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Title:
Building with Interlocking Panels
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
According to the invention, a structure is disclosed. The structure may include a dual channel joint member and a plurality of panels. The dual channel joint member may define two channels, each channel possibly being configured to receive an edge of a panel thereby coupling two panels. The plurality of panels may include a first panel, a second panel, and a third panel. The first panel or the second panel may define a cavity. The other of the first panel or the second panel may include a hooked tab. The hooked tab may engage the cavity and couples the first panel with the second panel. The dual channel joint member may couple the second panel with the third panel.


Inventors:
Bunker, Owen Woodruff (Aurora, CO, US)
Application Number:
12/044246
Publication Date:
09/11/2008
Filing Date:
03/07/2008
Assignee:
Tuff Shed, Inc. (Denver, CO, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
52/285.1, 52/285.4
International Classes:
E04B1/348; E04B1/38; E04B1/48
View Patent Images:
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Attorney, Agent or Firm:
TOWNSEND AND TOWNSEND AND CREW, LLP (TWO EMBARCADERO CENTER, EIGHTH FLOOR, SAN FRANCISCO, CA, 94111-3834, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A structure, wherein the structure comprises: a dual channel joint member defining two channels, each channel configured to receive an edge of a panel thereby coupling two panels; and a plurality of panels, wherein: the plurality of panels comprises: a first panel; a second panel; and a third panel; the first panel or the second panel defines a cavity; the other of the first panel or the second panel comprises a hooked tab; the hooked tab engages the cavity and couples the first panel with the second panel; and the dual channel joint member couples the second panel with the third panel.

2. The structure of claim 1, wherein the structure further comprises a roof sheet, wherein: the plurality of panels further comprise a plurality of roof tabs; the roof sheet defines a plurality of cavities; and the roof tabs engage the cavities of the roof sheet, thereby coupling the roof sheet with the panels.

3. The structure of claim 2, wherein the structure further comprises lockable pins configured to engage the roof sheet and roof tabs.

4. The structure of claim 1, wherein the structure further comprises a floor sheet and a base joint piece, wherein the base joint piece defines two channels, and wherein: one of the two channels is configured to receive an edge of a panel; and the other of the two channels is configured to receive an edge of the floor sheet.

5. The structure of claim 4, wherein the edge of the floor sheet defines a slot, and the slot is configured to lessen a pressure required for the floor sheet to be received into one of the two channels.

6. The structure of claim 1, wherein at least one panel defines a slotted cavity, and wherein the structure further comprises: a panel hold-down; and a floor sheet, wherein the panel hold-down is coupled with the floor sheet, and engages the slotted cavity.

7. The structure of claim 1, wherein the structure further comprises a void-block disposed within at least a portion of the cavity, and wherein the void-block at least partially restricts the hooked tab from moving.

8. The structure of claim 7, wherein the structure further comprises a cover piece configured to at least partially conceal the void-block and at least partially restrict the void-block and the hooked tab from moving.

9. The structure of claim 1, wherein the structure further comprises: a first floor sheet, wherein the first floor sheet defines a slot along at least one edge; a second floor sheet, wherein the second floor sheet defines a slot along at least one edge; and a joint strip, wherein the joint strip is disposed within the slot of the first floor sheet and the second floor sheet, thereby at least partially coupling the first floor sheet with the second floor sheet.

10. A structure, wherein the structure comprises: a plurality of dual channel joint members comprising a first dual channel joint member and a second dual channel member, each dual channel joint member defining two channels, each channel configured to receive an edge of a panel thereby coupling two panels; and a plurality of panels, wherein: the plurality of panels comprises: a first panel; a second panel; and a third panel; the first dual channel joint member couples the first panel with the second panel; and the second dual channel joint member couples the second panel with the third panel.

11. The structure of claim 10, wherein the structure further comprises a roof sheet, wherein: the plurality of panels further comprise a plurality of roof tabs; the roof sheet defines a plurality of cavities; and the roof tabs engage the cavities of the roof sheet, thereby coupling the roof sheet with the panels.

12. The structure of claim 10, wherein the structure further comprises a floor sheet and a base joint piece, wherein the base joint piece defines two channels, and wherein: one of the two channels is configured to receive an edge of a panel; and the other of the two channels is configured to receive an edge of the floor sheet.

13. The structure of claim 10, wherein at least one panel defines a slotted cavity, and wherein the structure further comprises: a panel hold-down; and a floor sheet, wherein the panel hold-down is coupled with the floor sheet, and engages the slotted cavity.

14. The structure of claim 10, wherein the structure further comprises a door rotatably coupled with one of the plurality of panels via a hinge, wherein the hinge comprises a plurality of pins within a total length of the hinge.

15. A structure, wherein the structure comprises: a plurality of panels, wherein: the plurality of panels comprises: a first panel; a second panel; and a third panel; the first panel is coupled with the second panel, wherein: the first panel has a cavity or a hooked tab; the second panel has the other of the cavity or the hooked tab; and the hooked tab engages the cavity to couple the first panel with the second panel; and the second panel is coupled with the third panel, wherein: the second panel has a cavity or a hooked tab; the third panel has the other of the cavity or the hooked tab; and the hooked tab engages the cavity to couple the second panel with the third panel.

16. The structure of claim 15, wherein the structure further comprises a roof sheet, wherein: the plurality of panels further comprise a plurality of roof tabs; the roof sheet defines a plurality of cavities; and the roof tabs engage the cavities of the roof sheet, thereby coupling the roof sheet with the panels.

17. The structure of claim 15, wherein the structure further comprises a floor sheet and a base joint piece, wherein the base joint piece defines two channels, and wherein: one of the two channels is configured to receive an edge of a panel; and the other of the two channels is configured to receive an edge of the floor sheet.

18. The structure of claim 15, wherein at least one panel defines a slotted cavity, and wherein the structure further comprises: a panel hold-down; and a floor sheet, wherein the panel hold-down is coupled with the floor sheet, and engages the slotted cavity.

19. The structure of claim 15, wherein the structure further comprises a void-block disposed within at least a portion of the cavity, and wherein the void-block at least partially restricts the hooked tab from moving.

20. The structure of claim 19, wherein the structure further comprises a cover piece configured to at least partially conceal the void-block and at least partially restrict the void-block and the hooked tab from moving.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority to Provisional U.S. Patent Application No. 60/894,159 filed Mar. 9, 2007, entitled “Building With Interlocking Panels,” the entire disclosure of which is hereby incorporated by reference, for all purposes, as if fully set forth herein.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates generally to building construction methods. More particularly the invention relates to methods of constructing buildings using interlocking wall panels, possibly using Structurally Insulated Panels (“SIPs”).

Traditional methods of assembling buildings usually involve a trade-off of benefits. Quick and inexpensive methods produce buildings which are not robust enough to handle repeated use and/or the environment. More sturdy construction methods are available, but take more time and costly materials.

The present invention provides for speedier construction by using novel techniques to produce a durable building in less time, and with less costly materials than conventional methods. The present invention may also provide other advantages such as allowing one with minimal skill in the art to construct a building with only written instructions and a reduced number of standard tools.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

In one embodiment, a structure is provided. The structure may include a dual channel joint member and a plurality of panels. The dual channel joint member may define two channels, each channel possibly being configured to receive an edge of a panel thereby coupling two panels. The plurality of panels may include a first panel, a second panel, and a third panel. The first panel or the second panel may define a cavity. The other of the first panel or the second panel may include a hooked tab. The hooked tab may engage the cavity and couples the first panel with the second panel. The dual channel joint member may couple the second panel with the third panel.

In another embodiment, a structure is provided. The structure may include a plurality of dual channel joint members and a plurality of panels. The plurality of dual channel joint members may include a first dual channel joint member and a second dual channel member. Each dual channel joint member may define two channels, with each channel possibly configured to receive an edge of a panel thereby coupling two panels. The plurality of panels may include a first panel, a second panel, and a third panel. The first dual channel joint member may couple the first panel with the second panel. The second dual channel joint member may couple the second panel with the third panel.

In another embodiment, a structure is provided. The structure may include a plurality of panels. The plurality of panels may include a first panel, a second panel, and a third panel. The first panel may be coupled with the second panel, where the first panel may have a cavity or a hooked tab, and the second panel may have the other of the cavity or the hooked tab. The hooked tab may engage the cavity to couple the first panel with the second panel. The second panel may be coupled with the third panel, where the second panel may have a cavity or a hooked tab, and the third panel may have the other of the cavity or the hooked tab. The hooked tab may engage the cavity to couple the second panel with the third panel.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The present invention is described in conjunction with the appended figures:

FIGS. 1A-1C are axonometric views of a building in one embodiment of the invention constructed using a method embodiment of the invention;

FIGS. 2A-2E include multiple views of a floor panel of the building from FIGS. 1A-1C;

FIGS. 3A-3E include multiple views of a base joint piece of the building from FIGS. 1A-1C;

FIGS. 4A-4O include multiple views of side panels of the building from FIGS. 1A-1C;

FIGS. 5A-5M include multiple views of back panels of the building from FIGS. 1A-1C;

FIGS. 6A and 6B show the joining of the corners of the building from FIGS. 1A-1C;

FIGS. 7A and 7B show the addition of a cover piece to cover and secure the joints shown in FIGS. 6A and 6B;

FIGS. 7C and 7D show dual channel members which provide another means of coupling two side panels at a corner of the building from FIGS. 1A-1C;

FIGS. 8A-8C show an H-shaped joint piece which may join the back panels of the building from FIGS. 1A-1C;

FIGS. 9A-9C show an H-shaped joint piece which may join the side panels of the building from FIGS. 1A-1C;

FIGS. 10A-10M and FIGS. 11A-11E include multiple views of front panels of the building from FIGS. 1A-1C;

FIGS. 12A-12D show H-shaped joint pieces which may join the front panels of the building from FIGS. 1A-1C;

FIGS. 13A-13D show a door panel for the building from FIGS. 1A-1C;

FIGS. 14A-14J show U-shaped members which may at least partially form the door frame of the building from FIGS. 1A-1C;

FIGS. 15A-15H show two U-shaped members which may form a hinge to rotatably couple the door from FIGS. 13A-13D with the building from FIGS. 1A-1C;

FIGS. 16A-16E show a wall-and-base joint piece hold down;

FIGS. 17A-17F show a roof panel of the building from FIGS. 1A-1C;

FIG. 17G shows a roof tab reinforcement being applied to a top edge of a front or back panel of the building from FIGS. 1A-1C;

FIGS. 18A and 18B show a roof joint piece of the building from FIGS. 1A-1C;

FIG. 19 shows a cross section of the roof edging of the building from FIGS. 1A, 1B, 1C;

FIG. 20 shows an anchor-pin; and

FIGS. 21-23 show alternative fastening elements to the anchor-pin shown in FIG. 20.

In the appended figures, similar components and/or features may have the same numerical reference label. Further, various components of the same type may be distinguished by following the reference label by a letter that distinguishes among the similar components and/or features. If only the first numerical reference label is used in the specification, the description is applicable to any one of the similar components and/or features having the same first numerical reference label irrespective of the letter suffix.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The ensuing description provides exemplary embodiments only, and is not intended to limit the scope, applicability or configuration of the disclosure. Rather, the ensuing description of the exemplary embodiments will provide those skilled in the art with an enabling description for implementing one or more exemplary embodiments. It being understood that various changes may be made in the function and arrangement of elements without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as set forth in the appended claims.

Specific details are given in the following description to provide a thorough understanding of the embodiments. However, it will be understood by one of ordinary skill in the art that the embodiments may be practiced without these specific details. For example, processes, steps, methods may be shown as components in block diagram form in order not to obscure the embodiments in unnecessary detail. In other instances, well-known components in the art may be shown without unnecessary detail in order to avoid obscuring the embodiments.

Also, it is noted that individual embodiments may be described as a process which is depicted as a flowchart, a flow diagram, a structure diagram, or a block diagram. Although a flowchart may describe the operations as a sequential process, many of the operations can be performed in parallel or concurrently. In addition, the order of the operations may be re-arranged. A process is terminated when its operations are completed, but could have additional steps not included in a figure. A process may correspond to a method, a function, a procedure, etc.

Turning now to FIGS. 1A-1C, one embodiment of the invention is shown. In this embodiment, a building 100 is provided. Building 100 may be constructed, at least in part, with panels 110 and joint pieces 120. In an exemplary embodiment, panels 110 may be SIPs and joint pieces 120 may be extruded aluminum joint pieces which may couple multiple SIPs with each other. SIPs may include, for example, polystyrene foam, polypropylene foam, polyurethane foam, and/or other insulatory/structural materials between two pieces of high density fiberboard, tempered hardboard (“THB”), oriented strand board (“OSB”), cement board, and/or other similar materials. In some embodiments, the SIPs may instead incorporate metal (i.e. sheet metal such as steel or aluminum), plastic, polymer and/or composites such as fiber reinforced plastics (rigid or felixbile) in place of one or more of the THB layers. Some embodiments may have metal, plastic or polymers in addition to the THB layers.

In some embodiments, sides of the SIPs which will be in the interior of building 100 may have a smoother finish than sides of the SIPs which will be on the exterior of building 100. The finish of the exterior side of a SIP may be patterned or textured in such a manner to make it appear to an observer that the building 100 is constructed of more conventional materials such as lumber. Other materials may also be used for panels 110, including, but not limited to, oriented strand board, particle board, fibreboard, plywood, wood, cement board, composites, plastics, polymers and/or metals.

In some embodiments, panels 110 may have added reinforcement, either on their exterior (either side) or in their interior, possibly within the interior foam or on either side of the interior foam. The added reinforcement may include, merely by way of example, high density fiberboard, tempered hardboard (“THB”), oriented strand board (“OSB”), cement board, metal, plastic, polymer, composites such as fiber reinforced plastics, and/or other materials. These reinforcement materials may be located on panels 110 such that they increase the strength and/or rigidity of panels, for example, at the edge of panels 110, or in the interior portions of panels 110. Such reinforcement, especially when at the edge of panels 110 may assist in strengthening coupling of adjacent panels by the methods discussed herein. When reinforcement is added in the interior portions of panels 110, it may also allow items to be coupled with panels 110 (either on the outside or inside of building 100).

In some embodiments, the interior and/or exterior layers of panels 110 may be prepared smaller than their final desired dimensions. Changes in moisture and temperature exposure experienced by the panels during actual use in building 100 may thereafter cause the interior and/or exterior layers of panels 110 to expand to their final dimensions. In some embodiments, the center of panels 110 may not be as affected by such changes in moisture and temperature, and therefore eventually conform to the sizes of the changed interior and exterior layers.

Different materials and/or methods of manufacture may be used to create joint pieces 120. Merely by way of example, steel, aluminum alloys, steel alloys, polymers, plastics, composites and/or other materials known in the art may be used to create joint pieces 120. Likewise, manufacturing methods other than extrusion may also be employed, including, but not limited to forming and fabrication.

In some embodiments, one or more panels 110 may form the floor, front, sides, back and roof of the building 100. For example, in FIGS. 1A-1C, the front of building 100 is constructed from panels 110A, 110B, 110C. The left side of building 100 is constructed from panels 110D, 110E. The right side of building 100 is constructed from panels 110F, 110G. The back of building 100 is constructed from panels 110H, 110I. The roof of building 100 is constructed from panels 110J, 110K. A floor panel 110L (not shown in FIGS. 1A-1C) may also be provided in some embodiments. In other embodiments, no floor panels may be provided and the surface on which building 100 sits may be the floor. The surface may be a pad made from concrete or other material, or may be the ground.

In some embodiments, high strength fabric, polymer, and/or metal reinforcement straps may be included on or in any of the panels 110 discussed herein. These reinforcement straps may be coupled with earth anchors allowing the straps to be coupled with the ground to resist undesirable wind and/or seismic loading. Such reinforcement straps may also at least assist in strengthening panels 110.

FIGS. 2A-2E show floor panel 110L. In some embodiments, floor panel 110L may be thicker than other panels 110 in building 100, possibly to support loads placed thereon by people and/or objects. In the exemplary embodiment shown in FIGS. 2A-2E, the thickness of: the THB may be about 7/16 inches; the foam may be about 1½ inches; and the sheet aluminum may be about 0.015 inches. In other embodiments, the thickness of: the THB may be between about ⅛ inches and about 1¼ inches; the foam may be between about ½ inches and 8 inches or more; and the sheet aluminum may be between about 0.010 inches and about 0.063 inches. Dimensions of other pieces in the invention, particularly joint pieces 120, may be sized to accommodate different sized floor panels 110L in different embodiments.

In some embodiments multiple panels 110 may be used to create a floor. The multiple panels 110 may be joined using methods known in the art. In some embodiments, the method used to join multiple panels 110 may leave a seamless, or nearly seamless joint within building 100 so objects may freely be moved by sliding them across the joint without obstruction. When multiple panels are used to create the floor of building 100, joint slots 210 may be present on one or more edges of each panel. When two panels are mated with slots 210 abutting each other, a piece of material, possibly THB, may be inserted into the slots, thereby assisting in joining the two panels together. Screws, glue and/or other fasteners known in the art may then be driven through the panels and couple the panels more fixedly with the piece of material inserted into the slot, thereby coupling the two panels with each other. In other embodiments, an ‘H’ shaped joint piece may be used to couple multiple panels 110 used to create the floor.

In one method of the invention for constructing building 100, floor panel 110L is supported by a surface, and multiple base joint pieces 120A are coupled with the edge of floor panel 110L. Turning to FIGS. 3A-3E, base joint piece 120A is shown in greater detail. The edges of floor panel 110L are inserted into channel 310. Channel 310 may have press-fit features 320 such as sharp fins on one or more of the interior surfaces of channel 310 to engage floor panel 110L. Press-fit features 320 may allow base joint piece 120A to resist floor panel 110L from being disengaged from the channel 310. Other types of press-fit features 320 are possible within the scope of the invention. Other types of press-fit features 320 are detailed in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/366,352 entitled “Door Stabilizer for a Building,” the entire contents of which are hereby incorporated by reference for all purposes as if set forth fully herein.

Base joint pieces 120A may have angled ends 330, 340 to allow for flush meetings at the corners of floor panel 110L. In embodiments with floor panels 110L which are of greater lengths, multiple base joint pieces 120A may be required for each edge of floor panel 110L. In some embodiments, holes may be present in the walls of channel 310 (i.e. at the bottom of channel 350) to provide additional coupling to floor panel via screws or other fasteners known in the art. These holes may be near angled ends 330, 340 and/or may be distributed along the length of base joint pieces 120A. In some embodiments, channel 310 may also be slightly narrower at its entrance than at its base, further resisting removal of floor panel 110L from channel 310 once inserted.

In some embodiments, particularly embodiments employing SIPs, floor panel 110L may have a slot 220 in the edge allowing the thickness of floor panel 110L to be reduced when put under compression, as shown in FIGS. 2C and 2E. This will allow an assembler to more easily insert the edge of floor panel 110L into channel 310. As an assembler pushes floor panel 110L into channel 310, floor panel 110L will compress at the edge and enter the channel more easily than if floor panel 110L did not have slot 220 and compressed less under pressure. Once floor panel 110L has engaged channel 310, channel 310 will be in tension containing the compressed floor panel 110L, and such forces will further resist disassembly of the two coupled components.

Once the perimeter of floor panel 110L is coupled with base joint pieces 120A, the walls of building 100 may then be coupled with base joint piece 120A and each other. The order in which the individual wall panels may be coupled with base joint piece 120A discussed herein is exemplary, and in practice they may be coupled in multiple different possible sequences.

In one embodiment, the bottom edge of side panel 110E, seen in FIGS. 4A-4O, may be inserted into channel 350 of one of the base joint pieces 120A (note that one wall of channel 350 may be taller than the other, possibly as shown in FIGS. 16A-16E discussed below). In some embodiments, side panel 110E, along with all other panels discussed herein, may be SIPs panels which may include foam between two pieces of THB or materials described herein. In an exemplary embodiment, the outside THB or other material may be about ⅛ inches thick; the foam or other interior material may be about ⅝ inches thick; and the inside THB or other material may be about ⅛ inches thick. In some embodiments, the outside THB or other material may be between about 1/64 inches and about ¾ inches thick, and may be finished on the outside surface with an aesthetically pleasing finish. In some embodiments the foam or other interior material may be between about ⅜ inches and about 6 inches thick or more. In some embodiments, the inside THB or other material may be between about 1/64 inches and about ¾ inches thick, and may be finished on the inside surface with a utilitarian finish such as a smooth finish to resist coating with undesirable materials such as dirt and dust over extended periods of time and use. In some embodiments, the interior or exterior THB, or other material, may be peg or slot board to assist in hanging objects on the side of panels 110. In these or other embodiments, horizontal or vertical sections of the foam interiors of any of panels 110 may include reinforcement bands. These reinforcement bands may be made from any of the materials discussed herein, possibly THB, and provide locations where objects may be coupled with panels 110 with greater assurance that the object will be securely coupled to panel 110 (when compared to parts of panels 110 with foam interiors). In some of these embodiments, the exterior of the panels (i.e. the inside or outside of the building), may be marked or pre-drilled for ease of later coupling operations.

Press-fit features 360 may assist in griping panels 110 inserted into the channel 350. The bottom edge of side panel 110E may have a slot in it as described with reference to floor panel 110L to assist in coupling and holding side panel 110E with base joint pieces 120A. Once side panel 110E is inserted into base joint piece 120A, back panel 110I would also be inserted into base joint piece 120. Back panel 110I is shown in FIGS. 5A-5M. All of the hooked-tabs 510 on back panel 110I may be inserted into corresponding hook-cavities 410 on side panel 110E as shown in FIGS. 6A and 6B. Directional arrows 610A, 610B show the directions that panel 110 with hooked-tab 510 may be inserted into hook-cavity 410. After the panels 110 have been joined, a void 620 may be created in a portion of hook cavity 410 not filled by the hooked-tab 510. A piece of material 630, possibly a small wooden, plastic or other type of block (rectangular or square) may be inserted into void 620 to prevent hooked-tab 510 from disengaging hook-cavity 410.

In the embodiment shown, note that the entry of the hooked-tab 510 may have sloped entryways (possibly 79 degrees as shown in detail ‘B’ of FIG. 10H and FIG. 10M), such as to encourage engagement of the hooked-tabs 510 with hook cavity 410. Note that the shape of the hooked-tabs 510 can be modified from that shown in the figures in numerous fashions to achieve the same purpose of interlocking the panels. For example, in other embodiments, either the hooked-tabs 510 or the hook cavities 410 may be rounded.

FIGS. 7A and 7B show an axonometric and plan view of a hook-cavity-and-hooked-tab joint with a cover piece 130 covering the joint. As seen from the plan view, cover piece 130 may be shaped such that it may be slid over the length of the joint to hide and protect the joint. Cover piece 130 may also resist movement of the piece of material 630 from exiting void 620, thereby further locking the joint into place. In some embodiments, the top of cover piece 130 may be shaped to conform with the orientation of the roof where it meets the walls of building 100. Cover piece 130 may also be formed and/or shaped metal, plastic, polymer, composite. In an exemplary embodiment, cover piece may be formed and shaped vinyl.

FIGS. 7C and 7D show dual channel members 710, 720 which may provide another means of coupling to side panels 110 at a corner of building 100 from FIGS. 1A-1C. In embodiments which employ dual channel members 710, 720, the corners of building 100 which employ such members will not include hooked-tabs 510 and hook cavities 410, but instead may have substantially featureless straight edges at the corner. These panels 110 may be inserted into channels 715, 725, where press-fit features will assist in retaining the panels therein. In these or other embodiments, screws, glue, and/or other fasteners may also be employed to couple panels 110 with each other and/or dual channel members 710, 720 for added stability and strength.

The same joint process may be repeated to form the back of building 100 with back panel 110H and side panel 110G. Back panels 110H, 110I may be joined using H-shaped joint piece 120B as seen in FIGS. 8A-8C. Back panels 110H, 110I are shown in FIGS. 5A-5M. Side panels 110D, 110F may then be inserted into base joint piece 120A and coupled with side panels 110E, 110G respectively using H-shaped joint piece 120C. Side panels 110D-110G are shown in FIG. 4A-4O. In other embodiments, the foam layer of each panel 110 at a joint of two panels 110 may be recessed such that an additional piece (possibly made from any of the materials described herein) may be inserted in the gap formed by the two recesses. Glue, screws, and/or other fasteners may then be used to couple the two panels 110 with the additional piece. Such coupling methods may be used for any panel coupling discussed herein. In yet other embodiments, only one such panel 110 may have a recessed foam layer, with the mating panel 110 having an extended foam layer. Again, glue, screws, and/or other fasteners may then be used to couple the two panels 110. In some embodiments, the back of building 100 may include fewer or greater than two panels. In an exemplary embodiment, the back of building 100 may be constructed from three panels 110 using ‘H’ shaped joint pieces to couple panels 110. In these embodiments, the middle panel 110 of the back of building 100 may couple with the two roof panels 110J, 110K thereby adding rigidity to building 100 and roof.

The same joint process may then be repeated with front panels 110A, 110B to couple them with side panels 110D, 110F. The top front panel 110C (shown in FIGS. 11A-11E) may then be coupled with front panels 110A, 110B with H-shaped joint pieces120D, 120E (shown in FIGS. 12A-12D). Note that in every location where a panel 110 is coupled with a joint piece 120, the edge of the panel may have a slot as described above in reference to FIGS. 2C and 2E to allow for easier and more secure coupling of panel 110 to joint piece 120. Also note that partial tabs 430AB, 430 AC may combine with partial tabs 430AG, 430AN and be inserted into common cavities 1710. This may add rigidity to the building as multiple wall panels 110 may be thereby coupled with the roof at the same cavity 1710.

A door 115 (as seen in FIGS. 13A-13D) may be added to building 100 Door 115 may have stabilizers, such as those discussed in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/366,352, coupled to one or more of its edges (for example, all edges except the hinged edge). These stabilizers may at least partially, if not completely (besides the hinged edge), frame and trim the door. A hinged U-shaped member (such as that shown in FIGS. 15A-15H (discussed below)), may frame and trim the hinged edge as well. In some embodiments, door 115 may be made from similar materials as panels 110. The door opening frame may be comprised of U-shaped members 120F, such as those shown in FIGS. 14A-14J, coupled with the edge of the door opening frame. These U-shaped members may completely frame and trim the door opening frame, except possibly the hinged edge. Door may also have one or more cut-outs 1310 for locking and handle mechanisms. At the base of the door frame a piece of material may be inserted into channel 350 of base joint piece 120A to smooth the threshold entryway. Channel 350 would otherwise be empty in the doorway because no panel 110 is coupled here to form a wall. In yet other embodiments, a portion of the channel at the entryway may be omitted or removed to smooth the threshold.

FIGS. 15A-15H show a hinge 120G, in two pieces, which may be used to rotatably couple door 115. Hinge 120G may have water path features 1510 on each piece which nominally or substantially seal the interior of the building from the exterior along the length of hinge 120G. The shape of water path feature 1510 may vary. Other types of water path features are discussed in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/366,352. Any other portions of hinge 120G may also have water path feature to aid in removal of moisture from hinge 120G. Pins may be inserted in pivot points 1520 to couple the two pieces of hinge 120G together. Multiple pins may be used, and may be driven into the aligned pivot points 1520 to prevent disassembly of the hinge from the exterior of building 100 because only pins near the ends of hinge 120G may be easily removed. The pins may be made from any of the various materials discussed herein, and in some embodiments may be aluminum and/or a polymer such as nylon, which may cause less friction and wear during insertation and usage. Thus in these or other embodiments, hinge 120G may also form the trim and/or the frame of the door.

Once walls are coupled with the base joint pieces 120A, wall-and-base joint piece hold downs 1600 (as seen in FIGS. 16A-16D) may be used to secure the wall panels 110 to floor panel 110L. The base section 1610 of the hold down 1600 may have holes 1620 through which traditional fasteners may be used to couple hold down 1600 to floor panel 110L. Hook members 1630 may extend over portions on base joint pieces 120A and into wall cavities 420 in wall panels 110. The bottom portion of the hook members 1630 may compress some of the foam in wall panel 110 and thereby grip the inner layer of wall panel 110 as hold down 1600 is coupled with the floor panel 110L, as shown in assembly sketch 1650. Hook 1630 may also extend below the left wall of the channel in 120A to which wall panel 110 is inserted, so that hook 1630 does not apply excess pressure to only wall panel 110. In these configurations, hook will exert pressure on both wall panel 110 and the wall of the channel of joint piece 120A, thus reducing the likelihood of damage to wall panel 110 if it experiences normal, unforeseen, and/or undesirable forces on any of the wall panels, floor panels, or roof panels of building 100.

An alternative embodiment is shown in FIG. 16E. In this embodiment, the channel into which panel 110 is inserted in base joint piece 121A may have a taller left wall 122 than right wall 123. Alternative hold down 1601 may be shaped such that it can accommodate the different size of left wall 122. These embodiments may be advantageous in that pressure applied by alternative hold down 1601 is distributed more evenly to both panel 110 and base joint piece 121A.

FIGS. 17A-17F show roof panels 110J, 110K. Each roof panel has multiple cavities, 1710. These cavities 1710 may mate with roof tabs 430 from side wall panels 110D, 110E, 110F, 110G, back wall panels 110H, 110I, and front wall panels 110A, 110B, 110C. In some embodiments, roof panels 110J, 110K may be SIPs, and may include a first layer of metal, polymer or plastic; a second layer of THB, a third layer of foam; and a fourth layer of THB. In some embodiments the first layer may be about 0.015 inches thick, or between about 0.010 inches and about 0.125 inches thick; the second layer may be about ⅛ inches thick, or between about 1/64 inches and about ¾ inches thick; the third layer may be about ⅝ inches thick, or between about ⅜ inches and about 6 inches thick; and the fourth layer may be about ⅛ inches thick, or between about 1/64 inches and about ¾ inches thick. In some embodiments, the first layer may be any material which resists the elements and helps drain away any fluid from the roof of the building while protecting the roof panels 110J, 110K themselves.

Before roof panels 110J, 100K are put in place, roof tab reinforcements 1750 (seen in FIG. 17G) may be put into place over the tops of side wall, back wall and/or front wall panels 110. Tab reinforcements 1750 may be made from a metal, possibly aluminum or steel, and assist in reducing wear from the weight of roof panels 110J, 110K and/or from wind, snow and other accumulations. After tab reinforcements 1750 are attached to tabs 430 (as shown by directional arrows 1760), tab reinforcements 1750 may protect the backs 1780 of tabs 430 from damage cause by the weight of roof panels 110J, 110K and/or from wind, snow and other accumulations as it is applied on the tabs in the direction of force arrow 1770. Tab reinforcements 1750 may be individual pieces for each tab 430, or may be one piece to cover all tabs 430 for the top of each panel 110 where they are required.

Tab reinforcements 1750 may be more advantageous for tabs 430 which are aligned in the direction of the slope of the roof panels 110J, 110K. Merely by way of example, in some embodiments, back wall panels 110H, 110I, and front wall panels 110A, 110B, 110C may have tabs 430 where tab reinforcements 1750 are applied due to the slope of the top edge of the panel 110. In contrast, side wall panels 110D, 110E, 110F, 110G may not require tab reinforcements 1750 because of the larger area available on the side of tabs 430 on those panels to absorb shear forces from roof pieces 110J, 110K. Wherever tab reinforcements 1750 are applied, they may be shaped to correspond to at least some portion of the edge of the panel 110 they are applied to. In some embodiments for example, the tab reinforcements 1750 may be multiple individual pieces possibly one for each tab) and merely cover the areas of the tabs 430 which may experience undesirable forces. Note also that in some embodiments, tabs 430 at the top edge of wall panels 110D, 110E, 110F and 110G may also be reinforced in a similar fashion, except the width of the tabs 430 may also be protected, in addition to, or in the alternative to, the ends of tabs 430.

Before or during mating of roof tabs 430 with cavities 1710, roof joint piece 120H (seen in FIGS. 18A and 18B) may be used to couple roof panels 110J, 110K with each other, either before or during mating with the top of building 100. Each roof panel 110J, 110K may have one edge inserted into a channel 1810 of roof joint piece 120H so as to couple roof panels 110J, 110K with each other. Each channel 1810 may have water path features 1820 to at least nominally seal the roof joint and press-fit features 1830 to resist roof panels from exiting the roof joint piece 120H.

FIG. 19 shows a cross section of roof edging 1900. Roof edging 1900 may be made from suitable materials, particularly flexible polymers, and may be coupled with the edge of the roof of building 100 to provide an aesthetically pleasing finish and seal the edge of the panel from moisture, particularly where SIPs are employed. A slot in the edge of panel 110 may accept barbed insert 1910 and stretch arm 1920 in the direction of directional arrow 1930, thereby creating two sealing points 1940. This may at least nominally seal the edge of panel 110 from water draining down the top of panel 110. The choice of outside materials and texture for the roof panels 110 may be chosen such that a water-resistant or water-proof seal will be created by edging 1900. For example, a smooth texture outside material for roof panels 110 may be used such that sealing points 1940 evenly apply pressure to the surface of the roof panels.

In some embodiments, at least some portion of the roof tabs 430 may have one or more holes extending at least partially through its width. Corresponding roof panels 110J, 110K may have holes extending from the edges of the panels to cavities 1710, where the holes are substantially aligned with the holes in roof tabs 430. Roof panels 110J, 110K may have roof edging 1900 pre-installed, with holes through roof edging 1900 as well.

Once roof panels 110J, 100K are in place, locking pin mechanisms 2000 (as shown in FIG. 20) may be inserted into the combined holes from the edge of roof panels 110J, 110K. Pin mechanism 2000, once inserted, would extend from the edge of the panel 110, through the panel 110, into roof tab 430, and through the opposite side of roof tab 430 and back into panel 110. Pin mechanism 2000 includes a locking collar 2010 and a barbed pin 2020. In its initial state, a head 2030 of pin 2020 is extended from locking collar 2010. Note that for clarity reasons, these holes were not shown in FIG. 17A

Once pin mechanism 2000 is in position, a user may apply force to head 2030 and drive pin 2020 into locking collar 2010. Shoulders 2040 on pin 2020 will extend beyond locking arms 2050, therefore restricting pin 2020 from returning to its initial position. Additionally, the larger diameter of pin 2020 at shoulders 2040 may cause locking arms 2050 to radially extend outward further than in their initial position, thereby driving locking arms 2050 into the panel 110 to resist extraction from the holes. In other embodiments, pin mechanism 2000 may include only one piece more closely resembling the pin 2020. In these embodiments, the barbs on pin 2020 may engage roof edging 1900 once driven into panels 110.

Instructions provided for an assembler of building 100 may include directions to position all roof panels 110J, 110K in their final position before applying force to head 2030 because it may be problematic, if not impossible, to remove pin mechanism 2000 from a panel 110 afterwards. Finally, an end cap 140, manufactured to match the cross section of roof joint piece 120H may be coupled with the ends of roof joint piece 120H to seal voids 1840 that would be accessible at the front and rear of building 100. In some embodiments, end cap 140 may cover the ends of roof edging 1900 and the otherwise exposed edges of panels 110 which the roof edging 1900 does not cover. In other embodiments, pins, nails, and/or other fasteners may be used instead of pins 2000. Merely by way of example, and as shown in FIG. 21, plastic pins 2100 having a shoulder 2110 on their shaft may be used. The shoulder may at least assist in preventing the removal of plastic pin 2100 after inserting into roof edge. In another possible embodiment, and as shown in FIG. 22, a standard nail 2200 with a plastic covering 2210 on the head may be employed. In yet another possible embodiment, and as shown in FIG. 23, a standard nail 2300 with a plastic covering on both the head a portion of the shaft may be employed. In some embodiments, the plastic used in any of the above fasteners may the same plastic used for roof edging 1900.

A number of variations and modifications of the invention can also be used within the scope of the invention. Merely by way of example, orientation of the building roof and entryway could be changed; only one or more corners of the building could use interlocking hooked-tabs 510 and hook-cavities 410; fewer or greater number of panels 110 could be used to form the floor, roof, or any side of the building; traditional fasteners such as screws, nails, and/or stapler could be used in place of any of the joint pieces 120 and/or interlocking mechanisms; and/or a chemical sealant, such as paint or silicon, could be used to seal the edges of roof panels 110J, 110K.

The invention has now been described in detail for the purposes of clarity and understanding. However, it will be appreciated that certain changes and modification may be practice within the scope of the appended claims.