Title:
Integrated, high strength, lightweight, energy efficient building structures
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An integrated, high strength, lightweight building structure that withstands seismic, flooding, and 250 mph wind loads and is resistant to wood destroying organisms, mildew, mold, rot, and water damage. The structural system incorporates watertight seals between the walls and flooring system, the joints in the walls, and around the doors and windows. The eaves and roof incorporate a novel design that distributes to the structural members the uplift forces caused by extreme wind loading events.



Inventors:
Stanley, Newman (Jacksonville, FL, US)
Application Number:
12/012400
Publication Date:
01/01/2009
Filing Date:
02/01/2008
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
52/272, 52/653.1
International Classes:
E04D13/00; E04B1/19; E04B1/66; E04D1/30
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
DEMUREN, BABAJIDE A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ROGERS TOWERS, P.A. (JACKSONVILLE, FL, US)
Claims:
We claim:

1. A high-strength structure comprising: a structural frame having one or more composite columns and one or more composite beams attaching to the one or more composite columns; vertical composite panels attached to the structural frame, said composite panels forming the walls of the structure, the outermost vertical composite panels being the exterior walls and the remaining vertical composite panels being the interior walls, wherein said composite panels further comprise studs, a structural panel attached to each of the opposite sides of the studs, a sheeting layer attached to the structural panel on the side of the structural panel opposite that of the studs, sheeting fasteners connecting the interior sheeting and structural panel to the studs, and rigid reinforced foam placed between the studs and bonded to the structural panels; at least one horizontal composite panel attached to the top of the vertical composite panels, said at least one horizontal panel being a ceiling panel; two or more composite roof panels, one side of each composite roof panel attaching to an exterior wall by a roof bracket, the opposite side of each roof panel attaching to the opposing roof panel in a manner forming a peak above the ceiling panel; and at least one high strength eave having at least one substantially horizontal eave member attached to the exterior wall by a bracket at a location below the top of the exterior wall, at least one roof joist attached at one end to the roof panel and attached at the other end to the eave member, thereby forming a triangular truss.

2. The structure of claim 1, wherein at least one vertical composite panel attaches to at least one other vertical composite panel forming a vertical joint between the two panels.

3. The structure of claim 2, additionally comprising: a concrete slab that forms a foundation for the structure; a watertight floor seal between the base of the exterior walls and the foundation; watertight vertical joints between adjoining exterior wall panels; and an exterior door to the structure opening outward and away from the structure, said door being installed inside a frame having watertight seals such that when a force external to the structure pushes against the door, a watertight seal forms between the door and the seals.

4. The structure of claim 1, wherein said composite beams and composite columns further comprise a foam inner core, a foam outer core comprising a fiber-reinforced material consisting of a resin material adhered to a scrim, a primary skin bonded to the foam outer core, and a secondary skin attached to the top and bottom of the beam by mechanical fasteners.

5. The structure of claim 2, wherein said composite beams and composite columns further comprise a foam inner core, a foam outer core comprising a fiber-reinforced material consisting of a resin material adhered to a scrim, a primary skin bonded to the foam outer core, and a secondary skin attached to the top and bottom of the beam by mechanical fasteners.

6. The structure of claim 4 additionally comprising at least one composite panel forming a foundation for the structure.

7. The structure of claim 4 additionally comprising a concrete slab that forms a foundation for the structure.

8. The structure of claim 3, wherein said high strength eave further comprises a tension bar assembly having an anchor embedded in the foundation, a bar connected to the anchor and running to a plate bearing on the top of the wall panel, and one or more couplings incorporated into the bar, said couplings capable of tightening the tension bar assembly.

9. The structure of claim 7, wherein said high strength eave further comprises a tension bar assembly having an anchor embedded in the foundation, a bar connected to the anchor and running to a plate bearing on the top of the wall panel, and one or more couplings incorporated into the bar, said couplings capable of tightening the tension bar assembly.

10. A flood-resistant structure comprising: a foundation; a structural frame having one or more composite columns attached to the foundation by at least one mechanical anchor, and one or more composite beams attaching to the one or more composite columns; vertical composite panels attached to each other and to the structural frame, said composite panels forming the walls of the structure, the outermost vertical composite panels being the exterior walls and the remaining vertical composite panels being the interior walls; a watertight floor seal between the base of the exterior walls and the foundation; watertight vertical joints between the exterior wall panels; and an exterior door to the structure opening outward and away from the structure, said door being installed inside a frame having watertight seals such that when a force external to the structure pushes against the door, a watertight seal forms between the door and the seals.

11. The watertight structure of claim 10 wherein said watertight floor seal further comprises at least one floor track attached to the foundation by fasteners, said floor track being sealed to the foundation by a sealant selected from the group consisting of caulking, epoxy, rubber, neoprene, elastomeric pads, plastic, and foam, and said columns and exterior wall panels resting inside and attached to the floor tracks by mechanical fasteners.

12. The watertight structure of claim 10 wherein said watertight floor seal further comprises a continuous strip on the exterior side of the exterior wall attaching the exterior wall directly to the foundation, and a bonding sealer sealing the base of the exterior wall to the foundation, wherein the bonding sealer is selected from the group consisting of caulking, epoxy, rubber, neoprene, elastomeric pads, plastic, and foam.

13. The structure of claim 11 wherein said watertight vertical joints further comprise a void defined by the ends of the exterior wall panels and a support member, said support member providing structural support to the void, a vertical bracket attaching the adjacent exterior wall panels together, and a bonding sealer sealing the support member to the exterior wall panel and sealing the vertical bracket to the adjacent exterior wall panels.

14. The structure of claim 12 wherein said watertight vertical joints further comprise a void defined by the ends of the exterior wall panels and a support member, said support member providing structural support to the void, a vertical bracket attaching the adjacent exterior wall panels together, and a bonding sealer sealing the support member to the exterior wall panel and sealing the vertical bracket to the adjacent exterior wall panels.

15. The structure of claim 11 wherein said watertight vertical joints further comprise the exterior walls abutting to form a corner, at least one tube passing through one of the exterior wall panels, a threaded fastener passing through the tube and into the adjacent exterior wall panel, the threaded fastener having a nut that is tightened to secure the adjacent exterior wall panels together, and a bonding sealer sealing the interface between the exterior wall panels.

16. The structure of claim 12 wherein said watertight vertical joints further comprise the exterior walls abutting to form a corner, at least one tube passing through one of the exterior wall panels, a threaded fastener passing through the tube and into the adjacent exterior wall panel, the threaded fastener having a nut that is tightened to secure the adjacent exterior wall panels together, and a bonding sealer sealing the interface between the exterior wall panels.

17. A high strength eave assembly for a structure comprising: a foundation; at least one exterior wall resting on the foundation; at least one substantially horizontal ceiling panel bearing on the top of the exterior wall; at least one inclined roof member bearing on the ceiling panel at a location above the exterior wall; at least one substantially horizontal eave member attached to the exterior wall by a bracket at a location below the top of the exterior wall; and at least one roof joist having a roof bracket attaching one end of the roof joist to one of the roof panels and to the top of the exterior wall, said roof joist being attached at the other end to an eave member, thereby forming a triangular truss.

18. The high strength eave of claim 17 further comprising a tension bar assembly having an anchor embedded in the foundation, a bar connected to the anchor and running to a plate bearing on the top of the ceiling panel, and one or more couplings incorporated into the bar, said couplings capable of tightening the tension bar assembly.

19. The high strength eave of claim 17 further comprising a space formed between the inclined roof panel and the ceiling panel, said space filled with a structural element bonded to the roof panel and ceiling panel.

20. The high strength eave of claim 18 further comprising a watertight floor seal having a continuous strip on the exterior side of the exterior wall attaching the exterior wall directly to the foundation, and a bonding sealer sealing the base of the exterior wall to the foundation, wherein the bonding sealer is selected from the group consisting of caulking, epoxy, rubber, neoprene, elastomeric pads, plastic, and foam.

Description:

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/898,916, filed on Feb. 1, 2007.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to structural systems and components for residential and light commercial buildings, and more specifically to high-strength structural components for eaves, wall panels, ceiling panels, roof panels and floor joints, overhead joist and columns of these buildings. Also included are methods of attaching the components together, thereby forming a high strength integrated structure or enclosure.

In recent years, hurricanes have caused billions of dollars in damage by decimating many homes in the coastal regions of the Carolinas and Gulf states. The destruction is caused by high wind forces and flooding due to excessive rain and high storm surges. As a result of this destruction, many families have lost their homes, and some of the largest insurance companies no longer offer new homeowner policies in coastal states. The invention described herein seeks to address these problems.

The invention comprises an integrated, high strength, lightweight building structure to withstand 250 mph wind loads and resist wood destroying organisms, mildew, mold, rot, and water damage. The design incorporates special integration of high strength composite structural panel designs, which enable the structure to resist more than twice the allowable wind loads without increasing the framing requirements. The rigid reinforced foam panels with the lightweight steel structure become highly energy efficient. Heat flow through the walls and roof become less than half of conventional structures due to the foam in the panels and the increased wall thickness. In addition, the panels in these structures are particularly resistant to seismic loading because of their greatly increased shear strength. The wall panels in the structural system are installed in or on sealed floor tracks, thereby creating a watertight seal between the wall and the flooring system. Finally, the eaves of the structure incorporate a design that enhances the strength of the structural connection between the roof panel and the top of the exterior wall. This added strength resists the magnified uplift forces experienced by the structure during extreme wind loading events.

The composite design of the structure provides for factory production of finished wall, ceiling, and roof panels. All plumbing and wiring can be installed in a factory setting, greatly streamlining the building fabrication and permitting process, allowing for quick and quality construction at a lowered cost to the consumer. These structures will dramatically decrease the risk to owners, lenders, insurance providers and municipalities.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The structure is built on a generally solid foundation, such as a concrete slab. Floor tracks are attached to the foundation, and columns and wall panels are attached to the floor tracks or directly to the floor of foundation. Seals are placed around the floor tracks of the exterior walls to create a bond to the foundation and a watertight seal. Seals are incorporated into the joints in the exterior walls, further enhancing the strength and the watertight properties of the structure. The exterior doors open outward, and a seal is attached to the doorframe between the frame and the outward-opening door. Thus, the seal tightens as wind and hydrostatic pressure forces increase.

The wall panels connect with a cross-in-cube arrangement incorporating high-strength connection brackets and high strength wall panels. Ceiling panels are attached across the top of the wall panels to complete the cross-in-cube arrangement. The panels are typically made of structural sheeting, fibers and bonding agents attached to each other on opposite sides of composite stud members. In addition to these composite panels, composite beams and columns may be used to add strength to the structural frame. The fibers may be manufactured from current materials such as glass, carbon, arimid or nano technology structures.

The eave structure distributes roof loads across the top of the exterior wall, thus preventing overloading of local members. The eave members, connected by high strength brackets, form a rigid truss. A roof truss is not needed because of the high strength eave connection and the high strength exterior wall, ceiling, and roof panels.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is an elevation view of one alternative of a beam/column connection.

FIG. 2 is a cross section of an alternate beam design.

FIG. 3 is a cross section of an alternate beam design.

FIG. 4 is a cross section of an alternate beam design.

FIG. 5 is a cross section of an alternate beam design.

FIG. 6 is a cross section of an alternate beam design.

FIG. 7 is a cross section of an alternate beam design.

FIG. 8 is a cross section of an alternate beam design.

FIG. 9 shows a plan and elevation of an alternate beam/column connection.

FIG. 10 is an elevation view of an alternate beam/column connection.

FIG. 11 is an elevation view of an alternate beam/column connection.

FIG. 12 is an elevation view of an alternate beam/column connection.

FIG. 13 is a plan view of an alternate beam/column connection.

FIG. 14A is a cross section of an alternate composite wall panel design.

FIG. 14B is a cross section of an alternate composite wall panel design.

FIG. 14C is a cross section of an alternate composite wall panel design.

FIG. 15 is a cross section of an alternate composite ceiling panel design.

FIG. 16 is a cross section of an alternate composite roof or floor panel design.

FIG. 17 is a sectional perspective view of the “Cross in Cube” structural system.

FIG. 18 is a cross section of an alternate “Hurricane Eave” design.

FIG. 19A is a cross section of an alternate attachment detail for the wall/floor connection.

FIG. 19B is a cross section of an alternate “Hurricane Eave” design.

FIG. 19C is a cross section of an alternate tension bar assembly design.

FIG. 20A is a cross section of an alternate design for the vertical joint between two wall panels.

FIG. 20B is a cross section of an alternate design for the vertical joint between two wall panels.

FIG. 21A is a cross section of an alternate design for the joint between two wall panels.

FIG. 21B is a cross section of an alternate design for the joint between three wall panels.

FIG. 22 is a cross section of an alternate design for the watertight door seal.

FIG. 23 is a perspective view of a typical family dwelling unit.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

With reference to the drawings, the invention will now be described with regard for the best mode and the preferred embodiment. In general, the invention comprises an integrated, high strength, lightweight building structure to withstand flooding, seismic, and up to 250 mph wind loads. In addition, the building structure is constructed from materials that resist wood destroying organisms, mildew, mold, rot, and water damage. The structural system is made from composite beams, columns, and structural panels.

In FIG. 1, the composite beams and columns form a structural frame. The following description details the design of the composite beams used in the structural system, and the bending axis is presumed to be the centerline shown in the corresponding figures. An ordinary practitioner will appreciate that the following beam designs are also suitable for the composite columns. The beam 1 and column 2 members preferably are designed using four materials: cold rolled steel, rigid foam, fiber reinforcing and bonding agents. Generally, as described below, the foam core of the composite beam is bonded to the metal skin by an epoxy or bonding agent. Thus, the foam core acts as a lateral brace for the metal, thereby increasing the elastic buckling capacity of the metal skin and allowing increased stresses in the outer portions of the composite beam or column.

The first alternate design of these members, as shown in FIG. 2, consist of a secondary skin 3 at the top and bottom of the beam 1 and a primary skin 4 that is bonded to and wrapped around the fiber reinforced foam outer core 5 and rigid foam inner core 6. The secondary skin 3 and primary skin 4 preferably are made of steel, although any other metal or sufficiently rigid material may be used, such as high strength polymers or carbon composite materials. The secondary skin 3 and primary skin 4 are also bonded together, such as by welds, glue, chemical bonds, or by mechanical fasteners, such as bolts, screws, rivets or clamps. The mechanical fasteners 7 are threaded fasteners, rivets, or other equivalent bonding means, such as bonding or resistance welding. The fiber reinforced outer core 5 is fiber-reinforced material consisting of a resin or epoxy material adhered to a tight weave cloth or scrim. Preferably the inner core 6 is cured-in-place foam or rigid polymer foam.

The second alternate beam design, shown in FIG. 3, depicts the cross section of a beam that performs the same function as the beam shown in FIG. 2. However, the cross section in FIG. 3 allows a more uniform outer surface of the beam by moving the steel secondary skin 3 to a position between the fiber reinforced foam outer core 5 and inner core 6.

The third alternate beam design, shown in FIG. 4, combines the features of the first and second alternates, thus providing three layers of steel at the top and bottom of the beam, which are the area of highest stress.

The fourth alternate beam design, shown in FIG. 5, depicts a lower cost arrangement where the steel secondary skin 3 is a simple flat member that does not need to be formed. This arrangement provides extra thickness and stress carrying capabilities at the top and bottom of the beam. Other aspects of this beam's construction and configuration are as described in the previous alternates.

The fifth alternate beam design, shown in FIG. 6, depicts the cross section of beam that performs the same function as the beam shown in FIG. 5. However, the cross section shown in FIG. 6 allows a more uniform outer surface of the beam by moving the steel secondary skin 3 to a position between the fiber reinforced foam outer core 5 and inner core 6.

The sixth alternate beam design, shown in FIG. 7, combines the features from the fourth and fifth alternate beam designs, thus providing three layers of steel at the top and bottom of the beam in the area of highest stress.

The seventh alternate beam design, shown in FIG. 8, provides the minimum cost arrangement by using only two pieces of steel, which are an alternate version of the steel primary skin 4. As shown in FIG. 8, this beam is comprised of two sections of steel cold formed into C-shaped sections, which are overlapping and opposite facing. The inside of one C-shaped section fits snugly around three sides of the foam outer core 5, thereby acting as a base primary skin 4a. The inside of the opposite facing C-shaped section fits snugly about the remaining side of the outer foam core 5 and the base primary skin 4a, thereby acting as an overlapping primary skin 4b of the beam 1. This arrangement provides two layers of steel at the top and bottom of the beam cross section, which are the highest stress areas. Due to the lateral support provided by the rigid foam core and bonding agents, the elastic buckling of the base primary skin 4a and overlapping primary skin 4b is arrested, thus allowing increased stresses in the shell of the composite beam with load capacity increases of 300 percent or more.

FIG. 1 shows a method for connecting multiple beams 1 to a column 2 by using a high strength fastening arrangement of the beams 1. In this arrangement, the beams 1 are connected to the column 2 by using a bottom bracket 8, a lateral bracket 10, and a top bracket 9. In some situations, the beam 1 may be welded to the column 2, or attached by any other means that provides sufficient strength and stability, such as high strength epoxies or other chemical bonds. The brackets may be made of any metal or material that provides sufficient strength, such as polymer or carbon composite materials. The brackets may be attached to the column by bolts, rivets, welds, or chemical bonds. FIG. 9 shows how the beams 1 may be mitered where they intersect and rest atop the column 2. At this location, the bottom bracket 8, top bracket 9, and the lateral bracket 10 secure the beams 1.

FIG. 10 shows the attachment detail where the beams 1 abut a column 2 at any point where the column 2 continues upward above the beam connection point. Beams 1 are connected to the column 2 by using a bottom bracket 8, a lateral bracket 10, and a top bracket 9. This connection also may be accomplished by any means that provides sufficient strength and stability, such as a weld either with or without a chemical bond. The column 2 is attached to the floor/foundation 13 by the floor track 11 and the track reinforcing plate 12 with the use of fasteners 14 or other sufficient connection means, such as threaded fasteners coupled with bonding agents or anchor devices. FIG. 11 depicts the inline connection detail atop the column 2 with the beams 1 secured by using a bottom bracket 8, a lateral bracket 10, and a top bracket 9. FIG. 6 shows the connection detail where a single beam 1 atop a column 2 is secured by a bottom bracket 8, a flat plate lateral bracket 10, and an angled top bracket 9. FIG. 13 shows a plan view of the connection detail where the beams 1 abut to all four sides of a column 2 at the same elevation. When abutting to the top of the column 2, the beams 1 may be attached with a plate top bracket 9 and angled lateral brackets 10. When abutting below the top of the column 2, attachments may be made with angled lateral brackets 10.

Preferably, the structural panels 20 described here are prefabricated. One alternate design of the panels 20, as shown in FIGS. 14A and 14B, provides for more than doubling the wind load resistance of a light weight steel structure while making little or no change in the light gage steel framing. This framing provides a dimensionally controlled base and a suitable attachment surface for the other elements of the structural panels 20, as described below. The panels may be used for interior and exterior walls, floor panels, ceiling panels, and roof panels. The panel studs 21 may be located at any spacing, but preferably at a standard such as 24 inches on center or less. The wall panels 20 may be constructed without any rigid reinforced foam 22 or other fiber reinforcement, but the bending strength and thermal efficiency of the wall will be reduced.

Generally, the structural panels 23 are connected to the panel studs 21 by sheeting fasteners 32 (shown in FIG. 14B), which also attach the interior sheeting 24 and exterior sheeting 25 to the panel 20. Bonding agents are also applied to bond the sheeting and the foam together and to the steel, forming a stronger vapor tight composite. Preferably, rigid reinforced foam 22 is injected into the panel 20 and allowed to cure in place. As another alternative, the foam can be precast and placed within the composite wall. Either way, the interior sheeting 24, exterior sheeting 25, structural panels 23, rigid reinforced foam 22, and panel studs 21 combine to form a “sandwich” style panel. Panel tracks 61, as in FIG. 19A, are attached to the panel at an orientation perpendicular to the panel studs 21. The panel tracks 61 may be attached to the panel 20 by mechanical fasteners and/or adhesive bonds.

In one alternative design, the rigid reinforced foam 22 is bonded to the panel studs 21, which are made from any metal, polymer, carbon composite, or other sufficiently rigid material. The structural panels 23 are constructed from any metal, carbon composite, plywood, chip board, polymer panel, fiber-reinforced material or other material with sufficient strength. When fiber-reinforced material is used, such material can comprise a bonding agent, such as latex or polyester resin or epoxy material, adhered to a tight weave cloth, scrim, or roving member. The roving member can be glass, carbon, metal, aramid, and other materials depending on cost and weight limits to the design. Optionally, the bonding agents are also used to bond the panels to the structure. The sheeting fasteners 32, which are mechanical fasteners used either with or without adhesive bonds, are used to attach the panels to the structure in a manner to transmit the forces directly through the mechanical/bonded joints 32 and into the structural panels 23, which become the primary resistance to shear and bending. In this alternative design, the pressure force on one side of the panel sheeting is transmitted to the opposite sheeting via rigid reinforced foam 22, thus allowing thinner sheeting. FIG. 14B shows another alternative arrangement for the elements of the panel 20. The individual elements are as described above, but the panel 20 comprises a tri-laminate arrangement. Specifically, an additional layer of interior sheeting 24 is placed between the structural panels 23 and the panel studs 21.

Generally, the arrangement of elements in the panels 20, as described above, applies to the ceiling, floor, and roof panels, as shown in FIGS. 15-16. A panel is a roof panel 33 when the exterior sheeting 25 is a metal roof cover or other roofing material, such as shingles, slate, tile, polymer, carbon fiber or other roofing material. On one of its sides, the roof panel 33 attaches to the exterior wall 29 by the roof bracket 40, which is connected to the top of the exterior wall 29 as shown in FIG. 18 or to the ceiling panel 26 as shown in FIG. 19B. The opposite side of the roof panel 33 attaches to the roof panel 33 projecting from the opposite eave, the two roof panels 33 thus forming a peak above the structure (not shown). The roof panel becomes a floor panel when the exterior sheeting 25 is modified to be a flooring surface, such as linoleum, carpet or other flooring material.

In an alternative design, the panel studs 21 are steel shapes, preferably having a closed cross section (see FIGS. 14B and 14C). The cross section of the steel member is oriented with the thicker section adjacent to the location where the sheeting fasteners 32 attach the sheeting to the panel studs 21.

One alternative orientation of panels 20, shown in FIG. 17, illustrates how wall, ceiling, and roof panels are attached together in a manner that uses a “Cross In Cube” design. The “Cube” consists of the exterior walls 29, floor panel 30, and the ceiling panels 26 supported laterally by the interior walls 31, which, depending on the floor plan, form a cross inside the cube. The wall panels 29 and 31, and ceiling panels 26 act as a firm structure for supporting the roof loads. The foundation 13 of the structure can be either a concrete slab, a combination of the high strength composite panels used as floor panels 30, or any other sufficiently stable platform. The foundation 13 of the structure can be at grade or elevated as required for flood plain zones.

FIG. 18 shows how the ceiling panel 26 has continuous attachment to the exterior wall using a sill plate 27 and a lower bracket 28 and the panel track 61 framing the ceiling panel 26. The composite roof design utilizes a “Hurricane Eave,” or a high strength eave, which includes the cave member 41 attached to the exterior wall 29 by the eave lateral bracket 42 and the eave bottom bracket 43. This connection is at a location below the top of the exterior wall 29. The opposite end of the eave member 41 attaches to one end of the roof joist 44. The roof bracket 40 connects the opposite end of the roof joist 44 to either the roof panel 33 or the top of the exterior wall 29, or both, thereby generating a high strength three-member truss. In some cases, the incline of the roof panel 33 will create a space 48 at the top of the exterior wall. This space 48 can be filled with a structural element such as a bond-in-place continuous spacer bonded to the roof panel 48 and the exterior wall 29, thus providing joint sufficient to evenly distribute the uplift loads caused by wind loading.

The fascia cover 45, which can be continuous and decorative, connects the soffit 46, which is preferably a high strength vinyl covered element, thereby preventing uplift of the roof sheeting 47 and securing the cover of the soffit 46 as wind forces shift. The fascia cover 45 and soffit 46 can be ornamented as desired. All attachments in the “Hurricane Eave” may be accomplished with mechanical fasteners, welds, or chemical bonds. The fascia cover 45 and all other brackets may be made of any metal, polymer, carbon composite, or other material with sufficient strength, which allows standard architectural designs or achievements.

The ceiling panel 26 is attached to the exterior wall 29 by a sill plate 27 and a lower bracket 28, which preferably form continuous attachments. Rather than resting on top of the exterior wall 29, the ceiling panel 26 is oriented so that it abuts the exterior wall 29 on the wall's interior side. The vent 49 is an opening in the foam of the roof panel 33 that allows for thermostatically and volumetrically controlled forced draft ventilation of the attic, thereby preventing rapid pressure changes in the attic spaces caused by high wind pressure. The vents 49 also promote ventilation of the structure, which can be an important feature when the lower level structural joints and seams are vapor tight. The roof cover 50 is bonded or mechanically fastened to the roof sheeting 47. Alternatively, the roof cover 50 can be bonded or mechanically fastened directly to the roof panel 33, without any roof sheeting 47.

Referring to FIG. 19A, the floor/foundation 13 attachment to the wall panel 20 is sealed, making the structure watertight. The floor track 11 is placed on the floor/foundation 13, positioned and leveled properly with bonding sealer 60 between them. The panel track 61, which comes attached to the wall panel 20, is positioned, sealed, and bonded to the floor track 11. The floor track 11 and bonding sealer 60 are anchored to the floor/foundation 13 in any manner sufficient to withstand the applicable loads, such as with anchors, mechanical fasteners or chemical bonds. The floor tracks 11 and panel tracks 61 may be made of any metal, polymer, carbon composite, or other material with sufficient strength. The bonding sealer 60 may be caulking, epoxy, rubber, neoprene, elastomeric pads, plastic, or foam.

In another embodiment, depicted in FIG. 19B, the exterior wall 29 is attached directly to the floor or foundation 13 with the use of a continuous strip 74 along the outside of the exterior wall 29. The strip 74 is attached to the exterior wall 29 and the foundation 13, thereby eliminating the need for the additional floor track 11 as in FIG. 19A. The strength of the connection between the strip 74 and the foundation 13 is enhanced further with the angle strip 78. The panel track 61 is an angle clip that delivers additional stability and strength. Bonding materials are added between the exterior wall 29 and the foundation 13 to seal and bond the wall base to the floor or foundation 13, and the seal also separates the steel from the concrete or other base materials that could be incompatible with the floor or foundation 13, such as zinc coated steel.

In another embodiment, shown in FIGS. 19B and 19C, a tension bar assembly provides a method for securing the roof panel structure to the foundation, thereby delivering additional strength to control wind uplift. In this embodiment, the ceiling panel 26 bears on the top of the exterior wall 29. The tension bar assembly is comprised of an anchor 75, a bar 76, a plate 85, and one or more couplings 77. The anchor 75 is embedded in the foundation 13 and connects to the bar 76 running to the plate 85, which bears on the ceiling panel 26 above the top of the exterior wall 29. The couplings 77, which are incorporated into the bar 76, are used to tighten the tension bar assembly. The couplings 77 also serve as turn buckles to preload the ceiling panel 26 to the wall to assure proper contact with the top of the exterior wall 29 for bonding the wall to the ceiling panel 26. The couplings 77 also provide vertical position control of the ceiling panel to the top of the wall to assure proper contact of the mating surfaces that are bonded and sealed with a sealing or bonding agent. This also provides a means to correct any mismatch on the bottom surfaces and mating surfaces of the rigid composite integrated ceiling panels 26 and roof panels 33. A protective cover 88 covers the tension members and the electrical connectors (not shown) that provide electrical connectivity between panels. An ordinary practitioner will appreciate that these tension bar assemblies can be placed as needed to meet the load and sealing, preload or uplift requirements caused by the external loading on the structure.

The vertical joints of the exterior wall, depicted in FIG. 20A, also incorporate bonding sealer 60, as described above, to make them watertight. The exterior walls 29 are placed such that their interior corners are adjacent, and the exterior sheeting 25 of each exterior wall 29 is extended until it connects with the exterior sheeting 25 from the other exterior wall 29. In addition to the panel studs 21 located near the vertical joint, a support member, such as a support stud 19, is used to provide structural support to the extended exterior sheeting 25. The support stud 19 is oriented such that the ends of the exterior walls 29 and the support stud 19 for a void 35. The void 35 can be filled with insulation, rigid reinforced foam 22, or other fill material. The exterior walls 29 are secured along the inside corner by a vertical bracket 34 and sheeting fasteners 32. Bonding sealer 60 is placed between the exterior sheeting 25 and the support stud 19, and also between the void 35 and the exterior wall 29 panels. Continuous fastening of the vertical brackets 34 of the walls using bonding sealer 60 enhances the sealing and structural strength of the wall joint.

FIG. 20B illustrates an alternate method of attaching two walls abutting at right angles although they could join at any angle and at any point along the wall. A tube 82 provides a passage for the threaded fastener 81 to reach the plate nut 86. The tube 82 also prevents collapsing of the thin walls of the panel as the fastener 81 is tightened. The joint includes a tension bar assembly, as described above, wherein the plate 85 bears on the top of the adjacent exterior walls 29. The cover 79 for the tension bar 76 is connected to the wall panels by sheeting fasteners 32, thereby concealing the bar 76 and providing cover for the electrical connectors needed for wiring continuity between adjacent panels. An “L” shaped bracket plate 62 is provided at the top of the exterior wall 29 and interior wall 31, as shown in FIG. 21A. The vertical bracket 34 and bracket plate 62 may be any metal, carbon composite, polymer, or polymer material.

FIG. 21B depicts the method to join two walls to one abutting wall using the fasteners 81 to the plate nut 86 and also using the sleeve 82 as described above to provide prepared passage for the bolt 81 and provide the rigidity needed between the sheet metal pieces to arrest the bolt 81 forces applied when tightening the bolt 81. The bolt 81 must be properly tightened to develop the proper holding capacity for the expected forces. Bonding agents are also applied to seal and bond the mating surfaces of the walls. The bolts 81 can be attached to a continuous wall (not shown) or at a wall joint, as shown.

As shown in FIG. 22, the watertight design of the building includes the exterior door 63, which opens outward. The frame for the exterior door 63 includes seals 64 that seal all round the door, thereby forming a seal that tightens as external pressure is applied by wind or water.

A “Living Module” as shown in FIG. 23 is the standard feature of all floor plans and contains all sanitary facilities 70, kitchen facilities 71, as well as bedroom 72 and garage 73. The “Living Module” can be utilized in an infinite variety of floor plans.

The embodiments disclosed above are merely representative of the invention and are not meant for limitation thereof. For example, an ordinary practitioner would understand that there are several commercially available substitutions for some of the features and components described above. Several embodiments described above incorporate elements that are interchangeable with the features of other embodiments. It is understood that equivalents and substitutions for certain elements and components set forth above may be obvious to those having ordinary skill in the art, and therefore the true scope and definition of the invention is to be as set forth in the following claims.