Title:
STABLE AND EFFICIENT BUILDING SYSTEM
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A plurality of different types of modules are used to form external and internal walls of a building system. Adjacent modules are interlocked by first and second fitting surfaces of respective adjacent modules. First and second adjacent modules are attached using a fastening system which includes a fixing rod and wall fitting unit. A fitting surface of the first adjacent module is fitted with the wall fitting unit and the fixing rod is inserted through the second adjacent module.



Inventors:
Lim, Matakii O'goshi (Perth, AU)
Application Number:
11/843655
Publication Date:
02/26/2009
Filing Date:
08/23/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
52/745.2, 52/309.17
International Classes:
E04C2/10
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
IHEZIE, JOSHUA K
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
HORIZON IP PTE LTD (SINGAPORE 199591, SG)
Claims:
1. A building system comprising: a plurality of different types of modules for forming external and internal walls of a building structure, wherein adjacent modules are interlocked by first and second fitting surfaces of respective adjacent modules; and a fastening system for attaching first and second adjacent modules, the fastening system comprises a fixing rod and wall fitting unit, wherein one of the fitting surfaces of the first adjacent module is fitted with the wall fitting unit and the fixing rod is inserted through the second adjacent module.

2. The building system of claim 1 wherein the different types of modules comprises: a corner module having first and second fitting surfaces for mating with adjacent modules to form a bend in the building structure; and intermediate modules for interconnecting a plurality of corner structures to form external walls of the building structure.

3. The building system of claim 2 wherein the intermediate modules comprise at least middle modules having first and second fitting surface, the first fitting surface comprises a male fitting surface and the second fitting surface comprises a female fitting surface, the male and female surfaces of adjacent modules are interlocked.

4. The building system of claim 3 wherein intermediate modules further comprise T-modules which include first, second and third fitting surfaces for forming intersecting walls in the building structure.

5. The building system of claim 4 wherein fitting surfaces of the T-modules are interconnected with fitting surfaces of middle modules to form intersection walls of the building structure.

6. The building system of claim 1 wherein the modules comprises a length equal to a height of a wall.

7. The building system of claim 6 wherein the modules include at least one cavity through the length thereof.

8. The building system of claim 7 wherein the cavity facilitates installation of services including plumbing and electrical services.

9. The building system of claim 1 wherein modules comprises a geopolymer composite.

10. The building system of claim 9 wherein the geopolymer composite comprises cement, fly ash, paper fiber and water.

11. The building system of claim 10 wherein the geopolymer composite further comprises calcium carbonate, chemical methyl cellulose and recycled dust.

12. The building system of claim 1 wherein the modules comprises an extruded geopolymer composite.

13. The building system of claim 1 wherein fitting surfaces include a plurality of top holes and a plurality of bottom holes to facilitate attaching adjacent modules with the fastening system, wherein first and second adjacent modules are attached together with a first of top and bottom holes and second and third adjacent modules are attached together with a second of top and bottom holes.

14. A method of assembling a building system comprising: providing a building structure base; mounting corner modules to the building structure base at corners of the building structure base; mating interconnecting types of building modules sequentially from the corner modules, wherein adjacent interconnecting types of building modules are mated by male and female fitting surfaces; and attaching adjacent interconnecting types of building modules with a fastening system, the fastening system comprises a wall fitting unit mounted on the fitting surface of one of the modules and inserting a fixing rod through the other of the adjacent module and mating with the wall fitting unit.

15. A method of forming a module of a building system comprising: preparing a geopolymer mixture of the module; inputting the geopolymer mixture into an extrusion system; and extruding a module from a mold, wherein the module comprises at least a first fitting surface for mating with a module with a second fitting surface, wherein the first fitting surface comprises one of a male or female surface and the second fitting surface comprises other of a male or female surface.

16. The method of claim 15 wherein the geopolymer mixture comprises cement, fly ash, paper fiber and water.

17. The method of claim 16 wherein the geopolymer mixture further comprises calcium carbonate, chemical methyl cellulose and recycled dust.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to building construction. More particularly, the present invention relates to building modules for creating building structure.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

In the construction of buildings, cinder blocks are commonly used. Typically, building construction begins with forming the foundation of the building and frame, with appropriate supports, such as columns and beams. After the frame is completed, blocks are stacked and joined to form external walls, with windows and doorways as desired.

Mortar is used to join the blocks together. The joining of blocks to form external walls required skilled labor, which increases production costs. Additionally, blocks are heavy, creating shipping and handling issues.

From the foregoing discussion, it is desirable to provide an efficient and stable building system.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to building construction. In one aspect of the invention, it relates to a building system. The building system comprises a plurality of different types of modules for forming external and internal walls of a building structure. Adjacent modules are interlocked by first and second fitting surfaces of respective adjacent modules. The building system further comprises a fastening system for attaching first and second adjacent modules. The fastening system comprises a fixing rod and wall fitting unit. One of the fitting surfaces of the first adjacent module is fitted with the wall fitting unit and the fixing rod is inserted through the second adjacent module.

In another aspect of the invention, a method of assembling a building system is disclosed. The method comprises providing a building structure base. Corner modules are mounted to the building structure base at corners of the building structure base. The method further comprises mating interconnecting types of building modules sequentially from the corner modules, wherein adjacent interconnecting types of building modules are mated by male and female fitting surfaces. Adjacent interconnecting types of building modules are attached with a fastening system. The fastening system comprises a wall fitting unit mounted on the fitting surfaces of one of the modules and inserting a fixing rod through the other of the adjacent module and mating with the wall fitting unit.

In yet another aspect of the invention, a method of forming a module of a building system is provided. The method includes preparing a geopolymer mixture of the module. The geopolymer mixture is inserted into an extrusion system. The method further comprises the step of extruding a module from a mold, wherein the module comprises at least a first fitting surface for mating with a module with a second fitting surface. The first fitting surface comprises one of a male or female surface and the second fitting surface comprises other of a male or female surface.

These and other objects, along with advantages and features of the present invention herein disclosed, will become apparent through reference to the following description and the accompanying drawings. Furthermore, it is to be understood that the features of the various embodiments described herein are not mutually exclusive and can exist in various combinations and permutations.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

In the drawings, like reference characters generally refer to the same parts throughout the different views. Also, the drawings are not necessarily to scale, emphasis instead generally being placed upon illustrating the principles of the invention. In the following description, various embodiments of the present invention are described with reference to the following drawings, in which:

FIGS. 1a-b show side and plan views of a generic module in accordance with one embodiment of the invention;

FIGS. 2a-b show female and male fitting surfaces in accordance with one embodiment of the invention;

FIGS. 2c-e show various detailed views of a module in accordance with one embodiment of the invention;

FIGS. 3a-j show various types of modules of a building system in accordance with one embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 4 illustrates a plan view of a module assembly in accordance with one embodiment of the invention;

FIGS. 5a-b show different views of mating modules in accordance with one embodiment of the invention;

FIGS. 6a-c show fastening system for securing adjacent modules in accordance with one embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 7 shows a corner module mated with middle modules in accordance with one embodiment of the invention;

FIGS. 8a-b show a plan view and a detailed view of a building structure in accordance with one embodiment of the invention;

FIGS. 9a-b show an attachment unit for corner modules in accordance with one embodiment of the invention;

FIGS. 9c-d show base bolts in accordance with different embodiments of the invention; invention;

FIGS. 10a-b show an attachment unit for middle modules in accordance with one embodiment of the invention;

FIGS. 11a-b show a final attachment unit in accordance with one embodiment of the invention;

FIGS. 12a-b show an assembled final middle module in accordance with one embodiment of the invention;

FIGS. 13a-b show a pillar module in accordance with one embodiment of the invention;

FIGS. 14a-d show a column assembly in accordance with one embodiment of the invention;

FIGS. 15a-c show a window assembly in accordance with one embodiment of the invention;

FIGS. 16a-b show a door frame in accordance with one embodiment of the invention;

FIGS. 17a-b show a door frame assembly in accordance with one embodiment of the invention;

FIGS. 18-19 show a plumbing outlet in accordance with one embodiment of the invention;

FIGS. 20 and 21 show a garage door assembly in accordance in accordance with one embodiment of the invention;

FIGS. 22a-b and 23a-b show a roof plate assembly in accordance with one embodiment of the invention;

FIGS. 24a-c show a roof plate assembly in accordance with another embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 25 shows a process for assembling a building structure in accordance with one embodiment of the invention; and

FIG. 26 shows a process for fabricating building modules in accordance with one embodiment of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a building system. In accordance with one embodiment of the invention, the building system comprises a plurality of building modules. The modules, for example, serve as segments which can be easily interconnected or assembled to form a building structure. In one embodiment, the modules are used to form walls (internal and external) and serve as support or load bearing structures. Various types of modules are provided to effect the desired building or floor plan. For example, the modules can be used to form single or multi-story building structures with the desired layout (e.g., shape, number and size of rooms).

In accordance with the invention, the modules are easily attached using fasteners, such as bolts and wall fittings with nuts. The modules can be easily adapted for use with conventional building structures. For example, the modules can be used with conventional bases and supports as well as roofing structures.

FIGS. 1a-b show side and plan views of a generic module 100 in accordance with one embodiment of the invention. As shown, the module comprises an elongated member comprising generally a rectangular cross-section with four sides or surfaces 102-105. Providing modules with other geometric shaped cross-sections is also useful. The elongated member comprises a length L, width W and thickness T. W and T, for example, are equal to the length and thickness of a conventional cinder block. For example, W is about 0.30-0.41 m and T is about 0.2 m. The length, in one embodiment, is equal the height of a typical wall of the building structure. For example, L is about 2.7 m. Preferably, the members are provided in two different lengths, such as 2.6 and 2.7 m. The different lengths correspond to the different heights for external and internal walls. For example, the longer length modules are used to form external walls while the shorter length modules are for internal walls. The modules can also be cut to the desired length, for example, to accommodate door or window frames or different height ceilings. Providing modules with other values of T, W, and L are also useful.

In one embodiment, at least one of the sides of the module comprises a smooth or flat surface. The flat surface serves as, for example, either one of the surfaces of a building wall structure, such as inner, outer or end. Some modules can have two, three or all flat surfaces. The non-flat surfaces serve as fitting surfaces. A fitting surface can be a male or female fitting surface. For modules with more than one fitting surfaces, they can be male, female or a combination thereof. In the case where a module comprises four flat surfaces, no fitting surfaces are provided.

Preferably, the module comprises at least one cavity 108 that extends the length of the module. As shown, the module comprises two cavities that extend the length of the module. Providing cavities that extend partially may also be useful. The cavities can serve various functions. For example, the cavities can provide insulation or space for insulation, accommodate for utility or services, such as electrical wiring or plumbing as well as reducing weight of the modules. In one embodiment, the number of cavities depends on the width of the module. The modules can have various unit widths, with each unit having one cavity. For example, in the case of modules having full and half widths, full width comprises two cavities while half width comprises one cavity. Other configurations of units and cavities are also useful.

FIG. 2a shows female and male fitting surfaces 212 and 222 in accordance with one embodiment of the invention. The female and male fitting surfaces interlock adjacent modules. In one embodiment, the female fitting surface comprises one or more receptacles 213 for receiving one or more protrusions 223 from the male fitting surface. When mated, in one embodiment, the male and female fitting surfaces of two adjacent modules create an opening or cavity 218 therebetween, as shown in FIG. 2b. The opening provides space to accommodate fasteners for fixing adjacent modules together.

Referring back to FIG. 2a, a plane formed by the female fitting surface, as indicated by the dotted line A-A, comprises recesses 213 and 216. Preferably, the recesses extend the length of the module. Illustratively, the female fitting surface comprises three recesses, one each located at the edges of the surface and one in the middle. Other arrangements are also useful. The plane formed by the male fitting surface, as indicated by the dotted line B-B, comprises first and second protrusions 223 corresponding to the mating recesses of the female surface. The protrusions include a notch or a step 224 for mating with the recesses of the female surface. Furthermore, the male fitting surface comprises a 226 recess between the protrusions. The recesses 216 and 226 facilitate in creating the opening between two mated surfaces to accommodate, for example, fasteners. Other arrangements of the mating surfaces are also useful.

FIG. 2c shows details of a module 200 in accordance with one embodiment of the invention. As shown, the module comprises a full width module having first and second cavities 208 that extend its length. The module includes smooth surfaces 202 and 204 along the width W which serves as walls. Along the thickness T of the module are female and male fitting surfaces 212 and 222. Measurements of various components of the module are provided. All measurements are in millimeters (mm).

FIGS. 2d-e show 3-dimensional and fitting surface views in detail of a module 200 in accordance with one embodiment of the invention. The module comprises, for example, a length L of 2.6 m with first and second fitting surfaces 212 and 222. A fitting surface (212 or 222) includes a top set of holes 265 and a bottom set of holes 266. As shown, a set of holes include four holes. Providing other number of holes per set or top and bottom sets with different numbers of holes is also useful. For modules having two opposing fitting surfaces, holes are through holes, from one fitting surface to the other. In one embodiment, the top and bottom set of holes facilitate assembly to an adjacent module. For example, the holes can be fitted with a wall fitting unit or for a bolt to pass through. The holes, in one embodiment, are about 12 mm in diameter. Other hole sizes are also useful, depending on the fastener size or design.

In one embodiment, the set of holes are provided 100 mm from the top or bottom surface, with succeeding holes at 100 mm intervals. For the longer size modules of 2.7 mm, the bottom set of holes are provided 200 mm from the bottom surface at 100 mm intervals. Additionally, a fitting surface includes hole markings 268 located between the sets of holes. The hole markings provide locations for holes to be formed during assembly process if needed. The hole markings, in one embodiment, are spaced apart by 200 mm from holes or other hole markings. Other arrangements or configurations for placement of holes or hole markings are also useful. In one embodiment of the invention, the bottom of the fitting surface includes recess or routing 227. The recess serves to accommodate, for example, brackets to fix a module to the base of the building structure. The recess, for example, is about 10 mm deep. Other recess depths are also useful.

In one embodiment, the modules comprise a geopolymer composite. One example of the composition of the polymer composite is listed in Table 1. Other types of materials are also useful. For example, the modules can be formed of wood or cement.

TABLE 1
Material≈ %
Cement Portland Type 129
Fly Ash30
Calcium Carbonate10
Recycled Paper Fiber3
Chemical Methyl Cellulose1
Water19
Recycled Dust (e.g., dust recycled from sanding8
modules)

The composite is preferably formed by extrusion. Other processes, such as casting, are also useful. The technical data of the composite modules are listed in Table 2.

TABLE 2
Module Properties
Compressive strength20-45 MPa
Bending strength7-15 MPa
Modulus of elasticity10-20 MPa
Specific density1.3-2.1 kg/dm3
Fire rating integration2-4 hours
Thermal resistance<1 W/° C./m2
Moisture absorption<8%
Sound deduction40 db

The use of geopolymer composite produces modules which are lightweight and strong. For example, a panel having a size of 100 mm×300 mm×2600 mm weighs only about 39 kg. Additionally, the geopolymer composite modules are fire retardant and resistant to moisture.

FIGS. 3a-j show plan views of various types of building modules in accordance with one embodiment of the invention. The modules are configured with first and second sizes. For example, the modules are either full or half size. Providing modules with more or less number of sizes are also useful.

Referring to FIG. 3a, a corner module 330a is shown. The corner module is used to create corners or bends in the building structure. In one embodiment, the corner module comprises a rectangular shape having first and second adjacent flat surfaces 305a-b and first and second adjacent fitting surfaces 312 and 322. The flat surfaces, as shown, are perpendicular or form a 90° angle. Likewise the fitting surfaces are perpendicular. The fitting surfaces are configured to mate with other modules to create perpendicular walls. In one embodiment, the first surface comprises a female fitting surface and the second fitting surface comprises a male fitting surface. The corner module comprises a half size module with one cavity 318. The female fitting surface is mated to a male fitting surface of a first adjacent module; the male fitting surface is mated to a female fitting surface of a second adjacent module. Other configurations, such as shape and size of the module or number, angle, or type of fitting surfaces as well as number of flat surfaces are also useful. For example, more than two fitting surfaces can be provided to create an intersection having more than two walls.

Referring to FIG. 3b, a T-connection module 330b is shown. The T-connection module is used to join a wall with another in the building structure. In one embodiment, the T-connection module comprises a half size rectangular shaped module with one cavity 318, first, second and third fitting surfaces 322, 312a and 312b and a flat surface 305. The first and second fitting surfaces are located on opposing sides of the module while the third fitting surface is perpendicular to the other fitting surfaces. In one embodiment, one of the first and second surfaces comprises a female fitting surface and the other comprises a male fitting surface. As illustrated, the first surface comprises a male fitting surface and the second comprises a female fitting surface. The third fitting surface comprises a female fitting surface, forming a female-type T-connection module. When mated to fitting surfaces of other modules, a T-shaped wall structure is formed. As such, the walls are joined at a 90° angle. T-connection modules having other configurations, such as shape and size of the module or number, angle, or type of fitting surfaces as well as number of flat surfaces are also useful.

Referring to FIG. 3c, a T-connection module 330c in accordance with another embodiment is shown. The T-connection module comprises a full size rectangular shaped module with two cavities 318a-b, first, second and third fitting surfaces 322a, 312 and 322b and a flat surface 305. The first and second fitting surfaces are located on opposing sides of the module while the third fitting surface is perpendicular to the other fitting surfaces. Since the module is a full size module, the third fitting surface comprises fitting and smooth 306 surfaces, with the fitting surface located at one side of the module. Providing the fitting surface in the middle of the module is also useful. In one embodiment, one of the first and second surfaces comprises a female fitting surface and the other comprises a male fitting surface. As illustrated, the first surface comprises a male fitting surface and the second comprises a female fitting surface. The third fitting surface comprises a male fitting surface, forming a male-type T-connection module. When mated to fitting surfaces of other modules, a T-shaped wall structure is formed. As such, the walls are joined at a 90° angle. Other configurations, such as shape and size of the module or number, angle, or type of fitting surfaces as well as number of flat surfaces are also useful. For example the third fitting surfaces can include more than one fitting surfaces formed at an angle other than 90°.

An end module 330d in accordance with one embodiment is shown in FIG. 3d. The end module comprises a half size rectangular shaped module with a cavity 318. In one embodiment, the end module comprises a fitting surface 312 on one side while the remaining sides 305a-c are flat surfaces. The end module serves to form the end of a wall. The fitting surface, as shown, comprises a female fitting surface. Providing a male fitting surface 322 as shown in FIG. 3f, is also useful. Alternatively, as shown in FIGS. 3e and 3g, end modules can be full size end modules with two cavities 318a-b with either a male fitting surface 322 or female fitting surface 312. Other configurations, such as angle of the fitting surfaces to form bends at the end of the wall is also useful.

FIG. 3h shows a middle module 330h in accordance with one embodiment of the invention. The middle module comprises a half size rectangular shaped module with a cavity 318. Providing a full size module 330i having two cavities 318a-b, as shown in FIG. 3i, or other sizes is also useful. In one embodiment, the middle module comprises first and second fitting surfaces 312 and 322 on opposing sides while the remaining sides 305a-b are flat surfaces. The middle module is used to connect other modules on the fitting surfaces to form, for example, middle section of the wall. In one embodiment, the first fitting surface comprises a female fitting surface and the second fitting surface comprises a male fitting surface. Other configurations, such as shape and size of the module or type of fitting surfaces are also useful. For example, the flat surfaces can include an angle to create bends in the wall or the fitting surfaces can be of the same type.

A pillar module 330j in accordance with one embodiment is shown in FIG. 3j. The pillar module comprises a full size rectangular shaped module with two cavities 318a-b. Providing pillar modules of other sizes is also useful. In one embodiment, the pillar end module comprises flat surfaces 305a-d. Other configurations, such as shape and size of the module, are also useful. For example, the flat surfaces can include an angle.

FIG. 4 illustrates a plan view of a module assembly 400 of various modules in accordance with one embodiment of the invention. In one embodiment, a corner module 430a is provided. Various modules can be mated together along a first direction X with the corner module to form a first wall 450 of the module assembly. In one embodiment, the fitting surface of the corner module in the first direction comprises a female mating surface. For example a middle module 430i, male-type T-connection module 430c and full size male-type end module 430g are mated sequentially to the corner module in the X direction to form a first wall 450 of the module assembly. Various modules can be mated together along a second direction Y with the male-type T-connection module. As shown, middle module 430i and female-type half size end module 430d are sequentially mated to the male-type T-connection module 430c to form a second wall 452 of the module assembly. Other combinations of modules can also be used to form the first and second walls, as desired.

A third wall 454 is formed by various modules sequentially mated to the corner module in the Y direction. In one embodiment, the mating surface of the corner module in the Y direction comprises a male fitting surface. As shown, a full size middle module 430i, half size middle module 430h, half size female-type T-connection module 430b, two middle modules 430i and a full size female-type end module 430e are sequentially connected to the corner module in the Y direction. A fourth wall 456 is formed along the X direction by mating various modules to the half size female-type T-connection module 430b. For example, a middle module 430i and a half size male end module 430f are sequentially mated to the female-type T-connection module 430b. Illustratively, the second and fourth walls do not merge. Merging the second and fourth wall by, for example, a corner module can form an enclosed room 440.

In accordance with one embodiment of the invention, structural support of the building structure is provided by column modules. As shown, a full size column module 430j is mated to one of the middle modules 430i1 on the third wall. Column modules can be mated to the walls or as stand alone columns as needed, depending on for example design requirements.

FIGS. 5a-b show different views of securing modules in accordance with one embodiment of the invention. As shown, first and second modules 5301 and 5302 are provided. The male fitting surface 5221 of the first module is mated to the female fitting surface 5122 of the second module. In one embodiment, the modules have top holes 565 and bottom holes 566 on the fitting surfaces. For middle modules, the holes are also provided in the internal surface 514 which separates the cavities. In one embodiment, 4 top holes and 4 bottom holes are provided for the modules. Providing other number of holes is also useful. Preferably, the top and bottom holes are located on the fitting surface such that the top and bottom of the module can be interchangeable.

A fastening system is used to secure the two modules together. In one embodiment, the fastening system comprises a fixing rod 570 and a wall fitting unit 571. A fastening system can be used for the top and bottom portion. For example, a wall fitting unit is fitted into one of the top and bottom holes on the female fitting surface of the second module. To secure the modules, fixing rods are inserted through one of the top and bottom holes of the female fitting surface 5121 of the first module and screwed into the wall fitting unit. Other configurations, such as mounting the wall fitting unit to a male fitting surface of one module and inserting the fixing rod through the male fitting surface of another are also useful.

FIG. 6a shows a fastening system in accordance with one embodiment of the invention. FIGS. 6b-c show a wall fitting unit in greater detail in accordance with one embodiment of the invention. Referring to FIG. 6a, the fastening system comprises a fixing rod 570 and a wall fitting unit 571. Male thread is provided on the fixing rod which is mated to female thread on the wall fitting unit. The size of the fastening system is sufficient to secure the modules. For example, the fixing rod is formed from galvanized steel having a diameter of 8 mm with M6 thread on one end and a hex head and shoulder on the other while the wall fitting unit includes M6 internal thread and an outer diameter of 11.5 mm. Other materials or dimensions are also useful.

Referring to FIGS. 6b-c, the wall fitting unit in one embodiment comprises head, body and end portions 674-676. The head portion comprises an opening for the fixing rod to pass through and the end portion comprises female thread which mates with the male thread of the fixing rod. The body portion comprises fingers 679. The body portion comprises a length L greater than the thickness of the fitting surface. Preferably, the threaded portion is about the thickness of the fitting surface for fitting thereto while the finger portion extends beyond the fitting surface. As the fixing rod is mated to the wall fitting unit and tightened, the threaded end portion moves towards the head, as indicated by the arrow. When the end portion moves towards the head portion, it expands the fingers of the body portion. This causes the wall fitting unit to be securely locked into the fitting surface. Preferably the fitting unit is permanently locked into the fitting surface. The use of the fastening system of the present invention enables easy removal of modules for expansion or renovation by merely removing the fixing rods.

FIG. 7 shows securing of modules in accordance with one embodiment of the invention. As shown, a corner module 7301 includes female and male fitting surfaces 7121 and 7221. Wall fitting units 771 are inserted into top and bottom holes on the fitting surfaces. Male fitting surface 7222 of, for example, a first middle module 7302 is mated to the female fitting surface of the corner module; female fitting surface 7123 of, for example, a second middle module 7303 is mated to the male fitting surface of the corner module. To secure the middle modules to the corner modules, fixing rods 770 are inserted through the modules and mated with the wall fitting units. In one embodiment, fastening systems are provided at the top and bottom parts of the modules. Other configurations of fastening systems are also useful. Additionally middle modules as well as other modules can be connected therefrom to form walls in the X and Y directions to create the desired layout.

FIG. 8a shows a plan view of a building structure in accordance with one embodiment of the invention. A base 890 is provided on which modules are assembled. The base, for example, comprises a slab of concrete having the shape of the perimeter of the building structure. The base can be formed by conventional techniques. Modules 830 are fixed to the perimeter of the base, as indicated by the dotted lines, forming the internal space of the building structure. Other types of materials or shapes are also useful. For example, the slab can be designed to extend beyond the outer walls of the building structure. In a preferred embodiment, as shown in FIG. 8b, the base comprises a step 891. Modules rest on a base 891a of the step while a back 891b of the step provides additional vertical support and serving as a barrier from external elements. The longer modules (e.g., 2.7 m) serve as outer walls of the building structure which rest on the step and the shorter modules (e.g., 2.6 m) serve as interior walls. For example, the width of the step is equal to about the width W of the module while the height can be about 100 mm. A sealant can be applied to the modules in the step portion to prevent penetration of water or other environmental elements.

The modules can easily be adapted to use for multi-level building structures, including basements. For example, conventional foundation and building support structures can be used to providing the framework to which the modules are installed.

FIGS. 9a-b show an attachment unit in accordance with one embodiment of the invention. The attachment unit is used to mount or fix a module to the base. In one embodiment, the attachment unit comprises a support bracket 844. The support bracket, for example, comprises an L-shaped bracket with a back and foot portions 847a-b. The bracket, for example, comprises galvanized steel of about 5 mm thick. Other materials or thicknesses are also useful. The back portion is attached to a fitting surface of the module while the foot is fixed to the base. A plurality of openings 848a-b are provided on the foot and back portions to facilitate attaching the support bracket to the module and base. In one embodiment, the back comprises four vertical slotted opening corresponding to the four holes on the bottom of the fitting surface and a circular opening on the foot portion. The slotted openings allow for leveling adjustments to be made due to, for example, variations in the base. Providing the back and foot portions with other number or types of openings is also useful.

First wall fittings 8701 for attaching the support bracket are installed into holes in the fitting surface. In one embodiment, wall fittings are inserted into first and last holes of the set of plurality of holes in the lower portion of the module. For example, the first and fourth holes of the set of plurality of holes are fitted with wall fittings. A second wall fitting 8702 is also fitted into one of the holes between the first and last holes of the set of plurality of holes, for example, either the second or third hole. The second wall fitting is mated with a fixing rod for securing an adjacent module. First bolts 873 are mated to the first wall fittings through the first and fourth vertical slotted openings to attach the support bracket to the fitting surface of the module.

A second bolt 881 is inserted through the first opening in the support bracket for attaching the module to the base. In one embodiment, the second bolt comprises a base bolt. The base bolt, for example, anchors the module to the base. The second bolt, for example, comprises a Dynabolt™ system manufactured by Ramset. FIG. 9c shows a Dynabolt™ system 881a. The Dynabolt™ can be installed by inserting it into a hole 885 drilled into the base 890. As a bolt 889 is tightened, fingers 886 expand to anchor the Dynabolt™ in place. Alternatively, the second bolt comprises a ChemSet™ system 881b manufactured by Ramset as shown in FIG. 9d. The ChemSet™ can be installed by drilling a hole 885 into the base 890. The hole is filled with the ChemSet™ adhesive 887 and inserting a bolt 888 into the hole. As the adhesive sets, the bolt is permanently fixed to the base, anchoring the module thereto. The second bolt can be formed from galvanized steel with an outside diameter of 10 mm. Other techniques for anchoring the module are also useful.

For a corner module 830, an attachment unit is provided at the bottom of each fitting surface, for example, female and male fitting surfaces 812 and 822. Attachment units can also be provided for the middle modules, shown in FIG. 10a to provide additional structural stability. The attachment unit can be mounted onto a fitting surface 822 of a middle module 8301 after being attached to an adjacent module 8302. In one embodiment, the attachment unit is provided for every third to sixth middle module. Providing other arrangement of attachment units for middle modules is also useful and may depend on design requirements. For example, attachment units can be provided for every one, every other middle module, or other number of middle module is also useful. As shown, the attachment unit is mounted onto a male fitting surface. Mounting the attachment unit to a female fitting surface, for example depending on the configuration, is also useful. To accommodate the foot of the support bracket, a recess 827 is provided at the bottom of the fitting surface, as shown in FIG. 10b. The recess can also be provided on the top of the fitting surface, making the top and bottom of the modules interchangeable.

FIGS. 11a-b show a final attachment unit in accordance with one embodiment of the invention. The attachment unit is used to fix or mate the bottom part of the last module of a series of modules. For example, the end module of a wall or the last of the middle modules to be assembled to form a wall. This is because fixing rods are not able to be used to attach these modules. The final attachment unit, in one embodiment, comprises a final support bracket 854. The support bracket, for example, comprises substantially an L-shaped bracket with back and foot portions 857a-b. The back portion is attached to the bottom of a fitting surface of the module. A plurality of openings 856 are provided on the back portion to facilitate attaching the support bracket to the module. In one embodiment, the back portion comprises four vertical slotted openings corresponding to the four holes on the bottom of the fitting surface. The slotted openings allow for leveling adjustments to be made due to, for example, variations in the base. Providing the back portion with other number or types of openings is also useful.

First wall fittings 8701 for attaching the support bracket are installed into holes in the fitting surface. In one embodiment, the first wall fittings are inserted into first and last holes of the set of plurality of holes in the lower portion of the module. For example, the first and fourth holes of the set of plurality of holes are fitted with wall fittings. As shown, a second wall fitting 8702 is also fitted into one of the holes between the first and last holes of the set of plurality of holes, for example, either the second or third hole. However, since the fitting rod is not used, the use of the second wall fitting could be avoided. A second wall fitting (not shown) is also provided for one of the holes in the top portion of the module. First bolts 873 are mated to the first wall fittings through the first and fourth vertical slotted openings to attach the support bracket to the fitting surface of the module. The foot portion extends from the bottom of the back portion to form a hook or latching surface. The distance D between the latching surface and back should allow the fitting surface to fit and be held in place. Preferably, D provides a snug fit for the fitting surface. For example, D is equal to the thickness of the fitting surface.

FIG. 12a shows a final middle module being assembled in a wall. As shown, the wall includes first and second portions 829a-b. The portions include modules 8301 and 8302 such as middle modules extending from, for example, corner modules, T-modules or a combination thereof The final middle module 8303 is inserted into the opening 827 between the two wall portions from the top, with the fitting surfaces mating. For example, the male fitting surface 822 of the final module is mated to the female fitting surface of the first wall portion and the female fitting surface 812 of the final middle module is mated to the male fitting surface of the second wall portion. As the final middle portion slides into position, final attachment units 854 hold it in place. To accommodate the final attachment unit, recesses are provided in the fitting surfaces of the middle and end modules. Bolts 872 are mated to respective wall fittings 8712 in the top part of the fitting surfaces of the modules adjacent to the final module 8303, as shown in FIG. 12b. End modules can be attached to an adjacent module in a similar manner using a final attachment unit at the bottom and bolts and fittings for the top.

FIGS. 13a-b illustrate a pillar module 332 in accordance with one embodiment of the invention. As shown, the pillar module is attached to a module, for example, a middle module 330, on a wall portion 329. To attach the pillar module, pillar attachment units are used. In one embodiment, four pillar attachment units are used, two for the upper portion and two for the lower portion of the module. A pillar attachment unit comprises a pillar support bracket 364. The pillar support bracket includes a flat base portion 367a and a stepped head portion 367b. Holes 348 are provided on the base portion. As shown, first and second holes are provided near the ends of the base portion. Providing other hole configurations is also useful.

In one embodiment, pillar attachment units are mounted onto a wall module to create a male-type mating surface for the pillar module. The pillar module is provided with slots 369 corresponding to the pillar attachment units, creating a female-type mating surface. Other configuration of mating surfaces, such as providing the pillar module with a male-type mating surface while the wall module is provided with a female-type mating surface or a combination thereof (e.g., each module is provided with both male-type and female-type mating surfaces), are also useful.

To mount a pillar attachment unit, wall fittings 371 are installed into holes provided onto the male-type mating surface. The holes, for example, can be provided by drilling the male-type mating surface. Bolts 372 are inserted through the holes of the base and mated to the wall fittings to securely mount the support bracket onto the mating surface. As shown, the pillar attachment unit is mated to the wall module with the head portion facing upwards. Mounting the pillar attachment unit with the head portion facing downwards (e.g., pillar module having male-type mating surface) is also useful.

The female and male mating surfaces are mated, attaching the pillar module to the wall module, as shown in FIG. 13b. In one embodiment, pillar module comprises a height which is less than the height of the wall module. This is to accommodate the difference between the step and the flooring. The pillar module, for example, is a load bearing module which aids in the construction of multiple stories or to act as an anchor point for walls. As such, pillar modules can be provided where needed in the building structure.

FIGS. 14a-d show a column assembly 439 in accordance with one embodiment of the invention. The column assembly provides load bearing function and aids in general construction of the building structure, such as roof and additional floors. Column module assemblies can be provided within the building structure as needed.

Referring to FIG. 14a, the column assembly comprises a column support 435 and first and second column modules 433 and 434. The column support can be formed from steel and is capable of supporting the desired load. For example, the column support comprises galvanized steel. The column support, as shown, comprises first and second sub-columns 437 formed on a base plate 436. The sub-columns fit within the cavities 418a-b of one of the pillar modules. In one embodiment, the sub-columns are 50 mm×50 mm×4 mm square hollow sections with 5 mm base plate. Providing column support with other number of sub-columns is also useful, for example, depending on the size or number of cavities in the module. The base of the column support is mounted onto the base of the building structure with, for example, base bolts through holes 438. In one embodiment, the holes are arranged such that two are located near the edge on one side of the base and another two are located near the middle on an opposing side of the base. Other arrangements of holes or other techniques for mounting the column support to the base are also useful.

One of the pillar modules is provided with the male-type mating surface 464 which include pillar attachment units while the other comprises a female-type mating surface 466 with slotted openings, as described in, for example, FIGS. 13a-b. In one embodiment, the column support is inserted in the cavities of the male-type pillar module. Once the column is within the cavities of the male-type pillar module, wall fittings 471 are installed in holes in the module and the column support, as shown in FIG. 14c. Bolts are inserted through holes in the support bracket and tightened, securing the module to the column support. The pillar attachment units are formed from, for example, 3 mm thick galvanized steel. Other materials or thicknesses are also useful. To accommodate the base of the column support, recesses 418 are formed in the bottom of the pillar module 433, as shown in FIG. 14d. The female-type pillar module is then mated to the male-type module, completing the column assembly, as illustrated by FIG. 14b.

FIGS. 15a-c show a window frame 582 of a building system in accordance with one embodiment of the invention. The window frame, in one embodiment, comprises a plurality of capping layers 583. Various types of materials can be used to form the capping layers. For example, steel, tin, wood, plastic or polymer can be used. Other types of materials are also useful. The capping layer provides a surface which is mated to the modules' fitting surfaces or end surfaces. To form the window frame, the capping layers can joined together. As shown, the window frame comprises a rectangular shape with a height H, width W and thickness T formed by joining four straight capping layers. The capping layers could be joined using mitre joints. Other window frame shapes or techniques for joining the capping layers are also useful. For example, the window frame can be formed from a single molded piece of material.

In one embodiment, W is selected to be a multiple of the smallest size unit of the modules, for example, half size (1 cavity). The width W can also be of other dimensions. For example, W can be a multiple of full size modules or other dimensions.

In one embodiment, the capping layer comprises a U-shaped cross section. The top surface 584 of the capping layer includes a mounting surface 541a with a beveled edge 541b. A window 549 is mounted onto the mounting surface. To fix the window to the frame, window mounts 543 can be used. In one embodiment, window mounts are attached to the frame by, for example, fasteners such as rivets or screws. The window can be fixed to the mounts by rivets. Other techniques for mounting the window to the frame are also useful. In one embodiment, the window frame is arranged such that the beveled edge faces outward. A bottom surface 547 is mated to the modules. For example, a bottom surface of the capping layer is mated to a middle module 529 as shown in FIG. 15c. By providing a U-shaped cross-section, the capping layer can be fit to secure the modules. The frame can be attached to the modules by adhesive. Other techniques for mounting the frame to the modules are also useful.

A wall 529 having an opening 525 is provided. The opening, for example, is formed by cutting modules in portion 528 to a length equal to the height of the bottom of the window. The width of portion 528 corresponds to the width of the window frame. Illustratively, the width of portion 528 is equal to the width of X full size modules, where X is a whole number. Other values of X are also useful, including non-whole numbers.

FIGS. 16a-b show a door frame 661 for the building system in accordance with one embodiment of the invention. The door frame, in one embodiment, comprises a plurality of frame rails 663. In one embodiment, the frame rails are formed from steel. Other types of materials are also useful. For example, tin, wood, plastic or polymer can also be used. Typically, the door frame comprises a rectangular shape with an open side, having a height H, width W and thickness T formed by joining three straight frame rails layers. The frame rails could be joined using mitre joints. Joining can be achieved by, for example, welding or adhesives. Alternatively, the door frame can be formed from a single molded piece of material. Other door frame shapes or techniques for joining the frame rails are also useful.

In one embodiment, W is selected to be a multiple of the smallest size unit of the modules, for example, half size (1 cavity). The width W can also be of other dimensions. For example, W can be a multiple of full size modules or other dimensions, including non-multiples of smallest size unit.

In one embodiment, the frame rails comprise a U-shaped cross section. The U-shaped cross section provides a surface 662, as indicated by dotted lines, which is mated to the modules fitting surfaces or end surfaces. A recess 665 is provided in the fitting surface. By providing a U-shaped cross-section, the frame rails can be fit to secure the modules.

FIGS. 17a-b show different views of a door frame assembly in accordance with one embodiment of the invention. As shown, first and second portions 729a-b of a wall with an opening 760 therebetween in which a door frame 661 is to be disposed. The width of the opening corresponds to the width of the door frame. The wall sections are formed by, for example, a plurality of middle sections coupled to corner or T-modules. Other wall configurations are also useful. The door frame is installed by sliding it from the top through the edge of the wall sections. Door fitting bracket assemblies 773 are provided on the fitting surfaces of the last middle modules 730 of the wall sections adjacent to the opening. In one embodiment, each fitting surface is provided with three door fitting brackets. Other door fitting bracket configurations and number are also useful.

A door fitting bracket assembly comprises a door bracket. The door bracket comprises a central portion 776 with an opening. One opposing sides of the central portion are winged portions 775. A wall fitting 771 is installed into the fitting surface. To mount the door bracket to the module fitting surface, a bolt 772 is inserted through the opening in the central portion and mated to the wall fitting. In one embodiment, the profile of the bracket forms a male profile which is compatible to the female profile of the frame rail to securely hold the door frame in position when installed into the wall.

FIGS. 18-19 show plumbing outlet in accordance with one embodiment of the invention. Referring to FIG. 18, a wall 829 is shown. The wall is formed by, for example, a plurality of modules. Piping for plumbing runs through the modules. To access the piping for plumbing outlets, plumbing plugs 695 are provided. Plumbing plugs, for example, comprises PVC plugs. Other types of plugs are also useful. The plugs are installed into the module to provide access to the pipes.

Referring to FIG. 19, the piping 694 for plumbing are preferably run through the cavities 918 of the modules 930. Plugs 695 are installed into the module, providing access to the pipes. Preferably, the plugs include a tapered profile to aid in the tiling process. A plumbing outlet 697, such as a tap fitting, is mounted on the module through the plug and mated to the pipes. In a preferred embodiment, the modules are formed from water resistant material, such as a polymer composite. Other type s of water resistant materials are also useful. As such, there are no restrictions to where wet areas can be installed.

FIGS. 20-21 show a garage door assembly 256 in accordance with one embodiment of the invention. Referring to FIG. 20, the garage door assembly is installed into a wall having first and second portions 229a-b with an opening 260 therebetween. As shown, the wall portions comprise a series of connected full size middle modules. The last module on the wall portions adjacent to the opening are cut to the height of about the top of the garage door. Other configurations of the wall portions are also useful. The opening comprises a width W corresponding to the width of the garage door. Preferably, W is selected to be a multiple of the smallest size unit of the modules, for example, half size (1 cavity). The width W can also be of other dimensions. For example, W can be a multiple of full size modules or other dimensions, including non-multiples of smallest size unit.

The garage door assembly, in one embodiment, comprises first and second side brackets 257a attached to ends of a u-channel rail 257b. The side brackets are attached to mating surfaces of fitting surfaces of penultimate modules exposed by cutting of the end modules adjacent to the opening. In one embodiment, the side brackets include a hooked top portion for hanging over the top of the fitting surface of a module. To accommodate the hooked top portion, the top of the modules can be recessed. The garage door assembly is formed, for example, from 4 mm thick galvanized steel. Bolts are inserted through holes in the brackets and mated with wall fittings on the fitting surface to securely attach the garage assembly to the wall. Middle modules cut to appropriate size are disposed on the u-channel railing, forming a wall portion 221 on the top of the garage door. Other arrangements of installing the garage door assembly are also useful. The fitting surfaces of the end modules below the garage door assembly are fitted with capping layers 583, forming a garage door opening having a width W and height H corresponding to the size of the garage door.

Referring to FIG. 21, the garage door assembly includes side brackets 257a attached to the u-channel rail 257b. In one embodiment, hooks 258 are provided on the surface of the u-channel railing. The hooks are, for example, equally spaced apart. Preferably, the hooks are located on the railing corresponding to the cavity of a module. In one embodiment, the hooks are J-shaped hooks as shown in FIG. 21. Other types and shapes of hooks are also useful.

FIGS. 22a-b show a roof plate assembly in accordance with one embodiment of the invention. As shown, a roof plate 250 is provided over the top of the garage. The roof plate is securely attached to the top of the modules. The roof plate serves as a base to which a roof frame is attached. In one embodiment, the roof plate is attached to the garage assembly 256 by roof plate fasteners 251. The roof plate fasteners, for example, couple the plate to the hooks on the u-channel rail 257b.

FIGS. 23a-b show a roof plate assembly in accordance with one embodiment of the invention in greater detail. As shown, the roof plate is attached to the garage door assembly 256 with roof plate fasteners 251. In one embodiment, the roof plate fastener comprises a threaded hook 252. The threaded hook, for example, comprises 6 mm diameter galvanized steel with M6 thread on one end. The hook 252 is mated to the hook 258 on the u-channel railing, with the threaded portion passing through holes in the roof plate and secured by a washer and bolt 253.

FIGS. 24a-c show a roof plate assembly in accordance with another embodiment of the invention. As shown, the roof plate is attached to a wall 239 of the building structure. The roof plate is attached, in one embodiment, to the fixing rods 270 connecting modules of the wall with a roof plate fastener 251. In one embodiment, the roof plate fastener comprises a threaded hook 252, as previously described. The hook is mated to the fixing rod, with the threaded portion passing through holes in the roof plate and secured by a washer and bolt 253. In one embodiment, modules to which the treaded hook is attached are anchored to the base by base bolts. Preferably, the base bolts comprise ChemSet™ base bolts. The use of the roof plate enhances stability, for example, enabling the building structure to withstand cyclone type environment. In another embodiment, the roof plate is directly coupled to the base. For example, a rod with threads on both ends is used. One end of the rod is coupled to a base bolt; such as a ChemSet™ base bolt. The head of the base bolt includes a threaded opening for accommodating the rod. The other end of the rod is coupled to the roof plate.

FIG. 25 shows a process for assembling a building in accordance with one embodiment of the invention. The assembly process commences by forming the base or foundation at step 910. The base, for example serves as a foundation for the modules to attach. The base, for example, comprises concrete. Conventional processes can be employed to form the base. For example, the footing on which the modules are attached are formed. Thereafter, the slab is formed. Other types of foundations are also useful. For example, the house can include a basement. In such case, the basement foundation and structure is formed followed by the footing. The flooring can then be formed with appropriate structural support formed.

At step 920, the external walls are formed. In one embodiment, the corners of the external walls are first installed. For example, the corner modules are attached to the footing using support brackets. After the corner modules are installed, the walls are formed. The walls can be formed by installing and attaching middle modules or T-modules as appropriate. The modules are installed from the corner modules toward the middle of the wall. Windows, doors, and pillars are installed as designed. Internal walls are formed at step 930. Like external walls, corner modules are first installed followed by intermediate modules, such as middle or T-modules. Doors and pillars are installed as designed.

After the formation of the internal walls, services (e.g., electrical and plumbing services) are installed at step 940. If additional floors are included in the building structure, the process returns to step 910 to form the footing and flooring for the next floor. Stairways, for example, interconnecting the floors can be formed. Once all floors are completed, the process continues to form roof structure at stop 960. External walls can be rendered. For example, textured paints can be used. Other types of rendering can also be useful. Internal portions of the building structure are also finished, completing the building structure. For example, gypsum boards can be installed and painted. A useful type of wall finish comprises an acrylic textured finish known as Dulux™.

FIG. 26 shows a process for forming modules in accordance with one embodiment of the invention. An extrusion machine can be provided for the different types of modules, for example, to have the desired form, including size and fitting surfaces. Alternatively, the different output molds can be provided to form different types of modules. Raw materials are prepared at step 904 for extrusion. Additional preparation steps include storage, buffering and feeding at step 908, batching and weighing at step 914 and mixing at step 918. After the raw material is prepared, a pre-extrusion is performed at step 924 followed by extrusion at step 928. The extruded material is pre-cut to the desired size, forming intermediate modules at step 934. The pre-cut modules are stacked and pre-cured at steps 938 and 944. The pre-cut modules are de-stacked and processed at step 948. For example, the pre-cut modules are cut to the final length L at step 954, holes drilled at step 958 and recess formed by routing at step 964. The prepared modules are stacked and cured for shipping at step 968.

The invention may be embodied in other specific forms without departing from the spirit or essential characteristics thereof. The foregoing embodiments, therefore, are to be considered in all respects illustrative rather than limiting the invention described herein. Scope of the invention is thus indicated by the appended claims, rather than by the foregoing description, and all changes that come within the meaning and range of equivalency of the claims are intended to be embraced therein