Title:
Bulilding Construction Kit
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A building construction kit comprises a plurality of ground beams (10), for example of concrete, positionable and securable relative to one another to form a rigid foundation frame, a plurality of storey-height external wall panels (30) supportable on and securable to the beams of the foundation frame to form an external building shell and a plurality of floor units (70) which can be supported on and secured to the beams (10) or to the panels (30) to form a floor at, respectively, ground level or an upper level. Each external wall panel (30) comprises a galvanised steel frame (31) with a weatherproof cladding (35), for example of glass-reinforced concrete, at an intended outer side of the panel so that the shell formed by the panels provides a sturdy structure which is weatherproof without the need for a further weather-resistant finish.



Inventors:
Sestito, Antonio Gulielmo (Surrey, GB)
Application Number:
11/659881
Publication Date:
06/26/2008
Filing Date:
08/03/2005
Assignee:
ARDMORE CONTRACTING (IRELAND) LIMITED (Louth, IE)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
52/206, 52/235, 52/236.3, 52/279, 52/506.01, 52/648.1, 52/653.1
International Classes:
E04H1/02; E02D27/00; E04B1/04; E04B1/38; E04B2/76; E04B5/43
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
AKBASLI, ALP A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SUGHRUE MION, PLLC (WASHINGTON, DC, US)
Claims:
1. A building construction kit comprising a) a plurality of ground beams positionable and securable relative to one another to form a substantially rigid foundation frame, b) a plurality of storey-height external wall panels supportable on and securable to the beams of said foundation frame to form an external building shell of at least one storey in height, each external wall panel having an intended outer side at the outside of said shell and comprising a metallic frame with a weatherproof cladding at said intended outer side, and c) a plurality of floor units for forming one of a floor at ground level and a floor at an upper level, the floor units when intended to form said floor at ground level being supportable on and securable to the beams of said foundation frame and when intended to form said floor at an upper level being securable to the wall panels of said shell.

2. A kit as claimed in claim 1, wherein the cladding of each external wall panel comprises waterproof, non-combustible and rot-resistant material.

3. A kit as claimed in claim 2, wherein the material is glass-reinforced concrete.

4. A kit as claimed in claim 1, comprising tie elements fixing the frame and the cladding of each external wall panel to one another at a spacing.

5. A kit as claimed in claim 1, wherein each external wall panel incorporates thermal insulation material between the frame and cladding thereof.

6. A kit as claimed in claim 5, wherein each external wall panel has an air cavity between the insulation material and the cladding.

7. A kit as claimed in claim 1, wherein some of the external wall panels incorporate window and door apertures.

8. A kit as claimed in claim 1, comprising damp-proof membranes positionable between the external wall panels and the beams of said foundation frame.

9. A kit as claimed in claim 1, comprising a plurality of storey-height internal wall panels supportable on and securable to the beams of said foundation frame to form a party wall division of said shell.

10. A kit as claimed in claim 9, comprising a further plurality of internal wall panels supportable on and securable to said party wall division to form a party wall division of an intended roof space above said shell.

11. A kit as claimed in claim 9, wherein the internal wall panels are positionable in pairs in back-to-back relationship and at a mutual spacing to form said party wall division or divisions.

12. A kit as claimed in claim 9, wherein each of the internal wall panels comprises a metallic frame and a facing at at least one side of the panel.

13. A kit as claimed in claim 1, wherein each of the ground beams comprises concrete.

14. A kit as claimed in claim 1, wherein the ground beams have securing points to enable securing of the beams to an underlying foundation.

15. A kit as claimed in claim 1, wherein the ground beams have securing points to enable securing of the wall panels thereto.

16. A kit as claimed in claim 1, wherein the ground beams have inserts co-operable with securing means for securing the floor units thereto.

17. A kit as claimed in claim 1, wherein the ground beams have rebates for receiving edge portions of the floor units.

18. A kit as claimed in claim 1, wherein the ground beams are positionable to form said foundation frame to have a polygonal boundary with at least one crosspiece extending between opposite sides of said boundary.

19. A kit as claimed in claim 18, wherein the ground beams are positionable to form said foundation frame to have intermediate tie elements extending between the at least one crosspiece and said boundary.

20. A kit as claimed in claim 18, wherein the ground beams are positionable to form said foundation frame to have intermediate tie elements extending between opposite sides of said boundary.

21. A kit as claimed in claim 18, wherein each of the ground beams intended to lie at said boundary has a venting duct for venting a void under said floor at ground level.

22. A kit as claimed in claim 1, wherein each floor unit comprises a metallic joist with a floor surface covering.

23. A kit as claimed in claim 22, wherein the joist of each floor unit comprises a lattice girder.

24. A kit as claimed in claim 1, wherein each floor unit when intended to form said floor at ground level is provided at an underside thereof with thermal insulation material.

25. A kit as claimed in claim 1, wherein each floor unit when intended to form said floor at ground level is elongate with opposite ends and is provided at said opposite ends with thermal insulation material.

26. A kit as claimed in claim 1, comprising flanged support brackets locatable between vertically adjacent wall panels of said shell to provide securing points for floor units forming said floor at an upper level.

27. A building constructed in part from a kit as claimed in claim 1.

Description:

The present invention relates to a building construction kit, especially a kit for erection of a dwelling.

Dwellings such as single-storey or multi-storey houses are normally erected by construction on site from basic materials such as timber and bricks, although factory-produced construction kits which are assembled on site are also available. Such kits require external weatherproofing after assembly and before work on internal finishes can be commenced. Weather can affect the progress of the work with associated delays to completion of buildings.

It is the principal object of the invention to provide a construction kit which can be used to construct a building with, after assembly of the kit, a substantially finished sturdy, and weathertight external shell of durable materials.

A subsidiary object of the invention is to provide a kit which, depending on its composition, in particular the degree of extension of a standard range of components, enables construction of buildings which can be single-storey or multi-storey and of detached, semi-detached or terraced format.

Such a kit should preferably also be adaptible to different plan profiles, for example with or without bays, different plan areas and different window and door dispositions and be able to accept different roof structures. The kit should preferably also be simple and quick to assemble, allowing use of semi-skilled labour.

Other objects and advantages will be apparent from the following description.

According to the present invention there is provided a building construction kit comprising a plurality of ground beams positionable and securable relative to one another to form a substantially rigid foundation frame, a plurality of storey-height external wall panels supportable on and securable to the beams of such a foundation frame to form an external building shell of at least one storey in height and a plurality of floor units supportable on and securable to the beams of such a foundation frame to form a floor at ground level or securable to the wall panels of such a shell to form a floor at an upper level, each external wall panel comprising a metallic frame with a weatherproof cladding at an intended outer side of the panel.

Such a kit allows construction of a shell which, by virtue of the combination of a metallic frame and an external weatherproof cladding to form the external wall panels, has a high degree of rigidity and strength in conjunction with resistance to the effects of rain, solar heat and other potentially detrimental weather influences. The wall panels are supported on a frame-shaped foundation provided by ground beams which are part of the kit itself, so that the shell has a solid base in addition to any foundation works underlying the ground beams.

The cladding of each external wall panel preferably comprises a waterproof, non-combustible and rot-resistant material, which for preference is also resistant to impact, degradation by ultraviolet light and chemical pollutants. A particularly suitable material for these purposes is glass-reinforced concrete, which is amenable to colouring and/or texturing as well as furnishing with moulded decorative and/or functional features, for example moisture-deflecting overhangs in the vicinity of storey junctions.

The frame and the cladding of each external wall panel can be fixed to one another at a spacing by tie elements, the space between each panel frame and the attached cladding preferably being occupied by thermal insulation material, such as phenolic foam, and optionally also an air cavity.

The frame itself can be made of, for example, corrosion-protected, preferably galvanised, steel and composed of frame members which in the formed shell extend vertically, horizontally and at an inclination. Some of the external wall panels can incorporate window and door apertures, the window apertures preferably being glazed with single or double panes and complete with sills and the door apertures including surrounds and thresholds.

Additional optional kit components associated with the external wall panels include damp-proof membranes positionable between the panels and the ground beams of the foundation frame and corner cladding elements to define exterior corners of the shell at corner junctions of the claddings of the panels.

If the kit is to be employed to construct a semi-detached or terraced house it can additionally comprise a plurality of storey-height internal wall panels supportable on and securable to the beams of the foundation frame to form a party wall division of the shell. The kit can also include a further plurality of internal wall panels supportable on and securable to the division to form a party wall division of an intended roof space above the shell. The internal wall panels, whether of the party wall division of the shell or of the roof space, can be constructed so as to be positionable in pairs in back-to-back relationship and at a mutual spacing to form the division or divisions. The internal wall panels can each comprise a metallic frame, again preferably of corrosion-protected steel, and a facing at at least one side of the panel; in this instance, however, the facings of panels in back-to-back relationship can be disposed at mutually adjacent sides of the panels, but with a spacing therebetween to provide an air cavity.

The ground beams can each be made of or principally of concrete and can incorporate securing points to enable securing of the beams to an underlying foundation. The beams can also have securing points to enable securing of the wall panels thereto. Moreover, the beams can include inserts co-operable with securing means for securing the floor units to the beams. Firm seating of the floor units on the beams can be assisted if the latter have rebates receiving edge portions of the units.

The foundation frame able to be formed by the beams preferably has a polygonal boundary with at least one crosspiece extending between opposite sides of the boundary. The foundation frame can additionally include intermediate tie elements extending between the at least one crosspiece and the boundary and/or between opposite sides of the boundary. Each of the beams intended to lie at the boundary preferably has a venting duct for venting a void under the ground-level floor.

The floor units can each comprise, for example, a metallic joist with a floor surface covering, such as a strand board covering. The joist, which is preferably also of corrosion-protected steel, can be a lattice girder. To assist heat retention in a building erected with use of the kit, each floor unit intended to form the ground-level floor can be provided at its underside and/or, when the unit is elongate, at its opposite ends with thermal insulation material, such as phenolic foam. In the case of floor units intended to form the upper-level floor, these units can be supported by flanged support brackets locatable between vertically adjacent wall panels of the shell to provide securing points for the floor units.

An embodiment of the present invention will now be more particularly described by way of example with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a schematic sectional elevation of components of a building construction kit embodying the invention, the kit components being illustrated in an assembled state;

FIG. 1a is a detail, to an enlarged scale, of the region ‘A’ of FIG. 1; and

FIG. 2 is a schematic plan view of the assembled kit components of FIG. 1.

Referring now to the drawings there are shown components of a building construction kit capable of rapid assembly to construct a building such as, but not restricted to, a detached, semi-detached or terraced single-storey or multi-storey dwelling. The height, elevational prospect, plan area and plan outline, amongst other parameters, can be varied within given limits depending on the number and nature of components utilised, i.e. forming the kit. The object of the kit is to enable quick and economical erection of buildings of selected predetermined size and shape to a substantially finished, particularly weatherproof, state by use of standardised components.

The kit, of which a representative selection of components is shown in the drawings, basically comprises a plurality of ground beams 10 which can be positioned to form a foundation frame, a plurality of storey-height external wall panels 30 which can be supported on and secured to the beams of the foundation in an arrangement forming an external shell, an optional plurality of storey-height internal wall panels 50 which can be supported on and secured to the beams of the foundation to form a party wall division of the shell in the case of construction of a semi-detached or terraced dwelling, and a plurality of floor units 70 selectably securable to the beams to form a ground-level floor or to the wall units to form an upper-level floor. The numbers of ground beams, wall panels and floor units in the kit determine the building height, area and plan outline and are chosen in accordance with architectural and customer requirements.

The ground beams 10 are made of pre-cast concrete and are provided in three basic forms, namely outer beams 10a to define a polygonal boundary of the frame, a divider beam 10b to form a crosspiece extending between opposite sides of the boundary so as to provide support for a party wall when present, and intermediate tie beams 10c to span areas between the boundary and the crosspiece or between opposite sides of the boundary, depending on the size of the frame. The polygonal boundary can be, for example, square or rectangular and optionally with a recess or projection (bay) incorporated in one or more sides. To form the frame, the beams 10 are placed on prepared spaced-apart foundation pads 11 of hard core material, or on piles, with discrete intermediate load-bearing levelling packers 12 of plastics material. The packers themselves are separated by cement and sand dry packing supports 13. The pads/piles and supports do not form part of the kit as such, but the packers, as also other subsequently mentioned facings, fasteners and manufactured items can be included in a supplied kit as supplementary components. The areas between the beams are partly filled with a blinding 14, which again is not part of the kit, to cover the regions between the pads, but leave a space for an underfloor void or cavity as mentioned further below.

The beams 10 have securing points to enable securing to the foundation pads 11 or piles, for example bores 15 cast into the beams and receiving steel bars inserted through the bores and into corresponding bores in the pads or piles. The boundary beams 10a and divider beams 10b additionally have securing points to enable securing of the wall panels 30 and 50, respectively, particularly bores 16 for receiving stainless steel expansion bolts 17 passing through holes in the panels (see further below) and expansible in the bores to grip the material of the respective beam.

For support of the floor units 70 forming the ground-level floor, the boundary beams 10a and divider beams 10b have rebates 18 receiving end portions of the units. These beams also have, in the rebates, cast-in inserts 19 co-operable with securing devices for securing the floor units to the beams, in particular galvanised light-gauge steel U-section members drilled to receive stainless steel screws 20 passing through holes in bottom sections of the floor units (see further below).

As evident from FIG. 1, the boundary beams 10a have the rebates 18 only at edges of sides facing inwardly of the shell, whereas the divider beams 10b have the rebates at edges of two opposite sides.

The boundary beams 10a also incorporate plastics material ducts 21 which serve for venting a void below the floor units 70 to outside the erected building.

A plurality of the storey-height external wall panels 30 are supported on the beams 10 to form a single-storey external shell or the lower storey of a multi-storey shell and a further plurality of the panels 30 can be supported on those of the first plurality to form an upper storey. Each external wall panel 30 comprises, as one of two main constituents, a stud frame 31 of cold-rolled light section steel galvanised for corrosion resistance. The steel can, if desired, be recycled material. The frame is composed of channel-section members riveted together and extending vertically, horizontally and at an inclination, more specifically vertical studs, horizontal studs in the form of base tracks, joists and intermediate braces between the vertical studs, and inclined lattice elements. The disposition of the members is such as to bound window and door apertures in the intended locations; within each construction kit, the external wall panels may vary with respect to the provision or otherwise of these apertures. A window aperture 32 is shown, by way of example, in the lower wall panel 30 depicted in FIG. 1. This aperture is bounded at the base by a pre-cast concrete sill 33 and incorporates a double-glazed window unit 34, the sill and window unit being fitted in the panel as supplied in the kit.

The other main constituent of each external wall panel 30 is an external cladding 35 of lightweight weatherproof material, in particular glass-reinforced concrete, with an external facing 35a of cast architectural concrete and an internal lining 35b. The glass-reinforced concrete material is waterproof, non-combustible, rot-resistant, highly resistant to impact and resistant to ultraviolet light degradation, chemical pollutants and stresses imposed by freeze-and-thaw cycles. Moreover, the material can be precoloured and, if desired, textured, for example stippled or patterned in any desired manner, as well as provided with moulded features, such as an overhang moulding 36 in the region of the junction of vertically adjoining external wall panels 30 to relieve the surface planarity and to provide moisture protection for the lower panels.

The cladding 35 of each external wall panel 30 is attached to the frame 31 of that panel at a spacing from the frame by a plurality of tie elements in the form of stainless steel gravity and flex anchors 37. The anchors 37, which are disposed at predetermined spacings, are embedded in the internal lining of the cladding and are fixed to webs of vertical stud members of the frame by stainless steel self-drilling screws in conjunction with plastics material washers (not shown) which impart a measure of flexibility and prevent galvanic interaction of the stainless steel and galvanised steel.

At its side facing the cladding 35, the frame 31 of each external wall panel 30 has a thermally insulating layer 38 of foil-faced phenolic foam, which is held against the frame by stainless steel retaining plates 39 incorporated in the anchors 37. The thermal insulation layer 38 is itself spaced from the cladding 35 so that an air cavity 40 is present in the panel 30.

As already mentioned, the external wall panels 30 forming a single-storey shell or lower storey of a multi-storey shell are supported on and secured to the boundary beams 10a of the foundation frame formed by the beams 10. The expansion bolts 17 securing these panels to the boundary beams pass through holes formed in a base flange of the lowermost horizontal stud of each panel frame 31. Each panel rests on the top of the adjoining boundary beam 10a by way of plastics material levelling packers 41 and a pitch-polymer damp-proof membrane 42, the latter applied to the base of the panel during manufacture. The membrane 42 extends a short distance up the panel 30 at its side facing into the building shell and also extends beyond the outer side of the panel and downwardly over a chamfered outer edge of the adjoining boundary beam 10a. Weep tubes (not shown) can be positioned at intervals below the cladding 35 of the panel 30 to drain any moisture from the air cavity 40.

The external wall panels 30 intended to form an upper storey of the shell, in cases where one is to be provided, are essentially the same as those for the lower storey, but with obvious adaptations to accommodate the elevated location. The previously mentioned overhang moulding 36 is provided at the base of the panels 30 for the upper storey. Each upper storey panel 30 is mounted on a lower storey panel with interposition, between the frames 31 thereof, of a galvanised steel flanged support bracket 42 of lazy ‘Z’ section which serves to provide a securing point for floor units 70 intended to form the upper-level floor. Plastics material levelling packers 43 are disposed on top of the bracket 42. The two panels 30 disposed vertically one above the other and with interposed bracket 42 and packers 43 are secured together by stainless steel screws 44 passing through the bottom horizontal member of the frame 31 of the upper panel 30 and top horizontal member of the frame 31 of the lower panel 30. The bracket 42 can additionally be fixed to the top horizontal member of the frame of the lower panel by fixing screws before the top panel is placed in position.

The membrane 11 present at the base of the upper external wall panel 30 is, in this instance, positioned to extend under the overhang moulding 36.

Adjacent external wall panels 30 present in the same wall and forming part of the same storey of the shell are connected together at vertical junctions by equidistantly spaced bolts (not shown) fastening together vertical edge studs of the frames 31 of the panels, load-bearing plastics material packers being positioned between opposing faces of the studs. The vertical junctions of the claddings 35 of the panels 30 are sealed by silicone sealant.

The finished lower or upper panel 30 can be of desired size and weight, preferably with maxima in these respects of 6×3 metres and 2 tonnes. The panel is constructed and designed at the outset to accommodate conventional services such as electrical wiring and pipe runs, which are fitted on site together with internal facings.

In addition to the external wall panels 30, the construction kit includes corner cladding elements (not shown) to define exterior corners of the shell at corner junctions of the claddings 35 of the panels. The corner cladding elements essentially consist of L-section rails of glass-reinforced concrete secured by screws to the claddings 35 to cover the corner junctions.

The internal wall panels 50, which are present when a party wall division of the shell is required, similarly include a first plurality intended to be supported on and secured to the beams 10, in particular the divider beams 10b, to form a single-storey division and optionally a second plurality intended to be supported on and secured to the panels 50 of the first plurality to form an upper storey division. Each internal wall panel 50 comprises a stud frame 51, again of cold-rolled light section galvanised steel, with vertical and horizontal studs riveted together. One side of the frame is faced with a sheet or sheets 52 of cement particle board attached to the frame by self-drilling screws at predetermined intervals.

To form a single-storey or lower storey party wall dividing the shell, or more specifically part of such a wall, two of the internal wall panels 50 are positioned in back-to-back relationship at a spacing to bound an air cavity 53, thus to form a cavity wall unit, and are supported on the top of an associated part of a divider beam 10b of the foundation frame. The two panels so positioned are secured to the beam 10b by the afore-mentioned expansion bolts 17, which extend through holes in base flanges of the lowermost horizontal studs of the panels and into the bores 16 in the beam 10b. Each panel 50 rests on the beam 10b by way of plastics material levelling packers 54.

If the party wall is multi-storey, the upper storey division is formed in similar manner from further internal wall panels 50 positioned in back-to-back relationship at a mutual spacing and supported on the panels 50 forming the lower-storey party division. The upper panels 50 are secured to the lower panels 50 in substantially the same manner, in particular by stainless steel screws 44 with interposition of the flanged support brackets 42 and packers 43. A foil-faced fire/smoke barrier element 55 is included in the air cavity of the formed party wall to extend upwardly and downwardly a short distance from the interface of the upper panels 50 and lower panels 50.

The internal wall panels 50 are, in addition, secured at the top of the party wall to adjacent ceiling joists by galvanised steel straps 56.

Adjacent internal wall panels 50 at the same level can be fastened together at vertical junctions by fastening devices engaging the frames 51 of those panels.

The internal wall panels 50 can include, similarly to the external wall panels 30, provision for inclusion of services, such as wiring, insofar as this may be appropriate. Insulation can be applied on site to the panels 50 forming the party wall.

The kit also includes smaller supplementary internal wall panels 60 mounted on top of those forming the party wall—whether of single-storey or multi-storey height—to form a party wall division of a roof space. A roof is normally sloped to meet the external wall panels 30 of the shell directly, but will be elevated above a party wall otherwise of the same height as the shell and accordingly the supplementary internal wall panels 60 are needed to extend the division into the roof space. These supplementary panels 60 can be of essentially the same construction and assembled in the same manner as the panels 50, but fitted in conjunction with the roof itself. The supplementary panels 60 are secured at the lower ends thereof to the panels 50 directly thereunder by way of stainless steel self-drilling screws 61 and plastics material levelling packers 62 and at the upper ends thereof to a roof structure 63 by galvanised steel tie brackets 64 and suitable screws. A foil-faced fire/smoke barrier element 65 is located in the party wall cavity, in similar manner to the element 55, in the region of the interface of the panels 50 and 60.

The floor units 70 each comprise a joist, which is in the form of a lattice girder 71 constructed from riveted light gauge cold-rolled sections of galvanised steel, and an oriented strand board 72 fixed by self-drilling screws to the top of the girder 71 to form a floor surface covering, more specifically an individual part of a larger-area covering. The girders 71 with associated boards 72 are of such a length as to span juxtaposed beams 10 of the frame foundation, thus two opposite boundary beams 10a or a boundary beam 10a and opposing divider beam 10b. The girders 71 are seated at end portions thereof in the provided rebates 18 of the beams 10 and secured, as already mentioned, by the screws 20 engaging in the inserts 19 in the beams 10a or in the beams 10a and 10b, the floor units thus having a suspension form of mounting. The screws 20 pass through holes in a bottom flange of a lowermost section of each girder 71. The roof structure 63 can comprise, for example, a conventional timber framework or a framework of light-section steel trusses, in either case with a desired external covering.

Each floor unit 70 intended to form the ground-level floor is provided at its underside with thermal insulation in the form of a layer 73 of foil-faced, ridged urethane foam, which is extended to run down adjacent sides of the supporting ground beams 10. The unit 70 is also provided with a similar thermal insulation layer 74 at the ends of the girder 71, each layer 74 filling a space bounded by the top of the associated beam 10, the end of the girder 71, the adjoining panel 30 or 50 and an overhang of the board 72.

The floor units 70 intended to form the upper-level floor are of essentially the same construction as those for the ground-level floor, but lack the thermal insulation layers. The floor covering board 72 has no overhang and the girder 71 is supported on and secured by the support brackets 42 sandwiched between the lower and upper external wall panels 30 and, if a party wall is present, between the lower and upper internal wall panels 50.

A building constructed with use of a kit embodying the invention is completed by the roof structure 63 which, in addition to fastening to the supplementary panels 60, is secured at its perimeter to the shell formed by the external wall panels 30, in particular by angle brackets fixed by screws to top channel sections of the panels and to ceiling joists. Components forming the roof structure can be supplied as part of the kit or can be separate from the kit.

The kit enables economic construction of a shell complete with internal party wall division if needed, flooring at each required level and integrated doors and windows, the shell being weathertight and ready for incorporation of internal services, finishes, fittings and fixtures. The kit is simple and quick to erect and, in view of the durable nature of the materials making up the kit, assembly work can be undertaken even in inclement weather conditions. The use of metallic frames in the wall panels additionally offers the advantage of enhanced earthquake resistance of buildings constructed from the kit.