Title:
METHOD FOR ATTACHING A CABINET TO A GROUND SURFACE
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A method for attaching a surface mountable unit to a ground surface, said method comprising (i) fixing a foundation frame, an upper portion of which is attachable to said surface mountable unit to the ground surface, and (ii) attaching the surface mountable unit to the upper portion of the foundation frame. Systems comprising combinations of foundation frames and surface mountable units and elements for use therein are also described and claimed.



Inventors:
Clements, David (Kidderminster, GB)
Benson, Alan (Somerset, GB)
Application Number:
12/093451
Publication Date:
06/18/2009
Filing Date:
11/10/2006
Assignee:
BECATECH LTD (Somerset, GB)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
52/745.21, 52/745.2
International Classes:
E04B1/00; E04B1/38; E04G21/14; H02B1/50
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
TRIGGS, ANDREW J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
HULTQUIST IP (RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC, US)
Claims:
1. A method for attaching a surface mountable unit to a ground surface, the surface mountable unit, said method comprising (i) fixing a foundation frame having an integral upper and lower portion, the upper portion of which is attachable to said surface mountable unit to the ground surface, by encasing the lower portion of the foundation frame in a settable fixing material to form a base, leaving the upper portion projecting above the level of the fixing material, and (ii) attaching the surface mountable unit to the upper portion of the foundation frame.

2. A method according to claim 1 wherein the surface mountable unit is modular and is completely or partially assembled on site prior to attachment in step (ii).

3. A method according to claim 1 wherein the surface mountable unit is modular and is attached in sections to the upper portion of the foundation frame, and then the sections are connected together.

4. A method according to claim 1 further comprising before step (i) forming an aperture in the ground surface, which is of a size and shape sufficient to accommodate the foundation frame, and placing the foundation frame in said aperture.

5. A method according to claim 4 wherein in step (i) the foundation frame is fixed to the ground surface by pouring a settable fixing material into said aperture so as to encase the lower portion of the foundation frame and leave said upper portion projecting above the level of the fixing material.

6. A method according to claim 5 wherein the fixing material is allowed to set between steps (i) and (ii).

7. A method according to claim 4 wherein the aperture is of a sufficient size to accommodate a shuttering means, arranged to define the boundaries of a support plinth for said surface mountable unit, and where said shuttering means are applied around the foundation frame after the foundation frame has been placed in the aperture.

8. A method according to claim 7 wherein the shuttering means are removed after the fixing material is set.

9. A method according to claim 7 wherein any residual gaps between the ground and a support plinth formed by the set fixing material are filled in.

10. A ground surface mounting system comprising (a) a foundation frame having an integral upper and lower portion and (b) a surface mountable unit for use in a method according to claim 1.

11. A system according to claim 10 wherein an upper portion of the foundation frame comprises an upwardly projecting flange which is arranged to interact with said surface mountable unit.

12. A system according to claim 10 wherein a lower portion of the foundation frame comprises a ground engaging flange.

13. A system according to claim 10 wherein the foundation frame has openings in a lower portion thereof.

14. A system according to claim 10 which further comprises shuttering means, adapted to surround the foundation frame.

15. A system according to claim 14 wherein the shuttering means is modular.

16. A system according to claim 11 wherein the surface mountable unit is attachable to the upper portion of the foundation frame using secret bolting.

17. A system according to claim 10 wherein the surface mountable unit is a cabinet.

18. A system according to claim 17 wherein the cabinet comprises a flat-pack system of sections.

19. A system according to claim 18 wherein the sections of the cabinet are connectable together using secret bolting.

20. A foundation frame having an integral upper and lower portion for use in ground surface mounting system according to claim 10.

21. A surface mountable unit adapted to be attachable to a foundation frame according to claim 20, for use in a ground surface mounting system according to claim 10.

22. A surface mounted unit comprising a system according to claim 10, which has been attached to a ground surface using a method according to claim 1.

23. A system according to claim 10 wherein the surface mountable unit is selected from the group consisting of telemetry, telephone, broadband, gas and electricity cabinets.

24. A surface mountable unit according to claim 23 which is selected from the group consisting of telemetry, telephone, broadband, gas and electricity cabinet.

25. A method according to claim 1 wherein the surface mountable unit is selected from the group consisting of telemetry, telephone, broadband, gas and electricity cabinet.

Description:

The present invention relates to a method for attaching a surface mountable unit such as a telemetry cabinet and the like onto a ground surface, as well as a ground surface mounting system and elements used in the system.

Heavy-duty cabinets, for example telemetry, telephone, broadband, gas and electricity cabinets are widely used for example on roadsides and beside reservoirs to house and protect their contents from the external environment and from tampering.

Traditionally such cabinets are constructed in one piece from a metal for example galvanised steel. These cabinets are generally fixed to the ground by bolting them onto either an existing base or a base which is prepared to provide a foundation for the cabinet.

In order to install such cabinets a crane or other lifting equipment must be delivered to the installation site to winch the cabinet onto the base before being secured in place. A crane or other lifting equipment is necessary because the cabinets, being formed in one piece, are too heavy for manual handling.

The structure and weight of these cabinets therefore means that storing, transporting and installing such cabinets is expensive, time consuming and requires a large amount of man and machine power. Often there can also be a problem of access for the crane.

An improved method for attaching a surface mountable unit to a ground surface is therefore desirable.

Accordingly the present invention provides a method for attaching a surface mountable unit to a ground surface, said method comprising (i) fixing a foundation frame, an upper portion of which is attachable to said surface mountable unit to the ground surface, and (ii) attaching the surface mountable unit to the upper portion of the foundation frame.

In a particularly preferred embodiment, the surface mountable unit is modular and is either completely or partially assembled on site just prior to attachment in step (ii), or may be attached in sections to the upper portion of the foundation frame, and then sections connected together.

Using a modular surface mountable unit is very advantageous because whilst the final structure, once built, is strong, storing, transportation and installation is much easier and cheaper.

As used herein the expression “surface mountable unit” shall be taken to mean any item which needs to be fixed to a ground surface for example, telemetry, telephone, broadband, gas or electricity cabinets, post, lampposts, road signs, gate posts or speed cameras etc.

As used herein the term “ground surface” generally refers to the ground, including for example a pavement, road or other surfaced area as well as earth or soil surfaces.

In an embodiment a base portion of the foundation frame is fixed to the ground surface by bolts or screws, in particular where the ground surface comprises a made surface such as a pavement or road. However, the foundation frame may be fixed to the ground surface by any other suitable means, for example by fixing a base portion of the foundation frame in a settable fixing material.

The expression “settable fixing material” refers to any construction material, which is pourable initially, but which sets to form a rigid construction solid. Examples include cement and concrete including quick setting concretes and concrete formulations.

As stated above, previously available surface mountable units may have been fixed to a base or support plinth, in particular a concrete base or support plinth, specifically prepared to provide a foundation for the surface mountable unit.

Such concrete bases however have to be laid at least seven days before a surface mountable unit can be installed. This is because concrete takes a minimum of seven days to become solid enough to be drilled.

Accordingly where a foundation base is formed before installation of a surface mountable unit, for example because of the nature of the ground surface at the location, the method suitably comprises encasing the lower portion of the foundation frame in a settable fixing material used to form the base, leaving an upper portion projecting above the level of the fixing material.

This may be achieved by placing shuttering means, arranged to define the boundaries of the base or support plinth for said surface mountable unit, around the foundation frame to form an area into which a settable fixing material can be poured. Ideally the shuttering means can be removed after the fixing material has set.

In a preferred embodiment the method preferably comprises, before step (i), forming an aperture in the ground surface which is of a size and shape sufficient to accommodate the foundation frame.

In this embodiment, in step (i) the foundation frame is preferably fixed to the ground surface by placing the foundation frame into said aperture and pouring a settable fixing material into said aperture so as to encase the lower portion of the foundation frame and leave said upper portion projecting above the level of the fixing material.

Ideally the settable fixing material is allowed to set between steps (i) and (ii). However, there is no need to wait significant periods of time to allow the fixing material to set sufficiently to allow drilling thereof. This is therefore advantageous in that is saves time and therefore money.

In a preferred embodiment the aperture is of a sufficient size to accommodate the shuttering means, arranged to define the boundaries of a support plinth for said surface mountable unit, and where said shuttering means are applied around the foundation frame before the settable fixing material is poured into the aperture. In a preferred embodiment the foundation frame is levelled in the aperture before any shuttering means are applied around the foundation frame.

The shuttering system is ideally self-aligning in both height and distance. Ideally the shuttering means are removed after the fixing material is set. Once the shuttering means have been removed any residual gaps between the ground and a support plinth formed by the set fixing material are preferably filled in.

According to a second aspect of the present invention there is provided a ground surface mounting system comprising (a) a foundation frame and (b) a surface mountable unit, for use in a method as described above.

Preferred features of this second aspect of the invention may be as described above in connection with the first aspect.

The foundation frame may be of any three-dimensional shape that has a lower portion, which can be fixed to a ground surface and an upper portion to which the surface mountable unit can be fixed. In an embodiment the frame may have integral upper and lower portions. The frame may therefore be constructed as a single unit or alternatively may be formed by fixing together a number of parts to form an integral frame before use.

In a preferred embodiment at least the lower portion of the frame is of a shape so as to allow it to be easily positioned on the ground or in an aperture in a level manner. In use, this can be established using a spirit level placed on top of the frame.

The upper portion of the foundation frame may comprise a unit support platform, which is arranged to support the surface mountable unit, and in particular is substantially horizontal.

In a particular embodiment, the centre of the unit support platform contains an aperture, so the unit support platform defines a framework support for the surface mounted unit.

The lower portion of the foundation frame suitably comprises one or more sidewalls, which form a skirt region extending downwardly from the unit support platform. The skirt region most preferably comprises at least one opening therein. In a preferred embodiment the sidewalls extend downwardly from near or at the perimeter of the unit support platform. Suitably the base defined within the sidewalls is substantially open.

Ideally the foundation frame further comprises a ground-engaging flange which preferably extends at least partially around the perimeter of the sidewalls but most preferably extends fully around the perimeter of the sidewalls. In a particular embodiment the ground-engaging flange lies in a plane, which is substantially parallel, and preferably parallel, to the plane in which the unit support platform lies.

Ideally the foundation frame in use may be fixed to a ground surface using bolts, nails or other fixing means which extend through the ground-engaging flange into the ground. The flange therefore preferably comprises fixing apertures.

Ideally the surface mountable unit and/or the foundation frame may further comprise attachment means by which the surface mountable unit can be attached to the upper portion of the foundation frame. In a particular embodiment, the upper portion of the foundation frame comprises an upwardly projecting flange or lip, which is attachable to the surface mountable unit for example by bolts or the like. Fixing apertures may be provided in the flange and/or corresponding apertures provided in the surface mountable unit for easy assembly of the system.

Preferably the upwardly projecting flange extends at least partially around, and preferably fully around the unit support platform. Thus the profile of the flange suitably corresponds to that of the surface mountable unit.

In a preferred embodiment the foundation frame is shaped to be readily fixed into an aperture, which has been made in the ground. In this embodiment the foundation frame is most preferably shaped to ensure that when a lower portion of it is encased in a settable fixing material, it is difficult to remove it from the encasing material and/or an aperture into which the foundation frame has been placed.

Ideally the foundation frame has at least one aperture, preferably in the lower portion thereof, which is arranged to allow settable fixing material to flow through and encase said lower portion. Alternatively or additionally the foundation frame may have one or more projections, preferably on the lower portion therefore, which in use may be encased by the settable fixing material.

Ideally the foundation frame has a plurality of openings in a lower portion thereof, which are arranged to allow settable fixing material to flow through and fully encase said lower portion.

Suitably, in use, fixing material is added to the aperture containing the foundation frame so as to fill the foundation frame to substantially the level of the unit support platform. The upper surface of the support platform can then be used as a guide for levelling the fixing material and thus defining the upper surface of the support plinth.

Suitably, the upwardly projecting flange is located between the inner and outer edges of the platform region so that the section of the platform region innermost of the flange provides a levelling guide for the fixing material within the area defined by the flange. Most preferably a levelling tool of flange depth which is locatable within the aperture defined by the flange, is used to scrape away excess fixable material and accomplish a level finish.

The ground-engaging flange preferably extends outwardly of the sidewalls, and ensures that in use the frame is held in a spaced relationship from the sides of the aperture. However, other types of spacing means may be provided in order to ensure that the frame is held in a spaced relationship from the sides of the aperture, for example lateral projections or the like.

Suitably the foundation frame is constructed of a strong corrosion resistant metal such as galvanised or stainless steel, so that it can act as a reinforcing means for the plinth. Most preferably the foundation frame is constructed in one piece, but modular foundation frames, which may be constructed on site, for example using conventional bolts, where for instance, the frame is of a significant size or weight which would make handling difficult, may be provided in the event that the frame is too big.

In a particular embodiment, the ground surface mounting system further comprises a shuttering means, adapted to surround the foundation frame and thereby define an enclosed area into which fixing material can be poured. The shuttering means may be attachable to the foundation frame, for instance to the ground-engaging flange, for example using pins or a retaining flange, but may be free standing and extending around the ground-engaging flange. In use, once the fixing material has set, the shuttering means can be removed.

Suitably the shuttering means is modular in nature and comprises more than one, for example four, interlocking shutters. Such an arrangement is particularly suitable, as it means that the shuttering means can be constructed on site, and more importantly, deconstructed for removal once the fixing material has set.

The shutters may be fixed together for example using bolts or more preferably, readily detachable locking means such as drop latch or pin fixing bolts such as AntiLuce fasteners. These fixings utilise a latch and wedge system, whereby introduction of a wedge shaped pin into a latch interlocking two elements allows those elements to be held together firmly depending upon how far the wedge shaped pin is introduced. These fastenings may be provided at the end of a pole, which may be arranged to attach two or more shutter sections together. However, removal of the wedge shaped pin means that the elements can be detached simply by allowing the latch to become detached.

Ideally the surface mountable unit is attachable to the upper portion of the foundation frame, using for example bolts, and most preferably secret bolting. This minimises the risk of tampering. As used herein, the expression “secret bolting” refers to arrangements for fixing or bolting sections together which, once formed, are not readily visible or accessible, or are concealed. Various forms of such bolting arrangements are known in the art, and are illustrated hereinafter.

In a most preferred embodiment the surface mountable unit is a cabinet for example a telemetry, telephone, broadband, gas or electricity cabinet. In this embodiment the upper portion of the foundation frame, and in particular the upwardly projecting flange, is sized to fit the cabinet and is most preferably rectangular in plan view.

The cabinet may be constructed in one piece, but is more preferably a modular or “flat-pack” system of sections, which can be constructed to form a cabinet. Ideally the flat pack cabinet comprises a back wall section, two side wall sections, two doors and a roof section. The cabinet is most preferably arranged such that each section is of a weight which two people, but preferably one person can carry.

This advantageously removes the need for heavy lifting equipment and also removes the access problems which are commonly encountered during installation of cabinets that are formed in one piece. In a preferred embodiment the cabinet is constructed from a metal for example galvanised or stainless steel.

Ideally the sections of the cabinet are arranged to be fixed together to form a complete cabinet by means of secret or concealed bolts. The sections therefore preferably comprise a folded back edge around their perimeters via which each section can be fixed to another section or the unit support platform.

Modular or flat-pack telemetry cabinets are also novel and form a further aspect of the invention.

According to a fourth aspect of the present invention there is provided a foundation frame for use in a ground surface mounting system and in a method for attaching a surface mountable unit onto a ground surface as described above.

Preferred features of this third aspect of the invention may be as described above in connection with the first, second and/or third aspects.

According to a fifth aspect of the present invention there is provided a surface mountable unit for use in a ground surface mounting system and in a method for attaching a surface mountable unit onto a ground surface as described above.

Preferred features of this fifth aspect of the invention may be as described above in connection with the first, second, third and/or fourth aspects. In particular, the surface mountable unit is a cabinet, such as a telemetry cabinet.

In order that the invention may be more fully understood, a preferred embodiment of system, foundation frame and cabinet in accordance therewith will now be described by way of example only and with reference to the accompanying illustrative figures in which:

FIG. 1 shows a perspective view from above of a foundation frame of the system of the invention;

FIG. 2 shows a perspective view from above of a foundation frame of the system of the invention with shuttering means in position;

FIG. 3 shows a front view of an embodiment of the system of the invention comprising a surface mounted telemetry cabinet, positioned in an aperture in a surface;

FIG. 4 shows a side view of the system of FIG. 1;

FIG. 5 shows a plan view of the apparatus system of FIGS. 1 and 2; and

FIG. 6 shows a close up view demonstrating the concealed bolting used on a cabinet.

FIG. 7 shows a close up plan view demonstrating the concealed bolting used to connect walls of a cabinet.

The system of the invention comprises a foundation frame 2 an example of which is shown in FIGS. 1 and 2. It can be seen from FIG. 1 that the foundation frame 2 has integral upper and lower portions (12,24). This embodiment is adapted to accommodate a rectangular cabinet and therefore is generally rectangular in shape. However the foundation frame and cabinet may be of any other suitable shape.

The foundation frame 2 shown comprises a support platform region 12, which in use forms a substantially horizontal cabinet support surface of the foundation frame 2. The support platform region 12 is sized to accommodate the base of a cabinet 4 as shown in FIGS. 3 to 5. The centre of the cabinet support platform 12 is open providing an aperture 18.

An upwardly projecting flange 20 is located around the platform region 12. The flange 20 comprises a plurality of fixing apertures 22 to which the cabinet 4 is removably attachable to the flange 20, using for example bolts, and most preferably secret bolting.

The foundation frame 2 also comprises a support skirt 14, which extends downwardly from the perimeter of the cabinet support platform 12. The support skirt 14 comprises a plurality of apertures 16 which allow passage of fixing material such as concrete through the support skirt 14 and so encase the lower portion of the foundation frame 2 during use.

The foundation frame 2 also comprises a ground-engaging foot 24, which extends at substantially right angles to the skirt 14. Most preferably the ground-engaging foot 24 lies in a parallel plane to the plane of the cabinet support platform region 12.

The foundation frame 2 is constructed in one piece from metal for example galvanized steel.

The system also comprises shuttering means 26 (FIG. 2). The shuttering means 26 may be attachable to the ground-engaging foot 24, by means of a retaining lip 28 which is arranged to wedge the shuttering means in position, but this is optional and may be omitted.

The shuttering means 26 are arranged so that when in position they form an enclosed area which defines boundaries of the ultimate support plinth for the cabinet.

The shuttering means 26 are suitably provided in modular form and in particular as four separate wall sections, connectable together using a connecting bar 27 and AntiLuce fixings 29.

In order to use the illustrated system, firstly, an aperture 6 into which the foundation frame 2 and the shuttering means 26 can be placed is found or dug. Ideally a base of the aperture 6 is levelled, possibly with the addition of rubble, hardcore or other foundation materials.

The foundation frame 2 is then placed in the aperture with its ground engaging foot 24 in contact with the base of the aperture 6. The foundation frame 2 is then moved manually until the cabinet support platform 12 is substantially horizontal as can be judged using a spirit level placed on top of the flange 20. The open framework structure makes levelling operation relatively easy, in particular on a moveable base material such as hardcore.

Shuttering means 26 if not attached, is then positioned or constructed around the foundation frame 2.

Concrete is then poured into the area defined by the shuttering means 26 preferably until only the flange 20 protrudes out of the concrete. The apertures 16 in the skirt 14 ensure that the concrete seeps into both the interior and exterior of the foundation frame 2, irrespective of whether the concrete is added through aperture 18 or in the gap between the foundation frame 2 and the shuttering means 26.

Once enough concrete has been poured into place, the upper surface of the concrete is then levelled both inside and outside the flange 20 using the support platform region 12 as a levelling guide.

If desired, pipework or cable supports can be introduced into the aperture in the ground before addition of the concrete. If these are arranged to project upwards through the aperture 18, they can later be used to carry wiring or the like into the cabinet 4.

A cabinet 4 can be attached to the flange 20. This is preferably done once the concrete has set, but there is no need to allow it to undergo extensive setting, as no concrete drilling operations are required at this stage. Therefore it may be carried out on the same day, avoiding the need for workmen to return to a particular site on more than one occasion.

It is possible that the cabinet can be attached to the flange prior to the addition of the concrete, although this may be inconvenient if levelling is required.

The aperture 18 will be filled with concrete to provide a base wall of the cabinet 4.

Thus at this stage of the construction, the systems appears as illustrated in FIG. 3. A reinforced concrete plinth (the top surface of which has been indicated by dotted line 10 in FIG. 3) has been formed, with a portion of the foundation frame 2 below the surface level 10 of the concrete and a flange 20 of the frame 2 above the surface level 10 of the concrete. The cabinet 4 is attached to the flange 20.

In order to prevent the concrete from sticking to the shutters 26, they are preferably covered with a chemical such as a detergent, before addition of the concrete. Once the concrete has set, the shutters 26 can be removed and the rest of the aperture 6 can be filled in, for example with soil.

The cabinet 4 may be constructed in one piece, but is more preferably a flat-pack system of sections, which can be constructed to form a cabinet 4. Ideally the flat pack cabinet comprises a back wall section 30, two side wall sections 32, 34, two doors 36, 38 and a roof section 40.

The sections 30,32,42,36,38 and 40 of the cabinet 4 are arranged to be fixed together and to the flange 20 by means of concealed bolts 42, for example as shown in FIG. 6. The sections 30,32,42,36,38 and 40 therefore preferably comprise a folded back edge 46 around their perimeters via which each section 30,32,42,36,38 and 40 can be fixed to another section 30,32,42,36,38 and 40 or the cabinet support platform 12.

Most preferably fixed nuts 48 are used to simplify construction and help prevent loss of parts. Sealing strips 50, for example butyl strips may also be used to help seal the cabinet after construction is completed.

In a preferred embodiment the folded back edge 46 on the back wall section 30 may serve another purpose in securing a secondary wall to the inside of the cabinet 4. A board for example plywood, and most preferably waterproof plywood, can be slid into the natural lip provided by the folded back section 46. This secondary wall is useful for attaching for example electrical or telecommunications components, to the inside wall of the cabinet which would otherwise be difficult with a metal cabinet 4.

In FIG. 7 it can be seen that when two walls of the cabinet 2 are connected together, for example a side wall 32 and the back. wall 30, a pair of concealed bolts 42 may be used.

The illustrated system provides a convenient and efficient system for installing many types of surface mountable units.