Quickwall integrated building shell system
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A system for quickly erecting an integrated building exterior shell. The building shell has a structural frame (10) of linear ferrous members with an I shaped cross section (10), whose flanges (10a) lie in the plane of the building shell. The open space between the structural members is filled by sliding in a snug fitting wall panel composed of core (12), exterior sheet (11), and interior sheet (13). The flanges (10a) and web (10b) physically secure wall panels in place by gripping it at the slots (15), thereby eliminating the need to use fasteners.

Glatfelter, David Michael (Vineland, NJ, US)
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International Classes:
E04H6/00; E04B1/24
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I claim:

1. An integrated building shell system comprised of linear ferrous structural members, having an I-shaped cross section, the flanges parallel to the plane of the intended wall, with said wall formed by wall panels which are slid into place between the said structural members, with said wall panels substantially held fast in place between said structural members by virtue of said cross sectional shape of said structural member.

2. The structural members of claim 1 may have said linear axis vertical to form a wall, off vertical to form a slanted wall or roof.

3. The structural members of claim 1 can be horizontal to form a ceiling or floor.

4. The wall panels of claim 1 may be held in position as said wall, said ceiling or said roof.

5. The wall panels of claim 1 may be a core only, or said core may have an exterior sheathing layer, and said core and said exterior sheathing layer may also have an interior sheathing layer.

6. The wall panels of claim 1 may be any combination of said core and said sheathing layers composed of materials such as wood, gypsum, plastic, metal, cement, and said layers may vary in width, height, thickness to meet building code and design criteria.

7. Wall panels of claim 1 may be rectangular, square, or triangular, if desired.

8. Although wall panels of claim 1 are held in place by said structural members, they can be further stabilized by fastening overlapping edges with fasteners, such as screws, or nails, or other devices.

9. Wall panels of claim 1 may incorporate a stud of metal, wood, or plastic along any edge or edges to assist said fastening, and to meet other building requirements.

10. Wall panels of claim 1 may be oriented in any direction desired by architect or owner.

11. Additional structural members of any shape may be added after said wall panels are inserted in position to further stabilize said integrated building shell, and to provide additional desirable elements.



1. Field of Invention

This invention relates to building construction, specifically an integrated structural ferrous frame, which holds in place exterior wall panels, which can be installed with or without fasteners.

2. Description of Prior Art

Typical building construction of an exterior building wall composed of layers: exterior skin, insulation, and interior skin, which are hung on structural studs, involves the cutting and joining together of discrete units with various fasteners, like screws or nails, in individual well defined stages: e.g. upon the foundation an exterior frame wall is built: vertical, parallel members which are wood or metal studs are cut to length, secured with fasteners at regular 16″ to 24″ intervals between what will become top and bottom horizontal members of the wall. This exterior stud frame wall can be assembled horizontally or vertically, on its intended location, or imported from a factory. When the wall is braced in its intended position, usually vertical, an exterior sheathing, or “skin” is attached to the outer plane described by the physical dimensions of the framed wall. The sheathing may be of one of many thicknesses: from 7/16″ to well over 1″, depending upon design criteria, and of many types of material, e.g. typically wood or gypsum or foam or cement board, processed in many different ways.

The width and height are typically from 2′×8′ to 4′×8′. The roof system installation typically follows and is supported on the frame wall. Once the roof is weather tight, interior work can begin, electric, plumbing, etc. The interior cavity between the studs, and next to the interior side of the exterior sheathing is filled with insulation material, after which an interior sheet is fastened to the plane described by the height and length of the wall. The interior sheet may be of just about any sheet of material used for the exterior sheathing, although generally the interior sheet is smoothed and painted or covered with some type of decorative surface.

Advances in the field commonly practiced are to assemble some portion of the wall or building in a factory, ship it to its intended location, and complete the construction on site. These sections need to be carefully positioned, braced and fastened to each other, or to special vertical support standards or posts. Some prefabricated walls have windows, and perhaps insulation and doors. At the extreme entire rooms with flooring and utilities are imported and set on the foundation. Attempts to streamline wall construction on location via some pre-assembly have mostly proved expensive, complicated, or ineffective, except in the extreme cases: sections of stud frame & sheathing only, or pre-manufactured modules about 95% complete.

Some proposed wall panels-for example, U.S. Pat. No. 4,660,339 (1987) to F. Paz is unsuitable for exterior wall use, and can be used only as interior decorative partitions. U.S. Pat. No. 5,749,197 (1997) to Jolly, is wrapped in sheet metal, very fire resistant, but very expensive. U.S. Pat. No. 6,427,408 (2002) to Krieger is a wall panel assembly method, but it is difficult to assemble, and requires expensive, custom made fasteners and support members. The same is true of U.S. Pat. No. 5,325,649 (1992) to Katiwara: the materials are more expensive, and more complicated to assemble than conventional building techniques. U.S. Pat. No. 4,068,434 (1977) and U.S. Pat. No. 4,147,004 (1979), both to Day & Hutcheson, are close to my invention, but have electrical and structural elements inside the wall which adds great difficulty and cost in the initial manufacture of the wall panels, slows assembly of the panels on the foundation, as the must all be in proper order, and the securing of tabs and channels and fasteners during the assembly on the foundation is time consuming, complicated, and requires an experienced crew. U.S. Pat. No. 6,408,694 (2002) to Porter is similarly complicated, with structural elements inside the wall, and equally sophisticated fasteners. These systems may have limited special applications, but are too expensive for widespread use.


The object of my invention is a to quickly erect a secure, weather tight building shell ready for shingles, after which exterior finish of brick, stucco, siding or whatever the owner or architect desires can be applied. Accordingly, my invention is composed of readily available components, and only requires skilled labor to erect the conventional structural steel frame. Once the structural frame is erected, the wall panels slide into the natural u-shaped channel of the steel member. The steel structural frame is off the shelf

I-shaped cross-section structural steel, therefore very inexpensive The wall panels are composed of readily available commodity gypsum or cement or wood sheathing, with a core of insulating foam, or some other rigid or semi-rigid material. Using commodity raw materials keeps the cost at or below conventional construction methods, and the actual placing of the wall panels requires no special skill, no tools, no fasteners and no need to measure and cut material. The speed of assembly reduces the final finishing and building costs. Although structural steel is commonly used in commercial and industrial construction, and occasionally in residential construction, no one has seen the advantage of utilizing the shape of the structural frame to hold composite wall panels in place.


FIGS. 1a and 1b shows the structural steel frame members.

FIGS. 2a and 2b shows the wall panel front and overhead views.

FIGS. 3a and 3b shows integrated structural frame with panels and overhead view of wall panel interlocked with steel frame.

Reference Numerals in Drawings
10 Structural frame10a Flange10b Web
11 Exterior sheet
12 Wall core
13 Interior sheet
14 Horizontal stud
15 Slots


Typical embodiment of the present invention is illustrated in FIG. 1 and FIG. 2 and FIG. 3. The structural frame members (10) have an “I” shaped cross section, with whatever dimensions are economically and structurally suitable. The wall panel is essentially a rectangular box shaped core (12), which fits snugly in the natural channel provided by the frame member (10). The core itself is composed of any type of rigid or semi-rigid material, such as styrene or urethane foam, but could even be a wooden timber or railroad tie, provided it could nestle between the steel frame members (10). If desired, an exterior skin layer (11) of wood, gypsum, cement, plastic, or other suitable material, could be attached to the core to fulfill the specific requirements of the eventual exterior finish application. For example, exterior rated gypsum sheathing could be used in advance of a brick or stone finish. Additionally, an interior skin of wood, gypsum, cement, or other material could be affixed to the core during the core manufacture. Typically plastic resins are sprayed or flooded onto an assembly line or worktable surface, with a desired skin (11) as the base layer. If desired, after the core material is in place, the opposite skin layer (13) could be laid atop the assembly. If the building designer or architect feels it is necessary, a horizontal stud member (14) could be incorporated between the skin(s) (11) and/or (13), at the top or bottom edge of the panel assembly. The slots (15) could be part of the assembly formation process or cut in after the core (12) is stabilized.


The manner of erecting my invention begins with conventional structural steel frame (10) erection, with the steel positioned at regular intervals, which match the width of the wall panels (12). The structural member (10) must be fabricated and positioned such that the flanges (10a) are parallel with the planes of the panel's inner and outer “skin” layers (11) and (13). Once the structural members are in place, the wall panels are slid into position, with the first resting on top of the foundation, the next panel slid in to rest atop the first, and so on. Each panel (12) will nestle snuggly between the structural members. To provide extra stability, if desired or directed by the building designer or architect, the panel edges can be secured at any designated overlap with fasteners such as nails or screws. Sections which will become special areas, such as bathrooms, can receive panels layered with an appropriate material, such as moisture resistant gypsum or cement board.


The reader can easily see the advantage of combining the traditional 3 or 4 steps in one. The individual steps of wall framing, exterior sheathing, insulating, and interior sheathing are now replaced by simply sliding into place a wall panel combining exterior skin, insulation, interior skin, and perhaps a stud, with no need to measure, cut, trim or fasten. Openings for doors or windows can be cut in at leisure in one operation, as opposed to measuring and cutting for each separate conventional step. Some commercial construction uses a structural steel framing method, as does my invention, so it is no great departure in terms of actual material usage and cost.

Further Advantages:

    • Interior and exterior surfaces are very flat, due to the panel processing method.
    • Architectural details and shapes, like pilasters, can be easily added to the walls at any time.
    • Interior and exterior layer can be a wide range of materials and dimensions, to easily meet design and finish criteria.
    • Panels reduce wind filtration, as components are in essence a single, tight, unit.
    • Superior insulation qualities can be achieved through material choice and dimension.
    • Rapid erection of the building shell reduces construction time, cost, loss, theft.
    • Panels can be part of the roof or floor system, by using appropriate ‘skin’ layer and structural members.

Although the benefits listed above contain many descriptions, it should not be construed as limiting the scope of the invention by merely providing illustrations of some of the preferred embodiments of this invention. For example, wall panels don't have to be rectangular, but can be cut or processed into triangular or other shapes, and the core may be produced to include other features, such as security wiring, central vacuum pipe, etc. Thus, the scope of the invention should be determined by the appended claims and their legal equivalents.

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