Increasing interest in Collaborative Virtual Environments (CVEs) in different applications has imposed new requirements on the design of the CVEs and the resident Intelligent Virtual Agents (IVAs). In addition to cognitive abilities, IVAs in CVEs require social and communication behaviours. The use of a Multi-Agent System (MAS) has been a successful approach to address the variety of evolving abilities needed by an IVA. In this paper, a model of a ‘smart’ CVE is presented. This CVE model publicizes the properties and the possible events of each entity located in the sensory range of the nearby IVAs. Additionally, this CVE model offers a level of abstraction for the IVAs to interact with the entities in the CVE. This level of the abstraction is distributed within the design of the resident IVAs. Moreover, this paper presents a MAS-based IVA design. This IVA is able to collaborate with humans in CVEs. The proposed model simulates humans by including input, output and processing modules. In addition, the model coordinates the IVA’s verbal and non-verbal communication to convey its internal state while achieving a collaborative task.