Title:
Guardrail mounted on posts and associated methods
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A guardrail and associated methods preferably having plurality of support posts that are spaced around an area to be defined by rebar or other posts already associated with a construction site are provided. The plurality of support posts preferably support at least one crossbar spanning the length between each of the support posts. The guardrail apparatus also preferably includes a sleeve that slides over an upper portion of each of support posts at the ends of the guardrail which can hold the beams or crossbars of the guardrail. Preferably, the sleeve can be positioned and secured to the post at a desired height. Supports are positioned on the plurality of support posts between the ends of the guardrail at desired heights in order to hold and support the crossbars spanning the length of the guardrail.



Inventors:
Purvis, Harrison G. (Eagle Springs, NC, US)
Purvis, Thomas (High Falls, NC, US)
Application Number:
10/210021
Publication Date:
09/25/2003
Filing Date:
07/31/2002
Assignee:
PURVIS HARRISON G.
PURVIS THOMAS
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04H17/14; (IPC1-7): E04H17/14
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20070246696Fencing system in particular for deer controlOctober, 2007Campbell
20090085022Safety PostApril, 2009Svedberg
20060266989Decorative fence insert for the prevention of insect infestationNovember, 2006Masterson
20090152524Fence stabilization systemJune, 2009Keller
20080115429PRE-CAST MONOLITHIC CONCRETE STAIR WITH DUAL EDGE BEAMS, METHOD AND MOLDMay, 2008Zirbel et al.
20090140228FENCE HINGEJune, 2009Williams Jr.
20030066993A FENCING ELEMENTApril, 2003Chamove
200802033733D fences made from rods or tubes, with square, rectangular, multisided or circular sections, made from metal, plastic or aluminumAugust, 2008Becherete
20090179182Fencing for residential and commercial useJuly, 2009Gladstone et al.
20080087873Fence Construction SystemsApril, 2008Auret
20040262588Variable width crash cushions and end terminalsDecember, 2004Bronstad



Primary Examiner:
LUGO, CARLOS
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ADD+G - 27975 (Winter Springs, FL, US)
Claims:

That claimed is:



1. A guardrail adapted to be mounted on a row of rebar posts that are positioned in a surface, the row having at least a beginning end post and an ending end post, the guardrail comprising: a pair of end post sleeves adapted so that one of the end post sleeves receives the upper end of the beginning end post and the other end post sleeve receives the upper end of the ending end post; a pair of first crossbar connectors each positioned on one of the pair of end post sleeves at a first elevation above the surface; a pair of second crossbar connectors each positioned on one of the pair of end post sleeves at a second elevation above the surface, the second elevation being closer to the surface than the first elevation; a first crossbar extending between each of the pair of end post sleeves, a first end of the first crossbar connecting to one of the pair of first crossbar connectors and a second end of the first crossbar connecting to the other one of the pair of first crossbar connectors; and a second crossbar extending between each of the pair of end post sleeves, a first end of the second crossbar connecting to one of the pair of second crossbar connectors and a second end of the second crossbar connecting to the other one of the pair of second crossbar connectors.

2. A guardrail as defined in claim 1, wherein the row of posts have at least one additional rebar post positioned between the beginning end post and the ending end post, and the guardrail further comprises a pair of supports, each having a support opening extending therethrough and positioned on the distal end of each of the at least one additional posts, each of the at least one additional posts having a pair of supports positioned thereon defining a support post, and one of the pair of supports positioned at the first elevation defining a first support on each support post and the other of the pair of supports positioned at the second elevation defining a second support on each support post.

3. A guardrail as defined in claim 2, wherein each of the pair of supports comprises a ledge positioned adjacent the support openings of each of the pair of supports, and a lip extending from each ledge, parallel to the support post and away from the surface, and wherein portions of the first crossbar rests on the ledge of the first support, and portions of the second crossbar rest on the ledge of the second supports.

4. A guardrail as defined in claim 3, wherein the first and second crossbars each comprise a pair of end bars each having a first opening and at least one intermediate bar, and wherein the circumference around the outer surface of the at least one intermediate bar is smaller than the inner circumference of the first opening of each of the pair of end bars, and wherein the first opening of each of the end bars is adapted to receive a portion of the at least one intermediate bar.

5. A guardrail as defined in claim 4, wherein the at least one intermediate bar comprises a plurality of small intermediate bars alternatingly positioned with at least one large intermediate bar, and wherein each of the at least one large intermediate bars has a third opening with an inner circumference that is larger than the outer circumference of each of the small intermediate bars to receive a portion of each of the small intermediate bars, and each of the pair of end bars is adapted to receive a portion of at least two of the plurality of the small intermediate bars.

6. A guardrail as defined in claim 4, wherein the at least one intermediate bar comprises a plurality of small intermediate bars positioned alternatingly with a plurality of large intermediate bars, and wherein each of the plurality of large intermediate bars has a third opening with an inner circumference that is larger than the outer circumference of each of the plurality of small intermediate bars that receives a portion of each of the plurality of small intermediate bars, and wherein the portion of each small intermediate bar received in each third opening is adjusted so that the ends of the at least one intermediate bar include small intermediate bars, and wherein each of the pair of end bars each receives one of the ends of the at least one intermediate bar.

7. A guardrail as defined in claim 1, wherein the row of posts have a plurality of additional rebar posts positioned between the beginning end post and the ending end post, and the guardrail further comprises: at least one corner sleeve adapted to receive the upper end of at least one of one of the plurality of additional rebar posts to thereby define a corner post, and wherein each corner post has another pair of first crossbar connectors positioned at the first elevation on the outer surface of the corner sleeve, extending radially away from the corner sleeve in different directions, defining an angle between the pair of crossbar connectors, and wherein each corner post has another pair of second crossbar connectors positioned at the second elevation on the outer surface of the corner sleeve, extending radially away from the corner sleeve in different directions and at substantially the same angle; a pair of supports adapted to slide over rebar posts, each having a support opening extending therethrough and positioned on the distal end of the remaining plurality of additional rebar posts, each of the remaining plurality of additional rebar posts having a pair of supports positioned thereon defining a support post, and one of the pair of supports positioned at the first elevation defining a first support on each support post and the other of the pair of supports positioned at the second elevation defining a second support on each support post, each of the pair of supports comprising a ledge positioned adjacent the support openings of each of the pair of supports, and a lip extending from each ledge, parallel to the support post and away from the surface, and portions of the first crossbar resting on the ledge of the first supports, and portions of the second crossbar resting on the ledge of the second support, and wherein the first and second crossbars each comprise: an end bar connected to each crossbar connector, each having a first opening; a plurality of small intermediate bars positioned between the end bars connected to the beginning end post and the corner post and between end bars connected to the corner post and the ending end post, the circumference around the outer surface of each of the small intermediate bars being smaller than the inner circumference of the first openings of each of the pair of end bars, and wherein the first opening of each of the end bars receives a portion of the at least one intermediate bar; and a plurality of large intermediate bars alternatingly positioned with the plurality of small intermediate bars, each of the plurality of large intermediate bars having a third opening with an inner circumference that is larger than the outer circumference of each of the plurality of small intermediate bars that receives a portion of each of the plurality of small intermediate bars, the portion of each small intermediate bar received in each third opening being adapted so that each of the end bars each receives one of the plurality of small intermediate bars.

8. A guardrail comprising: a plurality of posts associated with a construction site, each post having a lower end fixedly secured to a substantially horizontal support region so that each distal end portion of each of the plurality of posts extends upwardly in a substantially vertical direction from the support region; at least one end post sleeve positioned on the distal end portion of one of the plurality of posts so that the post defines a end post, the at least one end post sleeve having at least one crossbar connector associated with the outer surface of the end post sleeve; at least one support having a support opening extending therethrough and positioned on the distal end of another one of the plurality of posts so that the post defines a support post, the support also having a ledge positioned adjacent the support opening and extending outwardly from the support post; a lip extending outwardly from the ledge substantially parallel to the support post; and at least one crossbar extending between the end post and the support post, at least one crossbar having a portion of the crossbar positioned on the ledge between the support post and the lip and a crossbar opening formed in an end portion of the crossbar adjacent the end post and connected to the crossbar connector.

9. A guardrail as defined in claim 8 wherein each of the plurality of posts comprises a rebar post.

10. A guardrail as defined in claim 8, wherein the support has a passageway extending radially from the support opening to an outer surface of the support and means for securing the support to the support post through the support opening, the means for securing the support to the support post extending through the passageway from the outer surface of the support towards the support opening and engaging the support post.

11. A guardrail as defined in claim 8, wherein the at least one crossbar comprises a first crossbar which connects to the first crossbar connector and extends away from the end post at substantially the first elevation; and the at least one crossbar further comprises a second crossbar which connects to the second crossbar connector and extends away from the end post at substantially the second elevation.

12. A guardrail as defined in claim 8, wherein the crossbar further has at least one end bar connected to the at least one end post sleeve, the end bar having a first end opening, and wherein the crossbar further has at least one small intermediate bar having a second end opening, the outer circumference of the outer surface surrounding the second end opening of the small intermediate bar being less than the inner circumference of the first end opening of the end bar so that the end bar slideably receives a portion of the small intermediate bar, and wherein a portion of the small intermediate bar rests on the ledge, between the lip and the support post.

13. A guardrail as defined in claim 12, wherein the at least one crossbar further has at least one large intermediate bar having a third end opening, the inner circumference of the third end opening being greater than the outer circumference of the outer surface surrounding the second end opening so that the large intermediate bar slideably receives a portion of the small intermediate bar on the opposite end of the small intermediate bar from the portion being received by the end bar.

14. A guardrail as defined in claim 13, wherein another support post is positioned adjacent the support post adjacent the end post, defining a second support post; and a portion of the large intermediate bar rests on the ledge of the support on the second support post.

15. A guardrail as defined in claim 14, wherein another support post is positioned adjacent the second support post, defining a third support post; the crossbar further has another small intermediate bar, and the large intermediate bar slideably receives a portion of the another small intermediate bar at the opposite end of large intermediate bar that slideably received a portion of the small intermediate bar resting on the ledge of the support positioned on the support post adjacent the end post; and the another small intermediate bar rests on the ledge of the support positioned on the third support post.

16. A guardrail as defined in claim 15, wherein another end post is positioned at the end of the guardrail opposite from the other end post; additional support posts are positioned adjacent one another between the third support post and the another end post; the at least one crossbar further has additional large and small intermediate bars alternatingly added to the crossbar and resting on the ledges of each of the supports on each of the support posts, wherein each end of the additional large intermediate bars slidingly receives portions of adjacent small intermediate bars, the portions of the additional small intermediate bars being received by each of the additional large intermediate bars is adjusted so that one of the additional small intermediate bars rests on the ledge of the support of the support post adjacent to the another end post; and the at least one crossbar further has another at least one end bar connected to the at least one end post sleeve defining the another end post, which slideably receives a portion of the additional small intermediate bars resting on the ledge of the ledge of the support positioned on the support post adjacent the another end post.

17. A guardrail as defined in claim 8, wherein the at least one crossbar connector comprises a first crossbar connector positioned at a first elevation above the support region, wherein the at least one crossbar connector further has a second crossbar connecter positioned at a second elevation above the support region, the first elevation being higher than the second elevation, wherein each of the first and second cross bar connectors is positioned on an outer surface of the end post sleeve, and wherein the crossbar is connected to, and extends radially outward from substantially the same outer surface of the end post sleeve.

18. A guardrail as defined in claim 17, wherein the at least on crossbar comprises a first crossbar which connects to the first crossbar connector and extends away from the end post at substantially the first elevation; and the at least one crossbar further comprises a second crossbar which connects to the second crossbar connector and extends away from the end post at substantially the second elevation.

19. A guardrail as defined in claim 18, wherein the at least one support comprises a first support positioned at the first elevation; and the at least one support further comprises a second support positioned at the second elevation.

20. A guardrail as defined in claim 19, wherein the at least one end bar comprises a first end bar that attaches to the first crossbar connector, the at least one end bar comprises a second end bar that attaches to the second crossbar connector; the at least one small intermediate bar comprises a first small intermediate bar that is slideably received by the first end bar, and a second small intermediate bar that is slideably received by the second end bar; the first small intermediate bar rests on the ledge of the first support and the second small intermediate bar rests on the ledge of the second support.

21. A guardrail as defined in claim 8, further comprising at least one corner post sleeve positioned on the distal end portion of one of the plurality of posts so that the post defines a corner post, the at least one corner post sleeve having at least two crossbar connectors positioned on the outer surface of the corner post sleeve at substantially the same elevation above the surface, and the connectors extend radially outward from the surface of the corner post sleeve at an angle to each other, and wherein the at least one crossbar extends from the end post, beyond the support post, to the corner post, the at least one crossbar connects to one of the at least two crossbar connectors on the corner post sleeve, and wherein the crossbar continues from the other one of the at least two crossbar connectors towards another at least one end post and connects to one of the at least one crossbar connectors associated with the other end post sleeve, and wherein the crossbar extends from the corner post towards the another end post at the angle.

22. The guardrail of claim 21, wherein: the at least one crossbar connector on each end post sleeve comprises a pair of crossbar connectors extending radially from the surface of the end post sleeve in substantially the same direction, wherein one of the pair of crossbar connectors is positioned at a first elevation above the surface, thereby defining a first crossbar connector, and wherein the other one of the pair of crossbar connectors is positioned at a second elevation above the surface that is closer to the surface than the first crossbar connector, thereby defining a second crossbar connector; and wherein the at least one support comprises a pair of supports on each support post, wherein one of the pair of supports is positioned at the first elevation, thereby defining a first support, and wherein the other one of the pair of supports is positioned at the second elevation, thereby defining a second support; and wherein the at least two crossbar connectors on the corner post sleeve comprises a pair of at least two crossbar connects on the corner post sleeve, wherein one of the pair of at least two crossbar connectors is positioned at the first elevation, thereby defining a first set of corner crossbar connectors, and wherein the other one of the pair at least two crossbar connectors is positioned at the second elevation, thereby defining a second set of corner crossbar connectors; and wherein the at least one crossbar comprises a pair of crossbars, wherein one of the pair of crossbars is positioned at the first elevation, defining a first crossbar, and extends from the first crossbar connector, beyond the support post, with a portion of the first crossbar positioned on the ledge of the first support, and continuing to the corner post where the first crossbar connects to one of the first set of corner crossbar connectors, and wherein the first crossbar continues from the other one of the first set of corner crossbar connectors towards the another at least one end post and connects to the first crossbar connector on end post sleeve of the another at least one end post; and wherein the other one of the pair of crossbars is positioned at the second elevation, defining a second crossbar, and extends from the second crossbar connector, beyond the support post, with a portion of the second crossbar positioned on the ledge of the second support, and continuing to the corner post where the second crossbar connects to one of the second set of corner crossbar connectors, and wherein the second crossbar continues from the other one of the second set of corner crossbar connectors towards the another at least one end post and connects to the second crossbar connector on end post sleeve of the another at least one end post.

23. A method of mounting a guardrail on a plurality of rebar posts that are positioned in a surface, comprising the steps: (a) connecting an end post sleeve having a pair of crossbar connectors respectively positioned at a first elevation above the surface and at a second elevation above the surface to each of the outermost and spaced-apart posts of the plurality of rebar posts; and (b) connecting a crossbar to each of the end post sleeves at the connectors at the first elevation, and a crossbar to each of the end post sleeves at the connectors at the second elevation.

24. A method of mounting a guardrail on a plurality of rebar posts that are positioned in a surface, comprising the steps: (a) connecting an end post sleeve to each of the outermost posts of the plurality of rebar posts; (b) connecting a pair of supports at a first elevation above the surface, and a second elevation that is above the first elevation, to each of the plurality rebar posts between the outermost rebar posts; (c) connecting a first crossbar on the first supports and connecting the first crossbar to each of the end post sleeves; and (d) connecting a second crossbar on the second supports and connecting the second crossbar to each of the end post sleeves.

25. A method as defined in claim 24, wherein the first and second crossbars are connected to fthe first and second supports in steps (c) and (d) by resting the first and second crossbars on the first and second supports, respectively.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] Applicant claims priority to the application described herein through a United States provisional patent application titled “Guardrail Mounted on Rebar and Associated Methods,” having U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 60/367,157 which was filed on Mar. 25, 2002, and which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] 1. Field of the Invention

[0003] The invention relates generally to the construction industry and, more specifically, to a guardrail apparatus for construction sites and walkways.

[0004] 2. Background of the Invention

[0005] Construction sites may have areas that are dangerous to the public as well as to the workers. Many times a barrier structure of some kind is constructed or assembled around an area where construction work is being performed to make the workers or public aware of the area. For example, sometimes it is desired to define an area so that workers know that certain precautions should be followed upon entering and while working in the area. Another example may be an area that is so dangerous entrance to the area is desired to occur at specific places. Sometimes it may be advantageous to define certain walkways for those passing by or through an area to use so that they do not wander into a dangerous or off-limits area.

[0006] In these situations, contractors and construction companies will typically assemble or construct a guardrail to define the specific area or an edge of a safe walkway. In order to be effective, the guardrails need to be stable so that they are not easily moved around or destroyed by the normal changes in weather, or persons around the guardrail. These needs can cause the guardrails to be large or difficult to assemble or construct. Such assemblies can be costly to construct or assemble, but are necessary to reduce injuries at or around the construction site.

[0007] Two assemblies that have been invented in order to alleviate some of the costs of construction are found in U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,683,074 and 5,842,685. U.S. Pat. No. 5,683,074 (hereinafter “the '074 patent”) to Harrison G. Purvis, et al. discloses a guardrail assembly that is mounted onto stanchions. Brackets that are connected to the ground, or to a structure like a platform, receive the lower end of the stanchion. A connector protrudes from a distal end of the stanchion to connect to an upper crossbar. Collar sleeves slide over the stanchion and are positioned at medial portions to connect to lower crossbars extending away from the stanchion in different directions.

[0008] U.S. Pat. No. 5,842,685 to Harrison G. Purvis, et al. (hereinafter “the '685 patent”) discloses improvements to the guardrail assembly in the '074 patent. One such improvement allows for the crossbars to connect to the stanchions at a vertical angle which allows the guardrail to be mounted on structures of differing elevations like stairways. Other improvements provide different attachments that can fit over the connector at the distal end of the stanchion. One attachment is for allowing the upper crossbar to connect to the stanchion at a position lower than the distal end, and another attachment is for extending the length stanchion so that the stanchion is taller and can support a higher guardrail.

[0009] Both the '074 and the '685 patents provide improvements over preceding assemblies. However, these assemblies still required the installation of brackets to a base structure that the guardrail was assembled upon. They both required the brackets for receiving each of the stanchions used in the guardrail. Furthermore, each collar sleeve had to be individually positioned on the medial portion of each of the stanchions. Finally, at each stanchion, the crossbar had to be connected to the stanchion with a threaded fastener and an inwardly threaded nut.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0010] With the foregoing in mind, the present invention advantageously provides an apparatus and methods which more efficiently define the areas, like dangerous areas around construction sites or areas for people to pass by. The present invention additionally advantageously provides a simplified or less complex apparatus to assemble around areas that can easily be spotted by persons around a site and can withstand normal weather conditions and be strong enough to retain pressure from a person or object on the guardrail. The present invention additionally and advantageously provides an easily assembled and removable guardrail and methods using post sleeves that substantially surround portions of rear poles positioned in a support surface.

[0011] The apparatus and methods of assembling the apparatus of the present invention advantageously allow contractors and construction companies to define specific areas around a construction site in a cost efficient manner. Furthermore, the apparatus and methods of assembling the apparatus advantageously allow contractors to disassemble and/or reposition the apparatus as the areas around the construction site change while certain tasks are completed.

[0012] More particularly, a guardrail according to the present invention preferably has a plurality of posts associated with a construction site. Each of the plurality of posts preferably has a lower end that is fixedly secured to a substantially horizontal support region and a distal end extending upward from the support region. The guardrail also preferably includes at least one end post sleeve positioned on the distal end of one of the posts so that the post defines an end post. Each end post sleeve also has at least one crossbar connector associated with the outer surface of the end post sleeve. The guardrail also preferably has at least one support having an opening extending therethrough and positioned on the distal end of another one of the plurality of posts so that a post defines a support post. Preferably, each support also has a ledge positioned adjacent the support opening and extending outwardly from the support post. Preferably, each support also has a lip extending outwardly from the ledge substantially parallel to the support post. The guardrail also preferably has at least one crossbar extending between the end post and the support post, with a portion of the at least one crossbar positioned on the ledge between the support post and the lip. Preferably, the at least one crossbar has a crossbar opening formed in an end portion of the crossbar adjacent each end post sleeve and connected to the at least one crossbar connectors.

[0013] The crossbars of the guardrail preferably include a plurality of end bars that attach to each of the sleeves and corner posts. The crossbars also further include a plurality of large and small bars that extend between the end bars. The large bars preferably have openings or channels formed in portions thereof and have preferably a larger inner circumference of the openings or channels, as well as a larger outer circumference, that allows the end bars and/or the smaller bars having a smaller outer circumference to slide into the openings or channels of the large crossbar. Being able to slide the end bars and small bars into the large bars provides an easy method for assembling the crossbars of the guardrail, as well as allowing the length of the crossbars to be changed according to desired needs. Preferably, the large bars have an auxiliary opening at each end that allows fasteners to secure the end bars and small bars relative to the large bars.

[0014] The present invention also provides a guardrail adapted to be mounted on a row of rebar posts that are positioned in a surface, with the row having at least a beginning end post and an ending end post. The guardrail preferably has a pair of end post sleeves adapted so that one of the end post sleeves receives the upper end of the beginning end post, and the other end post sleeve receives the upper end of the ending end post. Preferably, the guardrail has a pair of first crossbar connectors that are each positioned on one of the pair of end post sleeves at a first elevation above the surface, and a pair of second crossbar connectors that are each positioned on one of the pair of end post sleeves at a second elevation above the surface. Preferably, the second elevation is closer to the surface than the first elevation. Preferably, the guardrail has a first crossbar extending between each of the pair of end post sleeves with an end of the first crossbar connecting to one of the pair of first crossbar connectors and a second end of the first crossbar connecting to the other of the pair of first connectors. Preferably, the guardrail also has a second crossbar extending between each of the pair of end post sleeves with a first end of the second crossbar connecting to one of the pair of second crossbar connectors, and a second end of the second crossbar connecting to the other one of the pair of second crossbar connectors.

[0015] The present invention also provides a method for assembling the guardrail apparatus on rebar posts already positioned in a surface. A method according to the present invention includes mounting an end post sleeve, having a pair of crossbar connectors at a first elevation above the surface and at a second elevation above the surface, over each of the outermost posts of the rebar posts, and then connecting a crossbar to end post sleeves at the connectors at the first elevation and a crossbar to the end post sleeves at the connectors at the second elevation.

[0016] The present invention therefore advantageously provides an apparatus and methods for assembling a guardrail apparatus to define an area at a construction site which can be a variety of different lengths, shapes, sizes, and number of crossbars. The apparatus advantageously provides a structure that is easily assembled and disassembled as the areas around a construction site need guardrails changes. Furthermore, the apparatus advantageously provides a guardrail that can withstand normal changes in the weather and remain in place after collisions from a person walking by the guardrail or from objects striking against the guardrail.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0017] Some of the features, advantages, and benefits of the present invention having been stated, others will become apparent as the description proceeds when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings in which:

[0018] FIG. 1 is an environmental view of a guardrail positioned around a construction site according to the present invention;

[0019] FIG. 2 is a front elevational view of a guardrail positioned along a walkway according to the present invention;

[0020] FIG. 3A is an exploded fragmentary perspective view of a plurality of mounting sleeves and a plurality of crossbars of a guardrail shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 before the end bars of the crossbars are attached according to the present invention;

[0021] FIG. 3B is a fragmentary perspective view of a plurality of mounting sleeves and a plurality of crossbars shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 after the end bars of the crossbars are attached according to the present invention;

[0022] FIG. 4 is an enlarged side elevation view of a support that attaches to each of the plurality of support posts shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 according to the present invention;

[0023] FIG. 5 is an enlarged sectional view of the interface of two of a plurality of bars when viewed along the line 5-5 of FIG. 4 according to the present invention;

[0024] FIG. 6 is a sectional view of a support assembly when viewed along line 6-6 of FIG. 4 according to the present invention;

[0025] FIG. 7 is an enlarged fragmentary top plan view of a guardrail shown in FIG. 1 having a corner turns according to the present invention;

[0026] FIG. 8 is a perspective view of a corner post shown in FIG. 7 according to the present invention; and

[0027] FIG. 9 is an exploded, perspective view of the support shown in FIG. 4 according to the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0028] The present invention will now be described more fully hereinafter with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which preferred embodiments of the invention are shown. This invention may, however, be embodied in many different forms and should not be construed as limited to the illustrated embodiments set forth herein. Rather, these illustrated embodiments are provided so that this disclosure will be thorough and complete, and will fully convey the scope of the invention to those skilled in the art. Like numbers refer to like elements throughout, and prime and double prime notation, if used, indicate similar elements in alternative embodiments.

[0029] FIGS. 1-2 illustrate how a guardrail 11 can be used around a typical construction site. The guardrail 11 defines and outlines an area which may be hazardous or simply areas that usual passersby should not enter. As illustrated in FIG. 2, the guardrail 11 can also define an edge of a walkway. The guardrail 11 preferably includes a plurality of support posts 15 driven or positioned in a ground 17, at least two mounting sleeves 19 that receive support posts 15, and a plurality of upper crossbars 21 and lower crossbars 23. The plurality of support posts 15 are driven into the ground 17, spaced apart from each other, in a fashion that defines an edge of a site or walkway 13. Preferably the support posts 15 are rebar posts, such as having a substantially circular cross-section, as this advantageously allows contractors or personnel to take advantage of existing construction site features and to reduce costs associated with a guardrail. Other types of existing posts including different shaped cross-sections, can be used as well according to the present invention.

[0030] FIGS. 3A and 3B illustrate a support post 15 having a tapered face 25 formed on the lower portion of support post 15. The tapered faces 25 on each support post 15 makes the diameter of the lowermost portions of each of the support posts 15 smaller than the portion of the support posts 15 above tapered face 25. The mounting sleeves 19 are preferably metal tubes having a substantially circular cross-section that slidingly receive the support posts 15 in a tubular channel 27 or opening running axially through each mounting sleeve 19. The mounting sleeves 19 can be adapted for the tubular channel 27 to receive the support posts 15 when the support posts 15 have a cross-section that is not substantially circular, e.g., rectangular or elliptical. Preferably, the mounting sleeves 19 slide over the support posts 15 after the support posts 15 are driven into ground 17 or are already positioned in the ground as part of other construction site efforts. The mounting sleeves 19, however, can be positioned and then the support posts 15 driven into the ground 17 through the tubular channel 27.

[0031] Each mounting sleeve 19 is secured to each of the plurality of support posts 15 by a fastener 29. The fastener 29, for example, advantageously can be a threaded member such as a screw extending radially from the outer surface of the mounting sleeve 19 to the tubular channel 27. When the fastener 29 is actuated radially inward, the fastener 29 engages the support post 15 running through the tubular channel 27 and applies a frictional resistance to the mounting sleeve 19 moving relative to the support post 15. In an embodiment not shown, for example, the tubular channel 27 can also be formed with an upper portion having an inner diameter larger than the outer diameter of the support posts 15 to prevent the mounting sleeves 19 from sliding down the support posts 15 further than desired.

[0032] The mounting sleeves 19 have at least two crossbar connectors 31 extending radially away from the outer surface of the mounting sleeves 19. Each crossbar connector 31 extends in the same direction from the same side of the mounting sleeve 19. The crossbar connectors 31 advantageously have threads 33 formed on their outer surface and are spaced about twenty-one inches vertically apart from each other. The crossbar connectors 31 preferably define means of mounting the upper and lower crossbars 21 and 23 to the mounting sleeves 19.

[0033] Preferably, the mounting sleeves 19 are located at the ends of the guardrail 11, such as illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2. The upper and lower crossbars 21 and 23 have an end bar 35 at each end portion of the crossbars 21 and 23 that engage the mounting sleeves 19. The plurality of end bars 35, as illustrated in FIGS. 3A and 3B, are preferably tubular members having substantially rectangular cross-sections. A mounting plate 37 extends from the end portion of each of the end bars 35 which connects to each of the mounting sleeves 19. The mounting plates 37 are substantially rectangular plates and each has a crossbar opening or opening 39 running therethrough that slides over one of the crossbar connectors 31. For example, about one-half of one surface of each mounting plate 37 is welded to a surface on an end portion of the end bar 35. The opening 39 for sliding over crossbar connector 31 is located in the other half of mounting plate 37.

[0034] Preferably, an internally threaded member or nut 41 engages the threads 33 on each crossbar connector 31 to secure the mounting plate 37 to the mounting sleeve 19. The mounting plate 37 slides over the crossbar connector 31 preferably until it is in substantial contact with the mounting sleeve 19, then the nut 41 threads onto the crossbar connector 31 until the nut 41 is in substantial contact with the mounting plate 37. For example, the nuts 41 can prevent the mounting plates 37 from sliding off the crossbar connectors 31, thereby securing the end bars 35 to the mounting sleeves 19.

[0035] As FIGS. 2 and 5 illustrate, the upper and lower crossbars 21, 23 preferably have the end bars 35 at each end of the crossbars 21 and 23, and preferably a plurality of large and small bars 43 and 45. The large bars 43 and small bars 45 are preferably tubular members and can have substantially rectangular cross-sections or other shaped cross-sections as desired. The large bars 43 and small bars 45 each have openings or channels formed in ends thereof and can have substantially the same preselected length. The large bars 43 preferably have a larger inner circumference of the openings or channels than the outer circumference of the small bars 45. The inner circumference of the openings of the large bars 43 is large enough for the small bars 45 to slide into the large bars 43 which allows the large bar 43 to receive the small bar 45, as shown in FIG. 5. The inner circumference of each of the large bars 43 is also large enough to slide over and receive the end bars 35. The small bar 45 extends from inside the large bar 43 which allows the length of crossbars 21 and 23 to be varied to desired needs.

[0036] The large bars 43 also preferably have an auxiliary opening 47 towards each end, which runs through the large bar 43 from its outer surface to its inner surface. In the preferred embodiment, a locking member or fastener 49 fits into the opening 47 and engages the outer surface of the small bar 45. The fastener 49 prevents each small bar 45 from moving relative to the large bar 43. The large bar 43 can receive one small bar 45 at each end. The bars 43 and 45 alternately span the length between the end bars 35 to complete upper and lower crossbars 21 and 23. The fastener 49 is preferably a thumbscrew for ease of use, but can be other types of fasteners as understood by those skilled in the art. In an embodiment not shown, the small bar 45 can be adapted to have openings that align with the openings 47 so that the fastener 49 will pass through in addition to passing through the openings 47 to hold the small bar 45 relative to the large bar 43.

[0037] As illustrated in FIGS. 2, 4, 6 and 7, a support 51 for each crossbar 21 and 23 is located on each support post 15 between the mounting sleeves 19. One of the supports 51 supports the upper crossbar 21 and the other supports the lower crossbar 23. The supports 51 are preferably located at substantially the same levels as the crossbar connectors 31 on the mounting sleeves 19. As shown in FIGS. 4 and 6, the supports 51 have a bore 53 that slides over support post 15. The supports 51 preferably have a support ledge 55 extending away from the bore 53, and a lip 57 positioned on the end of the support ledge 55. The large and/or small bars 43, 45 rest on ledge 55 between lip 57 and small post 15. The supports 51 preferably have a threaded opening 59 located on a side opposite from lip 57, running from the outer surface of the support 51 to the bore 53. The threaded opening 59 receives a locking member 61 which engages the support post 15 to prevent movement of the support 51 relative to the support post 15. Preferably, the locking member 61 also is a thumbscrew for ease of use but other types of locking members or fasteners can be used as well according to the present invention.

[0038] FIG. 9 illustrates an alternate embodiment of the supports discussed above. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 9, a support 51′ has an opening 60′ located on a side opposite from a lip 57′ which is not threaded. A threaded nut 62′ is fixedly positioned on the outer surface support 51′ and aligns with opening 60′. The threaded nut 62′ and an opening 60′ receives the locking member 61 which engages the support post 15 to prevent movement of the support 51′ relative to the support post 15.

[0039] FIGS. 1, 7, and 8 illustrate that a corner post 63 allows the guardrail 11 to turn with the walkway 13 around corners. The corner post 63, preferably is substantially the same as the mounting sleeves 19 except that the corner post 63 has four of the crossbar connectors 31 instead of two of the crossbar connectors 31. The corner post 63 has two of the crossbar connectors 31 for the upper crossbars 21, and two of the connectors 31 for the lower crossbar 23. The connectors 31 for each crossbar 21 and 23 extend radially away from the outer surface of the corner post 63 at approximately a ninety-degree angle to each other. The corner post 63 is preferably situated with the connectors 31 extending away from the path of the walkway 13 during the turn so that the connectors 31 are on the opposite side of the guardrail 11 from the walkway 13. The connectors 31 situated this way allow the mounting plates 37 from the end bars 35 to connect to the corner post 63 at substantially the same level. The nuts 41 secure each end bar 35 to the connectors 31 on the corner post 63 in the same manner as described for the mounting sleeves 19.

[0040] In operation, the support posts 15 are already positioned in or driven into the ground 17 intermittently along an edge of the desired path or walkway 13. The mounting sleeves 19 slide over the support posts 15 that will form the ends of the guardrail 11. The operator secures the mounting sleeves 19 to the support posts 15 with the fastener 29 for each mounting sleeve 15. The operator then slides the supports 51 over the support posts 15 between the mounting sleeves 19 to substantially the same level as the connectors 31 on the mounting sleeves 19 and secures them with the locking members 61.

[0041] The operator then attaches the end bars 35 to each of the connectors 31 on the mounting sleeves 19 by sliding the opening 39 on each mounting plate 37 over each connector 31 until each plate 37 contacts the mounting sleeve 19. The operator secures each end bar 35 by screwing the nut 41 onto each connector 31 until the nut 41 contacts the surface of the mounting plate 37 opposite from the surface contacting the mounting sleeve 19. The operator then slides the large bars 43 over the ends of the end bars 35 opposite from the end connected to the mounting sleeves 19 so that each of the large bars 43 receives one of the end bars 35 inside of its tubular cross-section.

[0042] The operator then slides the small bars 45 into the ends of the large bars 43 opposite the end bars 35. The operator continues to add large and small bars 43 and 45 between the mounting sleeves 19 to form the upper and lower crossbars 21 and 23. Each small and large bar 43 and 45 added rests on or connects to the ledge 55 between the lip 57 and the support post 15. When the small and large bars 43 and 45 are adjusted to the required length to form the upper and lower crossbars 21 and 23, the fasteners 49 are screwed into the openings 47 to prevent the large and small bars 43 and 45 from moving relative to each other.

[0043] In the event that the guardrail 11 needs a to make a turn with the walkway 13, the support posts 15 are preferably positioned in or driven into the ground 17 along an edge of the walkway 13 as before with a support post 15 at the corner of the turn. The mounting sleeves 19 and the end bars 35 are installed on the two ends of the walkway 13 in the same manner previously described. On the support post 15 at the corner of the turn, the corner post 63 is slid over the support post 15 and secured with the fastener 29. The end bars 35 are connected to the four crossbar connectors 31 on the corner post 63 in same manner as described for connecting the end bars 35 to the mounting sleeves 19 in order to form a substantially right-angled turn in the guardrail 11. The operator then adds as many of the plurality of large and small bars 43 and 45 as necessary between the corner post 63 and each mounting sleeve 19 in the same manner as described above for a substantially straight guardrail 11.

[0044] As illustrated in FIGS. 1-9, methods of assembling or mounting a guardrail 11 on a plurality of rebar posts 15 are also advantageously provided. A method of mounting a guardrail 11 on a plurality of rebar posts 15 that are positioned in a surface 13 preferably includes connecting the mounting sleeve or end post sleeve 19 having a pair of crossbar connectors 31 respectively positioned at a first elevation above the surface and at a second elevation above the surface to each of the outermost and spaced-apart posts 15 of the plurality of rebar posts 15. The method can also advantageously include connecting a crossbar 21 to each of the end post sleeves 15 at the connectors 31 at the first elevation, and a crossbar 23 to each of the end post sleeves 15 at the connectors 31 at the second elevation.

[0045] Another method of mounting a guardrail 11 on a plurality of rebar posts 15 preferably includes that the rebar posts 15 are already positioned in a surface 13 and the method includes connecting the mounting sleeve or end post sleeve 19 to each of the outermost posts 15 of the plurality of rebar posts 15. The method can also advantageously include connecting a pair of supports 51 at a first elevation above the surface, and a second elevation that is above the first elevation, to each of the plurality rebar posts 15 between the outermost rebar posts 15. The method can also advantageously include connecting a first crossbar 21 on the first supports 51 and connecting the first crossbar 21 to each of the end post sleeves 19. The method can also advantageously include connecting a second crossbar 23 on the second supports 51 and connecting the second crossbar 21 to each of the end post sleeves 19. The steps of connecting the first and second crossbars 21, 23 to the first and second crossbar supports 51 preferably includes that the first and second crossbars 21, 23 are connected by resting them on the first and second supports 51.

[0046] Those of skill in the art will recognize that a guardrail kit can be packaged in a container or package with parts illustrated in FIGS. 1-9 is advantageously provided. The guardrail kit is for a guardrail 11 that can be assembled on a row of rebar posts 15 that are positioned in a surface 13, and the kit preferably includes a package for containing the pieces of the guardrail 11. The kit also preferably includes mounting post or end post sleeve 19 positioned in the package, and the end post sleeve 19 being adapted to be positioned on the distal end portion of one of the row of posts 15 so that the post 15 defines a end post, the end post sleeve 19 having a crossbar connector 31 associated with the outer surface of the end post sleeve 19. The kit also preferably includes a support 51 positioned in the package, the support 51 having a support bore or opening 53 extending therethrough and is adapted to be positioned on the distal end of another one of the plurality of posts 15 so that the post 15 defines a support post, the support 51 having a ledge 55 positioned adjacent the support opening 53 and extending outwardly therefrom, the support 51 having a lip 57 extending outwardly from the ledge 55 substantially perpendicular to the ledge 55. The kit also preferably includes a crossbar 21 positioned in the package, the crossbar 21 being adapted to extend between the end post and the support post, the crossbar 21 having a portion of the crossbar 21 positioned on the ledge 55 between the opening 53 and the lip 57, and a the crossbar 21 having a crossbar opening 39 formed in an end portion of the crossbar 21 adjacent the end post and is adapted to be connected to the crossbar connector 31.

[0047] Those of skill in the art will recognize that many changes and modifications may be made to the devices and methods of the present invention without departing from the scope and spirit of the invention. For example, as understood by those skilled in the art, the support posts 15 could be placed into removable base units that are on the ground instead of being driven into the ground.