Title:
ROD POSITIONER AND ASSOCIATED METHOD
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A positioner is provided for maintaining a reinforcing rod in a certain position within a void of a building unit. The positioner is sized and shaped to be attached to a reinforcing rod before the rod is inserted into the void of one or more concrete blocks or other building units. The positioner has a slot portion that fits onto the rod as well as two biased support portions that extend from the slot portion to engage the rod in a clip-like manner. The support portions are designed to engage the sidewalls of the void and may be compressible towards the rod while maintaining engagement with the rod to allow the rod and positioner to be inserted into voids that have narrower widths due to excess grout or other restrictions within the void.



Inventors:
Manware, Ronald (Claremont, NC, US)
Reinhardt, Jeremy D. (Catawba, NC, US)
Application Number:
11/625382
Publication Date:
07/24/2008
Filing Date:
01/22/2007
Assignee:
HICKORY SPRINGS MANUFACTURING COMPANY
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
52/684
International Classes:
E04C5/16
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
QUAST, ELIZABETH A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ALSTON & BIRD LLP (CHARLOTTE, NC, US)
Claims:
That which is claimed:

1. A positioner for maintaining a reinforcing rod in a particular position within a void of a building unit defined by one or more sidewalls, the positioner comprising: a centrally-located slot portion configured to engage the rod and prevent movement of the positioner in the axial direction with respect to the rod; a first support portion extending from the slot portion and being configured to engage a first portion of a sidewall defining the void; and a second support portion extending from the slot portion and being configured to engage a second portion of a sidewall defining the void; wherein the first and second support portions define first and second ends that are biased towards the rod and help secure the positioner to the rod so as to maintain the position of the rod within the void.

2. The positioner of claim 1, wherein the first and second ends are configured to tangentially engage the rod.

3. The positioner of claim 1, wherein the first support portion includes a first engagement section that is configured to engage the first portion of the sidewall, the second support portion includes a second engagement section that is configured to engage the second portion of the sidewall, and the first and second engagement sections do not lie substantially in one plane.

4. The positioner of claim 1, wherein the positioner is asymmetric about a central axis of the positioner.

5. The positioner of claim 1, wherein the positioner comprises a single piece of metal that is bent at a plurality of locations along the piece to form the slot portion, the first support portion, and the second support portion.

6. The positioner of claim 1, wherein the positioner comprises a wire.

7. The positioner of claim 6, wherein the positioner comprises a spring wire.

8. The positioner of claim 1, wherein the first support portion is configured to engage the rod at a location along the rod that is spaced a first distance from a location at which the slot portion is configured to engage the rod, wherein the second support portion is configured to engage the rod at a location along the rod that is spaced a second distance from the location at which the slot portion is configured to engage the rod, and wherein the first distance is different from the second distance.

9. The positioner of claim 1, wherein the first and second support portions are configured to be compressible towards a central axis of the positioner.

10. The positioner of claim 9, wherein, when the positioner is attached to the rod, the first and second ends are configured to move with respect to the rod while maintaining engagement of the first and second support portions with the rod.

11. The positioner of claim 9, wherein, when the positioner is attached to the rod, the first and second support portions are configured to allow the rod to be inserted into the void past at least one restriction, the restriction resulting in a width of the void that is less than a width of the uncompressed positioner and more than a width of the fully compressed positioner.

12. A positioner for maintaining a reinforcing rod in a particular position within a void of a building unit defined by one or more sidewalls, the positioner comprising: a centrally-located slot portion configured to engage the rod and prevent movement of the positioner in the axial direction with respect to the rod; a first support portion extending from the slot portion and being configured to engage a first portion of a sidewall defining the void; and a second support portion extending from the slot portion and being configured to engage a second portion of a sidewall defining the void; wherein the first and second support portions define first and second ends and at least one of the first and second support portions is moveable towards the rod while maintaining engagement of the first and second ends with the rod.

13. The positioner of claim 12, wherein the first support portion includes a first engagement section that is configured to engage the first portion of the sidewall, the second support portion includes a second engagement section that is configured to engage the second portion of the sidewall, and the first and second engagement sections do not lie substantially in one plane.

14. The positioner of claim 12, wherein the positioner is asymmetric about a central axis of the positioner.

15. The positioner of claim 12, wherein the positioner comprises a single piece of metal that is bent at a plurality of locations along the piece to form the slot portion, the first support portion, and the second support portion.

16. The positioner of claim 12, wherein the positioner comprises a wire.

17. The positioner of claim 16, wherein the positioner comprises a spring wire.

18. The positioner of claim 12, wherein the first and second ends are configured to be biased against the rod.

19. The positioner of claim 18, wherein the first and second ends are configured to tangentially engage the rod.

20. The positioner of claim 12, wherein the first support portion is configured to engage the rod at a location along the rod that is spaced a first distance from a location at which the slot portion is configured to engage the rod, wherein the second support portion is configured to engage the rod at a location along the rod that is spaced a second distance from the location at which the slot portion is configured to engage the rod, and wherein the first distance is different from the second distance.

21. The positioner of claim 12, wherein the first and second support portions are compressible towards a central axis of the positioner.

22. The positioner of claim 21, wherein, when the positioner is attached to the rod, the first and second support portions are configured to allow the rod to be inserted within the void past at least one restriction, the restriction resulting in a width of the void that is less than a width of the uncompressed positioner and more than the width of the fully compressed positioner.

23. A method of positioning a reinforcing rod within a void of a building unit defined by one or more sidewalls, the method comprising: moving the rod into a slot portion of a positioner; moving a first end of the positioner into biased engagement with the rod; moving a second end of the positioner past the first end and past the rod into biased engagement with the rod; and inserting the rod and positioner into the void.

24. The method of claim 23 further comprising bending a single piece of metal at a plurality of locations along the piece to form the slot portion, a first support portion including the first end, and a second support portion including the second end.

25. The method of claim 23, wherein moving the first end comprises engaging the rod at a location along the rod that is spaced a first distance from a location at which the slot portion engages the rod, and wherein moving the second end comprises engaging the rod at a location along the rod that is spaced a second distance from the location at which the slot portion engages the rod, the first distance being different from the second distance.

26. The method of claim 23 further comprising moving the rod and positioner into engagement with at least one portion of a sidewall of the void.

27. The method of claim 23, wherein inserting the rod and positioner into the void comprises pushing the rod past at least one restriction, the restriction resulting in a width of the void that is less than a width of the uncompressed positioner and more than a width of the fully compressed positioner.

28. The method of claim 23 further comprising removably attaching a plurality of positioners at a plurality of locations along the rod.

29. The method of claim 28 further comprising rotating at least one of the positioners about a central axis of the rod such that the slot portions of the positioners are not aligned.

30. The method of claim 23 further comprising filling the void with cementitious material after inserting the rod and positioner.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to reinforcing masonry construction and, more specifically, positioning reinforcing rods within voids formed in masonry units.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Concrete is a material that is commonly used in construction. For example, Concrete Masonry Units (CMUs), such as blocks of cinder concrete (cinder blocks), ordinary concrete, or hollow tile are often used to construct walls or other structural elements of a building. Although concrete possesses very high compressive strength, the tensile strength of concrete is significantly lower. As a result, reinforcing rods or bars, also known as rebar, are frequently used to strengthen masonry construction against tensile forces.

In order to allow for the reinforcement of the concrete, CMUs are often formed with voids. Typically, a reinforcing rod is placed into one of the voids, such as a void that is in a location within the structure that will experience greater tensile stresses, and the rebar is then held in place within the void by filling the void with grout. A wall, for example, may be built by laying multiple rows of CMUs such that the voids are aligned or partially aligned from one row to the next. A reinforcing rod may then be inserted into one of the long voids formed by the multiple aligned voids, and grout may be poured into the long void to hold the reinforcing rod in place.

Placement of the rod in the center of the void is a significant factor in the resulting tensile strength of the structure, and building codes often specify a minimum tolerance for the placement of such reinforcing rods. This is because rods that are not centered will be closer to one or more of the sidewalls of the void than the other sidewalls, and the grout will not evenly surround the rod within the void.

Manually positioning the rods within the voids, and then maintaining the correct position as construction proceeds, is difficult, if not impossible. As a result, there have been several attempts made to facilitate the placement of reinforcing rods. For example, one device that has been used is a bracket, such as the Steel-Wich™ described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,141,937, that is placed across a void of one of the topmost blocks after several rows of blocks have been laid to position one or more rods within a void before the next row of blocks is laid. Another device that has been used is a spacer that may be attached to the rod before the rod is inserted into the void such that the spacer extends between opposite corners of the void, centering the rod, as described in U.S. Pat. No. 2,714,817.

These and other devices for positioning reinforcing rods have several drawbacks. Brackets that span the void must be installed during construction, before the next row of blocks is laid, so that the brackets may be held in place by the weight of the next row of blocks. Furthermore, the brackets themselves must be accurately positioned to ensure that the rod held by the bracket will be centered within the void. Other types of devices, such as spacers, must be installed on the rod before the rod is inserted into a void, and so the spacer must fit easily onto the rod to facilitate assembly in the field. At the same time, the configuration of the spacer must resist disassembly or detachment from the rod as the rod is inserted into the void. Furthermore, the presence of excess mortar/grout along the sidewalls of the void, caused by grout squeezing into the void each time a row of CMUs is added, may create a restriction within the void, making the insertion of the rod and spacer even more difficult. All of these issues slow down construction, increase building costs, and risk generating code violations and structural flaws if the reinforcing rods are not accurately positioned.

Thus, there remains a need for a positioner that maintains a desired position of a rod within a void, is easier to assemble and use in the field, provides a more secure connection with the rod during insertion of the rod into the void, and allows the rod to be inserted into and positioned within the void despite restrictions within the void.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention generally relates to a positioner for maintaining a reinforcing rod in a desired position within a void defined by one or more sidewalls of a building unit. Advantageously, in one embodiment, the positioner includes a single piece of spring wire that defines a centrally-located slot portion and first and second support portions extending from the slot portion. The support portions are configured to engage the sidewalls defining the void. The first and second support portions define first and second ends that are biased towards the rod and help secure the positioner to the rod so as to maintain the position of the rod within the void. Thus, it is easy to manually attach a positioner to a rod and to insert the assembled rod and positioner into the void of a building unit to position the rod and subsequently reinforce the structure.

In one embodiment, the positioner includes a centrally-located slot portion, a first support portion extending from the slot portion, and a second support portion extending from the slot portion. The slot portion is configured to engage the rod and prevent movement of the positioner in the axial direction with respect to the rod. The first support portion is configured to engage a first portion of a sidewall defining the void, and the second support portion is configured to engage a second portion of a sidewall defining the void. The first and second support portions define first and second ends that are biased towards the rod and help secure the positioner to the rod so as to maintain the position of the rod within the void.

In some embodiments, the first and second ends are configured to tangentially engage the rod. The first support portion may include a first engagement section that is configured to engage the first portion of the sidewall, and the second support portion may include a second engagement section that is configured to engage the second portion of the sidewall such that the first and second engagement sections do not lie substantially in one plane. Furthermore, the positioner may be asymmetric about a central axis of the positioner.

The positioner may comprise a single piece of metal that is bent at a plurality of locations along the piece to form the slot portion, the first support portion, and the second support portion. In some embodiments, the positioner comprises a wire and may further comprise a spring wire.

The first support portion may be configured to engage the rod at a location along the rod that is spaced a first distance from a location at which the slot portion is configured to engage the rod, while the second support portion may be configured to engage the rod at a location along the rod that is spaced a second distance from the location at which the slot portion is configured to engage the rod. In such embodiments, the first distance may be different from the second distance.

In some embodiments, the first and second support portions are configured to be compressible towards a central axis of the positioner. When the positioner is attached to the rod, the first and second ends may be configured to move with respect to the rod while maintaining engagement of the first and second support portions with the rod. Furthermore, the first and second support portions may be configured to allow the rod to be inserted into the void past at least one restriction, where the restriction results in a width of the void that is less than a width of the uncompressed positioner and more than a width of the fully compressed positioner. In some embodiments the first and second support portions define first and second ends and at least one of the first and second portions is moveable towards the rod while maintaining engagement of the first and second ends with the rod.

In other embodiments, a method is provided for positioning a reinforcing rod within a void of a building unit defined by one or more sidewalls. The method includes moving the rod into a slot portion of a positioner, moving a first end of the positioner to biased engagement with the rod, moving a second end of the positioner past the first end and past the rod to biased engagement with the rod, and inserting the rod and positioner in the void. In some embodiments, a single piece of metal may be bent at a plurality of locations along the piece to form the slot portion, a first support portion including the first end, and a second support portion including the second end.

Moving the first end may include engaging the rod at a location along the rod that is spaced a first distance from a location at which the slot portion engages the rod, and moving the second end may include engaging the rod at a location along the rod that is spaced a second distance from the location at which the slot portion engages the rod. In some embodiments, the first distance is different from the second distance.

The rod and positioner may be moved into engagement with at least one portion of a sidewall of the void. Furthermore, inserting the rod and positioner into the void may include pushing the rod past at least one restriction, the restriction resulting in a width of the void that is less than a width of the uncompressed positioner and more than a width of the fully compressed positioner. More than one positioner may be removably attached at a number of locations along the rod, and at least one of the positioners may be rotated about a central axis of the rod so that the slot portions of the positioners are not aligned. In addition, the void may be filled with cementitious material after the rod and positioner are inserted.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWING(S)

Having thus described the invention in general terms, reference will now be made to the accompanying drawings, which are not necessarily drawn to scale, and wherein:

FIG. 1 is a top plan view of a positioner according to one embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a plan view of the positioner of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a side plan view of a positioner that is attached to a reinforcing rod according to one embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 4 is a top plan view of a positioner that is attached to a reinforcing rod and is positioned within a void of a building unit according to one embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the positioner of FIG. 4; and

FIG. 6 is a top plan view of a void of a building unit showing restrictions according to one embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The present invention now will be described more fully hereinafter with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which some, but not all embodiments of the inventions are shown. Indeed, these inventions may be embodied in many different forms and should not be construed as limited to the embodiments set forth herein; rather, these embodiments are provided so that this disclosure will satisfy applicable legal requirements. Like numbers refer to like elements throughout.

The present invention generally relates to a positioner for maintaining a reinforcing rod in a certain location within a void of a building unit. As described further below, the positioner is configured to be attached to a reinforcing rod before the rod and attached positioner are inserted into the void. First and second support portions of the positioner are configured to engage the sidewalls of the void, holding the reinforcing rod within the void.

Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, the positioner 10 of one embodiment includes a slot portion 12, a first support portion 14, and a second support portion 16. The slot portion 12 is centrally-located about the positioner 10, as shown in FIG. 1, such that the first and second support portions 14, 16 extend from the slot portion 12. The slot portion 12 is configured (i.e., sized and shaped) to engage a reinforcing rod 30 (shown in FIGS. 3, 4, and 5) in a way that prevents movement of the rod 30 in the axial direction. For example, the slot portion 12 may be formed in a U-shape or a C-shape to engage a cylindrical rod 30, as shown in FIGS. 3, 4, and 5. Alternatively, the slot portion 12 may be other shapes to fit other types of reinforcing rods, such as rectangularly-shaped or V-shaped. In any case, the slot portion 12 is configured such that it may be manually attached to the reinforcing rod 30, for example by a construction worker at a construction site, and maintain the position of the rod 30 with respect to the positioner 10 (i.e., the rod 30 will not slide through or fall out of the slot portion 12) so that the rod and positioner may be inserted into and positioned within a void defined by the sidewalls of a building unit, as described below.

As illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2, each of the first and second support portions 14, 16 has a free end 18, 20, the first support portion 14 having a first end 18, and the second support portion 16 having a second end 20. Turning now to FIG. 3, the first and second ends 18, 20 may be configured to be biased against the rod 30 when the positioner 10 is attached to the rod 30. In this way, the first and second support portions 14, 16 may be biased to engage the rod 30 at circumferentially separate locations a, b along the rod 30. In other words, unlike with the slot portion 12, the first and second support portions 14, 16 may be configured such that the bias force of each support portion 14, 16 urges the respective support portion into engagement with the rod 30. For example, the first support portion 14 may be configured to tangentially engage the rod 30 at a point (e.g., at a) along the surface of the rod 30, and the second support portion 16 may be configured to tangentially engage the rod 30 at a different point (e.g., at b) along the surface of the rod 30. These points of engagement may be separated both axially and circumferentially as illustrated, or the first and second support portions 14, 16 may be formed so that the points are aligned either axially or circumferentially or both. Specifically, in an unillustrated embodiment, the first and second support portions 14, 16 are formed so that one support portion engages the surface of the rod 30 at one point, and the other support portion engages the first support portion so that both effectively bias against the rod 30.

The bias of the support portions 14, 16 in the illustrated example urges the support portions 14, 16 towards the rod 30 from generally opposite directions, and thus the first and second support portions 14, 16 cooperate to engage the rod 30, creating a clip-like engagement of the rod 30. In addition, the configuration of the slot portion 12 and the first and second support portions 14, 16 may allow for the removal of the attached positioner 10 from the rod 30, for example by a construction worker at a construction site who wishes to attach the positioner 10 to a different location on the rod 30.

In some embodiments, such as the one shown in FIG. 3, the first and second support portions 14, 16 are configured to engage the rod 30 at locations along the rod 30 that are different distances away from the location at which the slot portion 12 engages the rod 30. In other words, the location at which the first support portion 14 is configured to engage the rod 30 may be spaced a first distance from the location at which the slot portion 12 is configured to engage the rod 30, and the location at which the second support portion 16 is configured to engage the rod 30 may be spaced a second, different distance from the location at which the slot portion 12 is configured to engage the rod 30. For example, the first support portion 14 may engage the rod 30 at a location a, the second support portion 16 may engage the rod 30 at a location b, and the slot portion 12 may engage the rod 30 at a location c, as pictured in FIG. 3. In this case, the first and second support portions 14, 16 are configured such that the distance ac is less than the distance bc. This may allow for easier attachment of the positioner 10 to the rod 30 by minimizing the interference of the first and second ends 18, 20 with each other during attachment, as described below.

Referring to FIGS. 4 and 5, once the positioner 10 is attached to a reinforcing rod 30, the rod and positioner may be inserted into a void 42 formed by the sidewalls 44, 46, 48, 50 of a building unit 40. The building unit 40 may be, for example, a cinder block or other concrete block formed with one or more voids through the block. More than one building unit 40 or rows of building units may be stacked on top of each other and held in place with cementitious material, such as grout, to form a structure or part of a structure, such as a wall or a foundation. In this case, the voids 42 of multiple building units may be aligned or partially aligned to form a longer void defined by the sidewalls 44, 46, 48, 50 of the multiple building units 40.

The first and second support portions 14, 16 of the positioner 10 are configured to engage a portion of one or more of the sidewalls 44, 46, 48, 50 of the building unit 40 which define the void 42 to maintain the position of the attached rod 30 within the void 42. For example, as shown in FIG. 4, the first support portion 14 may be configured to engage a first sidewall 44 (such as at an engagement location d), and the second support portion 16 may be configured to engage a second sidewall 48 (such as at an engagement location e). As a result, the positioner 10 maintains the position of the reinforcing rod 30 within the void 42.

The positioner 10 may have various dimensions and configurations to fit voids of different sizes and shapes. In some embodiments, the first support portion 14 includes a first engagement section 15 that is configured to engage the first sidewall 44, and the second support portion 16 includes a second engagement section 17 that is configured to engage a second sidewall 48, as shown in FIGS. 4 and 5. Each of the first and second engagement sections may be generally planar, extending from one bend in the respective support portion 14, 16 to an outermost portion that is configured to engage the sidewall (e.g., at d or e) to another bend in the respective support portion 14, 16, as shown in FIGS. 4 and 5. In these embodiments, the first and second engagement sections 15, 17 lie in different planes. For example, the first engagement section 15 may lie in a plane that is parallel to the plane in which the second engagement section 17 lies, or the first engagement section 15 may lie in a plane that intersects the plane in which the second engagement section 17 lies. In other words, engagement sections 15 and 17 do not lie in substantially the same plane. Furthermore, the positioner 10 may be asymmetric about a central axis f of the positioner 10, as shown in FIG. 1 and other figures.

The positioner 10 may comprise a single piece of metal that is bent at multiple locations along the piece to form the slot portion 12, the first support portion 14, and the second support portion 16. For example, a single piece of metal may be bent to form a slot portion 12 configured to fit and attach to the rod 30 and to form first and second support portions 14, 16 that extend out from the central axis f of the positioner 10 and are configured to engage the rod 30 as previously described and illustrated in FIG. 3. The piece of metal may be bent in numerous locations, and the bends may comprise angles of various degrees and/or gradual curves with various radii. In addition, the positioner 10 may be formed from a length of wire, and in particular may be formed from spring wire.

Referring to FIG. 3, the first and second support portions 14, 16 may be configured in some embodiments to be compressible towards the central axisf of the positioner 10. For example, in a positioner 10 that is attached to a rod 30, the first and/or second support portions 14, 16 may be urged towards the rod 30 such that the width x of the positioner 10 when attached to the rod 30, as measured from a location along the first support portion 14 that is configured to engage a sidewall to a location along the second support portion 16 that is configured to engage a sidewall, is decreased. Referring now to FIG. 6, the first and second support portions 14, 16 may thus be configured to allow the rod 30 to be inserted into a void 42 that has an effective width W′ that is less than the width of the uncompressed positioner 10 and more than the width of the fully compressed positioner 10.

For example, the standard width W of the void, as defined by the distance between opposite sidewalls 44, 48 or 46, 50 may be decreased as a result of excess grout or other debris adhered to one or more sidewalls 44, 46, 48, 50. In particular, as grout is applied to the top surface of a row of blocks and a subsequent row of blocks is laid on top of the grouted surface, excess grout may be pushed in the direction of the void by the force of the last row of blocks laid and, when hardened, the grout may create one or more restrictions 49 within the void 42. Such restrictions 49 may result in an effective width W′ of the void 42 that is less than the standard width W However, as previously described, the first and second support portions 14, 16 are configured to allow the rod 30 to be inserted into the void 42 past the one or more restrictions 49, ultimately positioning the rod 30 as shown in FIGS. 4 and 5. Thus, in some embodiments, the first and second support portions 14, 16 may be compressible to allow the positioner 10 and rod 30 to be moved past the restriction, the positioner 10 thereafter resuming an uncompressed shaped. Alternatively, the positioner 10 may maintain a compressed shape if necessary to engage the restriction 49 of the one or more sidewalls 44, 46, 48, 50, for example if the positioner 10 and rod 30 are not inserted past the restriction 49. Although the figures show the positioner 10 engaging two sidewalls 44, 48, it should be noted that in some embodiments the positioner 10 may engage only one of the sidewalls 44, 46, 48, 50 while still serving to position the rod in the desired location within the void. For example, the first support portion 14 may engage one sidewall 44 while the second support portion 16 may be recessed from its respective sidewall 48.

Furthermore, the first and second ends 14, 16 may be configured to move with respect to the attached rod 30 while maintaining engagement of the first and second support portions 14, 16 with the rod 30. For example, referring to FIG. 3, because the first and second ends 18, 20 are biased against the rod 30 when the positioner 10 is attached to the rod 30, the first and second support portions 14, 16 in some embodiments are free to move in the direction of the central axis f along the rod 30, as well as in a direction that is normal to the planes defined by the engagement sections 15, 17 while maintaining engagement with the rod 30. In other words, although the location a, b along the first and/or second support portions 14, 16 at which engagement with the rod 30 occurs may change, engagement may nonetheless remain continuous. In other embodiments, although one of the first and second ends 18, 20 may be separated from the rod in a radial direction when the support portions 14, 16 are compressed, the positioner is configured to maintain the position of the rod through engagement of the slot portion 12 and the remaining engaged support portion.

A method is also provided for positioning a reinforcing rod within a void of a building unit defined by one or more sidewalls. The rod is initially moved into a slot portion of the positioner. The rod, such as the cylindrical rod 30 shown in FIGS. 3, 4, and 5, may be moved into the slot portion 12 until the slot portion engages the rod and the rod is prevented from moving in the axial direction, as previously described. A first end 18 of the positioner 10 is then pushed to biased engagement with the rod 30. For example, the first end is pushed towards the rod until the first end comes in contact with the rod. Then a second end 20 of the positioner is moved past the first end 18 and past the rod to biased engagement with rod. For example, the second end may be moved toward the rod until it comes in contact with the rod, then pulled laterally (or in a direction that is perpendicular to the previous direction of motion) until the second end has cleared the rod. In this way, the second end of the positioner may achieve biased engagement with the rod at a location that is circumferentially separate from the location at which the first end engages the rod, as previously described. Once the slot portion and the first and second ends are engaged with the rod and the positioner is attached to the rod, the rod and positioner may be inserted into the void, as illustrated in FIGS. 4 and 5.

Multiple positioners may be attached to the rod at more than one location along the rod before inserting the rod and positioners into the void. For example, one positioner may be attached near one end of a reinforcing rod, and another positioner may be attached near the other end of the reinforcing rod. In this way, each positioner can position the part of the rod to which it is attached within the void, as previously described, with the effect that the entire length of the rod is maintained in the desired position. Furthermore, one or more of the positioners that are attached to the rod may be rotated about a central axis of the rod such that the slot portions of the positioners are not aligned. Using the previous example of two positioners attached to a rod, one on each end of the rod, the positioners may have been attached such that the open part of the slot portion (through which the rod was initially moved into engagement) of one positioner is aligned with the open part of the slot portion of the other positioner. With this alignment, both positioners may be pushed off the rod if a strong force is applied to both positioners at similar locations and from a similar angle, such as from the same restriction along the sidewall of the void as the rod and positioners are being inserted into the void. However, the rotation of one of the positioners so that the slot portions are no longer aligned may minimize the risk that both the positioners of this example would become detached from the rod.

In many embodiments, after the rod and positioner (or positioners) are inserted into the void and positioned as desired, the void is filled with cementitious material to hold the reinforcing rod in place within the void. For example, grout can be poured into the void such that the hardening of the grout around the rod secures the rod to the building units and thus serves to reinforce the structure.

Many modifications and other embodiments of the inventions set forth herein will come to mind to one skilled in the art to which these inventions pertain having the benefit of the teachings presented in the foregoing descriptions and the associated drawings. Therefore, it is to be understood that the inventions are not to be limited to the specific embodiments disclosed and that modifications and other embodiments are intended to be included within the scope of the appended claims. Although specific terms are employed herein, they are used in a generic and descriptive sense only and not for purposes of limitation.