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Re: Caltrans Standard Plan in English system

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Before this degrades completely into a "my system is better than 
yours", I'm actually interested in comments from anyone who's 
affiliated with fabricators or materials suppliers regarding what 
sort of costs would be associated with a change in measurement 
systems.  As far as engineering goes, I have a decent idea what 
sort of costs (time & $$) are associated with rehacking in-house spreadsheets
that use implicit imperial units, buying metric 
versions of all of the new supplier catalogs, codes, 
specifications, etc.  It's a fair chunk of change, especially for 
a small firm or a firm with limited liquid assets.  I talked to a
guy who figured his firm would run about $15k to $20k to replace 
their manuals, codes, and payroll (500-600 man-hours) to update 
in-house stuff, neglecting opportunity costs like loss of business 
during the switch-over.  

I'm sure many companies looked into these issues when the govt was 
gung-ho about the switch.  I assume some aerospace fabrictors have 
made the switch given that NASA contracts are nominally SI these 
days.  Any comments?  I'm wondering whether there is overall
a significant monetary activation barrier, as it were, to the 
change, or if it's just people like me who got little or no SI 
background in grade school and are reluctant to swap over from 
something that works just fine.  Granted, it may not be as 
transparent as SI seems now that I've worked with it for a while, 
but it's been used successfully for long enough that functionality 
is not in debate.

Just my $0.02,


Charles Hamilton, EIT                   Graduate Student Researcher
Department of Civil and                 Phone: 949.824.8694
    Environmental Engineering           FAX:   949.824.2117 
University of California, Irvine        Email: chamilto(--nospam--at)

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