The results of research carried out in the world of reference models to assist in the selection of the model(s) that best set the context and basis for the definition of a reference model for the computer aided support of simultaneous engineering are presented. The reference models employed are the Open System Architecture for Computer Integrated Manufacturing (CIMOSA) and the Reference Model for Open Distributed Processing (RM-ODP). The CIMOSA model is appropriate because it enables us to set the context and requirements for CAE systems within an integrated enterprise. The RM-ODP allows the definition of the structure and characteristic of the CAE systems in terms of five different views (enterprise, information, computational, engineering and technology). The result of the research is a CAE framework targeted to assist in the system specification, development and integration of future computer-based systems that support Simultaneous Engineering. A case study is presented to demonstrate the use of the CAE framework.