In these days of flat-pack, off the shelf furniture whether it be from Ikea or Argos people seem to expect to get everything straight away, packaged, ready to go, as I’ve written about before. Part of this expectation is the idea of things being “standard”.
People will ring up wanting a new double-glazed sealed unit and say “it’s just a standard one” without noticing that there’s often not two of the same size in the same house. It’s the same with door locks and when you tell them they’ll have to measure sizes, thicknesses and so on they often seem most put-out by it – it’s just a standard lock, why don’t you stock them? They assume that today everything must be a standard type or size and what they’ve got is, by definition, it. As such we should be able to just pull a new sealed unit off the shelf. We’d need a very, very big warehouse to do that, and a lot of time to fill it.
Admittedly there are many things that are to a standard specification in new-build houses but that doesn’t cover the last few hundred years of bricks and mortar.