Title:
Precast construction method and apparatus for variable size elevated platform
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Elevated platforms of variable size are fabricated from pre-cast planar construction blocks. The platforms may be used to support pre-cast structures or prefabricated units. The platform comprises a plurality of support blocks which include haunches to support drop-in beams of variable length. The platforms are supported by pre-cast pedestal block foundation elements which may be installed on the surface, buried, or partially buried. The platforms may also be supported by pile cap blocks or nested assemblies of pile cap blocks which are grouted over conventional piles. The modular elements may include mechanical, electrical, and plumbing MEP ports for providing utilities through the platform or structure.



Inventors:
Powell, David W. (Austin, TX, US)
Application Number:
11/745998
Publication Date:
11/15/2007
Filing Date:
05/08/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E02D27/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
WENDELL, MARK R
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
RICK B. YEAGER, ATTORNEY (AUSTIN, TX, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A structural frame comprising a plurality of foundation elements; a plurality of framing blocks supported by the foundation elements, each framing block comprising a substantially upright first edge chord, and a second edge chord spaced apart from the first edge chord, at least a portion of the framing blocks further comprising a haunch extending from an edge chord, at least a portion of the framing blocks having a first haunch extending from a first edge chord, and a second haunch from a second edge chord; and a plurality of drop in beams, such that each drop-in beam is supported by a haunch on a first block and a haunch on a second block adjacent to the first block.

2. The structural frame of claim 1 wherein the frame is an elevated platform.

3. The structural frame of claim 1 wherein the plurality of framing blocks further comprise at least one mechanical, electrical, or plumbing access port.

4. The structural frame of claim 1 further comprising a member connecting a portion of the first edge chord to a portion of the second edge chord, the member having a concave upper surface, thereby creating a utility access area above the member.

5. The structural frame of claim 1 further comprising a modular skid block supported above the plurality of framing blocks, the modular skid block comprising a precast two-way grid of edge beams and cross beams.

6. The structural frame of claim 5 wherein the modular skid block cantilevers past the plurality of framing blocks.

7. The structural frame of claim 1 wherein the foundation elements further comprise a plurality of pedestal blocks, each pedestal block comprising a cross-shaped footing comprising a beam element, and a pedestal element; and a bearing seat.

8. The structural frame of claim 1 wherein at least a portion of the pedestal blocks further comprise a vertical extension.

9. The structural frame of claim 1 wherein at least a portion of the pedestal blocks further comprise flat bearing seats.

10. The structural frame of claim 1 wherein at least a portion of the pedestal blocks further comprise keyed bearing seats.

11. The structural frame of claim 1 wherein at least a portion of the pedestal blocks further comprise grouted reinforcing steel set around driven piles or drilled piers.

12. The structural frame of claim 1 wherein at least a portion of the pedestal blocks further comprise at least one connector sleeve.

13. The structural frame of claim 1 wherein at least a portion of the pedestal blocks further comprise at least one vertical sleeve, and a threaded rod connector grouted in the sleeve.

14. The structural frame of claim 1 wherein the foundation elements further comprise a plurality of precast pile cap block modules, each cap block comprising at least one cap block module comprising an opening for receiving a pile member.

15. The structural frame of claim 14 further comprising a first pile cap block module comprising a plurality of cap block modules; and a second pile cap block module comprising a plurality of cap block modules, such that the first pile cap block module and second pile cap block module are nested.

16. The structural frame of claim 14 further comprising a first pile cap block module; a second pile cap block module; and a threaded connector between the first pile cap block module and the second pile cap block module.

17. The structural frame of claim 1 wherein the plurality of drop in beams are arched beams.

18. The structural frame of claim 1 further comprising a plurality of roof truss blocks.

19. A method of constructing a variable-size structural frame, the method comprising installing a plurality of foundation elements; providing a plurality of framing blocks, each framing block comprising a substantially upright first edge chord and a second edge chord spaced apart from the first edge chord, at least a portion of the framing blocks further comprising a haunch extending from an edge chord; supporting the plurality of framing blocks on the foundation elements; fabricating a plurality of drop in beams to desired lengths; and placing the drop-in beams so that each beam is supported by a haunch on a first block and a haunch on a second block adjacent to the first block.

20. The method of claim 19 wherein installing a plurality of foundation elements further comprises providing a plurality of precast pile cap block modules, each cap block comprising at least one cap block module comprising an opening for receiving a pile member; placing the plurality of precast pile cap block modules over a plurality of pile members; and grouting the openings.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is related to and claims the benefit of the filing dates of U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/798,699 filed May 8, 2006 for “Continuation of and Improvements to Method and Apparatus for Precast and Framed Block Element Construction Describing Modular Skid Block and Framing Block Improvements”; U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/802,391 filed May 22, 2006 for “Continuation and Improvements to Method and Apparatus for Precast and Framed Block Element Construction Describing Predestal Blocks and Tie-Down Systems”; and U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/813,080 filed Jun. 13, 2006 for “Continuation of and Improvements to Method and Apparatus for Precast and Framed Block Element Construction Describing Pile Cap System and Variable Spacer Platforms”.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

This invention is related to a building system comprising a combination of pre-cast structural foundation elements, support platform elements, and building structure elements.

2. Description of Related Art

Pending U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/680,939, Publication No. 2004/0134152A1 by the current applicant is incorporated by reference in this application. That publication discusses conventional construction techniques and some advantages of the LadderBlock™ approach to construction.

Conventional construction generally consists either cast-in-place construction with obstructive and costly formwork, or of interconnected stick or panel framing that relies on diagonal bracing or shear walls for lateral stability.

It is desirable to build using a system of independently stable modules that eliminate the need for temporary shoring and bracing, and that allow crane time to be utilized efficiently.

It is highly desirable to introduce a building system that allows design flexibility while offering vast simplifications in both design and construction; this can be accomplished by means of an expanding kit of compatible parts.

The use of on-site casting for concrete cast-in-place structures requires the expense and delay of field-fabricating the forms for pouring concrete. It is desirable to provide concrete structural elements which can be built in stacks or mass-produced by other means either on-site or under factory controlled conditions.

Tilt wall construction provides some advantage in pre-casting wall elements, but has the disadvantage of requiring the advance construction of large areas of grade-supported slab to serve as a casting surface for the wall blocks. Tilt wall construction also requires the use of temporary shoring during the assembly process to hold walls in place until additional structural elements are attached to the walls. It is desirable to provide pre-cast concrete structural elements that can be assembled into a variety of structural elements and finished buildings without the use of temporary shoring.

Concrete building blocks such as cinder blocks are typically provided in relatively small units that require labor-intensive mortared assembly to form walls and structures. It is desirable to provide larger structural units that can be site cast in stacks or trucked to a job site and assembled together into a wide variety of structural forms without extensive use of mortar or adhesive.

It is desirable to introduce a building system that enables the wholesale recycling and reuse of entire buildings by use of durably constructed large-scale building blocks.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The current invention comprises structures formed by various combinations of pre-cast foundation elements, platform support elements, and framing elements.

One aspect of the current invention is the use of an extension haunch element in combination with variable length drop in beams to form structural modules of variable length. One use of the variable length modules is elevated platforms to support prefabricated housing and other structures.

The modular elements may include mechanical, electrical, and plumbing ports, “MEP ports”, for providing utilities through the structure.

Another aspect of the current invention is the use of pedestal blocks and pile cap blocks as foundation elements. The pedestal blocks permit a variety of construction approaches with minimum site disruption. The pile cap blocks provide a high tolerance method of using conventional piles with pre-cast modular structural elements.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS

These and other objects and advantages of the present invention are set forth below and further made clear by reference to the drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1A is an elevation view of a single frame block 300 that shows connectors 100 and the MEP ports 101 in the corners of the block.

FIG. 1B is different variations of the Spacer Block—a top half spacer block 301, a full spacer block 302 and a bottom half spacer 303, that shows a depressed top surface 102 that leaves a clear space below the floor block.

FIG. 2 is a set of frame blocks 300 that vary in length from 16′8″ wide to 34′0″ wide all with a consistent height each showing the MEP port 101 in each corner of the blocks.

FIG. 3A is a top half spacer block 301 with a straight top chord 103.

FIG. 3B is a top half spacer block 301 with a depressed top chord 102.

FIG. 3C is a full spacer block 302 that has an arched chord with a depressed middle chord 102.

FIG. 3D is a bottom half spacer 303 that has a depressed bottom chord 102.

FIG. 3E is a full spacer 302 that is 10 foot wide and shows a depressed middle chord 102.

FIG. 3F is a two story full spacer block 304 that is 10 foot wide and shows depressed chords 102.

FIG. 4A is a spacer frame block 305 with a depressed top edge and bottom edge chord 102.

FIG. 4B is a 10′ wide spacer frame block 305 with a depressed top edge and bottom edge chord 102.

FIG. 4C is a spacer frame block 305 with a straight top and bottom edge chord 103.

FIG. 4D is a 10′ wide spacer frame block 305 with a straight top and bottom edge chord 103.

FIG. 5 shows a section of possible construction where the floor panel block 306 is sitting on frame blocks 300 with a passage way above the depress chord 102 of the full spacer blocks 302.

FIG. 6 is a isometric view of a two modular skid blocks 200 that shows connectors 100.

FIG. 7 is an elevation view that shows two modular skid blocks 200 sitting on top of frame blocks 300 and that are cantilevered past the edge of the frame blocks.

FIG. 8 is a series of views showing a variety of sizes of buildings that is sitting on frame blocks 300 and spacer frame blocks 305 with a variety of sizes of modular skids 200.

FIG. 9 is a pair of modular skids (200) that are have been separated by a gap for flexibility of construction.

FIG. 10 shows the possible connection detail of two butted modular skids (200) to the frame blocks 300 below.

FIG. 11 is an isometric of multiple modular skids (200) sitting on top of structural frame blocks 300 and spacer frame blocks 305.

FIG. 12 is an isometric view of a Roof Truss Block 306 with connectors 100 shown.

FIG. 13 shows two different possible options for configuring the roof trusses 306.

FIG. 14 is an exploded view of a possible construction technique using the structural framing blocks, with pre-manufactured wall panels 307 and roof panels 308.

FIG. 15A is an isometric view of a pedestal block 309 showing pipe sleeve connectors 104.

FIG. 15B is a transparent wire frame view of the pedestal block 309 shown in FIG. 15A showing the placement of the pipe sleeves used for the connectors 104.

FIG. 16A is an isometric view a pedestal block 310 with vertical extensions on two sides 105.

FIG. 16B is a transparent wire frame view of the pedestal block 310 shown in FIG. 16A showing the placement of the pipe sleeves used for the connectors 104.

FIG. 17 is an isometric view showing a possible foundation layout of buried pedestal blocks 309 and 310 with and without extensions to support structural frames 300 or modular skids 200.

FIG. 18 is an isometric view of the same pedestal blocks 309 and 310 that were shown in FIG. 17 with four modular skids 200 sitting on the pedestal blocks.

FIG. 19 shows a pedestal block 310 with possible reinforcing steel set around driven piles or drilled piers.

FIG. 20 shows a pedestal block 310 with possible reinforcing steel set on top of driven piles.

FIG. 21 is an isometric view of a pedestal block 310 housing grouted reinforcing bars.

FIG. 22 is an isometric view of three pedestal blocks 309 and 310 that have been linked together with reinforcing steel bars.

FIG. 23 shows a connector 106 that could be used for connecting modular skids 200 to the pedestal blocks 309 and 310.

FIG. 24 is a view of two modular skids 200 being attached to the pedestal blocks using the connector 106 shown in FIG. 23.

FIG. 25 is a variation of the pedestal block that shows multiple pipe sleeves 108 on the top horizontal faces cross form of the pedestal block 309 and a center connector sleeve 107.

FIG. 26 is an isometric view of modular skids 200 on pedestal blocks 309 and 310.

FIG. 27 is an isometric view of LadderBlock structural frame blocks 300, bottom half spacer blocks 301, full spacer blocks 302 and top half spacer blocks 303 on pedestal blocks 310.

FIG. 28 is an isometric view of conventional framing systems on pedestal blocks 310.

FIG. 29 is an isometric view of a pedestal block 310 with a flange 108 cast onto the bottom of the pedestal block.

FIG. 30 is an isometric view of a variation to the pedestal block 310 that shows one leg shortened 113.

FIG. 31 shows a variation of the pedestal block 311 that has a wider bearing surface 114 on the top of the block.

FIG. 32 shows two pedestal blocks 312 that have had one leg truncated to increase overall bearing surface and footing width.

FIG. 33 is an isometric view of a double wide pedestal block 313.

FIG. 34 shows a variety of different pedestal blocks 310 cast in different heights.

FIG. 35 is an isometric view of a precast pile cap block 314.

FIG. 36 shows how the pile cap block 314 is used in conjunction with standard driven piles.

FIG. 37 shows a nesting of pile cap blocks 314 that are of varying lengths connected together using threaded rod connectors 109 surrounding standard driven piles.

FIG. 38 shows a variety of pile cap blocks 314 in different lengths and nesting configurations.

FIG. 39 shows a pile cast beam 316 being used as a tie beam to a truncated frame block 315.

FIG. 40 shows two different illustrations of pile cap blocks 314 being connected with threaded rod connectors 109.

FIG. 41 illustrates an array of variable width spacer frame blocks 305, with MEP ports 101 in each top corner.

FIG. 42 shows variable length frame blocks 300 that have a haunch element 110 that is used to accept a drop in beam for variable length buildings.

FIG. 43 shows a variable length rectangular drop in beam 111 and an arched beam 112 connected to frame blocks 300 with haunches 110.

FIG. 44 illustrates that different geometries of buildings can be accommodated by utilization of the drop in beams 111 and frame blocks 300 with haunches 110.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENT

The current invention comprises structures formed by various combinations of pre-cast foundation elements, platform support elements, and framing elements.

Several basic building blocks of the Ladder Block™ building system are described in U.S. Patent publication No. 2004/0134152A1.

FIG. 1A is an elevation view of a single frame block 300 that shows connectors (100) and the MEP ports (101) in the corners of the block. The frame block comprises two edge chords 21 and 22, and a top edge 34. Blocks are planar elements that generally consist of two or more chords with monolithically cast rigid joints at chord intersections. Chords may or may not be orthogonal to one another, and they may cantilever beyond the shape enclosed by other beams and chords as required to provide extensions for the support of foundation, floor, or roof elements.

In one embodiment, the block is designed to incorporate a series of cast-in biaxial modular connection sleeves 100 which are typically aligned with counterparts in other blocks to permit bolted assembly of the blocks into modules.

A basic block of one embodiment of the invention is shown in FIG. 1A and FIG. 42. These figures indicate several key features of the embodiment: a plurality of connectors (100), MEP port access (101), and haunches (110). The large number of connectors (100) provides greater capacity for flood prone, high wind, or seismic prone areas. The connectors may be biaxial sleeve connectors.

Variable Size

To provide an easy method for building any length of platform, standard lengths of Frame Blocks can be configured with haunches (110) as shown in FIG. 42 at one or both ends. A pair of these haunches on aligned Frame Blocks 300 can be used to support a simple drop-in beam (111) as shown in FIG. 43. Because the drop-in beam (111) can be built with a simple rectangular cross-section, the production of a variety of beam lengths can be accomplished within a single form bed. By combining modular frame lengths with a variable drop-in beam, a platform of any length can be constructed. The haunch (110) can be built with a standard cross; thereby providing options for a vertical dowel or bolted connection, and for a bolted face plate or tie-down connection between the haunch and the drop-in beam.

MEP Access

In this embodiment, the MEP port access (101) is formed from the fabrication of a 6 inch or equivalent metric pipe and a smaller pipe that gets assembled and cast into the corners of these blocks. This allows for mechanical, electrical, or plumbing access to be made easily through the framing of the building.

FIG. 1B shows three variations of a spacer block that also can permit MEP access from area to area of a building. The three variations shown here are the top half spacer block 301, the full spacer block 302 and the bottom half spacer block 303. Utilizing form dams in a standard spacer mold, a depressed top surface (102) of the appropriate block can be fabricated. This depressed top surface (102) area creates a void area such that when a floor block 306 is placed above as shown in FIG. 5, that space can offer unobstructed routing for mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems below a floor.

Variable Block Sizes

The blocks shown in FIG. 2 allow for a variety of sizes needed to meet the smaller-scale needs of residential construction. Each of these blocks can be cast with the MEP port access (101). The overall height of the spring line of these parts offers flexibility in the location and height of doors and windows, and makes the space feel that much taller. It is generally desirable to minimize the number of unique blocks in order to make the manufacturing process as efficient as possible. However, the total number of blocks should be large enough to meet the needs and demand of the design professionals.

FIG. 3A-3D demonstrates some of the many options that can be easily accomplished from the same form. By utilizing form dams, the spacer beam geometry can offer the engineer and designers flexibility by providing MEP access under the floor through voids that are created by the depressed top surface 102. FIG. 3A is a top half spacer block 301 that has a straight top chord 103. FIG. 3B is a top half spacer block 301 that has a depressed top chord 102. FIG. 3C is a full spacer block that has a depressed chord 102 top surface. FIG. 3D is a bottom half spacer block 303 with a depressed top chord 102.

FIG. 3E shows a 10 foot wide full spacer block 302 with a depressed top surface 102. To reduce the number of overall forms and parts needed, a 10 foot wide spacer could be cast from a two story form using form dams. The two story spacer block 304 is shown in FIG. 3F. This part can be cast with or without depressed top surfaces 102 based on the needs of the designer. This part is much more efficient to handle in all aspects of manufacturing, shipping, and erection than multiple parts that could be used to accomplish the same goal.

Where a single-story structural platform is desired, a spacer frame block 305 as shown in FIG. 4A-4D can take the place of a Half-Spacer Bottom and Half-Spacer Top pair; combining these into one increases the stiffness of the structure and the speed with which the assembly can be erected. The example embodiment also shows the option of using an arch 112 springline geometry of the Frame Block to form both the top and bottom surfaces of the spacer frame 305 cross beam. FIG. 4A-4B shows a depressed top surface 102, while FIG. 4C-4D shows a straight edge top surface 103. Although simple variations can be easily achieved by placing dams in the casting forms, this geometry results in a symmetrical block that is pleasing to the eye.

Modular Skids

In a market where the local labor is largely displaced and unavailable, it is important that site-built construction be limited to the greatest extent possible, and a large number of manufacturers now offer residential construction modules that are framed to be as sturdy as conventional stick construction. These crane-set boxes are typically finished out when they are shipped, except for taping and floating of sheetrock wall joints that would otherwise break in transit. They generally consist of shippable components that range in width from around 12 feet to around 15 feet, depending on the manufacturer, and most models arrange two of these boxes back-to-back to provide a floor plan that is two modules wide. In the U.S., specifications for these modules generally require a double-width, 16 inch wide support line at the center and 8 inch wide supports at the two outer edges. To allow a common substructure framework to support conventional framing and to meet the requirements of a variety of modular manufacturers' lengths and widths, the Modular Skid Block 200 as shown in FIG. 6 was developed. The Modular Skid Block 200 utilizes the same connectors (100) as other blocks which are used for threaded rod or other means of connecting to the structure.

The Modular Skid Block 200 comprises a precast two-way grid of edge beams (201) and cross beams (202). Cross beams (202) can be positioned to align with Frame Blocks in a supporting assembly; and they can bear on and bolt directly to the top of each frame block. Cross beams (202) can incorporate voids or sloped bottom surfaces to cantilever out in each direction from the bearing width on the supporting framework as shown in FIG. 7. This feature directs loads out toward frame block (300) columns that would have otherwise have been dropped on the center of the frame block span, and it facilitates the construction of the range of module widths that are needed. It also offers a space through which mechanical, electrical, and plumbing runs can be routed. If such a chase is not desired, the same structural result can be obtained by laying a flat cross beam on a surface that has bearing pads positioned where the load is being directed, and compressible or open voids where load transfer is not desired. The void height need only be greater than the combined expected deflections of the beam and support structures. This method of controlling the load path allows the Modular Skid Block to be of uniform depth, and this facilitates mass-production by simplifying the potential stack-casting fabrication of these blocks.

Cross beams 202 and edge beams 201 can be simple rectangular sections that are sized and reinforced as required to transmit loads from the construction above to the frame below. Since both cross beams 202 and edge beams 201 are designed to cantilever past the limits of the supporting structure, and to offer adjustability in the formed dimension of those cantilevers, platforms of any dimension can be constructed as shown in FIG. 8. FIG. 8 shows a variety of sets of frame blocks 300 with spacer frame blocks 305 that are used to support Modular Skid Blocks 200, which in turn support modular housing of different dimensions. Modular Skids 200 for shorter floor plans can be full-length, while longer floor plans may require that skids be broken into two or more segments as shown in FIG. 9. Where ends of modular skids blocks 200 abut in the example embodiment, each cross beam 202 is held back ½ inch from the centerline of the supporting frame block 300, and the abutted ends can be bolted together across this gap. FIG. 10 shows how the gap can then accommodate vertical threaded rods that extend from Frame Block 300 sleeves and are nutted off on washers that bridge the top of the gap; this allows the joined pair to be bolted down to the supporting frame blocks 300. Each abutting end is therefore provided with 3 1/2 inches of continuous bearing width on an 8 inch thick frame block. Edges of parallel and end-to-end skids can be bolted together through pipe sleeves that are cast into skid edge beams 201 and cross beams 202 as shown in FIG. 11.

Roof Truss Blocks

In cases where a customer desires a home or other structure that is built wholly of LadderBlock framing, floor, wall, and roof blocks, such a solution can be offered in a variety of floor plans using the same block set described above. The architecture of the interior space offers clear span flexibility, which compares favorably to modular solutions that generally include a pair of load-bearing walls in the center of the floor plan. Any conventional roof framing system, including wood or steel trusses, could be used to frame the roof that caps the LadderBlock assembly. FIG. 12 shows a simple Roof Truss Blocks 306 that allows an all-concrete framed solution that is structurally superior. Although the roof truss blocks are shown built as a gable roof form, it should be noted that monoslope, clearstory, or other roof forms could be achieved with equal ease using this system. Depending on the support requirements of the roof deck system, Roof Truss Blocks 306 could be spaced at 8′-4″ centers and cross-braced, or they could be spaced to fall only at Frame Blocks, with lateral stability provided by Spacer Frame Blocks 305 that are installed in the plane of the roof as shown in FIG. 13. These blocks also present connection options for roof planks 308, just as they can offer wall panel 307 connection points when installed vertically as shown in FIG. 14. The resulting structure should stand capable of resisting the destructive forces of nature in a way that conventional residential construction never could.

Pedestal Block

FIG. 15A shows a Pedestal Block 309 that offers unique functionality in supporting construction and permanent loads. It offers a quick and efficient means of creating a foundation and crawl space that is built to last, but construction requires minimal on-site labor. The basic configuration of the Pedestal Block 309 of the example embodiment presents a cruciform shape in plan view, with this cross-shaped footing generally consisting of beam element and a pedestal element. Longer beams, wider or narrow pedestal elements, and tapered or shaped sections that present a wider footing bearing area are all simple modifications of this basic block. The cruciform footing can do a cost-effective job of widely distributing pedestal loads to maximize the potential for acceptable foundation behavior on shallow soils. Where surface soils fail the test, the pedestal system offers an easy opportunity for elevating and re-leveling the supported structure. Where the geotechnical engineer determines that surface soils are not adequate for design pressures, then deep foundations of driven piles or drilled piers may be used. Pedestal Blocks offer simple alternatives in transferring structural loads into the top of a pile or pier group, and in advancing out-of-ground construction rapidly but safely. FIG. 15B shows a transparent wire frame of the Pedestal Block 309 that shows the possible placement of pipe sleeves (104) which are then used as connectors have the additional utility in terms of connecting to other Pedestal Blocks, tying into other foundation elements, or connection to other framing blocks.

Pedestal Block Example

In this example, the walls are 10 inches thick, and the cross-beams at the base are 10 inches thick by 12 inches deep. The Pedestal Block 309 shown has an overall height of 4 feet, but blocks of variable height are described below. Blocks feature a bearing seat 113 that can be set to an elevation that is a standard shim stack below the intended bearing height of the supported framing. Where desired, the engineer can select Pedestal Blocks with vertical extensions 105 as shown in FIG. 16A that provide the opportunity to achieve structural interlock with the carried framing. Flat bearing seats are useful in supporting intersecting or multiple members. Keyed bearing seats are generally used under a single beam, and Pedestal Blocks 310 whose vertical key extensions are positioned immediately adjacent to a perpendicular beam can provide interlock in two directions. Keyed bearing seats can be oversized as required to provide the necessary setting and erection tolerance, and the resulting voids can be grouted to key the blocks together. FIG. 16B shows the transparent wire frame view to show the possible placement of the pipe sleeves that form the connectors (104) that are used to connect to other Pedestal Blocks, connect to other foundation elements, or connect to other framing blocks. The manufacture of Pedestal Blocks is simplified by means of the sleeves and crosses that are common to other LadderBlock components. In addition to presenting an array of options for structural connectivity, sleeves and crosses can also serve as spreaders between bolted side forms, as chairs and positioning devices for reinforcing steel, and as built-in lifting and handling points.

Advantages of Pedestal Blocks

The symmetry of Pedestal Blocks is of particular benefit in tooling for their manufacture. Formwork can be reduced to simple repetitions of those elements necessary to form each of the four quadrants, so that even the construction of the formwork is modularized and simplified. Side forms can also carry centering studs for pipe sleeves and crosses, which can in turn can carry reinforcing steel cages, so that the positions of each of these elements is fixed and consistent.

The cross-beam footing elements in the Pedestal Block provide calculable lateral stability and load distribution. They can be buried directly, or they can be cast into simple pile caps, larger composite footings, or the thickened edges of a slab. In many locations, temporary and even permanent construction can be safely supported on shallow soils near natural ground level. This decision is generally resolved by a calculation of a design soil pressure and its comparison with an allowable soil pressure, the latter being determined by a geotechnical engineer.

Where the temporary nature of an intended building or the quality of the surface soils allow, construction using Pedestal Blocks can be set with minimal excavation, and in some cases directly on the natural ground surface. Whenever precast blocks are to be set directly on soil or compacted structural fill, it is prudent to use a lean concrete or grout setting bed to establish continuous contact between the precast blocks and the soil. Continuous bearing might also be obtained by intentionally wetting and preloading the supporting soils; the loads could come from intentionally concentrating forces onto each Pedestal Block in turn.

A modest structure of this construction can be erected in the middle of a field or a parking lot that is sufficiently flat. Fine leveling can be accomplished using standard tiltwall shim stacks (not shown). If soils settle or heave, Pedestal Blocks offer an easy way to re-level the structure. A structure that sits on unexpectedly poor soils could even be dismantled and re-erected on another site. For permanent construction, it is generally necessary to set the bottom of the footing below the expected depth of scour or frost, and it is typically desirable to completely bury the cross-beam footing elements of Pedestal Blocks so that only the top of the pedestal blocks 309 and 310 are visible as shown in FIG. 17. With just four additional crane picks to set Modular Skid Blocks 200, the 24 foot wide by 82 foot long LadderBlock Pedestal Platform shown in FIG. 18 can be set. In this case the Modular Skid Blocks 200 are sitting on the same array of pedestal blocks that were shown in FIG. 17.

Where surface soils are not reliable, the structure must be designed to deliver all forces to deep foundations; these may consist or driven piles, drilled piers, helical anchors or other common systems. Pedestal Blocks 309 and 310 allow a minimal amount of excavation and site-cast concrete to transfer loads from the structural framing into an array of previously driven piles or another deep foundation system.

Pedestal Blocks allow framing assemblies to be set among an array of piles and then cast into a pile cap or thickened slab, with the completed assembly engineered to provide the strength required to transfer all expected forces. At the engineer's discretion, Pedestal Blocks 309 and 310 may be set on soil between the previously driven piles as shown in FIG. 19, or Pedestal Blocks 309 and 310 may be set on the tops of piles that are cut to the appropriate height as shown in FIG. 20. In either case, a simple cast-in-place cap can be used to bind the two elements, and Pedestal Blocks (309 and 310) offer features that simplify cap construction.

FIG. 21 shows how grouted reinforcing steel bars or bolts can be placed in the precast sleeves (104) in footing elements of the Pedestal Blocks (309 and 310). These can combine with bond strength between the Pedestal Block and the site-cast concrete to transfer all gravity, lateral, and uplift forces to the deep foundation system. Where a reinforced concrete cap is required, grouted studs in Pedestal Block (309 and 310) sleeves can carry the necessary reinforcement, and even the cutting and bending of the reinforcement is simplified by the repetitive geometry of the blocks as shown in FIG. 22. To further simplify cap construction, reinforcing steel could be pre-tied to a Pedestal Block before the block is set.

Site-cast work can be accomplished within a narrow trench, with minimal excavation. Cap construction can use simple side forms, or the trench sides can be used to earth-form the cap where appropriate. It is desirable to avoid trapping air below the precast block when the cap is site-cast. Concrete can be placed largely from one side in order to build a pressure head and cause a flow of concrete below the bottom surface of the block; this flow and subsequent vibration of the concrete should clear any air bubbles that might have been trapped. It is also possible to build Pedestal Blocks with a bottom surface that is mitered to a low centerline; this would help ensure that air bubbles will clear naturally.

Dimensional Tolerances

It would be difficult, if not impossible, to set a precast foundation system with the exact plan location or elevation that is desired. Pedestal Blocks offer an easy means of providing the dimensional tolerances that are required to transition from rough-set foundations to precision superstructure. Tops of Pedestal Blocks can be flat, or they can be built with vertical extensions that provide an interlock mechanism as shown in FIG. 15A and FIG. 16A. The resulting notch can be oversized to provide horizontal tolerance, and this can complement a support wall that is thicker than the supported structure; i.e. a 10 inch thick Pedestal Block 309 and 310 wall supporting an 8 inch thick precast frame element or Modular Skid 200. As mentioned previously, vertical precision can be achieved by the use of standard tilt-wall shims. After confirming the erected plan location and elevation of the supported framing, the bearing interface surrounding the shims and the notches that received framing can be grouted; this can effectively lock the erected position of the assembled blocks.

Wind Resistance

In an extreme weather event with high winds, structures obviously get pushed laterally by the wind. What is less obvious is that the most destructive force in these events is often not the lateral pressure, but the uplift that is generated by the aerodynamic effect of high winds passing over the roof of a structure. Most hurricane footage shows structures not falling down or over, but lifting off of their supports. The calculation of uplift and overturning forces on a given structure is part of the work of the structural engineer. These forces are generally resisted by a combination of the dead weight of the building and tie-downs that are designed to resist the difference between the uplift and the dead weight, with appropriate safety factors included in the analysis. It also stands true that the dead weight of concrete framing can be adequate to prevent uplift or overturning of many assemblies. This likelihood increases when LadderBlock framing is combined with concrete floor, wall, and roof elements.

Structural interlock between Pedestal Blocks and the supported framing has been described, but these blocks also present a number of tie-down options. One very cost-effective, simple to use, and adjustable tie-down system is present in a pipe clamp similar to that used in the Precision Slip Form system described previously. FIG. 23 shows a simple pair of steel pipes 106 or studs that can each be drilled near one end to receive a common perpendicular threaded structural rod. Washers and nuts at each end enable tightening that can draw the studs together. By inserting one stud of this pipe clamp into a cross in a LadderBlock framing element or Modular Skid Block 200, and the other end into one of the sleeves on a Pedestal Block 309 and 310, then tightening the nuts, the two elements can be effectively tied together. FIG. 24 is an example of using a simple pair of pipe sleeves (106) connecting two Modular Skids (200) to the Pedestal Blocks 309 and 310. If forces require additional tie-downs, sleeves or crosses can be added to both the Pedestal Blocks and the supported structure.

Simple variations on this theme could incorporate welded studs or pipes on the vertical face of a steel angle, channel or tube; the perpendicular face of the section could receive and offer a bearing surface to the clamping rod or rods. Clamps can be developed to offer a range of capacities, with the capacity being determined by the lower of the tension capacity of the threaded rod or the shear capacity of the stud. Knowing the capacity of a single clamp and the uplift spanning capacity of the supported framing, an engineer can specify the number and placement of clamps that are required to safely resist any expected uplift.

Another useful connectivity option that can be easily incorporated into a Pedestal Block (309 and 310) is one or more vertical sleeves that extend to the bearing surface as shown in FIG. 25. These sleeves can be precast into the outer portion of the cruciform (108) or directly in the middle (107). These can be full-height, but can also be capped at the bottom with whatever depth is needed to develop the strength of a threaded rod connector. That rod could be grouted into the sleeve, extended vertically through the supported structural framing element, and drawn tight with a nut.

Construction Approaches

Pedestal Blocks (309 and 310) can support construction of most any type. Pedestal Blocks can carry Modular Skid Blocks (200) introduced previously, other precast structural framing, or conventional construction of a variety of materials and systems. Supporting Modular Skid Blocks 200 is shown in FIG. 26 and is straight-forward. Note that Pedestal Blocks (309) with flat bearing surfaces are used below abutted Skid Blocks down the building centerline and at the Modular Skid Block (200) ends. The erection of a LadderBlock structural frame on Pedestal Blocks (310) creates a crawl space and elevated first floor as shown in FIG. 27. Where an interior Frame Block (300) bottom chord carries load from both sides, Pedestal Blocks (309 and 310) can be more closely spaced than those at a perimeter condition.

While the Pedestal Block (309 and 310) was designed to support and complement LadderBlock framing and Modular Skid Blocks, it can also be used to carry wood beams and joists, wide-flange steel beams and bar joists, or other conventional framing systems as shown in FIG. 28. Pedestal Blocks (309 and 310) can quickly establish an array of level support points that can be used to carry virtually any construction. They can do so with minimal on-site labor, and with minimal disruption of the natural ground surface. Pedestal Blocks (309 and 310) are a powerful tool for the job of elevating a structural platform above the ground, and variations of the Pedestal Block only amplify the versatility of this building system.

The Pedestal Blocks (309 and 310) of the possible example embodiments shown have a 8′-4″ long cross-beams, 10 inch thick walls, and a height of 4 feet. It has already been noted that member cross-sections can be modified to satisfy engineering or architectural requirements.

One example of an engineering-driven variation of a Pedestal Block (309 and 310) might be required to lessen soil pressures under a design load by widening and/or lengthening the soil bearing surface. This could be accomplished by attaching a separately precast footing element, by extending the length of the cross-beams, or by casting a flange (108) as shown in FIG. 29 onto the bottoms of these beams. A Pedestal Block 310 is shown in FIG. 30 with one leg shortened which might be needed at a building perimeter that is near a property line.

Another example of an engineering-driven variation of the Pedestal Block (309 and 310) is useful at an interior footing below a larger set of precast or structural framing such as back-to-back pair of LadderBlock Frame Blocks. It is generally preferable to present a continuous bearing surface below the full column width in each block, and FIG. 31 shows a simple modification of the Pedestal Block 311 that extends the bearing surface as needed. A similar result can also be accomplished using a simple variation of the Pedestal Block 312 that can be built by inserting a dam into the Pedestal Block form. By putting two of these truncated blocks back-to-back as shown in FIG. 32, the overall footing and bearing widths can both be increased below a heavy interior load. Where it is not desirable to have these elements separate, FIG. 33 shows a double-width variation of the Pedestal Block 313 can be cast using a simple addition to the same formwork components.

Among the most empowering variations of the Pedestal Block (309 and 310) is gained by casting these blocks in a range of heights as shown in FIG. 34. This provides far more than just a choice in the platform height that can be established. Building Pedestal Blocks in a range of heights provides a simple means of establishing a ramped surface above flat ground; it also makes it easy to establish a flat platform above sloping ground. Note that, although they could be varied, the cross-beams and upper pedestal in each of the shown blocks is identical, so that they can be manufactured using the same formwork components. The set shown in this example steps in 2 foot increments of height, and the added intermediate formwork components at any given height can also be used in the forming of all taller Pedestal Blocks (309 and 310). This means that a desired range of heights can be offered and produced economically, using a formwork set that can be minimized due to its modularity.

Miniature or oversized versions of this block may find utility in a variety of applications. Reduced-scale versions of these blocks could support lighter construction or serve as the pedestals for a pedestal floor system. Larger embodiments might have to be segmented to satisfy transportation weight and dimensional limits, and they might be used in the support of larger buildings, bridges, or other structures.

Pile Cap Block

The Pile Cap Block 314 shown in FIG. 35 offers unique functionality in the transfer of structural forces to a set of piles or piers. The Pile Cap Block shown is intended to accommodate a set of standard wood piles with an 8 inch butt diameter. It would be difficult, if not impossible, to drive piles with the exact plan location that is desired. Pile Cap Blocks 314 offer an easy means of providing the dimensional tolerances that are required to transition from standard piles to a precision superstructure. In this example, the voids or pile cells that receive each pile are 16 inches wide and long, allowing 4 inches of placement tolerance in each horizontal direction from the specified center of each pile. The same cell could also accommodate the tip of a previously cast 12 inch diameter concrete pier with 2 inches of tolerance in each direction. Pile Cap Block dimensions can be modified from those of the example embodiment to accommodate and connect to larger or smaller piles, piers, helical anchors, or other foundation elements.

The walls of the Pile Cap Block of the example embodiment are 6 inches thick, with a wall height of 16 inches, and the beams that interconnect adjacent cells are 12 inches thick. The embodiment shown presents pile-receiving cells at 3′-4″ centers, but similar blocks could be configured to accommodate other pile spacings.

Pile Cap Blocks are intended to be placed on leveling blocks or on level ground that surrounds a set of previously driven piles. One example installation is shown in FIG. 36. Once the pile cap has been set, the void that remains between the pile butt and the walls of the Pile Cap Block 314 can be filled with grout; this permanently interconnects the piles and the cap. If calculations indicate that shear studs are required to supplement the bond and shear strength in transferring structural loads to the piles, the engineer can specify that lag bolts or other elements be driven into vertical faces of the piles or grouted into sleeves in the Pile Cap Block 314 prior to filling the void with grout. Pile Cap Blocks 314 with a depth that is greater than 16 inches can also be produced to increase the bonded surface area and therefore the load transfer capacity of the cap, or to increase the flexural stiffness of a long Pile Cap Block 314.

The manufacture of Pile Cap Blocks 314 is simplified by means of the sleeves and crosses that are common to other precast components shown here. In addition to presenting an array of options for structural connectivity, sleeves and crosses can also serve as spreaders between bolted side forms, as support and positioning devices for reinforcing steel, and as built-in lifting and handling points.

While Pile Cap Blocks 314 with a height of 16 inches are shown, other heights may be produced using the same forms. The depth of the Pile Cap Block 314 is constant; this means that it can be slip-formed and stack-cast to enable mass production on a shorter casting cycle than would otherwise be possible.

Nesting

It is clear that the Pile Cap Block 314 offers an easy means of capping a group of piles that are placed in a straight line, but the low load-bearing capacity of piles driven into marshy soil often dictates that piles be nested into groups. The geometry of the Pile Cap Block 314 is configured to allow two or more blocks to nest together. One example of this is shown in FIG. 37. If the second pile cap block 314 is offset, as shown in this example, by 2 feet perpendicular to the line of the first, and by 1′-8″ (half of the 3′-4″ pile cell spacing) along the length of the first, then the two caps nest together with a 4 inch wide void between the two. The offset distances are shown here as examples, with the point being that matched sets of pile cap blocks 314 can be easily nested. Bolts or reinforcing steel bars (109) can be grouted into the aligned sleeves in the nested Pile Cap Blocks 314, and the void can be grouted in the same operation that binds the Pile Cap Blocks 314 to the piles. Nesting these blocks offers enormous flexibility to the engineer in configuring any number of piles into a nested pile group. Several examples of different Pile Cap Blocks 314 and nesting of these blocks is shown in FIG. 38.

In building foundations for structures that generate significant base shear or thrust, it is often necessary to link support points with a tie beam. Pile cap blocks 314 can be cast in continuous runs up to the limits of transportability, and can serve as a tie beam to resist thrust, as might be required at the base of a truncated precast frame block 315 with arching action. Several different possible methods are shown in FIG. 39. Shear transfer from the column base to the truncated frame block 315 can be through keys that are precast onto the column base, through reinforcing steel dowels or steel pipe studs that extend from the base of the column, or by other means. These transfer elements can be grouted into receivers that are precast into the Pile Cap Block 314, or they can be coordinated to fall adjacent to piles within cells of the Pile Cap Block 314.

Where a tie-beam must be longer than can be transported, end sleeves in tie-beam segments can be bolted (109) and grouted to combine two or more Pile Cap Blocks 314 into a continuous element as shown in FIG. 40, and corner joints can be built by bolting and grouting two or more Pile Cap Blocks 314 together at the desired angle.

A number of potential dimensional variations of the Pile Cap Block 314 have already been discussed. These blocks are also scalable. Miniature or oversized versions of this block may find utility in a variety of applications. Reduced-scale versions of these blocks could support lighter construction. Larger embodiments might need to be segmented to satisfy transportation weight and dimensional limits, and they might be used in the support of larger buildings, bridges, or other structures.

Variable Spacer Platforms

While a great deal of the power of the LadderBlock system resides in the standardization of the dimensional module, it is also clear that the market presents a significant need for dimensional flexibility. Architectural designs and modular construction systems offered by others enjoy little, if any, dimensional standardization. The previously introduced Modular Skid Block 200 allowed a common support frame to carry a variety of span widths and lengths. This application introduces another means to the same end. It eliminates the Modular Skid Block 200 as the only possible source of variability, and substitutes variability in the LadderBlock framing elements to position top chords directly below the loads of the carried construction.

A survey of the manufacturers of residential construction modules being offered on the Gulf Coast of the United States reveals an array of construction module widths being used. These modules generally require an 8 inch wide support line along each edge, and a 16 inch wide support line at the center of a double module. The loads along each edge of each module are generally constant, so that it is desirable to place single frame blocks along outer edges and double frame blocks at the centerline of such a building. To position these frame blocks where they are needed, Spacer Blocks 302 or Spacer Frame Blocks 305 can be produced in unique widths for each desired module width or secondary framing span length. Several examples are shown in FIG. 41 that include the MEP Port access (102).

Haunches and Drop-in Beams

Producing Spacer Blocks in a variety of widths works well in that it positions Frame Blocks 300 where they are needed. It is desirable, however, to maintain modular dimensions for the Frame Blocks 300 themselves. To provide an easy method for building any length of platform, FIG. 42 shows standard lengths of Frame Blocks 300 configured with haunches 110 at both ends. By utilizing form dams in the mold, haunches 110 may be cast in both or just one end of the Frame Block. A pair of these haunches 110 on aligned Frame Blocks can be used to support a simple drop-in beam. Because the drop-in beam 111 can be built with a simple rectangular cross-section, the production of a variety of beam lengths can be accomplished within a single form bed. By combining modular frame lengths with a variable drop-in beam 111, a platform of any length can be constructed. The haunch 110 can be built with a standard cross; this presents options for a vertical dowel or bolted connection, and for a bolted face plate or tie-down connection between the haunch 110 and the drop-in beam 111.

While a Drop-in Beam with a rectangular cross-section 111 is the easiest to produce in a variety of lengths, other geometries can also be produced. In one embodiment, the drop-in beam can offer a segmented arch geometry 112 that matches that of the supporting Frame Blocks. Both the rectangular cross-section 111 and segmented arch geometry beam is shown on haunches 110 in FIG. 43. Drop-in Beams can be built using crosses to carry reinforcement and provide connectivity options. End crosses in the example embodiment can be configured to align with crosses in the supporting haunches 110, so that connection of the parts is straight-forward.

FIG. 44 shows two possible examples of structural platforms that combine variations in Spacer Block widths with a variable length Drop-in Beam 111. By utilizing this type of construction, a structural platform of any width and length can be built. Platforms of this construction can be used to elevate modular construction by others, conventionally framed construction, or LadderBlock construction above the level of an expected flood or tidal surge.