This research focuses on combining the rich representations of computer-aided design systems with current collaboration technologies to support distributed design processes. Our emphasis is not on concurrent multi-user access to integrated databases, but rather on shared protocols of interaction that are independent of implementation and storage schemes. We have developed a prototype for a Synchronous Collaborative Design System (SYCODE) that enables geographically dispersed designers to share common representations even when using different hardware platforms. The limitations of the existing network infrastructure have compelled its to devise a meaningful and parsimonious representation scheme and to semantically define pending and confirmed actions.