NATSPEC – SPECbuilder

Overview

NATSPEC is the National Master Specification for Australia and is used for building projects of all sizes. Builders and architects create custom building specifications based on the NATSPEC packages they subscribe to. SPECbuilder lets them choose all of the relevant work sections for their project and export out to a Microsoft Word document. 

  • Clients – 7200+ registered users in 1700+ of Australia's top and middle-tier builders, architects, engineers, councils and universities
  • Documents – 900+ NATSPEC and AUS SPEC specifications
  • Projects – 10k+ client projects specification created
  • Live since – 2006
  • Site – natspec.com.au

Challenge

NATSPEC needed an option that would let them maintain their highly-structured content efficiently and cost effectively. Tracking the importance and nature of changes was required so they could inform their subscribers of critical updates.

Content needed to be organised and tagged in a way that made it easy for subscribers to easily find and select the work sections they needed. 

Implementation

NATSPEC editors update proforma specifications that are heavily cross-referenced to the Building Codes of Australia and several thousand standards documents from ISO and numerous other industry bodies. PageSeeder manages the two-way links between NATSPEC content and the external documents. When legislation or a standard is updated, editors can quickly see the reverse list of references and can assess whether the references are still appropriate or the external change requires the internal document to also be updated. Likewise, if an external document is deprecated or repealed, all internal references can be quickly identified and the content updated.

Twice a year, the collection, including metadata about all the referenced documents is released as a snapshot of the content. To help subscribers assess the effect of changes on their current specifications, PageSeeder versioning is used to generate a full listing of changes. These data are then reprocessed into summary and comprehensive views.

Subscribers to SPECbuilder use PageSeeder to assemble component documents into complete projects. After completing their selection, users can download the project in Word format complete with guidance text. The documents can then be finished in Word, formatted according  client requirements and attached to other documentation as part of a development application or construction contract. 

Where documents reflect common projects, the edited specification can be uploaded back to the subscriber's PageSeeder group for use on future projects.

For security and performance reasons, the implementation is distributed across three PageSeeder servers. They provide the following functionality:

  • Editorial – internal users maintain the content,
  • Publishing – batch processing user projects to Word,
  • Subscriber – provides user management and subscriber content.