Title:
Prefabricated rapid response accommodation structure
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A kit containing all parts necessary for erecting a prefabricated building, or dwelling unit, suitable for normal human occupancy. The building is comprised of prefabricated panels that contain all the necessary cutouts to accommodate prefabricated plumbing and electrical assemblies. The kit also includes all necessary piping and wiring needed to connect such plumbing and electrical assemblies to external sources. The kit will also contain a plurality of adjustable supporting legs for supporting and leveling the building on location.



Inventors:
Day, Mark O. (Jackson, LA, US)
Application Number:
11/789654
Publication Date:
10/30/2008
Filing Date:
04/25/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
52/309.4, 52/782.1
International Classes:
E04B1/343; E04B1/348
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
SADLON, JOSEPH
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
KEAN MILLER LLP (BATON ROUGE, LA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A prefabricated building kit comprised of: a) building structural members including: i) a plurality of adjustable legs for supporting said building; ii) a foundation for said building which foundation is comprised of a rigid beam open structure having outer beams defining the perimeter of said building and at least one cross member beam extending from one side of the open beam structure defining the perimeter to the opposite side; iii) a plurality of wall panels of suitable size and shape to form exterior and interior walls of said building; iv) a plurality of floor panels of suitable size and shape for forming said floor of said building; v) a securing device for securing the bottom of said wall panels forming the outside and interior walls of said building; vi) a plurality of roof panels of suitable size and shape for forming the roof of said building; b) plumbing components including: a toilet, a sink, a shower unit, all piping, faucets, shower head and valves necessary to make all plumbing components functional, and the necessary plumbing conduits for bring water into and bringing waste water products out of said building, wherein there is provided cutouts and securing devices at predetermined locations in the interior of said building for all plumbing components and conduits; c) electrical members including: lighting fixtures, a temperature control unit, a plurality of electrical outlets and switches, an electrical safety disconnect panel for the interior of the building, an electrical panel for the exterior of said building for receiving electrical power from an outside source, and all necessary wiring and circuit breakers to make the electrical members fully operational, wherein a plurality of said prefabricated panels contain cut-outs, securing devices, or both for securing the electrical members at predetermined locations.

2. The prefabricated building kit of claim 1 wherein the wall panels, the floor panels and the roof panels are comprised of a core of insulating material sandwiched between a sheet metal front face and a sheet metal back face.

3. The prefabricated building kit of claim 2 wherein the insulating core is comprised of a foam material.

4. The prefabricated building kit of claim 3 wherein the foam material is selected from the group consisting of expanded polystyrene, expanded polyisocyanurate and expanded polyurethane.

5. The prefabricated building kit of claim 4 wherein the foam material is an expanded polystyrene and the sheet metal is comprised of aluminum.

6. The prefabricated building kit of claim 1 which includes a hot water tank.

7. The prefabricated building kit of claim 1 wherein the wall panels, the floor panels, and the roof panels have two lateral side and which lateral side have integral thereto a snap and lock type securing system wherein one side of panel can be secured to a side of an adjacent panel.

8. The prefabricated building kit of claim 1 which also includes at least one furnishing selected from a bed, a clothes closet, a chair and a table.

9. The prefabricated building kit of claim 8 which includes all of a bed, a clothes closet, a chair and a table.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to a kit containing all parts necessary for erecting a prefabricated building, or dwelling unit, suitable for normal human occupancy. The building is comprised of prefabricated panels that contain all the necessary cutouts to accommodate prefabricated plumbing and electrical assemblies. The kit also includes all necessary piping and wiring needed to connect such plumbing and electrical assemblies to external sources. The kit will also contain a plurality of adjustable supporting legs for supporting and leveling the building on location.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

There is a continuing and growing need for rapid response prefabricated accommodation structures, such as dwelling units capable of providing living quarters for one or more persons. Such dwelling units are in great need during times of both human and natural disasters, such as wars, hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, etc., for providing shelter for individuals, as well as for entire families. It is speculated that the phenomenon of global warming will increase the incidence of natural disasters, particularly hurricanes. Also, there is growing demand for living space throughout the world with the migration of large sections of the population, in particular the so-called “third world countries” due to wars and poor economies. It is important that such rapid response dwelling units be provided as a kit so that the entire dwelling, along with plumbing and electrical systems can be constructed in a matter of a few hours. Such rapid response dwelling units can also be used during non-disaster times as camps for construction projects in rural locations, as fishing and hunting camps, offices, clinics, temporary school buildings, and the like.

There are numerous prefabricated, both modular and non-modular, buildings known in the art. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 6,766,619 teaches a kit of structural building parts for rapid erection and assembly to form a living space. The building comprises a central prism-like element and corresponding outer elements arranged to form a cuboid structure. Also, U.S. Pat. No. 7,028,440 teaches modular homes comprised of interlocking panels that may form a building assembly comprised of walls and a roof.

Another type of prefabricated building kit is taught in U.S. Pat. No. 5,447,000. The building kit of this '000 patent is a containerized prefabricated building kit comprised of a cuboid frame having eight corners, twelve edges, two side walls, a floor and a roof. Also, U.S. Pat. No. 4,914,879 teaches a prefabricated building system with panels formed from steel studs, the panels provided with supporting runners on their inner and outer edges to secure the panels together.

While various prefabricated buildings are known, some of which have met with commercial success, there is still a need in the art for improved prefabricated building systems that are relatively inexpensive and that are capable of being erected, on site, within a matter of a few hours and being immediately available for human occupancy.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In accordance with the present invention there is provided a prefabricated building kit comprised of:

a) building structural members including:
i) a plurality of adjustable legs for supporting said building;
ii) a foundation for said building which foundation is comprised of a rigid beam open structure having outer beams defining the perimeter of said building and at least one cross member beam extending from one side of the open beam structure defining the perimeter to the opposite side;
iii) a plurality of wall panels of suitable size and shape to form exterior and interior walls of said building;
iv) a plurality of floor panels of suitable size and shape for forming said floor of said building;
v) a securing device for securing the bottom of said wall panels forming the outside and interior walls of said building;
vi) a plurality of roof panels of suitable size and shape for forming the roof of said building;
b) plumbing components including: a toilet, a sink, a shower unit, all piping, faucets, shower head and valves necessary to make all plumbing components functional, and the necessary plumbing conduits for bring water into and bringing waste water products out of said building, wherein there is provided cutouts and securing devices at predetermined locations in the interior of said building for all plumbing components and conduits;
c) electrical members including: lighting fixtures, a temperature control unit, a plurality of electrical outlets and switches, an electrical safety disconnect panel for the interior of the building, an electrical panel for the exterior of said building for receiving electrical power from an outside source, and all necessary wiring and circuit breakers to make the electrical members fully operational, wherein a plurality of said prefabricated panels contain cut-outs, securing devices, or both for securing the electrical members at predetermined locations.

In another preferred embodiment of the prefabricated building kit of this invention the electrical fixtures includes both a hot water tank.

In still another preferred embodiment of the present invention the vertical edges of the wall panels of the prefabricated building kit of the present invention include securing means wherein panels can be secured to each other by pressing an edge of one panel against the edge of another panel so that they snap into a locking secured position.

In yet another preferred embodiment of the prefabricated building kit includes one or more furnishing selected from a bed, a clothes closet, a chair and a desk.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an erected prefabricated building of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a plurality of square tubular beams secured together to form the foundation frame structure of a rectangular prefabricated building of the present invention.

FIG. 3 is cutaway perspective view of a partially completed floor for a prefabricated building of the present invention.

FIG. 4 is a sectional view taken along lines 4-4 of FIG. 1 hereof showing the relationship of an adjustable U-Leg, square tube foundation frame structure, floor panel, base channel and wall panel resting in the base channel.

FIG. 5 is a side view of the adjustable U-Leg of FIG. 4 hereof supporting a square tube foundation frame support member, floor panel, base channel, and wall panel resting in the base channel.

FIGS. 6A, 6B and 6 C show the various preferred adjustable supporting legs suitable for supporting the prefabricated building of the present invention at various locations of the square tubular foundation frame structure.

FIG. 7 is a corner elevation view of a partially erected building of the present invention showing one corner wall panel and an adjacent corner door panel interlocked with a corner post of the present invention.

FIG. 8 is a partial elevation view of two adjoining walls of a prefabricated building of the present invention showing a last wall panel being slid and interlocked between an adjoining wall panel front and a corner post.

FIG. 9 is a cross-sectional view of the bathroom of a prefabricated building of the present invention showing a roof beam for the roof, a wall cap, a toilet, and plumbing beneath the floor and a vent pipe.

FIG. 10 is an enlarged cross-sectional view showing the roof beam cap secured to a ridge beam and two roof panels and a roof cap.

FIG. 11 is a partial enlarged cross-sectional view of a wall cap secured to the top of a wall panel and the underside of a roof panel and a end panel cap PC.

FIG. 12 is a partial enlarge cross-sectional view of a corner post secured to two wall panels.

FIG. 13 is a top elevation view a preferred two room prefabricated building of the present invention showing a bathroom and a living area.

FIG. 14 is a partial perspective view of the foundation frame structure showing the attachment of two square tubular beams secured to a third square tubular beam.

FIG. 15 is an enlarged view of a preferred square tubular beam securing system wherein a U-bracket is used to secure two square tubular beams.

FIG. 16 is a top elevation view of a floor panel showing cutouts for incoming water and outgoing waste conduits from underneath the floor panel.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The prefabricated building kit of this invention can be one wherein the resulting erected building is of any suitable shape and convenient size for human occupation. It is preferred that the building be a polygon shape, more preferably square or rectangular. The erected prefabricated building will also preferably be one suitable for use as a dwelling for one or more persons displaced because of a natural catastrophe or on assignment at a remote location. The erected building will be stable, rigid and insulated by use of panels containing an insulating core. That is, the building's floor, roof and interior and exterior walls, will all be constructed of a plurality of structural panels of a suitable material wherein at least one exterior panel will contain a door and wherein at least one exterior panel will contain a window. By “of suitable material” means a material that is light weight for economical shipping and ease of construction as well as being capable of providing the required strength and stability to meet governmental regulations at the site where it is erected. Preferred materials for the structural panels are flat panels comprised of a light-weight insulating core sandwiched between fiberglass or metal skins, preferably aluminum or sheet steel skins, more preferably aluminum for weight reasons. The core will preferably be of an insulating foam material, such as those selected from molded expanded polystyrene (MEPS) foam board, extruded expanded polystyrene foam board and polyisocyanurate and polyurethane foam board. More preferred is MPES, which is an extruded polystyrene material. A preferred insulated panel is a panel available from Structall Building Supply which is comprised of a Styrofoam core having sheet metal front and rear faces. Such panels can easily be cut to required shape and size depending on the predetermined dimensions of the building. The one or more windows can be of substantially transparent plastic or of glass, preferably transparent plastic or a shatter resistant safety glass.

The two lateral sides of the structural panels are comprised of any suitable interlocking system wherein one lateral side of a sheet interlocks with an opposing lateral side of another panel. Each structural panel will contain both elements of the interlocking system. That is, one lateral side will have one element integral thereto and the other lateral side will have the complementary interlocking element integral thereto. Such interlocking systems are sometimes referred to as male/female; tongue-and-groove, etc. Preferred interlocking systems are those disclosed in U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,760,548; 4,186,399; 4,769,963; 5,086,599 all of which are incorporated herein by reference. More preferred are the interlocking systems disclosed in U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,769,963 and 5,086,599 which is sometimes referred to as a snap and lock system.

A snap and lock interlocking connecting system is preferred because it allows the structural panels to be jointed together simply by snapping, or sliding, them in place to an adjoining panel and provides a secure substantially leak-proof and air-tight fit. Thus, there is no need for additional securing devices along the length of the panels where they are joined. The more preferred panel for use in the practice of the present invention is a flat panel described in the aforementioned '963 patent wherein one longitudinal or lateral edge of the panel has a first pair of shaped ramp and groove interlock elements, each projecting from one of the thin metal sheets with a shaped wedge of foam core projecting outwardly between the pair of ramp and groove interlock elements. A second opposite longitudinal edge of the panel has a second pair of U-shaped interlock elements each projecting from one of the thin metal sheets with an indentation in the foam core conforming to the wedge of foam core projecting outwardly from an adjacent panel. Adjacent panels are locked together by sliding, or snapping by use of a rocking motion, the U-shaped interlock elements from one panel over the ramp and into the groove of an adjacent panel. The foam core from adjacent panels preferably meet in an edge to edge configuration as the respective interlock elements are snapped together.

Such an interlocking system, which is shown in FIG. 12 hereof eliminates, or at least substantially reduces, the need for additional fastening methods at the edges (joints), thus allowing the prefabricated building to be erected for normal human occupancy within a matter of a few hours, assuming that a fresh water supply line, sewer line and an electrical power source are available. By erected for normal human occupancy we mean that all components are provided in the kit so that the completed building contains all elements required to meet basic living needs, such as basic bathroom components, including a sink, toilet, shower, hot water tank and corresponding pipe and conduit; and all electrical fixtures including circuit breaker boxes, outlets, light fixtures with bulbs, and all the necessary wiring etc. The kit will contain plumbing and wiring assemblies that are of a size suitable for shipping in a shipping container that will require relatively low skilled workers to assemble the building. This is important in many parts for the world where the number of skilled plumbers and electricians is relatively low. Because much of the plumbing and electrical requirements are already preassembled and cutouts and attaching means are provided at predetermined locations on the panels of the buildings highly skilled plumbers and electricians are not needed. In fact, all electrical switches and outlets are supplied as one or more assemblies to be secured at predetermined locations on the interior wall, exterior wall, or both of the structure.

The kit will preferably also include all basic furniture such as bed, clothes closet, at least one chair etc. Other furnishing items that can be part of the kit of the present invention include a desk, and end table. Also preferred is that the kit include a temperature control unit. The temperature control unit can be an air conditioner, a heater, or a unit capable of providing both cooling and heating, which units are also referred to as “heating, ventilating, and air conditioning” (HVAC) units.

This invention will be better understood with reference to the figures hereof. FIG. 1 is a top perspective front view of a prefabricated building of the present invention. FIG. 1 shows a front exterior wall and a side exterior wall each comprised of a plurality of wall panels WP. One of the panels comprising the front exterior wall contains a door and is referred to herein as a door panel DP and another panel contains a window and is referred to as a window panel WinP. The door and window panels are preassembled and the door and window are an integral part of the respective panels of the kit. This figure also shows an HVAC unit HVAC which is a preferred item in the kit and which fits into a pre-cut opening in one or more panels so the panel(s) do not have to be cut on-site, which reduces the number of skilled workers required to assemble the kit. In fact, no cutting out for any fixtures, pipes, wires etc. is required on site. The kit can also preferably includes steps S leading to the door, a roof cap RC that runs the entire length of the peak of the roof. FIG. 1 also shows adjustable legs UL, IL, and CL that support the building at predetermined locations along the foundation frame structure and that rest on a suitable support pad SP of appropriate strength, such as concrete, wood, or a polymeric based material. Preferred are polymeric based materials that are capable of providing both light weight for shipping and strength for support.

FIG. 2 hereof shows a foundation frame structure FFS comprised of prefabricated beams of a material of adequate strength to support the building and onto which the floor panels are secured. Perimeter beams PB define the perimeter of the building and cross member beams CB provide stability to the foundation frame structure. Non-limiting examples of materials of which the foundation frame structure can be made include metal, preferably aluminum; wood, polymeric material, or a polymeric composite material. It is preferred that the foundation frame structure be comprised of a plurality of straight metal beams secured together, preferably by use of U-brackets and screws or bolts, to form the completed foundation frame structure. It is more preferred that the straight metal beams be of the square tubular type of suitable dimensions to support the intended building. The square tubular beams will typically be from about 2.5 by 2.5 inches to about 3.5 to 3.5 inches, preferably about 3 by 3 inches. This FIG. 2 also shows a plurality of adjustable legs UL, CL and IL each sitting on a support pad SP.

FIG. 3 shows a partially constructed floor of a building of the present invention. The floor is comprised of a plurality of floor panels FP that are secured to the top surface of the foundation frame structure as shown in FIG. 4 hereof. A base channel BC, which is preferably U-shaped, is provided along the perimeter of the frame structure as well as the interior where the walls are to be placed.

FIG. 4 hereof is a cross section along line 4-4 of FIG. 1 hereof showing the attachment of the floor panels FP to the foundation frame structure FFS and the exterior wall panel WP that sits in base channel BC and held in place by interlocking vertical sides IE of base channel BC.

This entire assembly can be secured together by any suitable means. It is preferred that it be secured as shown in FIG. 4 hereof by use of a plurality of screws, or bolts SSM that are driven along the base channel at pre-selected intervals and that extend through the bottom of base channel, through the corresponding floor panel and through the top of the foundation frame structure FFS. FIG. 4 also shows adjustable supporting leg UL which has a U-shaped bracket into which the square tube foundation frame structure fits and is secured. The interlocking vertical sides of the U-shaped bracket of adjustable supporting leg UL is preferably secured to the foundation frame structure by use a suitable securing means, preferably screws FFSM. The adjustable supporting legs will be more fully described in FIGS. 6A, 6B and 6C hereof.

FIG. 5 hereof is a side view of the base channel BC, floor panel FP and foundation frame structure FFS shown in FIG. 4 hereof with all similar parts similarly identified.

Any suitable building support system can be used in the practice of the present invention as long as it will allow for the height of the building to be adjusted and leveled on site. Preferred adjustable leg supports are those shown in FIGS. 6A, 6B and 6C hereof. Each of these three adjustable legs share similar parts except for the foundation frame structure supporting element FSSE that is used to secure it to the foundation frame structure at various locations. For example, each has a leg base LB and threaded shaft TS and at least one lock nut LN. There is also provided a stationary nut SN permanently attached to the threaded shaft by any suitable means, preferably by spot welding, so that the threaded shaft can be turned with a wrench to raise and lower the frame structure securing element FSSE. The selection of the particular adjustable leg will depend on the location of the foundation frame structure at which it is secured. For example, adjustable support leg CL will be used to support the frame structure at the corners of the building and thus the bracket is comprised of two vertical sides at right angles to each other. Adjustable supporting leg UL is used to support the frame structure at a free run position wherein there is no corner or other obstruction. Adjustable supporting leg IL is used to support the frame structure at a point where a cross-beam is secured to a perimeter beam, as shown in FIGS. 2, 3 and 7 hereof.

FIG. 7 shows a completed floor and a corner defined by wall panel WP of one wall and a door panel DP of an adjacent wall. The panels rest in a base channel, as previously described, and are joined at the corner by corner post CP which is shown in more detail in FIG. 12 hereof.

FIG. 8 is another perspective view of a partially completed building of the present invention, but showing a wall panel WP being slid into place at a corner between an adjacent wall panel and a corner post CP. The corner post contains two receiving means at right angles to each other for receiving a lateral side of a panel. Also shown is a panel containing a cutout CO for receiving and supporting one end of the roof beam RB which runs the entire length of the building and is supported by a cutout on the opposing wall (not shown).

FIG. 9 is a cross-sectional view of a building of the present invention showing a preferred arrangement of a ridge beam with respect to a wall panel and two roof panels which is better illustrated in FIG. 10 hereof. It also shows a wall panel cap at the roof which is better illustrated in FIG. 11 hereof. Also shown in this FIG. 9 is a partial view of the pluming conduits beneath the floor of the bathroom wherein cold and hot water lines are shown and sewer line SL from the toilet, sink and shower and to a clean-out cap COC and vent pipe VP. All conduits will be prefabricated to the degree necessary for shipping in a large crate. The only assembly necessary on site for the plumbing will be to secure several plumbing conduits together and to the main water supply and sewer line, which conduits will preferably be composed of PVC pipe. Most of the plumbing conduits will be secured as an assembly underneath the building floor by use of conventional securing means, preferably with use of metal brackets, metal straps, or both.

FIG. 10 is an enlarged cross-sectional view of a ridge beam RB and its relationship to a wall panel WP and roof panels RP which are held together by ridge beam cap RBC. Also shown is a roof cap RC which covers the entire length of the peak of the roof to prevent the outside elements from entering.

FIG. 11 is an enlarged view of a wall cap WC installed on top of the front and rear wall panels WP and which secure roof panels RP thereto. Also shown is optional panel cap PC which is used to cover all of the exposed sides of the structural panels.

FIG. 12 is a cross-sectional view of a corner post CP secured to two adjacent wall panels WP at a right angle to each other. FIG. 12 also shows a preferred interlocking system IS of the present invention which is describe in detail in U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,769,963 and 5,086,599 both of which are incorporated herein by reference.

FIG. 13 hereof is a floor plan of a completed prefabricated building of the present invention showing all plumbing and electrical fixtures as well as suitable furniture for a dwelling unit.

FIG. 14 shows square tubular beams of the foundation frame structure secured to each other. FIG. 15 shows a preferred means for securing the foundation frame beams to form the foundation frame structure. Square tubular beams B are secured to square tubular beams A by first securing U-bracket UB to square tubular beam A. Beams B are then brought to beam A so that brackets UB become inserted into the ends of beams B. Beams B are then secured to brackets UB by any suitable securing means, preferably be use of rivets, screws, or bolts.

FIG. 16 shows a floor panel FP for use for as the bathroom floor of a prefabricated building of the present invention wherein various cutouts COS are shown to accommodate plumbing conduits that will pass through the cutouts to bring fresh water into various bathroom elements and waste water products out of the bathroom.