Title:
S&T Jordan PowerStructure System
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention relates to flood resistant building structures, and more particularly to building structures that are floatable such that damage is reduced in the event of a flood. The invention includes significant improvements for combining various necessary elements to resist floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, high winds, fire, and bullets while not impeding on architectural aesthetics. It utilizes novel approaches to structural hold down and controlled ascent and descent during flooding.



Inventors:
Jordan, Alfred A. (Peculiar, MO, US)
Jordan, Troy L. (Cleveland, MO, US)
Application Number:
11/620382
Publication Date:
07/10/2008
Filing Date:
01/05/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04B1/34
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
MAYO-PINNOCK, TARA LEIGH
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Altred A Jordan (Peculiar, MO, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A building system that is highly energy efficient, that also resists tornados, hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, bullets, fires, said structure includes: a) a building structure having a floor structure integral with said building structure, b) trussed floor joists integral with said floor structure whereby said trussed floor joists support said floor structure and the contents of said building structure, c) rectangular beams integral with said floor structure, some of which are at least are disposed contiguously around the perimeter of said floor structure, whereby said rectangular beams support said floor joists and said building structure, d) wall system using structurally supporting members spaced where polystyrene panels are placed within panel voids to act as insulation, structural support, and a substrate for cementious covering or sheathing that is considerably lighter than typical building systems, e) a wall system holddown bolt or anchor tube that connects to the top plate of the wall holding the wall members down and together, f) flotation means defined by highly buoyant polystyrene blocks encapsulated in a UV protective and abrasion-resistant coating, g) a plurality of guide posts disposed within the structurally framed walls that are installed with tubes located within other tubes allowing controlled vertical ascension and descent in a telescopic manner, h) a holddown bolt connected to top of the inner tube of said guide post system that holds the said top wall plate down when not in flood mode, i) flanges on top of each outer guidepost that contact a collar plate as the structure rises to anchor structure at a limiting point during flood rise, j) a collar plate installed around the guide pole that will contact the top flange of the guide pole during structural ascent preventing the structure from floating away, k) seismic shock absorbers installed between foundation piers/walls and where floor system and guide posts make contact with foundation piers/walls and where piers make contact with subterranean footings, l) a cementious coating with flexible polymers on the exterior of the said walls that will stiffen the structure while providing flexural strength and bullet and fire resistance, said flood resistant structure configured such that, in a usual configuration, is supported by structural piers or structural foundation supports and will float above said foundation level in the event of a flood when flood waters cause the said buoyant material to force the structure upward until flood waters recede, at which point the structure will return to its original position and again be supported by the tera firma foundation.

2. The apparatus of claim 1 is further comprised of vertical tubing or vertical rods that protrude through the top plate of the structure's wall system and are held down and compressed by a nut and bolt assembly upon the top plate.

3. The apparatus of claim 1 is further comprised with a floor that allows interconnection with the vertical poles or vertical bars. The floor system includes openings for vertical tubular members to slide through when walls are erected.

4. The apparatus of claim 1 is further comprised a seismic shock absorber or damper installed beneath the pier or foundation footings.

5. A method for claim 1, the guide pole and anchoring system can be used in conjunction to be assembled laid out flat on top of a floor system with holes cut into the floor edges where the vertical poles will be mounted with the entire wall system including vertical tubes tilted up without machinery in most cases due to reduced weight load of the wall system when utilizing polystyrene providing the ability to do tilt-up framing, which is an important design consideration and further distinguishes this system from other vertically anchored structural systems, which typically require wall assembly and erection on ladders and lifts.

6. The apparatus of claim 1 is further comprised of vertical tubes placed within each other with holes drilled at a height that will be reachable from within the crawl space or basement void beneath the structure where a safety bolt, safety pin, or other restraining member will be inserted through the hole and fastened to secure the tubes to prevent vertical ascension when flooding is not imminent.

7. The apparatus of claim 1 is further comprised of a structural bottom plate connected to the outer tube that will be bolted to the foundation and a top flange with sufficient strength to stop vertical ascent of the structure when the structure makes contact with the top flange.

8. The apparatus of claim 1 is further comprised of an adjustable anchoring system for the outer tube where the base of the outer tube will have a receiver nut welded into the base plate that will receive a threaded bolt that will be connected to the foundation base plate, which will be bolted to the foundation.

9. The apparatus of claim 1 is further comprised of a stop plate hereby named the JBP Collar Plate, which will be screwed to the bottom wall plate member around the exterior guide pole at each guide pole location to act as a stop for the structure when it is rising and when safety bolts or safety pins are removed during flood stages where the plate is rectangular with a round hole in the center big enough for the outer tube to fit through with a small amount of clearance space and the plate is a two-part plate so that it can be installed after walls are erected.

10. A method for claim 1 whereas the said JBP Collar Plate will be attached to the bottom plate of the said wall and when flooding is imminent, the safety bolts are removed allowing the structure to ascend vertically, the outer tube described in claim 3 will have a top flange that will contact with the said JBP Collar Plate ensuring that the structure cannot lift higher than the height of the outer vertical tube and the combination of the vertical tubing, safety bolts, adjustable tie-down anchors, top flange, and said JBP collar plate hereby labeled as a sub-system named “Jordan Extension Pole” for identification purposes.

11. The apparatus of claim 1 is further comprised of highly buoyant material such as polystyrene or air baffles that will be attached to bar joists or grade beams using corrosion-resistant strapping or anti-corrosive structural wire mesh where amount of buoyant material required shall be sufficient to safely keep the structure afloat during flood stages and shall not be susceptible to UV degradation or abrasion by use of protective coatings.

12. The apparatus of claim 1 is further comprised of a seismic cushioning structural gasket placed at the base of each pole providing seismic cushioning for the floor system to rest upon.

13. The apparatus of claim 1 is further comprised of a seismic shock absorber or damper installed beneath the pier or foundation footings that acts as a redundant seismic shock absorber the whole foundation structure.

14. The apparatus of claim 1 is further comprised of safety anchor strapping to connect objects to the structure floor or walls to prevent potential damaging and loss-causing movement during ascent and descent of the previously described floatable structure.

15. The apparatus of claim 1 is further comprised of break away bolts for guide posts that will allow the entire anchoring assembly to break away if the upward stresses are consistent with or exceed pressures exerted when flood waters will cover the said structure when fully ascended thus preventing a complete loss of the structure allowing the structure to float free in an extreme flood situation.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD AND INDUSTRIAL APPLICABILITY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to flood resistant building structures, and more particularly to building structures that are floatable such that damage is reduced in the event of a flood. The invention includes significant improvements for combining various necessary elements to resist floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, high winds, fire, and bullets while not impeding on architectural aesthetics. It utilizes novel approaches to structural hold down and controlled ascent and descent.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to flood resistant building structures, and more particularly to building structures that are floatable such that damage is reduced in the event of a flood. The invention includes significant improvements for combining various necessary elements to resist floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, high winds, fire, and bullets while not impeding on architectural aesthetics.

The invention has been developed primarily for use with residential structures in relatively flood-prone areas, and will be described hereinafter with reference to this application. However, it will be appreciated that the invention is not limited to use in this field.

Historically waterways have been useful for transportation of goods and people, and as a water supply for industry and agriculture. Land near waterways, lakes and the like also tends to be aesthetically pleasing. For these and other reasons, early human settlements tended to be built relatively close to waterways, and rivers in particular. This pattern has been repeated over time, notwithstanding improvements in land-based transport and water distribution networks.

Unfortunately, land adjacent waterways and in low-lying areas is relatively prone to flooding. Flooding can cause tremendous emotional and financial damage as structures and businesses are damaged, and personal property destroyed. Worldwide, the annual cost of flood damage and displacement runs into many billions of dollars every year. For building occupants and owners this is a particularly pressing problem as it is frequently difficult or at least expensive to obtain insurance cover against flooding. Naturally, the more prone to flooding an area is, the more difficult it will be to obtain such insurance.

One of the difficulties of planning for buildings in flood prone areas is that floods occur at irregular intervals and that the magnitude of less common floods can be substantially greater than those floods that occur over a typical human lifetime.

Conventional buildings, such as the house 200 shown in FIG. 1, are built with a floor level 205 at or near ground level 125. Clearly this is an undesirable form of construction for use in flood-prone areas, simply because flood waters of any substantial depth can advance higher than the floor level. Further, such buildings can obstruct the flow and egress of flood waters, potentially exacerbating flooding problems. Regulatory bodies may therefore require an “above-grade” construction.

An example of the usual approach to above-grade construction is shown in FIG. 2. A conventional building 100 includes a superstructure 105 constructed atop piers 115 that are fixed into foundations in the underlying ground. This arrangement is used to permanently maintain the building superstructure 105 and its associated floor structure 110 at a predetermined height above grade level 125. The piers 115 are often braced 120 to reduce lateral movement in, for example, high winds. This arrangement allows low level floodwater to pass beneath the building without actually flooding the superstructure 105 or floor structure 110. This arrangement has been used since early civilisation, without fundamental changes other than in building materials and construction methods.

However, there are a number of specific disadvantages with the arrangement of FIG. 2, such as:

(a) flood waters may advance higher than the raised floor level 110;

(b) the fixed piers 115 may be unsightly, especially if they are relatively high to deal with correspondingly high potential flood water situations;

(c) building regulations may place restrictions on maximum roof or floor heights, which can prevent sufficiently long piers being used;

(d) in very low-lying areas or areas prone to deep flooding the required pier height can be considerably higher than is desirable given the need for day-to-day access for residents.

In an effort to mitigate some of the problems with fixed elevated structures, various techniques have been proposed for constructing floatable buildings at grade level on dry land.

One such technique is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,347,949 by Paul K. Winston (hereinafter referred to as “Winston”). As shown in FIG. 3, Winston discloses a prefabricated modular housing unit 300 for use in flood prone areas. In particular, there is shown a cross section of a floatable housing unit 300 floating on floodwater 305. The housing unit 300 uses flotation elements 310 formed from plastic liners 320 filled with foam 315. The flotation elements 310 are seated underneath a foundation 325 of wooden beams fastened to a conventional floor joist system.

The housing unit 300 is anchored to the building site through a series of telescopically extendible piers 330, in combination with a series of wooden pilings 340 that serve as a fixed dry-land foundation.

During a flood, the flotation elements 310 displace water until the entire weight of the building's superstructure is supported by them. As the flood waters continue to rise, the housing unit 300 is raised by the flotation elements 310, which act as pontoons. The building is maintained in a substantially constant lateral position by the extendible piers, which slide telescopically from their submerged recesses as the housing unit 300 is raised by the flotation elements 310.

The Winston arrangement suffers from a number of disadvantages. For example, the extendable telescopic piers 330 are exposed even in the retracted position, and can be subject to ingress of moisture and dirt over time. Moreover, the exposed portions of the piers 330 can corrode, inhibiting their subsequent extension. Additional corrosion can occur as floodwater rises and the telescopic piers 330 extend. Water even fills the extended telescopic piers 330, apparently to provide a damping effect. However, this also washes away protective lubricants, further accelerating corrosion.

In addition the foam filed plastic liners are potentially prone to degradation over the long term. Under normal conditions, access for inspection and maintenance to these units is limited. The foam liners also provide a ready means of ingress for termites to the building structure in regions where termites are active.

In addition, the Winston housing unit 300 is unstable when it floats and requires careful balancing of loads. On the heavy portion of the housing unit 300, larger foam flotation elements 310 are required. The load distribution in the housing unit 300 shifts as the building is furnished. To compensate for shifting loads, air bladders 350 at each corner of the housing unit 300 are required. The air bladders 350 are filled with proper amounts of air to provide a stable and level flotation. This is complex, inefficient and time consuming as it requires a compressor, a level measuring device and fine tuning (i.e. repeated inflation and deflation) of each air bladder to achieve a level flotation. For example, inflating a first air bladder often requires re-adjusting the air in the remaining three air bladders 350, which in turn can necessitate further re-adjustment of the first air bladder.

Furthermore the Winston disclosure does not reveal a manner whereby the additional buoyancy forces applied to the floor structure 325 from the bladders 350 can be transmitted laterally to support movable loads, such as people and furniture that are not directly over the bladders 350. Thus, with the disclosed floor joist system, it is likely that there will be relative movement within, and hence physical distress to, the housing unit 300.

Furthermore, the potential for a low pressure region between the ground, pontoons and floor of the Winston arrangement suggests that in some circumstances the housing unit 300 may not float.

Another technique proposed for constructing floatable buildings at grade level on dry land is disclosed in U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,647,693 & 5,775,847, by Herman Carlinsky et al (hereinafter referred to as “Carlinsky”). As shown in FIG. 4, Carlinsky discloses a prefabricated building 400 including a watertight basement 405, the floor and walls 410 of which are of unitary concrete constriction. Rollers 415 are attached to outer surfaces of the watertight basement (405).

As floodwater rises or recedes, the rollers 415 roll along a guide post/ratchet system 420 located adjacent respective corners of the watertight basement 405. The guide system 420 maintains the building 400 at or near the height reached during a peak of a given flood.

One embodiment disclosed by Carlinsky includes pressurised cylinders 430 for lifting the building 400 prior to a surge of floodwater and for breaking any vacuum formed under the basement 405 as the building first lifts under the influence of floodwaters.

The Carlinksy system suffers a number of disadvantages. For example, to reposition the building at ground level after even a minor flood, it is necessary to deploy lifting mechanisms at several points around the building perimeter. The provision of cranes or other lifting devices to achieve this is both costly and inconvenient.

Furthermore, Carlinsky does not disclose the manner in which the buoyancy forces generated during a flood are transferred from the unitary basement structure 405 to the rest of the building 400. Carlinsky also fails to disclose the way in which loads from the building superstructure are transmitted through the basement 405 to the post/ratchet system 420 in the post flood situation. It is likely that excessively large concrete cross sections will be required to achieve a sufficiently stiff and strong basement structure 405 if the building 400 is constructed according to the disclosure.

In addition, all debris under collecting under the basement during a flood must be removed before the building can be lowered into its normal position after a flood event.

The method of construction using a monolithic concrete basement 405 is potentially expensive and inappropriate on some sites or in some regions.

In addition, the Carlinsky system is cumbersome and potentially unreliable. The system relies on the actuation of pressurised systems 430 and a series of rubber seals, all of which may not reliably activate in a flood that may occur many decades after the building is constructed.

Both the Winston and Carlinsky systems suffer from another serious disadvantage. In each case, where flood waters continue to rise once the structure has reached its uppermost limit of travel, the buoyancy forces continue to rise. According to buoyancy theory, these forces are proportional to the amount of water displaced, and can therefore reach relatively large values. Three possible scenarios are then possible. Firstly the building subject to high water may simply float away off the top of its guides. Alternatively, the building can be constrained at the upper limit of its travel, but then risks being violently and unpredictably torn from the constraints under the influence of increasing flotation forces. Both scenarios are potentially disastrous and are worse than the consequences of the flooding event that the systems were trying mitigate. A final option is to construct the building and its guidance system robustly enough to resist the maximum buoyancy forces. However, this is relatively expensive.

A technique is also proposed for constructing a building or other structure that is supported above the water level during a flood. This is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,050,207, by Vance H. Mays (hereinafter referred to as “Mays”). As shown in FIG. 5, Mays discloses a building or other superstructure 1801 supported upon a frame 1803 supported by a series of pontoons 1809. The pontoons slide within casings 1802 and float on a controllable volume of liquid contained within the casings. Columns 1808 slide through a series of bearings and seals incorporated in a cover attached to the top rim of the casing. The frame 1803, and hence the building superstructure 1801 is supported upon the columns and restrained in a lateral position by the columns via the bearings in the casing.

When the building is raised the columns transmit the weight of the superstructure via the pontoons to the liquid in the casing. At other times the columns transmit this weight directly to the casing and thence to the foundation.

As the amount of liquid is varied within the casings the pontoons rise or fall, thus causing the superstructure to rise or fall. The amount of liquid in the casing is altered via a series of valves and pumps, these being actuated by electrical batteries and/or generators 1807. Sensors 1804 monitor the relative level of the structure and other sensor 1805 monitor the flood water level. Manual or computer control 1806 activates the system and acts to keep the structure level.

The Mays system suffers a number of disadvantages. For its basic operation the system relies upon a relatively complex system of electrical systems, mechanical systems and structures. Furthermore the flotation units are normally installed under the ground and so under normal conditions access for inspection and maintenance to these units is limited. Hence, these may not reliably activate in a flood that may occur many decades after the structure is constructed. This could result in damage to the superstructure or to the flotation units themselves.

For example failure of any one of the bearings, seals, valves, monitoring or control systems could cause one of the pontoons to “stick”. Alternatively failure of a seal or valve could cause an uncontrolled volume of fluid to enter the casing causing one pontoon to rise excessively. In either case this could cause damage to the flood support systems or to the building structure itself.

In addition the systems and structures disclosed by Mays are likely to be expensive relative to the cost of the superstructure. This has the potential to render the system economically unfeasible in many situations.

A technique is also proposed for constructing a building or other structure that is supported above the water level during a flood. This is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,347,487, by Paul Philip Davis (hereinafter referred to as “Davis”). Davis disloses an invenstion that relates to building structures that are floatable so that damage is reduced in the event of a flood. A sealed floor structure is described such that the entire superstructure can float under the influence of flood waters. The floor structure is supported above grade upon corbels and thence by a series of columns disposed around the perimeter of the building. The perimeter columns generally lie outside the superstructure envelope and continue up to or beyond the eaves level of the structure. As the building floats vertically these columns, via a sleeve mechanism, act to limit any horizontal movement of the structure. Mechanisms incorporated within the columns and floor structure limit the upward travel of the structure under the influence of flood waters.

The Davis system was not a source of inspiration for this proposed invention, but has some coincidental similarities, but significant disadvantages.

Placing guide columns on the exterior of the structure may be considered unattractive in many communities and may be prohibited by business associations or neighborhood associations interested in preserving property values. Furthermore, the placement of exterior guide columns may interfere with other necessary architectural components such as guttering, which will need to be specially placed to accommodate the exterior guide columns.

The Davis system is dependant on the structure resting upon a corbal that is connected to a square tubular pole as shown in FIG. 11. For the tubular guide and the corbal to be strong enough to support the structure during non-flood stage, a very heavy material will be necessary at higher cost than a lighter tube design that is only stopping upward forces. With the column support's exposure to weather conditions, it may require structural maintenance more frequently than an interior encased tube system, especially in salty-air environments near oceans or seas.

The Davis system does not transfer uplift load down from the wall top plate to the foundation and therefore does not adequately increase structural stability during high windage or loading situations. The Davis collar is mounted to the floor system, thus as wind load lifts the structure, the upper portion of the structure may rip away from the floor system. This can occur in a tornado or hurricane.

The Davis system does not have any perceivable seismic considerations in its design. No does it positively affect fire resistance or bullet resistance in its design.

The Winston, Carlinsky and Mays systems all suffer from a disadvantage in that they allow free vertical movement of the structure under the influence of buoyancy forces but they do not disclose a method whereby the building structure is prevented from upwards movement under the influence of wind loads. As a consequence potential exists for excessive damage to the building structure during a wind storm.

It is an object of the present invention to overcome or at least substantially ameliorate one or more of the disadvantages of the prior art.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF INVENTION

According to the first aspect of the invention, there is provided a building system that is highly energy efficient, that also resists tornados, hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, bullets, fires, said structure includes:

a) a building structure having a floor structure integral with said building structure,

b) trussed floor joists integral with said floor structure whereby said trussed floor joists support said floor structure and the contents of said building structure,

c) rectangular beams integral with said floor structure, some of which are at least are disposed contiguously around the perimeter of said floor structure, whereby said rectangular beams support said floor joists and said building structure,

d) wall system using structurally supporting members spaced where polystyrene panels are placed within panel voids to act as insulation, structural support, and a substrate for cementious covering or sheathing that is considerably lighter than typical building systems,

e) a wall system holddown bolt or anchor tube that connects to the top plate of the wall holding the wall members down and together,

f) flotation means defined by highly buoyant polystyrene blocks encapsulated in a UV protective and abrasion-resistant coating,

g) a plurality of guide posts disposed within the structurally framed walls that are installed with tubes located within other tubes allowing controlled vertical ascension and descent in a telescopic manner,

h) a holddown bolt connected to top of the inner tube of said guide post system that holds the said top wall plate down when not in flood mode,

i) flanges on top of each outer guidepost that contact a collar plate as the structure rises to anchor structure at a limiting point during flood rise,

j) a collar plate installed around the guide pole that will contact the top flange of the guide pole during structural ascent preventing the structure from floating away, k) seismic shock absorbers installed between foundation piers/walls and where floor system and guide posts make contact with foundation piers/walls and where piers make contact with subterranean footings,

l) a cementious coating with flexible polymers on the exterior of the said walls that will stiffen the structure while providing flexural strength and bullet and fire resistance,

said flood resistant structure configured such that, in a usual configuration, is supported by structural piers or structural foundation supports and will float above said foundation level in the event of a flood when flood waters cause the said buoyant material to force the structure upward until flood waters recede, at which point the structure will return to its original position and again be supported by the tera firma foundation.

Further aspects of the invention are disclosed in the accompanying detailed description and in the numbered paragraphs at the end of the specification.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWING

Preferred embodiments of the invention will now be described, by way of example only, where on-center (O.C.) spacing are for example and this invention applies to any structural spacing using this configuration, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1a is a sectional view of an at grade building with 4′ O.C. or less spacing as an implementation example according to this invention;

FIG. 1b is a sectional view of a foundation building with 4′ O.C or less spacing as an implementation example according to this invention;

FIG. 2a is a sectional view of an at grade building with 6′ O.C. or less spacing as an implementation example according to this invention;

FIG. 2b is a sectional view of a foundation building with 6′ O.C. or less spacing as an implementation example according to this invention;

FIG. 3a is a sectional view of an at grade building with 8′ O.C. or less spacing as an implementation example according to this invention;

FIG. 3b is a sectional view of a foundation building with 8′ O.C. or less spacing as an implementation example according to this invention;

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referring to the drawings there is a structural system that features the ability to float in a flood situation with controlled ascent and descent provided by telescoping guide tubes located within structural walls so as to not be visible from the exterior or interior of the finished structure. The structural system provides for a highly insulative wall system that is lightweight making the overall structure more buoyant.

The invention includes an anchoring system that prevents the structure from moving during non-flood times when there may be high wind loads that generate uplift on the structure. When floods are anticipated, safety holds are removed from the telescoping guide tubes that allow the inner tube to move upward, which in turn allows the entire structure to float upward. A plate connected within the wall limits the rise of the structure and prevents damage to the structure when the structure is stopped from further rising. The plate is specified to make installation easier by being designed as a two-part plate. A stop flange will be part of the outer pole that will make contact with the surrounding plate that will be attached the base of the wall, also known as the wall plate.

The inner tube consists of a bolt protruding from the top that penetrates the wall's structural top plate. This bolt is connected to the top plate with washers and nuts to hold the entire structure down when the structure is not in floating mode. If the structure is lifted by wind forces, the walls are compressed downward to prevent the upper portions of the walls from ripping away from the floor system. This sandwiching effect is superior to conventional holddown systems, which rely on the bottom plate holding down structuring members from below.

The wall system utilizes polystyrene solid core fill that can be covered with sheathing or ideally with cementious coating that provides weather resistance, structural rigidity, flexural strength, and exterior finish base. The use of exterior cementious material to coat the polystyrene will also result in increased fire resistance, bullet resistance, and wind resistance.

This structural system may be used in areas that are flood prone or where flooding is not an issue. In flood prone areas, the telescoping tubing would ideally be implemented, whereas in a non-flooding area, the outer tube would be omitted and the inner tube ran directly to the bolt set on the foundation from the top plate of the wall.

Within the system seismic considerations include a seismic absorber at the base of the floor system where the structure rests atop the pier/foundation. Furthermore, seismic dampers may be installed under the footings where increased seismic resistance is anticipated.

Although the invention has been described with reference to a number of specific examples, it will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that the invention can be embodied in many other forms.