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October Edition 2021

Layer — A Flexible Data Management Tool for BIM Solutions


"While Layer began as an in-house solution, the software has since evolved into one of the first and only flexible workspaces that connect directly to Revit."

Building Information Modeling (BIM) is a powerful technology that allows architects, engineers, clients, and contractors to get an overview of their project, even before the start of construction. Today the BIM tools have become so advanced that they can simulate any structure in 3d with each and every precise detail. This technology allows professionals to get multiple views of the same construction and infrastructure from a production model. BIM not only gives you an edge over traditional methods for greater visibility, decision-making, and cost-cutting, but it also lets you capture crucial data during construction to be used later for operations and maintenance activities. This is the reason why BIM mandates are becoming a norm globally.

Layer is a flexible data management tool for buildings that connects real-world data and team communication to BIM. It can be used to capture and edit data without having or knowing Revit. Layer has been designed as a project management tool and the communication channel between Revit and non-Revit users. It can be used during all phases of a Revit project, regardless if a Revit model exists. Layer dramatically increases efficiency by capturing existing data conditions and photos accurately in one app. It allows the teams to collect data in one consistent format that can also be easily accessed in Revit.


In 2017, architect Zach Soflin, the company's founder, was working on the phased rehabilitation of Bertram Goodhue's iconic building. The project scope included a detailed survey of more than 1,300 rooms, 1,200 windows, and 57 data points per room. Realizing the scale of the project, the team needed a unique approach for collecting and managing the vast amount of building data. This led Zach to gather and manage data between the large consultant team and "layer" that data onto the Revit model. While Layer began as an in-house solution, the software has since evolved into one of the first and only flexible workspaces that connect directly to Revit.

Revit tools for architects

Layer allows you to capture field data linked to Revit, cutting out the dead-end spreadsheets and docs for documenting buildings. It provides unlimited file storage for photos & files, which makes sorting photos and files easy and efficient. Layer also offers collaborative PDF markups and tasks to search for edits buried in emails and text messages.

You can carry out building surveys, capture them accurately, and document diverse conditions in the field that teams can view instantly back at the office. Layer lets you view sheets right in Revit, which helps in collaborating and coordinating with multidisciplinary teams around a model without knowing Revit. There is also an option for BIM Coordination that lets you build confidently with instant access to rich building data and files right in Revit. With punch lists, you can document issues with efficiency and create mobile-friendly reports that can be exported, shared, or viewed right in Revit.

Cloud-based BIM manager

The cloud-based BIM manager helps the teams easily capture building survey data and photos in the field without clipboards. They can access and edit survey data instantly in Revit without switching between programs. It lets everyone in your team collaborate in real-time regardless of their knowledge of BIM. Layer's Cloud-based BIM tool provides you instant access to captured field data, select any Layer element, and see its location in Revit with bilateral navigation between Revit and Layer.

With the tool, you can flag issues fast in Revit and give context and detail to redlines with easy-drop annotations in Revit that link directly to detailed field data in Layer. Apart from this, non-Revit users can also edit Revit elements, like door and furniture schedules, in Layer without knowing Revit. The BIM manager works seamlessly with big teams and lets you manage complex projects from one dashboard with the ability to add multiple Revit models to a Layer project at any time.

Paperless protection for your properties

Layer provides you with easy-to-use property site inspection software for building owners. With clear communication in one channel, you can store and share important move-in and move-out documents and photos from one dashboard to keep your space leasable and tenants accountable. Layer lets you be proactive and organized with asset documentation in one place that's accessible at any time from anywhere. It enables you to leverage your building's information for time savings when working with design and construction teams.

Layer provides you with mobile-friendly CMMS software that integrates with BIM. It lets you effectively create a seamless channel between the person requesting maintenance to the team member completing the work order. You can capture and manage issues and tasks instantly in the field or at your desk from any device. Layer provides a flexible, customized layer to fit your workflow or use its pre-built Project Templates. It is an easy-to-learn solution that quickly gets your entire team up and running on the same page.

Meet the CEO

Zach Soflin, AIA, is the Founder & CEO of Layer, also taking care of company operations and product development. Layer began as a quest to create the most flexible and accessible project management tool for AECO professionals. Zack is a registered architect who has worked on various-sized projects, applying divergent design solutions anchored in research and data-driven analysis. He also teaches a course on parametric modeling and its application in architecture to students ranging from the second year to doctoral candidates. He has a Bachelor of Science in Design, Architecture, and Master of Architecture (MArch) degree in Architecture, both from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

"Layer is the flexible data management tool for buildings that connects real-world data and team communication to BIM."