Title:
Pre-cast panel unibody building system
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
This abstract is merely for informative purposes and is not intended to be limiting regarding the scope of the invention. The preferred embodiment comprises a foundation, a plurality of rigid pre-cast wall panels, of a suitable width, height and length, vertically or nearly vertically and rigidly integrated onto the foundation perimeter and a means for connecting the top surfaces of the wall panels rigidly together whereby the foundation and rigidly integrated wall panels comprise a rigid integral structure when completed.



Inventors:
Delzotto, Laurie Ann (Morriston, FL, US)
Application Number:
10/970259
Publication Date:
05/11/2006
Filing Date:
10/21/2004
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04B1/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
KENNY, DANIEL J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
FRANK B. ARENAS, Esq. (COLEMAN, FL, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An article of manufacture, a pre-cast unibody structure, comprising: a foundation; a plurality of rigid pre-cast wall panels, of a suitable width, height and length, vertically or nearly vertically and rigidly integrated onto the foundation perimeter, and; a means for connecting the top surfaces of the wall panels rigidly together whereby the foundation and rigidly integrated wall panels comprise a rigid integral structure when completed.

2. The pre-cast unibody structure of claim 1 wherein said foundation is a concrete monolithic slab.

3. The pre-cast unibody structure of claim 1 wherein said foundation is a concrete monolithic slab further comprising a perimeter slot.

4. The pre-cast unibody structure of claim 1 wherein said wall panels further comprise at least one steel “C” channel disposed on the top surface, with or without at least one truss attachment plate disposed thereon.

5. The pre-cast unibody structure of claim 1 wherein said wall panels further comprise at least one steel angle disposed on the bottom inside surface.

6. The pre-cast unibody structure of claim 1 wherein said means for connecting the top surfaces of the wall panels rigidly together further comprises at least one welded steel plate.

7. The pre-cast unibody structure of claim 1 wherein said wall panels further comprise reinforced pre-cast concrete with or without at least one opening for at least one window or at least one door.

8. The pre-cast unibody structure of claim 1 wherein said wall panels are rigidly integrated onto the foundation perimeter slot and further comprises at least one fastener secured into said foundation through at least one hole in at least one angle iron piece welded to said steel angle disposed on the bottom inside surface of said wall panel.

9. The pre-cast unibody structure of claim 1 further comprising said perimeter slot grouted smooth and level with said monolithic slab.

10. A pre-cast unibody structure system, comprising: a foundation; a plurality of rigid pre-cast wall panels, of a suitable width, height and length, vertically or nearly vertically and rigidly integrated onto the foundation perimeter, and; a means for connecting the top surfaces of the wall panels rigidly together whereby the foundation and rigidly integrated wall panels comprise a rigid integral structure when completed.

11. The pre-cast unibody structure system of claim 10 wherein said foundation is a concrete monolithic slab.

12. The pre-cast unibody structure system of claim 10 wherein said foundation is a concrete monolithic slab further comprising a perimeter slot.

13. The pre-cast unibody structure system of claim 10 wherein said wall panels further comprise at least one steel “C” channel disposed on the top surface, with or without at least one truss attachment plate disposed thereon.

14. The pre-cast unibody structure system of claim 10 wherein said wall panels further comprise at least one steel angle disposed on the bottom inside surface.

15. The pre-cast unibody structure system of claim 10 wherein said means for connecting the top surfaces of the wall panels rigidly together further comprises at least one welded steel plate.

16. The pre-cast unibody structure system of claim 10 wherein said wall panels further comprise reinforced pre-cast concrete with or without at least one opening for at least one window or at least one door.

17. The pre-cast unibody structure system of claim 10 wherein said wall panels are rigidly integrated onto the foundation perimeter slot and further comprises at least one fastener secured into said foundation through at least one hole in at least one angle iron piece welded to said steel angle disposed on the bottom inside surface of said wall panel.

18. The pre-cast unibody structure system of claim 10 further comprising said perimeter slot grouted smooth and level with said monolithic slab.

19. A pre-cast unibody structure system, comprising: a means for providing a foundation; a means for providing a plurality of rigid pre-cast wall panels, of a suitable width, height and length, vertically or nearly vertically and rigidly integrated onto the foundation perimeter, and; a means for connecting the top surfaces of the wall panels rigidly together whereby the means for providing a foundation and means for providing rigidly integrated wall panels onto the foundation comprise a rigid integral structure when completed.

20. The pre-cast unibody structure system of claim 19 wherein said means for providing a foundation is a concrete monolithic slab.

21. The pre-cast unibody structure system of claim 19 wherein said means for providing a foundation is a concrete monolithic slab further comprising a means for providing a perimeter slot.

22. The pre-cast unibody structure system of claim 19 wherein said wall panels further comprise a means for providing at least one steel “C” channel disposed on the top surface, with or without a means for providing at least one truss attachment plate disposed thereon.

23. The pre-cast unibody structure system of claim 19 wherein said wall panels further comprise a means for providing at least one steel angle disposed on the bottom inside surface.

24. The pre-cast unibody structure system of claim 19 wherein said means for connecting the top surfaces of the wall panels rigidly together further comprises a means for providing at least one welded steel plate.

25. The pre-cast unibody structure system of claim 19 wherein said wall panels further comprise a means for providing reinforced pre-cast concrete with or without at least one opening for at least one window or at least one door.

26. The pre-cast unibody structure system of claim 19 wherein said wall panels are rigidly integrated onto the foundation perimeter slot and further comprises a means for providing at least one fastener secured into said foundation through a means for providing at least one hole in at least one means for providing at least one angle iron piece welded to said steel angle disposed on the bottom inside surface of said wall panel.

27. The pre-cast unibody structure system of claim 19 further comprising a means for providing said perimeter slot grouted smooth and level with said monolithic slab.

28. A method for manufacturing pre-cast unibody structure wall panels, said method comprising the steps of: (a) assembling appropriate pre-cast concrete molds for wall panels in a suitable work area; (b) placing the assembled molds on an appropriate concrete casting surface, with or without at least one block-out for at least one window or at least one door; (c) adding appropriate reinforcement to the assembled molds or concrete; (d) adding appropriate chemicals to the concrete, if desired; (e) pouring concrete into the pre-cast concrete mold(s); (f) waiting for the concrete to cure for the appropriate amount of time; (g) stripping the molds from the hardened concrete; (h) storing the wall panels for the appropriate amount of time for final curing.

29. The method of claim 28 wherein the chemicals added to the concrete are selected from the group consisting hardening chemicals, curing chemicals and salt resistant chemicals.

30. A method for constructing a pre-cast unibody structure, said method comprising the steps of: (a) loading hardened pre-cast concrete wall panels onto a transportation vehicle; (b) transporting to the construction site the hardened pre-cast concrete wall panels; (c) unloading the hardened pre-cast concrete wall panels and moving them to the construction site; (d) preparing the site to receive a foundation and the hardened pre-cast concrete wall panels; (e) forming and pouring the foundation with concrete and erecting and securing the hardened pre-cast wall panels together and onto the foundation in the appropriate and correct manner, whereas said structure is ready to receive a roof structure.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates generally to the concrete construction industry and pre-cast concrete products. The invention particularly relates to pre-cast panels, as they are commonly referred to in the concrete industry. The invention more particularly relates to pre-cast reinforced structural wall panels in unique unibody utilization for constructing structures such as houses, offices, warehouses and all other types of structures.

2. Description of Related Art

U.S. Pat. No. 5,218,795 discloses concrete panels, concrete decks, parts thereof, and apparatus and methods for their fabrication and use.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,950,390 discloses a pre-cast building module.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,359,825 discloses a modular construction system.

U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,435,581; 4,671,032; 5,055,252; 4,570,398; 4,605,529; 4,751,803; and 4,934,121 disclose preformed wall structures.

None of these references taken alone or in any combination teaches or suggests the present invention.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

This new and useful invention utilizes repetitive wall panels to build an integrated structural unit instead of existing construction types using concrete blocks for walls. Additionally, in the preferred embodiment, the invention allows a high strength pre-cast panel unibody structure to be quickly and efficiently constructed in the field (at the site), saving labor costs versus traditional concrete block building techniques. Also, the structure is more resistant to human “break in” (burglary) risks versus traditional concrete block building techniques, the walls of which can be broken with a common carpenter's hammer for a burglar to gain entrance. The preferred embodiment also allows the entire concrete foundation, floor and wall panels to be welded, bolted and poured solidly and integrated together, creating a unibody. This invention reinforces the overall structural components as a unibody to be much stronger (resistant to environmental forces) together than the sum of the individual components alone. Unibody is hereby defined as an integrated foundation and load-bearing wall panel structure which comprises an integral unit when completed and ready to use. The preferred embodiment comprises a foundation, a plurality of rigid pre-cast wall panels, of a suitable width, height and length, vertically or nearly vertically and rigidly integrated onto the foundation perimeter and a means for connecting the top surfaces of the wall panels rigidly together whereby the foundation and rigidly integrated wall panels comprise a rigid integral structure when completed. The objects and advantages pertaining to the invention will become apparent in the following detailed description of the preferred embodiment.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 depicts a typical angle perimeter mold ready for wall panel manufacture on a casting tilt-table.

FIG. 2 depicts a typical angle perimeter mold with top “C” channel, bottom angle steel, steel reinforcing and anchors ready to be poured with concrete on a casting tilt-table.

FIG. 3 depicts a finished wall panel removed from the angle perimeter mold with two top steel cable loops for lifting purposes.

FIG. 4 depicts a plan view of a basic four-wall-panel unibody structure with top welded steel plates securing each panel.

FIG. 5 depicts an undisturbed earth building site in section view.

FIG. 6 depicts an undisturbed earth building site in section view with level fill dirt added for foundation layout and placement.

FIG. 7 shows a typical foundation layout technique using batter boards and string lines common in the construction industry in perspective view.

FIG. 8 shows in section view a typical concrete foundation poured with finished slab surface eight inches above the road elevation.

FIG. 9 depicts in perspective view the first wall panel set in place on the foundation and the second wall panel being lifted into place with a crane.

FIG. 10 depicts a section view of the foundation and wall panel with shims.

FIG. 11 depicts a detail of a section view of the foundation and wall panel with shims and bottom steel angle fastener welded to bottom of panel and attached to the foundation perimeter slot with a typical concrete fastener.

FIG. 12 depicts a further detail section view of FIG. 11 with the foundation perimeter slot and bottom of panel grouted.

FIG. 13 depicts a side view detail of the wall panel steel plate welded in-line to the top “C” channels of the wall panels.

FIG. 14 depicts a plan view detail of the wall panel steel plate welded in-line to the top “C” channels of the wall panels.

FIG. 15 depicts a perspective view detail of the wall panel steel plate welded at a 90 degree corner to the top “C” channels of the wall panels.

FIG. 16 depicts a plan view detail of the wall panel steel plate welded at a 90 degree corner to the top “C” channels of the wall panels.

FIG. 17 depicts a perspective view detail of the wall panel steel plate welded at an angled corner to the top “C” channels of the wall panels.

FIG. 18 depicts a plan view detail of the wall panel steel plate welded at an angled corner to the top “C” channels of the wall panels.

FIG. 19 depicts a perspective view detail of the wall panel steel plate truss connection welded to the top “C” channels of the wall panel with a truss ready to be nailed for attachment.

FIG. 20 depicts a plan view of a typical unibody structure for a house.

FIG. 21 depicts a perspective view of a typical unibody structure for a house with openings for doors and windows.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

The apparatus of the invention is conveniently fabricated by conventional and standard methods using conventional and standard materials common in the construction, concrete and pre-cast fabrication industries. The preferred material is pre-cast concrete, but other materials may be used.

The system and method of making and using the preferred embodiment will now be further described and exemplified by reference to the various specific embodiments set forth in the drawings.

Again referring to the Figures, the assembly and fabrication (making) of the preferred embodiment of the invention will be described in detail. The system is assembled and fabricated from standard materials and methods now used in the appropriate industries. The system is typically fabricated from field-poured concrete and pre-cast concrete, formed using conventional pre-cast techniques such as forming, reinforcing, pouring, cutting, smoothing, curing, removing the forming and polishing or finishing. The system is shown with its design, functional aspects and relationship of components in scalable form in all of the drawings combined, which are for illustrative purposes only and not intended to limit the scope of the invention.

All of the inventor's shop drawings, notes, specifications, working drawings, plans, manuals and all other related printed and written documents are hereby incorporated herein by reference

To make the system in the preferred embodiment and best mode, it is formed partly in the field and partly in the manufacturing facility by the manufacturer in the appropriately shaped forms or molds. The entire system uses a concrete foundation and one (1) basic component; a wall panel (panel). Said wall panel (or panel) is hereby defined as a reinforced pre-cast concrete section of an appropriate height, width and thickness suitable for use as a wall or part of a wall. These panel(s) are typically steel reinforced with industry standard 4 by 4 by 6 gauge steel wire mesh and reinforcement bars. Typically the steel reinforcement bars are industry standard rebars. Alternately, steel “I” beam, stainless steel rods, epoxy coated rebar, galvanized rebar, steel or fiberglass mesh or any other suitable reinforcement means can be used.

Ideally, the panel is fabricated in a PreCast Concrete Association of America (PCAA) certified pre-cast plant using approved standards for reinforcing, concrete mix designs, casting procedures, quality control, etc. and complying with all local building codes and American Concrete Institute (ACI)-318 requirements. All related manuals, specifications and other printed documents generated by PCAA and ACI are hereby incorporated by reference.

To make the invention, appropriate steel angle perimeter molds 1 in the proper dimensions, typical in the pre-cast industry, are used with fastening systems (magnetic, bolts or other type fastening system) on a typical elevated steel casting tilt-table 2, as shown in FIG. 1. These molds typically produce a panel 4 inches thick, 20 feet wide and 98 inches high. Solid panels with no openings may be made and used. Or, panels made with openings for doors, windows, etc. made by inserting industry standard door bucks or window bucks (steel block-outs) to provide voids (openings) in the panel for door(s) and/or window(s) to be later installed. Additionally, metal, PVC and/or other type conduit or pipes may be placed in the molds to pre-plumb and pre-wire the panel(s) to reduce in-the-field work.

As shown in FIG. 2 and FIG. 3, typically a 4 inch steel “C” channel 3 is cast into the panel top with integrated (welded) metal hooks 4 (typically made with rebar bent to 45 degrees) at about 24 inches on center extending about 18 inches into the poured concrete. Also integrated into the top “C” channel through drilled holes are two (2) approximately 6 inch loops 5 of ⅜th inch stranded steel cable, woven into the steel reinforcing mesh 6 and spaced appropriately to the center of mass of the panel for lifting purposes to move and position the completed panels when cured. A 2 inch by 3 inch by ¼ inch steel angle 7 is integrated into the bottom of the panel angle perimeter mold with metal hooks 4 at about 24 inches on center extending about 18 inches into the poured concrete. The mold is then poured solidly with concrete. Optionally, the concrete in the mold may be vibrated (as is common in the industry) to ensure a uniform density.

Typically, the concrete is 4,000 PSI and chemicals may be added for hardening and curing. In best mode, the concrete cures in 24 hours enabling the angle perimeter mold of the panel to be stripped and the panel stored about 20 days for final curing. After the panel(s) 8 are fully cured, they are loaded onto a suitable truck (typically a flat-bed). A basic unit of the system contains four (4) panels as shown in FIG. 4. These typical 20 feet long panels will build a four hundred (400) square feet structure, which defines the inside and outside or the structure. Any plurality of wall panels may be used.

The above-referenced dimensions are illustrative only and used merely as examples, as the system may be made in any and all dimensions (sizes) desired by the manufacturer and user.

The above-referenced panels are then trucked to the site where the system is to be erected. FIG. 5 depicts an unprepared building site of earth 9. The site is prepared by first scraping the earth nearly flat and level or excavating or adding clean dirt fill, as needed, to provide a level clean earth surface as shown in FIG. 6. The cut/fill is sufficient to bring the structure's concrete floor pad 10 to 8 inches above the crown of the road 11 or per building local codes, if applicable as shown in FIG. 8.

Next, as shown in FIG. 7, the foundation is laid out with stakes/strings, bubble level, string level, laser level, transit or similar layout tools to the appropriate size. Typically the foundation and floor system is a monolithic concrete pad, common in the concrete industry. The footings (typically 16 inch by 16 inch continuous perimeter footings) are dug and/or formed typically with 2 inch by 10 inch by 16 feet long wood planks. The continuous perimeter footings are reinforced with industry standard reinforcement bars (typically three (3) #5 rebars) appropriately lapped and on chairs and/or spacers per local building codes, if applicable. A standard 2 by 8 pressure treated wood plank 12 is placed in the concrete footing form to “block out” a similar volume of concrete when poured as shown in FIG. 8. When the footing concrete has hardened, this 2 by 8 plank is removed to provide a 1 and ½ inch deep by 7 and ½ wide foundation perimeter slot 13 in the entire outside perimeter of the foundation slab as shown in FIG. 9.

The sub-floor plumbing, if desired, is installed in the normal and customary manner of the plumbing trade prior to pouring the foundation and slab concrete. Afterwards, the dirt fill is chemically treated for termites and/or other earth dwelling insects and/or creatures (if desired by user or required by local building code), then a vapor barrier (typically plastic sheeting) is laid on top of the dirt fill with the seams taped as necessary. Industry standard 4 by 4 by 6 gauge steel wire mesh is then laid on top of the vapor barrier or, alternately, fiber mesh is mixed into the poured concrete (fibercrete as it is known in the industry) for the tensile strengthening of the concrete pad. The footings and slab are then poured solidly with concrete (typically 3,000 psi) and allowed to cure/harden for at least 24 hours or as required due to weather conditions.

The wall panels are then measured and laid out in the customary manner on the slab/foundation system for appropriate spacing. As shown in FIG. 9 and FIG. 10, the first wall panel 8 is lifted via crane vertically and set into the proper position (bottom steel angle to the inside of the structure) and held plumb or nearly plumb with a temporary jack 19 and shimmed 14 level using bubble level, string level, laser level, transit or similar tools. The panel is anchored at the inside base with angle iron 15 (typically 2 inch by 2 inch by ¼ inch thick and 5 to 8 inches long) which is drilled with ⅝th inch holes 16 on the bottom leg of the angle and integrated into the concrete slab/foundation system with industry standard concrete fasteners 17 (typically 4 inch by ½ inch “red heads” or the like) as shown in FIG. 11. The angle iron 15 and concrete fasteners 17 are installed at each panel end and about 30 inches on center spacing and next to any door opening. Other means may be used to rigidly connect the bottom of the wall panels to the foundation such as clips, welded plates, screws, fasteners, or any other suitable connection devices.

The second panel is unloaded from the truck and installed in the exact same above-referenced manner and leveled/plumbed as shown in FIG. 9. The two abutting level panels are locked together by welding a typical 3 inch by 6 inch by ¼ inch thick steel plate 18 across the top “C” channel as shown in FIG. 13 and FIG. 14. Corners panels are either butted/welded at 90 degrees to each other (as shown in FIG. 15 and FIG. 16) or alternately cut at 45 degrees and butted/welded accordingly. Other means may be used to rigidly connect the top surfaces of the wall panels such as clips, bolts, screws, fasteners, or any other suitable connection devices.

Then, the remaining panels are unloaded from the truck and installed/welded in the exact same above-referenced manner (straight in-line or angled relative to each other as shown in FIG. 13, FIG. 14, FIG. 15, FIG. 16, FIG. 17 and FIG. 18) until the structure is complete as shown in FIG. 20 and 21. The temporary jacks 19 may then be removed or kept in place for final adjustment of the panels for receiving typical roof trusses (or girders) on the top panel “C” channels. Truss attachment plates 20 (typically 3 inches wide by 6 inches long and 9 gauge steel thickness bent 90 degrees) are welded in the appropriate places and pre-drilled holes used to nail, screw or otherwise secure the trusses (typically 5 nail holes) as shown in FIG. 19.

Quality assurance and/or building code inspections are appropriately made prior to grouting solidly 21 the entire floor perimeter slot (typically 1 and ½ inch deep by 7 and ½ inch wide as shown in FIG. 12). The fresh concrete grout (soupy or high slump) is smoothed level with the finish floor. When the grout cures, the entire grouted/welded/bolted panels result in a unibody structural system which acts as a unit to resist environmental loads (wind, earth movement, sink holes, erosion, etc.). FIG. 20 shows a plan view and FIG. 21 shows a perspective view of one embodiment for use as a house, ready to receive a roof structure. The invention is now completed and ready to use for receiving the roof trusses or other type roof structure. Typically the invention uses no interior bearing walls, but such walls may also be used. All other types of structures may be constructed with this invention; offices, warehouses, storage buildings and any other type structure, residential or commercial, not limited by the preceding list. Throughout this application, (s) indicates either singular or plural.

As will be apparent to persons skilled in the art, such as a structural engineer, pre-cast concrete manufacturer or pre-cast concrete builder, various modifications and adaptations of the structure and method of use above-described will become readily apparent without departure from the spirit and scope of the invention, the scope of which is defined in the claims. Although the foregoing invention has been described in detail by way of illustration and example, it will be understood that the present invention is not limited to the particular description and specific embodiments described but may comprise any combination of the above elements and variations thereof, many of which will be obvious to those skilled in the art. Additionally, the acts and actions of fabricating, assembling, using, and maintaining the preferred embodiment of this invention is well known by those skilled in the art. Instead, the invention is limited and defined solely by the following claims.

The invention may be embodied in other specific forms without departing from the spirit or essential characteristics thereof. The present embodiment is therefore to be considered in all respects as illustrative and not restrictive, the scope of the invention being indicated by the appended claims rather than by the foregoing description, and all changes which come within the meaning and range of equivalency of the claims are therefore intended to be embraced therein.