Title:
Building construction and method of manufacturing same
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A building construction (100) includes a foundation member (3) associated with a structural member (1) including a base (2) adjacent the foundation member (3). At least one resilient tensioning member (4) is bonded to or integrally associated with the foundation member (3) and extends through the base (2) and into the structural member (1). A first portion (6) of the resilient tensioning member adjacent the base (2) is free from connection to the structural member (1) and a second portion (5) of the resilient tensioning member spaced apart from the base (2) is bonded to or integrally associated with the structural member (1) such that, in use, the resilient tensioning member (4) biases the structural member (1) towards said foundation member (3). A method of manufacturing a building construction is also disclosed.



Inventors:
Mcsaveney, Leonard George (Pakuranga, NZ)
Boardman, Peter Ronald (Remuera, NZ)
Webb, Ross Neilson (Warkworth, NZ)
Application Number:
10/836910
Publication Date:
02/17/2005
Filing Date:
04/30/2004
Assignee:
MCSAVENEY LEONARD GEORGE
BOARDMAN PETER RONALD
WEBB ROSS NEILSON
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04C3/34; E04H9/02; (IPC1-7): E04B1/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
KATCHEVES, BASIL S
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
PAUL HASTINGS LLP (Washington, DC, US)
Claims:
1. A building construction including a foundation member associated with a structural member including a base adjacent said foundation member, at least one resilient tensioning member bonded to or integrally associated with said foundation member extending through said base and into said structural member, a first portion of said at least one resilient tensioning member adjacent said base free from connection to said structural member and a second portion of said at least one resilient tensioning member spaced apart from said base bonded to or integrally associated with said structural member, wherein in use, said at least one resilient tensioning member biases said structural member towards said foundation member.

2. The building construction of claim 1 wherein the or each said resilient tensioning member, in use, exert a restoring force on said structural member when said structural member is displaced relative to said foundation member.

3. The building construction of claim 2 wherein, in use, said structural member is substantially vertically orientated.

4. The building construction of claim 1 wherein said at least one resilient tensioning member is cast into said foundation member.

5. The building construction of claim 1 wherein said at least one resilient tensioning member is cast into said structural member.

6. The building construction of claim 1 wherein said foundation member includes at least one reinforcing member orientated substantially perpendicular to said first portion of said resilient tensioning member.

7. The building construction of claim 1 wherein a portion of said at least one resilient tensioning member which is bonded to or integrally associated with said foundation member is orientated substantially perpendicular to said first portion of said at least one resilient tensioning member.

8. The building construction of claim 6 wherein said at least one resilient tensioning member is connectable to at least one of said at least one substantially perpendicular reinforcing member.

9. The building construction of claim 1 wherein an interface between said structural member and said foundation member is adapted to allow rotation of said structural member about a substantially horizontal rotation axis and to resist lateral movement between said structural member and said foundation member.

10. The building construction of claim 9 wherein said foundation member includes a raised portion at said interface and said structural member includes a receptacle to receive said raised portion.

11. The building construction of claim 10 wherein said raised portion includes a tapered lug and said receptacle is adapted to receive said lug.

12. The building construction of claim 9 wherein said foundation includes a plurality of raised ribs adapted to engage a lower portion of said structural member and thereby prevent lateral movement of said structural member relative to said foundation member.

13. The building construction of claim 1 wherein at least one damping member is provided between said foundation member and said structural member

14. The building construction of claim 1 wherein said structural member includes a column.

15. The building construction of claim 14 wherein an upper portion of the column includes a web section substantially transversely intersecting a flange section to provide a substantially T shaped horizontal cross-section, and a lower portion of the column has a substantially convex polygon shaped horizontal cross-section adapted to, in use, provide a stable base for said column.

16. The building construction of claim 15 wherein said lower portion of said column is substantially rectangular in cross-section.

17. The building construction of claim 15 wherein the width and breadth of said lower portion of said column are substantially equal to or less than the width and breadth of said upper portion of said column.

18. The building construction of claim 15, 16 or 17 wherein said column is provided with at least one corbel.

19. The building construction of claim 18 wherein one or more of said at least one corbel is provided at substantially an intersection of said web section and said flange section.

20. The building construction of claim 18 or 19 wherein one or more of said at least one corbel is adapted to support a beam.

21. The building construction of claim 20 wherein one or more of said at least one corbel includes a curved bearing pad.

22. The building construction of claim 18, 19, 20 or 21 wherein at least one of said at least one corbel includes an aperture at substantially the intersection of said web section and said flange section to direct water from an upper surface of said at least one corbel to substantially the corner of the web section and the flange section of the column below said at least one corbel.

23. The building construction of claim 1 wherein said structural member includes a wall.

24. A method of manufacturing a building construction including the steps of forming a foundation member with at least one resilient tensioning member bonded to or integrally associated with said foundation member, applying a predetermined tension to said at least one resilient tensioning member, forming a structural member around said at least one resilient tensioning member including a base adjacent said foundation member, leaving a first portion of said at least one resilient tensioning member adjacent said base free from connection and bonding or integrally associating a second portion of said at least one tensioning member spaced apart from said base to said structural member such that, in use, said at least one resilient tensioning member biases said structural member towards said foundation member.

25. The method of claim 24 including the step of casting said foundation member around said at least one resilient tensioning member so that the casting process causes said at least one resilient tensioning member to become integrally associated with said foundation member.

26. The method of claim 24 including the step of casting said structural member around said at least one resilient tensioning member so that the casting process causes said second portion of said at least one resilient tensioning member to become integrally associated with said structural member.

27. The method of claim 26 including the step of providing at least one void former around said first portion of said at least one resilient tensioning member to prevent said first portion of said at least one resilient tensioning member from becoming integrally associated with said foundation member.

28. The method of claim 24 including providing said foundation member with at least one reinforcing member orientated substantially perpendicular to said first portion of said resilient tensioning member.

29. The method of claim 24 wherein a portion of said at least one resilient tensioning member which is bonded to or integrally associated with said foundation member is orientated substantially perpendicular to said first portion of said at least one resilient tensioning member.

30. The method of claim 28 including the step of connecting at least one of said at least one resilient tensioning member to at least one of said at least one substantially perpendicular reinforcing member.

31. The method of claim 24 including adapting an interface between said structural member and said foundation member to allow rotation of said structural member about a substantially horizontal rotation axis and to resist lateral movement between said structural member and said foundation member.

32. The method of claim 31 including providing said foundation member with a raised portion at said interface and providing said structural member with a receptacle to receive said raised portion.

33. The method of claim 32 wherein said raised portion includes a tapered lug and said receptacle is adapted to receive said lug.

34. The method of claim 31 including providing said foundation member with a plurality of raised ribs adapted to engage a lower portion of said structural member and to thereby prevent lateral movement of said structural member relative to said foundation member.

35. The method of claim 24 including providing at least one damping member between said foundation member and said structural member.

36. A building construction manufactured by the method of any one of claim 24.

37. (Cancelled)

38. A building construction including a foundation member associated with a column, an upper portion of which includes a web section substantially transversely intersecting a flange section to provide a substantially T shaped horizontal cross-section, and a lower portion of which has a substantially convex polygon shaped horizontal cross-section adapted to, in use, provide a stable base for said column, the building construction further including at least one resilient tensioning member bonded to or integrally associated with said foundation member extending through said base and into said column, a first portion of said at least one resilient tensioning member adjacent said base free from connection to said column and a second portion of said at least one resilient tensioning member spaced apart from said base bonded to or integrally associated with said column, wherein in use, said at least one resilient tensioning member biases said column towards said foundation member.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates to building constructions and methods of manufacturing building constructions, and in particular, but not exclusively, to a construction which may be resistant to damage by seismic activity.

BACKGROUND ART

Traditional building constructions have a limited capacity for surviving seismic activity. If the magnitude of the activity is sufficient then buildings built by traditional methods may suffer permanent structural damage which may render them unsafe even if they do not collapse.

In particular, some demountable or relocatable buildings of the prior art have required complex connections between their components when used in areas which are prone to earthquakes or other seismic activity.

A known type of building construction which may be particularly resistant to damage by seismic activity uses a substantially vertical structural member such as a wall or a column, which is attached to a foundation member by a tensioned resilient member, typically a steel rod or cable.

In the event of an earthquake, the structural member is adapted to pivot relative to the foundation, with the resilient tensioning member providing the necessary restoring force to prevent the wall from pivoting beyond the point at which the entire building will collapse. By allowing some movement in the interface between the vertical structural member and the foundation, the overall construction becomes more resilient and able to withstand larger disturbances without catastrophic failure.

In the prior art building constructions of this type the wall and foundation have been manufactured separately, necessitating a means of tensioning the resilient tensioning member at the building site. This may be difficult and inconvenient.

A further problem may arise if any part of the tensioning member is exposed to the atmosphere and in particular if water is allowed to penetrate the construction and sit against the tensioning member. In such cases the tensioning member may corrode and be weakened.

OBJECT OF THE INVENTION

It is an object of a preferred embodiment of the invention to provide a building construction and/or a method of manufacturing a building construction which will overcome or ameliorate problems with such constructions or methods at present, or at least one which will provide the public with a useful choice.

It is an alternative, non-limiting object of a preferred embodiment of the invention to provide a building construction which simplifies the connections between the structural components and makes dismantling and re-use of a building an economical option.

Other objects of the present invention may become apparent from the following description, which is given by way of example only.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

According to one aspect of the present invention there is provided a building construction including a foundation member associated with a structural member including a base adjacent said foundation member, at least one resilient tensioning member bonded to or integrally associated with said foundation member extending through said base and into said structural member, a first portion of said at least one resilient tensioning member adjacent said base free from connection to said structural member and a second portion of said at least one resilient tensioning member spaced apart from said base bonded to or integrally associated with said structural member, wherein in use, said at least one resilient tensioning member biases said structural member towards said foundation member.

Preferably, the or each said resilient tensioning member may, in use, exert a restoring force on said structural member when said structural member is displaced relative to said foundation member.

Preferably, said structural member may be substantially vertically orientated.

Preferably, said at least one resilient tensioning member may be cast into said foundation member.

Preferably, said at least one resilient tensioning member may be cast into said structural member.

Preferably, said foundation member may include at least one reinforcing member orientated substantially perpendicular to said first portion of said resilient tensioning member.

Preferably, a portion of said at least one resilient tensioning member which is bonded to or integrally associated with said foundation member may be orientated substantially perpendicular to said first portion of said at least one resilient tensioning member.

Preferably, said at least one resilient tensioning member may be connectable to at least one of said at least one substantially perpendicular reinforcing member.

Preferably, an interface between said structural member and said foundation member may be adapted to allow rotation of said structural member about a substantially horizontal rotation axis and to resist lateral movement between said structural member and said foundation member.

Preferably, said foundation member may include a raised portion at said interface and said structural member may include a receptacle to receive said raised portion.

Preferably, said raised portion may include a tapered lug and said receptacle may be adapted to receive said lug.

Preferably, said foundation may include a plurality of raised ribs adapted to engage a lower portion of said structural member and thereby prevent lateral movement of said structural member relative to said foundation member.

Preferably, at least one damping member may be provided between said foundation member and said structural member Preferably, said structural member may include a column.

Preferably, an upper portion of said column may include a web section substantially transversely intersecting a flange section to provide a substantially T shaped horizontal cross-section, and a lower portion of the column may have a substantially convex polygon shaped horizontal cross-section adapted to, in use, provide a stable base for said column.

Preferably, said lower portion of said column may be substantially rectangular in cross-section.

Preferably, the width and breadth of said lower portion of said column may be substantially equal to or less than the width and breadth of said upper portion of said column.

Preferably, said column may be provided with at least one corbel.

Preferably, one or more of said at least one corbel may be provided at substantially an intersection of said web section and said flange section.

Preferably, one or more of said at least one corbel may be adapted to support a beam.

Preferably, one or more of said at least one corbel may include a curved bearing pad.

Preferably, at least one of said at least one corbel may include an aperture at substantially the intersection of said web section and said flange section to direct water from an upper surface of said at least one corbel to substantially the corner of the web section and the flange section of the column below said at least one corbel.

Preferably, said structural member may include a wall.

According to a second aspect of the present invention a method of manufacturing a building construction includes the steps of forming a foundation member with at least one resilient tensioning member bonded to or integrally associated with said foundation member, applying a predetermined tension to said at least one resilient tensioning member, forming a structural member around said at least one resilient tensioning member including a base adjacent said foundation member, leaving a first portion of said at least one resilient tensioning member adjacent said base free from connection and bonding or integrally associating a second portion of said at least one tensioning member spaced apart from said base to said structural member such that, in use, said at least one resilient tensioning member biases said structural member towards said foundation member.

Preferably, the method may include the step of casting said foundation member around said at least one resilient tensioning member so that the casting process causes said at least one resilient tensioning member to become integrally associated with said foundation member.

Preferably, the method may include the step of casting said structural member around said at least one resilient tensioning member so that the casting process causes said second portion of said at least one resilient tensioning member to become integrally associated with said structural member.

Preferably, the method may include the step of providing at least one void former around said first portion of said at least one resilient tensioning member to prevent said first portion of said at least one resilient tensioning member from becoming integrally associated with said foundation member.

Preferably, the method may include providing said foundation member with at least one reinforcing member orientated substantially perpendicular to said first portion of said resilient tensioning member.

Preferably, a portion of said at least one resilient tensioning member which is bonded to or integrally associated with said foundation member may be orientated substantially perpendicular to said first portion of said at least one resilient tensioning member.

Preferably, the method may include the step of connecting at least one of said at least one resilient tensioning member to at least one of said at least one substantially perpendicular reinforcing member.

Preferably, the method may include adapting an interface between said structural member and said foundation member to allow rotation of said structural member about a substantially horizontal rotation axis and to resist lateral movement between said structural member and said foundation member.

Preferably, the method may include providing said foundation member with a raised portion at said interface and providing said structural member with a receptacle to receive said raised portion.

Preferably, said raised portion may include a tapered lug and said receptacle may be adapted to receive said lug.

Preferably, the method may include providing said foundation member with a plurality of raised ribs adapted to engage a lower portion of said structural member and to thereby prevent lateral movement of said structural member relative to said foundation member.

Preferably, the method may include providing at least one damping member between said foundation member and said structural member.

According to a third aspect of the present invention there is provided a building construction manufactured by the method of any one of the 12 immediately preceding paragraphs.

According to a further aspect of the present invention there is provided a building construction substantially as herein described with reference to the accompanying drawings.

Further aspects of the invention, which should be considered in all its novel aspects, will become apparent from the following description given by way of example of possible embodiments of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

FIG. 1. Shows a cross-section side view of a building construction according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2. Shows a cross-section through the wall and foundation member of the building construction of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3. Shows an enlarged view of the section of FIG. 2 referenced X.

FIG. 4. Shows a perspective view of a building construction according to a second aspect of the present invention.

FIG. 5. Shows a perspective view of a demountable building including the building construction of FIG. 4.

FIG. 6. Shows an enlarged view of an upper part of the building construction of FIG. 5 including detail of a corbel with a raised bearing pad.

FIG. 7. Is a diagram illustrating the improved stability provided by providing a T shape column with a convex polygon shaped lower portion.

FIG. 8. Is an enlarged view of a lower part of the building construction of FIG. 5 showing detail of the raised ribs on the foundation member and showing the damping members in outline, as well as showing a screw pile.

FIG. 9A. Shows a diagrammatic cross section of one possible embodiment of the building construction of present invention with a rectangular structural member and an elongate foundation member, and with a temporary tendon anchor holding the tendons in place.

FIG. 9B. Shows a plan view of the building construction illustrated in FIG. 9A without the temporary tendon anchor or exposed tendons.

FIG. 10A. Shows a diagrammatic cross section of one possible embodiment of the building construction of present invention with a structural member having a T shaped upper section and a rectangular shaped lower section, and with a temporary tendon anchor holding the tendons in place.

FIG. 10B. Shows a plan view of the building construction illustrated in FIG. 10A without the temporary tendon anchor or exposed tendons.

FIG. 11A. Shows a diagrammatic cross section of one possible embodiment of the building construction of present invention with a rectangular structural member and a similar rectangular shape foundation member, and with a temporary tendon anchor holding the tendons in place.

FIG. 11B. Shows a plan view of the building construction illustrated in FIG. 11A without the temporary tendon anchor or exposed tendons.

BEST MODE FOR PERFORMING THE INVENTION

Referring first to FIGS. 1, 2 and 3, according to a first aspect of the present invention a building construction, generally referenced by arrow 100 includes a structural member 1, in this embodiment a wall, with a base 2 adjacent a foundation member 3. In a preferred embodiment the structural member 1 may be substantially vertically orientated, but in some embodiments it may orientated slightly away from the vertical as required. In some embodiments the structural member 1 may be column, pier or the like.

At least one resilient tensioning member, for example a steel rod or more preferably a steel cable, hereinafter called a tendon 4, may be bonded to or integrally associated with the foundation member 3 and may extend from the foundation member 3 through the base 2 into the structural member 1.

A first lower portion 6 of the tendon 4 may be free from connection to the structural member 1. A second upper portion 5 of the tendon 4 spaced apart from the base 2 may be bonded to or integrally associated with the structural member 1. Preferably the upper portion 5 of the tendon 4 may be cast into the structural member 1.

In use, the tendon 4 may be held in tension by the foundation member 3 and the structural member 1 so as to bias the structural member 1 towards the foundation member 3.

In a preferred embodiment the interface between the foundation member 3 and the structural member 1 may be adapted to prevent lateral movement between the structural member 1 and the foundation member 3 while allowing rotation of the structural member 1 relative to the foundation member 3 about a substantially horizontal axis.

In one embodiment, the foundation member 3 may preferably include a raised portion, for example a lug 7, preferably with a substantially trapezoidal cross section, which may engage a suitably shaped receptacle 8 in the structural member 1 to prevent lateral movement between the structural member 1 and the foundation member 3. The lug 7 may allow rotational movement about one or more horizontal axes which are substantially parallel to the plane of the structural member 1. In the case that the structural member is a column or some other relatively slender member, the rotation allowed may be around a horizontal axis which is substantially transverse to the principal axis of the column.

A lateral force applied to the structural member 1, for example in an earthquake, may cause the structural member 1 to rotate relative to the foundation member 3 about one of these axes. The rotation may cause an increase in the tension of the lower portion 6 of the tendon 4, which may in turn provide a corresponding restoring force, returning the structural member 1 to its equilibrium position. This may allow the structural member 1 to “rock” relative to the foundation member 3 without destroying the connection to the foundation member 3.

Those skilled in the art will appreciate that the raised lugs 7 may have the advantage of preventing water which enters the interface between the foundation member 3 and the structural member 1 from pooling around or sitting next to the tendon 4. A suitable water seal (not shown) may be provided to prevent the capillary rise of water.

In one embodiment the foundation member 3 may be reinforced by a plurality of spaced apart, substantially parallel, substantially rectangular reinforcing members 10 embedded within the foundation member 3, and a plurality of reinforcing members 11, preferably steel reinforcing rod, extending substantially transversely to the lower portion 6 of the tendon 4. The transverse reinforcing members 11 may, in use, be orientated substantially horizontally and may preferably run inside the perimeter of the rectangular reinforcing members 10, if provided.

Each rectangular reinforcing member 10 may be orientated to effectively provide two substantially vertically reinforcing members 10A and two substantially horizontal reinforcing members 10B which are perpendicular to the plane of the structural member 1.

Preferably an end portion 4A of the tendon 4 which is bonded or otherwise integrally associated with the foundation member 3 may extend substantially perpendicular to the lower portion 6 of the tendon 4, thereby increasing the resistance of the tendon 4 to pull out of the foundation member 3. Preferably the end portion 4A may extend parallel to the base 2 of the structural member 1 beneath at least one of the horizontal reinforcing members 10B provided by the rectangular reinforcing members 10.

In an alternative embodiment (not shown) the tendon 4 may be connectable with at least one of the transverse reinforcing members 11, for example by means of a loop (not shown) formed in the end of the tendon 4 encircling at least one of the horizontal reinforcing members 11. In yet another embodiment, the tendon 4 may extend from the structural member 1 to below one or more of the rectangular reinforcing members 10 and then back into the structural member 1.

In one embodiment the foundation member 3 may be attached to one or more further foundation members 12. Further reinforcing rods 13 may be fastened to the foundation member 3 by means of a threaded end 14 of the reinforcing rod 13 engaging with a corresponding threaded fitting 15 cast into the foundation member 3. In this manner the forces generated in the tendon 4 may be distributed throughout a building structure.

Damping members 16, such as steel rods, may be located between the foundation member 3 and the structural member 1 to provide damping of the relative movement between the foundation member 3 and the structural member 1. This may assist in preventing excessive oscillations in the event of a sustained seismic event.

In one embodiment the building construction may be fabricated by casting or otherwise bonding at least one tendon 4 to a foundation member 3, which may for example be manufactured from concrete or from steel. The foundation member 3 may then be positioned adjacent a suitable mould for forming the structural member 1. The or each tendon 4 may then be tensioned to a required tension by a suitable means and the structural member 1 cast around them, preferably from concrete.

In some embodiments the tendon 4 may be held by temporary tendon anchors 31, best seen in FIGS. 9A, 10A and 11A, and tensioned by means of hydraulic actuators 33. Those skilled in the art will be familiar with methods of tensioning such tendons and the exact process and required tension will not be described in further detail herein. The temporary tendon anchors 31 may be removed once the structural member 1, 1A, 1B, 1C has cured sufficiently to hold the tendon 4 without allowing excessive slip relative to the structural member 1, 1A, 1B, 1C. Some slip is necessary for locking of the tendon to the structural member to occur. The necessary slip is generally of the order of 1-2 mm.

In a preferred embodiment the tendons 4 may be trimmed substantially flush with the end of the structural member 1, 1A, 1B, 1C.

Referring back to FIGS. 1, 2 and 3, void formers or sheaths (not shown) located adjacent the base 2 of the structural member 1 may separate the structural member 1 from the lower portion 6 of the tendon 4 during the casting process, ensuring that the lower portion 6 is free from connection to the structural member 1. This unbonded zone may be necessary to allow the tendon 4 to stretch without failing when the structural member 1 “rocks” during a seismic event. The length of the tendon 4 which must remain free from connection to the structural member 1 may be determined by the properties of the tendon 4 and the characteristics required of the building construction 100.

Referring next to FIG. 4, a building construction 200 according to a second aspect of the present invention includes a relatively slender structural member, for example a column, pier or the like 300. For simplicity slender structural members will hereinafter be referred to as columns, although the term is not intended to be limiting. The column 300 may be associated with a foundation member 400.

An upper portion 17 of the column 300 may include a flange section 18 intersected by a web section 19 to provide a substantially T shaped horizontal cross section. Corbels 20 may protrude from one or both sides of the upper portion 17 as required, the corbels 20 located between the flange 18 and the web 19, preferably at intervals substantially corresponding to a required distance between the floors of a building.

In order to provide a more stable base for the column 300, a lower portion 21 of the column 300 may be a substantially convex polygon, that is a planar polygon which it contains all the line segments connecting any pair of its points, in cross section. The convex cross section may preferably be substantially rectangular, but substantially hexagonal or octagonal cross sections may be used if preferred.

Referring next to FIGS. 5 and 6, the present invention may be particularly useful in constructing demountable structures such as the demountable car parking building 500 illustrated in FIG. 5.

The building 500 may include a plurality of spaced apart columns 300 supporting a number of beams 22 therebetween. The beams 22 may rest on corbels 20 at either end. Flooring units 23 may be supported between opposing pairs of beams 22.

In a preferred embodiment of the invention, each flooring unit 23 may be substantially the same width as an individual car parking space, although other widths may be used as required. In the case that the flooring units 23 are the same width as an individual car park, the joints between each flooring unit 23 may be used to delimit each space, thereby eliminating the need for demarcation of car parking spaces by painted lines.

The corbels 20 may preferably include a curved bearing pad 24 on which the beams 23 bear. In a preferred embodiment the bearing pad 24 may be manufactured from a material which allows rotation of a beam 23 on the corbel 20 without damage to the corbel 20.

In the event that the columns 300 rock relative to their foundation members 400 in a direction substantially parallel to the axis of the beams 23, the curved bearing pads 24 may allow the beams 23 to remain substantially horizontal without damaging the bearing pad 24 or the beam 23. This configuration of connection may also ensure that the beams 23 do not impart a bending load on the columns 300 when the columns 300 rock in this way. This may decrease the likelihood of failure of a column 300 in an earthquake.

An advantage of providing a T shaped column 300 with a substantially convex polygon shaped lower portion 21 is illustrated by simple example in FIG. 7. The T shaped upper cross section may be particularly suitable for use with the building configurations such as that illustrated in FIG. 5. However, a column with a uniform T shaped cross-section along its entire length may not provide the required degree of stability.

To illustrate by simple example, one factor influencing the stability of any object is the shortest distance in the horizontal plane from the centre of gravity of the object 26 to an axis on which the object may pivot, hereinafter called the pivot axis. FIG. 7 illustrates a possible pivot axis 25′ for an object with a substantially T shaped lower portion 21′. The distance from the centre of gravity 26 to the pivot axis 25′ is represented by arrow X. It can be seen that by altering the shape of the lower portion 21′ to a substantially convex polygon, as embodied in the illustration by a rectangular lower portion 21, the shortest distance to the new pivot axis 25, represented by arrow Y, is increased. In this way the column 300 is made more stable without increasing the area necessary to accommodate the lower portion 21. A similar increase in stability may be realised through the use of other convex shapes such as a substantially circular or octagonal lower portion. Preferably the lower portion 21 may be substantially the same width and breadth as the T shape cross section.

Referring next to FIG. 8, in some embodiments the interface between the column 300 and the foundation member 400 may include raised ribs 27 extending from each corner of the foundation member 400. The ribs 27 may be adapted to engage the lower portion 21 of the column to allow it rotate relative to the foundation member 400 but not to move laterally relative to the foundation member 400. This arrangement may be used as an alternative to the lug 7 and receptacle 8 of the embodiment described above with reference to FIGS. 1 to 3. The ribs 27 may also provide additional strength to the foundation member 400 for a given weight.

Damping members 28 may be provided between the column 300 and the foundation member 400 which may, in use, damp the oscillations of the column 300 relative to the foundation member 400.

In a preferred embodiment the damping members 28 may be manufactured from steel with low yield strength and low strain hardening characteristics. The damping members 28 may be designed to plastically or viscously deform when the column 300 rocks relative to the foundation member 400. This may reduce the amplitude of the oscillations of the building construction and may prevent resonance of the building in the event that the frequency of the seismic disturbance is close to the natural frequency of the building.

Screw piles 34, such as are known to those skilled in the art, may preferably be used to provide additional stability to the foundation member 3 in areas of high seismic activity, or on sites with weak soil.

Referring back to FIGS. 5 and 6, the corbels 20 may include a drainage aperture 29 at the corner of the flange portion 18 and web portion 19 of the column 300. The or each corbel 20 may slope down towards the drainage aperture 29, thus draining any water which falls onto an upper surface of the corbel 20 into the aperture 29. The applicant has found that water directed into a corner in this manner may remain substantially attached to the corner of a T shaped column 300. The beams 22 and flooring units 23 may also be adapted to direct water towards the corbels 20.

By providing such a drainage aperture 29 in each corbel 20 the need for additional drainage plumbing may be substantially eliminated, significantly reducing the time necessary to erect and finish a structure.

Referring back to FIG. 4, in a preferred embodiment, some or all of the major structural members, for example the columns 300; foundation members 400, beams 22 and/or flooring units 23 may include lifting apertures 30 therethrough to allow hoisting of the members by a lifting means, for example a crane. This may be particularly useful in demountable structures where the structure may be disassembled a number of months or even years after its construction. While the lifting apertures 30 of the present invention may suffer little or no degradation with time, corrosion may cause the steel lifting eyes of the prior art to become unsafe after exposure to the elements for extended periods.

The building construction 200 described above may be manufactured by the method described above in respect of the first aspect of the present invention, however, those skilled in the art will appreciate that the building construction 200 according to the second aspect of the invention may provide advantages over building constructions of the prior art even if manufactured by the manufacturing methods of the prior art, or any other suitable method.

FIGS. 9A to 11B show three further embodiments of the invention with temporary tendon anchors 31 still attached to the tendons 4. As illustrated in these figures, the foundation member 3 may be configured in a number of different ways depending on the application.

The building construction illustrated in FIGS. 9A and 9B shows one possible embodiment in which the structural member 1A is a substantially rectangular column. In this embodiment the foundation member 3A may be an elongate member. As the structural member 1A is rectangular in cross-section it may be substantially uniform in cross-section while still providing a stable base 2A.

The building construction illustrated in FIGS. 10A and 10B has a structural member 1B with a substantially T shaped upper section 17 and a substantially rectangular lower section 21. The foundation member 3B in this embodiment may be steel and may be provided with mounting apertures 32 for mounting the foundation member 3B to a suitable portion of a building structure (not shown). In this embodiment the tendons 4 may be connected to the raised lugs 7 rather than cast into the interior of the foundation member 3B.

The building construction illustrated in FIGS. 11A and 11B has a foundation member 3C of approximately the same cross-section as the structural member 1C. The foundation member 3C may be received into a suitably shaped aperture in a building structure (not shown) and secured to the structure by suitable fastening means.

Where in the foregoing description, reference has been made to specific components or integers of the invention having known equivalents, then such equivalents are herein incorporated as if individually set forth.

Although this invention has been described by way of example and with reference to possible embodiments thereof, it is to be understood that modifications or improvements may be made thereto without departing from the spirit or scope of the invention.