Title:
Apparatus for supporting infrastructure in slabs
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An apparatus and mounting arrangement supports infrastructure in slabs. The apparatus includes a lower section (104) that provides stability and is further able to communicate information about the apparatus or mounting arrangement after the slab has been formed around the apparatus. The apparatus further includes an upper section (102), that when combined with the lower section (104), is capable of holding a plurality of infrastructure items at a predefined distance above a base level. The upper section (102) is further provided with a portion (1002) that will extend above the upper surface of the slab to communicate the presence of the apparatus after the slab has been poured.



Inventors:
Gorman, Christopher A. (Ft. Lauderdale, FL, US)
Application Number:
10/944213
Publication Date:
07/07/2005
Filing Date:
09/17/2004
Assignee:
Construction Concepts Unlimited, Inc. (Fort Lauderdale, FL, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04C2/00; E04C5/08; E04C5/20; (IPC1-7): E04C2/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
GILBERT, WILLIAM V
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Mayback & Hoffman, P.A. (Fort Lauderdale, FL, US)
Claims:
1. An apparatus for holding infrastructure in a slab, the apparatus comprising: a body; and at least two receiving areas formed within the body for securing infrastructure in a slab.

2. The apparatus according to claim 1, further comprising: at least one set of legs mechanically coupled to the body for supporting the body in a slab.

3. The apparatus according to claim 2, further comprising: at least one foot attached to each of the at least one set of legs, the foot having at least one of a raised character, a raised symbol, a recessed character, and a recessed symbol on a surface of the foot.

4. The apparatus according to claim 2, further comprising: an elongated portion mechanically coupled to the apparatus and extending in a direction opposite the legs, for protruding through an upper surface of a slab to identify a location of the apparatus.

5. The apparatus according to claim 1, wherein each of the at least two receptacles comprises: a set of opposing arms mechanically coupled to the body for providing the at least one receiving area.

6. The apparatus according to claim 5, wherein the set of opposing arms comprises a flexible material that allows the infrastructure to displace the arms when being inserted within the receiving area defined by the arms and provides mechanical resistance to infrastructure being removed from the receiving area defined by the arms.

7. An infrastructure mounting arrangement for holding infrastructure, the arrangement comprising: at least one upper section; and a lower section removably attachable to the at least one upper section, wherein the lower section and the at least one upper section provide at least two receiving areas for securing infrastructure in a slab.

8. The infrastructure mounting arrangement according to claim 7, wherein each of the at least two receiving areas comprises: a set of opposing arms mechanically coupled to the upper section for providing the at least one receiving area.

9. The infrastructure mounting arrangement according to claim 8, wherein the set of opposing arms comprises a flexible material that allows the infrastructure to displace the arms when the infrastructure is inserted within the receiving area defined by the arms and provides resistance to the infrastructure when being removed from the receiving area defined by the arms.

10. The infrastructure mounting arrangement according to claim 7, wherein the lower section comprises: at least two feet.

11. The at least two feet according to claim 10, further comprising: at least one of a recessed area and a raised area on a surface of at least one of the at least two feet for visually indicating information about the infrastructure mounting arrangement.

12. The at least two feet according to claim 11, wherein the recessed area and the raised area provides at least one of a character and a symbol.

13. The infrastructure mounting arrangement according the claim 7, further comprising: at least one protrusion extending from each upper section; and at least one opening in the lower section that accepts the at least one protrusion and holds the sections together as one.

14. The infrastructure mounting arrangement according to claim 7, wherein the infrastructure is a post-tension cable.

15. The infrastructure mounting arrangement according to claim 7, wherein adjacent receiving areas lie on an opposite one of two different parallel lines.

16. The infrastructure mounting arrangement according to claim 7, further comprising: an auxiliary upper section removably attachable to a side of the lower section, providing additional receiving areas for securing the infrastructure.

17. The infrastructure mounting arrangement according to claim 7, further comprising: an elongated portion extending from the upper section in a direction opposite the lower section when the upper section and lower section are removably attached, for protruding through a slab to identify a location of the apparatus.

18. An apparatus for holding infrastructure in a slab, the apparatus comprising: at least one upper section; a lower section mechanically coupled to the at least one upper section; and at least two receiving areas in each upper section for holding infrastructure in a slab.

19. The apparatus according to claim 18, wherein each of the at least two receiving areas comprises: a set of opposing arms mechanically coupled to the apparatus for providing the at least one receiving area.

20. The apparatus according to claim 18, further comprising: at least one foot having at least one of a recessed area and a raised area on a surface for visually indicating information about the apparatus.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims priority from provisional application No. 60/503,702, filed Sep. 17, 2003, the entire disclosure being incorporated herein by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The invention lies in the field of construction. More particularly, the present invention relates to an apparatus for holding cables, wires, pipes, rebar, or other infrastructure at a selected height from deck level during construction of concrete slabs.

2. Description of the Related Art

In the area of construction, various techniques exist for placing concrete slabs, floors, beams, and the like, under a tension to thereby strengthen the structure. The placement of a tension assembly in concrete is well known in connection with concrete slabs, such as are used for highways, bridges, houses, office buildings, apartment buildings, parking structures, slabs-on-ground, rock and soil anchors, and water tanks.

A popular tensioning technique, commonly called “post-tensioning”, as shown in FIG. 1, is to support or otherwise suspend cable assemblies 102 along the length of a concrete slab 106, when poured. The cable assemblies 102 (hereafter “cables”) usually consist of extruded plastic tubes or sheathes with greased tendons therein. As the cables 102 run along the length of the concrete slab 106, or floor, the cables 102 are attached to, or pass through, one or more building support structures 112 within the floor area, such as a concrete or steel column. The live or stressing end of the cables 104 are not anchored at this time and are cut at such a length so as to extend beyond the sidewall 114 of the slab 106 when poured. The concrete 106 is then poured around the cables 102. After the concrete 114 has been allowed a sufficient time to cure, the cables 102 are stretched to thereby place the concrete slab 114 in compression. After each cable is stretched, the tension-end 104 of the cable 102 is secured in the stretched position, thereby leaving the cable 102 in a tensioned state. The end of the cable 104 that extends beyond the sidewall 114 of the concrete floor 106 is then cut by a torch, a saw blade, shears, or other means.

For maximum strength, it is desirable that the cables exit the sidewall 114 of the slab 106 equidistant from the top surface 108 and the bottom surface 110. To accomplish this, prior to pouring the concrete 106 each cable 102 is placed on one or more support structures 100 of varying height so that it is held off of the deck surface 116 that the concrete 106 is to be poured. This allows the cables 102 to be encapsulated within the concrete 106 once poured because concrete can easily flow under the cables 102 while supported on the structures 100. Optimally, as the cables 102 span the length of the floor 116, the point where the cables 102 attach to, or pass through the above mentioned building support members 112 will be at a greater height, with respect to the deck level, from where the cables are positioned to run the remaining length of the floor. The configuration is similar to that of a suspension bridge. Therefore, looking at FIG. 1 it can be seen that after the concrete has been poured, as the cables 102 approach a support column 112 within the interior of the floor area, the vertical distance between the cable 102 and the upper surface 108 of the concrete floor 106 will decrease. It is therefore desirable to support the cables 102 at various heights along the floor 116 where the concrete is to be poured so that the suspension formation can be achieved.

For maximum strength, multiple cables 102 are used in a single concrete slab 106. The number of cables 102 used may be dictated by building codes in a particular jurisdiction. When multiple cables 102 are placed along the floor 106 in close proximity to each other, each cable must be supported. Several prior art methods exist for supporting multiple cables, each requiring the use of multiple standoffs. One such method is to use a separate standoff under each cable. As previously mentioned, the cables must be supported at a multitude of heights. This method has the disadvantage of requiring an inordinate amount of standoffs to be used in a single floor area.

Another common practice in the construction industry, shown in FIG. 2, is to support a bar of solid material 202, such as rebar for instance, between two prior art standoffs 100. One such standoff is Sorkin (U.S. Pat. No. 5,791,095). Sorkin is a standoff that consists of a receiving area having a horizontal section, a generally parabolic section extending transverse to the horizontal section, and a plurality of separate legs extending downwardly from the receiving area. Each of the legs has a foot extending horizontally outwardly therefrom. A foot of one of the plurality of legs is separated from the foot of an adjacent leg. The receiving area and the plurality of legs are integrally formed together of a polymeric material. Although the receiving area is parabolic, and more than one cable can be held in the receiving area, Sorkin provides no method to secure the cables. As a result, the cables easily fall out of the parabolic receiving area and away from the standoff. To avoid this problem, two standoffs are commonly used to support a bar of rebar between them. The length of rebar 202 is secured to the standoffs 100 by tying the rebar with a wire wrap 204.

As can be seen in FIG. 2, the rebar suspended by the standoffs 100 is then placed under and perpendicular to the lengthwise direction of cables 102. The cables 102 then attached to the rebar through the use of a wire wrap 206. This method has the disadvantage of necessitating not only the supply of the solid material and wire, but also the labor intensive practice of securing the solid material to the two or more standoffs and the further step of securing the cables to the solid material. Additionally, this method has the disadvantage of requiring at least two standoffs at every support location, which adds cost and time.

A second standoff of this type is manufactured by Aztec Concrete Accessories, Inc. of Fontana, Calif. This standoff has a central receiving area and a plurality of legs that extend downwardly from the receiving area. The central receiving area has a generally concaved configuration that can receive only a single rebar. In use, these standoffs have had a tendency to be unstable and tip over. The use of an annular ring extending around the legs of the standoff requires that a wire must be threaded through the interior of the standoff in order to tie the rebar within the receiving area. Importantly, this method of using rebar and wire has the further disadvantage of using metallic materials that will ultimately be encapsulated in the concrete. Over time, moisture trapped inside the concrete slab will cause the metal to rust inside the slab. As a result, the structural integrity of the slab will be compromised. Accordingly, these standoffs have been generally ineffective for meeting the needs of the construction industry.

When constructing a building with multiple levels, slabs must be placed at each floor level. At all times there must be a supporting surface upon which to pour the concrete slab. While the first floor of a building may be supported by the earth below, subsequent floors must be supported by other means until the cement has cured. A typical method, shown in FIG. 3, is to use a metal framework 302 to support a wooden “deck” 116 at a specified height. The wooden deck 116 has wooden sides 304. The wooden deck 116 is the surface upon which the concrete 116 is poured. The sides 304 will allow an amount of concrete 106 to be contained until the concrete 106 is dry. After sufficient drying has occurred, the wooden deck 116, sides 304, and framework 302 are removed.

Once each floor is formed, it is often necessary to penetrate the concrete slab 106. For instance, installation of doors and windows require that screws or bolts be inserted into the slab 106 both from the top surface 108 and from the surface below 110. If a drill or screw being driven into the concrete penetrates a post-tension cable 102, the cable 102 can snap. The breaking of a cable 102 under such a large amount of tension can cause severe damage to the structure and possible physical injury to the worker. At a minimum, the cable must be replaced. This process is extremely difficult and expensive. It is therefore desirable to have a method of identifying the location of the post-tension cables 102 after the concrete 106 has been poured.

Using the current method of installing post-tension cables described above, there is no simple way of determining the physical location of the cables once they are encapsulated in the concrete. Often times an x-ray machine must be used, which suffers from the disadvantage of being costly, time consuming, and dangerous to human health. Metal detectors, which are cheaper and safer than x-ray machines, can be used. However, metal detectors are not without their shortcomings. Due to the large amount of rebar and other metallic materials embedded in the slab, distinguishing post-tension cables from other metal items, if possible at all, is difficult and time consuming.

Therefore a need exists to overcome the problems with the prior art as discussed above.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

According to an embodiment of the invention, an apparatus for supporting infrastructure while pouring concrete slabs is provided which overcomes the above-mentioned disadvantages of the prior art apparatus of this general type.

In one embodiment, the invention provides a standoff apparatus that enables one to secure and support, among other things, cables, wires, conduit, rebar, and in particular, post-tension cables, at predetermined distances from a deck level while a concrete slab is poured onto the deck and around the cables.

The apparatus and method can be used for easily locating, among other things, cables, wires, conduit, rebar, and in particular, post-tension cables, after a concrete slab has been poured around the cables. While an embodiment of the invention is to secure any type of infrastructure, such as cables, wires, or rebar, the remainder of the specification will refer only to post-tension cables commonly known and used by those of ordinary skill in the art of construction.

There is provided, in accordance with embodiments of the invention, a standoff apparatus having a lower section for providing support and an upper section for placement of post-tension cables. The lower section and upper section can vary in dimension so as to provide varying standoff distances with respect to the deck that they will be placed upon. The upper section is provided with one or more receptacle areas capable of holding a cable once placed in that area. The lower section can have two or more legs to provide stability to the apparatus.

In accordance with an additional feature of the invention, the standoff apparatus includes an upper section having a plurality of grasping arm-type structures capable of holding a post-tension cable, inserted between each set of grasping arms. In an embodiment, the grasping arms are provided in pairs of two opposable arms, which have centers that are curved outward from each other, and have a bottom portion and top portion that are arranged in a configuration similar to a set of parenthesis. Only the bottom of each opposable arm is attached to the apparatus. The upper portions of the arms are disposed so that the gap between them is slightly smaller than the diameter of the cable that they are designed to hold. Preferably, the arms will be made of a material that allows them to bend slightly and, therefore, allows the cable to slip securely between the arms.

In accordance with yet another feature of the invention, the bottom of the lower section, which makes contact with the deck, is provided with raised characters. This feature will be useful in that at the time the concrete is poured, the raised letters located on the bottom of the lower section of the apparatus will ensure that no concrete will flow between the letters and the wooden deck. Once the slab is poured and hardened, the wooden deck will be removed from below the slab. One looking at the bottom surface of the slab from below will easily see the characters on the feet of the apparatus. The specific characters can be chosen to communicate the presence of a material other than concrete in that area. For instance, the letters “PTC” may be used to indicate the presence of post-tension cables. This area can therefore be avoided when drilling into the slab, so as not to damage the cables. In one embodiment of the invention, the cable being supported will be held in the center of the apparatus, and the apparatus will have feet, which are located on both sides of the cable. If the letters PTC appear on each foot, with the additional feature of having raised arrows on the bottom of each foot pointing in the direction of the opposing foot, it will be clear that cables are located between the two feet.

In accordance with another feature of the invention, the bottom of the lower section, which makes contact with the deck, is provided with recessed characters. The specific characters can be chosen to communicate the presence of a material other than concrete in that area. For instance, the letters “PTC” may be used to indicate the presence of post-tension cables. This area can therefore be avoided when drilling into the slab, so as not to damage the cables.

In accordance with yet another feature of the invention, the apparatus can be manufactured so that a portion of the apparatus will extend beyond an upper surface of the concrete slab once poured. This extension will enable one to locate the cable placement from the surface above, even after the slab has been poured. In one embodiment, this extension will be bristle-like extensions that can be seen and easily broken off to be flush with the upper surface of the slab once identification is no longer necessary. Other types of extensions can also be used.

In accordance with another feature of the invention, the lower section of the inventive standoff can have one or more continuous flanges, or “feet” of sufficient dimension in the horizontal direction to provide stability to the standoff apparatus in the vertical direction, with reference to the deck, or floor surface, in which the standoff will be placed.

In accordance with another feature of the invention, the lower section and the upper section can be separable pieces. The pieces can be made in various heights and combined with one another to achieve any of a variety of specific desired heights.

In accordance with another feature of the invention, the upper section can be separable from the lower section and two or more upper sections can be combined and attached to a single lower section to provide additional cable attachment locations.

In accordance with yet another feature of the invention, the upper section can be separable from the lower section and can be removably attached to a side of the lower section to provide holding support for infrastructure, such as cables.

In accordance with another feature of the invention, the apparatus is manufactured from a synthetic material that will avoid rusting or decomposing.

Although the invention is illustrated and described herein as embodied in an apparatus for supporting infrastructure while pouring concrete slabs, it is nevertheless not intended to be limited to the details shown, since various modifications and structural changes may be made therein without departing from the spirit of the invention and within the scope and range of equivalents of the claims. It is important to note that the present invention is not limited to slabs made from concrete and can be used in slabs made of many different materials. Additionally, the slabs described herein include slabs used in building construction, bridges, roads, and many other similar purposes.

The construction of the invention, however, together with additional features and advantages thereof will be best understood from the following description of the specific embodiment when read in connection with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The accompanying figures, where like reference numerals refer to identical or functionally similar elements throughout the separate views and which together with the detailed description below are incorporated in and form part of the specification, serve to further illustrate various embodiments and to explain various principles and advantages all in accordance with the present invention, in which:

FIG. 1 is a side view of a concrete slab and support column with a post-tension cable, supported by standoffs;

FIG. 2 is diagram of prior-art post-tension cable supports;

FIG. 3 is a diagram illustrating a framework supporting a wooden deck;

FIG. 4 is a diagram illustrating one embodiment of the inventive apparatus;

FIG. 5 is a diagram illustrating an upper view of a lower section of the inventive apparatus shown in FIG. 4;

FIG. 6 is a side view of a lower section of the inventive apparatus shown in FIG. 4;

FIG. 7 is a bottom view of a lower section of the inventive apparatus shown in FIG. 4 having raised characters on the bottom surface of the feet;

FIG. 8 is a top view of an upper section of the inventive apparatus shown in FIG. 4;

FIG. 9 is a diagram illustrating one embodiment of the inventive apparatus;

FIG. 10 is a diagram illustrating another embodiment of the inventive apparatus; and

FIG. 11 is a diagram illustrating another embodiment of the inventive apparatus.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

As required, detailed embodiments of the present invention are disclosed herein; however, it is to be understood that the disclosed embodiments are merely exemplary of the invention, which can be embodied in various forms. Therefore, specific structural and functional details disclosed herein are not to be interpreted as limiting, but merely as a basis for the claims and as a representative basis for teaching one skilled in the art to variously employ the present invention in virtually any appropriately detailed structure. Further, the terms and phrases used herein are not intended to be limiting; but rather, to provide an understandable description of the invention.

The terms “a” or “an”, as used herein, are defined as one or more than one. The term plurality, as used herein, is defined as two or more than two. The term another, as used herein, is defined as at least a second or more. The terms including and/or having, as used herein, are defined as comprising (i.e., open language).

Referring now to the figures of the drawing in detail, and in particular to FIG. 4, there is illustrated a side view of the inventive infrastructure support apparatus, or “standoff” 400 in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention. The standoff 400 includes a separable upper section 402 and a lower section 404 that are removably attached by inserting protrusions 430 into openings 432 of the lower section 404. In one embodiment, the protrusions 430 are finger-like clips, as shown in FIG. 4. It should be noted that the method of attaching upper section 402 to lower section 404 is merely representative of one of many methods that may be used.

Standoff 400 has two sets of opposing legs 406 &408 that extend downwardly from the main body 425 of the lower section 404. Quantities of legs other than four can also be used without departing from the true scope and spirit of the present invention.

Each of the legs 406 has a foot 410 that extends outwardly horizontally therefrom. Each of the legs 408 has a foot 412 that extends outwardly horizontally therefrom. As can be seen in FIG. 4, each foot 410 has a generally planar bottom surface 416 and a generally horizontally planar upper surface 414. Each foot 412 has a generally horizontally planar bottom surface 424 and a generally horizontally planar upper surface 418.

Referring now to FIG. 3, a metal framework 302 supporting a wooden “deck” 116 is shown. The wooden deck 116 provides a surface upon which a plurality of standoffs 400 (not shown) and infrastructure 102 (not shown) supported by the standoff 400 is placed. Concrete is poured on the deck, encasing the standoffs 400 and infrastructure 102. Wooden sides 34 contain the concrete until the concrete has dried. After sufficient drying has occurred, the wooden deck 116, sides 304, and framework 302 are removed, leaving only the concrete slab encasing the standoffs 400 and infrastructure 1.

Once each slab 106 is formed, it is often necessary to penetrate the concrete slab 106. For instance, installation of doors and windows require that screws or bolts be inserted into the slab 106 both from the top surface 108 and from the surface below 110. If a drill or screw being driven into the concrete 106 penetrates a post-tension cable 102, the cable 102 can snap. The breaking of a cable 102 under such a large amount of tension can cause severe damage to the structure and possible physical injury to the worker.

Referring once again to FIG. 4, an embodiment of the present invention 400 is shown where each bottom surface 424 of foot 412 has raised projections 420, which are raised areas that extend downwardly from the bottom surface 424. Similarly, each bottom surface 416 of foot 410 has projections 422, which extend downwardly from the bottom surface 416. As shown in FIG. 7, the projections 422 &420 can include characters or symbols used to indicate the presence of the standoff 400 and/or the cables being supported by the standoff 400. In the embodiment of the inventive standoff 400 shown in FIG. 7, the characters 422 &420 are the letters “PTC” to indicate “Post-Tension Cables”. The characters further include arrow symbols which point toward the center of the standoff 400. The combination of letters and arrows provide notice that post-tension cables are located somewhere between the opposing set of feet or at least in the immediate area.

The inventive feature of providing characters and symbols on the bottom surfaces of the feet is useful in that at the time the concrete is poured, the raised areas contact the wooden deck surface 116 and prevent concrete from flowing between the letters and the wooden deck 116. Once the slab 106 is poured and hardened, the wooden deck 116 will be removed from below the slab 106. One looking at the bottom surface of the slab 106 from below will easily see the characters 422 on the feet 410, 412 of the standoff 400. Thus, it will be clear that cables 102 or other infrastructure are located between the feet and that the area is to be avoided when drilling into the slab, so as not to damage the cables.

In another embodiment, the characters or symbols 422 on the feet 410, 412 of the standoff 400 are recessed areas. The recessed areas accomplish the same goal as does the raised characters described in the previous paragraph, which is to communicate the presence of infrastructure within the area of the standoff 400.

Referring to FIG. 4, it can be seen that the set of legs 406 extend outwardly at a slight angle from vertical. Legs 408 also extend outwardly at a slight angle from vertical. The angling of legs 406 and 408 provides improved structural support for the standoff 400 and further facilitates the speed and ease of manufacture by a commonly used molding process know to those of skill in the art of manufacturing.

Referring now to FIG. 4 in conjunction with FIGS. 5a-c, it can be seen that both the upper section 402 and the lower section 404 have a significantly rectangular shape, with the larger dimension being in the direction between leg pair 406. It should be noted that the object of the invention can also be achieved with a standoff of a non-rectangular shape.

As can be seen in FIGS. 4, 5a, and 5c, the body 425 of the lower section 404 is provided with voids 432, which are openings along an upper surface 426 of body 425. The voids 432 are provided as a way to removably attach the upper section 402 to the lower section 404. In one embodiment, each void is non-uniform in dimension, so that the dimension of the portion of the void 432 closest to the upper surface 426 of the body 425, measured in the direction running directly between legs 406, is less than the dimension of the portion of the void 432, measured in the direction running directly between legs 406, at points immediately below, or in a downward direction from, upper surface 426.

Upper section 402 is shown in FIG. 4. It can be seen that upper section 402 has a generally planar bottom surface 428. Two sets of projections 430 extend downward from the bottom surface 428. The projections 430 are provided so that an end portion of the projections 430 has a lip 429. Lip 429 has a larger dimension than does any other portion of the projections 430. The projections 430 are also provided with a gap in the center so that when the projections 430 are inserted into the voids 432 of the lower section 404 of the standoff 400, the projections 430 will compress while entering the voids 432. Once the projections 430 pass the upper surface 426 of the lower section 404, the diameter of the void 432 increases and the projections 430 will expand. Once expanded, lip 429 will provide a resistance to removal from the void 432 and provide a secure connection between upper section 402 and lower section 404 of standoff 400. To separate the two sections 402 and 404, the adjacent projections 430 are simply pressed in a direction towards one another, so that the lips 429 of the projections 430 are moved together and are no longer prevented from being removed from the voids 432. Several other methods are contemplated for removably coupling upper section 402 and lower section 404, such as barbed extensions, interlocking fingers or grooves, Velcro, tape, glue, magnets, and male/female extensions.

It can be seen that a plurality of arm-like structures 434, 436, 438, 440, and others, extend from the upper surface 444 of the upper section 402. The arm-like structures 434, 436, 438, and 440 are provided for holding cables, rebar, wires, conduit or any other similar infrastructure, which would need to be encapsulated in a concrete slab. The arm-like structures 434, 436, 438, and 440 are provided in pairs of two opposable arms that form receiving areas for holding the infrastructure 102. As shown in FIG. 4, arm 434 opposes arm 436. Similarly, arm 438 opposes arm 440. Each arm set, 436 and 434, and 438 and 440, have inside surfaces 442 with centers that are curved outward from each other, and have a bottom portion and top portion that are arranged in a configuration similar to a set of parenthesis. This configuration will allow the arms to fit securely around, and make uniform contact with, a round outer surface of a cable. Only the bottom of each opposable arm is attached to the upper section 402. The upper portions of the arms 434, 436, 438, and 440 are disposed so that the gap between them is slightly smaller than the diameter of the cable that they designed to hold. Optimally, the arms 436, 434, 438, and 440 will be made of a flexible material that will allow them to bend slightly and, therefore, allow the cable to slip securely between the arms.

Referring now to FIG. 8, it can be seen that arms sets 434 and 436 are offset from arm sets 438 and 440 and in-line with a third set of arms 446 and 448, so that each adjacent set is disposed in an opposite one of two parallel lines 802 &804 of arm sets. When the upper portion of arm 436 is bent in a direction opposite arm 434, the upper portion of arm 436 will not make contact with arm 438 because of the offset. This feature allows each set of arms to expand to allow a cable to be inserted between them without being restricted by a set of immediately adjacent arms.

The present invention can also be achieved with the embodiment shown in FIG. 9. One or more grooves are placed in the upper section of the standoff. The grooves form receiving areas in which cables or other infrastructure can be placed. The weight of the cables hold them in place. In an embodiment, the upper section 402 and the lower section 404 can be constructed of a single, non-separable piece of material.

FIG. 10 shows an additional feature of the invention. Upper section 402 of the standoff 400 can be provided with a communicative extension 1002, which will extend beyond the upper surface of the slab once poured. In one embodiment, the extensions 1002 can be thin bristle-like solid pieces. The bristle-like design has the advantage of being easily broken off, flush with the upper surface 2a once the floor 2 has cured. If the bristles 1002 are made of a bright color, they will easily be seen, even after having been broken off. Although bristles have been described, many other extensions will accomplish the same goal.

Referring now to FIG. 11, two upper sections 402a and 402b are removably attached to a single lower section 404. In this configuration, the inventive apparatus can accommodate twice as many pieces of infrastructure using only a single lower section 404. Also shown in FIG. 11 is an extra void 432 on a side of lower section 404. The extra void 432 is provided for accepting an additional upper section (not shown) in a vertical configuration as compared to the horizontal configuration of the two upper sections 402a and 402b shown. The third upper section can be used to hold additional infrastructure running parallel to that held by upper sections 402a and 402b.

The present invention, as just described, by providing lower sections 404 and upper sections 402 of varying heights that removably attach to one another, provides a multitude of standoff heights for supporting infrastructure on a surface so that concrete or other materials and substances can be poured around the standoff 400 and infrastructure. The present invention is able to securely hold several infrastructure items without the use of wires or other materials. The present invention is also able to communicate the location of the invention itself, as well as the location of infrastructure.

Although specific embodiments of the invention have been disclosed, those having ordinary skill in the art will understand that changes can be made to the specific embodiments without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. The scope of the invention is not to be restricted, therefore, to the specific embodiments, and it is intended that the appended claims cover any and all such applications, modifications, and embodiments within the scope of the present invention.