that reflected those changes. This was done in a Department of Commerce, NIST, Federal Register notice of July 28, 1998, also entitled "Metric System of Measurement: Interpretation of the International System of Units for the Untied States." Further, the changes made to the SI by the responsible international bodies altered the number of SI units with special names and symbols. It is therefore deemed appropriate to publish this 1998 edition of SP 814 with the new Federal Register notice of July 28, 1998 in place of the old notice of December 20,1990, and a revised diagram and accompanying text showing how the SI derived units with special names and symbols are related to the seven SI base units. Further, to make the 1998 edition of NIST SP814 more complete, the Metric Conversion Act of 1975, as amended  in 1998, 1995, and 1996, is included. To reflect this additional information on U.S. Government metric policy, the title of this Special Publication has been changed from Interpretation of theSI for the United States and Metric Conversion Policy for Federal Agencies to Interpretation of the SI for the United States and FederalGovernment Metric Conversion Policy.

Because of the importance of the SI to science,technology, and commerce, and because (i) NIST coordinates the Federal Government policy on the conversion to the SI by Federal agencies and on the use of the SI by U.S. industry, (ii) NIST provides official U.S. representation in the various international bodies established by the Meter Convention that are now responsible for the SI, and(iii) the Secretary of Commerce has delegated his authority to interpretor modify the SI for use in the United States to the NIST Director, NIST provides for those who use the International System many other sources of information on the SI in addition to NIST SP 814. These include NIST SP 811, Guide for the Use of the International System of Units (SI), by Barry N. Taylor; and NIST SP 330, The International System of Units (SI), Barry N. Taylor, Editor. This latter document is the United States version of the English translation of the definitive international reference on the SI published in French by the International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM, Bureau International des Poids et Mesures).

NIST SP 811, NIST SP 330, the July 28, 1998 Federal Register notice, the "essentials" of the SI together with useful background information, and links to the Web sites of other organizations involved with the SI (for example, the NIST Metric Program and the BIPM itself), are all available on the Web site entitled "NIST Reference on Constants, Units, and Uncertainty"at URL http://physics.nist.gov/cuu .Users of this NIST publication are encouraged to take advantage of these other sources of information on the SI.

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SI Diagram Color April 2008

Click here to view a PDF version of the diagram .
(This diagram replaces the previously published diagram in SP 814: Interpretation of the SI for the United States and the Federal Government Metric Conversion Policy) May, 2008

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Relationships of the SI Derived Units with Special Names and the SI Base Units
The diagram above shows graphically how the 21 SI derived units with special names and symbols are related to the seven SI base units. In the first column, the symbols of the SI base units are shown in rectangles, with the name of the unit shown toward the upper left of the rectangle and the name of the associated base quantity shown in italic type below the rectangle. In the third column the symbols of the SI derived units with special names and symbols are shown in solid circles, with the name of the unit shown toward the upper left of the circle, the name of the associated derived quantity shown in italics type below the circle, and an expression of the derived unit in terms of other units shown toward the upper right in parentheses. In the second column are shown thosederived units without special names and symbols that are used inthe derivation of the derived units with special names and symbols[the cubic meter m3 excepted]. In the diagram, the derivation of each derived unit is indicated by arrows that bring in units in the numerator (solid lines) and units in the denominator (broken lines), as appropriate.

Two SI derived units with special names and symbols, the radian, symbol rad, and the steradian, symbol sr (bottom of the third column of the diagram), are shown without any connection to SI base units—either direct or through other SI derived units. The reason is that in the SI, the quantities plane angle and solid angle are defined in such a way that their dimension is one—they are so-called dimensionless quantities. This means that the coherent SI derived unit for each of these quantities is the number one, symbol 1. That is, because plane angle is expressed as the ratio of two lengths, and solid angle as the ratio of an area and the square of a length, the SI derived unit for the plane  angle is m/m=1, and the SI derived unit for solid angle is m2/m2=1.To aid understanding, the special name radian with symbol rad is given to the number 1 for use in expressing values of solid angle.However, one has the option of using or not using these names and symbols in expressions for other SI derived units, as is convenient.

The unit "degree Celsius," which is equal in magnitude to the unit "kelvin," is used to express Celsius temperature t. In this case, "degree Celsius"is a special name used in place of "kelvin." This equalityis indicated in the diagram by the symbol K in parenthesis toward the upper right of the ºC circle. The equation below CELSIUS TEMPERATURE relates Celsius temperature t to thermodynamic temperature T. An interval or difference of Celsius temperature can, however, be expressed in kelvins as well as in degrees Celsius.

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Federal Register Notice of July 28, 1998 (Full document)

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Institute of Standards and Technology
[Docket No. 980430113-8113-01]

Metric System of Measurement: Interpretation of the International
System of Units for the United States

AGENCY: National Institute of Standards and Technology, Commerce.

ACTION: Notice.

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SUMMARY: This notice restates the interpretation of the International System of Units (SI) for the United States by the Department of Commerce. This interpretation was last published by the Department of Commerce in the Federal Register on December 20, 1990 (55 FR52242-52245). Since the publication of that notice, the international bodies that are responsible for the SI have made some changes to it. It has therefore become necessary to set forth a new interpretation of the SI
for the United States that reflects these changes.

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Title 15 U.S.C. Chapter 6 §(204) 205a - 205l
METRIC CONVERSION LAW
(Pub. L. 94-168, §2, Metric Conversion Act, Dec. 23, 1975)

§ 204. Metric system authorized. - It shall be lawful throughout the United States of America to employ  the weights and measures of the metric system; and no contract or dealing, or pleading in any court, shall be deemed invalid or liable to objection because the weights or measures expressed or referred to therein are weights or measures of the metric system. (14 Stat.339, Adopted July 28,1866)

§ 205a. Congressional statement of findings. - The Congress finds as follows:

(1) The United States was an original signatory party to the 1875 Treaty of the Meter (20 Stat. 709), which established the General Conference of Weights and Measures, the International Committee of Weights and Measures and the International Bureau of Weights and Measures.
(2) Although the use of metric measurement standards in the United States has been authorized by law since 1866 this Nation today is the only industrially developed nation which has not established a national policy of committing itself and taking steps to facilitate conversion to the metric system.

(3) World trade is increasingly geared towards the metric system of measurement.

(4) Industry in the United States is often at a competitive disadvantage when dealing in international markets because of its nonstandard measurement system, and is sometimes excluded when it is unable to deliver goods which are measured in metric terms.

(5) The inherent simplicity of the metric system of measurement and standardization of weights and measures has led to major cost savings in certain industries which have converted to that system.

(6) The Federal Government has a responsibility to develop procedures and techniques to assist industry, especially small business, as it voluntarily converts to the metric system of measurement.

(7) The metric system of measurement can provide substantial advantages to the Federal Government in its own operations.

§ 205b. Declaration of policy. - It is therefore the declared policy of the United States-

(1) to designate the metric system of measurement as the preferred system of weights and measures for United States trade and commerce;

(2) to require that each Federal agency 2 ,by a date certain and to the extent economically feasible by the end of the fiscal year 1992, use the metric system of measurement in its procurements, grants, and other business-related activities,except to the extent that such use is impractical or is likely to cause significant inefficiencies or loss of markets to United States firms, such as when foreign competitors are producing competing products in non-metric units;

(3) to seek out ways to increase understanding of the metric system of measurement through educational information and guidance and in Government publications; and

(4) to permit the continued use of traditional systems of weights and measures in non-business activities.

 

§ 205c. Definitions

As used in this subchapter, the term-

(1) 'Board' means the United States Metric Board, established under section 205d of this title;

(2) 'engineering standard' means a standard which prescribes(A) a concise set of conditions and requirements that must be satisfied by a material, product, process, procedure, convention, or test method; and (B) the physical, functional, performance and/or conformance characteristics thereof;

(3) 'international standard or recommendation' means an engineering standard or recommendation which is (A) formulated and promulgated by an international organization and (B) recommended for adoption by individual nations as a national standard;

(4) 'metric system of measurement' means the International System of Units as established by the General Conference of Weights and Measures in 1960 and as interpreted or modified for the United States by the Secretary of Commerce;

(5) 'full and open competition' has the same meaning as defined in section 403
(6) of title 41;

(6) 'total installed price' means the price of purchasing a product or material, trimming or otherwise altering some or all of that product or material, if necessary to fit with other building components,and then installing that product or material into a Federal facility;

(7) 'hard-metric' means measurement, design, and manufacture using the metric system of measurement, but does not include measurement,design, and manufacture using English system measurement units which are subsequently reexpressed in the metric system of measurement;

(8) 'cost or pricing data or price analysis' has the meaning given such terms in section 254b of title 41; and

(9) 'Federal facility' means any public building (as defined under section 612 of title 40) and shall include any Federal building or construction project: (A) on lands in the public domain;(B) on lands used in connection with Federal programs for agriculture research, recreation, and conservation programs; (C) on or used  in connection with river, harbor, flood control, reclamation, or power projects; (D) on or used in connection with housing and residential projects; (E) on military installations (including any fort, camp,post, naval training station, airfield, proving ground, military supply depot, military school, any similar facility of the Department of Defense); (F) on installations of the Department of Veterans Affairs used for hospital or domiciliary purposes; or (G) on lands used in connection with Federal prisons, but does not include (i)any Federal building or construction project the exclusion of which the President deems to be justified in the public interest, or (ii)any construction project or building owned or controlled by a State government, local government, Indian tribe, or any private entity.
 

§205d. United States Metric Board

(a) Establishment. - There is established, in accordance with this section, an independent instrumentality to be known as a United States Metric Board.

(b) Membership; Chairman; appointment of members; term of office;vacancies. - The Board shall consist of 17 individuals, as follows:

(1) the Chairman, a qualified individual who shall be appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate;

(2) sixteen members who shall be appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, on the following basis-

(A) one to be selected from lists of qualified individuals recommended by engineers and organizations representative of engineering interests;

(B) One to be selected from lists of qualified individuals recommended by scientists, the scientific and technical community,and organizations representative of scientists and technicians;

(C) one to be selected from a list of qualified individuals recommended by the National Association of Manufacturers or its successor;

(D) one to be selected from lists of qualified individuals recommended by the United States Chamber of Commerce, or its successor, retailers,and other commercial organizations;

(E) two to be selected from lists of qualified individuals recommended by the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations or its successor, who are representative of workers directly affected by metric conversion, and by other organizations representing labor;

(F) one to be selected from a list of qualified individuals recommended by the National Governors Conference, the National Council of State Legislatures, and organizations representative of State and local government;

(G) two to be selected from lists of qualified individuals recommended by organizations representative of small business;

(H) one to be selected from lists of qualified individuals representative of the construction industry;

(I) one to be selected from a list of qualified individuals recommended by the National Conference on Weights and Measures and standards making organizations;

(J) one to be selected from lists of qualified individuals recommended by educators, the educational community, and organizations representative of educational interests; and

(K) four at-large members to represent consumers and other interests deemed suitable by the President and who shall be qualified individuals.

As used in this subsection, each 'list' shall include the names of at least three individuals for each applicable vacancy. The terms of office of the members of the Board first taking office shall expire as designated by the President at the time of nomination;five at the end of the 2d year; five at the end of the 4th year;and six at the end of the 6th year. The term of office of the Chairman of such Board shall be 6 years. Members, including the Chairman,may be appointed to an additional term of 6 years, in the same manner as the original appointment. Successors to members of such Board shall be appointed in the same manner as the original members and shall have terms of office expiring 6 years from the date of expiration of the terms for which their predecessors were appointed. Any individual appointed to fill a vacancy occurring prior to the expiration of any term of office shall be appointed for the remainder of that term. Beginning 45 days after the date of incorporation of the Board,six members of such Board shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of any function of the Board.

(c) Compulsory powers. - Unless otherwise provided by the Congress, the Board shall have no compulsory powers.

(d) Termination. - The Board shall cease to exist when the Congress, by law, determines that its mission has been accomplished.

§205e. - Functions and powers of Board. - It shall be the function of the Board to devise and carry out a broad program of planning, coordination, and public education, consistent with other national policy and interests, with the aim of implementing the policy set forth in this subchapter. In carrying out this program,the Board shall-

(1) consult with and take into account the interests, views, and conversion costs of United States commerce and industry, including small business; science; engineering; labor; education; consumers;government agencies at the Federal, State, and local level; nationally recognized standards developing and coordinating organizations;metric conversion planning and coordinating groups; and such other individuals or groups as are considered appropriate by the Board to the carrying out of the purposes of this subchapter. The Board shall take into account activities underway in the private and public sectors, so as not to duplicate unnecessarily such activities;

(2) provide for appropriate procedures whereby various groups,under the auspices of the Board, may formulate, and recommend or suggest, to the Board specific programs for coordinating conversion in each industry and segment thereof and specific dimensions and configurations in the metric system and in other measurements for general use. Such programs, dimensions, and configurations shall be consistent with (A) the needs, interests, and capabilities of manufacturers (large and small), suppliers, labor, consumers, educators,and other interested groups, and (B) the national interest;

(3) publicize, in an appropriate manner, proposed programs and provide an opportunity for interested groups or individuals to submit comments on such programs. At the request of interested parties, the Board, in its discretion, may hold hearings with regard to suchprograms. Such comments and hearings may be considered by the Board;

(4) encourage activities of standardization organizations to develop or revise, as rapidly as practicable, engineering standards on a metric measurement basis, and to take advantage of opportunities to promote (A) rationalization or simplification of relationships,(B) improvements of design, (C) reduction of size variations, (D)increases in economy, and (E) where feasible, the efficient use of energy and the conservation of natural resources;

(5) encourage the retention, in new metric language standards,of those United States engineering designs, practices, and conventions that are internationally accepted or that embody superior technology;

(6) consult and cooperate with foreign governments, and intergovernmentalorganizations, in collaboration with the Department of State, and,through appropriate member bodies, with private international organizations,which are or become concerned with the encouragement and coordinationof increased use of metric measurement units or engineering standardsbased on such units, or both. Such consultation shall include efforts,where appropriate, to gain international recognition for metricstandards proposed by the United States, and, during the UnitedStates conversion, to encourage retention of equivalent customaryunits, usually by way of dual dimensions, in international standardsor recommendations;

(7) assist the public through information and education programs,to become familiar with the meaning and applicability of metricterms and measures in daily life. Such programs shall include -

(A) public information programs conducted by the Board, throughthe use of newspapers, magazines, radio, television, and other media,and through talks before appropriate citizens' groups, and tradeand public organizations;

(B) counseling and consultation by the Secretary of Education;the Secretaryof Labor; the Administrator of the Small Business Administration;and the Director of the National Science Foundation, with educationalassociations, State and local educational agencies, labor educationcommittees, apprentice training committees, and other interestedgroups, in order to assure (i) that the metric system of measurementis included in the curriculum of the Nation's educational institutions,and (ii) that teachers and other appropriate personnel are properlytrained to teach the metric system of measurement;

(C) consultation by the Secretary of Commerce with the NationalConference of Weights and Measures in order to assure that Stateand local weights and measures officials are (i) appropriately involvedin metric conversion activities and (ii) assisted in their effortsto bring about timely amendments to weights and measures laws; and

(D) such other public information activities, by any Federal agencyin support of this subchapter, as relate to the mission of suchagency;

(8) collect, analyze, and publish information about the extentof usage of metric measurements; evaluate the costs and benefitsof metric usage; and make efforts to minimize any adverse effectsresulting from increasing metric usage;

(9) conduct research, including appropriate surveys; publish theresults of such research; and recommend to the Congress and to thePresident such action as may be appropriate to deal with any unresolvedproblems, issues, and questions associated with metric conversion,or usage, such problems, issues, and questions may include, butare not limited to, the impact on workers (such as costs of toolsand training) and on different occupations and industries, possibleincreased costs to consumers, the impact on society and the economy,effects on small business, the impact on the international tradeposition of the United States, the appropriateness of and methodsfor using procurement by the Federal Government as a means to effectconversion to the metric system, the proper conversion or transitionperiod in particular sectors of society, and consequences for nationaldefense;

(10) submit annually to the Congress 1 and to the President a report on its activities. Each such reportshall include a status report on the conversion process as wellas projections for the conversion process. Such report may includerecommendations covering any legislation or executive action neededto implement the 1 programs of conversion accepted by the Board. The Board may alsosubmit such other reports and recommendations as it deems necessary;and

(11) submit to the President, not later than 1 year after the dateof enactment of the Act making appropriations for carrying out thissubchapter, a report on the need to provide an effective structuralmechanism for converting customary units to metric units in statutes,regulations, and other laws at all levels of government, on a coordinatedand timely basis, in response to voluntary conversion programs adoptedand implemented by various sectors of society under the auspicesand with the approval of the Board. If the Board determines thatsuch a need exists, such report shall include recommendations asto appropriate and effective means for establishing and implementingsuch a mechanism.


 

§205f. - Duties of Board. - In carrying out its dutiesunder this subchapter, the Board may -

(1) establish an Executive Committee, and such other committeesas it deems desirable;

(2) establish such committees and advisory panels as it deems necessaryto work with the various sectors of the Nation's economy and withFederal and State governmental agencies in the development and implementationof detailed conversion plans for those sectors. The Board may reimburse,to the extent authorized by law, the members of such committees;

(3) conduct hearings at such times and places as it deems appropriate;

(4) enter into contracts, in accordance with the Federal Propertyand Administrative Services Act of 1949, as amended (40 U.S.C. 471et seq.), with Federal or State agencies, private firms, institutions,and individuals for the conduct of research or surveys, the preparationof reports, and other activities necessary to the discharge of itsduties;

(5) delegate to the Executive Director such authority as it deemsadvisable; and

(6) perform such other acts as may be necessary to carry out theduties prescribed by this subchapter.


 

§205g. - Gifts, donations and bequests to Board

(a) Authorization; deposit into Treasury and disbursement. - TheBoard may accept, hold, administer, and utilize gifts, donations,and bequests of property, both real and personal, and personal services,for the purpose of aiding or facilitating the work of the Board.Gifts and bequests of money, and the proceeds from the sale of anyother property received as gifts or requests, shall be depositedin the Treasury in a separate fund and shall be disbursed upon orderof the Board.

(b) Federal income, estate, and gift taxation of property. - Forpurpose of Federal income, estate, and gift taxation, property acceptedunder subsection (a) of this section shall be considered as a giftor bequest to or for the use of the United States.

(c) Investment of moneys; disbursement of accrued income. - Uponthe request of the Board, the Secretary of the Treasury may investand reinvest, in securities of the United States, any moneys containedin the fund authorized in subsection (a) of this section. Incomeaccruing from such securities, and from any other property acceptedto the credit of such fund, shall be dispersed upon the order ofthe Board.

(d) Reversion to Treasury of unexpended funds. - Funds not expendedby the Board as of the date when it ceases to exist, in accordancewith section 205d(d) of this title, shall revert to the Treasuryof the United States as of such date.

§205h. - Compensation of Board members; travel expenses.- Members of the Board who are not in the regular full-timeemploy of the United States shall, while attending meetings or conferencesof the Board or while otherwise engaged in the business of the Board,be entitled to receive compensation at a rate not to exceed thedaily rate currently being paid grade 18 of the General Schedule(under section 5332 of title 5), including traveltime. While soserving, on the business of the Board away from their homes or regularplaces of business, members of the Board may be allowed travel expenses,including per diem in lieu of subsistence, as authorized by section5703 of title 5, for persons employed intermittently in the Governmentservice. Payments under this section shall not render members ofthe Board employees or of the United States for any purpose. Membersof the Board who are in the employ of the United States shall beentitled to travel expenses when traveling on the business of theBoard.

 

§205i. - Personnel

(a) Executive Director; appointment; tenure; duties. - The Boardshall appoint a qualified individual to serve as the Executive Directorof the Board at the pleasure of the Board. The Executive Director,subject to the direction of the Board, shall be responsible to theBoard and shall carry out the metric conversion program, pursuantto the provisions of this subchapter and the policies establishedby the Board.

(b) Executive Director; salary. - The Executive Director of theBoard shall serve full time and be subject to the provisions ofchapter 51 and subchapter III of chapter 53 of title 5. The annualsalary of the Executive Director shall not exceed level III of theExecutive Schedule under section 5314 of such title.

(c) Staff personnel; appointment and compensation. - The Boardmay appoint and fix the compensation of such staff personnel asmay be necessary to carry out the provisions of this subchapterin accordance with the provisions of chapter 51 and subchapter IIIof chapter 53 of title 5.

(d) Experts and consultants; employment and compensation; annualreview of contracts. - The Board may (1) employ experts and consultantsor organizations thereof, as authorized by section 3109 of title5; (2) compensate individuals so employed at rates not in excessof the rate currently being paid grade 18 of the General Scheduleunder section 5332 of such title, including traveltime; and (3)may allow such individuals, while away from their homes or regularplaces of business, travel expenses (including per diem in lieuof subsistence) as authorized by section 5703 of such title 5 forpersons in the Government service employed intermittently: Provided,however, That contracts for such temporary employment may be renewedannually.

§205j. - Financial and administrative services; sourceand reimbursement. - Financial and administrative services,including those related to budgeting, accounting, financial reporting,personnel, and procurement, and such other staff services as maybe needed by the Board, may be obtained by the Board from the Secretaryof Commerce or other appropriate sources in the Federal Government.Payment for such services shall be made by the Board, in advanceor by reimbursement, from funds of the Board in such amounts asmay be agreed upon by the Chairman of the Board and by the sourceof the services being rendered.

§205k. - Authorization of appropriations; availability.- There are authorized to be appropriated such sums as may benecessary to carry out the provisions of this subchapter. Appropriationsto carry out the provisions of this subchapter may remain availablefor obligation and expenditure for such period or periods as maybe specified in the Acts making such appropriations.

§205l. - Implementation in acquisition of constructionservices and materials for Federal facilities

(a) In general. - Construction services and materials for Federalfacilities shall be procured in accordance with the policies andprocedures set forth in chapter 137 of title 10, section 2377 oftitle 10, title III of the Federal Property and Administrative ServicesAct of 1949 (41 U.S.C. 251 et seq.), and section 205b(2) of thistitle. Determination of a design method shall be based upon preliminarymarket research as required under section 2377(c) of title 10 andsection 314B(c) of the Federal Property and Administrative ServicesAct of 1949 (41 U.S.C. 264b(c)). If the requirements of this subchapterconflict with the provisions of section 2377 of title 10 or section314B of the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of1949, then the provisions of1 2377 or 314B shall take precedence.

(b) Concrete masonry units. - In carrying out the policy set forthin section 205b of this title (with particular emphasis on the policyset forth in paragraph (2) of that section) a Federal agency mayrequire that specifications for the acquisition of structures orsystems of concrete masonry be expressed under the metric systemof measurement, but may not incorporate specifications, that canonly be satisfied by hard-metric versions of concrete masonry units,in a solicitation for design or construction of a Federal facilitywithin the United States or its territories, or a portion of saidFederal facility, unless the head of the agency determines in writingthat -

(1) hard-metric specifications are necessary in a contract forthe repair or replacement of parts of Federal facilities in existenceor under construction upon the effective date of the Savings inConstruction Act of 1996; or

(2) the following 2 criteria are met:

(A) the application requires hard-metric concrete masonry unitsto coordinate dimensionally into 100 millimeter building modules;and

(B) the total installed price of hard-metric concrete masonry unitsis estimated to be equal to or less than the total installed priceof using non-hard-metric concrete masonry units. Total installedprice estimates shall be based, to the extent available, on costor pricing data or price analysis, using actual hard-metric andnon-hard-metric offers received for comparable existing projects.The head of the agency shall include in the writing required inthis subsection an explanation of the factors used to develop theprice estimates.

(c) Recessed lighting fixtures. - In carrying out the policy setforth in section 205b of this title (with particular emphasis onthe policy set forth in paragraph (2) of that section) a Federalagency may require that specifications for the acquisition of structuresor systems of recessed lighting fixtures be expressed under themetric system of measurement, but may not incorporate specifications,that can only be satisfied by hard-metric versions of recessed lightingfixtures, in a solicitation for design or construction of a Federalfacility within the United States or its territories unless thehead of the agency determines in writing that -

(1) the predominant voluntary industry consensus standards includethe use of hard-metric for the items specified; or

(2) hard-metric specifications are necessary in a contract forthe repair or replacement of parts of Federal facilities in existenceor under construction upon the effective date of the Savings inConstruction Act of 1996; or

(3) the following 2 criteria are met:

(A) the application requires hard-metric recessed lighting fixturesto coordinate dimensionally into 100 millimeter building modules;and

(B) the total installed price of hard-metric recessed lightingfixtures is estimated to be equal to or less than the total installedprice of using non-hard-metric recessed lighting fixtures. Totalinstalled price estimates shall be based, to the extent available,on cost or pricing data or price analysis, using actual hard-metricand non-hard-metric offers received for comparable existing projects.The head of the agency shall include in the writing required inthis subsection an explanation of the factors used to develop theprice estimates.

(d) Limitation. - The provisions of subsections (b) and (c) ofthis section shall not apply to Federal contracts to acquire constructionproducts for the construction of facilities outside of the UnitedStates and its territories.

(e) Expiration. - The provisions contained in subsections (b) and(c) of this section shall expire 10 years from the effective dateof the Savings in Construction Act of 1996 (October 11, 2006, +90 days).

(f) Agency ombudsman

(1) The head of each executive agency that awards constructioncontracts within the United States and its territories shall designatea senior agency official to serve as a construction metricationombudsman who shall be responsible for reviewing and respondingto complaints from prospective bidders, subcontractors, suppliers,or their designated representatives related to -

(A) guidance or regulations issued by the agency on the use ofthe metric system of measurement in contracts for the constructionof Federal buildings; and

(B) the use of the metric system of measurement for services andmaterials required for incorporation in individual projects to constructFederal buildings.

The construction metrication ombudsman shall be independent ofthe contracting officer for construction contracts.

(2) The ombudsman shall be responsible for ensuring that the agencyis not implementing the metric system of measurement in a mannerthat is impractical or is likely to cause significant inefficienciesor loss of markets to United States firms in violation of the policystated in section 205b(2) of this title, or is otherwise inconsistentwith guidance issued by the Secretary of Commerce in consultationwith the Interagency Council on Metric Policy while ensuring thatthe goals of this subchapter are observed.

(3) The ombudsman shall respond to each complaint in writing within60 days and make a recommendation to the head of the executive agencyfor an appropriate resolution thereto. In such a recommendation,the ombudsman shall consider -

(A) whether the agency is adequately applying the policies andprocedures in this section;

(B) whether the availability of hard-metric products and servicesfrom United States firms is sufficient to ensure full and open competition;and
(C) the total installed price to the Federal Government.
(4) After the head of the agency has rendered a decision regardinga recommendation of the ombudsman, the ombudsman shall be responsiblefor communicating the decision to all appropriate policy, design,planning, procurement, and notifying personnel in the agency. Theombudsman shall conduct appropriate monitoring as required to ensurethe decision is implemented, and may submit further recommendations,as needed. The head of the agency's decision on the ombudsman'srecommendations, and any supporting documentation, shall be providedto affected parties and made available to the public in a timelymanner.
(5) Nothing in this section shall be construed to supersede thebid protest process established under subchapter V of chapter 35of title 31.
 

_________________
1 Congress eliminated the requirement for it to receive an Annual Report in 2000.

2 Implementation of Metric Usage in Federal Government: Secretary of Commerce designated to direct and coordinate implementation of Government metric usage, see Section 1 of Ex. Order No. 12770, July 25, 1991, 56 F. R. 35801.


Federal Register Vol. 56, No. 145 / Monday, July 29, 1991 / Presidential Documents 35801

PresidentialDocuments

Executive Order Order 12770 of July 25, 1991

Metric Usage in Federal Government Programs

By the authority vested in me as President bythe Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, Includingthe Metric Conversion Act of 1975, Public Law 94-168 (15 U.S.C.205a et seq.) ("the Metric Conversion Act"),as amended by section 5164 of the Omnibus Trade and CompetitivenessAct of 1988, Public Law 100-418 ("the Trade and CompetitivenessAct"), and in order to implement the congressional designationof the metric system of measurement as the preferred system of weightsand measures for United States trade and commerce, it is herebyordered as follows:

Sec 1. Coordination by theDepartment of Commerce.

The Secretary of Commerce ("Secretary") is designatedto direct and coordinate efforts by Federal departments and agenciesto implement Government metric usage in accordance with section3 of the Metric Conversion Act (15 U.S.C. 205b), as amended by section5164(b) of the Trade and Competitiveness Act.

In furtherance of his duties under this order, the Secretary isauthorized:

•  to charter an Interagency Council on Metric Policy ("ICMP"), which will assist the Secretary in coordinating Federal Govermment-wide implementation of this order. Conflicts and questions regarding implementation of this order shall be resolved by the ICMP. The Secretary may establish such subcommittees and subchairs within this Council as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of this order.
•  to form such advisory committees representing other interests, including State and local governments and the business community, as may be necessary to achieve the maximum beneficial effects of this order, and
•  to issue guidelines, to promulgate rules and regulations, and to take such actions as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of this order. Regulations promulgated by the Secretary shall function as policy guidelines for other agencies and departments.

The Secretary shall report to the President annually regardingthe progress made in implementing this order. The report shall include:

•  an assessment of progress made by individual Federal agencies towards implementing the purposes underlying this order-,
•  an assessment of the effect that this order has had on achieving the national goal of establishing the metric system as the preferred system of weights and measures for United States trade and commerce; and
•  on October 1. 1992, any recommendations which the Secretary may have for additional measures, including proposed legislation, needed to achieve the full economic benefits of metric usage.

Sec. 2. Department and AgencyResponsibilities.
All executive branch departments and agencies of the United StatesGovernment are directed to take all appropriate measures withintheir authority to carry out the provisions of this order. Consistentwith this mission, the head of each executive department and agencyshall:

use, to the extent economically feasible by September 30, 1992,or by such other date or dates established by the department oragency in consultation with the Secretary of Commerce. the metricsystem of measurement in Federal Government procurements, grants.and other business-related activities. Other business-related activitiesinclude all use of measurement units in agency programs and functionsrelated to trade, industry, and commerce.

  1. Metric usage shall not be required to the extent that such use is impracticRI or is likely to cause significant inefficiencies or loss of markets to United States firms.
  2. Heads of departments and agencies shall establish an effective process for a policy-level and program@level review of proposed exceptions to metric usage. Appropriate information about exceptions granted shall be included in the agency annual report along with recommendations for action's to enable future metric usage.

seek out ways to increase understanding of the metric system ofmeasurement through educational information and guidance and inGovernment publications. The transition to use of metric units inGovernment publications should be made as publications are revisedon normal schedules or new publications are developed, or as metricpublications are required in support of metric usage pursuant toparagraph (a) of this section.

seek the appropriate aid, assistance, and cooperation of otheraffected parties, including other Federal, State, and local agenciesand the private sector, in implementing this order. Appropriateuse shall be made of governmental, trade, professional, and privatesector metric coordinating groups to secure the maximum benefitsof this order through proper communication among affected sectors.

formulate metric transition plans for the department or agencywhich shall incorporate the requirements of the Metric ConversionAct and this order, and which shall be approved by the departmentor agency head and be in effect by November 30, 1991. Copies ofapproved plans shall be forwarded to the Secretary of Commerce.Such metric transition plans shall specify, among other things:

  1. the total scope of the metric transition task for that department or agency, including firm dates for all metric accomplishment milestones for the current and subsequent fiscal year;
  2. plans of the department or agency for specific initiatives to enhance cooperation with industry, especially small business, as it voluntarily converts to the metric system, and with all affected parties in undertaking the requirements of paragraph (a) of this section; and
  3. specific steps and associated schedules through which the department or agency will seek to increase understanding of the metric system through educational information and guidance, and in department or agency publications.

designate a senior-level official as the Metric Executive for th'e department or agency to assist the head of each executive departmentor agency in implementing this order. The responsibilities of theMetric Executive shall include, but not be limited to:

  1. acting as the department's or agency's policy-level representative to the ICMP and as a liaison with other government agencies and private sector groups:'
  2. management oversight of department or agency outreach and response to inquiries and questions from affected parties during the transition to metric system usage; and
  3. management oversight of preparation of the department's or agency's metric transition plans and progress reports, including the Annual Metric Report required by 15 U.S.C. 205j and OMB Circular A-11.
  4. preparation by June 30. 1992, of an assessment of agency progress and problems, together with recommendations for steps to assure successful implementation of the Metric Conversion Act. The assessment and recommendations shall be approved by the head of the department or agency and provided to the Secretary by June 30, 1992, for inclusion in the Secretary's October 1, 1992, report on implementation of this order.

Sec. 3. Application of Resources.
The head of each executive department and agency shall be responsiblefor implementing and applying the necessary resources to accomplishthe goals set forth in the Metric Conversion Act and this order.

Sec. 4. Judicial Review.
This order is intended only to improve the intenal management ofthe executive branch and is not intended to create any right orbenefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law by a partyagainst the United States, its agencies, its officers, or any otherperson.

[FR Doc. 91-18028 Filed 7-25-91 3:06 pm]

Billing code 3195-01-M

THE WHITE HOUSE, July 25,1991.

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Part IV

Departmentof Commerce

Office of the Secretary

15 CFR Part 19
Metric Conversion Policy for Federal Agencies; Rule

Editors Note: In a Federal Register notice of August 20,1991 (56 FR 41281-41283), 15 CFR Part 19 was redesignated 15 CFR1170. The authority citation for Part 1170 is revised to read asfollows:

Authority: 15 U.S.C. 1512 and 3710, 15 U.S. C.205a et seq., and DOO 10-17 and DOO 10-18.

The Table of Contents for Part 1170 reads asfollows:

Sec.
1170.1 Purpose
1170.2 Definition
1170.3 General Policy
1170.4 Guidelines
1170.5 Recommendations for Agency Organizations
1170.6 Reporting Requirement
1 170.7 through 1170.99 reserved


DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
Office of the Secretary
15 CFR Part 19
[Docket No. 90913-0259]
RIN 0692-AA07
Metric Conversion Policy for Federal Agencies

AGENCY: Office of the Secretary, Under Secretaryfor Technology, U.S. Department of Commerce.

ACTION: Final rule.

SUMMARY: 15 CFR part 19 subpart B set out FederalGovernment policy on the voluntary use of the metric system of measurementby agencies, industry and the public. In conformance with the OmnibusTrade and Competitiveness Act of 1988 (Pub. L. 100-418, section5164), we are revising that subpart to remove the voluntary aspectof metric transition for Federal agencies. The amended subpart Bprovides policy direction to assist Federal agencies in their transitionto use of the metric system of measurement.

EFFECTIVE DATE: February 1, 1991.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: A. S. Whelihan,Office of Metric Programs, Room 4845, U.S. Department of Commerce,Washington, DC 20230; Phone (202) 377-0944.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background
The Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988 (Pub. L. 100-418,section 5164) declares the metric system to be the "preferredmeasurement system for U.S. trade and commerce." Federal agenciesare also now required to use the metric system in procurement, grantsand other businessrelated activities. by a date certain and to theextent economically feasible by the end of fiscal year 1992, exceptto the extent that such use is impractical or is likely to causesignificant inefficiencies or loss of markets to United States firms,such as when foreign competitors are producing competing productsin nonmetric units.

These declarations and the accompanying reportof the Congressional conferees require this updating of the existingFederal policy document. The policy set out below was issued asa proposed rule: "Metric Conversion Policy for Federal Agencies,"54 FR 41848, October 12, 1989. which updated the policy stated ina prior notice: "Metric Conversion Policy for Federal Agencies,"50 FR 27577, July 5. 1985. The updated policy has been taken directlyfrom the 1985 notice. However, this rule amends the earlier policyto bring the references an text up-to-date. The policy clarifiesand strengthens Federal program requirements. Implementing agencyinitiatives are expected.

The current text reflects comments received fromthe public (i comment) as well as from the Federal Metrication OperatingCommittee (MOC.) The text of the policy has been approved by theFederal Interagency Council on Metric Policy (ICMP.) Recommendedchanges from the representatives of the ICMP/ MOC included updatingthe Federal Register notice defining the "metricsystem," clarifying the term "other business-related activities,"and adding agency reporting requirements. These changes were madeand are incorporated in the rule.

The only private sector response was from theAmerican Petroleum Institute (API.) The API commented on: (1) Section19.23(a), encouraging DoC to continue to coordinate federal agencymetrication activities. That section was modified in the final,although it never mentioned DoC. However 19.22(a) refers to theDepartment's coordination role; (2) section 19.23(b). asking fora clarification of "areas where metrication is dependent onagency initiatives." That language was clarified and became19.23(c);and (3) section 19.23(d) pointing out that the AmericanNational Metric Council and the U.S. Metric Association are goodsources for agencies seeking information on private sector metricationefforts. Section 19.24(d) recommends that agencies " maintainliaison with private sector groups (such as the American NationalMetric Council and the U.S. Metric Association) that are involvedin planning for or coordinating National transition to the metricsystem."

Rulemaking Requirement
Under Executive Order 12291 the Department must judge whether aregulation is major within the meaning of section 1 of the Orderand, therefore, subject to the requirement that a Regulatory ImpactAnalysis be prepared. This policy statement is not a major rulebecause it is not likely to result in (1) an annual effect on theeconomy of $100,000,000 or more; (2) a major increase in costs orprices for consumers, individual industries, Federal, state or localgovernment agencies, or geographic regions; or (3) significant adverseeffects on competition, employment, investment, productivity, innovation,or in the ability of United States-based enterprises to competewith foreign-based enterprises in domestic or export markets. Therefore,a Regulatory Impact Analysis d will not be prepared.

This policy statement contains no policies withFederalism implications sufficient to warrant preparation of a Federalismassessment under Executive Order 12612.

This action is exempt from the analysis requirementsof the Regulato Flexibility Act because notice and opportunity forcomment are not required for this policy statement by section 553of the Administrative Procedure Act or any other law. Therefore,no initial or final regulator flexibility analysis was prepared.

This policy statement does not contain a collectionof information for purposes of the Paperwork Reduction Act.

List of Subjects in 15 CFRPart 19 Science and technology, Metric system.
For the reasons set out in the preamble part 19 of title 15 of theCode of Federal Regulations is amended as follows:

The authority citation for 15 CFR part 19 is revised to read asfollows:

Authority: 15 U.S.C. 1512 and 3710, 15 U.S.C. 205a et seq.and DOO 10-17.

Subpart B is revised to read as follows:

Subpart B-Matric Conversion Policy for Federal Agencies

Sec.
19.20 Purpose
19.21 Definition
19.22 General Policy
19.23 Guidelines
19.24 Recommendations for Agency Organizations
19.25 Reporting Requirement
19.26 thru 19-199 reserved

Subpart B-Metric ConversionPolicy for Federal Agencies

§ 19.20 Purpose.

To provide policy direction for Federal agenciesin their transition to use of the metric system of measurement.

§ 19.21 Definition.

Metric system means the InternationalSystem of Units (SI) established by the General Conference of Weightsand Measures in 1960, as interpreted or modified from time to timefor the United States by the Secretary of Commerce under the authorityof the Metric Conversion Act of 1975 and the Metric Education Actof 1978.

Other business-related activities meansmeasurement sensitive commerical or business directed transactionsor programs, i.e., standard or specification development, publications,or agency statements of general applicability and future effectdesigned to implement, interpret, or prescribe law or policy ordescribing th procedure or practice requirements of a agency. "Measurementsensitive" mean the choice of measurement unit is a criticalcomponent of the activity, i.e., a agency rule/regulation to collectsamples or measure something at specific distances or to specificdepths, specifications requiring intake or discharge of a productto certain volumes or now rates, guidelines for clearances betweenobjects for safety, security or environmental purposes, etc.

§ 19.22 General Policy.

The Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988(Pub. L. 100-418. section 5164) amended the Metric Conversion Actof 1975 to, amon other things, require that each Federal agency,by a date certain and to the extent economically feasible by theend of the fiscal year 1992, use the metric system of measurementin its procurements, grants, and other business-related activities,except to the extent that such use is impractical or is likely tocause significant inefficiencies or loss of markets to United Statesfirms such as when foreign competitors are producting competingproducts in nonmetric units.

The Secretary of Commerce will appoint a Commerce Department UnderSecretary to assist in coordinating the efforts of Federal agenciesin meeting their obligations under the Metric Conversion Act, asamended.

Federal agencies shall coordinate and plan for the use of the metricsyste in their procurements, grants and other business-related activitiesconsistent with the requirements of the Metric Conversion Act, asamended. Federal agencies shall encourage and support an environmentwhich will facilitate the transition process. When taking initiatives,they shall give due consideration to known effects of their actionson State and local governments and the private sector, paying particularattention to effects on small business. (c) Each Federal agencyshall be responsible for developing plans, establishing necessaryorganizational structure, and allocating appropriate resources tocarry out this policy.

§ 19.23 Guidelines.

Each agency shall:

Establish plans and dates for use of the metric system in procurements,grants and other business-related activities;

Coordinate metric transition plans with other Federal agencies,State and local governments and the private sector;

Require maximum practical use of metric in areas where Federalprocurement and activity represents a predominant influence on industrystandards (e.g.: weapon systems or space exploration). Stronglyencourage metrication in industry standards where Federal procurementand activity is not the predominant influence, consistent with thelegal status of the metric system as the preferred system of weights and measures for United States trade and commerce;

Assist in resolving metric-related problems brought to the attentionof the agency that are associated with agency actions. activitiesor programs undertaken in compliance with these guidelines or otherlaws or regulations;

Identify measurement-sensitive agency policies and procedures andensure that regulations, standards, specifications, procurementpolicies and appropriate legislative proposals are updated to removebarriers to transition to the metric system;

Consider cost effects of metric use in setting agency policies,programs and actions and determine criteria for the assessment oftheir economic feasibility. Such criteria should appropriately weighboth agency costs and national economic benefits related to changingto the use of metric;

Provide for full public involvement and timely information aboutsignificant metrication policies, programs and actions;

Seek out ways to increase understanding of the metric system ofmeasurement through educational information and guidance and inagency publications;

Consider, particularly, the effects of agency metric policies andpractices on small business; and

Consistent with the Federal Acquisition Regulation System (48 CFR),accept, without prejudice, products and services dimensioned inmetric when they are offered at competitive prices and meet theneeds of the Government, and ensure that acquisition planning considersmetric requirements.

§ 19.24Recommendations for Agency Organization .

Each agency shall:

Participate, as appropriate, in the Interagency Council on MetricPolicy (ICMP), and/or its working committee, the Metrication OperatingCommittee (MOC), in coordinating and providing policy guidance forthe U.S. Government's transtion to use of the metric system.

Designate a senior policy official to be responsible for agencymetric policy and to represent the agency on the ICMP.

Designate an appropriate official to represent the agency on theMetrication Operating Committee (MOC), an interagency committeereporting to the ICMP.

Maintain liaison with private sector groups (such as the AmericanNational Metric Council and the U.S Metric Association) that areinvolved in planning for or coordinating National transition tothe metric system.

Provide for internal guidelines, training and documentation toassure employee awareness and understanding of agency metric policiesand programs.

§ 19.25 Reporting Requirement.

Each Federal agency shall. as part of its annualbudget submission each fiscal year. report to the Congress on themetric implementation actions it has taken during the previous fiscalyear. The report will include the agency's implementation plans,with a current timetable for the agency's transition to the metricsystem, as well as actions planned for the budget year involvedto implement fully the metric system, in accordance with this policy.Reporting shall cease for an agency in the fiscal year after ithas fully implemented metric usage, as prescribed by the MetricConversion Act (15 U.S.C. 205b(2).)

§ 19.26 thrul9.199 [Reserved].
Dated: December 19, 1990
Robert M. White, Under Secretary for Technology

[FR Doc. 90-30566 Filed 12-31-90: 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3610-18-M

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