Title:
Composite Building Structure Comprising A Means to Increase The Elevation At Which Various Levels Of A Building Flood When Floodwaters Are Higher Than the Ground Elevation
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The design of a composite building structure that includes a building access area (115), a grade level access area (120), and a vertical cross access area (125). Due to the introduction of a vertical cross access area (125), the building access area (115) can be elevated at a higher elevation than the grade level access area (120). Some embodiments provide a means to prevent the occurrence of flooding or to mitigate the severity of flooding of the building access area (115). Other embodiments, along with dry floodproofing the composite building structure up to the buffer elevation (155), provide a means to prevent the occurrence of flooding or to mitigate the severity of flooding for the building access area (115), the grade level area (130), or a below grade level (135) of the composite building structure. Alternatively, other aspects provide a method of either entering a building's below grade level or entering a building's above grade level from the ground elevation.



Inventors:
Strout, Brian Howard (New York, NY, US)
Application Number:
14/160538
Publication Date:
07/23/2015
Filing Date:
01/21/2014
Assignee:
STROUT BRIAN HOWARD
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
52/741.1
International Classes:
E04H9/14; E04B1/92; E04H1/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
AGUDELO, PAOLA
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Brian Strout (151 E. 31st Street Apt 15K, New York, NY, 10016, US)
Claims:
1. A composite building structure comprising: (a) a building access area; (b) a grade level access area; (c) a vertical building access area; and (d) a vertical cross access area; where said vertical cross access area provides access between said grade level access area and said building access area that requires passing above a buffer elevation, which is at a higher elevation than the ground elevation.

2. The composite building structure of claim 1, further including an above grade level.

3. The composite building structure of claim 1, further including a below grade level, wherein the components comprising said composite building structure are dry floodproofed up to said buffer elevation.

4. The composite building structure of claim 1, further including a grade level area, wherein the components comprising said composite building structure may or may not be dry floodproofed up to said buffer elevation.

5. The composite building structure of claim 3, wherein said below grade level is a parking garage facility.

6. The composite building structure of claim 3, provides a means for said composite building structure to prevent the flooding of said below grade level when floodwaters are above said ground elevation but below said buffer elevation.

7. The composite building structure of claim 2, provides a means for said composite building structure to prevent the flooding of said building access area when floodwaters are above said ground elevation but said buffer elevation.

8. The composite building structure of claim 1, provides a means for said composite building structure to reduce insurance premiums.

9. The composite building structure of claim 1, provides a means for said composite building structure to reduce the future costs of being self-insured.

10. The composite building structure of claim 1, provides a means for said composite building structure to reduce the composite building structure's overall life cycle carbon footprint by reducing the need for associated renovation tasks, comprised of: (a) the manufacture of renovation materials; (b) the transportation of renovation materials; (c) the installation of renovation materials; and (d) the transportation of the demolition debris to a landfill, all of which require the consumption of additional energy.

11. The composite building structure of claim 1, provides a means for said composite building structure to provide continued use during a flooding event to house evacuees or first responders.

12. The composite building structure of claim 1, provides a means for said composite building structure to provide immediate use after a flooding event to house evacuees or first responders.

13. The composite building structure of claim 1, provides a means to allow the composite building to secure governmental regulatory approvals due to providing benefits to society at large.

14. The composite building structure of claim 1, provides a means to allow the composite building to secure governmental subsidies due to providing benefits to society at large.

15. The composite building structure of claim 3, provides a means to allow said below grade level to be utilized for housing the mechanical systems versus a building owner placing those mechanical systems at or above grade to: (a) increase the likelihood those systems remain fully functional; (b) reduce the building insurance costs; or (c) reduce the future costs of a building owner being self-insured.

16. The composite building structure of claim 3, provides a means to allow a building owner to build a larger building then the property's local government regulatory limitation due to the ability to place mechanical equipment in space at or above grade and to have the mechanical equipment space excluded from the limitation calculation due to regulatory exemptions.

17. The composite building structure of claim 1, wherein said grade level access area is interior to the composite building structure.

18. A method of entering a building's below grade level from the ground elevation, comprising the: (a) passing through a grade level access area; (b) passing through a vertical cross access area, which vertically takes the individual above a buffer elevation; (c) passing through a building access area; (d) passing through a vertical building access area that allows the individual to access a lower elevation; and (e) entering the intended below grade level.

19. A method of entering a building's above grade level from the ground elevation, comprising the: (a) passing through a grade level access area; (b) passing through a vertical cross access area, which vertically takes the individual above a buffer elevation; (c) passing through a building access area; (d) passing through a vertical building access area that allows the individual to access a lower elevation; and (e) entering the intended above grade level.

Description:

A portion of the disclosure of this patent document contains materials, which is subject to copyright protection. The copyright owner has no objection to the facsimile reproduction by anyone of the patent document or the patent disclosure, as it appears in the Patent and Trademark Office patent file or records, but otherwise reserves all copyright rights whatsoever.

BACKGROUND

As the flooding of the NYC metro area from Hurricane Sandy in 2012 showed, many current building designs could be improved upon to prevent the occurrence of flooding or to mitigate the severity of flooding for at or below grade levels of a building. One of these issues involves the overall design of the building access area to a building's below grade useable area (i.e. basement or lower levels). Where when floodwaters rise above the building's ground elevation (the “grade elevation”), the floodwaters start to flood the ground floor (the “grade level” for the composite building structure), which in prior art contains the building access area. Most elevator shaft and staircase openings are not designed and installed to provide watertight seals. As such, besides just flooding the ground floor, the ground floor floodwaters then flow down the elevator shaft and staircase openings to cause the flooding of a building's below grade levels. Alternatively, for underground parking garages, the ground floor floodwaters cause the flooding of a building's below grade levels by flowing down the grade level vehicular access ramp or vehicular elevator shaft. There is also the problem where the building access area (ie a lobby) provides some of the control or monitoring interfaces for the building's mechanical systems. As such, moving the building access area to a higher elevation would prevent the control or monitoring interfaces from being damaged during a flooding event.

This flooding concern generates several issues for typical buildings. First, in building a new building, a property owner may have decided the economics of owning a new building with below grade levels may not be feasible due to the associated future insurance costs or the associated future costs of being self-insured.

After hurricane Sandy many owners of existing buildings in low lying areas of New York City had a building's mechanical systems relocated from the basement or ground level to an above grade level of the building. The building owners did this partially for three reasons. First, because the building owners wanted to ensure the essential functions provided by the mechanical systems were not interrupted in future flooding events. Second, because the building owners wanted to mitigate future insurance premium costs or the costs of being self-insured. Third, because the building owners wanted to mitigate future mechanical system replacement costs from future flooding events. However, these above grade spaces had previously been rented out to tenants. In having to vacate the tenants from the above grade space, the building owner was no longer able to charge rent for this space.

In land use planning and zoning, floor-area-ratio (FAR) is the multiple of a parcel of land's area that limits the square footage (sf) size of a building that can be built on that parcel. For example, a 20,000 sf parcel of land with a FAR of 3.0 would allow for a maximum building size of 60,000 sf. A building's below grade sf is usually excluded from the FAR limitation. So unless there are other regulatory constraining factors, a new 60,000 sf building could possibly be built as 3 floors above grade each at 20,000 sf or as 6 floors above grade each at 10,000 sf. However, some local governments also have an exemption that sf used to house mechanical systems are also excluded from the FAR calculation. As such, if the 60,000 building had 3,000 sf of mechanical space, then the building could actually be 63,000 sf above grade. If a building owner locating the 3,000 sf of mechanical space in a below grade level, then the 3.0 FAR would still limit an above grade building of only 60,000 sf. However, if a building owner intended on having a building with 20,000 sf of below grade space and placed the 3,000 sf of mechanical space above grade, the building owner could increase an otherwise maximum 60,000 sf building into a total of 83,000 sf by utilizing both FAR exemptions. However, a typically designed building would not allow for the use of both of these FAR exemptions along with preventing the occurrence of flooding or mitigating the severity of flooding for a building's below grade level or ground level.

The renovation of buildings that have had flood damage increases the building's overall life cycle carbon footprint by increasing the need for: (i) the manufacture of renovation materials; (ii) the transportation of renovation materials; (iii) the installation of renovation materials; and (iv) the transportation of the demolition debris to a landfill, all of which require the consumption of additional energy. This additional energy consumption is not environmentally friendly.

Lastly, typical buildings would sustain more damage during a flooding event. As such, typical buildings are not as beneficial to house evacuees during a flooding event since mechanical systems that provide essential functions (e.g. lighting, water pumps, elevators, cooling, heating) would be damaging. Also, typical buildings are not as beneficial to house first responders immediately after a flooding event since mechanical systems that provide essential functions would be damaging.

SUMMARY

In accordance with one embodiment, the design of a composite building structure that prevents floodwaters from the grade level of a building from flowing down vertical openings in the building to flood a below grade level. In accordance with another embodiment, the design of a composite building structure that elevates a building access area to an elevation at or above a composite building structure's buffer elevation. The building access area may be, but is not limited to, a building lobby or an automated parking garage's loading and unloading area. Alternatively, in accordance with other aspects, a method of entering either a building's below grade level or a building's above ground level from the ground elevation.

ADVANTAGES

The ten Figures show various embodiments of the composite building structure or aspects of either method. FIGS. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 show various embodiments illustrating a composite building structure, which have a below grade level. The composite building structure would be dry floodproofed to an elevation above the ground elevation. As such, the composite building structure prevents floodwaters from the grade level of a building from flowing down staircases, elevator shafts, parking garage ramps, and other vertical openings in the building to flood a below grade level.

FIGS. 7, 8, 9, and 10 show various embodiments illustrating a composite building structure, which does not have a below grade level. The grade level area may or not may be dry floodproofed. As such, the building access area that would otherwise be located at the grade level is elevated to a higher elevation than the grade level area. One example of this would be for automated parking garages. Automated parking garages have the system's loading and unloading area located on the ground floor. The loading and unloading area has robotic computer systems that move these vehicles from the loading and unloading area to the parking garage storage area. As such, having the loading and unloading area at the same elevation as the ground level means these systems would be damaged during a flooding event and would require replacement. Moving the loading and unloading area to a higher elevation would provide benefits over the prior art.

Alternatively, some of the control or monitoring interfaces for mechanical systems are typically located in the building access area. As such, moving the building access area of a building above the buffer elevation would allow the mechanical system control or monitoring interfaces to be above the buffer elevation. Therefore, the composite building structure can remain operational during a flooding event since the mechanical system control or monitoring interfaces that provide essential functions would not be damaging. Also, the composite building structure can be operational immediately after a flooding event since the mechanical system control or monitoring interfaces that provide essential functions would not be damaging.

FIGS. 11 and 12 show, in accordance with other aspects, methods of entering either a building's below grade level or a building's above grade level from the ground elevation.

Some prior art examples have a building access area elevated higher than the grade elevation. Some examples would be the Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET) in New York City, the New York City Main Public Library building, or “brownstone” buildings. However, these examples are different from the composite building structure. Some buildings, which have elevated building access area, are built for architectural ascetic reasons. These buildings may or may not have windows for the spaces below the elevated building access area. However, even if some of these buildings do not have windows or other openings in the spaces below the elevated building access area, they are not specifically designed to be dry floodproofed against lateral hydrostatic pressure up to the buffer elevation. The other difference is that some of these examples have the grade level access area outside of the structure and not protected from the elements versus within the interior of the structure.

These and other advantages of one or more aspects will become apparent from a consideration of the ensuing description and accompanying drawings.

DRAWINGS—FIGURES

A more complete understanding of the present invention may be derived by referring to the detailed description and claims when considered in connection with the Figures, wherein like reference numbers refer to similar elements throughout the Figures, and:

FIG. 1—shows one embodiment of a vertical cross section depicting the relationships between the various components of a composite building structure with a below grade level;

FIG. 2—shows a different embodiment of a vertical cross section depicting the relationships between the various components of a composite building structure with a below grade level;

FIG. 3—shows a different embodiment of a vertical cross section depicting the relationships between the various components of a composite building structure with a below grade level;

FIG. 4—shows a different embodiment of a vertical cross section depicting the relationships between the various components of a composite building structure with a below grade level;

FIG. 5—shows a different embodiment of a vertical cross section depicting the relationships between the various components of a composite building structure with a below grade level;

FIG. 6—shows a different embodiment of a vertical cross section depicting the relationships between the various components of a composite building structure with a below grade level;

FIG. 7—shows one embodiment of a vertical cross section depicting the relationships between the various components of a composite building structure without a below grade level;

FIG. 8—shows a different embodiment of a vertical cross section depicting the relationships between the various components of a composite building structure without a below grade level;

FIG. 9—shows a different embodiment of a vertical cross section depicting the relationships between the various components of a composite building structure without a below grade level;

FIG. 10—shows a different embodiment of a vertical cross section depicting the relationships between the various components of a composite building structure without a below grade level;

FIG. 11—shows a method of entering a building's below grade level from the ground elevation; and

FIG. 12—shows a method of entering a building's above grade level from the ground elevation.

DRAWINGS—REFERENCE NUMBERS

In the individual figures, the same item, which may or may not have the same dimensions or orientations, utilize the same reference number but with different alphabetic suffixes. The bolded lines show the portion of the dry floodproofed composite building structure and the corresponding relative maximum elevation of the dry floodproofed portion of the composite building structure.

APPARATUS ELEMENTS

  • 100. Ground
  • 105. Exterior Facade
  • 110. Vertical Building Access Area
  • 115. Building Access Area
  • 120. Grade Level Access Area
  • 125. Vertical Cross Access Area
  • 130. Grade Level Area
  • 135. Below Grade Level
  • 140. Above Grade Level
  • 145. Ground Elevation
  • 150. Floodwater Elevation
  • 155. Buffer Elevation

METHOD PROCESSES

  • 200. Passing Through A Grade Level Access Area
  • 205. Passing Through A Vertical Cross Access Area
  • 210. Passing Through A Building Access Area
  • 215. Entering A Vertical Building Access Area
  • 220. Entering The Intended Below Grade Level
  • 225. Entering The Intended Above Grade Level

DESCRIPTION—FIG. 1

First Embodiment

The vertical cross section of FIG. 1 depicts the relationships between: the ground; the exterior facade; a vertical building access area; a building access area; a grade level access area; a vertical cross access area; a grade level area; a below grade level; the ground elevation; the floodwater elevation; and the buffer elevation. This embodiment shows the scenario where a composite building structure would have a below grade. The thicker lines show the portion of the composite building structure that is dry floodproofed. The vertical building access area may be, but is not limited to: (i) a staircase; (ii) an elevator; (iii) an escalator; or (iv) a ramp. The vertical cross access area may be, but is not limited to: (i) a staircase; (ii) an elevator; (iii) an escalator; or (iv) a ramp. This vertical cross section is one of many possible cross sections for this embodiment. As such, the grade level access area may or may not constitute the entire side of one or more sides of the composite building structure.

DESCRIPTION—FIG. 2

Additional Embodiment

The vertical cross section of FIG. 2 depicts the relationships between: the ground; the exterior facade; a vertical building access area; a building access area; a grade level access area; a vertical cross access area; a grade level area; a below grade level; the ground elevation; the floodwater elevation; and the buffer elevation. This embodiment shows the scenario where a composite building structure would have a below grade level. The thicker lines show the portion of the composite building structure that is dry floodproofed. The vertical building access area may be, but is not limited to: (i) a staircase; (ii) an elevator; (iii) an escalator; or (iv) a ramp. The vertical cross access area may be, but is not limited to: (i) a staircase; (ii) an elevator; (iii) an escalator; or (iv) a ramp. This vertical cross section is one of many possible cross sections for this embodiment. As such, the grade level access area may or may not constitute the entire side of one or more sides of the composite building structure.

DESCRIPTION—FIG. 3

Additional Embodiment

The vertical cross section of FIG. 3 depicts the relationships between: the ground; the exterior facade; a vertical building access area; a building access area; a grade level access area; a vertical cross access area; a grade level area; a below grade level; the ground elevation; the floodwater elevation; and the buffer elevation. This embodiment shows the scenario where a composite building structure would have a below grade level. The thicker lines show the portion of the composite building structure that is dry floodproofed. The vertical building access area may be, but is not limited to: (i) a staircase; (ii) an elevator; (iii) an escalator; or (iv) a ramp. The vertical cross access area may be, but is not limited to: (i) a staircase; (ii) an elevator; (iii) an escalator; or (iv) a ramp. This vertical cross section is one of many possible cross sections for this embodiment. As such, the grade level access area may or may not constitute the entire side of one or more sides of the composite building structure.

DESCRIPTION—FIG. 4

Additional Embodiment

The vertical cross section of FIG. 4 depicts the relationships between: the ground; the exterior facade; a vertical building access area; a building access area; a grade level access area; a vertical cross access area; a grade level area; a below grade level; the ground elevation; the floodwater elevation; and the buffer elevation. This embodiment shows the scenario where a composite building structure would have a below grade level. The thicker lines show the portion of the composite building structure that is dry floodproofed. The vertical building access area may be, but is not limited to: (i) a staircase; (ii) an elevator; (iii) an escalator; or (iv) a ramp. The vertical cross access area may be, but is not limited to: (i) a staircase; (ii) an elevator; (iii) an escalator; or (iv) a ramp. This vertical cross section is one of many possible cross sections for this embodiment. As such, the grade level access area may or may not constitute the entire side of one or more sides of the composite building structure.

DESCRIPTION—FIG. 5

Additional Embodiment

The vertical cross section of FIG. 5 depicts the relationships between: the ground; the exterior facade; a vertical building access area; a building access area; a grade level access area; a vertical cross access area; a below grade level; the ground elevation; the floodwater elevation; and the buffer elevation. This embodiment shows the scenario where a composite building structure would have a below grade level. The thicker lines show the portion of the composite building structure that is dry floodproofed. The vertical building access area may be, but is not limited to: (i) a staircase; (ii) an elevator; (iii) an escalator; or (iv) a ramp. The vertical cross access area may be, but is not limited to: (i) a staircase; (ii) an elevator; (iii) an escalator; or (iv) a ramp. This vertical cross section is one of many possible cross sections for this embodiment. As such, the grade level access area may or may not constitute the entire side of one or more sides of the composite building structure.

DESCRIPTION—FIG. 6

Additional Embodiment

The vertical cross section of FIG. 6 depicts the relationships between: the ground; the exterior facade; a vertical building access area; a building access area; a grade level access area; a vertical cross access area; a below grade level; the ground elevation; the floodwater elevation; and the buffer elevation. This embodiment shows the scenario where a composite building structure would have a below grade level. The thicker lines show the portion of the composite building structure that is dry floodproofed. The vertical building access area may be, but is not limited to: (i) a staircase; (ii) an elevator; (iii) an escalator; or (iv) a ramp. The vertical cross access area may be, but is not limited to: (i) a staircase; (ii) an elevator; (iii) an escalator; or (iv) a ramp. This vertical cross section is one of many possible cross sections for this embodiment. As such, the grade level access area may or may not constitute the entire side of one or more sides of the composite building structure.

DESCRIPTION—FIG. 7

Additional Embodiment

The vertical cross section of FIG. 7 depicts the relationships between: the ground; the exterior facade; a vertical building access area; a building access area; a grade level access area; a vertical cross access area; a grade level area; an above grade level; the ground elevation; the floodwater elevation; and the buffer elevation. The thicker lines show the portion of the composite building structure that is dry floodproofed. The vertical building access area may be, but is not limited to: (i) a staircase; (ii) an elevator; (iii) an escalator; or (iv) a ramp. The vertical cross access area may be, but is not limited to: (i) a staircase; (ii) an elevator; (iii) an escalator; or (iv) a ramp. This vertical cross section is one of many possible cross sections for this embodiment. As such, the grade level access area may or may not constitute the entire side of one or more sides of the composite building structure.

DESCRIPTION—FIG. 8

Additional Embodiment

The vertical cross section of FIG. 8 depicts the relationships between: the ground; the exterior facade; a vertical building access area; a building access area; a grade level access area; a vertical cross access area; a grade level area; an above grade level; the ground elevation; the floodwater elevation; and the buffer elevation. The thicker lines show the portion of the composite building structure that is dry floodproofed. The vertical building access area may be, but is not limited to: (i) a staircase; (ii) an elevator; (iii) an escalator; or (iv) a ramp. The vertical cross access area may be, but is not limited to: (i) a staircase; (ii) an elevator; (iii) an escalator; or (iv) a ramp. This vertical cross section is one of many possible cross sections for this embodiment. As such, the grade level access area may or may not constitute the entire side of one or more sides of the composite building structure.

DESCRIPTION —FIG. 9

Additional Embodiment

The vertical cross section of FIG. 9 depicts the relationships between: the ground; the exterior facade; a vertical building access area; a building access area; a grade level access area; a vertical cross access area; an above grade level; the ground elevation; the floodwater elevation; and the buffer elevation. The vertical building access area may be, but is not limited to: (i) a staircase; (ii) an elevator; (iii) an escalator; or (iv) a ramp. The vertical cross access area may be, but is not limited to: (i) a staircase; (ii) an elevator; (iii) an escalator; or (iv) a ramp. This vertical cross section is one of many possible cross sections for this embodiment. As such, the grade level access area may or may not constitute the entire side of one or more sides of the composite building structure.

DESCRIPTION—FIG. 10

Additional Embodiment

The vertical cross section of FIG. 10 depicts the relationships between: the ground; the exterior facade; a vertical building access area; a building access area; a grade level access area; a vertical cross access area; an above grade level; the ground elevation; the floodwater elevation; and the buffer elevation. The vertical building access area may be, but is not limited to: (i) a staircase; (ii) an elevator; (iii) an escalator; or (iv) a ramp. The vertical cross access area may be, but is not limited to: (i) a staircase; (ii) an elevator; (iii) an escalator; or (iv) a ramp. This vertical cross section is one of many possible cross sections for this embodiment. As such, the grade level access area may or may not constitute the entire side of one or more sides of the composite building structure.

DESCRIPTION—FIG. 11

First Method

Shows a method flowchart of entering a building's below grade level from the ground elevation, comprised of: passing through a grade level access area; passing through a vertical cross access area; passing through a building access area; passing through a vertical building access area.

DESCRIPTION—FIG. 12

Additional Method

Shows a method flowchart of entering a building's above grade level from the ground elevation, comprised of: passing through a grade level access area; passing through a vertical cross access area; passing through a building access area; passing through a vertical building access area.

OPERATION—FIGS. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, &6

These embodiments provide a means to prevent the occurrence of flooding or to mitigate the severity of flooding for a building access area, a grade level area, or a below grade level of the composite building structure. A vertical cross access area provides a means of access between a grade level access area and a building access area, whereby the building access area can be elevated at a higher elevation than the grade level access area.

OPERATION—FIGS. 7, 8, 9, &10

These embodiments provide a means to prevent the occurrence of flooding or to mitigate the severity of flooding of a building access area. A vertical cross access area provides a means of access between a grade level access area and a building access area, whereby the building access area can be elevated at a higher elevation than the grade level access area.

OPERATION—FIG. 11

The embodiment of FIG. 11 provides a method of entering a below grade level from the ground elevation. A vertical cross access area requires an individual to go to a higher elevation than the grade level.

OPERATION—FIG. 12

The embodiment of FIG. 12 provides a method of entering an above grade level from the ground elevation. A vertical cross access area requires an individual to go to a higher elevation than the grade level.

CONCLUSION, RAMIFICATIONS, & SCOPE

Accordingly, the reader will see the various embodiments provide the following practical benefits.

Using the composite building structure to prevent or minimize flooding up to the buffer elevation can allow the composite building structure to be more economically feasible due to reduced insurance costs or the reduced costs of being self-insured versus a similar building designed without the composite building structure's composition.

Using the composite building structure to prevent or minimize flooding up to the buffer elevation can allow the composite building structure to secure governmental regulatory approvals. When a building or vacant site owner wants to develop a denser land-use intensive building, the owner typically needs to obtain local governmental regulatory approval. As part of the public hearing and comments process to receive this local governmental approval, many intangibles regarding the site, the proposed new building, and the owner come into consideration. The composite building structure would provide positive ramifications on various public considerations, some of which are described herein. Therefore, the composite building structure provides advantages for securing a governmental regulatory approval.

Using the composite building structure to prevent or minimize flooding up to the buffer elevation can allow the composite building structure to secure government subsidies the property owner would not otherwise receive. As part of this review process to receive government subsidies, many intangibles regarding the site, the proposed new building, and the owner come into consideration. The composite building structure would provide positive ramifications on various public considerations, some of which are described herein. Therefore, the composite building structure provides advantages for securing a governmental subsidy.

Using the composite building structure to prevent or minimize flooding up to the buffer elevation can allow the composite building structure to have a larger square footage by utilizing the ability to have an economically feasible below grade level. Based on prior art, a property owner, in building a new building, may have decided the economics of designing and building a below grade level for that building may not be feasible. However, the composite building structure can provide the alternative to build a below grade level, which is now economically feasible due to reduced future insurance costs or the reduced future costs of being self-insured.

Using the composite building structure to prevent or minimize flooding up to the buffer elevation can allow a below grade level, which would normally flood if the floodwaters were above the ground elevation, to be utilized for the composite building structure's mechanical systems versus placing those mechanical systems at or above grade. Placing the mechanical systems in a dry floodproofed below grade level, versus in other areas of a building at or above grade, allows those at or above grade areas to be used for higher value functions that would generate higher rental income. For example, after hurricane Sandy many owners of existing buildings in low lying areas of New York City had a mechanical systems relocated from a below grade level or ground level to an above grade level of the building. The building owners did this partially for three reasons. First, because the building owners wanted to ensure the essential functions provided by the mechanical systems were not interrupted in future flooding events. Second, because the building owners wanted to mitigate future insurance premium costs or the costs of being self-insured. Third, because the building owners wanted to mitigate future mechanical system replacement costs from future flooding events. However, these at or above grade spaces had previously been rented out to tenants. In having to vacate the tenants from the above grade spaces, the building owner was no longer able to charge rent for the square footage of these spaces. As such, the composite building structure provides a means to place mechanical systems below grade while still ensuring: that essential functions are not interrupted; that insurance premium costs or the costs of being self-insured are mitigated; and that future mechanical system replacement costs are mitigated. Therefore the composite building structure allows more above grade space within the composite building structure to be “useable” space for either tenants or a building's owner-occupant versus being used for storing the mechanical systems.

Using the composite building structure to prevent or minimize flooding up to the buffer elevation can allow a building to have a larger floor-area-ratio (FAR) based on local governmental regulations and exemptions to the calculation of FAR. Some local governments have an exemption the sf used to store mechanical systems is excluded from the FAR calculation. As such, if the 60,000 building had 3,000 sf of mechanical space, then the building could actually be 63,000 sf above grade. If a building owner locating the 3,000 sf of mechanical space in a below grade level, then the 3.0 FAR would still limit an above grade building of only 60,000 sf. However, if a building owner intended on having a building with 20,000 sf of below grade space and placed the 3,000 sf of mechanical space above grade, the building owner could increase an otherwise maximum 60,000 sf building to a total of 83,000 sf by utilizing both FAR exemptions. As such, the composite building structure allows a building to use both the FAR mechanical space exemption and the FAR below grade space exemption along with dry floodproofing a below grade level. While this scenario might seem to contradict the benefits of the preceding paragraph, it does not. Both this scenario and the previous scenario provide additional flexibility in designing a building. Whereby both the local real estate market demand dynamics and the building real estate demand dynamics would generate opportunities where either scenario could generate the best configuration of the composite building structure to maximize the building's financial value.

Besides the benefits provided to the owner of the composite building structure, the composite building structure would also provide benefits to society at large. With a means to prevent the occurrence of flooding or to mitigate the severity of flooding, the composite building structure reduces the need for a renovation after a flooding event. This reduces the composite building structure's overall life cycle carbon footprint by reducing the need for: (i) the manufacture of renovation materials; (ii) the transportation of renovation materials; (iii) the installation of renovation materials; and (iv) the transportation of the demolition debris to a landfill, all of which require the consumption of additional energy. This also provides a public benefit by providing a more environmentally friendly building.

The composite building structure also provides a building that, either during or immediately after a flooding event, would sustain less damage than other typical buildings. Therefore, the composite building structure could be used to house evacuees or first responders during or after a flooding event. This also provides a public benefit by providing a location where the local community can ride out a floodwater event and setup a recovery center for rebuilding the local community.

Alternatively, in accordance with other aspects, a method of entering either a building's below grade level or a building's above grade level from the ground elevation.

While the above description contains many specifications, these should not be construed as limitations on the scope of any embodiment, but as exemplifications of various embodiments thereof.

Thus the scope should be determined by the appended claims and their legal equivalents, and not by the examples given.