Title:
Wall and ceiling construction and method providing a finished construction with no exterior penetrations
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An improved wall and/or ceiling construction and method suitable for both interior and exterior application comprised of compressed straw or other such construction panels wherein the finished wall contains no exterior surface penetrations through the panels, thus providing a substantially seamless outer surface. The improved construction is comprised of spaced and aligned flanged beams, each beam having both interior and exterior flanges. Exterior panels are attached to the exterior flanges so as to provide a continuous exterior wall or roof surface with all attachments made through the exterior flanges and penetrating only the inside surface of the panels. Interior panels are attached to the interior flanges by means of a connecting clip along a first edge and a plurality of disc connectors along a second edge so as to provide a continuous interior wall or ceiling surface with no penetrations therethrough. The flanged beams are provided with a plurality of openings that provide a pathway for cables and wiring along the interior of a finished wall or ceiling. The construction and method may be adapted for use with existing conventional wall constructions to utilize only interior panels and provide an interior wall with no surface penetrations.



Inventors:
Burg, John Parker (McKinney, TX, US)
Application Number:
11/060709
Publication Date:
08/17/2006
Filing Date:
02/17/2005
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
52/745.09, 52/479
International Classes:
E04B2/28
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
BUCKLE JR, JAMES J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Robert W. Brown (2747 Highway 160, Whitewright, TX, 75491, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An improved method for constructing a wall including a plurality of rigid, self-supporting panels, said panels each having a substantially rectangular shape with an inner and outer face and a top, bottom, front and rear edge, said front and rear edges having, along a centerline, a plurality of symmetric recesses for accepting a symmetric connector inserted therein, each said panel further having a width equal to the distance between said front and rear edges, said method comprising the steps of: placing a plurality of beams along a wall line, said beams placed in substantially parallel alignment and spaced at a lateral distance substantially equal to the width of one panel; positioning a plurality of exterior panels to span the distance between said beams such that a portion of the inner face of each panel is in contact with two adjacent beams; attaching said exterior panels to said beams; attaching a first interior flanged connector to a first interior panel; attaching said first interior flanged connector to a first beam; positioning symmetric connectors within said symmetric recesses located along the front edge of said first interior panel; attaching a second interior flanged connector to a second interior panel; positioning said second interior panel in edge to edge abutted relation to said first interior panel; and attaching said second interior flanged connector to a second beam.

2. The method of claim 1 which further includes the step of guiding symmetric connectors into said symmetric recesses located along the rear edge of said second interior panel.

3. The method of claim 1 which further includes the step of positioning symmetric connectors within said symmetric recesses located along the front edge of said second interior panel.

4. The method of claim 1 wherein attachment between said exterior panels and said beams is made by means a nail, screw, bolt, lag screw, rivet, staple, pin, dowel, adhesive, tape or glue.

5. The method of claim 1 wherein attachment between said interior flanged connector and said interior panel is made by means of a nail, screw, bolt, lag screw, rivet, staple, pin, dowel, adhesive, tape or glue.

6. The method of claim 1 wherein attachment between said interior flanged connector and said beam is made by means of a nail, screw, bolt, lag screw, rivet, staple, pin, dowel, adhesive, tape or glue.

7. The method of claim 1 wherein said beams have a cross section that includes a center web member and at least one lateral skirt member attached thereto.

8. The method of claim 1 wherein said interior flanged connectors have a cross section that includes a center web member and a lateral flange member attached thereto.

9. The method of claim 7 wherein said cross section of said beam substantially comprises a T shape.

10. The method of claim 7 wherein said cross section of said beam includes a center web member between opposed interior and exterior skirt members.

11. The method of claim 8 wherein said cross section of said interior flanged connector substantially comprises a T shape.

12. The method of claim 10 wherein said beams have a cross section that substantially comprises an I shape.

13. The method of claim 8 wherein the cross section of said lateral flange member of said interior flanged connector further comprises two substantially parallel clasp members sized to accept a portion of said lateral skirt member of said vertical beam therebetween.

14. An improved wall construction for positioning a plurality of rigid, self-supporting panels to provide exterior walls and/or divide or partition interior building space comprising: a plurality of parallel and regularly spaced beams, said beams each having a cross section that includes a center web and at least one lateral skirt member; a plurality of exterior panels, said panels having a substantially rectangular shape with an inner and outer face and a top, bottom, front and rear edge and positioned to span the distance between the center web of two adjacent beam members and rigidly attach thereto; a plurality of interior panels, said panels having a substantially rectangular shape with an inner and outer face and a top, bottom, front and rear edge, said front and rear edges having, along a centerline, a plurality of symmetric recesses; a plurality of symmetric connectors, said connectors sized so that substantially one half of each connector will fit inside one said symmetric recess; and a plurality of flanged connector means each providing for rigid attachment between a panel and a vertical beam;

15. The wall construction of claim 14 wherein said interior panels are comprised of compressed straw or other recovered cellulosic material.

16. The wall construction of claim 14 wherein said exterior panels are comprised of compressed straw or other recovered cellulosic material.

17. The wall construction of claim 14, wherein rigid attachment between said exterior panels and said adjacent beam members is made by means of nail, screw, bolt, lag screw, rivet, staple, pin, dowel, adhesive, tape or glue.

18. The wall construction of claim 14, wherein said flanged connector means comprise a connector having a cross section that includes a center web member and a lateral flange member attached thereto.

19. The wall construction of claim 14, wherein rigid attachment between said interior panels and said flanged connector means is made by means of nail, screw, bolt, lag screw, rivet, staple, pin, dowel, adhesive, tape or glue.

20. The wall construction of claim 18, wherein attachment between said flanged connector means and said beam is made by means of nail, screw, bolt, lag screw, rivet, staple, pin, dowel, adhesive, tape or glue.

21. The wall construction of claim 18 wherein said lateral flange member further comprises two substantially parallel clasp members sized to accept a portion of a said lateral skirt member of said beam therebetween.

22. The wall construction of claim 14 wherein cross section of said beams substantially comprises a T or an I shape.

23. The wall construction of claim 14 wherein said center web of said vertical beam further comprises a hollow channel.

24. The wall construction of claim 23 wherein said hollow channel may have a square, rectangular, round, C-shaped, or D-shaped cross section.

25. The improved wall construction of claim 14 wherein said vertical beams and flanged connector means are made from a metal or metal alloy.

26. The wall construction of claim 14 wherein said vertical beams and flanged connector means are made from a thermosetting or thermoplastic polymer-based material.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS (CLAIMING BENEFIT UNDER 35 U.S.C. 120)

This application is not related to any other patent applications.

FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT STATEMENT

This invention was not developed in conjunction with any Federally sponsored contract.

MICROFICHE APPENDIX

Not applicable.

INCORPORATION BY REFERENCE

U.S. Pat. No. 6,634,077 issued on Oct. 21, 2003, and U.S. Pat. No. 6,789,977, issued on Sep. 14, 2004, both by Derek John Layfield, and commonly assigned with the present patent application, are hereby incorporated by reference in their entireties, including figures.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

This invention relates to systems and methods for constructing a substantially hollow wall having an exterior set of panels and an interior set of panels, spaced and held by a set of beams disposed between the sets of panels.

2. Background of the Invention

For many years, a primary goal of the residential and commercial construction industry has been to produce marketable quality dwellings as cost efficiently as possible. Residential and light commercial construction methods for homes, classrooms, protective enclosures and the like can generally be divided into three categories with each method having distinct advantages and disadvantages. These categories are: manufactured, wherein a structure is fully constructed off site, then moved to a permanent site; modular, component or panelized, wherein elements are fabricated both on and off site; and on-site or stick-built construction, wherein an entire structure is constructed on site with no external prefabrication.

The major advantage of manufactured structures is that the entire building is constructed in a factory setting with a highly controlled environment, thus providing the efficiencies of mass production. Conversely, the advantage to stick-built structures is that there are generally no architectural or dimensional limitations and full-customization is possible. Further, design changes can generally be accommodated throughout the process. Modular or panelized construction incorporate some of the advantages of both stick-built and manufactured methods in that the cost efficiencies from off site panel fabrication are realized and the on site incorporation and assembly of finished panels is generally very fast. Panelized construction is especially beneficial when pre-manufactured panels possess a plurality of physical characteristics that provide multiple benefits such as improved thermal and acoustic insulation, and favorable aesthetic properties.

Modular building panels have been used to lessen the cost of constructing buildings such as houses, schools, office partitions, walls and the like. As the modular building panels can be made in the factory and assembled on site, the panels can be made more uniform in the factory which lessens the labor required for building the walls of a building or similar. One example of the building panels used to make walls, partitions or the like are straw-based panels made from compressed straw. These straw-based panels provide many highly desirable properties such as good thermal and acoustic insulation, smooth surfaces which are easily finished, an excellent substrate for connectors such as nails or screws, and the manufacturing latitude for highly variable sizes.

What is needed in the art is a construction method that provides easy assembly of interior and exterior walls, roofs and ceilings that incorporates modular or panelized components. The needed construction method should further utilize the favorable physical properties of superior modular components such as compressed straw panels.

What is further needed in the art is a construction method that is quicker and more cost effective than conventional methods while providing easy routing of utility wiring, plumbing lines and HVAC ducts. Finally, what is needed in the art is a construction method that provides wall surfaces that contain no exterior connectors such as nails, screws, and the like that require additional surface treatment to finish. The embodiment disclosed herein meets these needs, provides a system that is made primarily of recycled materials, and represents a significant improvement over existing art.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present embodiment relates to the construction of interior and exterior walls and to the finishing or fitting-out of interior space and particularly finds application in construction of homes, offices, classrooms, hotels, conference centers, business centers, meeting rooms, medical facilities, and the like. Particularly, the present embodiment provides a method and means for constructing interior and exterior walls from modular panels wherein the finished wall contains no penetrations through finished wall surfaces. More particularly, the present embodiment provides for the construction of a wall comprising a plurality of spaced beam members with modular panels, preferably compressed straw panels, assembled thereon in a specific systematic manner resulting a wall or partition that includes no exterior penetrations or connectors. The result is a relatively seamless exterior surface that can be finished in a plurality of ways, but one that, if desired, can be utilized with minimal surface treatment. The finished wall is structurally strong, but substantially hollow, thus enabling very easy routing and re-routing of utility wiring there through. Further, the present embodiment provides for first side of the wall, such as the exterior surface of a house, to be constructed first, then provides for the second side of the wall to be constructed with no surface penetrations. Spaced beam members are provided with a plurality of horizontal opening through which utility wiring and communication cabling can easily be routed. Assembly is simple and fast relative to conventional wall constructions and provides superior structural, thermal and acoustic properties thereto. Thus, by virtue of significant savings in labor costs, is cost effective relative to conventional wall constructions. An alternative embodiment provides for an interior only application of modular panels for use with existing conventional wall constructions wherein wooden studs or the like are used and an existing conventional exterior wall facing already exists. The features and advantages of subject embodiment will be further understood and appreciated by those skilled in the art by reference to the following written specification, claims, and appended drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The present embodiment should be more fully understood when the written description is considered in conjunction with the drawings contained herein, wherein:

FIG. 1 provides an isometric view of a wall construction including two beams, three exterior panels and three interior panels;

FIG. 2a provides a cutaway top view of a wall joint comprising four panels attached to a T-beam member and T-clip member;

FIG. 2b provides an exploded cutaway top view of the wall joint illustrated in FIG. 2a;

FIG. 3a shows an isometric view of a wall construction utilizing T-beams wherein only the exterior panels are in place;

FIG. 3b shows an isometric view of the wall construction of FIG. 3a, wherein a first interior panel is positioned for attachment;

FIG. 3c shows an isometric view of the wall construction of FIG. 3b, wherein a first interior panel is attached;

FIG. 3d shows an isometric view of the wall construction of FIG. 3c wherein disc connectors are in place in the edge the first interior panel;

FIG. 3e shows an isometric view of the wall construction of FIG. 3d wherein a second interior panel is in place and attached;

FIG. 3f shows an isometric view of the wall construction of FIG. 3e wherein a third interior panel is in place and attached;

FIG. 4a provides a cutaway top view of a wall joint comprising four panels and the preferred embodiments of I-beam and slide clip members;

FIG. 4b provides an exploded cutaway top view of the wall joint illustrated in FIG. 4a;

FIG. 5a provides a cutaway top view of a wall construction wherein exterior panels are attached to the preferred embodiment of I-beams;

FIG. 5b provides a cutaway top view of the wall construction of FIG. 5a wherein a first interior panel is attached and the preferred embodiment of slide clip is used;

FIG. 5c provides a cutaway top view of the wall construction of FIG. 5b wherein a second interior panel is positioned for attachment;

FIG. 5d provides a cutaway top view of the wall construction of FIG. 5c wherein a second interior panel is attached;

FIG. 5e provides a cutaway top view of the wall construction of FIG. 5d wherein a third interior panel is attached;

FIG. 5f shows the wall construction of FIG. 5e including insulating material between interior and exterior panels;

FIG. 6 provides a cutaway top view of a wall joint comprising four panels and alternate embodiments of T-beam and T-clip members;

FIG. 7 provides a cutaway top view of a wall joint comprising four panels, an alternate embodiments of T-beam member, and a second alternate embodiment T-clip member;

FIG. 8 provides a cutaway top view of a wall joint comprising four panels, T-beam member and an alternate embodiment of T-clip member.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The present embodiment utilizes solid core compressed straw or strawboard panels comprised of a matrix of highly compressed straw, usually wheat, rice or other recovered agricultural straw, lined on all sides by paper or paperboard. Typically, the strawboard panels are made through a dry extrusion process wherein straw is compressed into a substantially flat continuous web, normally between 1½″ and 3½″ thick and between 40″ and 60″ wide. The continuous web is then cut into rectangular panels of various lengths. Strawboard panel length is easily varied. The compressed straw is arranged in layers with the straw fibers substantially parallel in orientation extending transversely across the strawboard panel from side to side when the strawboard panel is in a normal in-use orientation.

Said strawboard panels are typically rectangular in shape, and for the purposes of this disclosure, will be oriented such that the longer edges are substantially vertical and the shorter edges are substantially horizontal. In this orientation, said straw fibers will assume a generally horizontal orientation. Said strawboard panels have a tackable surface, i.e., are suitable for securely accepting nails, tacks, screws and other connecting means for attaching and/or hanging items from the strawboard panel surfaces.

Further, surfaces of the strawboard panels are suitable for accepting surface texture, paint, wall paper, and other conventional wall coverings. Strawboard panels can be factory finished with surface texture, paint, wall paper and the like, or said surface treatments can easily be applied to a finished wall. Compressed strawboard panels are typically much thicker and stronger than gypsum board and possess higher nail pull values, thus providing nails, screws, or the like driven therein to support more weight than if driven into gypsum board.

Additionally, said strawboard panels possess sound insulating properties superior to both conventional gypsum board walls and many currently available commercial interior partition systems. Solid core strawboard panels further provide fire resistant properties superior to materials used in many presently available interior wall construction and partition systems. To enhance flexibility, these strawboard panels can be cut and formed in the field using conventional tools such as circular, saber or band saws, routers, drywall hand saws, utility knives and the like. Ideally, however, the wall will be designed so that field alteration of said strawboard panels is minimized, thus minimizing installation time and costs. In the preferred embodiment, strawboard panels manufactured by Affordable Building Systems of Texas are used.

As will be seen, one available embodiment of the invention utilizes the disc connector system and method disclosed in issued U.S. Pat. No. 6,634,077 and the disc connector apparatus disclosed in issued U.S. Pat. No. 6,789,977, which are incorporated by reference herein.

Referring to FIG. 1, a detailed isometric view of a composite wall construction is shown. FIG. 1 provides illustration of the general arrangement between the individual components of subject embodiment including exterior panels 1, 2 and 2′, interior panels 3, 4, and 4′, T-beam members 5 and 5′ and T-clip members 6 and 6′. As can be seen, beam members are generally vertically oriented as are the rectangular panels attached thereto. When utilized in a substantially vertical orientation, beam members can easily be utilized as load bearing structural members. Though not apparent from FIG. 1, in subject embodiment, all connections between panels and beams or panels and clips disclosed herein preferably utilize 1½″ lag screws, and it is recommended that lag screw penetrations be located at least 1½″ from the panel edge. In FIG. 1, only two lag screws 8 can be seen and these are shown penetrating through the flanges of T-beams 5 and 5′ and terminating in exterior panels 2 and 2′.

Further, FIG. 1 provides illustration of a typical wall joint comprising two exterior panels 1 and 2, and first and second interior panels, 3 and 4, T-beam member 5 and T-clip member 6. A second wall joint is illustrated comprising two exterior panels 2 and 2′, interior panels 4 and 4′, T-beam member 5′ and T-clip member 6′. The repeating nature of the components are realized, thus the use of numbers 5′ and 6′ for the second T-beam and T-clip members respectively, as well as 2′ and 4′ respectively for the second exterior and interior panel of the second wall joint. This numbering system is used throughout the disclosure. All exterior panels are to be attached first, but the specific order in which the exterior panels are attached is of no importance.

FIG. 2a shows a cutaway top view of a wall joint utilizing the preferred embodiment of each component. Two exterior panels 1, 2 are shown connected to the exterior flange of T-beam 5 by means of lag screws 8. First interior panel 3 is shown connected to T-clip 6 by means of a lag screw 8. T-clip 6 is shown in preferred position about the interior web of T-beam 5 and connected to the web by means of clip screw 7. Clip screw 7 is preferably a self-tapping screw, but many other connection means may be used so long as the connection can be made while accessing only one side of the beam. Second interior panel 4 is attached to first interior panel 3 by means of a plurality of disc connectors 9.

As previously mentioned, disc connector 9 is disclosed in U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,634,077 and 6,789,977. It can be seen that the finished wall joint of FIG. 2a provides for no penetrations through the wall facings. This feature provides the benefit of wall surfaces that are esthetically pleasing, easily finished on site with paint or other coverings, or provides for panels to be substantially finished and/or covered before installation. FIG. 2b shows an exploded cutaway view of the wall joint of FIG. 2a and provides a better illustration of T-clip 6 and T-beam 5.

FIGS. 3a-3f provide an isometric view of subject wall construction. When viewed in sequence, these drawings detail the order in which subject wall is to be constructed. As can be inferred from this disclosure, the first step in erecting a section of the wall construction disclosed herein is to position and install all beam members, regardless of the specific embodiment of the beams and clips. Beam members should be spaced at a lateral distance equal to the width of the building panel used therewith. The second step in erecting the subject wall is to attach all exterior panels to the exterior flange of said beam members by means of lag screws. Once the exterior panels are in place, the interior panels can be installed in the sequence described hereafter.

Referring first to FIG. 3a, first T-beam 5 and second T-beam 5′ are shown in proper vertical position and spaced at a lateral distance equal to the width of one panel. Exterior panels 1, 2, and 2′ are shown properly attached to first and second T-beams by means of a plurality of lag screws 8. The number of lag screws and the spacing therebetween is largely dependent upon wall height and should be assessed in the field during installation. Though hidden from view, the three exterior panels are attached to first T-beam 5 and second T-beam 5′ by means of a plurality of lag screws generally spaced to correspond with those lag screws visible in the illustration. FIG. 3b then shows first interior panel 3 attached to first T-clip 6.

Though not in view, attachment between panel 3 and T-clip 6 is made by means of lag screws. Interior panel 3 is also shown with a plurality of disc receiver recesses 16 properly positioned in the vertical edge. FIG. 3c then shows first interior panel 3 and corresponding T-clip 6 placed in finished position and attached to T-beam 5. Though hidden from view, attachment between T-clip 6 and T-beam 5 is made by placing a plurality of self-tapping clip screws 7 through the overlapping interior webs of the two members. Spacing of clip screws 7 should generally correspond to that of the lag screws holding adjacent panels in place. FIG. 3d then shows disc connectors 9 placed in each disc receiver recess 16.

FIG. 3e shows second interior panel 4 in finished position. Hidden from view are the disc receiver recesses in the left edge of panel 4 which correspond to the disc connectors shown in FIG. 3d as well as the lag screw attachment between second interior panel 4 and second T-clip 6′. Further hidden from view are the clip screws connecting second T-clip 6′ to second T-beam 5′. FIG. 3f then shows third interior panel 4′ in finished position abutted edge to edge with third interior panel 4. Disc receiver recesses in the left edge of panel 4′ are hidden from view.

FIG. 4a provides a cutaway top view of a wall joint in a second embodiment wherein vertical beams are comprised of I-beams 14 and connection between said I-beams 14 and the interior panels are made by means of a slide clip 15. It can be seen that slide clip 15 is shaped to cover the interior facing flange of I-beam 14 and provides for connection to the web of I-beam 14 by means of clip screw 7. As before, clip screw 7 is preferably a self tapping screw so that pre-drilled holes are not necessary. Attachment between I-beam 14 and exterior panels 1 is made by means of 1½″ lag screws, as is attachment between slide clip 15 and interior panel 3. For further clarification, FIG. 4b provides an exploded view of the wall joint illustrated in FIG. 4a.

FIGS. 5a-5f provide a cutaway top view of the second embodiment of subject wall construction, and when viewed in sequence, detail the order in which the subject wall must be constructed. Referring first to FIG. 5a, a first I-beam 14 and second I-beam 14′ are shown in preferred position spaced at a lateral distance equal to the width of one panel. The exterior portion of the wall construction is comprised of three exterior panels 1, 2 and 2′. Connections between exterior panels and I-beams are made by means of lag screws 8. Continuing, FIG. 5b then shows first interior panel 3 connected to slide clip 15 by means of lag screw 8. Slide clip 15 positioned about the interior flange of I-beam 14 and connected to said I-beam by means of clip screw 7. Disc connector 9 is shown positioned in the edge of first interior panel 3. FIG. 5c then shows second interior panel 4 attached to second slide clip 15′ by means of lag screw 8 and generally placed in position top be connected to the wall construction. Second interior panel 4 is also shown with a disc receiver recess 16 in the edge adjacent to first interior panel 3 and a disc connector 9 properly positioned in the opposite edge.

FIG. 5d then shows second interior panel 4 connected to the wall construction with connection to first interior panel 3 made by means of disc connector 9 and connection to second slide clip 15′ made by means of lag screw 8. As shown, connection between second slide clip 15′ and second I-beam 14′ is made by means of clip screw 7. To finish the illustration, FIG. 5e shows third interior panel 4′ connected to second interior panel 4′ by means of disc connector 9. Finally FIG. 5f shows the finished wall construction with optional insulation material installed in the hollow interior spaces.

FIG. 6 illustrates an alternate embodiment of the T-beam and T-clip previously disclosed. Channel beam 10 has the same general shape as T-beam 5 with the exception of a hollow channel replacing the single center web of the T-beam. Channel beam 10 may be used in lieu of T-beam 5 when a more substantial structural member is needed. An alternative to T-clip 6 is provided by flange clip 12 wherein the center web member of the clip is offset to accommodate the center channel of channel member 10. Further, FIG. 7 provides as second alternate embodiment of T-clip 6 wherein channel clip 11 has two center web members which fit on each side of the center channel of channel member 10. In the alternative embodiments illustrated in both FIGS. 6 and 7, self-tapping clip screws 7 are the preferred means of attachment between clip and beam. A variation of channel clip 11 is illustrated in FIG. 8 especially adopted for use with T-beam 5. Like the channel clip, the alternate embodiment 17 has two center web members which fit on each side of the center web of T-beam 5.

The wall constructions disclosed herein are illustrated as walls comprising interior and exterior faces comprised of panels. However, the disclosure is not limited to use as a wall, per se, and may easily be adapted for use in a ceiling-roof application with the interior panels comprising a ceiling and exterior panels comprising a roof decking. Further, subject disclosure is suited for sloped or pitched application as well as vertical application.

The I-beams, T-bearns, channel beams, slide clips, T-clips, channel clips, and flange clips disclosed herein are preferably made from steel, but can be made from any material, metal or non-metal, that provides comparable strength and stiffness and a comparable or higher melting temperature (˜2500° F.). The thickness or gauge of steel or other material required is largely dependent upon the application and the relative structural and stiffness requirements thereof. Further, the lag screws and self tapping clip screws disclosed herein are preferred, but any suitable connectors, rivets, nails, bolt, screws, etc. may be used instead.

Though the embodiments illustrated herein employ compressed strawboard panels, alternate modular panels that can be suitably attached to the subject beams and clips may be employed, especially if said alternate modular panels are compatible with the disc connectors as disclosed. Those skilled in the art will recognize that the dimensions and relative shapes of the I-beams, T-beams, channel beams, slide clips, T-clips, channel clips, flange clips, panels, and various connectors are illustrative of particular embodiments of the present invention, and that actual dimension and shape of each element may vary subject to the needs of each individual application. Further, it is within the skill of the art to provide elements or perform steps which are well known, and which have not be specifically disclosed herein. As many such variations of embodiment of the present invention may be made without departing from the spirit of the invention, the scope of the present invention should be determined by the following claims.