Using Autodesk Docs: Enhancing Collaboration and Productivity

Learn how to utilise Autodesk Docs to enhance collaboration and productivity in your construction projects.

When we look at digital transformation across the construction industry, it is easy to put more emphasis on aspects such as 3D modelling driving robust design delivery; greater communication to all stakeholders by utilising visualisations, virtual and augmented reality; and quicker design production by adopting artificial intelligence, and generative design. These are of course all beneficial and are by no means vanity traits by adopting further digital enhancements, but they should stem from a robust, structured, and accessible cloud platform. Many efficiencies can be gained from the less glamourous aspect of a project such as file naming, easily accessible file locations, and coherent and intuitive workflows.

Quality auditing of information is an integral part of project delivery, ensuring verification and validation of data occurs at key milestones. Traditionally, team members would have printed hard copies of deliverables to review and comment, and occasionally must bring them back into a digital environment by scanning items to capture recommendations, amendments, and signatures. In a more progressive environment, digital snapshots such as drawings and PDFs can be reviewed on screen via the use of desktop applications, but the monitoring and movement of files is still very much a manual process. With Autodesk Docs, check and approval procedures have never been easier. Files can be reviewed in their native format, removing the need for format conversions, allowing teams to assess word documents, spreadsheets, drawings, models, and more, all inside a web browser, mitigating the need for IT teams to roll out desktop applications requiring costly installation procedures. Review workflows can be configured to suit an organisation’s requirements such as number of gateways, involving a variety of stakeholders, updates to statuses and other metadata, and move the file(s) on review completion, for example copying a file from a work in progress area to a shared location. Furthermore, reviews are assigned to project individuals with due dates, with the data being captured in the background. This means that organisations have more visibility from live project metrics when analysing procedural efficiencies and streamlining processes.

Another key requirement to help in efficiently delivering projects is traceability. Autodesk Docs records instances of files if the name remains a constant. This means that rather than saving or overwriting files, they are stacked on top of one another, automatically creating an archive. Not only does this allow project teams to revert files back to previous versions, but it also enables the comparison between two file instances. For example, an engineering consultancy receives revised architectural models, the engineering team can assess what has been added, removed, or modified instantly in the model viewer hosted in Autodesk Docs. This allows for efficient reviewing procedures to take place and lead to quicker decisions to be made.

Accessibility of files is key for enhancing collaboration and communication. Enabling a common data environment where we can omit email file transfers and nurture ‘one source of the truth’ principles is key. Autodesk Docs allows us to do exactly that, allowing internal and external collaborators to access the data and information they require. Beyond being able to access files, we can also restrict and silo data not privy to the wider project delivery team such as sensitive commercial and financial documentation.

With the introduction of data management standards, in particular ISO 19650, we see a real emphasis on file naming standards using a codification standard. Utilising these codification standards is a difficult and manual process inside an environment such as Windows Explorer. With Autodesk Docs, we can leverage a whole host of tools to efficiently deliver file naming requirements. The platform includes a file naming standard tool, allowing project teams to define various naming standards for different clients using a combination of fields, delimiters, and metadata. This can then be applied to various folders inside of the common data environment, automatically policing how team members name their files. Filenames in a codified format aren’t necessarily human readable, especially with stakeholders unfamiliar with this way of working. Autodesk Docs covers this in two ways; firstly there is a file title or description allowing users to define a more human friendly descriptor; secondly, the platform demystifies any codes used by giving a full description of each field when a user hovers over the item, mitigating the need for a user to have to keep referring to a data standard to translate codes such as a BIM Execution Plan.

Implementing Autodesk Docs as a Common Data Environment (CDE) offers a comprehensive solution to enhance collaboration and productivity in construction projects. By leveraging a robust cloud platform, AEC teams can streamline workflows, improve file management, minimise mistakes and risk, and ensure effective quality auditing. Additionally, the platform's support for data management standards like ISO 19650 ensures compliance and consistency.

In summary, Autodesk Docs provides a powerful toolset to optimise construction project delivery, empowering multi-disciplinary delivery teams to achieve their goals with efficiency and precision.

For more information on implementing Autodesk Docs and maximising its benefits, consult with a member of the Diatec Group Team.