UAE to replace feet and yards with metre effective 11/11/11

Press release
Published May 25th, 2011 - 11:10 GMT

The UAE will implement the International System of Units (SI) replacing feet, inches and yards in favor of metres, effective 11/11/11 or on the 11th of November this year.

The decision to shift to metre in official and commercial activities, especially in the real estate sector, was announced in August last year. The move is in line with the UAE Cabinet Decision No. 31 of 2006 on the national system of measurement, which mandates the use of international system of units as a basis for the legal units of measurement in the country.

It follows the UAE’s introduction of litre instead of gallon as unit of fuel from January 1, this year. All oil companies and corporations operating in the UAE have since been using litre as a unit of measurement for the fuel, instead of the gallon.

A national action committee, made up of representatives of all relevant entities, including the UAE Land Departments, Municipalities and the Abu Dhabi Conformity and Quality Council, agreed upon the date of implementation, 11/11/11.

As per the circular issued by Chairman of Emirates Authority for Standardization & Metrology’s Board of Directors, HE Dr. Rashid Ahmed bin Fahad, the conversion below can be used as a reference to all business transactions. 

However, beginning November 11, all entities operating in the UAE will only be allowed to use the International system of Units (SI).

Eng. Mohammad SalehBadri, Acting Director General, ESMA, said: “People should be used to the metre in response to the UAE’s decision to use a unified system, which is the metric system. In line with this, some of the software used by the UAE Land Departments must be changed. We want to build a UAE infrastructure that is per international best practice that is fulfilling World Trade Organization – Technical Barriers to Trade (WTO-TBT) requirement.”

The UAE has been using different units of measurement due to the absence of a national regulation that mandates the use of SI. In July 2006, the UAE cabinet has approved the National Measurement System which was prepared by ESMA, in which under Article 8 mandates the use of SI as legal units of measurement.

ESMA has been in extensive dialogue with the land departments across the country since 2009 and has been conducting educational awareness for the last two years.

Badri explains: “The shift could not be done abruptly because first, the software used by the land department need to be changed to comply with the metric system, and second there is a psychological aspect involved in this as well.”

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