Cracking the Vault: An Alternate Workflow

Before I forget, don’t forget to check out the AU golf page, we’re up to 16 I think, and hoping to reach 20 total.

Yes, I’m stealing my own title for my AU class. Since labs are not part of the CE PowerTrack at AU this year I didn’t get the blatant plug from AG, but I’ll get over it. Really. Eventually. Maybe. Someday.  It’s a long way to AU so I thought I’d leak some of what I’ll be covering: A Practical Workflow for C3D & Vault

So, with all the hubbub about SP3 making project shortcuts hold their place, it seems that everyone has forgotten there’s still a real project management tool to be had in Vault. Based on the comments and questions from Danny Counts’ webcast and chat, it seems that a workflow in Vault is still a big question mark for many implementers. Since is all about serving you, dear reader, I will be posting up an alternate work flow. It’s not a major departure from what will be in the Autodesk white paper that will eventually detail the subject, but perhaps more manageable in a typical office.

Givens and Ground Rules:

  1. This work flow has been tested. Real environment. Real deadlines. Real money. No pulling a cake out of the oven. That means there are still flaws, and it’s still up for debate. We can continue the discussion via the comments.
  2. This is designed for a typical residential, commercial or muti-family job. It’s not written based on how highway job or cross-country pipeline tasks might be divvied up. It’s for your four-person team cranking out plans.
  3. All team members have a clue. They’ve been trained, and understand how Vault works at a high level. If your reseller can’t do this, contact me, I’d like to work with them to make sure they can.
  4. Vault is on one server, one office. The “Projects” folder can be anywhere, and is a mapped drive shared by ALL team members with full permissions. Vault has been deployed to use this folder as the working folder, enforced to all users. For the discussion, this will be “H:\Projects\”


  • A full set of ConDocs:
  1. Cover
  2. Details
  3. Plat
  4. Grading Plans
  5. Paving P&P
  6. Drainage Area Map
  7. Storm Sewer P&P
  8. Storm Calculations
  9. Sanitary Sewer P&P
  10. Water Plans
  11. Erosion Control
  12. Traffic and Lighting
  • A manageable system for snapshots and sharing data with contractors and subs.
  • A scalable system that can be taught to new team members and other project teams with minimal misunderstandings.

So, now you know where I’m headed. Did I miss something in your typical set? Let me know in the comments below.

Next time, the real work begins: what drawings do we make, and what goes in them? I’ll detail the drawings we use to make each sheet, and begin outlining a table of drawings that make up our project.


  1. SEmerick says:

    Maybe I missed it in the post, but were you planning to leverage Sheet Set Manager for your CD set? I’m interested to know if/how SSM can be used alongside Vault. Thanks for all the good info!

    JW: We will hit that a bit later in the process. The short answer is that SSM works fine for publishing and pushing information back to the dwg, it just can’t be used for file navigation.

  2. Don,
    I managed to delete your comment somehow, but I would typically consider SWPPP plans under the guise of erosion control. In my past experience, we were always able to use the Plat, Grading, and EC sheets as the supporting docs in our SWPPP submittals, without the need for additional plans.

  3. BBoyd ran your computer for a while today putting everything in one DWT.
    Add another WOW.

    <em>JW: BBoyd is one of the great pilot project team members at GBA and “[my] computer” is running that SP3 that is supposed to be under NDA, and yet it’s mentioned all over the place. I removed some of JP’s comment that referred to things that are for now outside the conversation. Hope he’ll forgive me.</em>

  4. John Lowe says:

    This seemed like a good idea…
    “Next time, the real work begins: what drawings do we make, and what goes in them? I’ll detail the drawings we use to make each sheet, and begin outlining a table of drawings that make up our project.”
    Did this eventually become the Autodesk white paper with the chart of Xrefs in it?