Surface Area: 99 263 km2
Population: 44 400 000 (1993)


The principal Act concerning legal metrology is the weights and Measures Act 1961, which was entirely revised in 1992 and became effective in 1993 in order to correspond to new social needs, i.e. internationalization, etc. The Act with the Presidential Decree and Enforcement Regulations specifies Korea's legal units of measurement of physical quantities, and requires that measurements made for any legal purpose are traceable to Korean primary standards.

1.1 Legal requirements for traceability

The weights and Measures Act requires that the measurement of physical quantity for legal purpose be made by means of, reference to, comparison with, or derived from, specified standards of measurement including certified reference materials.


The legal units of measurement within Korea are defined in the Presidential Decree of the Act and are those of the International system of Units (SI). The unification of all measuring units 

into the metric system was begun in 1964 excluding the fields of land and building, and the SI units have constituted the legal units since 1 January 1983 including the fields of land and building with limited exceptions for some particular cases below

Measurements in relation with exports or with imports for exportation


3.1 National organisation for legal metrology

Industrial Advancement Administration (IAA)

Ministry of Trade, Industry &  Energy
2, Joongang-Dong, Kwachon-city, 
Kyunggi-do 427-01 0,
Telephone: 82-2-503 -7935
Fax: 82-2,502-41 07

IAA is responsible for completing the metric system in Korea, the establishment and coordination of metrological policy on all aspects of the National Measurement System, the maintenance and dissemination of the physical standards of measurement for all the Korean legal units of measurement through KRISS and the supervision (or guidance) over its subordinate organisations on matters relating to legal metrology and the use of legal units of measurement.

This body is directly responsible for OIML activities in Korea and also provides Korean representation on CCGPM.

3.2 Custodian of National Standards

The Custodian of national standards of measurement is the Korean Research Institute of Standards and Science (KRISS).

P.O. Box 102, Yuseong
Taejon, 305-600, Korea
Telephone: 82-42.861-7200
Fax: 82-42-868.5555

The major functions and roles of KRISS are as follows:

3.3 National organisation responsible for maintaining primary standards

The Korean primary standards are held by IAA through KRISS.


Under the weights and Measures Act, measuring instruments are divided into two categories. The first are measuring instruments for use in trade or certification of which there are 134 items as prescribed by the Presidential Decree, and the second are measuring instruments for use for measurement, except for trade or certification,

The two categories are the same such that these instruments are machines, appliances or devices for measurement of the quantity of the state of physical phenomena.


5.1 Legal and technical requirements for type approval

IAA has the responsibility for the type approval by the Act. And the Administrator of IAA has delegated the authority to the Director of the National Industrial Technical Institute (NITI).

NITI carries out this responsibility by examining the designs of measuring instruments and testing sample instruments. Once the pattern of an instrument has been approved, NITI issues a certificate of approval and subsequent production instruments made to the pattern must be marked with NITI number contained in that certificate. The marking of this number on a production instrument is the primary indication that the measuring instrument is of an approved pattern.

Pattern approval requirements are contained in the standards of verification by the Order of the Administrator. The measuring instruments for which pattern approval may be obtained are the same as those for verification.

5.2 Authority responsible for issuing type approval

IAA is the authority responsible for issuing type approval certificates for measuring instruments for use for trade or certification as prescribed by the Ordinance of the Ministry of Trade, Industry & Energy (hereinafter referred to as The Ordinance of the Ministry).

5.3 Recognition/acceptance of OIML certificates

IAA is currently preparing to adopt the OIML certificate system in the near future.

5.4 Authority responsible for testing for type approval

NITI is the authority responsible for testing for type approval

5.5 List of major test facilities available

The principal testing facilities operated by the NITI are:

5.6 Fee structure

Fees vary according to the type of component or instrument being tested. Typical examination fees, for example, are as follows


Non-automatic weighing instruments
1 54,700 Won
37,500 Won
Oil Meter
550,000 Won
Thermal energy meter
600,000 Won
Water meter
400,000 Won
Integrating graduated tank
47,600 Won
Gas meter
200,000 Won
Integrating gasoline meter
300,000 Won



6.1 Legal and technical requirements for verification and reverification

The Administrator of IAA has the authority of verification for the measuring instruments prescribed by the Presidential Decree. The Standards for verification are prescribed by the administrator of IAA, and the Administrator may designate specialized verification institutes for verification.

The measuring instruments which must be verified by the provisions of the Presidential Decree are as follows:

The requirements for verification are as follows:

6.2 Range of equipment verified and reverified and any statistical information available

There are two kinds of verification for the above-mentioned measuring instruments, i.e. verification after manufacturing and importing, and verification after repairing and expiration of the term of validity for reverification.

At present, three institutes for verification after manufacturing and importing are designated as specialised verification institutes, i.e. Korea Machinery Meter and Petrochemical Testing & Research Institute (MPI), including three local institutes the National Industrial Technical Institute (NITI) including nine local industrial technology institutes, and the Korea Research Institute of Standards and Science (KRISS) for verification of only normal watt-hour meters.

The authority for verification after repairing and expiration of the term of validity for verification has been delegated to mayors of 15 local governments. The duration of valid verification for certain measuring instruments are specified by the Ordinance of the Ministry.

The following main examples for such instruments are indicated with their duration periods: 


Taxi meters
1 year
Gas meters
5 yaers
Water meter
6 years
Oil meter
5 years
Liquid petroleum gas meter
2 years


6.3 Inspection

There are two kinds of inspection, i.e. periodical inspection and irregular inspection.

The periodical inspection is a simplified version of re-verification and is carried out every year. The instruments for re-verification prescribed by the Ordinance of the Ministry comprises 8 items such as non-automatic weighing instruments, graduated tank, etc. The maximum permissible error for periodical inspection is basically one and a half times as large as that for verification. But the permissible error for blood pressure gauge and clinical thermometers is the same as that for verification.


7.1 Accreditation systems for legal metrology, calibration and testing laboratories. Traceability to national, regional, international or foreign measurement standards.

A nation-wide calibration network is established under the supervision of the IAA since 1978 and there are one national standard research laboratory (KRISS), 86 calibration laboratories and 248 in-house calibration laboratories at present (1994).

The functions of each authorized calibration organisation are as follows:

Therefore there are three principal methods of disseminating measurement standards which are traceable to the Korean primary standards in Korea.

The first method is through KRISS which is concerned primarily with measurements of a scientific or technical nature the second method is through the designation of the calibration laboratories, which provide calibration services and issue calibration certificates to organisations, and the third method is through the in-house calibration laboratories, which are only permitted to issue certificates for their own instruments.

KRISS also provides services directly to industries in the field of measurement in which their calibration laboratories do not have capabilities.

Since the legal requirements vary depending on the accuracy required, there has been a hierarchy of standards developed which enables a range of accuracies to be disseminated throughout the country.


7.2 Accreditation for the testing inspection laboratory systems

The Korea Laboratory Accreditation Scheme (KOLAS), operating within the framework of IAA, is the national top institution responsible for the accreditation laboratories in Korea. IAA acts as the accreditation body in Korea. Currently '11 organisations have been accredited by IAA (1994). KOLAS represents Korea on the International Laboratory Accreditation Conference (ILAC). 

7.3 Legal and applied metrological activities in products certification

KS (Korean Industrial Standards) Mark Scheme is operated by IAA. When the applicant company's quality system complies with the assessment criteria, and the quality of the product conforms to relevant Korean Industrial Standards, the company is granted the right to use the Mark. 

7.4 Legal and applied metrological activities in ISO 9000 quality management systems

Korea adopted the ISO 9000 series as Korean Industrial Standards in 1992 as the KSA 9000 series.


8.1 Numbers

The approximate number of people involved in the verification area in Korea is as follows:

8.2 Qualification/training

The qualification of the technical officers are in the fields of engineering and physical sciences.

8.3 Training organisations and courses organised

The Korea Association of Standards and Testing organisation (KASTO), which has been organised in 1979 to promote effective operation of the national calibration service and close cooperation, conducts the following courses: 

8.4 Training courses for foreign metrology practitioners

The Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) training program has covered the

legal metrology area since 1983. The training period is about two weeks, accepting 13 trainees per year from 18 countries including Asian, South American and Eastern European countries. Trainees will have lectures and in-laboratory practices in selected fields of measurement standards at KRISS. Applicants must have enough English proficiency and experience in legal metrology. More than 250 trainees have completed these courses so far. 


9.l Legislative control for packaging

The weights and Measures Act and the Presidential Decree specify pre-packed consumer goods the accuracy and the marking of which must conform to packaging control. Imported goods are also under this control.


Under the weights and Measures Act, the main penalties are as follows:

Imprisonment for up to three years, or a fine of not exceeding ten million Won.