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Soft vs Hard Metric Conversions

Posted By Eric Ross, Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Soft vs Hard Metric Conversions


Although the United States has yet to embrace the metric system; as estimators, we may be required to convert units for a specific project.  There are two methods for converting: soft conversions and hard conversions.  These two methods sound counter intuitive to someone unfamiliar to the industry.


Soft Conversions

Soft conversions from imperial to metric represent an exact conversion where the material dimension has not changed.  For instance, 6 inches would have a soft conversion of 152.4 millimeters.  Occasionally, the soft conversion will be rounded, so that 12 inches has a soft conversion of 305 millimeters.


Hard Conversions

Hard conversions from imperial to metric are used in the building industry to make the metric units more rational.  For instance, 6 inches would have a hard conversion of 150 millimeters.  In this case, the actual dimension of the material changes so that building materials can easily conform to metric.


What has been your experience with metric conversion methods?


Eric Ross, CPE

Standard Committee

Tags:  standards 

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