Title:
Cold Room With Roof-Top Support Platform
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A cold room building is disclosed having a prefabricated insulated housing (30) including four walls, a roof and a floor, and a prefabricated platform (50) providing a generally horizontally extending support surface and having a pair of opposite sides, a plurality of first support brackets (56) disposed along one of said pair of opposite edges and extending downwardly from said surface, and a plurality of second support brackets (58) disposed along the other of said of opposite edges and extending downwardly from said surface. The prefabricated platform (50) further includes at least one air conditioner (80, 90) mounted atop the support surface of the prefabricated platform. The prefabricated platform may also include at least one refrigeration unit (42) mounted atop the support surface of the prefabricated platform.



Inventors:
Combs, Steven Larue (Schuyler, VA, US)
Application Number:
11/884111
Publication Date:
10/30/2008
Filing Date:
03/09/2005
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
52/745.02
International Classes:
F25D13/00; E04G21/02
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
CHAPMAN, JEANETTE E
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MARJAMA MULDOON BLASIAK & SULLIVAN LLP (250 SOUTH CLINTON STREET SUITE 300, SYRACUSE, NY, 13202, US)
Claims:
1. An auxiliary building for association with a larger main building, said auxiliary building comprising: a building structure having a roof, said building structure adapted to interface with said main building; and a support platform disposed above said roof, said support platform adapted to support at least one air conditioner thereupon for providing conditioned air to said main building.

2. An auxiliary building as recited in claim 1 wherein said structure comprises a prefabricated structure.

3. An auxiliary building as recited in claim 1 wherein said platform includes a generally horizontally extending surface disposed in spaced relationship above said roof for supporting said at least one air conditioner thereon.

4. An auxiliary building as recited in claim 3 wherein said platform is supported from a pair of opposite walls of said building structure.

5. A cold room building for association with a larger main building, said cold room building comprising: a walled structure having a roof; at least one refrigeration unit for providing refrigeration to said cold room: and a support platform disposed above said roof for supporting at least one air conditioner thereupon for providing conditioned air to said main building.

6. A cold room building as recited in claim 5 wherein said support platform includes a generally horizontally extending surface disposed in spaced relationship above said roof.

7. A cold room building as recited in claim 6 wherein said at least one refrigeration unit and said at least one air conditioner are supported on the planar section of said support platform.

8. A cold room building as recited in claim 5 wherein said walled structure comprises a prefabricated structure having four upright walls and a roof, a pair of opposite walls of said cold room structurally adapted to support said support platform.

9. A cold room building as recited in claim 8 wherein said platform comprises: a generally horizontally extending surface disposed in spaced relationship above said roof and supported from a pair of opposite walls of said prefabricated structure.

10. A prefabricated cold room building assembly comprising: a prefabricated insulated housing having four walls, a roof and a floor; and a prefabricated platform having a generally horizontally extending support surface and having a pair of opposite sides, a plurality of first support bracket disposed along one of said pair of opposite edges and extending downwardly from said platform, and a plurality of second support bracket disposed along the other of said of opposite edges and extending downwardly from said platform, said prefabricated platform further including at least one air conditioner mounted atop said support surface of said prefabricated platform.

11. A prefabricated cold room building assembly as recited in claim 10 further comprising at least one refrigeration unit mounted atop said support surface of said prefabricated platform.

12. A prefabricated cold room building assembly as recited in claim 10 wherein the four walls, roof and floor of said prefabricated housing are formed as unitary envelope.

13. A method of providing an auxiliary building in association with a main building comprising the steps of: prefabricating an insulated housing having four walls and a roof; prefabricating a platform having a support surface adapted to be mounted atop said prefabricated housing; mounting at least one of an air conditioner or a refrigeration unit to the support surface of said prefabricated platform; shipping said prefabricated housing to a job site associated with the main building; shipping said prefabricated platform with said at least one of an air conditioner or a refrigeration unit mounted thereto to the job site associated with the main building; and mounting said prefabricated platform atop said prefabricated housing.

14. Apparatus substantially as hereinbefore described with reference to the accompanying drawings.

15. A method substantially as hereinbefore described with reference to the accompanying drawings

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to prefabricated auxiliary buildings and, more particularly, to an independently supported prefabricated cold room structure for installation adjoining to an air-conditioned main building wherein the air conditioning systems for the main building are supported on a platform atop the cold room structure.

Establishments that serve or sell perishable foods, for example restaurants, quick-serve restaurants, convenience stores, delis, and other food establishments, require one or more refrigerated rooms for storing perishable foods items. Often, these refrigerated storage areas are formed by a walk-in auxiliary structure attached to the main building of the establishment, but structurally independent from the main building. For example, in a fast food restaurant, the main building generally houses the food preparation area, the service area and the dining area, while a separate structure, commonly known as a cold room, adjoining to the main building serves as storage for perishable food items. As a further example, in convenience stores, the main building often houses a grocery area and a food service area, while a structurally separate cold room is provided for storing perishable food items.

The food preparation areas, service areas, and customer accessed areas of such establishments are typically air conditioned for the comfort of both employees and customers. Commonly, the conditioned air is provided by means of one or more roof-top air conditioning units mounted atop the roof of the main building. In some installations, a single roof-top air conditioning unit centrally located on the roof of the main building will, through a system of ducts, serve all customer access and employee areas within the main building. In other instances, one air conditioning unit may be mounted on the roof of the main building over the kitchen area for providing conditioned air to the kitchen work area, while a second air conditioning unit is mounted on the roof of the main building over the dining area or other customer access area to provide conditioned air to the customer access area of the main building.

A walk-in cold room typically comprises a prefabricated unit that is manufactured at the supplier's factory and shipped to the job site for attachment to the main building. The refrigeration unit or units necessary for providing cold refrigeration air to the cold room are generally installed in the factory into the prefabricated structure with the condensing unit portion of the refrigeration system mounted atop the roof of the prefabricated cold room and the evaporator unit mounted within the interior of the cold room.

Thus, in conventional practice, the condensing units of the air conditioning units associated with the main building are mounted atop the roof of the main building of the establishment and the condensing units associated with the refrigeration units of the cold room structure are mounted atop the roof of the cold room. Therefore, both the roof of the main building and the roof of the cold room structure must be designed to support the added load of the roof-top air conditioning equipment and the roof-top refrigeration equipment, respectively. Of course, the cost of each roof structure is increased due to the requirement of structurally supporting the respective added load associated with each roof structure. As the roof of the main building generally covers a relatively large area, the increased cost associated with designing that roof to support the associated air conditioning equipment is significantly higher than required design modifications to the cold room.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is a general object of the present invention to provide a prefabricated auxiliary structure having a structural support platform disposed atop the roof for supporting heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment thereon.

It is an object of one aspect of the present invention to provide a prefabricated cold room having a structural reinforcements for supporting HVAC equipment and refrigeration equipment thereon.

An auxiliary building is provided for attachment to a larger main building. The auxiliary building includes a building structure, advantageously a prefabricated structure, having a roof and a support platform disposed atop the roof. The support platform is adapted to support mechanical equipment, such at least one air conditioner for providing conditioned air to the main building. Advantageously, the platform provides a generally horizontally extending surface disposed in spaced relationship above the roof for supporting the at least one air conditioner thereon. Further, the platform may include a pair of spaced side brackets extending along a pair of opposite edges of the support surface for supporting the platform from a pair of opposite walls of the building structure.

In a particular embodiment, a cold room building is provided for attachment to a larger main building. The cold room building includes a walled structure having a roof, at least one refrigeration unit for providing refrigeration to the cold room, and a support platform disposed atop the roof for supporting at least one air conditioner thereupon for providing conditioned air to the main building. The walled structure may comprise a prefabricated structure having four upright walls and a roof, with a pair of opposite walls of the cold room structurally adapted to support the support platform. The support platform provides a generally horizontally extending surface disposed in spaced relationship above the roof. The at least one air conditioner, and if desired the refrigeration unit, are supported on the planar section of the support surface of the platform. The support platform may also include a pair of spaced side brackets extending along a pair of opposite edges of the support surface for supporting the platform from a pair of opposite walls of the prefabricated structure.

In another embodiment, the cold room building may comprise a prefabricated insulated housing having four walls, a roof and a floor, and a prefabricated platform providing a generally horizontally extending support surface and having a pair of opposite sides, a plurality of first support brackets disposed along one of said pair of opposite edges and extending downwardly from said surface, and a plurality of second support brackets disposed along the other of said of opposite edges and extending downwardly from said surface. The prefabricated platform further includes at least one air conditioner mounted atop the support surface of the prefabricated platform. The prefabricated platform may also include at least one refrigeration unit mounted atop the support surface of the prefabricated platform. Advantageously, the prefabricated cold room housing is a unitary envelope encompassing the four walls, roof and floor of the prefabricated housing.

In a further aspect, a method of providing an auxiliary building in association with a main building comprises the steps of prefabricating an insulated housing having four walls and a roof, prefabricating a platform having a support surface adapted to be mounted atop the roof of the prefabricated housing, mounting at least one of an air conditioner or a refrigeration unit to the support surface of the prefabricated platform, shipping the prefabricated housing to a job site associated with the main building, shipping the prefabricated platform with the at least one of an air conditioner or a refrigeration unit mounted thereto to the job site associated with the main building, and mounting the prefabricated platform atop the prefabricated housing.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The objects and features of the invention can be better understood with reference to the accompanying drawings, which are not necessarily to scale, as below described.

FIG. 1 is a plan view, partly in section, of the layout of a fast food establishment with a cold room in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a top plan view, not in section, of the cold room of FIG. 1; and

FIG. 3 is a side elevation view, partly in section, taken along line 3-3 of FIG. 1.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

Referring now to FIG. 1, there is depicted therein in plan view the layout of a food service establishment 10 having a main building 20 and an attached auxiliary structure 30 providing a cold storage area. The establishment 10 will be described herein as a fast food restaurant having a kitchen area 22, a customer service area 24 and a dining area 26, all housed within the main building 20. It is to be understood, however, that the establishment 10 could be a convenience store or any other food service establishment having a main building and an attached auxiliary structure providing a cold storage area for housing perishable goods in a refrigerated and/or frozen state.

The auxiliary structure advantageously comprises a factory fabricated and assembled cold room 30 shipped to the jobsite as a preassembled unit enclosing a frozen food storage area, i.e. freezer room 32, and a refrigerated food storage area, i.e. refrigerated room 34, wherein perishable food items may be preserved in a controlled environment at an appropriate temperature for the particular food items being stored. Advantageously, the cold room 30 may be constructed as a seamless envelope, including walls, floor and sloped roof, using urethane foam foamed in place in the factory around a structural skeleton of metal skins, uprights and crossmembers. It is to be understood, however, that the floor is an optional component of the cold room depending upon the storage temperature to be maintained within the cold room. Thus, the factory fabricated envelope may or may not include a floor as an integral part of the envelope. When installed at the jobsite, the prefabricated cold room is typically installed on a concrete pad. If the cold room is shipped without an integral floor, the concrete pad, either finished with an overlay or unfinished, serves as the floor of the cold room. Preassembled cold rooms of this type shipped as a unit to the jobsite are available from International Cold Storage, headquartered in Andover, Kans.

Associated with the cold room 30 is a pair of refrigeration units, one refrigeration unit serving the frozen food storage area, i.e. freezer room 32, and the other refrigeration unit serving the refrigerated food storage area 34. The outdoor condensing units 42 of the respective refrigeration units are disposed exteriorly of the cold room 30. The evaporator units 44 of the refrigeration units are mounted interiorly of the cold room, one within the frozen food storage area 32 and one within the refrigerated food storage area. Refrigeration lines are between the paired condensing unit and the evaporator units through which refrigerant is circulated in a conventional manner. As in conventional practice, air within the freezer room 32 is circulated through the evaporator unit disposed therein by means of a circulating fan operatively associated with the evaporator unit and sufficiently refrigerated to maintain the temperature with the freezer room at a desired temperature below 32 degrees F. Similarly, air within the refrigerated room 34 is circulated through the evaporator unit disposed therein by means of a circulating fan operatively associated with the evaporator unit and sufficiently refrigerated to maintain the temperature with the refrigerated food storage area at a desired temperature, typically below 40 degrees F. and above 32 degrees F. Advantageously, a portion of these refrigeration lines are foamed in place within the walls or roof of the cold room during fabrication of the cold room in the factory so that only limited connections and relatively short lines need be installed at the job site.

In the embodiment illustrated in the drawings, the cold room 30, in addition to the freezer room 32 and the refrigerated room 34, may as well include an auxiliary equipment room 36 and a storage room 38 arranged as illustrated in FIG. 1. Entrance to the freezer room 32 is made through access door 33 which opens into the storage room 38. Access to the storage room 38 is made through access door 35 which opens into the kitchen area 22 within the main building 20. It is to be understood, however, that, if desired, the access door 33 to the freezer room 32 could be arranged to open directly into the kitchen area 22 of the main building 20. Access to the refrigerated room 34 and the equipment room 36 may be made directly from the kitchen area 22 of the main building 20 through access doors 37 and 39, respectively. Auxiliary equipment, for example a hot water heater 62 and an electrical distribution panel 64, may be disposed in the equipment room 38. It is to be understood that the depicted room arrangement within the cold room 30 is merely illustrative and that any desired room arrangement may be utilized.

Referring now to FIGS. 2 and 3, a support platform 50 is disposed atop the sloped roof 46 for supporting mechanical equipment. In the embodiment depicted in the FIGS. 2 and 3, the support platform 50 is formed of a lattice-work 55 of a plurality of parallely disposed spaced apart cross members 52 interconnected by, for example welded to, a plurality of parallely disposed spaced apart transverse members 54 extending intermediately and perpendicularly to the cross members 52. Both the cross members 52 and the transverse members 54 may be C-channels. Each of the cross members 52 includes an end bracket 56 at its proximate end 51 and an end bracket 58 on its distal end 53. The end brackets 56 and 58 extend outwardly and downwardly from the cross members 52. A planar member 60, for example a grate, may overlay the structural lattice-work as shown in FIG. 3 to provide a generally horizontally extending support surface atop the lattice-work. A vertically extending screen 70 may be provided along the outer edges of the platform 50 to hide the HVAC and refrigeration equipment mounted atop platform 50 from view from the ground.

Air conditioners 80 and 90 are provided for conditioning the air within the kitchen area 22 and the dining area 26, respectively. As used herein, term “air conditioner” includes any unit of HVAC equipment that cools, heats, humidifies, dehumidifies, filters, purifies, ventilates or otherwise conditions air. Each of the air conditioners 80 and 90 are roof-top air conditioner having a condenser unit and an evaporator unit operatively associated with the condenser unit. The air conditioners 80 and 90 are supported on the support platform 50 atop the cold room 30, rather than being mounted to the roof of the main building 20, which is the conventional practice in the industry. Conditioned air is circulated through from the evaporator unit of the air conditioner 80, by means of a circulating fan operatively associated with the evaporator unit, through associated supply duct 83 to the kitchen area 22 and thence back to the evaporator unit of the air conditioner 80 through return duct 85. Similarly, conditioned air is circulated through from the evaporator unit of the air conditioner 90, by means of a circulating fan operatively associated with the evaporator unit, through associated supply duct 93 to the dining area 22 and thence back to the evaporator unit of the air conditioner 90 through return duct 95. Advantageously, the condensing units 42 associated with the freezer room 32 and the refrigerated room 34 are also surface mounted on the support platform 50.

The walls of the cold room 30 are structurally reinforced to support the support platform 50 and the added load of the air conditioners 80 and 90. Referring to FIGS. 1 and 3 in particular, the support platform 50 is supported atop the roof 46 of the cold room 30 through the end brackets 56 at the proximal and distal ends of the cross members 52 of the lattice-work 55. The end brackets 56 are mounted atop and supported on a plurality of upright studs 88 that are foamed-in-place in the walls 31 and 33 when the cold room 30 enclosure is fabricated in the factory. Advantageously, each end bracket 56 may be bolted by means of a lag bolt into a corresponding one of the upright studs 88, which may, for example, comprise 4 inch by 4 inch wood posts.

By supporting the air conditioners 80 and 90 on the support platform 50 atop the roof 46 of the cold room 30, rather than the roof of the main building 20, it is no longer necessary to structurally beef-up the roof of the main building. As the roof of the main building 20 is significantly more expansive than the roof of the cold room 30, a significant cost savings can be realized by removing the rooftop air conditioners from the roof of the main building. Further, without the requirement of carrying the load of the rooftop air conditioners, the architect has greater freedom in the ascetics of the design the roof of the main building. Also, mounting the air conditioners for the main building on a support platform atop the roof of the cold room, which is generally attached to the back of the main building, the air conditioners can be hidden from the view of customers approaching the building from the front, thereby also improving the overall attractiveness of the establishment to traffic passing in front of the building.

Most advantageously, the cold room assembly 30 is assembled at the jobsite of two prefabricated subassemblies, that is a prefabricated insulated housing defining the cold room storage area and a prefabricated support platform for supporting mechanical equipment. The method aspect of the invention includes the steps of prefabricating an insulated housing having four walls; prefabricating a platform having a support surface adapted to be mounted atop the prefabricated housing; mounting at least one of an air conditioner or a refrigeration unit to the central support section of the prefabricated platform; shipping the prefabricated housing to a job site associated with the main building; shipping the prefabricated platform with the at least one of an air conditioner or a refrigeration unit mounted thereto to the job site associated with the main building; and mounting the prefabricated platform atop the prefabricated housing. Mounting the prefabricated platform atop the prefabricated housing generally will occur at the job site because the prefabricated housing and platform subassemblies will generally be too large to ship as a factory assembled unit. However, in the event that size considerations permit, the prefabricated platform, together with the mechanical equipment mounted thereto, may be factory assembled to the prefabricated housing and the resultant assembly shipped as a single unit.

Further, although the support platform 50 is depicted in the drawings as extending over the entire roof expanse of the cold room 30, the invention is not limited to such an embodiment. Rather, it is to be understood that the platform 50 may extend over only a portion of the roof of the cold room 30 without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention. As those skilled in the art will appreciate, the exact size and orientation of the platform 50 relative to the roof of the cold room 30 will depend upon the weight and footprint of the mechanical equipment to be supported upon the platform and the structural capability of the cold room walls to support the platform.

While the present invention has been described with reference to the embodiments disclosed herein, the present invention is not confined to the details set forth hereinbefore. Various modifications and changes to the disclosed embodiments will likely occur to those skilled in art. The present invention is not confined to the disclosed embodiments, but rather the invention is intended to cover any modifications and changes as may come within the scope of the following claims.