Sign up
Title:
BUILDING COMPONENTS AND THE BUILDINGS CONSTRUCTED THEREWITH
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
Building components that interconnect with one another to form a building are disclosed. The building components can be arranged in an almost limitless number of combinations to construct differently-shaped buildings. Embodiments include foundation blocks with vertically extending floor supports that form an open space beneath the floor when the floor tiles are placed on the floor supports. Alternate embodiments include side foundation blocks with recesses that form connecting passageways between the floor chase and open chases formed in the walls. Still other embodiments include side foundation blocks with abutment portions that inhibit the floor tiles from moving horizontally outside the foundation.


Inventors:
Hudgins, David K. (Mooresville, IN, US)
Application Number:
12/546911
Publication Date:
03/03/2011
Filing Date:
08/25/2009
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
52/745.13, 52/745.21, 52/274
International Classes:
E02D27/00; E04B1/16; E04B1/41; E04B5/04
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20080115444ROOFING SHINGLES WITH ENHANCED GRANULE ADHESION AND METHOD FOR PRODUCING SAMEMay, 2008Kalkanoglu et al.
20070261324Precast stair tread with boltsNovember, 2007Munson
20090320394Safe energy-and water-independent buildingDecember, 2009Dorfman
20100050559Pyramid Rebar SupportMarch, 2010Tillery
20070163184Transportable modular building and method of constructing thereofJuly, 2007Olesch
20020095885Force resistant door and window framing systemJuly, 2002Sampson
20010045071Concrete composite non-meshed wall finishing system over key lock grid substratedNovember, 2001Budge
20030066249Metal panel building systemApril, 2003Walsh
20030024177Walking aidFebruary, 2003Hirata
20070051051Gutter systemMarch, 2007Teichner et al.
20050102961System for correcting misalignment of wood studded building structural partsMay, 2005Alfis V III
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A building system, comprising: a plurality of central foundation members adapted for placement adjacent one another, each central foundation member including a base portion and an integral floor support extending upward from the base portion; a plurality of exterior foundation members, each adapted for placement adjacent to one or more of said central foundation members, each exterior foundation member including a base portion, an integral floor support extending upward from the base portion, and a recessed portion; a plurality of flooring members adapted to mount to the integral floor supports of the central and exterior foundation members; wherein said central foundation members, said exterior foundation members and said flooring members are adapted to form a floor and a floor chase when said central foundation members are positioned adjacent one another, said exterior foundation members are positioned adjacent to and surrounding the perimeter of said central foundation members, and said flooring members are mounted to the integral floor supports of the central and exterior foundation members, the floor chase being beneath the flooring members and above the base portions of said central and exterior foundation members; and a plurality of wall columns, each wall column including a wall chase extending along the height of said wall column; wherein the recessed portion of at least one exterior foundation member is adapted to form a passageway for routing utility components between the floor chase and the wall chase of a wall column connected to said at least one exterior foundation member.

2. The building system of claim 1, wherein the wall chase of the wall column connected to the at least one exterior foundation member is enclosed along the height of the wall column with openings at both ends of said height.

3. The building system of claim 1, wherein said plurality of central foundation members, plurality of exterior foundation members and plurality of wall columns comprise concrete and rebar.

4. The building system of claim 1, wherein each central foundation member includes five (5) floor supports separated from one another and extending upward from the base portion.

5. The building system of claim 1, wherein each exterior foundation member further includes a vertically extending abutment surface, and wherein said vertically extending abutment surfaces on said plurality of exterior foundation members abut the flooring members mounted to the integral floor supports of the exterior foundation members and inhibit the flooring members from moving horizontally past the vertically extending abutment surfaces.

6. The building system of claim 1, further comprising: a plurality of substantially planar footers, each with at least one connector, wherein the plurality of central foundation members and the plurality of exterior foundation members are connected with said plurality of footers, and wherein each of said footers connects to at least two foundation members.

7. The building system of claim 1, wherein said floor and said floor chase are formed when said central foundation members abut one another, when said exterior foundation members surround and abut the perimeter of said central foundation members, and said flooring members are mounted to the floor supports of the central and exterior foundation members

8. The building system of claim 1, wherein said floor and said floor chase are formed when said central foundation members are positioned adjacent one another with gaps therebetween and said exterior foundation members are positioned adjacent to and surrounding the perimeter of said central foundation members with gaps therebetween.

9. The building system of claim 1, wherein said flooring members are adapted for mounting in a staggered relation to said foundation members to form the floor with each flooring member being mounted to at least one (1) floor support of two (2) separate foundation members.

10. The building system of claim 1, wherein each said flooring member includes a substantially planar upper surface.

11. The building system of claim 1, wherein each of said exterior foundation members includes at least three integral floor supports extending upward from the base portion.

12. The building system of claim 1, wherein each exterior foundation member includes a mortise and each of said wall columns includes a tenon adapted to register with a mortise to hold each wall column in a vertical orientation.

13. A method for erecting a building, comprising: placing a plurality of footer members adjacent one another on a support surface, each footer member being substantially planar and including a connector, the connector being selected from a group consisting of a protrusion and a cavity; mounting a plurality of foundation members adjacent one another and in staggered relation to the plurality of footer members with each foundation member contacting at least two footer members, the plurality of foundation members including central and side foundation members, the plurality of adjacent central members defining an outside periphery and the side foundation members being adjacent the outside periphery of the central foundation members, each of the central and side foundation members including a connector and an upwardly extending floor support, the connector being complimentary to and engaging the connectors of the footer members, each of the side foundation members further including an upwardly extending abutment surface; mounting a plurality of flooring members to the floor supports of the foundation members and in staggered relation to the foundation members with one flooring member contacting at least two foundation members, wherein said mounting forms a chase between the flooring members and the foundation members; and positioning the flooring members mounted to the floor supports of the side foundation members in abutting relation to the upwardly extending abutment surface to inhibit the flooring members from moving horizontally past the vertically extending abutment surface.

14. The method for erecting a building of claim 13, wherein said placing includes placing a plurality of footer members abutting one another on a support surface; wherein said mounting a plurality of foundation members includes mounting the plurality of foundation members abutting one another; and wherein said mounting a plurality of flooring members includes mounting the plurality of flooring members abutting one another.

15. The method for erecting a building of claim 13, further comprising: mounting a plurality of wall columns to the side foundation members, the wall columns being held in a vertical orientation by said mounting.

16. An apparatus for constructing a building, comprising: a central foundation member including a flat base portion with a square periphery and a center portion, and a central floor support extending upward from the center of said central foundation base portion; a side foundation member including a flat base portion with a square periphery and a center portion, a central floor support extending upward from the center of the side foundation base portion, and a vertically oriented abutment surface adjacent said central floor support; and a square, planar flooring member; wherein the central foundation member, the side foundation member, and the flooring member form a chase between said central foundation member, said side foundation member and said flooring member when said side foundation member is abuttingly engaged with said central foundation member, and when said flooring member is engaged with said central floor support of said central foundation member, said central floor support of said side foundation member, and said vertically oriented abutment surface of said side foundation member.

17. The apparatus for constructing a building of claim 16, wherein said central foundation member further includes four peripheral floor supports, each extending upward from a corner of said central foundation base portion; and wherein said side foundation member further includes two peripheral floor supports, each extending upward from a corner of the side foundation base portion, wherein said corners of said side foundation member are adjacent one another.

18. The apparatus for constructing a building of claim 17, wherein said side foundation member includes three central floor supports separated from one another and extending upward adjacent the center of the side foundation base portion.

19. A method for erecting a building, comprising: placing a plurality of central foundation members adjacent one another on a support surface, each central foundation member including a base portion and an integral floor support extending upward from the base portion; placing a plurality of exterior foundation members adjacent one another and surrounding the periphery of the plurality of central foundation members, each exterior foundation member including a base portion, an integral floor support extending upward from the base portion, a connector for attaching a wall column, and a recessed portion; mounting a plurality of wall columns to the exterior foundation members, each wall column including an open channel extending along the length of the wall column and a connector with a shape complementary to the shape of the exterior foundation member connectors, said wall column connector registering with an exterior foundation member connector and supporting the wall columns in a vertical orientation; mounting a plurality of flooring members to the integral floor supports of the central and exterior foundation members; forming a floor with an open floor chase beneath the flooring members and above the base portions of the central and exterior foundation members by mounting a plurality of flooring members to the integral floor supports of the central and exterior foundation members; and forming connecting passageways between the open floor chase and the wall column channels by registering the wall column connectors with the connectors of the exterior foundation members and mounting a plurality of flooring members to the integral floor supports of the exterior foundation members.

20. The method of claim 19, further comprising: placing a plurality of footer members adjacent one another on a support surface, each footer member being substantially planar and including a connector; and mounting the plurality of central foundation members and the plurality of exterior foundation members to the plurality of footer member, wherein each central foundation member and each exterior foundation members are mounted to at least two footer members.

21. The method of claim 19, wherein said placing a plurality of central foundation members includes placing the plurality of central foundation members in abutting contact with one another, and wherein said placing a plurality of exterior foundation members includes placing the plurality of exterior foundation members in abutting contact with one another and said plurality of central foundation members.

Description:

FIELD

Embodiments of this invention relate generally to buildings and the building components used to construct the buildings.

BACKGROUND

One important consideration when designing and constructing buildings is determining how the utility components, such as air ducting, electrical wires and plumbing, should be laid out and incorporated into the building. Time and effort must be expended to determine an appropriate plan for the utility components. Furthermore, the utility components are generally located where they cannot be viewed by the building's occupants. As such, the utility components are generally installed before the walls are enclosed, making it difficult to change the layout of the utility components or access the utility components for maintenance and/or repair once the floors and walls are complete. After the utility components are enclosed and the building is complete, the walls, floors or ceilings must be damaged to access the utility components for maintenance, repair or upgrading. Moreover, extensive modification to the building structure may be required to provide utilities to a newly redefined space or room if it is later desired to extend utilities to a location where utilities were originally not planned. For example, when a room originally designed for storage is later converted to a room for people to occupy.

Another important consideration in building construction is the amount of maintenance required to maintain the building components. For example, climate control and/or corrosion inhibiting coatings (such as paint) are required when constructing buildings with steel framing to prevent rust and loss of structural integrity. Similarly, the wood in wood-framed buildings must be treated to prevent rotting and/or insect infestation, which can lead to loss of structural integrity if not treated. Concrete, on the other hand, requires relatively little maintenance as compared to other materials such as steel and wood. However, concrete can be more difficult to work with since, as typically used, forms must be custom assembled at the building site and wet, uncured concrete must be transported and poured into the molds relatively quickly to avoid degradations in its structural integrity once cured.

Furthermore, most buildings require the workers at the building site to customize the building components in accordance with the building plans. For example, most of a home's framing is custom built on-site by cutting and adjusting wood beams to the appropriate size and shape, and connecting the beams to one another to form the frame of the house in accordance with the building plans. This on-site customization of building components increases the time and cost required for building construction. Although some components such as trusses may be preassembled, these preassembled components generally comprise a small percentage of the building.

Consequently, the inventor realized there is a need for improvements in building construction and the components used to construct buildings. Certain preferred features of the present invention address these and other needs and provide other important advantages.

SUMMARY

Embodiments of the present invention provide improved building components and the buildings constructed therewith.

In accordance with one aspect of embodiments of the present invention, an improved method and apparatus for constructing buildings using interconnecting, preformed components is disclosed. The preformed components are generally formed at a location different from the building site (off-site), although the components may also be formed on-site and connected together to form a building. The individual components are constructed of concrete or similar material, and may optionally include reinforcing bars (rebar).

To form the foundation for a building, foundation members, for example interior and exterior foundation blocks, are arranged on a surface, such as the ground. Each foundation block has a substantially flat base portion with at least one upwardly extending floor support. The floor supports are adapted to support flooring members, such as floor tiles. Optionally, the foundation blocks can each include one or more connectors (which include, for example, mortises or recesses), for coupling with vertical support columns, such as wall columns, that extend above the floor.

The base portions of the foundation blocks optionally include connectors, such as vertically oriented apertures, that can connect to optional footers that may be positioned below the foundation blocks and inhibit the foundation blocks from shifting with respect to one another. As still another option, the connectors in the base portions of the foundation blocks can connect to supplemental floor supports that extend upward from the base of the foundation block to support floor tiles.

Central foundation blocks, which in one embodiment are generally square with a substantially flat base portion, a floor support on each corner and a floor support in the middle, are typically arranged side-by-side. Exterior foundation blocks, which in one embodiment have substantially flat base portions and spaced-apart vertical floor supports extending upward from the base portions, are typically arranged around the perimeter of central foundation blocks.

Floor tiles are placed on top of the foundation blocks and are supported by the upwardly extending floor supports. The foundation block floor supports are spaced apart and, when floor tiles are positioned atop the floor supports, a floor chase is formed above the base portion of the foundation blocks and below the floor tiles. The floor chase extends between adjacent foundation blocks and throughout the entire arrangement of foundation blocks and floor tiles. The open space provided by the floor chase is useful as providing a built-in location for utilities, such as electrical wire, gas lines, sewage lines and water lines.

In addition to the vertical floor supports, the exterior foundation blocks optionally include vertically-oriented abutments to inhibit the floor tiles from moving horizontally toward the outside of the foundation.

The wall columns include connectors (which include, for example, tenons or posts) that are complementary to the connectors on the exterior foundation blocks. The wall columns are elongated and, when connected to the exterior foundation blocks, extend upwardly to form, for example, portions of interior walls, portions of exterior walls, supports for additional floors, and/or supports for roof trusses. In one embodiment, the wall columns further include elongated recesses, for example channels, extending along the length of the wall columns. The elongated recesses form utility space within the walls when covering panels, such as wall plates, are attached to the wall columns.

In one aspect of the invention, the exterior foundation blocks are constructed with at least one recess that form passageways to interconnect the utility space in the walls with the floor chase.

Roof supports, for example roof support blocks, can be placed on top of and span the distance between the wall column in a wall. The roof support blocks include connectors (for example, downwardly extending protrusions) for securing the roof support blocks to the tops of the wall columns. The roof support blocks can also include upwardly extending connectors for attaching the roof support blocks to trusses that span the distance between walls. In one embodiment, the trusses are generally triangular and include reinforcing cross-members. V-shaped roof panels are optionally placed on the trusses to form the roof structure, and ridge covers can be placed between the roof panels to inhibit moisture from entering the building between the roof panels.

This summary is provided to introduce a selection of the concepts that are described in further detail in the detailed description and drawings contained herein. This summary is not intended to identify any primary or essential features of the claimed subject matter. Some or all of the described features may be present in the corresponding independent or dependent claims, but should not be construed to be a limitation unless expressly recited in a particular claim. Each embodiment described herein is not intended to address every object described herein, and each embodiment does not necessarily include each feature described. Other forms, embodiments, objects, advantages, benefits, features, and aspects of the present invention will become apparent to one of skill in the art from the detailed description and drawings contained herein.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a partially-constructed building according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2A is a perspective view of a central foundation block according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2B is a top plan view of the central foundation block depicted in FIG. 2A.

FIG. 2C is a side elevational view of the central foundation block depicted in FIG. 2A.

FIG. 3A is a perspective view of an exterior side foundation block according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 3B is a top plan view of the exterior side foundation block depicted in FIG. 3A.

FIG. 3C is a side elevational view of the exterior side foundation block depicted in FIG. 3A.

FIG. 3D is a cross-section view of the exterior side foundation block depicted in FIG. 3B taken along the line 3D-3D.

FIG. 4A is a perspective view of the top of an exterior side foundation block with an external conduit according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 4B is a perspective view of the bottom of the exterior side foundation block with an external conduit depicted in FIG. 4A.

FIG. 4C is a side elevational view of the exterior side foundation block with an external conduit depicted in FIG. 4A.

FIG. 5A is a perspective view of an exterior corner foundation block according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 5B is a top plan view of the exterior corner foundation block depicted in FIG. 5A.

FIG. 5C is a side elevational view of the exterior corner foundation block depicted in FIG. 5B taken along the line 5C-5C.

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a footer according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of a floor tile according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 8A is a perspective view of a wall column according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 8B is a perspective view of a wall column with a wall plate according to another embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 9A is a perspective view of a corner wall column mounted on an exterior corner foundation block according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 9B is a perspective view of a component of the corner wall column depicted in FIG. 9A.

FIG. 9C is a perspective view of another component of the corner wall column depicted in FIG. 9A.

FIG. 9D is a perspective view of still another component of the corner wall column depicted in FIG. 9A.

FIG. 9E is a perspective view of yet another component depicted in FIG. 9A.

FIG. 9F is a perspective view of a corner wall column mounted on an exterior corner foundation block according to another embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 10A is a perspective view of the exterior side of a roof support block according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 10B is a perspective view of the interior side of the roof support block depicted in FIG. 10A.

FIG. 10C is a perspective view of the interior side of the roof support block depicted in FIG. 10B with an alternate embodiment truss connector.

FIG. 10D is a perspective view of the interior side of the roof support block depicted in FIG. 10B with another alternate embodiment truss connector.

FIG. 11A is a perspective view of the exterior side of a roof support block according to another embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 11B is a perspective view of an interior side of the roof support block depicted in FIG. 11A.

FIG. 12A is a perspective view of a roof truss according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 12B is a perspective view of a roof truss according to another embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 13A is a perspective view of the top side of a roof panel according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 13B is a perspective view of the bottom side of the roof panel depicted in FIG. 13A.

FIG. 13C is a cross-section view of the roof panel depicted in FIG. 13A taken along the line 13C-13C.

FIG. 14A is a perspective view of the top side of a roof panel according to another embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 14B is a perspective view of the bottom side of the roof panel depicted in FIG. 14A.

FIG. 15 is a perspective view of a partially constructed building according to another embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 16 is a perspective of a garage side wall column and garage side wall foundation block according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 17A is a perspective view of two roof support trusses according to an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 17B is a side elevational view of the two roof support trusses depicted in FIG. 17A.

FIG. 17C is a side elevational view of two roof support trusses according to another embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 18 is a perspective view of a roof tile according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 19 is a perspective view of a roof tile according to another embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE ILLUSTRATED EMBODIMENTS

For the purposes of promoting an understanding of the principles of the invention, reference will now be made to the selected embodiments illustrated in the drawings and specific language will be used to describe the same. It will nevertheless be understood that no limitation of the scope of the invention is hereby intended, such alterations, modifications, and further applications of the principles of the invention being contemplated as would normally occur to one skilled in the art to which the invention relates. Embodiments of the invention are shown in great detail, although it will be apparent to those skilled in the relevant art that some features or some combinations of features may not be shown for the sake of clarity.

A chase is an open space that, typically, is substantially enclosed and substantially concealed from the occupiable space of a building with the building occupants being unable to view the interior of the chase. A chase is generally suited for containing utility components (for example, wires, ducts and pipes) and provides space through which the utility components can be routed between different portions of a building, which includes different portions of a room within a building. A chase may also be filled with insulating material to enhance the ability of the structure to insulate the interior from the outside elements.

A recess is an open space, such as a groove or other type of indentation, that is not substantially enclosed. A chase may be formed by enclosing portions, either whole portions or partial portions, of a recess.

Depicted in FIG. 1 is a partially-constructed building 100 according to one embodiment of the present invention. Building 100 includes a foundation 110, walls 120 and roof 130. Foundation 110 includes central foundation blocks 140, exterior side foundation blocks 150, exterior corner foundation blocks 160, and optionally footers 170. The foundation blocks 140, 150 and 160 are placed on leveled ground, sand, compressed aggregate, footings or footing blocks. Footers 170 can be placed under the foundation blocks 140, 150 and 160 when the ground is not sufficiently stable to place foundation blocks 140, 150 and 160 directly on the ground or onto compressed aggregate.

It should be appreciated that foundation 110 requires less preparation and time to form than traditional foundations. For example, traditional concrete foundations typically require preparation of the ground followed by the construction of custom assembled forms. After construction of the forms, wet concrete is poured and it must be allowed to cure, which may take days, before it may be built upon. In contrast, depending on the ground upon which the building is to be constructed, all that may be required is to level the ground before the foundation blocks 140, 150 and 160, and optional footers 170, are arranged on top of the ground. Furthermore, the rest of the building can be built upon the foundation immediately after the foundation blocks are in place.

Floor tiles 180 are positioned on top of foundation blocks 140, 150 and 160 to form a usable floor inside the building. Floor tiles 180 are supported by foundation block floor supports 142, 152 and 162, which extend upward from the bases of the foundation blocks 140, 150 and 160, respectively. A floor chase 185 is formed in the gap created by the distance the floor supports hold the floor tiles above the base of the foundation blocks, between the base of the foundation blocks 140, 150 and 160 and the floor tiles 180.

Wall columns 190 are connected adjacent the exterior side foundation blocks 150. Wall columns 190 typically include recesses, for example recessed channels 192, that form chases 194 within the walls. In the illustrated embodiment, wall plates 200 are connected to wall columns 190. The interior side of the wall is also formed by wall plates 200. Preferably, exterior side foundation blocks 150 include recesses 154 that form connecting passageways capable of routing utility components between the wall chase 194 and the floor chase 185.

Corner wall columns 210 are connected to the exterior corner foundation blocks 160, and include recesses 212 that form chases 214 (see FIG. 9A) within the corner wall columns 210. Exterior corner foundation blocks 160 include recesses 164 (see FIGS. 5A-5C) that form connecting passageways capable of routing utility components between the corner wall chases 214 and the floor chase 185.

Optionally connected to the top of wall columns 190 are roof support blocks 220, and optionally connected to the top of corner wall columns 210 are roof support blocks 230. Connectors 222 (see FIG. 10A) and connectors 240 may be used to engage roof support blocks 220 and assist in connecting roof support blocks 220 to wall columns 190. The connectors 232 (see FIG. 11A) and the connectors 240 may be used to connect roof support blocks 230 to corner wall columns 210. Depicted in FIG. 1 are two example embodiments of connector 240: connector 240A and connector 240C. Trusses 250 are optionally connected to roof support blocks 220 and 230 (and wall columns 190 and corner wall columns 160), at least in part, using connectors 240.

Roof panels 260 and 270 may be connected to the tops of trusses 250, each roof panel 260 or 270 forming a portion of the exterior of roof 130. Ridge covers 280 are optionally placed between individual roof panels to seal the roof and inhibit rain, snow or other forms of weather phenomena from entering the building. The ridge covers 280 can be made from a variety of materials, such as copper, brass, stainless steel, rubber, concrete, ceramic or asphalt.

In one embodiment of the present invention, the components used to construct building 100 are formed from concrete, and may include reinforcing bar (“rebar”) as required for particular applications. Using concrete to form the components provides building structures that do not rust and are not structurally degraded by pests such as rodents or insects. Additionally, the thermal mass of the concrete components can collectively operate as a hot or cold temperature reservoir and enhance the efficiency of the building by requiring less energy to either cool or heat the building throughout the year. In other embodiments, some of the components used to construct building 100 are formed from materials other than concrete that provide sufficient strength to construct a building, such as recycled composites. In still further embodiments, some of the above-disclosed components may be used in conjunction with more traditional building components, such as prefabricated wooden or steel trusses.

Depicted in FIGS. 2A, 2B and 2C is a central foundation block according to one embodiment of the present invention. Central foundation block 140 includes a base portion 144 with floor supports 142 extending upwardly from base portion 144. The floor support 142 located near the center of central foundation block 140 includes a connector 146, which includes a recess (or mortise) 147. Connector 146 can be used to connect central foundation block 140 to support columns, for example, support columns 310, 312 and 315 (see FIG. 15). Connector 146 may alternatively be used to connect central foundation block 140 to a handle or other apparatus for moving central foundation block 140. For example, the depicted recess of connector 146 may include a flared portion at the bottom of the recess, which is adapted to receive an expanding tool that a person can use to lift central foundation block 140. Although connector 146 is depicted as generally square, alternate embodiments include connectors 146 with different geometric shapes, such as circles.

Central foundation block 140 also includes connectors 148 in base portion 144. Connectors 148 are adapted to connect to the connectors 174 on footers 170 (see FIG. 6), and may alternatively be used for handling and moving central foundation block 140, similar to connector 146. Connectors 148 may also be used to connect to supplemental floor supports extending upward from connectors 148. The supplemental floor supports (not depicted) can be cylindrical dowel-type rods that fit into connectors 148, or may be thicker block-like structures with a pin-type connector on the bottom surface that is complementary to connector 148.

Depicted in FIGS. 3A, 3B, 3C and 3D is an exterior side foundation block 150 according to one embodiment of the present invention. Exterior side foundation block 150 includes a base portion 151 with floor supports 152 extending upwardly therefrom. Exterior side foundation block optionally includes a connector 153, which is similar to connector 146 in central foundation block 140, which includes a recess (or mortise) 153A, and connects with wall columns 190 (see FIG. 8A). Recesses 154 in exterior side foundation block 150 may also be included to create a passageway connecting the recessed channels 192 in wall columns 190 (see FIGS. 1 and 8A) to the floor chase 185. See FIG. 1. See also FIG. 9A for another example of a recess (recess 164) forming a connecting passageway between a wall chase (corner wall chase 214) and the floor chase 185.

Exterior side foundation block 150 can also include connectors 155 (see FIG. 3B), which are similar to connectors 148 in central foundation block 140. Side connectors 155, which are recesses that provide locations for the attachment of tools for moving and positioning exterior side foundation block 150, may also be included with exterior side foundation block 150

In the embodiment depicted in FIG. 3B, exterior side foundation block 150 includes five floor supports: two floor supports 152 similar to floor supports 142 in central foundation block 140, and three floor supports 152A. Floor supports 152A support the edges of floor tiles 180 while the floor supports 152 support central portions of floor tiles 180 that are spaced from the edges. As depicted in FIG. 1, the exterior side foundation block 150 may support two separate floor tiles 180 that abut one another along the central floor support 152A located adjacent connector 153.

Positioned adjacent to the floor supports 152A in the depicted embodiment are floor tile abutments 156 (see FIG. 3C). Floor tile abutments 156 abut the side edges of floor tiles 180, restrain the lateral movement of floor tiles 180, and inhibit floor tiles 180 from moving outside of the building structure.

The exterior surface portion 157 of foundation block 150 may be sloped to channel water and enhance water run-off. In an alternate embodiment, the exterior surface portion 157 of exterior side foundation block 150 is shaped to perform different tasks or provide different capabilities. For example, in one alternate embodiment of exterior side foundation block 150, exterior surface portion 157 is formed into steps 157A (see FIG. 1) to enhance the accessibility to building 100 by those entering the building 100 by foot. In another embodiment, exterior surface portion 157 includes concave portions that form gutters 157B (see FIG. 1) that channel water to drainage holes 157C (see FIG. 1) which can connect to drainage pipes to carry water away from the foundation. In still another embodiment, exterior surface portion 157 forms ramps for assisting the entry and exit of wheeled devices, such as wheelchairs, forklifts or hand trucks.

Depicted in FIGS. 4A, 4B and 4C is an exterior foundation block 158 with an external conduit 159 according to one embodiment of the present invention. Although similar to exterior side foundation block 150 in many ways, the inclusion of an external conduit 159 in exterior foundation block 158 provides the ability to connect utilities, such as water, electrical, gas and sewer, without the need to drill holes in building 100.

FIGS. 5A, 5B and 5C depict an exterior corner foundation block 160 according to one embodiment of the present invention. Exterior corner foundation block 160 includes base portion 161 and floor supports 162 and 162A extending upwardly therefrom. Optional connector 163, which in the illustrated embodiment include a recess (or mortise) 168, is similar to connector 146 in central foundation block 140 and can be used to connect exterior corner foundation block 160 to corner wall column 210.

Recess 164 may also be included in exterior corner foundation block 160 and provides a passageway connecting floor chase 185 (see FIG. 1) to the chases in corner wall columns 210 (see FIGS. 1 and 9A). Exterior corner foundation block 160 may also include connectors 165 that are similar to connectors 148 in central foundation block 150.

In the illustrated embodiment, exterior corner foundation block 160 includes three floor supports: a single floor support 162 similar to floor supports 142 on central foundation block 140, and two floor supports 162A that support the edges near the corner of a floor tile 180. Positioned adjacent to the floor supports 162 are floor tile abutment portions 166 that abut the edges of floor tiles 180 and inhibit the movement of the floor tiles 180 outside of the building structure.

Exterior corner foundation block 160 may also include a sloped exterior surface 167 which aids in the drainage of water away from the building 100. Side connectors 169, which are recesses that provide locations for the attachment of tools for moving and positioning exterior corner foundation block 160, may also be included in exterior corner foundation block 160

Depicted in FIG. 6 is a footer 170 according to one embodiment of the present invention. Footer 170 includes base portion 172 and connectors 174. In the illustrated embodiment, base portion 172 is generally planar with connectors 174 extending upwardly therefrom. Connectors 174 connect with connectors 148 in central foundation block 140 and may be formed of, for example, rebar.

Footers 170 may be optionally used to connect to and hold the foundation blocks 140, 150 and 160 together. Using the optional footers to inhibit the relative movement of the foundation blocks has benefits when constructing a building on a surface that is not sufficiently stable for the foundation blocks to rest directly on top. Referring once again to FIG. 1, footers 170 and foundation blocks 140, 150 and 160 may be generally arranged in a staggered relationship with a single footer 170 being connected to two or more foundation blocks. By staggering the footers 170 between the foundation blocks, the connectors 174 and 148 are able to restrain lateral movement between adjacent foundation blocks and create a stronger and more stable foundation for the building. The staggering of footers 170 between the foundation blocks 140, 150 and 160 also gives the foundation flexibility and is capable of holding the foundation together during vertical ground movement, enhancing the ability for the building to maintain structural integrity during an earthquake. Although a square footer 170 with four connectors 174 is depicted in FIG. 3, footers with different shapes and different numbers of pins are also utilized. For example, FIG. 1 also depicts rectangular footers 170 with two connectors 174 and square footers 170 with a single connector 174.

FIG. 7 depicts a floor tile 180 according to one embodiment of the present invention. Floor tile 180 is generally planar and optionally includes connectors 182 that can be used to handle and move floor tiles 180. Floor tiles 180 are arranged on top of floor supports 142, 152, 152A, 162 and 162A to form a floor for building 100 (see FIG. 1). Placing floor tiles 180 atop the floor supports 142, 152, 152A, 162 and 162A creates a utility space (floor chase 185) beneath floor tiles 180 and above the base portions of the foundation blocks. Furthermore, floor tiles 180 may be horizontally offset with respect to the central foundation blocks 140 with a single floor tile 180 being supported by at least two foundation blocks. This staggered arrangement between the foundation blocks and the floor tiles 180 assists in providing a stable and secure floor structure.

The floor chase 185 provides a convenient space in which utilities such electrical wires, gas lines, water lines, sewer lines and conduits may be located. During construction of, for example, building 100, utility components can be installed and laid out before all of the floor tiles 180 are positioned on top of the foundation blocks. Once the utility components are set and routed appropriately, the floor tiles 180 may be positioned atop of the foundation blocks to form the floor and floor chase 185, with the utility components being contained within the floor chase 185. If it is later desirable to either change the layout of the utility components or access the utility components for, for example, maintenance, some or all of the floor tiles 180 may be removed to provide access to the floor chase 185 and the utility components contained therein. As such, there is no need to damage the floor to provide maintenance or to extend utility components to areas where they were not originally positioned.

Although depicted as being generally square in FIG. 7, the floor tiles can be formed in various geometric shapes as required for various floor plans. Additionally, the floor tiles 180 may be positioned directly on top of footers 170 to form, for example, garage floors or patio surfaces. Still further, alternate embodiments of floor tiles 180 include apertures or holes, through which access may be gained to the floor chase 185. For example, a heating and/or air conditioning register may be formed in an aperture in floor tile 180, and the register may connect to heating and/or air conditioning ducting in floor chase 185.

Depicted in FIG. 8A is a wall column 190 according to one embodiment of the present invention. Wall column 190 is an elongated member and typically includes recessed channels 192 and a connector 195. Recessed channels 192 both reduce the overall weight of wall column 190 and provide a chase through which utility components may run even after a wall plate 200 is attached to wall column 190. Connector 195, which in the illustrated embodiment is a protrusion or tenon, is complimentary to connector 153 in exterior side foundation block 150 and used to connect wall column 190 to exterior side foundation block 150.

The tapering of connector 195 enhances the ability of building 100 to withstand earthquakes. For example, the tapered end of connector 195 allows the wall column 190 to reseat itself within, for example, connector 153 of exterior side foundation block 150 if connector 195 is moved out of position during an earthquake. Furthermore, initial testing indicates that a tapered connector 195 appears to resist fracturing better during earthquake-induced movement than a non-tapered connector 195. Nevertheless, it is contemplated that embodiments of the present invention include non-tapered connectors for use in, for example, non-earthquake prone areas.

Depicted in FIG. 8B is a wall column 196 and wall plate 200 according to another embodiment of the present invention. Wall column 196 is shorter, but otherwise similar to wall column 190. With wall plate 200 connected to wall column 196, two chases 194 are formed between recessed channels 192 and wall plate 200. Wall plate 200 optionally includes one or more apertures 202 which allows access to wall chase 194. Aperture 202 is useful for forming electrical outlets, switches or other types of controls or access to utilities.

The space between the wall columns 190 can be filled with solid wall panels, such as the solid wall panel 197 depicted in FIG. 1, to form a wall. The space between the wall columns 190 may also be filled with wall panels 198 that include windows. Alternately, one or more doors 199 may be included in the space between wall columns 190 and serve as points of entry into the building.

It should be appreciated that the width of wall column 190, wall panels 197 and 198 can vary. For example, the width of wall columns 190 can be less than that depicted in FIGS. 1 and 8A and the width of the solid wall panel 197 depicted in FIG. 1 can be wider than that depicted in FIG. 1.

Depicted in FIG. 9A is a corner wall column 210 connected to an exterior corner foundation block 160 according to one embodiment of the present invention. Corner wall column 210 includes a connector 216 (see FIG. 9B) similar to connector 195 of wall column 190, which connects to connector 163 of corner wall column 160. Corner wall column 210 can also include chases 214, which are integrally formed with corner wall column 210 and communicate with recess 164 in exterior corner foundation block 160. Corner wall column 210 optionally includes connector 215, which connects to connector 240A, 240B or 240C (see FIGS. 10-11B).

Corner wall column 210 includes four pieces that combine to form corner wall column 210. Depicted in FIG. 9B is corner wall column component 210A, which includes connector 216 and recessed channel 217. Depicted in 9C is corner wall column component 210B, which is an L-shaped component that connects with corner wall column component 210A and forms an exterior portion of corner wall column 210 and a portion of an additional recessed channel similar to recessed channel 217, which will form one of the corner wall chases 214. FIG. 9D depicts corner wall column component 210C, which attaches to corner wall column component 210A, encloses a corner wall chase 214, and forms an inside panel of corner wall column 210. Depicted in FIG. 9E is corner wall component 210D, which attaches to corner wall column component 210B, forms a corner wall chase 214, and forms another inside panel for corner wall column 210.

Referring again to FIG. 9A, when a floor tile 180 is positioned on top of floor supports 162 and 162A, a floor chase 185 is formed below the floor tile 180 and the base portion 161. Recess 164 provides a connecting passageway between floor chase 185 and corner wall chase 214 through which utility components may pass. As such, a worker constructing a building is able to route utility components between the wall chase and the floor chase without requiring modification to the building components.

If the utility components that are routed through the connecting passageway form by recess 164 require maintenance, the utility components may be easily accessed by removing either floor tile 180, corner wall component 210C and/or corner wall column component 210D.

Depicted in FIG. 9F is a corner wall column 211 according to another embodiment of the present invention. Corner wall column 211 is similar to corner wall column 210; however, corner wall column 211 includes recesses 213 instead of integral chases 214. Nevertheless, when recesses 213 are covered, at least one chase is formed within wall column 211, which communicates with recess 164 in a similar manner to integral chases 214 in corner wall column 210. Corner wall column 211 can further include connector 215, which can connect to connector 240A, 240B or 240C (see FIGS. 10-11B).

Depicted in FIGS. 10A and 10B is a roof support block 220 according to one embodiment of the present invention. Roof support block 220 includes connectors 222, which can connect with recessed channels 192 of wall column 190 and 196. Optionally included in roof support block 220 are two truss abutments 204, between which a truss 250 may be placed (see FIG. 1). Also depicted in FIGS. 10A and 10B is a connector 240A, which can also be used to enhance the connection between roof support block 220 and wall columns 190 and 196 and inhibit the outward movement of the top portion of wall column 190 with respect to roof support block 220. Roof support block 220 further includes upper surfaces 225 that abut portions of roof panels 260.

Depicted in FIGS. 10C and 10D are alternate embodiments of connector 240: connectors 240B and 240C. Connector 240B is generally shaped as a half-sphere and fits into a complementary hemispherical recess in truss 250. Connector 240C is generally conical and fits into a complementary generally conical-shaped recess in truss 250. The shape of connectors 240B and 240C can enhance the earthquake resistance of building 100 by allowing the trusses to slip back into proper position after being dislodged by, for example, the ground moving during an earthquake.

Also depicted in FIG. 10C is an alternative embodiment connector 222A. Connector 222A is similar to connector 222; however, the bottom portion of connector 222A is angled, which can serve to deflect air flow from, for example, chase 194 in wall column 196 into the interior of building 100.

Depicted in FIGS. 11A and 11B is a roof support block 230 according to another embodiment of the present invention. Roof support blocks 230 are generally used at the end of a wall, and in particular, when it is desired to have the roof angle downward at the edge of the building (see FIG. 1). Included with roof support block 230 is a connector 232, which connects with chase 214 in corner wall column 210 or with recess 213 in corner wall column 211. Roof support block 230 can also include truss abutments 234, between which a truss 250 can be positioned. A connector 240 (for example connector 240A, 240B or 240C) may also be used to further secure roof support block 230 to corner wall column 210 or 211 by insertion into connectors 215. A connector 240 may further be used to connect roof support block 230 to truss 250 in a manner similar to those described with respect to FIGS. 10A-10D.

Depicted in FIG. 12A is a roof truss 250 according to one embodiment of the present invention. Roof truss 250 includes upper members 251 that can support roof panels 260 (see FIGS. 13A-14B). Roof truss 250 further includes lower members 252 and cross members 253 that connect upper members 251 and lower members 250 and add strength to roof truss 250.

Depicted in FIG. 12B is a roof truss 255 according to another embodiment of the present invention. Roof truss 255 includes upper members 251, lower members 252 and cross members 253 similar to those in roof truss 250. Roof truss 255 further includes a panel 256 that forms a weather resistant closure with no apertures extending through the roof truss between the upper, lower and cross members. As such, roof truss 255 may be used as the end-most roof truss on a side of a building to prevent water and other types of weather phenomena from entering the building.

Roof truss 255 can further includes at least one recess 257 at opposite ends of roof truss 255. Recesses 257 include abutment portions 258, which abut portions of roof support blocks 220 and 230. Optionally included in roof truss 255 are connections 259, which connect to connectors 240 (240A, 240B or 240C) and assist in securing roof truss 255 to roof support blocks 220 and 230.

Depicted in FIGS. 13A, 13B and 13C is a roof panel 260 according to one embodiment of the present invention. The upper surface 266 of roof panel 260 (as depicted in FIG. 13B) forms an elongated, V-shaped channel between two generally flat surfaces. The upper surface 266 gathers and directs water or other precipitation away from the building structure and enhances the overall strength of roof 130 by presenting a corrugated-type structure.

The lower surface of roof panel 260 includes flange 261 near one end of the elongated roof panel 260. Flange 261 includes an abutment surface 262, which abuts against roof support block 220 when roof panel 260 is installed. Flange 261 inhibits roof panel 260 from sliding down roof truss 250 or 255 by abutting against roof support block 220.

The lower surface of roof panel 260 further includes a ridge 263 extending along the bottom of the elongated “V.” Ridge 263 includes a channel 264 that is complementary in shape to the upper surface of roof truss 250 and 255 with side abutments 265 that cradle and abut the side surfaces of trusses 250 and 255. As such, the roof panel 260 rests atop a roof truss 250 or 255 and is inhibited from sliding sideways off the truss by side abutments 265. Additionally, the V-shape of the roof panel 260 fits snugly against the upper surface 225 of roof support block 220 and inhibits roof panel 260 from pivoting around channel 264 and rolling off of truss 250 or 255. Roof panel 260 optionally includes overhang 268, which provides an extension of roof panel 260 to direct water and snow away from the exterior walls of building 100.

Depicted in FIGS. 14A and 14B is a roof panel 270 according to another embodiment of the present invention. In the illustrated embodiment, the upper surface 272 of roof panel 270 is generally flat, while the underside of roof panel 270 includes a flange 274 and ridge 276. Flange 274 forms an abutment surface 275, which abuts against roof support block 230 when roof panel 270 is installed. Ridge 276 includes abutment surface 277 which abuts against roof truss 255 or 250 when roof panel 270 is installed. The bottom side of roof panel 270 fits snugly against the upper surface 235 of roof support block 230, which helps inhibit roof panel 270 from pivoting around and rolling off of truss 250 or 255.

Roof panel 270 depicted in FIGS. 14A and 14B is adapted for use with roof support block 230 depicted in FIGS. 11A and 11B. Furthermore, it should be appreciated that alternate embodiments include roof panels that are the minor-image of the roof panel 270 depicted in FIGS. 14A and 14B, which are adapted to connect to roof support blocks that are the mirror-image of the roof support blocks depicted in FIGS. 11A and 11B. For example, the building 100 depicted in FIG. 11, when fully constructed, requires two roof support blocks 230 as depicted in FIGS. 11A and 11B and two roof support blocks that are the mirror-image of roof support block 230 depicted in FIGS. 11A and 11B. Additionally, the completed building 100 requires two roof panels 270 as depicted in FIGS. 14A and 14B (which would connect with the roof support blocks 230 depicted in FIGS. 11A and 11B) and two roof panels that are the mirror-image of roof panel 270 depicted in FIGS. 14A and 14B (which would individually connect to two roof support blocks that are the mirror-image of roof support blocks 230 depicted in FIGS. 11A and 11B).

Roof panel 270 optionally includes overhang 278, which directs water away from the exterior walls of building 100 before allowing it to fall to the ground.

Depicted in FIG. 15 is a partially-constructed building 300 according to an alternate embodiment of the present invention. Building 300 includes components similar to those used to construct building 100, for example, central foundation blocks 140, exterior side foundation blocks 150, exterior corner foundation blocks 160, floor tiles 180 and wall columns 190.

Building 300 also includes alternate embodiments of central foundation block 140. For example, central foundation blocks 140A and 140B. Central foundation blocks 140A and 140B include ridges 149 that separate garage floor space 305 from the rest of the interior of building 300.

Building 300 further includes interior support columns 310, 312 and 315. Interior support column 315 is generally T-shaped, interior support column 310 is a generally square column, and internal wall column 312 is a generally circular column. It should be appreciated that the lengths of interior support columns 310, 312 and 315 can vary and that interior support columns 310, 312 and 315 may support, for example, additional floors or interior walls. It should also be appreciated that the cross-sectional shape of column 310, 312 and 315 can take on various forms, for example, the cross-sectional shape can resemble any of a number of geometric shapes, such as rectangles or ovals. The upper portions of the support columns can optionally include expanded structures, such as the T-shaped portion at the top of column 315, that provide additional support for the second floor 318. For example, the upper portion of column 312 can include an expanded region where the cross-sectional area of column 312 increases to provide additional support to the second floor 318.

The building 300 optionally includes central foundation blocks 307. Central foundation blocks 307 are used as the flooring in garage space 305. Central foundation blocks 307 include a generally flat upper surface and connectors 308, which are similar to connectors 148 in central foundation block 140.

The depicted building 300 further includes a second floor 318, which is formed using deck plates 380. Deck plates 380 are mounted atop interior and/or exterior support columns and span the distance between the support columns upon which they are mounted. Deck plates 380 include a substantially planar upper surface that forms the second floor and a lower surface with integrated supports, such as elongated trusses spanning the length of deck plate 380, that provide structural support to resist sagging or bending of deck plate 380 between the support columns supporting deck plate 380.

Extending above the second floor are trusses 320, 327 and 328. Positioned atop trusses 320, 327 and 328 are roof tiles 340.

Building 300 also includes shingle support blocks 336 and shingle end support blocks 337. Shingle support blocks 336 and 337 are positioned atop deck plates 380 and provide support for roof tiles 340, such as an abutment surface against which roof tile abutment surface 343 may be positioned (see FIG. 15). Shingle support blocks 336 and 337 optionally include connectors, such as pins, extending between shingle support blocks 336/337 and deck plates 380. These pins assist in limiting the horizontal movement of the shingle support blocks 336/337 with respect to deck plates 380, and are particularly beneficial during an earthquake.

Depicted in FIG. 16 is a garage side wall foundation block 350 connected to a garage side wall column 360 according to one embodiment of the present invention. Garage side wall foundation block 350 includes a substantially flat base 352 and a wall support 354 extending upwardly from base 352. Wall support 354 includes a connector (not depicted, although similar to the connector 153 of exterior side foundation block 150 in FIGS. 3A and 3B), which connects to a complementary connector in garage side wall column 360 which is similar to connector 195 in wall column 190, see FIGS. 8A and 8B. Garage side wall column 360 can further include a recess 362 similar to recess 192 in wall column 190, and a connector 364, which is similar to connector 215 in corner wall column 210 (see FIG. 9A), for connecting to a connector 240.

Depicted in FIGS. 17A, 17B and 17C is a roof truss 320, which is formed by two roof truss halves 321 according to one embodiment of the present invention. Each roof truss half 321 includes an optionally flared base 322, which may be supported by, for example, a floor (such as a floor comprising floor tiles 180), deck plates (such as deck plates 380 depicted in FIG. 15), interior support columns (such as interior support columns 310, 312 and 315), wall columns 190, or an elongated beam spanning the distance between two vertical columns, such as exterior wall columns 190 or interior support columns 310, 312 and 315.

Each roof truss half 321 includes an upwardly-extending arm 323, a channel 324, and an abutment surface 325. Channel 324 is used for attaching roof tiles 340. Roof truss 320 is formed by abutment surface 325 resting against a complementary abutment surface 325 on a second roof truss half 321. Together, the two roof truss halves 321 form an A-shaped support (truss 320) for the roof.

Each truss half 321 further includes an optional flared end portion 326 that defines an abutment surface 327. Abutment surface 327 (and similar abutment surfaces on shingle support blocks 336—depicted in FIG. 15) abuts against complementary abutment surfaces 343 on roof tiles 340 (see FIG. 18) to inhibit roof tiles 340 from sliding off roof trusses 320.

Still further, each truss half 321 optionally includes a connector, for example, pin 331. Pin 331 can attach to the surface supporting truss half 321 to resist the horizontal movement of truss half 321 with respect to, for example, deck plate 380 during an earthquake. It should also be appreciated that the connector in roof truss half 321 may be a receptacle for receiving connectors protruding from the surfaces upon which roof truss halves 321 are mounted, for example, connector 240A of wall column 196 (see FIG. 8B).

In still other embodiments, apertures (holes) may be formed in roof truss half 321 above the flared base 322 to reduce weight.

In alternate embodiments, roof truss 320 may be placed upon and supported by leveled ground, sand, compressed aggregate, footings or footing blocks, which can result in an “A-frame” type building with the roof extending to the ground or a pyramid-type structure with four roof truss halves 321 being joined together at the top of arms 323.

In still other embodiments, the bottom edge of the flared end portion 326 of roof truss half 321 can include a connector, which connects roof truss half 321 to the top of wall columns 190.

Depicted in FIG. 17C is a roof truss 328, which includes two truss halves 321A according to another embodiment of the present invention. Each truss half 321A is similar to truss half 321, although truss half 321A further includes a cutout portion 329 which can help decrease the overall weight of truss 321A.

Depicted in FIG. 18 is a roof tile 340 (depicted in an orientation that is rotated with respect to the orientation of roof tile 340 in FIG. 15 to more clearly illustrate abutment portion 341) according to one embodiment of the present invention. Roof tile 340 includes four raised portions 341 located on the sides of roof tile 340. Raised portions 341 are complementary in shape to one half of channel 324 in roof truss 320. For example, when roof tiles 340 are placed atop trusses 320, the raised portions 341 from two side-by-side roof tiles 340 will abut one another, and together will form a shape that is complementary to and fits inside channel 324 of roof truss 320.

Roof tile 340 further includes cutout portions 342 and abutment portions 343. Cutout portions 342 allow roof tiles 340 that are adjacent to one another along the direction of the roof truss 320 to overlap and form a roof that inhibits, for example, rain from entering the building. When overlapping as depicted in FIG. 15, the abutment portions 343 of one roof tile abut against the abutment portions 344 of adjacent roof tiles. As such, an upper roof tile situated above a lower roof tile is prevented from sliding over the lower roof tile.

The abutment surface 343 of the bottom-most roof tile 340, for example the roof tile 340A depicted in FIG. 15, abuts against abutment surface 327 of roof truss 320 and a complementary abutment surface on shingle support block 336. As such, the roof truss 320 and the shingle support block 336 prevent roof tile 340A from sliding downward and off of roof truss 320A.

Increasing the thickness 347 of abutment surface 343 tends to enhance the earthquake resistance of building 300. For example, the roof tile 340 can move vertically with respect to shingle support block 336 during an earthquake. If the vertical movement of roof tile 340 exceeds the thickness 347 of abutment surface 343, the roof tile 340 can become unsupported by, for example, the shingle support block 336 positioned below the roof tile 340. As such, the out-of-position roof tile 340 can slide downward and off of the roof trusses 320. Alternate embodiments include abutment surfaces 343 with increased thicknesses 347. In still other embodiments, such as roof tile 340B depicted in FIG. 19, roof tile 340 includes raised portions 348 that increase the thickness 347 of abutment surface 343 in a particular region of roof tile 340.

In the embodiment depicted in FIG. 18, roof tile 340 is symmetric. The first surface 345 (side of roof tile 340 facing the reader of this application) and the second surface 346 (side of roof tile 340 hidden from view from the reader of this application) are similar. As such, the roof tile 340 may be mounted to the roof trusses with either the first surface 345 or the second surface 346 facing the exterior of the building. This feature enhances the ability for workers to quickly construct a roof since the workers can orient the roof tile 340 in one of the two orientations.

In an alternate embodiment, the second surface 346 of roof tile 340 includes two raised portions 341 while the upper surface 345 of roof tile 340 does not include any raised portions 341. As such, a finished roof using the alternate embodiment roof tiles 340 will not have raised ridges on it, although the alternate embodiment roof tiles are not symmetric like the roof tile 340 in FIG. 18 and must be rotated to one particular orientation prior to installation.

When constructing the above-described components of building 100 using concrete, the thermal mass of the concrete can operate as a hot or cold reservoir, which can increase the heating or cooling efficiency of building 100. For example, as can be seen in Table 1, a building similar to building 100 depicted in FIG. 1 with the quantity of components as listed in Table 1 will require approximately 83 cubic yards of concrete, the thermal mass of which can aid in heating and cooling the structure.

TABLE 1
CubicWeightTotal
Yards(lbs.)Yards
Component NameQuantity(approx.)(approx.)(approx.)
Foundation Blocks180.753,00013.5
Side Foundation Blocks181.064,24019.8
Corner Foundation Block41.154,6004.6
Center Floor Tiles100.371,4803.7
Side Floor Tiles140.341,3604.76
Corner Floor Tiles40.331,3201.32
Wall Columns180.542,1609.72
Corner Wall Columns40.622,4802.48
Roof Support Blocks120.124801.44
Roof End Support Blocks40.093600.18
Trusses60.682,7204.08
End Trusses21.184,7202.36
Roof Panels120.923,68011.04
Roof End Panels40.522,0802.08
Total1308.6734,68081.06

Additionally, the cost of the materials used to construct a building, for example one similar to that depicted in FIG. 1, can be significantly less than the material cost for constructing a comparable building with more traditional materials. For example, Table 2 includes estimated costs for the materials required to construct buildings with different wall column lengths, where the estimated prices include an estimated cost of $80 per cubic yard for 4,000 psi concrete and $2,000 per ton ($1 per pound) for rebar.

TABLE 2
1 Story2 Story3 Story
9′ Column18′ Column27′ Column
Yards81.0695.42107.62
Concrete$6,484.80$7,633.60$8,609.60
Rebar$4,163.00$4,771.00$5,381.00
Total Cost$10,647.80$12,404.60$13,990.60

Alternate embodiments utilize 5,000 psi concrete, 6,000 psi concrete, concrete micro silica (for use with buildings exposed to, for example, salt water), and/or green rebar.

Furthermore, since the individual components used to construct a building are pre-fabricated and fit together without requiring modification of the individual components, the building may be constructed quickly, which will reduce labor costs and further reduce the total costs of the building.

It should be appreciated that the aforementioned building components may be used to construct a variety of different buildings with a variety of different building designs. The buildings constructed with the aforementioned building components provide for easy installation of utility components and allow for easy access to the chases in which the utility components are contained during building construction and after the building is complete for easy maintenance, repair and upgrade. Additionally, the buildings may be readily constructed without the need for conventional foundations and frequently require only minimal preparation of the ground underlying the building. Furthermore, there is little if any need for modification or adjustment to the building components after they are formed and the manner in which the building components connect aids in earthquake resistance. Moreover, when constructed of materials such as concrete, the building components require minimal maintenance over the lifetime of the building.

While illustrated examples, representative embodiments and specific forms of the invention have been illustrated and described in detail in the drawings and foregoing description, the same is to be considered as illustrative and not restrictive or limiting. The description of particular features in one embodiment does not imply that those particular features are necessarily limited to that one embodiment. Features of one embodiment may be used in combination with features of other embodiments as would be understood by one of ordinary skill in the art, whether or not explicitly described as such. Dimensions, whether used explicitly or implicitly, are not intended to be limiting and may be altered as would be understood by one of ordinary skill in the art. Only exemplary embodiments have been shown and described, and all changes and modifications that come within the spirit of the invention are desired to be protected.