Title:
Easily deployable and quick-to-assemble housing unit and method of transporting and assembling same
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A kit for assembling a housing unit includes packaging for storing and transporting building materials. The building materials are used to assemble the housing unit. The building materials may include a door, windows, beams for forming a frame, each having pre-formed symmetric holes, and sheets of material for forming walls, a roof, and a floor. The building materials also include a plurality of fasteners for connecting the beams to one another and for connecting the door and the sheets to the beams. The building materials also include a squaring strap to ensure that the beams are situated at fixed angles. Some of the building materials may form part of the packaging. The remaining building materials, if any, are included inside the packaging for storage and transport to the desired site for the housing unit.



Inventors:
Jaks, Brian (Houston, TX, US)
Widrick, Lynn (Spring, TX, US)
Application Number:
11/401767
Publication Date:
10/25/2007
Filing Date:
04/11/2006
Assignee:
Metal Building Components, L.P.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04C3/38
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
LAUX, JESSICA L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Baker Botts L.L.P. (HOUSTON, TX, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An easily deployable and quick-to-assemble housing kit for building a housing unit having a frame, walls, and a roof; the housing kit comprising: a plurality of beams, each having pre-formed, symmetric holes, such that the plurality of beams are connectable to form the frame in one or more different orientations of the beams; a plurality of sheets of material connectable to the frame to form the walls and the roof; and a plurality of fasteners adapted to connect the beams to one another, and to connect the plurality of sheets of material to the frame.

2. The housing kit of claim 1, further comprising: a plurality of squaring straps adapted to connect to at least some of the plurality of beams, such that the plurality of squaring straps ensure that the plurality of beams are situated at fixed angles.

3. The housing kit of claim 1, further comprising: at least one door, wherein the plurality of fasteners is further adapted to connect the door to the frame; and at least one window connectable to one of the walls.

4. The housing kit of claim 3, wherein the window has channels, such that the window can engage the wall without the need for fasteners.

5. The housing kit of claim 1, further comprising at least one flooring sheet connectable to the frame to form a floor, wherein the plurality of fasteners is further adapted to connect the flooring sheet to the frame.

6. The housing kit of claim 1, further comprising: all building materials necessary for assembling the housing unit; and at least one tool.

7. The housing kit of claim 1, further comprising packaging for transporting the housing kit, wherein the packaging is at least partially formed of at least one of the plurality of sheets of material, or at least one of the plurality of beams.

8. The housing kit of claim 1, wherein the at least one of the plurality of sheets comprises pre-insulated rolled material.

9. The housing kit of claim 8, wherein the pre-insulated rolled material is steel siding.

10. The housing kit of claim 1, wherein the beams are galvanized steel.

11. The kit of claim 1, having the dimensions of approximately 3′×5′×14′.

12. An easily deployable and quick-to-assemble housing unit having a frame, walls, and a roof; the housing unit comprising: a plurality of beams, each having pre-formed, symmetric holes, such that the plurality of beams connect to form the frame in one or more different orientations of the beams; a plurality of sheets of material, connected to the frame to form the walls and the roof; and a plurality of fasteners connecting the beams to one another, and connecting the plurality of sheets of material to the frame.

13. The housing unit of claim 12, further comprising: a plurality of squaring straps connected to at least some of the plurality of beams such that the plurality of squaring straps ensure that the plurality of beams are situated at fixed angles.

14. The housing unit of claim 12, further comprising: at least one door connected to the frame via the fasteners; and at least one window connected to one of the walls.

15. The housing unit of claim 14, wherein the window has channels, such that the window engages the wall without the need for fasteners.

16. The housing unit of claim 12, further comprising at least one flooring sheet connected to the frame to form a floor.

17. The housing unit of claim 16, wherein the at least one flooring sheet comprises plywood.

18. The housing unit of claim 12, wherein the at least at least one of the plurality of sheets comprise pre-insulated rolled material.

19. The housing unit of claim 18, wherein the pre-insulated rolled material is steel siding.

20. A method of assembling a housing unit, the method comprising the steps of: forming a frame from a plurality of beams, each having pre-formed, symmetric holes, such that the plurality of beams are connectable to form the frame in one or more different orientations of the beams; and connecting a plurality of sheets of pre-insulated rolled material to the frame to form walls and a roof.

21. The method of claim 20, wherein the step of forming a frame comprises the steps of: placing floor beams in the location for the housing unit; connecting the floor beams to one another with fasteners; connecting wall beams to the floor beams with fasteners; and connecting roof beams to the wall beams with fasteners.

22. The method of claim 20, wherein the step of connecting a plurality of sheets to the frame comprises the steps of: connecting at least one flooring sheet to the frame to form a floor with fasteners; connecting at least one of the plurality of sheets to the frame to form at least one of the walls with fasteners; and connecting at least one of the plurality of sheets to the frame to form the roof with fasteners.

23. The method of claim 20, further comprising connecting a plurality of squaring straps to at least some of the plurality of beams, such that the plurality of squaring straps ensure that the plurality of beams are situated at fixed angles.

24. The method of claim 20, further comprising the steps of: connecting at least one door to the frame with fasteners; and connecting at least one window to at least one of the walls.

Description:

BACKGROUND

Disasters, such as earthquakes, hurricanes, tsunamis, tornadoes, volcanic eruptions, floods, fires, and other natural and manmade forces can and do cause the destruction of buildings, houses, stores, and other structures. Frequently, these disasters occur in remote locations, which have limited resources for quickly rebuilding. The disaster itself may further limit the ability to obtain building materials for reconstruction.

Governments, disaster relief agencies, and individuals sometimes use temporary solutions, such as tents or trailers, to provide housing or other shelter in disaster stricken regions. Tents are easy to transport into the disaster area and quick and easy to assemble. However, they provide limited protection, lack durability, and provide little privacy. While trailers are more durable, and provide more privacy, they are typically large and difficult to transport into remote areas that have been devastated by disaster.

SUMMARY

The present invention relates to an easily deployable and quick-to-assemble housing unit and method of making and assembling same.

More particularly, the various embodiments of this invention are directed to a housing unit which may be formed from a housing kit, which forms a compact package, for rapid and cost effective deployment to disaster stricken regions.

In one embodiment of the present invention, the kit comprises a plurality of beams, a plurality of sheets of material, and a plurality of fasteners. The beams can be connected to one another with the fasteners to form a frame. The sheets can be connected to the beams with the fasteners to form the walls and roof of the housing unit.

In another embodiment of the present invention, a method of assembling the housing unit from the kit comprises forming a frame from a plurality of beams and connecting a plurality of sheets of material to the frame. Each beam has pre-formed, symmetric holes, so that the beams can be connected to form the frame, regardless of the orientation of the beams. The sheets are pre-insulated rolled material and can be connected to the frame to form the walls and a roof.

In yet another embodiment of the present invention, a method of assembling the kit comprises providing packaging, placing a plurality of sheets of material and a plurality of beams in the packaging, and placing a plurality of fasteners in the packaging. The fasteners can be adapted to connect the beams to one another to form a frame, and to connect the sheets of material to the frame to form walls and a roof.

In other embodiments, a window, a door, and/or squaring straps are included.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a front perspective view of an assembled housing unit according to the present invention with a wall removed for illustration.

FIG. 2 is a front perspective view showing one embodiment of a housing kit according to the present invention.

FIG. 3 is a front perspective view of the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 2, with a side removed for illustration.

FIGS. 4-12 are front perspective views of the housing unit in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention during various stages of its assembly.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Referring now to FIG. 1, a housing unit in accordance with the present invention is referenced generally by reference numeral 100. The housing unit 100 has a plurality of wall beams 102, a plurality of floor beams 103, and a plurality of roof beams 104, which connect to form a frame. Squaring straps 105 may also be included to stabilize the frame. Pre-insulated walls 106, an elevated floor 108, and a roof 110 connect to the frame. The housing unit 100 may have a door 114, and one or more windows 116.

Referring now to FIG. 2, the housing unit 100 may be assembled from a housing kit 200 that contains all components necessary for assembly of the housing unit 100. The components may be labeled using numbers, letters, symbols, or any other indicator for easy identification of the various components during assembly. The housing kit 200 may have packaging 202, with a plurality of sides that are made from building materials, such as wood or metal boards or panels. This allows the packaging 202 to be used, rather than wasted. Upon disassembly of the packaging 202, the sides, along with the internal contents of the housing kit 200, may become part of the housing unit 100. In one embodiment, the sides of the packaging 202 include a plurality of flooring sheets, which may be used to form the floor 108. These flooring sheets may be ¾″ plywood, or any other material suitable for flooring. In another embodiment (not shown), the sides of the packaging 202 may include a wall sheet 206 or a roof sheet 207.

The packaging 202 is desirably box-shaped, allowing for easy storage and transport. A box-shaped package allows stacking and arrangement of a number of housing kits 200, for storage. When a disaster strikes, the housing kits 200 may be removed from storage for deployment to the disaster site. In this instance, the box-shaped package allows for easy stacking and placement on a truck or other transport device. The housing kit 200 is desirably compact for the same reasons. In one embodiment, the housing kit 200 is approximately 3′×5′×14′, allowing 10 housing kits 200 to be easily included in a single stack. However, one skilled in the art will recognize that the shape and dimensions may be varied as circumstances dictate.

In addition to the packaging 202, the housing kit 200 also has a plurality of beams 204. The beams 204 may constitute one or more sides of the packaging 202, or the beams 204 may fit in the packaging 202 during storage and transport. The beams 204 desirably have pre-formed, symmetric holes for ease of assembly with one another, even when any of the beams 204 are “backwards” or “upside-down.” Upon assembly, the beams 204 from the housing kit 200 become the wall beams 102, the floor beams 103, and the roof beams 104 of the frame of the housing unit 100. The beams 204 may be galvanized cold-formed 18-12 gauge steel, or any other suitable material.

Each beam 204 is sized and selected for a specific purpose in the housing unit 100. For example, but not by way of limitation, the beams 204 may include four wall beams 102 that are 6′-10″ long, four wall beams that are 7′-0″ long, four wall beams 102 that are 6′-0½″ long, eight roof beams 104 that are 8′-11⅛″ long, four roof beams 104 that are 11′-11½″ long, one roof beam 104 that is 11′-3¾″ long, four floor beams 103 that are 8′-11½″ long, and 12 floor beams 103 that are 11′-11½″ long.

The housing kit 200 also includes a plurality of augur anchors (not shown) and the squaring straps 105 to provide stability. In one embodiment, the housing kit 200 includes six anchors for placement near the four corners of the housing unit 100 and near two of the walls 106 of the housing unit 100. The anchors may attached to pre-formed holes in the floor beams 103 via cable and cable clamps. The squaring straps may be attached to the frame at various locations to prevent racking of the frame. In order to prevent racking in each possible direction, it is desirable to have at least six squaring straps 105. The squaring straps 105 may be placed in a number of different positions. For example, two squaring straps 105 may form an “X” on an end wall 106, joining opposite corners of the wall 106. Other squaring straps 105 may be placed across a corner of a wall 106, stretching between one of the wall beams 102 and one of the roof beams 104. Yet other squaring straps 105 may be placed on a corner of the roof 110, stretching between adjoining roof beams 104. While squaring straps 105 may be placed in a number of different positions, one of ordinary skill in the art will appreciate that only certain positions will be effective in preventing racking. Therefore, it is desirable that the squaring straps 105 be pre-measured for placement in predetermined locations. Pre-measuring the squaring straps 105 also eliminates the need for a level, as the squaring straps 105 ensure that the wall beams 102 are substantially vertical, and that the floor beams 103 and the roof beams 104 are substantially horizontal. In other words, the squaring straps 105 ensure that the beams are at right angles to one another. The squaring straps 105 may be 2″ wide 18 gauge galvanized steel, or any other material suitable to prevent racking. Holes may be preformed in the squaring straps 105 for attachment to the frame.

Fasteners 300 (shown in FIG. 3) are also included in the housing kit 200. The fasteners 300 may include bolts, screws, tape sealant, trim, and any other connectors useful in assembly of the housing unit 100. The fasteners 300 may be non-reversible, such that the housing unit 100 is permanent. However, the fasteners 300 may alternatively be reversible, such that the housing unit 100 is disassembleable for movement to and assembly at a new location. Regardless of the type of fasteners 300, one or more tools 302 corresponding to the size and shape of the fasteners 300 may be included in the housing kit 200 to facilitate fastening. The fasteners 300 and the tools 302 cooperate to fasten the beams 204 to one another, such that the beams 204 become the wall beams 102, the floor beams 103, and the roof beams 104 of the housing unit 100. Additionally, the fasteners 300 are capable of fastening floor sheets to the floor beams 103, such that the portion of the packaging 202 becomes the floor 108.

Upon assembly, the fasteners 300 connect the sheets 206 to the exterior of the frame, such that the wall sheets 206 become the walls 106 and the roof sheets 207 become the roof 110 of the housing unit 100. The wall sheets 206 are desirably pre-insulated, corrugated, rolled material sized to cover an entire side of the housing unit 100. For example, the wall sheets 206 may be white siliconized polyester steel siding with laminated reflective insulation, such as ¼″ R5. The assembly of the pre-insulated walls 106 only requires unrolling the wall sheets 206 and using fasteners 300 to fasten the sheets 206 to the wall beams 102. Likewise, the roof sheet 207 may also be pre-insulated, corrugated, rolled material sized to cover the entire top of the housing unit 100. This allows for assembly of the roof 110 of the housing unit 100, by simply unrolling the roof sheet 207 and using fasteners 300 to fasten it to the roof beams 104. When the roof sheet 207 is sized to cover the entire top of the housing unit 100, it may be constructed of a plurality of flat roof sections, which may be mechanically interconnected via compression of “s-locks” formed at the edges of the sections. The plurality of sections may form a waterproof roof sheet 207 if seams are sealed with a sealant, such as mastic, caulk, putty, epoxy, etc. As an alternative to the pre-insulated, rolled roof sheet 207, insulation may be taped to the roof beams 104 prior to the placement of flat roof sections, which may be sealed together with tape or another sealant on site.

The wall sheets 206 are each desirably the size of one of the walls 106. Similarly, the roof sheet 207 is desirably the size of the roof 110. The wall sheets 206 may be insulated with R-5 reflective insulation. Since the wall sheets 206 and the roof sheet 207 may be larger than commercially available, the sheets 206, 207 may comprise a number of panels attached to one another prior to inclusion in the housing kit 200. Large, sheets 206, 207 are advantageous for several reasons. The sheets 206, 207 are easily unrolled, such that they become walls 106 and roof 110 with little effort. Additionally, pre-formed and pre-insulated wall sheets 206 allow the insulation seams to offset any seams in the wall sheets 206. This forms a better insulating seal. Pre-installing the insulation on the wall sheets 206 saves time in the field, as well as provides a better seal than would be accomplished if the insulation were placed during assembly of the housing unit 100.

The housing kit 200 also desirably includes the door 114 and the windows 116, which fit in the packaging 202. The door 114 and the windows 116 fasten to the frame with the fasteners 300. The door 114 may be a steel door with cylinder knob lock and key, allowing for enhanced privacy and easy passage into and out of the housing unit 100. The windows 116 may be ventilated, with insect screens to allow airflow through the housing unit 100, which is useful for temperature control. The windows desirably have channeled edges, allowing the windows to fit within pre-placed cutouts in the walls 206, without the need for screws or any other fasteners 300. The housing kit 200 may also contain pre-engineered trim, which may be placed around edges of the housing unit 100. Additionally, the housing kit 200 may contain gutters for use in drainage. The trim and gutters may be installed with fasteners 300 after the roof sheet 207 and wall sheets 206 are installed.

Referring now to FIGS. 4-12, two persons without any skill or experience in building construction may assemble the housing unit 100 from the housing kit 200 in a single day. Once the housing kit 200 is present at the site, the one or more individuals assembling the housing unit (“assemblers”) remove the contents of the housing kit 200 from the packaging 202. In one embodiment, the assemblers remove the beams 204, the sheets 206, 207, the door 114, the window 116, the fasteners 300, and the tools 302 and place them outside the packaging 202 of the housing kit 200, as shown in FIG. 4. The assemblers then disassemble the packaging 202. Next, the assemblers place the floor beams 103 in the desired location of the housing unit 100, as shown in FIG. 5. Using the tools 302, the assemblers attach the floor beams 103 to one another with the fasteners 300. The assemblers attach the anchors to the ground, and to the floor beams 103. The assemblers also attach the wall beams 102 to the floor beams 103 with the fasteners 300, as shown in FIG. 6. The assemblers further attach the roof beams 104 to the wall beams 102 with the fasteners 300, as shown in FIG. 7. The fastened floor beams 103, wall beams 102, and roof beams 104 form the frame. In one embodiment, all of the fasteners 300 used in the frame are uniform, interchangeable bolts.

After the frame is assembled, the assemblers attach the squaring straps 105 to the frame at predetermined locations. Each squaring strap 105 is attached to at least two beams 204 using the fasteners 300.

The assemblers attach the flooring sheets to the floor beams 103 to form the floor 108 of the housing unit 100, as shown in FIG. 8. These flooring sheets may be sides from the disassembled packaging 202, and may be ¾″ plywood, or any other material suitable for flooring. In order to fasten the flooring sheets to the floor beams 103, the assemblers may use the fasteners 300.

The assemblers then unroll the wall sheets 206 corresponding to the solid walls 106 of the housing unit 100. The assemblers then fasten these wall sheets 206 to the appropriate wall beams 102, as shown in FIG. 9. The door 114 is fastened to the frame at a preset location, as shown in FIG. 10. The windows 116 and the door 114 have a preconfigured placement, such that the wall sheets 206 already have the necessary cutouts. The windows 116 are placed in the cutout location in the wall sheets 206 as the wall sheets 206 are placed. As with the wall sheets 206, the roof sheet 207 may be unrolled and fastened to the roof beams 104, using the fasteners 300, as shown in FIG. 12. Alternatively, multiple flat roof sheets 207 may be connected to one another during installation and fastened to the roof beams 104, using the fasteners 300. As those of ordinary skill in the art will recognize, other ordering of the assembly steps may be followed to assemble the housing unit 100.

Once assembled, the housing unit 100 may be approximately 12′×18′×7′ with a single slope of ⅛″ per foot. However, the housing unit 100 may be any size, depending on the building materials selected. It is desirably weatherproof and insulated, and it may withstand harsh conditions: 90 mph wind speed; 28 lb/sq. ft ground snow; 1 lb/sq. ft. dead load; 20 lbs/sq. ft. live load, seismic zone 4. The housing unit 100 may last for decades.

Therefore, the present invention is well adapted to attain the ends and advantages mentioned as well as those that are inherent therein. The particular embodiments disclosed above are illustrative only, as the present invention may be modified and practiced in different but equivalent manners apparent to those skilled in the art having the benefit of the teachings herein. For instance, the term “housing unit” is not limited to a house. Instead, the housing unit 100 may be used for commercial, governmental, residential, or any other type of application. Furthermore, no limitations are intended to the details of construction or design herein shown, other than as described in the claims below. It is therefore evident that the particular illustrative embodiments disclosed above may be altered or modified and all such variations are considered within the scope and spirit of the present invention. Also, the terms in the claims have their plain, ordinary meaning unless otherwise explicitly and clearly defined by the patentee.