How BVH’s Historic Preservation team captured 75,000+ data points that could be viewed instantly in BIM

Layer completely changed and enhanced how our team works. We’re able to capture and organize vast amounts of complex data in the field and link that data directly to BIM.

Julie Cawby, RA, NCARB, Project Director, Historical Architect



In 2017, BVH Architecture was asked to renovate the HVAC systems at the Nebraska State Capitol in Lincoln, Nebraska. Originally designed by Bertram Goodhue, the Capitol Building is the state’s most recognizable building and a significant tourist hub.

Challenges in the Field

To accomplish a renovation of this scale, the team needed to conduct a detailed conditions assessment of the building’s more than 1,300 rooms. The process of photographing and inputting 50+ data points for each room using the typical spreadsheet and clipboard method was daunting. 

There was also the challenge of coordinating multiple team members who were collecting data concurrently in areas of the builidng that did not have WiFi. The team needed to find a better solution.

A Gamechanging Solution

BVH project architect Zach Soflin, AIA, was convinced there was a better way. He researched digital tools, but found no single solution. So, he decided to build a solution, which became the prototype for Layer.

Zach designed Layer to make it possible for the team to take photos and fill out digital forms from any mobile device. They were then able to tag each piece of field data to a specific room, window, or door.

“Layer eliminated the cumbersome steps of writing down data, downloading photos, and scanning paper data forms. It also allowed us to capture data more accurately without any redundant administrative work. Layer is an essential tool for the preservation field,” said BVH’s project director and historical architect Julie Cawby, RA, NCARB.

But the gamechanging feature that Layer brought to the table was its direct integration into BIM. What did this mean for the Capitol team? 


It meant that any data they captured in the field could now be surfaced instantly in BIM. It also meant that any data that teams in the field were capturing could be instantly accessible to teams back at the office working in BIM. 

In addition, Layer was used to connect the project’s large multidisciplinary team of consultants. And since the project was to be completed in multiple phases over eight years, Layer has created a continuous source of truth for the entire duration of the project. 

“This long-term renovation is proceeding in stages,” explains Cawby. “Layer has made it possible for us to easily search and access room data that we documented two years, which would have been difficult to do had we used clipboards and file folders.” Her colleague and project architect Adam Sitzmann, AIA, added, “data collected for a project is only valuable if it is accessible. With Layer, the information is always in front of us.”



Time saved capturing and categorizing field data


Time saved coordinating construction documents


Time saved coordinating with project consultants

About BVH Architecture

BVH Architecture is a leading architecture, interior design, and historic preservation firms in the Midwest. Their historic preservation team has completed more than 500 condition assessments on National Historic Places and Landmarks. Learn more at


Nebraska State Capitol Building; Lincoln, NE


Historic Preservation


→ Eight-year, multi-phase renovation 

→ Conditions assessment of 1,300 rooms & 1,200 windows

→ Project management between 20+ stakeholders, most who do not know BIM