This thesis culminates some six years of PhD research at Delft University of Technology. The start was a deep plunge into product modelling at the start of my graduation project--by being thrown in head first by my professor, Frits Tolman: two weeks after starting my graduation project, the EU research project `eConstruct' also started and I had to participate fully from the beginning.

I fitted right into eConstruct and immensely enjoyed working together in that international setting. After my graduation I continued right away as a PhD, working also part-time at STABU and thereby gaining valuable experience in a much more business-oriented setting.

The motivation for undertaking this research was the attractive combination of civil engineering and ICT, with an emphasis on the Internet for the latter. Within eConstruct there was every opportunity to push this combination hard, which we enthusiastically did. Working together closely with graduate student Noor Hellemans helped winding up the practical side of things (meaning the applications) at the end.

Thanks go to Delft University of Technology and STABU for funding my research. Special thanks to Frits Tolman for giving both guidance when needed and freedom whenever possible as my daily supervisor and initial promotor. Thanks to Sevil and Hennes for being my promotors.

Thanks to all the colleagues at the university and STABU, the graduate students I worked with, the fellow researchers in eConstruct and the members of my committee. Roommates Hans and Johan: thanks for everything. Jaco, Bert, Herman and Gerben for lots of information and fun. Jeff, David, Celson, Kees, Peter and Michel. Joost, Wouter, Jasper, Noor. Marco, Bart, Annie and Maurits for reading lots of pages.

Annie, thanks for loving me and allowing me to work on this thesis.

Nieuwegein, 2006
Reinout van Rees

Reinout van Rees 2006-12-13