As a major illustration of the bcoWeb and web services possibilities, an eSpecification is part of the concept. Part of the solution concept is the notion that BC documents are participants in the process: you can ask a Specification-in-progress for information; you can add information to a Specification; a Specification can request information.

As analysed in Chapter 3, Specification texts are central documents in the BC process, being part of the acsingularTender Documents. They have a lot of links to other information sources (like the specification drawing, regulations) and others have links to the Specification (cost calculations, etc.). A Specification traditionally is the hinge between the design phase and the construction phase and is as such an important research target when trying to improve the value adding capacity of BC by making the process more dynamic: the current Specifications are static.

An important reason why current Specifications are static is that they are essentially paper documents: a representation of the real data (see section 3.2.3).

eSpecifications are made part of the concept in order to put bcoWeb through its paces. With an eSpecification, a computer-supported translation from design to construction, that complies to the regulations, must be made possible.

How far can eSpecifications be taken? The stated goal is to automatically generate a Specification from bcoWeb-enabled design `eDocuments'. The extend in which this goal can be achieved is a measure of the suitability of bcoWeb for improving BC's value adding process.

BcoWeb data can be instantiated in a Specification system. While keeping the Specification's Classification structure, the various parts of the tree can be placed in the Specification text. A powerful notion here is the formal distinction between functional and technical, allowing a more gradual development of the Specification. It also makes early versions of the Specification valuable for feeding into the project's communication, as the earliest high-level functional descriptions can already be used for knowledge-addition, searching for alternatives, coupling with known solutions and so on.

Reinout van Rees 2006-12-13