Title:
Convertible Building
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A building comprising (a) a rectangular central structure having a horizontal roof section, a floor section and at least one support for the roof section, (b) two roof extensions each pivotally attached on either side of the roof section with an offset hinge such that each can pivot from a first, horizontal position to a second, vertical position, wherein in the first position the two roof extensions are offset vertically relative to the roof section, and (c) two floor extensions each pivotally attached on either side of the floor section such that each can pivot from a first, horizontal position to a second, vertical position, wherein during transport or storage of the building, the two roof extensions and two floor extensions are each located in the second, vertical position, the floor extensions being located interior to the roof extensions.



Inventors:
Barry, Robert Graham (Thomastown, AU)
Application Number:
12/374068
Publication Date:
01/21/2010
Filing Date:
07/06/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04H1/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20070094948Roof ridge anchorsMay, 2007Osborne et al.
20090199501Garage Door Insulation SystemAugust, 2009O'riordan
20030131551Vinyl sidingJuly, 2003Mollinger et al.
20070245637Shelter pacOctober, 2007Czyznikiewicz
20020157340System for providIng a textured wall structureOctober, 2002Kirby et al.
20050066597Structure of seamless raised acces floorMarch, 2005Chen et al.
20060283124Ported stabilized window structures and systems and methods for ported stabilization of window structuresDecember, 2006Diamond
20060117700Double knee jointed longeron truss for space structuresJune, 2006Wagner
20100071284Self Erecting Storage UnitMarch, 2010Hagan et al.
20090169393WIND TOWER AND METHOD OF ASSEMBLING THE SAMEJuly, 2009Bagepalli et al.
20060032187Self-supporting construction element made of expanded plastic material, in particular for manufacturing building floors and floor structure incorporating such elementFebruary, 2006Cretti



Primary Examiner:
BARLOW, ADAM G
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
FELLERS SNIDER BLANKENSHIP;BAILEY & TIPPENS (THE KENNEDY BUILDING, 321 SOUTH BOSTON SUITE 800, TULSA, OK, 74103-3318, US)
Claims:
The claims defining the invention are as follows:

1. A building comprising: (a) a rectangular central structure having a horizontal roof section, a floor section and at least one support for the roof section, (b) two roof extensions each pivotally attached on either side of the roof section with an offset hinge such that each can pivot from a first, horizontal position to a second, vertical position, wherein in the first position the two roof extensions are offset vertically relative to the roof section, and (c) two floor extensions each pivotally attached on either side of the floor section such that each can pivot from a first, horizontal position to a second, vertical position, wherein during transport or storage of the building, the two roof extensions and two floor extensions are each located in the second, vertical position, the floor extensions being located interior to the roof extensions.

2. A building according to claim 1, which during transport or storage has an external height of 2.5 to 3.5 m, an external width of 2.0 to 3.0 m and an internal width of 1.5 to 2.0 m.

3. A building according to claim 1 which is suitable for ISO certification for transport as a freight container.

4. A building according to claim 1 wherein in the first position the two roof extensions are co-planar, and this plane is offset vertically to the plane of the roof section.

5. A building according to claim 1 wherein when the roof extensions and floor extensions are located in the second, vertical position, a recess is formed between adjacent roof and floor extensions.

6. A building according to claim 1 wherein the roof extensions extend beyond the ends of the rectangular central structure.

7. A building according to claim 1 wherein one or more items chosen from the group comprising structural members, fixtures and fittings are contained within the building during transport.

8. A building according to claim 7 wherein the one or more items contained within the building during transport are incorporated into the assembled building.

9. A building according to claim 1 when used as part of a larger structure.

10. A structure comprising one or more modules, each module consisting of a building according to claim 1.

11. A structure according to claim 10 comprising at least two or more adjacently located modules.

12. A structure according to claim 10 or claim 11 comprising two or more modules stacked vertically.

13. A method of providing habitation comprising the steps of transporting one or more buildings according to claim 1, and locating said one or more buildings at a site.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates to a building, more particularly a convertible building structure that can be readily converted from a configuration suitable for transport and a configuration suitable for use as a dwelling. Optionally the convertible building may comprise one module of a larger building structure.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

In this specification where a document, act or item of knowledge is referred to or discussed, this reference or discussion is not an admission that the document, act or item of knowledge or any combination thereof was at the priority date, publicly available, known to the public, part of common general knowledge; or known to be relevant to an attempt to solve any problem with which this specification is concerned.

While the present invention will be discussed with reference to convertible structures that can be transported long distances, in the manner of transport of freight containers and used as homes, it will be appreciated that the present invention is not so limited and the convertible structures of the present invention can be used for a wide range of applications including offices, studios, display areas and so forth.

Containerization revolutionised freight handling in the 20th century. Today, approximately 90% of non-bulk cargo worldwide moves by containers stacked on transport ships. Accordingly, in order to take advantage of the fact that freight infrastructure is well adapted to handling of containers, attempts have been made to provide transportable buildings that are commensurate in size with the dimensions of a standard freight container so they can be readily transported long distances. Typically such buildings are intended for transport to a desired site where they are unloaded from the transportation means, assembled and connected to local facilities such as water, plumbing, electricity and gas.

For example it is known to convert old shipping containers into habitable structures which have been used as homes, offices, emergency shelters and many other uses because they are strong, movable and relatively inexpensive. During the 1991 Gulf War containers were frequently used as habitations for military personnel. More recently in 2005 a temporary structure comprised of 156 shipping containers and termed ‘The Nomadic Museum’ was built on Pier 54 in New York to house a photographic exhibition. At the end of the exhibition it was dismantled, and transported to Santa Monica, Calif. where it was reassembled.

One of the disadvantages of such conversions is that the interior volume of the shipping container provides very limited usable space. Furthermore the conversion typically requires cutting through the walls, weakening the structure and thus voiding the ISO (International Standards Organisation) rating. Without the ISO rating the container cannot again be transported as a container.

WO 98/02626 (Kalinowski) relates to a portable building that can be completely folded down to fit inside a shipping container to facilitate transportation and storage. The building comprises a rigid main support into which the floor, wall and roof sections can be folded.

WO 2005/106147 (Gibson) relates to a building construction that is substantially in the shape of a shipping container and can be picked up by a crane or arranged in a freight vehicle with a normally loaded freight container loaded on top. The building can be assembled by swinging the roof and floor extensions out from a main portion, the roof portion typically being angled relative to the main portion, or overhanging the main portion to resist rain water entering the building. In use this particular building construction marketed under the name ‘Habode’ includes large metal struts or supports at either end which add considerable weight to the structure increasing the effort needed during lifting and transportation. Furthermore the struts extend beyond the limits of the container body, increasing the dimensions of the building beyond normal container size making it inconvenient to transport on vehicles designed for transporting standard sized containers.

US-2002/0116878 (Ciotti) describes an engineered purpose-built portable habitable structure formed from a transformable rectangular enclosure which is the size of an ISO shipping container and which includes a base shell having hingedly attached exterior and interior walls that fold outwards to form walls and a continuous flat roof. The walls may be pre-plumbed and pre-wired ready for connection to appropriate supply sources exterior to the structure and on-site.

WO 93/20297 (Morris et al) relates to a portable building unit which can be folded to be shipped and transported as a standard cargo shipping container. The building walls, floors and roof panels are hinged together and form the sidewalls of the container when in the closed position.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides a building comprising:

  • (a) a rectangular central structure having a horizontal roof section and a floor section,
  • (b) two roof extensions each pivotally attached on either side of the roof section with an offset hinge such that each can pivot from a first, horizontal position to a second, vertical position, wherein in the first position the two roof extensions are offset vertically relative to the roof section, and
  • (c) two floor extensions each pivotally attached on either side of the floor section such that each can pivot from a first, horizontal position to a second, vertical position,
    wherein during transport or storage of the building, the two roof extensions and two floor extensions are each located in the second, vertical position, the floor extensions being located interior to the roof extensions.

In general, when the roof and floor extensions are in the second position, the building is in the disassembled configuration and is suitable for transport or storage; and when the roof and floor extensions are in the first position, the building is assembled and either habitable or able to be configured for habitation.

Typically the two floor extensions and two roof extensions can be locked into the first position or the second position. The floor and roof extensions can be pivoted independently between the first and second positions. For example the floor and roof extension may each pivot on a conventional pin/bush hinge system or other simple hinge. Preferably the floor extensions pivot about a ‘piano’ hinge so that when the floor extensions are in the first position, the floor section and floor extensions all lie in the same plane, with no gaps. This creates a continuous expanse of flat flooring. One of the advantages of these types of pivot systems is that they can be used multiple times, that is, the building of the present invention can be assembled and disassembled multiple times and shifted to different locations.

When the two roof extensions are in the first position typically they lie in the same plane, and this plane is offset to the plane of the roof section. The gaps between the roof section and the two roof extensions may be bridged by structures, such as, for example, windows or weather seals. A gutter is also typically included along one or more edges of the roof extensions.

Typically the building of the present invention has two roof extensions and two floor extensions on either sides of the rectangular central structure. The person skilled in the art will appreciate that the building of the present invention could have two or more roof or floor extensions located on either side of the rectangular central structure.

When the building is disassembled and both the roof extensions and floor extensions are located in the second, vertical position, typically there is a long, narrow gap or recess between adjacent roof and floor extensions. This recess may be used for storage. For example it may be used for storing structural members, structural frames or independent walls and panels which, in the assembled building can be located intermediate adjacent roof and floor extensions to form internal or external walls or cladding. Furthermore, when the building is disassembled, other items may be stored in the main body of the building. These items may be intended for incorporation into the building structure when it is assembled (such as, for example, windows, doors, extra panels or structural supports). The items may alternatively be intended for use as fixtures or fittings when the building structure is assembled (such as, for example, whitegoods, plumbing fixtures or furniture).

Typically during transport or storage, the building of the present invention has the same dimensions as an ISO freight container so that it can take advantage of the existing infrastructure for lifting, handling storing and transporting freight containers. In a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the two roof extensions extend slightly beyond the ends of the rectangular central structure and provide it with some protection when the building of the present invention is disassembled. However preferably the overall dimensions of the building are comparable with the dimensions of an ISO freight container.

There are five common standard lengths—6.1, 12.2, 13.7, 14.6 and 16.2 metres for containers. Container capacity is measured in ‘twenty-foot equivalent units’ (TEU), which equates to a container cargo capacity equal to 39 m3, or one standard container (that is 6.10 m length, 2.44 m width×2.59 m height). There are variations on this standard size. Many containers today are 2 TEU or ‘forty-foot equivalents’ (FEU). High cube containers have a height of 2.9 m. When referring to containers in terms of TEUs, the height of the container is typically not considered.

Preferably the building of the present invention has a capacity of a TEU or an FEU. More preferably during transport or storage the building has an external height of 2.5 to 3.5 m, an external width of 2.0 to 3.0 m and an internal width of 1.5 to 2.0 m. In a particularly preferred embodiment the building as configured for transport or storage can be certified as suitable for use as a freight container, for example, suitable for ISO certification for transport as a freight container.

Typically, the building in the disassembled configuration has sufficient structural strength and integrity that it can be lifted, handled and transported as if it were a freight container. Freight containers are frequently stacked to maximise efficient use of the space available on ship decks, rail bodies or truck trays. Accordingly preferably the building of the present invention can, in the disassembled configuration support the load of other containers. The building typically has one or more steel structural supports incorporated in the rectangular body structure to provide sufficient strength for the building to support the load of a container under which it may be transported or stored. The structural supports may be sufficiently strong to support at least one other building of the invention, both being in the assembled state so as to provide a multi storied dwelling.

In a further embodiment the convertible building of the present invention is part of, or incorporated into a larger structure. For example the building of the present invention may comprise a module of a larger structure. For example two or more examples according to the present invention can be stacked or located side-by-side or end-to-end.

In a particularly preferred embodiment, two modules according to the present invention are located one on top of the other to form a double story building. The roof extensions of the lower building abut the floor extensions of the upper module. If it is intended to include an internal stair between the upper and lower module, abutting roof and floor extensions may be provided with corresponding openings or removable portions in which a stair may be located. For example, the stair could be a spiral stair of the type that can be flat packed and then, during assembly, the steps can be attached or unfolded around the central pole.

In addition, because the two roof extensions are offset relative to the roof section, there is a gap between the floor section of the upper module and the roof section of the lower module. This cavity can be used for locating pipes or wiring along the length of the building and providing services for both the upper and lower module.

Fitting Out

As mentioned above, when the two roof extensions and floor extensions are in the first, horizontal position on either side of the rectangular central structure, the building is configured for habitation. In one embodiment the building is provided to a site with fittings, fixtures, and optionally furniture, that makes it immediately suitable for occupation—only connection to facilities such as plumbing, sewerage and electricity is required.

Alternatively, the building may be provided with items such as fixtures and fittings for incorporation into the building structure when it is assembled (such as, for example, windows, doors, extra panels or structural supports.) The structure may need to be fitted out with these items prior to habitation.

For example, the structural supports, rectangular central structure, roof extensions and floor extensions, may provide a framework to which interior and exterior panels can readily be attached. The panels may be attached by any convenient means but preferably they are attached by a click-fit or sliding system that minimises, or does not require the use of tools.

The panels may be of any type suitable for interior or exterior use as appropriate and can be used to divide the building into rooms or living spaces. For example a building of 2 FEU capacity can readily be divided up into 8 individual rooms, optionally each with an ensuite bathroom, if high density housing is required. This configuration would be useful for example, for high density, short term housing.

As previously mentioned, the two roof extensions are offset relative to the roof section thus forming a recess or cavity which runs along the length of the building and within which plumbing pipes or electrical wiring can be located. The cavity may optionally be covered over.

The plumbing pipes may alternatively be located under the building, typically located in trenches prior to installation of the building on-site.

Other preparation may be appropriate prior to location of the building of the present invention. For example, the building may be located on a pre-poured concrete slab within which the plumbing, sewerage and optionally, electrical wiring is located, ready for connection to the building.

The present invention further provides a method of providing habitation comprising the steps of transporting one or more buildings according to the present invention, and locating the one or more building at a site.

DRAWINGS

Various embodiments/aspects of the invention will now be described with reference to the following drawings depicting non-limiting embodiments of the present invention. In particular,

FIG. 1a is a plan drawing of the disassembled building of the present invention in a configuration suitable for storage or transport;

FIGS. 1b and 1c are plan drawings showing in greater detail the pivots for the floor and roof extensions of the building of FIG. 1a;

FIG. 2 is a plan drawing of the building of FIG. 1 in the partly assembled state;

FIG. 3 is a plan drawing of the assembled building according to one embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 4 is a plan drawing of two assembled buildings of FIG. 1 forming a double story construction;

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the disassembled building of FIG. 1;

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of the partly assembled building of FIG. 2;

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of the fully assembled building of FIG. 3;

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of the building of FIG. 7 with wall panels inserted to complete the building for habitation;

FIGS. 9a &9b are side elevation views of the building of FIG. 7 incorporating both wall and door panels; and

FIG. 10a is a floor plan of the building of FIG. 7, divided internally to provide eight rooms and FIG. 10b and FIG. 10c show the plan of the plumbing and power and lighting respectively.

FIG. 1a

FIG. 1a depicts the building (1) of the present invention disassembled for storage or transport and having the dimensions commensurate with those of a high-top freight container. In this configuration the two roof extensions (12a, 12b) are located in the second, vertical position, and together with the horizontal roof section (7) and floor section (10), define the outer limits of the construction. The floor extensions (15a, 15b) are located interior to the roof extensions. The roof extensions can rotate about pivots (14a, 14b) consisting of hinges and the floor extensions can rotate about pivots (17a, 17b) consisting of hinges. In this configuration the building has the approximate dimensions of a standard freight container—specifically, external dimensions of 2.9 m (height)×2.4 m (width as measured to the exterior of each of the roof extensions (12a, 12b)). The internal void space has dimensions of 2.8 m (height)×1.8 m (width as measured between the two floor extensions (15a, 15b)).

FIGS. 1b &1c

FIG. 1b depicts part of the building (1) of the present invention disassembled for storage or transport with a roof extension (12b) and floor extension (15b) located in the vertical position. The roof extension can rotate about pivot (14b) and the floor extension can rotate about pivot (17b). FIG. 1c depicts the roof extension (12b) after it has been rotated about the pivot (14b) to the horizontal position.

FIG. 2

FIG. 2 depicts the building (1) of FIG. 1 partly assembled. In this depiction one of two roof extensions (12a) is located in the second, vertical position and the other (12b) is in the first, horizontal position. One floor extensions (15a) is located interior to the roof extensions while the other (15b) is extended co-planar with the floor section (10).

FIG. 3

FIG. 3 depicts the building (1) of FIG. 1 when fully assembled. The building comprises a rectangular central structure (5) having a horizontal roof section (7) and a parallel floor section (10). In this embodiment vertical support is provided to the central structure (5) by an open framework (6a, 6b)(shown in outline only).

Two roof extensions (12a, 12b) are attached by hinges (14a, 14b) on either side of the roof section (7). In this view the roof extensions (12a, 12b) are depicted in the first, horizontal position, the two roof extensions (12a, 12b) being coplanar, but offset vertically relative to the plane of the roof section (7). In this embodiment the roof section (7) is 1.8 m in length while the roof extensions (12a, 12b) are each about 2.8 m in length, the plane of the roof extensions being offset vertically from the plane of the roof section (7) by about 39 cms.

Two floor extensions (15a, 15b) are attached by hinges (17a, 17b) on either side of the floor section (10) and are depicted in the first, horizontal position. In this embodiment the floor section (10) is 1.8 m in length while the two floor extensions (15a, 15b) are each about 2.8 m in length.

The building may also include an extension to which decking can be applied. This support can slide out from the interior of one of the floor extensions (15a).

A steel support structure (18) is located intermediate a floor extension (15a) and the corresponding overhanging roof extension (12a).

FIG. 4

FIG. 4 shows the use of the building depicted in FIG. 3 as a module for forming a larger building. The modules (1, 2) are located one above the other. The lower module (1) has a rectangular central structure (5), a horizontal roof section (7), a floor section (10) and two floor extensions (15a, 15b). The two roof extensions (12a, 12b) abut corresponding floor extensions (15a, 15b) of the floor extensions of the upper module.

The two roof extensions (12a, 12b) of the lower module are offset relative to the roof section (7) thus forming a gap between the roof section (7) of the lower module and the floor section (10′) of the upper module. This gap can be used for locating pipes or wiring along the length of the building and providing services for both the upper and lower module.

The two roof extensions (12a, 12b) of the upper module are similarly offset relative to the roof section (7′), thus forming a recess into which a device such as an air-conditioner (20) may be located.

FIGS. 5 TO 8

FIGS. 5 to 7 are perspective views of the building as depicted in plan view in FIGS. 1 to 3 respectively. FIG. 8 is a perspective view of the building of FIG. 7 with external wall panels (25) inserted to complete the building for habitation. Internal wall panels (not visible) can be inserted to divide the interior into multiple rooms or living areas. For example, a building according to the present invention having a 2 TEU capacity can readily be divided up into 8 convenient sized rooms, each with an ensuite bathroom.

FIGS. 9a &9b

FIGS. 9a &9b are side elevation views of the building of FIG. 7 incorporating both wall and door panels. In FIG. 9a the door (20) is located in the framework comprising the horizontal roof section (7), the floor section (10) and the open framework (6a, 6b). On either side of the door, wall panels (22a, 22b) are located within a framework comprising the two roof extensions (12a, 12b), the floor extensions (15a, 15b) and support struts (18a, 18b), thus completing the closure of the end of the building. At the side of the building, further wall panels (22c to 22g) are inserted, separated by window structures (32a to 32d) framed by the existing structural members of the building including the floor extensions, roof extensions and support struts.

FIG. 10

FIG. 10a is a floor plan of the building of FIG. 7, divided internally to provide eight rooms, each with an ensuite bathroom. Each room is sufficiently large to include a bed (35), a chest of drawers (36) and a table and chair (37). Each room has an interior door (42) leading to an ensuite bathroom incorporating a toilet (43), vanity unit (44) and shower recess (45). Each room has its own exterior door (47).

FIG. 10b is a typical sewerage plan for the building. The central location of the ensuite bathrooms permits a simple and convenient layout. The plan includes sewerage pipes (50) which are typically 80 mm diameter and shower and hand basin waste pipes (52) which are typically 50 mm diameter.

FIG. 10c is a typical power and lighting plan for the building. In this plan each room has a recessed lighting track with 3 spotlights (55) centrally located in the ceiling, multiple TV, electricity and data points (56) and a porch light (57) located beneath the exterior door.

Each ensuite bathroom is provided with a recessed halogen light (58) and an exhaust fan (59).

The lighting may be supplemented by natural light by the inclusion of sky lights in the ceiling/roof of each ensuite.

The word ‘comprising’ and forms of the word ‘comprising’ as used in this description and in the claims does not limit the invention claimed to exclude any variants or additions.

Modifications and improvements to the invention will be readily apparent to those skilled in the art. Such modifications and improvements are intended to be within the scope of this invention.