How Autodesk Docs Improves Project Collaboration

Jeff Kalm Jeff Kalm February 16, 2024

5 min read

Construction team reviewing issues and markups using Autodesk Docs.

One of the greatest challenges AEC teams face is the management of documents and files. As projects become more complex on tighter schedules, accessing the right documents at the right time is essential to minimize errors and deliver on time.With Autodesk Docs (included in the AEC Collection), it can be easier, and faster.

For many years, AEC firms have relied on siloed or home-grown FTP document management solutions that make it difficult to share, assign permissions, or apply version control to the myriad files and file types required to complete most architecture, engineering, and construction projects.

Autodesk Docs is the common data environment (CDE) for additional Autodesk Construction Cloud (ACC) tools like Autodesk Build, BIM Collaborate, BIM Collaborate Pro, Build and Take-off. As well as desktop design tools such as Revit, Civil 3d, Navisworks, AutoCAD, and more. Because of native integrations between Autodesk design authoring tools and Autodesk Docs users can easily stay in control over the project document lifecycle from concept to completion.

Autodesk Docs facilitates the handling and management of project documentation, issues, and transmittals, all through its intuitive dashboards and user-friendly interfaces. These dashboards aim to minimize complications, save time, and ultimately, boost overall productivity.

Powered by the cloud

Autodesk Docs untethers users from their desks and on-premise workstations and servers. It allows them to work how they want, where they want, and when they want. And because the familiar and intuitive Windows Explorer file structure is overlayed onto the applications it integrates with, there is no need to leave Docs to work on or manage files.

Simply open the file from Autodesk Docs to work with it, mark it up, make changes, and assign tasks. The system then automatically saves and maintains version control of everything. The cloud-based document management and CDE doesn’t just save users’ moves and edits, it creates new, complete versions of each file or document.

This approach facilitates collaboration by allowing team members to work from the same set of up-to-date files in real-time. Autodesk Docs supports over 80 file types and manages files from non-Autodesk tools, such as Microsoft Office suite files.

Other features and benefits

Autodesk Docs provides users the convenience of directly marking up and tracking documents, models (2D and 3D), and other files. There’s no need to download and open the file locally. This flexibility enables users to make comments and modifications wherever they are – on the road, at home, or in the office, thereby eliminating the outdated practice of redlining printed copies.

Docs also increases project security by allowing users to control permissions based on project requirements. This give project admins the flexibility to decide who gets to open, view, edit, upload, download, publish markups, and/or delete files or folders. Permissions flow in only one direction from the top down. If a user has permission to work with a document, they can create and attach new sub-folders and documents to the file, but they cannot move vertically to access that file’s parent folder.

Users can track and assign issues in Autodesk Docs, so there is no need to switch to a separate project management platform to solve problems. Likewise, the cloud-based CDE takes care of transmittals, so users know who has requested and received project documentation.

When needed, Docs enables the application of ISO 19650 naming standards and conventions that define information management principles and requirements in the context of the digital transformation of the build environment. By using these established norms, projects are easier to organize and users find it easier to navigate to and identify the files they need.

All of these abilities combined can enhance flexibility and streamline workflows. No more emailing, downloading, or sharing files via thumb drives. No more breathless overnight FedEx runs.

Autodesk Docs helps to keep a tight lid on where files are, who has access to them and which versions are the right versions to be working on. Team members receive automatic notifications for any changes made to the documents or files to which they are connected. These audit trails increase accountability while reducing the number of duplicative interactions between team members, owners, and project managers.

A common data environment

What makes Autodesk Docs so powerful is its real-time common data environment. Many companies still rely on outdated document and file-sharing systems—not because they are unaware of better alternatives but because it’s how they’ve always done it.

When working in Docs, there’s no need to switch between multiple tools and interfaces, download, upload, or email attachments to third parties whose document management and security profiles may not be as rigorous as one’s own.

Sending plans and models for review all at once also becomes a relic of the past. In Autodesk Docs, everyone works from the same set of plans in real time. Everyone who has permission can see and comment on changes as they are saved. That means no more seemingly endless rounds of revisions only to find out that work was done on the wrong or outdated draft and needs to be reworked.

Breaking down silos

And it’s not just AEC teams who benefit. Owners and clients can actively participate by approving plans, making suggestions, and supervising changes in real-time, rather than waiting until the plans are nearly complete and then requiring rework to meet their needs. This level of transparency enhances everyone’s comprehension of the logic and reasoning behind the decisions made.

Templates are another feature that helps teams to streamline workflows and reduce manual labor. Users can create and reuse templates from project to project. If they are in the business of building similar structures such as schools, for example, they can use Autodesk Docs to generate project templates that include required project management elements such as permissions and file structures.

Not only does Autodesk Docs offer powerful features that make working life easier, it also reduces friction by simplifying document and file management—all without having to purchase, license, provision, and manage and maintain yet another software package. Autodesk Docs is included in the AEC Collection and comes fully integrated with the Autodesk Construction Cloud.

Experience the power of a connected project today. Learn more about Autodesk Docs.

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