Title:
Flange connector
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A flange connector for use in joining adjacent concrete structural members, such as precast concrete double tee structural members. The flange connector includes a central faceplate having a weldable surface and a pair of arms that extend divergently from the central faceplate that are embedded or cast into the concrete structural member. Flanges may be formed on the faceplate and the pair of legs to define C-shaped channels that taper toward the distal ends of the legs. Notches are provided at the junctures of the legs with the opposite sides of the faceplate to reduce the stiffness of the flange connector. A threaded aperture extends through the faceplate for securing the flange connector to a conventional form used to cast the concrete structural member. Each of the legs includes an elongated slot to receive and engage the reinforcing mesh embedded in the concrete structural member to aid in aligning the flange connector with the reinforcing mesh and in transferring forces applied to the flange connector to the reinforcing mesh.



Inventors:
Harry III, Lancelot B. (Centerville, OH, US)
Sidney III, Francies E. (Springboro, OH, US)
Application Number:
10/106285
Publication Date:
07/31/2003
Filing Date:
03/26/2002
Assignee:
Dayton Superior Corporation (Dayton, OH)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
52/583.1, 52/582.1
International Classes:
E01D19/00; E04B1/41; E04B5/06; E04C5/16; (IPC1-7): E04B2/00; E04B1/38; E04C5/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
CHAPMAN, JEANETTE E
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WOOD, HERRON & EVANS, LLP (CINCINNATI, OH, US)
Claims:

Having described the invention, what is claimed is:



1. A flange connector for joining precast concrete structural members, comprising: a central faceplate; and a pair of legs extending divergently from opposite sides of the faceplate, each of the legs defining a channel extending at least partially along the length of each respective leg.

2. The flange connector of claim 1, wherein the channel defined by each leg extends entirely along the length of each respective leg.

3. The flange connector of claim 2, wherein the channel of each leg tapers along the length of each respective leg.

4. The flange connector of claim 1, wherein the faceplate defines a channel extending at least partially along the length of the faceplate.

5. The flange connector of claim 4, wherein the channel defined by the faceplate extends entirely along the length of the faceplate.

6. The flange connector of claim 1 further comprising a threaded aperture formed in the faceplate.

7. The flange connector of claim 1, wherein each of the legs has an elongated slot formed therein that communicates with a distal end of each respective leg.

8. A flange connector for joining precast concrete structural members, comprising: a central faceplate; a pair of legs extending divergently from opposite sides of the faceplate; and an elongated slot formed in each leg that communicates with a distal end of each respective leg.

9. The flange connector of claim 8 further comprising a threaded aperture formed in the faceplate.

10. The flange connector of claim 8, wherein each of the slots extends at least partially along the length of each leg.

11. A flange connector for joining precast concrete structural members, comprising: a central faceplate; a threaded aperture formed in the faceplate; and a pair of legs extending divergently from opposite sides of the faceplate.

12. A flange connector for joining precast concrete structural members, comprising: a central faceplate; a first leg extending away from one side of the faceplate, the first leg having a first elongated edge, an opposite second elongated edge, and a flange extending respectively from proximate each of the first and second edges of the first leg; and a second leg extending away from an opposite side of the faceplate, the second leg having a first elongated edge, an opposite second elongated edge, and a flange extending respectively from proximate each of the first and second edges of the second leg.

13. The flange connector of claim 12, wherein the faceplate has a first elongated edge, an opposite second elongated edge, and a flange extending respectively from proximate each of the first and second edges of the faceplate.

14. The flange connector of claim 12 further comprising a threaded aperture formed in the faceplate.

15. The flange connector of claim 12, wherein each of the legs has an elongated slot formed therein that communicates with a distal end of each respective leg.

16. A flange connector for joining precast concrete structural members, comprising: a central faceplate having a first elongated edge, an opposite second elongated edge and a pair of opposite sides; a first leg extending away from one side of the faceplate, the first leg including a first elongated edge and an opposite second elongated edge; and a second leg extending away from an opposite side of the faceplate, the second leg including a first elongated edge and an opposite second elongated edge, the first edge of the faceplate and the respective first edges of the first and second legs lying in a common plane, and the second edges of the first and second legs lying in respective planes that converge with the common plane.

17. The flange connector of claim 16, wherein each of the first and second legs has a flange extending respectively from proximate the first and second edges of the first and second legs.

18. The flange connector of claim 17, wherein the faceplate has a flange extending respectively from proximate each of the first and second edges of the faceplate.

19. A flange connector for joining precast concrete structural members, comprising: a central faceplate having a first elongated edge, an opposite second elongated edge, and a flange extending respectively from proximate each of the first and second edges of the faceplate; a first leg extending away from one side of the faceplate, the first leg having a first elongated edge, an opposite second elongated edge, and a flange extending respectively from proximate each of the first and second edges of the first leg and joined to the flanges of the faceplate at respective first junctures; a second leg extending away from an opposite side of the faceplate, the second leg having a first elongated edge, an opposite second elongated edge, and a flange extending respectively from proximate each of the first and second edges of the second leg and joined to the flanges of the faceplate at respective second junctures; a notch formed at each of the respective first junctures; and a notch formed at each of the respective second junctures.

20. The flange connector of claim 19 further comprising a threaded aperture formed in the faceplate.

21. The flange connector of claim 19, wherein each of the legs has an elongated slot formed therein that communicates with a distal end of each respective leg.

22. A flange connector for joining precast concrete structural members, comprising: a central faceplate; a first leg extending away from one side of the faceplate; an aperture formed in the first leg between a juncture of the first leg with the one side of the faceplate and a distal end of the first leg; a second leg extending away from an opposite side of the faceplate; an aperture formed in the second leg between a juncture of the second leg with the opposite side of the faceplate and a distal end of the second leg; and a substantially linear reinforcing member extending through the respective apertures formed in the first and second legs.

Description:

[0001] The present application claims the filing benefit of U.S. provisional application Serial No. 60,351,802, filed Jan. 25, 2002, the disclosure of which is hereby incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0002] The present invention relates generally to connectors and, more particularly, to a connection device for joining adjacent concrete structural members, such as precast concrete double tee structural members.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0003] Precast concrete structural members are widely used throughout the building industry to form decks, such as roofs or floors, in large concrete structures, such as parking garages and other building structures. The precast members are manufactured in a facility and then shipped to the job site and erected to form the desired roof or floor structure.

[0004] The precast members are typically constructed as single or double tee concrete structures having a slab or load bearing surface and including two flanged edges and a single or two joists. To form a deck, such as a roof or floor, the precast tee members are laid side-by-side one another so that the flanged edges of members are abutting. These members may move relative to one another due to wind forces, thermal expansion and other applied loads. It is common practice to use discretely spaced flange connectors embedded into the flanged edges of the members to prevent or lessen the relative horizontal and vertical movement between the abutting members, and to form the members into a unitary structure. Opposing flange connectors are welded together with a connection lug or rod to provide the necessary connection between adjacent tee members to form the desired structure.

[0005] Flange connectors are subjected to a variety of forces acting on the welded connection formed between opposing connectors. Lateral wind and earthquake loads applied to the building structure may impart horizontal shear forces in the plane of the floor as well as tension forces that have a tendency to pull adjacent structural members apart. Horizontal shear forces may also result from a volume change in the tee members, particularly due to temperature changes, as well as shrinkage and creep effects. Vertical shear forces may be imparted on the welded connection in response to loads acting on the load bearing surfaces of the tee members, temperature variations and other factors as well.

[0006] At present, typical flange connectors are formed of one-piece metal members comprising a central faceplate having a planar weldable surface and a pair of arms extending divergently from the central faceplate that are embedded or cast into the concrete flanges of the tee. The flange connectors are cast into the flanged edges of the tee concrete structure typically at four to five foot centers, although the spacing may varying depending on the size of the tee member and the amount of expected loading of the structure. The flanged connectors are cast in the concrete structure to permit two opposing connectors to be welded to a connection lug or rod positioned between the two opposing flange connectors, thereby forming a unitary floor or roof structure.

[0007] In the past, flange connectors have been susceptible to structural failure or pullout in response to shear loads applied generally parallel to the load bearing surfaces. Vertical and horizontal shear forces applied to flange connectors of the past have also resulted in either structural failure of the connectors and/or cracking of the concrete near the interface of the flange connector with the concrete structural member which jeopardize the safety and integrity of the connection.

[0008] Accordingly, there is a need for a flange connector that forms a reliable connection between adjacent precast concrete structural members in the presence of a variety of loads, including tension loads, horizontal shear loads and vertical shear loads.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0009] The present invention overcomes the foregoing and other shortcomings and drawbacks of flange connectors for joining adjacent concrete structural members heretofore known. While the invention will be described in connection with certain embodiments, it will be understood that the invention is not limited to these embodiments. On the contrary, the invention includes all alternatives, modifications and equivalents as may be included within the spirit and scope of the present invention.

[0010] In accordance with the principles of the present invention, a flange connector is provided having a faceplate and a pair of legs that extend divergently from opposite sides of the faceplate. The faceplate includes a generally planar face suitable for welding and a threaded aperture that extends generally centrally through the faceplate that is adapted to receive a threaded screw for securing the flange connector to a conventional form used to cast the concrete structural tee members.

[0011] In one embodiment of the present invention, the faceplate has a pair of flanges that define a C-shaped channel rearwardly of the faceplate. Each of the legs of the flange connector may have a pair of flanges that define C-shaped channels rearwardly of the respective legs. Other orientations of the flanges and channels are possible as well. The C-shaped channels of the legs may taper from the junctures of the legs with the opposite sides of the faceplate to the distal ends of the legs. The flanges of the faceplate and legs provide strength and stiffness to the flange connector to prevent buckling or failure of the flange connector under certain load conditions. The flanges and channels of the faceplate and legs also distribute upward and downward vertical loads applied to the flange connector to resist vertical shear forces present at the point of connection of adjacent flange connectors. The strength and stiffness provided by the flanges and channels of the faceplate and legs may permit optimum material thickness to be used. The tapered channels of the legs resist pullout of the flange connector from the concrete structural tee members in response to shear and/or tension loads applied to the flange connector generally parallel to the load bearing surfaces of the tee members.

[0012] In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, each of the legs may include an elongated slot that extends partially along the length of the legs and communicates with the distal ends of the legs so that the slots are open at the distal ends of the legs. The slots are provided to engage the reinforcing mesh embedded in the structural tee members to aid in aligning the flange connector with the reinforcing mesh, and also to aid in transferring forces applied to the flange connector to the reinforcing mesh. The slots also provide a degree of flexibility in the legs to permit desired flexure in the legs in response to horizontal shear loads.

[0013] In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, the flanges of the legs are joined to the flanges of the faceplate at junctures which are generally aligned with the respective junctures of the legs with the opposite sides of the faceplate. Each of the junctures is formed with a notch to reduce the stiffness of the flange connector at the junctures of the legs with the faceplate to provide a degree of flexibility in the junctures to permit desired flexure of the legs relative to the faceplate in response to horizontal shear loads.

[0014] The above and other objects and advantages of the present invention shall be made apparent from the accompanying drawings and description thereof.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0015] The accompanying drawings, which are incorporated in and constitute a part of this specification, illustrate embodiments of the invention and, together with a general description of the invention given above, and the detailed description of the embodiments given below, serve to explain the principles of the invention.

[0016] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a flange connector in accordance with the principles of the present invention for use in joining adjacent concrete structural members;

[0017] FIG. 1A is a cross sectional view taken along line 1A-1A of FIG. 1;

[0018] FIG. 1B is a cross sectional view taken along line 1B-1B of FIG. 1;

[0019] FIG. 2 is a front elevational view of the flange connector of FIG. 1;

[0020] FIG. 3 is a cross sectional view of two aligned precast concrete structural tees having the flange connectors of FIG. 1 cast therein in accordance with one aspect of the present invention;

[0021] FIG. 3A is a cross sectional view of two aligned precast concrete structural tees having the flange connectors of FIG. 1 cast therein in accordance with an another aspect of the present invention;

[0022] FIG. 4 is an enlarged partial cross sectional view of a precast concrete structural tee of FIG. 3.

[0023] FIG. 4A is an enlarged partial cross sectional view of a precast concrete structural tee of FIG. 3A;

[0024] FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a flange connector in accordance with an alternative embodiment of the present invention; and

[0025] FIG. 6 is a side elevational view of a flange connector mounted to a form through a form mounting plate.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0026] Referring to the Figures, a flange connector 10 in accordance with the principles of the present invention is shown for joining adjacent concrete structural members, such as two (2) precast/prestressed concrete structural double tees 12 as shown in FIGS. 3 and 3A. Each double tee member 12 has a load bearing slab 14 and includes two flanged edges 16 and two depending joists 18. The double tee members 12 are formed with a reinforcing mesh 20 positioned generally in the center of the slabs 14 that extends generally parallel to the load bearing surface 22 of the slabs 14. As will be described in greater detail below, the flange connectors 10 are embedded or cast in spaced apart relationship in the flanged edges 16 so that the flange connectors 10 of adjoining double tee members 12 are placed in opposing relationship for welding of the flange connectors 10 together to join the adjacent structural members 12.

[0027] In one embodiment of the present invention, the flange connector 10 comprises a one-piece member manufactured of metal, such as stainless steel or other metals or, alternatively, of carbon. The flange connector 10 includes a faceplate 24 having a generally planar surface 26 suitable for welding and a pair of legs 28 that extend divergently from opposite sides of the faceplate 24. Each of the pair of legs 28 extends rearwardly and outwardly away from the faceplate 24 at an angle of about 45°, although other angles are possible as well without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention.

[0028] In accordance with one aspect of the present invention, the faceplate 24 has a threaded aperture 30 extending generally centrally therethrough that is adapted to receive a threaded screw 31 (FIG. 6) for securing the flange connector 10 to a conventional form 33 (FIG. 6) used to cast the concrete structural tee members 12. A pair of tooling or registration apertures 32 are provided on opposite sides of the threaded aperture 30, in a common relationship with the threaded aperture 30, to receive nails, pins or similar devices to stabilize the flange connector 10 on the form (not shown) during the casting process.

[0029] In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, the faceplate 24 has an elongated edge 34, an opposite elongated edge 36, and a flange 38 that extends respectively from proximate each of the edges 34, 36 to define a C-shaped channel 40 rearwardly of the faceplate 24. It is contemplated that each of the edges 34 and 36 may be sharp cornered or radiused. In one embodiment, the channel 40 and flanges 38 extend the entire longitudinal length of the faceplate 24, although it is contemplated in an alternative embodiment of the present invention that the channel 40 and flanges 38 may extend only partially along the length of the faceplate 24. It is contemplated that the flanges 38 may be continuous along the entire or partial length of the faceplate 24 or, alternatively, may be intermittently spaced along the entire or partial length of the faceplate 24. Alternatively, the faceplate 24 may not have any flanges 38 or define any channel 40 in another contemplated embodiment of the present invention.

[0030] In one embodiment, the faceplate 24 may have a length of about 6 inches, a height of about 1¾ inches, and each flange 38 may have a width of about ½ inch, although other dimensions of the faceplate 24 are possible as well depending on the size of the flange connector 10 and the anticipated load without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention.

[0031] Each of the legs 28 has an elongated edge 42, an opposite elongated edge 44, and a flange 46 that extends respectively from proximate each of the edges 42, 44 to define C-shaped channels 48 rearwardly of the legs 28. It is contemplated that the edges 42 and 44 may be sharp cornered or radiused. In one embodiment, each of the channels 48 and flanges 46 extends the entire longitudinal length of each leg 28, although it is contemplated in an alternative embodiment of the present invention that the channels 48 and flanges 46 may extend only partially along the length of each respective leg 28. It is contemplated that the flanges 46 may be continuous along the entire or partial lengths of the legs 28 or, alternatively, may be intermittently spaced along the entire or partial length of each leg 28. It is also contemplated in an alternative embodiment that both flanges 46 of each respective leg 28 may extend forwardly of the legs 28 to define a channel forwardly of each leg 28. Alternatively, one of the flanges 46 of each respective leg 28 may extend rearwardly of the legs 28 while the other flange 46 of each leg 28 may extend forwardly of the legs 28. It is further contemplated that each flange 46 may have one portion of the flange that extends rearwardly of the legs 28 while another portion of the same flange extends forwardly of each respective leg 28. Alternatively, the legs 28 may not have any flanges 46 or define any channels 48 in another contemplated embodiment of the present invention.

[0032] In one embodiment, each leg 28 may have a length of about 9 inches, a height that tapers from about 1¾ inches near the junctures of the legs 28 with the opposite sides of the faceplate 24 to about 1 inch at the distal ends of the legs 28, and each flange 46 may have a width of about ½ inch, although other dimensions of the legs 28 are possible as well depending on the size of the flange connector 10 and the anticipated load without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention.

[0033] As shown in FIGS. 1, 1A, 1B and 2, the channels 48 of the legs 28 taper from their junctures with the opposite sides of the faceplate 24 to the distal ends of the legs 28. The edge 36 of the faceplate 24 and the edges 44 of the legs 28 lie in a common plane “P1”. Each of the edges 42 of the legs 28 lie in respective planes “P2” that converge with the common plane “P1”. The edge 34 of the faceplate 24 lies in a plane “P3” generally parallel to the plane “P1”. As shown in FIG. 2, the respective planes “P2” are oriented at an angle “α” of about 9° relative to the plane “P3”, although other angles are possible as well without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention.

[0034] The flanges 38 of the faceplate 24 and the flanges 46 of the legs 28 provide strength and stiffness to the flange connector 10 to prevent buckling or failure of the flange connector 10 under certain load conditions. The flanges 46 and channels 48 of the legs 28, and the flanges 38 and channels 40 of the faceplate 24, also distribute upward and downward vertical loads applied to the flange connector 10 to resist vertical shear forces present at the point of connection of adjacent flange connectors 10. The strength and stiffness provided by the flanges 38, 46 and channels 40, 48 to the flange connector 10 may permit optimum material thickness to be used over similarly configured flange connectors without the flanges 38, 46 and channels 40, 48 flanges without sacrificing the load capability of the flange connector 10. The tapered channels 48 of the legs 28 resist pullout out of the flange connector 10 from the tapered edges 16 of the tee members 12 in response to shear and/or tension loads applied to the flange connectors 10 generally parallel to the load bearing surfaces 22.

[0035] In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, each of the legs 28 may include an optional elongated slot 50 that extends partially along the length of the legs 28 and communicates with the distal ends of the legs 28 so that the slots 50 are open at the distal ends of the legs 28 and terminate forwardly at radiused ends 52. It is contemplated that the ends 52 of slots 50 may take the form of a square, triangle or other suitable shape. As will be described in greater detail below, the slots 50 are provided to engage the reinforcing mesh 20 of the tee members 12 to aid in aligning the flange connector 10 with the reinforcing mesh 20, and also to aid in transferring forces applied to the flange connector 10 to the reinforcing mesh 20. The optional slots 50 also provide a degree flexibility in the legs 28 to permit desired flexure in the legs 28 in response to horizontal shear loads. In one embodiment, each slot 50 may have a length of about 6 inches and a height of about ½-1 inch, although other dimensions of the slots 50 are possible as well depending on the size of the flange connector 10 and the anticipated load without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention. Alternatively, the legs 28 may not have any slots 50 in an another contemplated embodiment of the present invention.

[0036] The flanges 46 of the legs 28 are joined to the flanges 38 of the faceplate 24 at junctures 54 which are generally aligned with the respective junctures of the legs 28 with the opposite sides of the faceplate 24. In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, each of the junctures 54 is formed with a notch 56 as shown in FIG. 1. The notches 56 are provided to reduce the stiffness of the flange connector 10 at the junctures of the legs 28 with the faceplate 24 to provide a degree of flexibility in the junctures 54 to permit desired flexure of the legs 28 relative to the faceplate 24 in response to horizontal shear loads.

[0037] In use, as shown in FIGS. 3 and 4, the flange connectors 10 are embedded or cast in spaced apart relationship in the flanged edges 16 so that the flange connectors 10 of adjoining tee members 12 are placed in opposing relationship for welding of the flange connectors 10 together to join the adjacent structural members 12. In accordance with one aspect of the present invention, the flange connectors 10 are embedded or cast in the flanged edges 16 with the edge 36 of the faceplate 24 and the edges 44 of the legs 28 lying generally parallel to the load bearing surfaces 22 of the tee members 12. In this orientation of the flange connectors 10, the planar surfaces 26 of adjacent flange connectors 10 lie generally parallel to each other as shown in FIG. 3. The reinforcing mesh 20 is received in the slots 50 to engage the flange connector 10 with the reinforcing mesh 20, and also to aid in transferring forces applied to the flange connector 10 to the reinforcing mesh 20.

[0038] The flanged connectors 10 are cast in the tee members 12 such that the top edge 34 of the faceplate 24 is exposed. Exposing the top edge 34 is accomplished by blocking out a portion of the flanged edge 16 of the double tee member 12 just above the faceplate 24. Having the top edge 34 exposed allows two adjacent flange connectors 10 to be welded to a connector slug 58 positioned between the two adjacent flange connectors 10, thereby developing a joined structure across the floor or roof to increase the rigidity of such floor or roof. In one embodiment, the connector slug 58 may have a height of about ¾ inch, a depth of about ¾ inch, a length of about 5 inches, and be positioned about ⅜ inch below the edge 34 of the faceplate 24, although other dimensions of the connector slug 58, and other configurations and orientations of the connector slug used to join adjacent flange connectors 10, are possible as well depending on the size of the flange connector 10 and the anticipated load without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention.

[0039] In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, as shown in FIGS. 3A and 4A, the flange connectors 10 are flipped over 180° from their orientation in FIGS. 3 and 4. The flange connectors 10 are embedded or cast in the flanged edges 16 of the tee members 12 so that the edge 34 of the faceplate 24 and the edges 42 of the legs 28 lie generally parallel to the load bearing surfaces 22 of the tee members 12. In this orientation of the flange connectors 10, the planar surfaces 26 of adjacent flange connectors 10 have a positive draft so that the planar surfaces 26 of the faceplate 24 diverge upwardly to define a generally V-shaped notch between the adjacent flange connectors 10 that receives the connector slug 58 as shown in FIG. 3A. Of course, the flange connectors 10 could be embedded or cast in place within the flanged edges 16 of the double tee members 12 with a greater degree of positive draft, or with a negative draft so that the planar surfaces 26 of the faceplate 24 diverge downwardly to define a generally V-shaped notch between the adjacent flange connectors 10 that receives the connector slug 58.

[0040] As shown in FIG. 6, the flange connector 10 is mounted to the form 33 through a form mounting plate 60 so that the flange connector 10 is mounted with a positive draft. Mounting plate 60 has a generally planar face 62 that abuts an inner face 64 of the form 33 and an inclined face 66 that extends inwardly and upwardly and abuts the faceplate 24 of the flange connector 10. The mounting plate 60 may be made of plastic, wood or other suitable material and includes a threaded aperture (not shown) extending generally centrally therethrough that is adapted to receive the threaded screw 31 for securing the mounting plate 60 to the form 33. One or more registration pegs (not shown) may extend inwardly from the inclined face 66 of the mounting plate 60 to register with the tooling or registration apertures 32 (FIGS. 1 and 2) formed in the faceplate 24 to stabilize the flange connector 10 on the form 33 during the casting process. It will be appreciated that the mounting plate 60 may be reoriented 180° on the form 33 to mount the flange connector 10 with a negative draft as described in detail above.

[0041] Referring now to FIG. 5, a flange connector 100 in accordance with an alternative embodiment of the present invention is shown, where like numerals represent like parts to the flange connector 10. In this embodiment, each of the legs 28 includes an aperture 60 formed therethrough between the junctures of the legs 28 with the faceplate 24 and the respective distal ends of the legs 28. A substantially straight or linear rod member 62 is inserted through the apertures 60 to prevent flexure of the legs 28 toward each other and thereby reduce the likelihood that the flange connectors 10 will be pulled out of the double tee members 12 in response to tension loads applied generally parallel to the load bearing surfaces 22. While not shown, it is contemplated in an alternative embodiment that each of the legs 28 may include a slot as described in detail above to engage the reinforcing mesh 20.

[0042] While the present invention has been illustrated by a description of various embodiments and while these embodiments have been described in considerable detail, it is not the intention of the applicants to restrict or in any way limit the scope of the appended claims to such detail. Additional advantages and modifications will readily appear to those skilled in the art. The invention in its broader aspects is therefore not limited to the specific details, representative apparatus and method, and illustrative example shown and described. Accordingly, departures may be made from such details without departing from the spirit or scope of applicants' general inventive concept.