Ercle is a design-led practice based in the south-west. We are a young and dynamic practice that prides itself in providing bespoke solutions for each and every project. We start our process by asking 'What If?' and challenge ourselves to find new and unique solutions for each project.
As a young practice, we embrace technology and are constantly striving to be at the forefront of new technological developments. As part of this strategy, we work in BIM (Building Information Modelling). This drawing package allows us to visualise each project in three dimensions from the very start of the conceptual process. This ensures we understand how our proposal sits within its context and exploits all of the potential opportunities a site can provide. More importantly, it helps the client to visualise their project at an early stage. We can even link the model to a pair of virtual reality glasses to allow you to walk around your building.
Once we have agreed a design it is possible to further develop the three-dimensional models into construction documentation. This means we will build the building in virtual reality, and ensure that there are no surprises on site. We coordinate all the other consultant's work and resolve any clashes. This reduces risk, it helps to eliminate delays on site and ensures there are not any budget overruns.
You will see from our work that we specialise in housing. This includes house extensions, one-off houses, conversions of existing buildings as well as the development of housing estates. We enjoy working on difficult and unusual sites and have a track record of successful projects in conservation areas and areas of outstanding natural beauty. We also enjoy working with listed buildings and the opportunities they can offer.
New for 2018, Ercle are undertaking Passivhaus design. The Passivhaus standard is a rigorous energy efficiency standard and it results in dwellings that require very little energy for space heating. Ercle are currently working on a large-scale housing site as well as a one-off dwelling for a private client.
When we set up Ercle as an office we made a conscious decision to work using Building Information Modeling (BIM) Software. It was a significant investment but it pays for itself time and time again. BIM software allows us to interrogate our projects in 3 Dimensions from the very start of a project. It allows us to test massing, shadows, and topography from initial concept stage and to take it through to detailed design and construction drawings. Throughout we are able to seamlessly collaborate with other consultants.
By collaborating with other consultants across a single 3-Dimensional model we are able to insert all aspects of the project and test it prior to beginning on site. This means that the structure, the architecture and the mechanical and electrical services are integrated into a virtual building and tested for possible clashes prior to starting on site. The result is a virtual building that can be walked around in real time which shows that all interfaces have been considered. This model that is free of clashes provides cost and program certainty.
Equally as important to the project is that any changes to the design process are picked up holistically throughout the proposals. BIM allows for a change in one drawing to become a change in all drawings. This means if a change is undertaken on a floor plan, the section and the elevation are updated automatically. When the change is to an element that is scheduled, the schedule is also updated automatically. All changes are picked up across the project eliminating the chance of error.
Ercle is currently working one step further ahead. We are early adopters of the virtual reality accessories to BIM. This allows us to walk around the project in real time attached to a set of Virtual Reality goggles. The client, end user or stakeholder can walk around a building or site using the goggles and experience the site before it leaves the drawing board. For our multi-dwelling sites, it helps the client with their off-plan sales. For our one of dwelling clients, it allows them to better understand the space we have created for them.
We are in the process of understanding how we can move the BIM software one step further and embed product information into the model. When complete the end user will be able to walk around the building in virtual reality and touch elements within the construction. When they do so the element will display the relevant product information. This will allow for spare parts to be ordered and for maintenance programs to be understood. It should also where applicable provide links to warranties.
Ercle are keen to stay at the forefront of the software and will continue to innovate with the integrated solutions that are becoming available.