Title:
Building System for Constructing Walls
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The invention concerns a building system for constructing vertical walls using wooden building blocks. The parallelepiped blocks comprise on their upper and lower surfaces a first groove (5a) extending over the entire length of said surfaces. The ridge between the upper surface and the outer surface of the blocks includes a chamfer (12) folding down part of the first groove over its entire length. The system further comprises a first block aligning tongue (6a) designed to be arranged horizontally between the first grooves of adjacent blocks in the wall. The first tongue includes a double-panel incision. The first panel of the incision is engaged in the first groove, the second panel of the incision is pressed against the chamfers of the blocks. The surface opposite the second panel forms an oblique slope for draining off water.



Inventors:
Moerenhout, Eric (Uccle, BE)
Calbert, Jean-paul (Ortho, BE)
Application Number:
12/066052
Publication Date:
10/30/2008
Filing Date:
03/30/2006
Assignee:
Exporun Sarl Societe de droit luxembourgeois (Eischen, LU)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04B2/08; E04B2/70
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
KENNY, DANIEL J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP - West Coast (Atlanta, GA, US)
Claims:
1. A building system for constructing vertical walls, which comprises: wooden building blocks substantially of rectangular parallelepipedal shape that are intended to be placed substantially horizontally one beside another and substantially vertically one on top of another in a vertical wall and comprising an upper face, a lower face, an inner face, an outer face and two abutting faces in the wall, the upper and lower faces of each block comprising at least a first groove (5a, 5e) extending over the entire length of these faces; and at least a first block alignment tongue intended to be placed horizontally between the first grooves of adjacent blocks in the wall, wherein the edge between the upper face and the outer face of the blocks includes a chamfer covering part of the first groove over its entire length; and wherein the first tongue includes a notch having two facets over its entire length, the first facet of the notch being aligned to fit into the first groove, the second facet of the notch being designed to bear against the chamfer, and the face on the opposite side to the second facet forming an oblique slope for water to flow away toward the outside of the wall.

2. The building system as claimed in claim 1, wherein the upper and lower faces of the blocks have a second groove extending over the entire length of these faces and wherein the system includes at least a second block alignment tongue designed to be placed between the second grooves of adjacent blocks.

3. The building system as claimed in claim 1 or 2, wherein the relative dimensions of the first and/or second tongue with respect to the dimensions of the first and/or second grooves are calculated so that the tongue is slightly compressed in the cavity formed between the grooves of the adjacent blocks.

4. The building system as claimed in claim 1 or 2, characterized in that the length of the first and/or second alignment tongue is more than twice the length of the first and/or second grooves.

5. The building system as claimed in claim 1, wherein the tongue is a service duct or pipe.

6. The building system as claimed in claim 1, wherein the tongues are made of solid wood or of fiber components.

7. The building system as claimed in claim 2, wherein the blocks have at least a third groove on each of their abutting faces and in that the system includes at least a third tongue designed to be placed between the third grooves of the abutting faces.

8. The building system as claimed in claim 7, wherein the relative dimensions of the third tongue with respect to the dimensions of the third grooves are calculated so that the tongue is slightly compressed in the cavity formed between the grooves of the adjacent blocks.

9. The building system as claimed in claim 7, wherein the block-abutting faces have at least a fourth groove extending substantially vertically over the entire height of the abutting face, one of the ends of said fourth groove opening onto the chamfer.

10. The building system as claimed in claim 9, wherein the block-abutting faces have at least a fifth groove extending substantially vertically over the entire height of the abutting face, one of the ends of said fifth groove opening onto the chamfer of the upper face, between the end of the fourth groove and the first groove, and wherein the system includes a set of seals designed to be lodged in the fifth grooves.

11. The building system as claimed claim 1, wherein the blocks are made of solid wood or of fiber components.

12. A wall, wherein part of the wall is constructed using a system as claimed in claim 1.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates to a building system for constructing vertical walls, which comprises wooden building blocks substantially of rectangular parallelepipedal shape that are intended to be placed substantially horizontally one beside another and substantially vertically one on top of another in a vertical wall and comprising an upper face, a lower face, an inner face, an outer face and two abutting faces in the wall. The upper and lower faces of each block comprise at least a first groove extending over the entire length of these faces. The system also includes at least a first block alignment tongue intended to be placed horizontally between the first grooves of adjacent blocks in the wall.

The invention relates to any type of wall comprising at least one part constructed from wood. It may apply to walls of dwellings, such as the outside walls, supporting walls and internal partitions. The invention may also be used for constructing swimming pools, saunas, noise-barrier walls, windbreak walls, etc.

PRIOR ART

Known in the prior art are timber constructions in which the walls consist of logs or wooden beams of a size equal to the length of the walls and arranged one on top of another.

This type of construction is relatively expensive both in terms of raw material and labor. This is because it is necessary to use long logs (that is to say those with the length of the walls). In addition, transporting and assembling on the worksite very long logs are operations difficult and expensive to carry out.

Moreover, these constructions have major sealing problems. This is because, since wood is a material that works, it is difficult to obtain logs that remain perfectly straight. In addition, through the effect of time, gaps form between the logs, greatly reducing the thermal, acoustic and moisture sealing among others of the building.

Also known in the prior art are timber constructions produced using wooden bricks. Wooden bricks are easier to handle and in general easier to assemble. The cost of wooden bricks compared to logs is also lower since, for the same amount of wood, the manufacture of bricks requires fewer tree trunks.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,890,332 discloses a modular building system using reconstituted wooden blocks. According to that patent, metal rods are fixed vertically in a slab, preferably a concrete slab. Wooden bricks, having a hole at their center, slip over these rods, one on top of another. The rods serve as anchor bolts and make it possible for the bricks, stacked on top of one another, to be clamped together over the height of the wall. Such stacks of wooden bricks are placed side by side along the wall. Vertical and horizontal alignment keys, which are placed in grooves provided on the surface of the bricks, allow adjacent bricks to be aligned pairwise. The bricks are also bonded together.

Such a building system does not allow simple, rapid and effective assembly of the various modules. This is because the building system requires the manufacture and use of numerous “small” parts, namely the alignment keys, thereby making the manufacture and assembly of the parts lengthy and costly in labor. In addition, the building system does not allow straight walls to be obtained. The use of alignment keys, as described in this prior art, allows adjacent bricks to be aligned only pairwise, but does not allow alignment of the bricks over the entire wall. Moreover, these keys do not keep the bricks in place one against another, since it is necessary to bond the bricks together. This constitutes an additional step in the construction of a wall, which step moreover makes the building system environmentally unfriendly owing to the use of adhesive.

It should also be noted that under the pressure of the anchor bolts that keep the bricks of a given stack together, said bricks are deformed at their center. This results in a distortion of the wall, which then does not have a straight support surface. The use of anchor bolts for each stack of bricks also makes any subsequent modification of the wall (opening for a window, door, etc.) difficult.

Finally, this system does not solve the problem of sealing the construction since these walls are less sealed the more the bricks are deformed under the pressure of the anchor bolts.

Australian patent AU 2 841 577 describes a building system for constructing walls using wooden bricks. The bricks have longitudinal grooves on two opposed longitudinal faces. The bricks are joined together using tongues having a length equal to the length of the wall to be constructed. The tongues are placed horizontally between the grooves of the blocks. Although this system does allow bricks to be rapidly assembled in order to form a wall, it does not solve the problem of how to seal the construction.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

One object of the invention is to provide a building system for constructing walls partly made of wood, which remedies the aforementioned problems of the prior art.

One particular object of the invention is to provide a building system for constructing, for a lower cost, stable walls that are sealed and easy and rapid to construct.

In this regard, the building system according to the invention is characterized in that the edge between the upper face and the outer face of the blocks includes a chamfer covering part of the first groove over its entire length and in that the first tongue includes a notch having two facets over its entire length, the first facet of the notch being aligned to fit into the first groove, the second facet of the notch being designed to bear against the chamfer, and the face on the opposite side to the second facet forming an oblique slope for water to flow away toward the outside of the wall.

Such a system makes it possible to construct walls that are particularly well sealed. The first tongue provides sealing between the vertically adjacent blocks in the wall. This is because rainwater that trickles along the bricks of a wall or that infiltrates between the blocks runs down along the flow-off surface formed by the oblique slope of the first batten. The water is thus extracted from the wall. Moreover, moist air may condense in the form of droplets on contact with the wall between the blocks. These droplets drop on to the flow-off surface of the batten and are removed from the wall.

Such a system makes it possible to erect walls very simply and very quickly, and for lower cost. This is because the first tongue is easily lodged in the first grooves thanks to the notch and the chamfer.

The first batten fulfills two functions, that of a batten for aligning and holding the adjacent blocks together and that of a sealing part. The number of parts to be manufactured and assembled is reduced, as is also the manufacturing, assembly and labor costs.

Advantageously, the first tongue is preferably made as a single piece. Advantageously the profile of the chamfer is constant. It may be flat or rounded. The facets of the notch may be flat or rounded. Advantageously, the notch with two facets consists of a rebate.

Advantageously, the length of the first tongue is more than twice the length of a first groove of a block. This is because the first grooves of the upper faces of all the blocks placed horizontally one beside another in a wall forms a long continuous groove. A first tongue, laid in this long groove, makes it possible to align and keep together, owing to its length, these lower blocks over an entire wall face.

Moreover, the upper blocks that have to be laid on the lower blocks possess, on their lower longitudinal face, a first groove. Thanks to this first groove, it is easy to place and assemble the upper blocks on the lower blocks.

The tongue thus makes it possible to align and hold together, over its entire length, not only the upper blocks but also the upper blocks with respect to the lower blocks.

Thus, it is possible to construct very straight, stable walls easily and quickly, and for a lower cost.

Advantageously, the first grooves of any one block are arranged symmetrically one with respect to another. Preferably, the first grooves are substantially in the same position for all the blocks.

Another object of the invention is to provide a system that allows the construction of walls providing an acoustic, thermal and moisture seal.

For this purpose, the building system according to the invention is characterized in that the relative dimensions of the first tongue with respect to the dimensions of the first grooves are calculated so that the tongue is slightly compressed in the cavity formed between the grooves of the adjacent blocks.

Thus, the first tongue slightly compressed between the first grooves forms, over its entire length, a seal between the vertically adjacent blocks. This seal constitutes an effective barrier that prevents both moisture and air passing through it.

Such a system therefore makes it possible to produce, rapidly, easily and for a lower cost, a particularly impervious, straight and stable wall. This is because a single part—the first tongue—serves simultaneously as seal between vertically adjacent blocks, as part for aligning and holding together adjacent blocks, and as a part for removing water from between the adjacent blocks.

Moreover, such a system provides an environmentally friendly construction, since it makes use of only nonpolluting and renewable materials.

Another object of the invention is to reduce to a minimum the tensile stress on the surface of the blocks and to guarantee easy assembly of wooden blocks that “work” and lose their original shape.

For this purpose, the building system according to one embodiment of the invention is characterized in that the upper and lower faces of the blocks have a second groove extending over the entire length of these faces and in that it includes at least a second block alignment tongue designed to be placed between the second grooves of adjacent blocks.

In the case of wooden blocks, especially solid wooden blocks, the two grooves in each of the opposed faces serve to reduce the tensile stress on the blocks. By increasing the number of grooves, the magnitude of cracks (especially their size and number) which appear in the blocks is reduced.

Moreover, the density of the wood of the blocks, especially when they are made of solid wood, is not uniform. Wood deforms, especially under what is called the “core drawing” effect. As a result, the surfaces of the blocks become bowed or dished—it is difficult to assemble blocks that do not have flat contact surfaces. By having a second tongue between the second grooves of the blocks, it is easier at the moment of assembly to mutually stabilize the adjacent blocks on surfaces that include the second grooves. In particular, this thus prevents the blocks from “rolling” or “pitching” one with respect to another.

Advantageously, the length of the second tongue is more than twice the length of a second groove of a block. Thus, it is even easier to align and assemble a plurality of blocks over quite a large part of the face of a wall.

Advantageously, the relative dimensions of the second tongue with respect to the dimensions of the second grooves are calculated so that the tongue is slightly compressed in the cavity formed between the grooves of the adjacent blocks.

Advantageously, the second grooves of a given block are arranged symmetrically one with respect to another. Preferably, the second grooves are substantially in the same position for all the blocks.

According to a preferred embodiment, the first and/or second grooves have a triangular cross section. A groove with such a cross section has the advantage, unlike a groove of rectangular cross section, of avoiding gaps between the tongue and the groove. This is because such a groove has only two surfaces for contact with the tongue.

According to another embodiment, the first and/or second grooves have a semicircular or circularly arcuate cross section.

Advantageously, that part of the first tongue which is intended to be accommodated in the first groove and/or the second tongue have a circular, square or diamond-shaped cross section.

Advantageously, the tongues are made of wood (solid wood or fiber components). Wooden tongues are easy and inexpensive to produce, completely environmentally friendly and can be easily handled. Moreover, wood is a relatively rigid material that accepts being slightly compressed. In a different embodiment, the tongues are made of plastic.

Another object of the invention is to provide a building system that can allow service ducts and/or pipes to pass through a wall that remains perfectly sealed.

For this purpose, the first or the second tongue is a service duct or pipe. Installation of the ducts or pipes takes place during assembly of the blocks—no particular additional installation is necessary.

Advantageously, the ducts or pipes placed between the grooves of the blocks may themselves form a seal. The relative dimensions of the ducts or pipes with respect to the dimensions of the grooves are in particular calculated in such a way that the duct or pipe is slightly compressed in the cavity formed between the grooves of adjacent blocks.

Advantageously, the blocks include a hole extending between the two second grooves of these blocks. Thus, it is possible to make, in a simple manner, a vertical connection between horizontal ducts or pipes.

According to another particular embodiment, certain blocks have a hole extending from one of the second grooves of these blocks and opening onto the inner (or outer) face of these blocks. The hole allows the ducts or pipes to emerge from the wall.

These holes may be perforated before assembly (on the block manufacturing site) or at the moment of assembly, depending on the construction requirements. Thus, it is possible to produce, very easily and quickly, customized and concealed networks of ducts or pipes with access and connection points at very precise positions.

Advantageously, the building system includes at least one sheath or brace intended to pass through these holes so as to make effective and sealed connections and outlets for the ducts or pipes.

In one particular embodiment of the invention, the blocks have at least a third groove on each of their abutting faces and in that the system includes at least a third tongue designed to be placed between the third grooves of the abutting faces.

Preferably, the relative dimensions of the third tongue with respect to the dimensions of the third grooves are calculated so that the tongue is slightly compressed in the cavity formed between the grooves of the adjacent blocks. In this way the wall is sealed at the transverse faces of adjacent blocks.

Preferably, the blocks are placed in a staggered fashion, thereby ensuring that the blocks are better held together one with respect to another. Advantageously, the third tongues have the same length as the length of the third grooves or are shorter than them. Advantageously, the third tongues are made of solid wood or of fiber components.

Advantageously, the third grooves of the lateral faces do not form an intersection with the first grooves and/or second grooves of the longitudinal faces, in particular so that the tongues used vertically and horizontally do not impede one another.

In one particular embodiment of the invention, the block-abutting faces have at least a fourth groove extending substantially vertically over the entire height of the abutting face, one of the ends of said fourth groove opening onto the chamfer.

These fourth grooves form gutters between the horizontally adjacent blocks. These gutters allow air to circulate and therefore provide ventilation between the horizontally adjacent blocks. If moisture-laden air penetrates between the abutting faces of the blocks, it is guided in the ventilation grooves. If the moisture of the air condenses as droplets, the droplets fall onto the sloping surface of the immediately lower first tongue and are removed from the wall.

Likewise, if moisture-laden air penetrates between the chamfer and the two-facet notch of the first batten and condenses as droplets, these either run along the chamfer or drop into the fourth groove. The moisture is easily removed from the wall.

According to one particular embodiment of the invention, the block-abutting faces have at least a fifth groove extending substantially vertically over the entire height of the abutting face, one of the ends of said fifth groove opening onto the chamfer of the upper face, between the end of the fourth groove and the first groove; the system includes a set of seals designed to be lodged in the fifth grooves.

The seal provides perfect sealing between the abutting faces of the blocks in the wall. Owing to the position of the ends of the fifth groove, any condensation appearing at these ends will be removed along the chamfer, the fourth groove of the block and the flow-off surface of the tongue located immediately below the block.

Preferably, the position of the fourth and fifth grooves is substantially the same for each block.

Another object of the invention is to provide a building system that allows the blocks to be fastened together easily.

For this purpose, at least one block has at least a first drill hole extending between the upper and lower faces, substantially perpendicular to these faces. The system includes at least one anchor bolt intended to be slid through the first drill hole.

The blocks also include at least a second drill hole extending from the upper face and substantially parallel to the first drill hole.

The anchor bolt can then be slid through the first drill hole of a first block and screwed into the second drill hole of a second block placed beneath the first block.

This system makes it possible for two vertically adjacent blocks to be fixed simply, and thus allows the various components of the wall to be fixed easily and securely. In addition, such a method of assembling blocks in pairs allows subsequent modification of the wall. This is because it is easy to cut openings in a wall thus produced, while still preserving the retention and alignment of the wall in its entirety.

Moreover, the anchor bolts apply a certain pressure between the vertically adjacent blocks in the wall. Thus, the anchor bolts provide constant contact between the tongues and the grooves over the entire length of the tongues. In this way, the wall is perfectly sealed.

Moreover, the building system makes it possible for the alignment of the wall blocks to be checked and adjusted almost perfectly. By tightening an anchor bolt joining a first block to a second block to a greater or lesser extent, it is possible for the alignment and the horizontal position of the second block to be perfectly controlled. The straightness of the second block may be checked using a laser. This technique makes it possible to construct perfectly straight walls in which the position of the blocks can be individually checked.

The building system allows the construction of walls that have to be absolutely perfectly sealed (for example for the construction of swimming pools or saunas). For this purpose, additional seals may be placed between the adjacent surfaces of the blocks and/or between the second facet of the notch and the chamfered edge of the blocks. In a preferred embodiment, these seals are made of hydrophobic rubber, for example closed-cell rubber. Rubber is an environmentally friendly material.

The building system allows the construction of supporting walls for building components. For this purpose, certain blocks are narrower than the others, so that these blocks, placed beside one another in the wall, form a recess in the wall intended to support building components. This wall recess creates a support surface for accommodating building components such as joists for supporting a floor or rafters, purlins or ridge beams for supporting a roof. Thus, it is possible to construct dwellings easily and for a lower cost by reducing the number of parts and components to be manufactured and assembled.

Advantageously, the blocks are made of solid wood, the system according to the invention making it possible to construct walls for dwellings serving both as interior walls and exterior walls.

Solid wood has well-known insulation properties which make it a material of choice for constructing exterior walls. The cost of constructing such a dwelling is less since it is unnecessary to cover such a wall for the interior of the dwelling, both as regards insulation and esthetics. Moreover, by choosing bricks made from wood of different colors, it is possible to construct walls that are patterned. Alternatively, the blocks may also be made of fiber components (for example compreg wood or sealed MDF or laminated wood, etc.).

Another object of the invention is to provide a wall that includes a part constructed using a building system according to the invention.

Another object of the invention is to provide building blocks as used in the building system according to the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES

These aspects, together with others of the invention, will be clarified in the detailed description of particular embodiments of the invention, reference being made to the drawings of the figures in which:

FIG. 1 shows a perspective view of an example of a wall under construction, made using the building system according to the invention;

FIG. 2 shows a cross-sectional representation of two superposed blocks according to a preferred embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 3 shows a representation of the wall under construction according to a preferred embodiment of the invention seen from above and having horizontally adjacent blocks on a given course;

FIG. 4 shows a perspective representation of a wall under construction according to a preferred embodiment of the invention having a services space for the passage of pipes or ducts;

FIG. 5 shows a perspective view of a corner formed between two walls under construction made using the system according to a preferred embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 6 shows a perspective representation of the wall under construction according to another embodiment of the invention, having a services space allowing passage of pipes or ducts;

FIG. 7 shows a perspective view of a wall having a support for building components, constructed using the system according to a preferred embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 8 shows a longitudinal section of a wall constructed using the system according to the preferred embodiment of the invention; and

FIG. 9 shows a perspective view of a cross section of the wall that includes a pocket.

The figures have not been drawn to scale. In general, similar components are denoted by similar references in the figures.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PARTICULAR EMBODIMENTS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an example of a wall under construction, made using the building system according to the invention.

The wall 1 comprises wooden building blocks 2 of rectangular parallelepipedal shape, which are placed beside one another and on top of one another in a staggered fashion. The blocks are preferably made of solid wood. However, they may also be made of fiber components. The upper horizontal longitudinal face of the blocks 2 includes two grooves 5a, 5b parallel to the longest side of the face and running along the entire length of this face. Likewise, the lower horizontal longitudinal face of the blocks 2 includes two grooves 5c, 5d parallel to the longest side of the face and running along the entire length of this face. Preferably, the two grooves 5a, 5b of the upper face are arranged symmetrically with the two grooves 5c, 5d of the lower face.

The edge near the intersection between the upper face and the outer face of the blocks 2 has a chamfer 12. The profile of the chamfer 12 is constant and flat. It may also be rounded or of molded shape. The chamfer 12 covers part of the first groove 5b over its entire length.

A first tongue 6a being a trapezoidal cross section includes a rebate 60. The first tongue has a first part 61 of substantially square cross section and a second part 62 of substantially trapezoidal cross section connected to the first part 61. The rebate 60 has a first facet 62c that rests in the first groove 5a. The rebate 60 has a second facet 62a that rests on the chamfer 12 of the lower blocks 2 and forms a surface complementary to the profile of the chamfer 12. Since the second facet 62a of the tongue 6a is complementary to the profile of the chamfer 12, the clearance and space between these two surfaces are reduced to a minimum. A seal (not shown) may be placed between these two surfaces. The surface 62b on the opposite side to the second facet 62a forms a flow-off surface 62b for water to flow away.

The first part 61 of the first tongue 6a is placed between the grooves 5a and 5c of the blocks 2 over the entire length of the wall 1. The first part 61 of the tongue 6a makes it possible to hold in place and to align, over the length of the wall 1, the blocks 2 placed horizontally beside one another on a given course. It also makes it possible to hold in place and align the blocks 2 placed one on top of another on two course.

When the first part 61 of the first tongue 6a is placed between the grooves 5a and 5c of the adjacent blocks 2, the water flow-off surface 62 of the first tongue 6a stops on the outer vertical face of the blocks 2. The flow-off surface 62 may also extend very slightly beyond the outer vertical face of the blocks 2. The flow-off surface 62b allows the water to be away from the wall 1, thus preventing moisture from penetrating in the wall 1.

A second tongue 6b is placed between the grooves 5b and 5d of the blocks over the entire length of the wall 1. The tongue 6b reinforces the retention and alignment of the blocks 2 with respect to one another that is provided by the first tongue 6a.

Tongues 6a, 6b as long as possible, preferably with a length equal to the length of the wall 1, are used. The first and second tongues 6a, 6b may advantageously be chamfered on their edges.

It is well known to those skilled in the art that parts made of solid wood have difficulty in maintaining their original shape. The density of the wood of blocks, especially those made of solid wood, is not uniform and wood deforms under various effects, including that called “core drawing”. This phenomenon may occur in the blocks 2 made of solid wood, and the faces of these blocks may become bowed or dished. The fact of having two grooves (5a, 5b) and (5c, 5d) per contact face between the blocks 2 provides more effective stabilization of the blocks placed one on top of another. In this way the upper blocks 2 are prevented from “pitching” or “rolling” with respect to the lower blocks 2.

Moreover, the grooves 5a, 5b, 5c, 5d serve as means of reducing internal tensile stresses in the wooden blocks 2. By increasing the number of grooves, the magnitude (number, size, etc.) of cracks appearing in the wood is reduced.

The blocks 2 constituting the first course of the wall 1 are fixed to foundations in a conventional manner (not described here). The foundations may consist of a first foundation (not shown) made of concrete on which a concrete surround (not shown) rests. The blocks 2 of the first course are fastened to this surround.

The blocks 2 have, on each of the abutting faces, a vertical groove 7 extending between the upper and lower longitudinal faces. Tongues 8 are placed between the horizontally adjacent blocks 2 in the grooves 7. The tongues 8 make it possible to hold in place and align the horizontally adjacent blocks 2 in pairs.

The grooves 7 preferably have a circularly arcuate cross section, the circular arc being equal to or shorter than a semicircle. The tongues 8 of circular cross section are held in place between the grooves 7 of two horizontally adjacent blocks 2, over the entire height of these blocks 2. The tongues 8 are slightly compressed in the space created by the grooves 7, so as to ensure contact between the tongues 8 and each surface of the grooves 7. Thus, the wall is sealed at the abutting faces of the blocks 2.

The blocks 2 also have, on each of the abutting faces, two vertical grooves 71 and 72 opening onto the chamfer 12. The vertical grooves 71 closest to the outer face of the blocks form ventilation gutters between the abutting faces of the adjacent blocks. When the moisture in the air condenses on contact with the gutters, the water flows away along the grooves 71 and then along the water flow-off surface 62b. The moisture is thus far from the interior of the wall 1. Tongues (not shown) or seals are placed in the grooves 72.

The blocks 2 are fastened pairwise using anchor bolts 14. In a preferred embodiment of the invention, each block 2 has four drill holes 4a, 4b, 4c, 4d that extend vertically between the lower and upper horizontal longitudinal faces of the block 2. A block 2 is placed on a row of blocks 2 already joined together. An anchor bolt 14 is slid through the drill holes 4a, 4c of the block 2 to be fastened and is screwed into two drill holes 20a, 20c in one of the two blocks 2 placed beneath. Likewise, an anchor bolt 14 is slid through the drill holes 4b, 4d of the block 2 to be fastened and then screwed into two drill holes 20b, 20d in the other block 2 placed beneath. By tightening the anchor bolts 14 placed in the drill holes 4a, 4b, 4c, 4d to a greater or lesser extent, it is possible to check the level of the block 2 to be fastened, especially using a “laser leveler”.

In another embodiment (not shown), it is possible to use, in place of anchor bolts, wooden pegs, nails or any other similar means for assembling blocks.

FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional representation of two superposed blocks according to a preferred embodiment of the invention.

The block 2a is placed on top of the block 2b in the wall 1. The blocks 2a and 2b have grooves 5a, 5b, 5c, 5d of identical right-angled triangular cross section. On one block, the grooves 5a, 5b are placed symmetrically with respect to the grooves 5c, 5d and the grooves 5a, 5c symmetrically with respect to the grooves 5b, 5d.

A tongue 6b of square cross section is kept slightly compressed in contact over the length of the wall 1 between the grooves 5b and 5d of the blocks 2b and 2a respectively. The first part 61 of a tongue 6a of square cross section is kept in contact, slightly compressed, over the length of the wall 1 between the grooves 5a and 5c of the blocks 2b and 2a respectively.

The area of the cross section of the second tongue 6b (and of the first part 61 of the first tongue 6a respectively) is equal to or slightly greater than that of the cross section of the space formed by the grooves 5b, 5d (and the grooves 5a, 5c respectively). The length of the sides of the tongues 6b (and the first part 61 of the first tongues 6a respectively) is equal to or slightly greater than the length of the sides of the grooves 5b, 5d (and 5a, 5c respectively).

The tongues 6a, 6b, which ensure that the blocks 2 are held in place and aligned, are made of a material that is not completely rigid, such as wood, so as to be able to be compressed between the grooves 5b, 5d and 5a, 5c. The tongues 6a, 6b are kept compressed by the anchor bolts 14 that hold the blocks 2a and 2b together. There is thus a line of contact between the tongues 6a, 6b and each surface of the grooves 5a, 5b, 5c, 5d of the blocks 2a, 2b over the entire length of these grooves. In addition, the second part 62 of the tongue 6b is thus kept in contact on the chamfer 12 of the block 2b over the length of the wall 1.

By applying this principle to all the blocks 2 of the wall 1, a perfect acoustic, thermal and moisture seal is produced between the blocks 2a, 2b.

In one particular embodiment, the tongues 6a, 6b may be bonded in the grooves 5a, 5b, 5c, 5d. The tongues 6a, 6b may be made from various materials, such as wood, rubber, plastic.

The blocks 2a, 2b have, along the lower face, a groove or drip 13 placed between the outer edge of this face and the grooves 5a, 5b. The drip 13 blocks the water that would have a tendency to run along the lower face of the block 2a toward the interior of the wall 1. The drip 13 of the block 2a is placed above the flow-off surface 62b of the first batten 6a. The water blocked in the drip 13 thus drops onto the flow-off surface 62b and runs away toward the outside of the wall 1.

A seal 16 may be placed between the upper face and the lower face of the blocks 2a and 2b over the entire length of the wall 1. A seal (not shown) may also be placed between the abutting faces of the pairwise horizontally adjacent blocks 2. The seal is made of a hydrophobic material, such as closed-cell rubber.

FIG. 8 shows a front view of a wall constructed using the system according to the preferred embodiment of the invention. The block 2a rests on and is fastened to the blocks 2b using anchor bolts 14a, 14b, 14c, 14d. The block 2a has two drill holes 4a and 4b and two drill holes 4c and 4d (not shown) of slightly larger diameter than that of the anchor bolts 14a, 14b, 14c, 14d in order to embed the anchor bolt heads and the compression washers (see also FIG. 2). The drill holes 4a, 4b, 4c, 4d extend vertically between the upper face and the lower face of the block 2a and are preferably produced during manufacture of the block 2a.

The blocks 2b have two drill holes 20a and 20b and two drill holes 20c and 20d (not shown) that extend vertically from the upper face of the blocks 2b. The diameter of the drill holes 20a, 20b, 20c, 20d is smaller than the diameter of the anchor bolts 14a, 14b, 14c, 14d. The length of the drill holes 20a, 20b, 20c, 20d depends on the size of the anchor bolts 14a, 14b, 14c, 14d and is less than the height of the blocks 2b, so as not to pass through these blocks. The anchor bolts 14a, 14b are inserted into the drill holes 4a and 4b of the block 2a and are then screwed into the drill holes 20a, 20b of the blocks 2b so as to fasten the block 2a to the blocks 2b on which the block 2a rests. The drill holes 20a and 20b are preferably made at the time of assembly, by using the drill holes 4a and 4b as guides, in order to ensure that that the drill holes 20a and 20b are correctly aligned with the drill holes 4a and 4b. The drill holes 4a and 4b of the block 2a are placed in such a way as to prevent the drill holes 20a and 20b of the blocks 2b from being out of alignment with the drill holes 4a and 4b of the blocks 2b to which the block 2a has to be assembled.

The anchor bolts 14a and 14b may be tightened to a greater or lesser extent so as to check the level (horizontally) of the block 2a in the wall.

FIG. 3 shows a representation of the wall under construction in a preferred embodiment of the invention seen from above and having horizontally adjacent blocks on a given course.

The tongues preferably have a length equal to that of the wall 1. However, for large walls (especially long ones), it may be difficult to use only a single tongue 6a, 6b, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2. In this case, placed in the grooves 5a of horizontally adjacent blocks 2 on a given course of the wall 1 are two tongues 6a1 and 6a2 butted together. Likewise, tongues 6b1 and 6b2 are placed end to end in the grooves 5b of horizontally adjacent blocks 2 on one wall course.

To prevent a loss of sealing of the wall at the join between the tongues, the ends 17c, 17d and 17a and 17b of the tongues 6a1, 6a2 and 6b1, 6b2 respectively are beveled so as to form a skew joint. Moreover, the tongues 6a1 and 6a2 are assembled on a different block 2 and preferably one that is not adjacent to the block 2 where the tongues 6b1 and 6b2 are assembled. Thus, even in the case of the tongues 6a1, 6a2 and 6b1, 6b2 being set back, sealing is maintained at the joins of the tongues 6a1, 6a2 and 6b1, 6b2.

FIG. 4 shows a perspective representation of the wall under construction in a preferred embodiment of the invention and with a services space allowing passage of pipes or ducts.

The grooves 5a of horizontally adjacent blocks 2 on one wall course constitute a services space in which a duct 9a is placed. The duct 9a acts as alignment and retention tongue. The block 2c has a vertical hole 90 extending from the groove 5a. On an inner face, the block 2c has a horizontal hole 91 which is connected to the vertical hole 90 and provides the link between the vertical hole 90 and the outside of the wall 1. The holes 90 and 91 are preferably made at the time of assembling the wall 1, for example using a crown saw.

The vertical hole 90 lies between the upper face of the block 2c and the horizontal hole 91. It is also possible to produce vertical holes extending over the entire height of the blocks so as to be able to connect the horizontal services spaces vertically.

The duct 9a, if it offers the possibility of being slightly compressed, may, just like a tongue 6a, provide a sealing function. Braces or sheaths 9b may be placed in the holes 90 and 91.

FIG. 6 shows a perspective representation of the wall under construction according to another embodiment of the invention and having a services space allowing passage of pipes or ducts.

The block 2c has, on its upper face, a semicylindrical groove 5e that provides the link between the groove 5a of the block 2c and the outside of the wall 1. Similarly, the block 2a, which is intended to be assembled on top of the block 2c, has, on its inner surface, a groove 5f identical to the groove 5b and providing the link with the groove 5c.

FIG. 5 shows a perspective view of a corner formed between two walls under construction made using the system according to a preferred embodiment of the invention.

The block 2f of the wall 1a is assembled in a staggered fashion with the blocks 2h, 2g of the wall 1b. The corner block 2g has an additional groove 5e on the upper and lower surfaces. The groove 5e is parallel to the short side of the faces. Likewise, the block 2g has an additional chamfer 12b on the edge of one of the short sides of the upper surface. The chamfer 12b and the additional grooves 5e allow the tongues 6a of the wall 1a to be placed both between the corner blocks 2f of the wall 1a and the corner blocks 2g of the wall 1b. The inner tongues 6b placed between the two grooves 5a, 5c of the corner blocks 2f of the wall 1a are cut at the intersection with the corner blocks 2f, 2g of the wall 1b.

The corner blocks 2f, 2g, 2i may thus be easily stacked and held together. The tongues 6a continue to seal the walls 1a, 1b, even at the corners.

FIG. 7 shows a perspective view of a wall having a support for building components, constructed using the system according to a preferred embodiment of the invention.

The wall 1 has a series of horizontally adjacent half-blocks 2n on one or more wall courses. The width of the half-blocks 2n is half that of the other blocks of the wall 1 so as to form a recess 19 in the wall 1. The blocks 2m placed beneath the blocks 2n form a bearing surface at the recess 19 on which a joist 23 intended to support a floor rests. The recess 19 may serve as a support for any building component such as rafters, purlins or ridge beams for supporting a roof.

The recess 19 is filled with a set of half-blocks 2p having a width equal to those of the half-blocks 2n. The half-blocks 2n and 2p have a set of grooves, holes, drill holes and chamfers so as to be able to be assembled and fixed to the other blocks of the wall. The joist 23 has, on each of its upper and lower faces, a groove (not shown) lying along the extension of the grooves of the half-blocks 2p. The second battens lodged in the grooves of these half-blocks 2b may also be lodged in the grooves of the joist. Thus, sealing is maintained at the joist; it is unnecessary to cut the second battens. Moreover, the second battens make it possible to keep the joist 23 in place at the wall, preventing it from slipping out of the recess 19.

Returning to FIG. 8, the wall 1 has a pocket 21 for fastening a window frame. The block 22 serves as lintel for the window and has a cross section identical to the other blocks 2 and of greater length than the width of the window. FIG. 9 shows a perspective view of a cross section of a wall 1 at a pocket 21.

Placed beneath the lintel 22 is a block 23 serving as opening lining for fastening a window or door frame support 100. The opening lining 23, of substantially identical cross section to the cross section of the other blocks 2, is assembled and fixed to the wall 1 in the same way as the other blocks 2. The opening lining 23 consists of three sections, preferably made of wood and joined together in a conventional manner, for example using adhesive and/or screws. The opening lining 23 thus has an upper section 23a of identical width to the other blocks 2 of the wall, and two lateral sections 23c, 23b with a rebate. The width of the lower sections 23b, 23c is smaller than half the width of the upper section 23a, so as to form an opening 24 allowing insertion of the frame support 100 and a cavity 25. The walls 24a of the opening 24 are substantially adjacent to the walls 100a of the frame support 100 inserted into the opening 24. The width of the cavity 25 is greater than that of the opening 24. The inner walls 24b, 24d of the lower sections 23b, 23c thus form a support surface on which a rail 26 rests. The rail 26 is fixed to the frame support 100, allowing assembly of the frame support 100 to the opening lining 23.

A person skilled in the art knows that wood undergoes natural compression over the course of time. The compression effect is accentuated by the pressure to which the blocks in the wall are subjected. It follows that the height of the cavity 25 decreases over time. The frame support 100 is therefore compressed in turn and tends to deform, making it difficult to open the doors and windows. To avoid this problem, the height of the cavity 25 is greater than the height of the rail 26 so as to form a space between the upper wall of the rail 26 and the lower wall of the upper section 23a. The lintel 22 and the opening lining 23 may deform without correspondingly deforming the frame support 100. Preferably, the height of the space (hR) is equal to the reduction in height of the cavity 25 (hC) due to the compression of the wood calculated for the height of the cavity 25. The radial shrinkage (x) of the wood is between 0.8% and 1.2%. A seal 27 of compressible material (rubber, synthetic foam, etc.) is placed in the space between the rail 26 and the section 23a.

The opening lining 23 is made from three sections 23a, 23b, 23c. Of course, it may be made as a single part or made up of five sections.

In another embodiment of the invention (not shown), the first part 61 of the first tongues 6a and the second tongues 6b have a circular cross section. The diameter of the cross section of the tongues 6a, 6b is equal to or slightly greater than the length of the sides of the grooves 5a, 5b, 5c, 5d.

In another embodiment of the invention (not shown), the blocks 2 comprise the grooves 5a, 5b, 5c, 5d having a cross section in the form of a triangle with a truncated apex, that is to say in the form of a trapezoid. The first part 61 of the first tongues 6a and the second tongues 6b therefore have a regular hexagonal cross section equal to or slightly greater than that of the grooves 5a, 5b, 5c, 5d. Alternatively, the cross section of the tongues is circular.

In another embodiment of the invention (not shown), the blocks 2 include grooves 5a, 5b, 5c, 5d having a semicircular cross section. The first part 61 of the first tongues 6a and the second tongues 6b then have a circular cross section of diameter equal to or slightly greater than that of the grooves 5a, 5b, 5c, 5d. Alternatively, the first part 61 of the first tongues 6a and the second tongues 6b have a square cross section, the length of the side of the square being equal to or slightly greater than the diameter of the grooves 5a, 5b, 5c, 5d.

It would be obvious to a person skilled in the art that the present invention is not limited to what has been particularly disclosed and described above. The invention lies in presenting all the novel features and in each combination of these features. The numerical references in the claims do not limit the scope of their protection. The use of the verbs “comprise, contain or include” and of their conjugated forms does not exclude the presence of components other than those innumerated in the claims. The use of the article “a or an” in front of a component does not exclude the presence of a plurality of such components.

The present invention has been described in terms of specific embodiments that are an illustration of the invention but must not be considered to be restrictive.