Title:
Deep Foundation Construction Bracket and System
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A bracket for a deep foundation construction system includes a rail and channel structure including an integrated top plate having a substantially flat surface for mounting to a first beam. A post having a first end is mounted to a channel portion of the rail and channel structure. The post opposes the substantially flat surface of the top plate. The post is oriented substantially perpendicular to the top plate. The post incorporates a second end adapted to couple to a screw or push pile apparatus.



Inventors:
Van Horn, Daryl Scott (Snowflake, AZ, US)
Van Horn, La Dawn (Snowflake, AZ, US)
Application Number:
11/669599
Publication Date:
07/31/2008
Filing Date:
01/31/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
405/232
International Classes:
E02D5/28
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
FERENCE, JAMES M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
GRIFFITHS & SEATON PLLC (St. Paul, MN, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A bracket for a deep foundation construction system, comprising: a rail and channel structure including an integrated top plate having a substantially flat surface for mounting to a first beam; and a post having a first end mounted to a channel portion of the rail and channel structure, wherein the post: opposes the substantially flat surface of the top plate, is oriented substantially perpendicular to the top plate, and incorporates a second end adapted to couple to a screw or push pile apparatus.

2. The bracket of claim 1, further including a gusset structure, mounted to the channel portion of the rail and channel structure and the post, to provide structural support.

3. The bracket of claim 1, wherein the post further includes a sleeve structure, integrated into the second end of the post, for receiving a first end of the screw or push pile apparatus.

4. The bracket of claim 1, wherein the screw or push pile apparatus further includes a helical pier.

5. The bracket of claim 1, wherein the bracket is comprised of steel, iron, or a metal alloy material.

6. The bracket of claim 1, further including an aperture integrated into the top plate for receiving a bolt.

7. The bracket of claim 3, wherein the sleeve structure is adapted to receive a substantially round or square first end of the screw pile.

8. The bracket of claim 1, further including a strap structure mounted to the channel portion and adapted to couple to the first beam to provide uplift resistance.

9. The bracket of claim 8, wherein the strap is mounted to the channel portion using a lag bolt and spacer apparatus.

10. The bracket of claim 1, wherein a first end of the first beam is mounted to a first end of a second beam using a lag bolt apparatus.

11. The bracket of claim 1, wherein the first beam is further comprised of engineered, glued laminated timber (GLU-LAM) to provide structural support.

12. The bracket of claim 1, further including a cavity formed into a side surface of the post for securing the post to the push or screw pile apparatus using a bolt apparatus.

13. A construction bracket, comprising: a top plate having an integrated rail and channel structure for structural support, the top plate having a substantially flat, top surface for mounting to a beam; and a sleeve coupled substantially perpendicular to the channel structure of the top plate for receiving a first end of a push or screw pile apparatus.

14. The construction bracket of claim 13, further including a gusset mounted to the sleeve and channel structure to provide structural support.

15. The construction bracket of claim 13, further including a strap mounted to the channel structure and adapted to couple to the beam to provide uplift resistance.

16. The construction bracket of claim 13, further including a cavity formed into a surface of the sleeve to secure the sleeve to the first end of the push or screw pile apparatus.

17. A bracket for a deep foundation construction system, comprising: a top plate having a substantially flat surface for mounting to a beam; and a sleeve portion mounted substantially perpendicular to the top plate for receiving a first end of a push or screw pile apparatus.

18. The bracket of claim 17, further including a gusset mounted to the top plate and sleeve portion to provide structural support.

19. The bracket of claim 17, further including a strap mounted to the top plate and adapted to couple to the beam to provide uplift resistance.

20. The bracket of claim 17, further including an aperture integrated into the top plate for receiving a bolt.

21. A method of constructing a building foundation, comprising: securing a screw pile apparatus in the ground to a predetermined depth and torque; securing a bracket to a first end of the screw pile apparatus, the bracket including a channel structure having an integrated top plate with a substantially flat surface for mounting to a beam, and a post, oriented substantially perpendicular to the top plate and mounted to a surface of the channel structure opposing the flat surface of the top plate, the post having a first end adapted to secure to the first end of the screw pile apparatus; and securing the beam to the bracket.

22. The method of claim 21, wherein the bracket further includes a gusset structure mounted to the channel structure and the post to provide structural support.

23. The method of claim 21, wherein securing the beam to the bracket further includes mounting a strap to the beam and securing the strap to the channel structure of the bracket using a lag bolt apparatus to provide uplift resistance.

24. A method of manufacturing a bracket for a deep foundation construction system, comprising: providing a top plate having an integrated rail and channel structure for structural support, the top plate having a substantially flat, top surface for mounting to a beam; and providing a sleeve coupled substantially perpendicular to the channel structure of the top plate for receiving a first end of a screw pile apparatus.

25. The method of manufacture of claim 24, wherein a gusset is mounted to the sleeve and channel structure to provide structural support.

26. The method of manufacture of claim 24, further including providing a strap mounted to the channel structure and adapted to couple to the beam to provide uplift resistance.

27. The method of manufacture of claim 24, further including forming a cavity into a surface of the sleeve to secure the sleeve to the first end of the screw pile apparatus.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates in general to construction, and more particularly to a deep foundation construction bracket and system.

2. Description of the Prior Art

Foundations are structures that transmit loads from a building or road to the underlying ground. Typically, foundations use footings, slab elements that act as the foundation, transferring loads from the superstructure to the ground.

Most foundations extend underground, and the foundations of large buildings often penetrate to the bedrock. One common type of foundation consists of walls that extend below the frost line and transfer the weight to wider footings. Other kinds of foundations include Slab-on-grade foundations.

The primary dangers to a foundation are movement and uneven support. Change in ground water table is a common cause of foundation failure. Flowing water can remove supporting soil from underneath a bridge foundation and freezing water can heave the supporting soil in one direction and then in the other direction when it thaws.

Changes in soil moisture can cause so-called “reactive” clay soil to swell and shrink. This swelling can vary across the footing due to seasonal changes or the effects of vegetation removing moisture. The variation in swell can cause a footing sitting on the reactive foundation soil to distort, cracking the structure over it. This is a particular problem for house footings in semi-arid climates such as South Australia, Southwestern USA, Israel, and South Africa where wet winters are followed by hot dry summers.

In regions where soil conditions pose challenges, or where concrete is in short supply, so-called “deep foundations” can be constructed. Drilled shafts, or piers are often used in the deep foundation industry because they provide an economical alternative to other types of deep foundations. Drilled piers are typically formed by excavating a cylindrical borehole in the ground and then placing reinforcing steel and fluid concrete in the borehole. The excavation may be assisted by the use of drilling fluids, casements or the like. When the concrete hardens, a structural pier suitable for load bearing results. These piers may be several feet in diameter and 50 feet or more deep. They are typically designed to support axial and tensile compressive loads.

Alternatively, driven piles may be used as foundation elements. Particularly in soft soils, where shaft excavation may be difficult due to caving of the soil, driving piling has long been a suitable alternative to drilled-shaft piers. Conventionally, a pre-formed or pre-cast element is driven into the soil using either a high-speed vibratory driving tool or large percussive hammers. Typically, driven piles can be composed of solid pre-cast concrete, solid steel beams, or steel pipe piling. A wide variety of materials and shapes for driven pilings are known to those skilled in the art, including tapered piles, I-beams, and the like.

A finished structural foundation element such as a pier or pile has an axial load bearing capacity which is conventionally characterized by components of end bearing (qb) and side bearing, which is a function of skin friction (fs). Loads applied at the top end of the element are transmitted to the sidewalls of the element and to the bottom of the element. The end bearing capacity is a measure of the maximum load that can be supported there, and it will depend on numerous factors including the diameter of the element and the composition of the geomaterial (soil, rock, etc.) at the bottom of the shaft. The side bearing capacity is a measure of the amount of load capable of being borne by the skin friction developed between the side of the pier/pile and the geomaterial. Side bearing capacity depends on numerous factors, including the composition of the foundation element and the geomaterial forming the side of the element, which may vary with length (depth). The sum of the end bearing and side bearing capacities generally represents the total load that can be supported by the element without sinking or slippage, which could cause destructive movements for a finished building or bridge atop the foundation.

Although it is desirable to know the maximum end bearing and side bearing for a particular pier or driven pile, it is difficult to make such measurements with a high degree of confidence. Foundation engineering principles account for these difficulties by assigning end bearing and load bearing capacities to a foundation element based on its diameter and depth, the geomaterial at the end of the element and along its side, and other factors. A safety factor is then typically applied to the calculated end bearing and side bearing capacities. These safety factors are chosen to account for the large number of unknown factors that may adversely affect side bearing and end bearing, including geomaterial stress states and properties, borehole roughness generated by the drilling process, geomaterial degradation at the borehole-shaft interface during drilling, length of time the borehole remains open prior to the placement of concrete, residual effects of drilling fluids, borehole wall stresses produced by concrete placement, and other construction-related details. For example, it is common to apply a safety factor of 2 to the side bearing so as to reduce by half the amount calculated to be borne by skin friction. Likewise, a safety factor of 3 is often applied to the calculated end bearing capacity, reflecting the foregoing design uncertainties and others.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In addition to driven piles or shaft piers, specialized structures referred to as “screw piles” can be used for foundational elements. A common example is the so-called “Helical Pier“ ® manufactured by A.B. Chance Incorporated. Screw piles such as helical piers can be secured in the ground to a particular depth and torque. Generally, the greater the applied torque, the greater load that the pile will support.

While screw piles, such as helical piers, have been known for many years, their use has not been applied in many settings. In general, most residential home construction still makes use of concrete foundational elements, which can be expensive and prone to failure in some conditions.

Therefore, what is needed is an apparatus, system and method which utilizes screw piles (or other pile or pier structures) effectively and efficiently, particularly with regard to residential construction. Such an apparatus, system or method should be compliant with existing building codes, and compatible with existing building materials, so as to make implementation straightforward, cost-effective and time-efficient.

Accordingly, in one embodiment, the present invention is a bracket for a deep foundation construction system, comprising a rail and channel structure including an integrated top plate having a substantially flat surface for mounting to a first beam, and a post having a first end mounted to a channel portion of the rail and channel structure, wherein the post opposes the substantially flat surface of the top plate, is oriented substantially perpendicular to the top plate, and incorporates a second end adapted to couple to a screw or push pile apparatus.

In another embodiment, the present invention is a construction bracket, comprising a top plate having an integrated rail and channel structure for structural support, the top plate having a substantially flat, top surface for mounting to a beam, and a sleeve coupled substantially perpendicular to the channel structure of the top plate for receiving a first end of a push or screw pile apparatus.

In still another embodiment, the present invention is a method of manufacturing a bracket for a deep foundation construction system, comprising a top plate having a substantially flat surface for mounting to a beam, and a sleeve portion mounted substantially perpendicular to the top plate for receiving a first end of a push or screw pile apparatus.

In still another embodiment, the present invention is a method of constructing a building foundation, comprising securing a screw pile apparatus in the ground to a predetermined depth and torque, securing a bracket to a first end of the screw pile apparatus, the bracket including a channel structure having an integrated top plate with a substantially flat surface for mounting to a beam, and a post, oriented substantially perpendicular to the top plate and mounted to a surface of the channel structure opposing the flat surface of the top plate, the post having a first end adapted to secure to the first end of the screw pile apparatus, and securing the beam to the bracket.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

In order that the advantages of the invention will be readily understood, a more particular description of the invention briefly described above will be rendered by reference to specific embodiments that are illustrated in the appended drawings. Understanding that these drawings depict only typical embodiments of the invention and are not therefore to be considered to be limiting of its scope, the invention will be described and explained with additional specificity and detail through the use of the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1A illustrates an example construction bracket according to the present invention in a side view;

FIG. 1B illustrates an example construction bracket according to the present invention in an end view;

FIG. 1C illustrates an example construction bracket according to the present invention in a top view;

FIG. 2A illustrates an example construction bracket secured to the ground and a beam in a side view;

FIG. 2B illustrates an example construction bracket for use in high wind or hurricane prone areas, the bracket secured to the ground and a beam;

FIG. 3A illustrates an example construction bracket for use in high wind or hurricane prone areas in a side view;

FIG. 3B illustrates an example construction bracket for use in high wind or hurricane prone areas in an end view;

FIG. 3C illustrates a close up view of a post portion of the construction bracket shown in FIGS. 3A and 3B.

FIG. 4A illustrates a three dimensional representation of an example bracket according to the present invention in a first view;

FIG. 4B illustrates a three dimensional representation of an example bracket according to the present invention in a second view;

FIG. 5A illustrates a construction system including an example bracket according to the present invention in a first view;

FIG. 5B illustrates a second construction system including an example bracket according to the present invention in a second view; and

FIG. 6 illustrates an example method of construction using an example bracket according to the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Reference throughout this specification to “one embodiment,” “an embodiment,” or similar language means that a particular feature, structure, or characteristic described in connection with the embodiment is included in at least one embodiment of the present invention. Thus, appearances of the phrases “in one embodiment,” “in an embodiment,” and similar language throughout this specification may, but do not necessarily, all refer to the same embodiment.

The schematic flow chart diagrams included are generally set forth as logical flow chart diagrams. As such, the depicted order and labeled steps are indicative of one embodiment of the presented method. Other steps and methods may be conceived that are equivalent in function, logic, or effect to one or more steps, or portions thereof, of the illustrated method. Additionally, the format and symbols employed are provided to explain the logical steps of the method and are understood not to limit the scope of the method. Although various arrow types and line types may be employed in the flow chart diagrams, they are understood not to limit the scope of the corresponding method. Indeed, some arrows or other connectors may be used to indicate only the logical flow of the method. For instance, an arrow may indicate a waiting or monitoring period of unspecified duration between enumerated steps of the depicted method. Additionally, the order in which a particular method occurs may or may not strictly adhere to the order of the corresponding steps shown.

Furthermore, the described features, structures, or characteristics of the invention may be combined in any suitable manner in one or more embodiments. In the following description, numerous specific details are provided, to provide a thorough understanding of embodiments of the invention. One skilled in the relevant art will recognize, however, that the invention may be practiced without one or more of the specific details, or with other methods, components, materials, and so forth. In other instances, well-known structures, materials, or operations are not shown or described in detail to avoid obscuring aspects of the invention.

A construction bracket for use with screw or push piles can be implemented which is compliant with local building codes and makes use of existing construction materials to form a cost-effective, efficient foundation solution for areas with soil conditions, lack of resources, or poor quality building materials. Turning to FIG. 1A, an example construction bracket 10 is shown. Bracket 10 can be composed of steel, iron, a high-strength, lightweight alloy material, or any other material known in the art which is suitable for such an application.

Bracket 10 includes a rail and channel structure 12, here viewed from the side. In one embodiment, a section of so-called “channel iron” can be utilized. A post or sleeve structure 14 is coupled to the underside of rail and channel structure 12. The post 14 is coupled at approximately the center area of the channel portion of the structure 12, as will be further seen. A rail portion 20 of rail and channel structure 12 extends from a top surface 18 downwards on opposing sides. Post 14 is oriented on an opposing side of structure 12, in an approximately and substantially orthogonal position to structure 12 as shown. Post 14 can be secured by any method known in the art to structure 12, including common welding techniques.

In one embodiment, structure 12 is approximately 10 inches in length. Structure 12 is approximately 1 and ½ inches in height (from bottom of rail to top surface 18). Structure 12 is approximately 4 inches wide. In addition, post 14, in one embodiment, can be 8 inches in height. In one embodiment, a gusset structure 16 is secured between the structure 12 and post 14 to provide structural support and transfer a load vertically towards the post 14. Gusset 16 can be approximately 3 inches by 3 inches in length and height. Bracket 10 can be coated with a material which inhibits the formation of rust or corrosive effects.

A substantially flat, top surface 18 is shown integrated into structure 12. The top surface 18 can receive a bottom surface of a beam structure. FIGS. 1B and 1C further illustrate bracket 10 in an end view, and a top view, respectively. In another embodiment, a structure 12 having a top plate 18, without use of rail portions 20 (not shown) can be used. In such an application, a higher-strength steel or metal alloy may be necessitated to accommodate the same load transferred to a rail and channel structure 12 as depicted. As an alternative to use of higher strength materials, structure 12 including such a top plate 18 as described can make use of thicker surfaces 18.

Turning to FIG. 2A, an example construction system 26 which utilizes bracket 10 is illustrated. Bracket 10 is secured to a beam structure, in this case an engineered timber structure known as a glued, laminated timber (GLU-LAM) beam 36 using lag bolts 28. In one embodiment, four, ½″ ×4″ lag bolts are secured through the bracket 10 to the beam 36. In other embodiments, certain other beam structures such as various other types of engineered lumber materials known in the art, pre-cast concrete, steel or metal alloy materials, and the like can be used as beam 36 to suit a particular application.

Bracket 10 is secured to a screw pile apparatus, in this case, a helical pier 30. Helical pier 30 has integrated helical structures 32 to grip the soil 34 and provide torque. The post portion 14 of bracket 10 can be configured as a sleeve, fitting over an end of the pier 30. An interior surface of the post 14 can be cylindrical in shape (not shown) and slightly larger than the inserting, cylindrical end of the pier 30. The sleeve portion of post 14 can also be adapted to receive a rectangular-shaped inserting end.

In one embodiment, a series of lag bolts 38 can be used to join corners of the beam 36. In one embodiment, three, ½″ ×10″ lag bolts can be used in each corner of the beam 36 structure. A series of so-called “I-joists” 42 are hung from joist hangers 44 having associated flanges. In one embodiment, part number PRO 250 type joists can be utilized, which are manufactured by Truss Joist Incorporated (TJI)®. In a final step, a layer of sheathing such as 1 and ⅛″ tongue-and-groove (T&G) plywood is secured to the top surface of the GLU-LAM beam 36 and series of joist structures 42, 44.

Referring to FIG. 2B, a separate embodiment of a construction system 46 for higher wind conditions or hurricane-prone environments is depicted. System 46 includes a bracket 52, along with elements depicted in FIG. 2A, including the beam 36, pier 30, and the like. A strap apparatus 50 such as a Simpson® FHA strap is secured to the beam 36 with nails 48. Strap apparatus 50 has an angled shape, which extends from beam 36 as shown to a position below bracket 52. A lag bolt 51 is used in combination with a spacer apparatus 49 to secure the strap 50 to the bottom of the bracket 52 as shown. Use of the strap 50 provides significant uplift resistance in accordance with local and regional building codes in certain areas.

In addition to the strap apparatus 50 depicted in FIG. 2B, the post section 14 of bracket 52 can be secured to the end of a pier 30 to provide additional uplift resistance. Turning to FIGS. 3A and 3B and 3C, a bracket 52 is shown with a nut which has been welded to a side surface 56 of the post 14. The nut is secured to the post with welds or similar mechanisms. A cavity 60 is created within the side surface 56 and within a surface of the pier 30 as shown. A bolt 62 with associated threads 64 is driven into the nut apparatus 54, and fills the void of the cavity 60 as shown to secure the post 14 to the pier 30 and provide corresponding uplift resistance.

Turning to FIG. 4A, another example embodiment of a bracket 10 is shown in a first, three dimensional view. Bracket 10 again includes rail and channel structure 12, post portion 14, substantially flat surface 18 which is formed along the entire lateral surface 66 of structure 12, rail structures 20, and channel structure 22. FIG. 4B shows a second, three dimensional view of the bracket 10, in this case more clearly depicting channel structure 22. Post 14 is seen coupled by welds to approximately the central portion of channel structure 22, with corresponding gusset structure 16.

FIG. 5A depicts a bracket 10 in use in an example foundational element 58. Bracket 10 is shown disposed over a portion of pier 30. Here, as before, post 14 functions as a sleeve to receive a portion of the pier 30, either in cylindrical fashion (as shown) or rectangular (not shown). A GLU-LAM beam 36 is shown mounted to the bracket 10. A plurality of joists 42 are shown coupled to the beam 36 using hangers 44, which are attached to the top of beam 36 as shown with nails 68 or similar fasteners. The plurality of joists 42, along with beams 36, bracket 10 and pier 30, form an efficient and effective foundational element 58 as shown upon which to place additional sheathing such as plywood. Traditional building materials and construction techniques are maintained, as a structure is built upon the foundational element 58.

FIG. 5B depicts more clearly the attachment of two beams 36 at a corner. Bolts 38 are used to secure a first beam 36 to a second beam 36 in each corner as shown. In the depicted example, a pier 30 having a rectangular inserting end is received within the post 14 portion of bracket 10. Although the pier 30 has been shown to be inserted into a receptacle of pier 30, any joining or connecting method which is known in the art can be used to couple the pier 30 to the post portion 14. For purposes of leveling a foundational element 58, or when necessary, shims or similar materials can be positioned between a bracket 10 and a beam 36 to raise a portion of the foundational element.

FIG. 6 depicts an example method 70 of construction using a construction system (e.g., system 26) to fabricate a foundational element (e.g., element 58). Method begins (step 72) with a worker securing a screw or push pile apparatus into the ground, such as a helical pier. In the case of a helical pier 30, the pier 30 is secured into the ground to a predetermined depth and torque (step 74). As a next step, a bracket 10 is secured to a first end of the screw pile apparatus (step 76). Again, the pile apparatus can be inserted into a sleeve-like apparatus of post 14, or the pile apparatus can be connected to the post 14 in another fashion.

As a next step, a beam structure such as a GLU-LAM beam is secured to the bracket 10 (step 78) using lag bolts or a similar fastener. Method 70 then ends (step 80) as other, conventional methods of construction are implemented to further construct a structure.

Implementation of a method such as example method 70, which utilizes a bracket 10 as part of a deep foundational construction technique, provides a cost-effective, flexible, and efficient solution in many cases, particularly where soil conditions or access to building materials are a concern. While one or more embodiments of the present invention have been illustrated in detail, the skilled artisan will appreciate that modifications and adaptations to those embodiments may be made without departing from the scope of the present invention as set forth in the following claims.