Metrology comprises all kinds of measurements and thus serves as the basis for many areas of daily life.
The objective of metrology is to provide a basis for the metrological infrastructure in Austria that is in line with the needs of the economy and society. A further objective is to ensure the international equivalence and acceptance of this basis.
The Metrology Service of the Federal Office of Metrology and Surveying (Bundesamt für Eich- und Vermessungswesen, BEV) is Austria’s national metrology institute.
Legal units of measurement – representation and dissemination
The legal units of measurement are specified in §§ 1 to 3 of the Metrology Act (Maß- und Eichgesetz – MEG), Federal Law Gazette No 152/1950, most recently amended in Federal Law Gazette I No 148/2015. With few exceptions, the units specified belong to the International System of Units (Système International d'Unités, SI).
§ 4 of the MEG stipulates that the national metrology institute is responsible for the representation of legal units of measurement. The Federal Office of Metrology and Surveying (BEV) is responsible for this task in Austria.
One of the duties of the Physico-Technical Testing Service (PTP) of the BEV is the dissemination of legal units of measurement.
Traceability is the property of a measurement result or standard value that allows it to be referenced to suitable standards (usually international or national standards) by means of an uninterrupted chain of comparative measurements with specified measurement uncertainties.
Measurement uncertainty is a parameter associated with the result of a measurement that characterises the distribution of values that could reasonably be attributed to the measurand.
Verification of measuring instruments (verification authorities and authorised verification bodies)
The MEG specifies that measuring instruments that are subject to verification on account of a legally protected interest are required to be correct. Anyone who uses or maintains for use a measuring instrument subject to verification is responsible for ensuring that it has been verified.
Verification consists of the verification testing and stamping of measuring instruments by the verification authorities (BEV and the regional verification offices or Eichämter) or by an authorised verification body (see Authorisation of verification bodies).
Measuring instruments as listed in the MEG for the following areas of use are subject to verification:
- Official and legal transactions
- Health services and environmental protection
- Public safety and security and road traffic
As specified in § 24 of the Metrology Act (MEG), this term refers to products in packages of any kind that are packaged and sealed in the absence of the purchaser and that contain a quantity of the product that cannot be altered without opening or noticeably altering the packaging. An exception to this are products in packages that are packaged for the end consumer as part of direct preparation for sale.
Prepackaged products with equivalent nominal capacities are regulated more specifically by the provisions of the Directives of the European Community, in Directive 76/211/EEC as amended by Directive 2007/45/EC.
Prepackaged products with non-equivalent nominal capacities are not subject to regulation.
The Federal Office of Metrology and Surveying (BEV) monitors prepackaged products by performing regular spot checks. The results of the checks are published in anonymised form in an annual activity report.
Calibration of measuring instruments (ÖKD and PTP)
Calibration is the activity in which the mutual relationship between the indicated, outputted or displayed values for a measurand and the corresponding known values is determined under specified conditions.
Calibrations are performed by accredited calibration bodies of the Austrian Calibration Service (Österreichischer Kalibierdienst, ÖKD; see Accreditation of calibration bodies).
Calibrations for the purpose of dissemination of units of measurement, through relating measurements to the national standards as specified in § 4 MEG, are performed by the Physico-Technical Testing Service (PTP) of the BEV.