Title:
Roof structures
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Glazing bars forming part of a roof for a conservatory or the like are coupled to the ridge beam of the roof by pivotal connections which are located at or adjacent the upper edges of the glazing bars in order to simply assembly of the bars to the ridge beam. A mounting bracket for connecting glazing bars to the eaves beam of a roof structure is produced as an extruded profile and is used in conjunction with an intermediate component, which can also be produced as an extrusion, to effect coupling of the glazing bar to the eaves beam.



Inventors:
Jones, Dennis Anthony (Nantwich, GB)
Application Number:
11/331435
Publication Date:
08/17/2006
Filing Date:
01/12/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04B7/02
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
BUCKLE JR, JAMES J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Bracewell LLP (Houston, TX, US)
Claims:
1. A roof structure including a ridge beam, an eaves beam located at a lower elevation than the ridge beam, and inclined glazing bars extending between the eaves beam and the ridge beam, at least one glazing bar being pivotally connected to the ridge beam by a connector attached to the upper end of the glazing bar, wherein the pivotal connection is so located that the glazing bar is pivotal about an axis at or adjacent the upper edge of the glazing bar.

2. A structure as claimed in claim 1 in which the ridge beam has an abutment portion so arranged that, when the glazing bar is pivotally connected to the ridge beam, the abutment portion limits downwardly directed pivoting of the glazing bar.

3. A structure as claimed in claim 2 in which the abutment portion co-operates with the end of the glazing bar either directly or through the agency of the connector attached to the end of the glazing bar.

4. A structure as claimed in claim 2 in which the abutment portion is presented by an inclined side face of the ridge beam which extends between an upper position and a lower position such that the lower position is inboard of the upper position,

5. A structure as claimed in claim 1 in which the pivotal connection comprises interengaging male and female formations, one formation being provided on the connector and the other on the ridge beam.

6. A structure as claimed in claim 5 in which the arrangement is such that, when the glazing bar is inclined at the desired pitch, the male and female formations are captive with each other and cannot be separated by forces acting longitudinally of the glazing bar.

7. A structure as claimed in claim 1 in which the pivotal connection is one which, when the glazing bar is inclined at the desired pitch, prevents the glazing beam from being separated from the ridge beam by forces acting longitudinally of the bar but allows such separation and re-registration when the bar is in a less steeply inclined, or even in an oppositely inclined, orientation.

8. A structure as claimed in claim 1 in which a coupling arrangement is provided to restrain upwardly directed pivoting of the glazing bar once is has been set at the desired pitch.

9. A structure as claimed in claim 8 in which the coupling arrangement acts between the ridge beam and the glazing bar either directly or through the connector.

10. A structure as claimed in claim 8 in which the coupling arrangement is located at a lower elevation than the pivotal connection.

11. A structure as claimed in claim 8 in which the coupling arrangement comprises interengaging male and female elements, one element being provided on the ridge beam and the other being provided on the glazing bar or the connector.

12. A structure as claimed in claim 8 in which the coupling arrangement is of the snap-fit type.

13. A structure as claimed in claim 11 in which the male element has an arrowhead-like configuration for reception in a female cavity having an entrance through which the arrowhead can pass.

14. A structure as claimed in claim 1 in which the ridge beam is located between a pair of eaves beams with glazing bars extending from opposite sides of the ridge beam.

15. A roof structure comprising an eaves beam and glazing bars each coupled at one end to the eaves beam and extending upwardly to a fixing location at the opposite end, at least one glazing bar being coupled to the eaves beam by a mounting bracket having a coupling formation for co-operation with the eaves beam and an end stop for co-operation with a glazing bar, the bracket including said coupling formation and the end stop being in the form of an extruded fabrication.

16. A roof structure as claimed in claim 15 in which the bracket comprises angularly related first and second sections so orientated that the bracket can be assembled to the glazing bar with the first section in confronting relation with the end of the glazing bar and the second section in underlying relation with the glazing bar, the first section constituting an end stop and the coupling formation being associated with the second section.

17. A roof structure as claimed in claim 16 in which the first and second sections are disposed at substantially 90 degrees with respect to each other.

18. A roof structure as claimed in claim 15 in which the coupling formation is of male or female configuration for co-operation with a corresponding female or male formation associated with the eaves beam.

19. A roof structure as claimed in claim 18 in which the formations associated with the bracket and the eaves beam are so configured that tilting adjustment of the bracket is provided for and/or the male and female formations are rendered captive to each other with respect to separation in a direction generally perpendicular to the beam.

20. A roof structure as claimed in claim 19 in which the male and female formations are so captive without the interposition of any intermediary component.

21. A roof structure as claimed in claim 19 in which an intermediate component is associated with the formation provided on the bracket and facilitates tilting adjustment of the bracket and/or serves to render the male and female formations captive with each other with respect to separation in a direction generally perpendicular to the beam.

22. A roof structure as claimed in claim 19 in which the male and female formations are rendered so captive by means of an intermediate component such that, in the absence of said component, the male and female formations can be registered with and separated from one another while in the presence of said component they are rendered so captive.

23. A roof structure as claimed in claim 15 in which the glazing bar is provided with a cladding on the underside thereof and in which the bracket includes a section which extends between the underside of the glazing bar and the cladding.

24. A roof structure as claimed in claim 23 in which the coupling formation associated with the eaves beam or the bracket passes through an opening in the cladding.

25. A roof structure comprising an eaves beam and glazing bars each coupled at one end to the eaves beam and extending upwardly to a fixing location at the opposite end, at least one glazing bar being coupled to the eaves beam by a mounting bracket having a coupling formation for co-operation with the eaves beam, wherein an intermediate component is provided for rendering said formation captive to the eaves beam with respect to separation in a direction generally perpendicular to the beam.

26. A roof structure as claimed in claim 25 in which the bracket includes an end stop for co-operation with the glazing bar.

27. A structure as claimed in claim 25 in which the bracket including said coupling formation is in the form of an extruded fabrication.

28. A structure as claimed in claim 26 in which the bracket including said coupling formation and said end stop is in the form of an extruded fabrication.

29. A roof structure as claimed in claim 25 in which the bracket comprises angularly related first and second sections so orientated that the bracket can be assembled to the glazing bar with the first section in confronting relation with the end of the glazing bar and the second section in underlying relation with the glazing bar, the first section constituting an end stop and the coupling formation being associated with the second section.

30. A roof structure as claimed in claim 29 in which the first and second sections are disposed at substantially 90 degrees with respect to each other.

31. A roof structure as claimed in claim 25 in which the coupling formation is of male or female configuration for co-operation with a corresponding female or male formation associated with the eaves beam.

32. A roof structure as claimed in claim 31 in which the formations associated with the bracket and the eaves beam are so configured that tilting adjustment of the bracket is provided for and/or the male and female formations are rendered captive to each other with respect to separation in a direction generally perpendicular to the beam.

33. A roof structure as claimed in claim 31 in which the male and female formations are rendered so captive by means of an intermediate component such that, in the absence of said component, the male and female formations can be registered with and separated from one another while in the presence of said component they are rendered so captive.

34. A roof structure as claimed in claim 25 in which the glazing bar is provided with a cladding on the underside thereof and in which the bracket includes a section which extends between the underside of the glazing bar and the cladding.

35. A glazing bar mounting bracket comprising a first end stop section, a second section designed to be disposed in underlying relation with the glazing bar, and an integral coupling formation associated with said second section to allow the bracket to be engaged with an eaves beam, the bracket including said coupling formation being in the form of an extruded fabrication.

36. A glazing bar mounting bracket comprising a section designed to be disposed in underlying relation with the glazing bar, and an integral coupling formation associated with said section to allow the bracket to be engaged with an eaves beam, the coupling formation being provided with a separate intermediate component which is arranged to co-operate with the eaves beam bracket to render said formation captive to the eaves beam with respect to separation in a direction generally perpendicular to the beam.

37. A roof structure comprising an eaves beam and glazing bars each coupled at one end to the eaves beam and extending upwardly to a fixing location at the opposite end, at least one glazing bar being provided with cladding at its underside which extends between the glazing bar and the underlying eaves beam and being coupled to the eaves beam by a mounting bracket including a section which is received between the glazing bar and the cladding and has a coupling formation through which the bracket is connected to the eaves beam.

38. A structure as claimed in claim 37 in which the coupling formation passes through the cladding for connection to the eaves beam.

39. A structure as claimed in claim 37 in which the bracket including said coupling formation is in the form of an extruded fabrication.

40. A structure as claimed in claim 37 in which the bracket includes an end stop for co-operation with the glazing bar.

41. A structure as claimed in claim 40 in which the bracket, including said coupling formation and said end stop, is in the form of an extruded fabrication.

42. A roof structure as claimed in claim 37 in which the bracket comprises angularly related first and second sections so orientated that the bracket can be assembled to the glazing bar with the first section in confronting relation with the end of the glazing bar and the second section in underlying relation with the glazing bar, the first section constituting an end stop and the coupling formation being associated with the second section.

43. A roof structure as claimed in claim 42 in which the first and second sections are disposed at substantially 90 degrees with respect to each other.

44. A roof structure as claimed in claim 37 in which the coupling formation is of male or female configuration for co-operation with a corresponding female or male formation associated with the eaves beam.

45. A roof structure as claimed in claim 44 in which the formations associated with the bracket and the eaves beam are so configured that tilting adjustment of the bracket is provided for and/or the male and female formations are rendered captive to each other with respect to separation in a direction generally perpendicular to the beam.

46. A roof structure as claimed in claim 44 in which the male and female formations are so captive without the interposition of any intermediary component.

47. A roof structure as claimed in claim 45 in which an intermediate component is associated with the formation provided on the bracket and facilitates tilting adjustment of the bracket and/or serves to render the male and female formations captive with each other with respect to separation in a direction generally perpendicular to the beam.

48. A roof structure as claimed in claim 45 in which the male and female formations are rendered so captive by means of an intermediate component such that, in the absence of said component, the male and female formations can be registered with and separated from one another while in the presence of said component they are rendered so captive.

49. A roof structure as claimed in claim 48 in which the intermediate component is retained on or in the male or female formation in such a way that separation of the intermediate component from the formation is resisted in a direction generally perpendicular to the eaves beam.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims the benefit of United Kingdom Patent Application No. 0500707.5, filed on Jan. 14, 2005, and United Kingdom Patent Application No. 0503909.4, filed on Feb. 25, 2005, which hereby are incorporated by reference in their entirety.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to roof constructions and is particularly applicable to roofs for conservatories and like buildings.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The invention is applicable for example to glazed roofs of the type comprising panels, e.g. of glass or a plastics material such as polycarbonate or polyvinyl chloride, supported between glazing bars which may be produced as extruded profiles. The glazing bars are coupled at one end to an eaves beam and extend upwardly to a fixing location at the opposite end, usually a ridge structure of the roof or a wall plate affixed to a building which for instance has the conservatory attached thereto as an extension.

To allow for the pitch of the roof, it is known to connect the lower ends of the glazing bars to the eaves beams in such a way that they can be tilted to accommodate the desired roof pitch. In one known arrangement as disclosed in British Patent No. 2378478, the glazing bars are mounted by means of channel-section mounting shoes into which the lower ends of the bars are inserted, the mounting shoes being coupled to the eaves beam through an interfitting socket and projection arrangement.

It is known from GB-A-2374882 (Eurocell) to provide a roof structure in which the upper ends of the glazing bars are connected pivotally to the sides of a ridge structure through intermediate connectors which are separate from the ridge structure and are adapted to be attached to the ends of the glazing bars. In this arrangement, the pivotal connection is located at the lower end of the connector.

One aspect of the present invention seeks to provide a simple and effective means of connecting the upper ends of the glazing bars to the ridge structure. Further aspects of the present invention seek to provide an improved means for coupling the glazing bars to an eaves beam by means of a mounting bracket which may be more cost effective to manufacture and may simplify on-site installation while allowing tilting adjustment of the glazing bars if this is desired.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

According to one aspect of the present invention there is provided a roof structure including a ridge beam, an eaves beam located at a lower elevation than the ridge beam, and inclined glazing bars extending between the eaves beam and the ridge beam, at least one glazing bar being pivotally connected to the ridge beam by a connector attached to the upper end of the glazing bar, characterised in that the pivotal connection is so located that the glazing bar is pivotal about an axis at or adjacent the upper edge of the glazing bar.

The ridge beam may have an abutment portion so arranged that, when the glazing bar is pivotally connected to the ridge beam, the abutment portion limits downwardly directed pivoting of the glazing bar.

The abutment portion may co-operate with the end of the glazing bar either directly or, preferably, through the agency of the connector attached to the end of the glazing bar.

The abutment portion may be presented by an inclined side face of the ridge beam which extends between an upper position and a lower position such that the lower position is inboard of the upper position, The pivotal connection may be one which, when the glazing bar is inclined at the desired pitch, prevents the glazing beam from being separated from the ridge beam by forces acting longitudinally of the bar but allows such separation and re-registration when the bar is in a less steeply inclined, or even in an oppositely inclined, orientation. In this way, it is possible to effect pivotal connection by offering the glazing bar up to the ridge beam at an appropriate orientation corresponding to the separation or re-registration orientation and then lowering the bar about the pivotal connection to the desired pitch where such separation is no longer possible.

The pivotal connection may for instance comprise interengaging male and female formations, one formation being provided on the connector and the other on the ridge beam. The arrangement is such that, when the glazing bar is inclined at the desired pitch, the male and female formations are captive with each other and cannot be separated by forces acting longitudinally of the glazing bar. Where the ridge beam is provided with an abutment portion as mentioned above, this situation prevails when the glazing bar co-operates with the abutment portion.

A coupling arrangement may be provided to restrain upwardly directed pivoting of the glazing bar once it has been set at the desired pitch. The coupling arrangement may act between the ridge beam and the glazing bar either directly or through the connector.

The coupling arrangement may be located a lower elevation than the pivotal connection.

The coupling arrangement may comprise interengaging male and female elements, one element being provided on the ridge beam and the other being provided on the glazing bar or the connector. Alternatively the coupling arrangement may be constituted by a screw or other fastener deployed to affix the glazing bar directly (or indirectly via the connector) to the ridge beam.

The coupling arrangement may be of the snap-fit type. For instance, the male element may snap-fit into the female part and the snap-fit action may occur automatically as the glazing bar is pivoted to the desired angle of pitch. Where the previously mentioned abutment portion is provided, automatic snap-fitting may occur as the glazing bar (or the connector) approaches or arrives at the point where contact is made with the abutment portion.

The male element may have an arrowhead-like configuration for reception in a female cavity having an entrance through which the arrowhead can pass with some degree of elastic deflection (on the part of at least one of the elements) so that after passage of the arrowhead into the cavity it may restore towards its original configuration and thereby resist withdrawal. If desired, formations such as ribs or the like may be provided in the vicinity of the entrance to enhance resistance to withdrawal of the male element.

The ridge beam is typically produced as an extruded profile, e.g. of a metal such as aluminium or an alloy. Likewise the connector can be formed by extrusion and then cut into smaller components corresponding generally to the width of the glazing bars.

Usually the ridge beam is located between a pair of eaves beams with glazing bars extending from opposite sides of the ridge beam. In this case, the ridge beam may be provided with a pair of said abutment portions for co-operation with the glazing bars located on the respective side of the ridge beam. In such an arrangement, the abutment surfaces may be oppositely inclined relative to one another. Also, coupling arrangements may be deployed on each side of the ridge beam.

The invention is also applicable to situations where the conservatory is of the lean-to type with a ridge beam attached directly to a wall of a building and with glazing bars extending downwardly to an eaves at a lower elevation and outboard of the building.

The ridge beam and the eaves beam(s) linked by the glazing bars and the connectors of the present invention are usually rectilinear and generally parallel with one another.

According to another aspect of the present invention there is provided a roof structure comprising an eaves beam and glazing bars each coupled at one end to the eaves beam and extending upwardly to a fixing location at the opposite end, at least one glazing bar being coupled to the eaves beam by a mounting bracket having a coupling formation for co-operation with the eaves beam and an end stop for co-operation with a glazing bar, the bracket including said coupling formation and the end stop being in the form of an extruded fabrication.

According to another aspect of the present invention there is provided a roof structure comprising an eaves beam and glazing bars each coupled at one end to the eaves beam and extending upwardly to a fixing location at the opposite end, at least one glazing bar being coupled to the eaves beam by a mounting bracket having a coupling formation for co-operation with the eaves beam, characterised in that an intermediate component is provided for rendering said formation captive to the eaves beam with respect to separation in a direction generally perpendicular to the beam.

According to another aspect of the present invention there is provided a roof structure comprising an eaves beam and glazing bars each coupled at one end to the eaves beam and extending upwardly to a fixing location at the opposite end, at least one glazing bar being provided with cladding at its underside which extends between the glazing bar and the underlying eaves beam and being coupled to the eaves beam by a mounting bracket including a section which is received between the glazing bar and the cladding and has a coupling formation through which the bracket is connected to the eaves beam.

According to a further aspect of the present invention there is provided a glazing bar mounting bracket comprising a first end stop section, a second section designed to be disposed in underlying relation with the glazing bar, and an integral coupling formation associated with said second section to allow the bracket to be engaged with an eaves beam, the bracket including said coupling formation being in the form of an extruded fabrication.

There is also provided a glazing bar mounting bracket comprising a section designed to be disposed in underlying relation with the glazing bar, and an integral coupling formation associated with said section to allow the bracket to be engaged with an eaves beam, the coupling formation being provided with a separate intermediate component which is arranged to co-operate with the eaves beam bracket to render said formation captive to the eaves beam with respect to separation in a direction generally perpendicular to the beam.

The bracket may comprises angularly related first and second sections so orientated that the bracket can be assembled to the glazing bar with the first section in confronting relation with the end of the glazing bar and the second section in underlying relation with the glazing bar, the first section constituting an end stop and the coupling formation being associated with the second section. The first and second sections may be disposed at substantially 90 degrees with respect to each other.

The coupling formations may be of male or female configuration for co-operation with a corresponding female or male formation associated with the eaves beam. The formations associated with the bracket and the eaves beam may be so configured that tilting adjustment of the bracket is provided for and/or the male and female formations are rendered captive to each other with respect to separation in a direction generally perpendicular to the beam. The male and female formations may be so captive without the interposition of any intermediary component. Alternatively, an intermediate component may be associated with the formation provided on the bracket so as to facilitate tilting adjustment of the bracket and/or so as to serve to render the male and female formations captive with each other with respect to separation in a direction generally perpendicular to the beam.

The male and female formations may be rendered so captive by means of an intermediate component such that, in the absence of said component, the male and female formations can be registered with and separated from one another while in the presence of said component they are rendered so captive.

The intermediate component may be composed of a material which is of a relatively resilient nature while the bracket may be composed of a more rigid material. The intermediate component may be mounted on the male formation or the intermediate component may be slidably mounted on the male or female formation. Preferably, the intermediate component may be retained on or in the male or female formation in such a way that separation of the intermediate component from the formation is resisted in a direction generally perpendicular to the eaves beam.

The male and female formations may be engageable by push-fit insertion of the male formation into the female formation in a direction generally perpendicular to the eaves beam. The intermediate component may be designed so that, in the presence of the intermediate component, registration of the male and female formations by push-fit insertion is accommodated but separation in the opposite direction is resisted.

The intermediate component may be retained on the male formation by interengaging elements of the male formation and intermediate component. The intermediate component may be assembled to the coupling formation of the bracket prior to connection with the eaves beam being effected. The coupling formation of the bracket may be insertable into the intermediate component after the latter has been assembled to the eaves beam.

The male formation may be generally of a T section. 34. The intermediate component may be of a plastics material and the bracket may be composed of a metal or metal alloy.

The glazing bar may be provided with a cladding on the underside thereof and in which the bracket includes a section which extends between the underside of the glazing bar and the cladding. In this case the coupling formation associated with the eaves beam or the bracket may pass through an opening in the cladding.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The present inventions will now be described by way of example only with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a diagrammatic plan view of a conservatory roof structure of an alternative design;

FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view showing coupling of a glazing bar to the ridge beam, the left hand and right hand sides of the figure showing the connector in different orientations prior to and after securing the glazing bar at the desired angle of pitch;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view corresponding to the view of FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view showing an alternative form of glazing bar to ridge beam coupling;

FIG. 5 is a perspective view corresponding to the view of FIG. 4;

FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional view showing another form of a glazing bar to the ridge beam coupling;

FIG. 7 is a perspective view corresponding to the view of FIG. 6

FIG. 1A is a side elevation showing the lower end of a glazing bar coupled to an eaves beam, the eaves beam being shown in section;

FIG. 2A is a view corresponding to the view of FIG. 1A but showing only the mounting bracket and an intermediate component for rendering the mounting bracket captive with the eaves beam; and

FIG. 3A is a similar view to that of FIG. 1A but in perspective.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Whilst specific embodiments are described with reference to the drawings, it is to be understood that the various features are disclosed in relation to the design of the mounting bracket and its coupling to the eaves beam and the design of the glazing bar and its coupling to the ridge beam and that such features are not limited to the specific designs of roof structure, for example ridge beam, eaves beam and glazing bar illustrated.

Referring to FIG. 1, the roof structure of a conservatory in accordance with the invention typically comprises a central ridge beam 10 located between and at a higher elevation that a pair of eaves beams 12, and sets of inclined glazing bars 14 extending between the ridge beam 10 and each eaves beam 12. The glazing bars 14 serve to support roofing panels, e.g. of glass. polycarbonate or polyvinylchloride, extending from the ridge 10 and overhanging the eaves beams 12. The ridge beam, eaves beams and glazing bars typically each comprise extruded profiles of for example aluminium or an aluminium alloy. The glazing bars may comprise two parts, a supporting profile 16 (see FIGS. 2 and 3) of generally inverted T shape providing shoulders 18 on which the panels are supported and cap profiles 20 which overlie the edges of the panels and are attached to the panel-supporting profile 16 in use.

The lower end of each glazing bar 14 may be connected to the eaves beam 12 in any suitable fashion, e.g. as disclosed in GB Patent Application No. 2378478. Their upper ends are coupled to the ridge beam 10 through the agency of a connector 22, various forms of which are illustrated in the embodiments shown in FIGS. 2 to 7, all of which use the same reference numerals to depict like components.

Referring to FIGS. 2 and 3, the ridge beam 10 is an extruded box section profile having a central section defined by substantially vertical walls 24, a lower section 26 including inclined walls 28 and a pair of laterally directed arms 29. The connectors 22 are separate from and connected to the ridge beam by co-operating male and female or spigot and socket formations 30, 32 affording a pivotal connection located at or adjacent the upper edge of the glazing bar and connector 22. The connectors 22 are also separate from and connected to the upper end proper of the glazing bars in any suitable fashion, e.g. by means of screws or other fasteners. Normally the glazing bars are produced with square cut ends but this is not necessarily always the case, depending on the pitch angle required for the roof. The connectors 22 may be formed by extrusion and cut into individual components of a width commensurate with the widths of the glazing bars. The connectors may be formed from extrusions produced from plastics (e.g. nylon) or metal (e.g. aluminium or an alloy thereof).

In FIGS. 2 and 3, the male formation 30 is provided on the arm 29 while the female formation is integrally formed with the connector 22; however, this arrangement may be reversed if desired. The pivotal connection obtained is so located that as the glazing bar pivots downwardly about the generally horizontal axis provided by the pivotal connection 30, 32, the lower edge of glazing bar 14 moves inwardly towards the ridge beam. The male and female formations 30, 32 may be interengaged in any suitable manner. For example, they may be designed so that the male formation can be inserted as a push fit through the entrance of the cavity forming the female formation. Alternatively, the two formations 30, 32 may be interfitted by registering them in end to end relation at one end of the ridge beam and then sliding the connector along the length of the ridge beam until it is in the desired position.

Once connected together, the formations 30, 32 are designed to resist separation from each other and hence separation of the glazing bars from the ridge beam by forces acting longitudinally of the glazing bars, especially when the latter are at the desired pitch. In the embodiment of FIGS. 2 and 3, this can be effectively achieved if the formations 30, 32 are arranged to be interfitted by endwise registration as mentioned above since design measures can then readily be taken to ensure that separation is not possible when the glazing bars are correctly orientated.

It will be seen that the weight of the glazing bars will cause them to pivot about the connections 30, 32 until they abut the ridge beam at a location beneath the connections 30, 32. To this end, the outer faces of the walls 28 may act as abutment portions for co-operation with the connector 22 so as to limit the downwardly directed pivotal movement of the glazing bars and define the desired degree of pitch. A typical pitch is about 25 degrees from the horizontal so the location of the walls 28 and their inclination may be consistent with this pitch angle. If a different pitch angle is required, then, instead of square cutting the glazing bars, they may be cut at a different angle consistent with the required pitch.

Desirably, rather than relying purely on abutment of the glazing bars or connectors 22 with the inclined walls 28, provision is made for connecting the glazing bars to the ridge beam at a location below the pivotal connections 30, 32. This may be achieved in various ways, e.g. screws or other fasteners, but a convenient mode involves making a connection by a push fit or snap fit action. Such a connection is shown in FIGS. 2 and 3 (and likewise the other embodiments illustrated in the drawings) by way of female and male elements in the form of a channel or groove 36 and spigot 38 provided one on the ridge beam 10 and the other on the connector 22. As the glazing bar is lowered about the connection 30, 32, the lower edge of the connector 22 approaches the wall 28 causing the spigot 38 to enter and be retained in the channel 36, e.g. with a snap fit action. By appropriate design, the arrangement may be such that once engaged, the female and male elements 36, 38 offer substantial resistance to separation thereby retaining the glazing bar in the desired orientation. For instance, the male element may have an arrowhead configuration so that it enters the channel with relative ease but offers significantly greater resistance to withdrawal. Passage of the arrowhead may involve some elastic deformation of at least one of the male and female elements.

Referring now to FIGS. 4 and 5, this embodiment is generally similar to that of FIGS. 2 and 3 except that the arms 29 which serve to tilt the connector are provided on the connector 22 rather than forming part of the ridge beam. Also the male and female formations 30, 32 forming the pivotal connections are reversed, the socket 32 being provided on the ridge beam and the spigot 30 being provided on the connector arm 29.

The embodiment of FIGS. 6 and 7 is also generally similar to those of FIGS. 2 to 5 but in this instance the pivotal connections at or adjacent the upper edges of the glazing bars are so designed that the male and female formations can be readily engaged during attachment of the bars to the ridge beam by appropriately orientating the glazing bars but once the glazing bars are at the desired pitch angle, the formations 30, 32 cannot be separated from one another (at least not without the use of extreme force). This is achieved by designing the formations 30, 32 so that when offering up the glazing bar to the ridge beam, the eaves beam end of the glazing bar has to be at a higher elevation than it will be when the glazing bar has been set to the desired orientation.

As shown, the male formation 30 is in the form of an upwardly directed part-cylindrical bead 40 carried on a curved arm 42 depending from an upwardly directed extension 44 of the connector 22. The bead 40 registers with an overlying knuckle portion 46 forming the female formation, the internal surface of which is also generally part-cylindrical, and of corresponding curvature, for co-operation with the part-cylindrical surface of the bead. The outer surface of the knuckle portion 46 has a curvature corresponding to that of the arm 42. The knuckle portion 46 is provided on extension 48 of the ridge beam and terminates at a location which affords a sufficiently large clearance 50 to allow the male formation to enter the knuckle portion 46 with clearance when the connector is orientated as shown at the left hand side of FIG. 6. However, as the connector 22 and hence the glazing bar is rotated from the angle shown at the left hand side of FIG. 6 to the desired pitch shown at the right hand side, it will be seen that the bead 40 and knuckle portion 46 act as a pivot and by the time the right hand orientation is obtained, the bead 40 can no longer be withdrawn through the clearance 50 by translational movement of the glazing bar in the direction corresponding to its axis of elongation. Such separation can only be achieved by pivoting the glazing bar upwardly again but, of course, that can only be done by applying sufficient force to decouple the female and male elements 36, 38.

A feature of the invention is that, when the glazing bars are assembled to the ridge beam, their eaves beam ends can be located above the elevation of the eaves beam thereby facilitating the installation procedure. By locating the pivotal connection 30, 32 of the glazing bar to the ridge beam at or adjacent the upper edge of the bar, the weight of the bars and, eventually, the panels they support is effective to bias the bars to their desired pitch rather than in the opposite direction and into contact with the abutment surfaces 28 on the ridge beam. This occurs on both sides of the ridge beam and provides a solid construction in which the forces acting on one side of the ridge beam can used to in opposition to those on the other side. Moreover, where provision is made to secure the glazing bar to the ridge beam at a lower location (36, 38) the weight of the bars and the panels they support in use can be utilised to counter separation of the male and female elements at these locations.

With Reference to FIGS. 1A to 3A, glazing bar mounting brackets 110 of one aspect of the present invention are typically used in the construction of a glazed conservatory roof comprising elongated glazing bars 112 extending between an upper ridge structure (not shown) and a lower eaves structure including at least one elongate eaves beam 114 extending along at least one side of the conservatory. Glazing roofing panels (not shown) are supported by the glazing bars 112 and are typically in the form of polycarbonate, polyvinyl chloride or glass, each panel being supported at its edges by the glazing bars. The eaves beam is typically an extrusion of aluminium or aluminium alloy and is mounted above window frames forming the sides of the conservatory. As shown, the eaves beam 114 is of box-section having a top wall 116, front wall 118, rear wall 120 and bottom wall 122. The extruded profile also includes a socket or channel 150.

The glazing bars 112 may comprise an inner member 124 and an outer member (not shown) attachable to the inner member. The glazing bar construction may for example be of any of the forms disclosed in our prior British Patent Application No. 2378206. The inner member 124 is T-shaped and comprises a cross-piece 126 projecting from each side of a central stem 128 which terminates at its upper end in a channel 130 by means of which the outer member may be attached to the inner member, e.g. in the manner disclosed in the above mentioned prior Application No. 2378206.

The cross-piece 126 may be provided with cladding 132 to conceal the inner member as viewed from the underside of the roof. The cladding may be plastics material or metal in the form of extruded strips. Once the outer glazing bar members have been assembled to the inner members of the glazing bars, the roofing panels are trapped between the inner and outer members in the manner disclosed in the prior Application No. 2378206 with the panel edges seating on flanges 134 of the cladding 132 and hence on flanges 136 of the crosspiece 126. The flanges 134 can be snap-fitted over the flanges 136 in order to secure the cladding to the crosspiece 126 of the inner glazing bar member 124. Alternatively, the cladding can be assembled to the inner member by registering them end to end and then sliding the one component along the other.

In constructing the roof, the glazing bars are coupled at their lower ends to the eaves structure, preferably in a tiltable manner to accommodate the pitch of the roof, e.g. as disclosed in British Patent No. 2378478 which illustrates one form of coupling technique in which the lower ends of the glazing bars are coupled to the eaves beam by means of channel-section mounting shoes which are pivotally coupled to the eaves beam by a spigot and socket arrangement which requires each mounting shoe to be assembled from the end of the eaves beam and then positioned by sliding along the eaves beam.

The present invention simplifies the installation procedure by provision of the glazing bar mounting brackets 110 which are designed to be mounted tiltably on the eaves structure preferably by a push insertion action which can be executed at the location where the brackets are to be located. Although this is the preferred mode of assembly for the mounting brackets, the possibility is not excluded of assembling the brackets 110 by registering them with the eaves beam at one end of the latter and adjusting them by sliding them to the desired location. The arrangement is such that the glazing bars can be located relative to the eaves structure without requiring any fastening, at least not initially. In this manner, instead of having to fasten the glazing bars while holding them up in the air, after the brackets have been initially engaged with the eaves structure, the installer can then engage sufficient glazing bars with respective brackets to support the ridge structure without having to effect permanent securement of the glazing bars to the eaves structure at that stage.

As shown in FIG. 2A, each bracket 110 is of a suitable configuration, e.g. L-shaped, having angularly related upright and base sections 140, 142 which are disposed at substantially right angles to one another. The upright section 140 provides an end stop and end closure for the glazing bar and may, if desired, by secured to the adjacent end of the inner member 124 by suitable fasteners such as self-tapping screws. The base section 142 in the illustrated embodiment is intended to be inserted between the underside of the crosspiece 126 and the upper internal face of the cladding 132. The underside of the base section 142 of the bracket 110 is provided with a coupling formation 144 which, in the illustrated embodiment is of inverted generally T-shape terminating in projecting limbs 146. The formation 144 is provided with an intermediate component 160 which has an internal configuration generally complementary with the external shape of the formation so that it can be fitted to the formation 144, e.g. by registering the formation 144 and the component 160 end to end and sliding them relative to one another. Alternatively the arrangement may be such that the component 160 can be snap-fitted to the formation 144. The component 160 is typically produced by cutting it from an extruded section of a material, e.g. a plastics material, which is more resilient than the material, e.g. aluminium, from which the bracket 110 is fabricated.

In the illustrated embodiment, the socket 150 is of part-cylindrical shape and receives a part-cylindrical sleeve portion 152 which is rotatable at least to some extent within, but is captive within, the socket 150. The formation 144 and intermediate component 160 extend into a cavity 154 within the portion 152, the entry opening of the portion 152 being greater in width than the width of the formation 144 in the region of the limbs 146 but smaller than the width of the component 160. In this way, the component 160 serves to trap the formation 144 within the cavity 154 thereby rendering the bracket 10 captive to the eaves beam while allowing tilting movement, in this case primarily by virtue of the rotatability of the portion 152 within the socket 150.

The component 160 may be so designed that the assembly of the formation 144 and component 160 can be push-inserted through the opening in portion 152 leading to the cavity 154 but cannot be withdrawn in the opposite direction. For instance, while the main body of the component 160 may have a width less than the opening in portion 152, the component may be formed with one or more lateral projections 156 which can deflect inwardly during the push-insertion action but then resile outwardly to obstruct return movement of the formation 144 and component 160 through the entry opening by virtue of having an overall width greater than that of the entry opening. To increase the resistance to such return movement, the portion 152 may have internal projections at locations 162 which co-operate with projections 152 to obstruct the return movement.

The coupling between the formation 144 and the sleeve portion 152 may be effected in other ways if desired. For example, after the intermediate component 160 has been assembled to the formation 144, the assembly may be introduced into the cavity 154 by end to end registration and then effecting relative sliding movement between the sleeve portion 152 and the assembly to locate the formation 144 and assembled component 160 fully within the sleeve portion 152. Alternatively, the component 160 may first be inserted into the sleeve portion 152 and then the formation 144 may be engaged with the component 160 either by end to end registration and sliding or by push insertion via the entry opening leading to the cavity 154. In the latter instance, the formation 144 and component 160 will be suitably adapted to allow such push insertion while resisting or preventing the return movement.

A feature of the invention is that the bracket 110 including the formation 144 can be produced as an extruded fabrication, i.e. as an extruded profile with the direction of extrusion extending normal to the paper with respect to the view shown in FIG. 2A. Thus, in practice, an extrusion of for example aluminium having the profile shown in FIG. 2A can be produced and then cut up into individual sections of suitable width for assembly to the glazing bars. The extruded brackets can then be connected to, and rendered captive with, the eaves beam (in terms of movement perpendicular to the axis of elongation of the eaves beam) by means of the separate intermediate components 160. Manufacture of the brackets 110 in this way is particularly cost effective.

Where the brackets 110 are used in conjuction with glazing bars provided with cladding 132, the base section 142 is located between the cladding and the underside of the inner member 124 as this gives a more aesthetic finish and also the bars can be more securely linked to the eaves beam even if the brackets 110 are not affixed to the ends of the glazing bars. Thus, where the cladding 132 is present, it is formed with an opening through which the formation 144 may project. In assembling the bracket 110 to the glazing bar and cladding assembly, the cladding 132 is initially arranged to extend beyond the end of the glazing bar inner member 124 to allow the formation 144 to be passed through the opening in the cladding 132 and the base section 142 to be seated on the upper internal face of the cladding 132. Relative sliding movement of the glazing bar inner member 124 and the cladding 132 is effected to slide the base section 142 beneath the inner member 124 until the latter abuts the upright section 140. The bracket 110 may then, if desired, be secured to the inner member 124 by fasteners as mentioned previously.

The opening in the cladding 132 is made sufficiently large to allow passage of the formation 144 but smaller than the width of the component 160 so that once the formation has been inserted through the opening in the cladding and engaged with the component 160, return movement is obstructed by the component 160. Consequently, once the bracket 110 is coupled to the eaves beam, the arrangement is such that, even in the absence of such fasteners connecting the bracket 110 to the inner member 124, lifting of the glazing bar at its lower end is obstructed since the cladding 132 is maintained connected to the eaves beam by the component 160 and the inner member 124 is engaged with the cladding 132.

In the illustrated embodiment, the bracket 110 is coupled to the eaves beam through a socket and sleeve arrangement with the formation 144 engaging in the sleeve 152. However, we do not exclude the possibility that the sleeve 152 may be omitted and the formation 144 arranged to engage within the socket 150 instead. In this event, the intermediate component 160 will be suitably adapted to render the formation 144 captive in the socket and, if desired, tiltably adjustable within the socket 150. Also, while the bracket is provided with a male formation 144 engaging in a female formation (socket/sleeve) associated with the eaves beam, it will be appreciated that the arrangement could be reversed so that the female formation is associated with the bracket and the male formation associated with the eaves beam. In this case, the extruded profile of the bracket will include a female formation (e.g. a socket) to provide a coupling with a male formation on the eaves beam.

For the avoidance of doubt, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited to the features or combinations of features specified in the appended claims but extends to any novel feature or combination and/or arrangement of features disclosed herein.