Title:
PREFABRICATED SERVICE POD
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention relates to a prefabricated service pod comprising: a central framework adapted to accommodate at least one utility means, said utility means being selected from: an electricity supply, a telecommunications/data supply, a water supply, a waste fluid drainage conduit, and a ventilation supply; and at least two sections attached to said framework selected from: a kitchen section, a bathroom section, and a staircase section. The present invention also describes a method of constructing a building using a prefabricated service pod.



Inventors:
Mcluskey, Gary (London, GB)
Application Number:
11/993805
Publication Date:
05/27/2010
Filing Date:
06/23/2006
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
52/79.1, 52/143, 52/185, 52/220.1, 52/236.3, 52/745.02
International Classes:
E04H1/02; E04C2/52; E04F11/02; E04H1/04; E04H1/12
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20040226255Composite beamNovember, 2004Holloway
20070017174Building wall structureJanuary, 2007Lavell
20150135634Composite Building Components Building SystemMay, 2015Hoie et al.
20070283662Prefabricated wall component apparatus and systemDecember, 2007Rades
20060254166CUSTOMIZABLE SAFEROOM AND METHOD FOR MAKING SAMENovember, 2006Michels et al.
20090188176E.E.Z.Z. weed eat free yard and fence stabilizerJuly, 2009Watson
20080066404CORNER SUPPORTMarch, 2008Beard Jr.
20080197253StandardAugust, 2008Thompson
20050072071Tank cover with composite cover panelsApril, 2005Bonner Jr. et al.
20040194421Process for carrying out panels, tiles and the like using agglomerates of different mineralsOctober, 2004Canti
20110167758NODE MODULE FOR A SIMPLIFIED, INTERCONNECTING CELLULAR CONSTRUCTION SYSTEMJuly, 2011Daadoush



Foreign References:
WO2004048710A12004-06-10
Primary Examiner:
LAUX, JESSICA L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LOWE GRAHAM JONES, PLLC (SEATTLE, WA, US)
Claims:
1. A prefabricated service pod comprising: a central framework adapted to accommodate at least one utility means, said utility means being selected from: an electricity supply, a telecommunications/data supply, a water supply, a waste fluid drainage conduit, and a ventilation supply; and at least two sections attached to said framework selected from: a kitchen section, a bathroom section, and a staircase section.

2. A service pod in accordance with claim 1, wherein the service pod of the present invention further comprises an entertainment section attached to said framework.

3. A service pod in accordance with any of claims 1-2, wherein the central framework of accommodates the at least one utility means in at least one void located within said framework.

4. A service pod in accordance with any preceding claim, wherein the central framework comprises a plurality of voids therein to accommodate said at least one utility means.

5. A service pod in accordance with any preceding claim, wherein the central framework of the service pod has a lattice construction and is adapted to accommodate the at least one utility means within the voids in said lattice.

6. A service pod in accordance with any preceding claim, wherein the central framework of the service pod has a plurality of attachment means adapted to accommodates the at least one utility means adjacent thereto.

7. A service pod in accordance with any preceding claim, wherein all of said utility means are accommodated within/adjacent to the framework.

8. A service pod in accordance with any preceding claim, wherein at least one of the utility means can be substantially integrated in the service pod.

9. A service pod in accordance with any of claims 1-7, wherein all of the utility means are substantially integrated in the service pod.

10. A service pod in accordance with any preceding claim, wherein the central framework is arranged to form a cage-like structure having open sides thereto to permit access to the sections attached to the central framework.

11. A service pod in accordance with any preceding claim, wherein the pods is provided in a single storey format.

12. A service pod in accordance with any of claims, wherein the pod is provided in a multi-storey format.

13. A service pod in accordance with claim 12, wherein the multi-storey pod is integrally formed.

14. A service pod in accordance with claim 12, wherein the multi-storey is formed in single storey component parts to be connected to each other and/or adapted to communicate with each other on-site.

15. A service pod in accordance with any of claims 12-14, wherein the communication between multi-storey pods is provided by at least one of: the at least one void in the central framework of each component part of the pod being adapted to communicate with an adjacent component pod, the at least one integrated utility means of each pod being connected with or adapted to communicate with an adjacent component pod, and/or a staircase portion allowing ease of access to a user from one component pod to an adjacent component pod.

16. A service pod in accordance with any of claims 12-15, wherein at least one of the pods is preferably provided with a staircase section to permit a user an ease of access to each storey of the pod.

17. A service pod in accordance with any of claims 12-16, wherein the pods are arranged to be stacked substantially directly on top of each other.

18. A service pod in accordance with any of claims 12-16, wherein the pods are arranged such that only a portion of the upper pod is stacked on the lower pod.

19. A service pod in accordance with any of claims 17-18, wherein the stacking of the component storeys of a multi-storey service pod may be achieved by directly connecting adjacent pods to each other.

20. A service pod in accordance with any of claims 17-18, wherein the stacking of adjacent pods is by connecting them to internal and/or external structures of the building in suitable spaced relation to each other to permit communication between said component pods.

21. A service pod in accordance with any preceding claim, wherein the framework is adapted to divide the internal space of a room into two or more distinct spaces or rooms.

22. A service pod in accordance with any preceding claim, wherein the pod is provided with removable or retractable transport means.

23. A service pod in accordance with claim 22, wherein the transport means are provided in the form of wheels or rollers mounted on legs that can be mechanically raised and lowered into the pod.

24. A method of constructing a building wherein: a building envelope is constructed, said envelope comprising at least external walls, floors, ceilings, and a roof; the envelope is provided with a service pod access means; and a service pod in accordance with a first aspect of the present invention is subsequently introduced into the building envelope.

25. A method in accordance with claim 24, wherein the service pod access means is provided in an external side wall to permit access to the interior of the envelope to the service pod.

26. A method in accordance with any of claims 24-25, wherein after the service pod has been introduced into the envelope via the service pod access means, the external wall is sealed.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to prefabricated service pods and specifically but not exclusively, prefabricated service pods that can be used in the construction of buildings and the like.

BACKGROUND

Prefabricated building units are well known and allow an entire room including the exterior walls, ceiling and floor together with the room's interior fittings to be constructed in a factory located remotely from a building site in a controlled factory environment. These building units can then be delivered to the site, typically by road, where they can be secured in position. Once secured into position the utilities can be installed, such utilities including a supply of electricity, water, telecommunications etc. Therefore, in a relatively short period of time from the completion of a building's foundations, a building can be erected and ready for occupation.

These prefabricated building units have several clear advantages over traditional buildings and building methods as they reduce building time, the cost of producing the finished building is minimised as a result of lower labour costs and buildings materials costs. Also, as the production of prefabricated building units is relatively straightforward to standardise, economies of scale can further reduce the cost and build time yet further.

Whilst such known units are capable of existing as stand-alone buildings in their own right, they are often joined with a series of like or similar units to create a larger building. For example, such units can be used to provide houses, apartments, university accommodation, hotels, offices, business premises such as fast food restaurants and the like.

Traditionally, the known building units have only been used to provide somewhat functional buildings due, in part, to their inexpensive nature and their general appearance. Indeed, one drawback with these units is that it is difficult to alter the external appearance of the finished building, and this can compromise their suitability for a particular purpose. A further drawback is that it is inefficient to transport whole building units from the factory to the building site as a large proportion of the transported unit is the interior of a room and, in effect, empty space. This drawback can be particularly problematic where national law restricts the size of the units that may be transported on public roads. Also, the size and weight of the building unit needs to be carefully considered as large and heavy units require specialised on-site lifting apparatus which is expensive to operate and, thus, reduces the economic efficacy of such units.

A further drawback is that known prefabricated building units are often deemed not to be sufficiently robust to be used for anything other than mere functional buildings, such as single storey temporary offices, schools and the like.

Notwithstanding these drawbacks there is a general desire to produce more mainstream buildings which utilize at least some of the benefits inherent to prefabricated building units.

One such market which would encourage the adoption of these benefits would be the first time home-buyers market. Increasingly first time buyers find themselves priced out of the housing market and the provision of inexpensive housing, particularly near large cities, is likely to be desirable.

Furthermore, due to increasing numbers of students attending universities, there is an increasing demand for inexpensive student accommodation. Universities can often fail to offer all students, particularly first year students, accommodation. Increasingly universities are interested in the development of so called study bedrooms which not only have a sleeping and study area but also an en-suite shower and toilet area generally arranged in a block of such study bedrooms.

It is an object of the present invention to provide an improved system to produce buildings incorporating at least some of the advantages and benefits of known prefabricated building units whilst addressing the associated drawbacks, some of which are mentioned above.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

According to a first aspect of the present invention there is provided therefore a prefabricated service pod comprising:

a central framework adapted to accommodate at least one utility means, said utility means being selected from: an electricity supply, a telecommunications/data supply, a water supply, a waste fluid drainage conduit, and a ventilation supply; and
at least two sections attached to said framework selected from: a kitchen section, a bathroom section, and a staircase section.

Preferably the service pod of the present invention can further comprise an entertainment section attached to said framework.

The central framework of the service pod preferably accommodates the at least one utility means in at least one void located within said framework. The central framework may comprise a plurality of voids therein to accommodate said at least one utility means.

The central framework of the service pod may have a lattice construction and be adapted to accommodate the at least one utility means within the voids in said lattice.

Alternatively, the central framework of the service pod may possess plurality of attachment means adapted to accommodates the at least one utility means adjacent thereto.

The service pod of the present invention is adapted to accommodate at least two utility means within the void(s) or adjacent to the framework. Preferably the service pod of the present invention is adapted to accommodate at least three utility means within the void(s) or adjacent to the framework. Even more preferably, all of said utility means can be accommodated within/adjacent to the framework.

Access means may be provided to facilitate ease of installation and maintenance of the utility means during the use of the pod.

At least one of the utility means can be substantially integrated in the service pod. Preferably at least two of the utility means are substantially integrated in the service pod. Even more preferably, all of the utility means are substantially integrated in the service pod. The integration of the utility means can be facilitated during the construction of the pod such that when the pod is introduced to the construction site, it can simply be plugged in and/or connected to the basic utility means provided in the building.

The central framework may extend laterally to provide a roof and/or a floor to the pod. The pod may be arranged to form a cage-like structure having open sides thereto to permit access to the sections attached to the central framework.

As used herein the term “bathroom section” shall be taken to mean any section which a user of the pod may use to typically wash themselves. Each bathroom section may comprise at least two of: a wash basin, a bath, a shower cubicle, a toilet.

As used herein the term “kitchen section” shall be taken to mean any section which is typically equipped for preparing and cooking food. Each kitchen section may comprise at least two of: a sink, an oven, a hob, a refrigerator, a dishwashing machine, a washing machine, a tumble dryer, one or more work surfaces.

As used herein the term “staircase section” shall be taken to mean any section which comprises a series of steps and a supporting structure therefor.

As used herein the term “entertainment section” shall be taken to mean any section which is adapted to house typical entertainment apparatus commonly found in a domestic building such as a television, a computer, a music player. This section is preferably provided with a series of suitable outlets to accommodate such apparatus, including electrical sockets and/or telecommunication sockets and/or modem sockets. This section may also comprise one or more sliding or hinged doors to conceal the section either wholly or partially.

As a service pod in accordance with the present invention is intended to be incorporated within the interior of a constructed building it offers several advantages over the known prior art.

As mentioned above, when prefabricated buildings are erected it is generally difficult to impart a pleasing aesthetic external appearance to the building. A service pod in accordance with the present invention permits a builder, typically a building contractor, to erect the envelope of a building in accordance with a traditional building and, when this envelope nears completion, the service pod can be introduced. In this regard the service pod of the present invention offers a series of advantages over traditional building methods and some of these advantages are set out below.

Firstly, a building contractor is able to erect the envelope of the building using largely traditional building techniques, such as with block-work, bricks, mortar and cement. The envelope of the building is used here in a general sense to include the foundations of the building, the outer walls, the roof, internal floors and ceilings, a layer of plaster on the internal walls, windows and doors, and typical first-fitting utilities such as sewage, water supply, electric supply and telecommunication/data supply cabling/pipework and the like.

Once the envelope is constructed the introduction of the service pod can be delayed until the building has been purchased and/or the purchaser has decided on the specification of the pod. Since the pod is likely to represent between 15-35% of the total cost of the building, this delay is of benefit to the contractor and/or a building developer as the cost of the pod only need be incurred when the building is near to being handed over to the purchaser.

A further benefit of the service pod of the present invention is that the number of on-site trades people is substantially reduced. During a traditional construction of a building there will be a number of different skilled people on the building site at any one time depending on the progress of the construction. These trades people include builders, electricians, plumbers, plasterers, ventilation engineers. Often architects will be called in to offer instructions and advice on the development of the building. Generally it is considered problematic for more than one type of trades person to work on the building at any one time, thus, the associated coordination contributes to longer construction times and increased costs.

The service pod of the present invention may substantially reduce the number of trades people required in the building process. Several of the trades people are required to make repeated visits to the building during construction to work with and accommodate the introduction of the kitchen, the bathroom, the telecommunication access points, the ventilation etc. However, once the basic utility means are placed in the building envelope, the possible integration of the utility means within the service pod during manufacture provides the ability to simply plug in/connect to the present utility means thus alleviating the need for several trades people to return to the building during installation of the pod and subsequent to the installation.

It is to be understood that any reference to a building envelope does not necessarily have to include all of the components mentioned above, rather the envelope is intended to indicate that these components could be put in place using traditional building techniques but all that needs be present is a general structure in place into which a service pod in accordance with the present invention could be introduced. Indeed, the envelope could be made entirely from a pre-fabricated structure or structures.

The service pods of the present invention may be provided in a single storey format. However, the service pods of the present invention may be provided in a multi-storey format. Such multi-storey pods may be integrally formed or may be formed in single storey component parts to be connected to each other and/or adapted to communicate with each other on-site. The communication between multi-storey pods can be provided by at least one of: the at least one void in the central framework of each component part of the pod being adapted to communicate with an adjacent component pod, the at least one integrated utility means of each pod being connected with or adapted to communicate with an adjacent component pod, and/or a staircase portion allowing ease of access to a user from one component pod to an adjacent component pod.

Where the service pods are of a multi-storey format, at least one of the pods is preferably provided with a staircase section to permit a user an ease of access to each storey of the pod.

Preferably the multi-storey service pods of the present invention are arranged to be stacked substantially directly on top of each other. However, the pods may be arranged such that only a portion of the upper pod is stacked on the lower pod.

The stacking of the component storeys of a multi-storey service pod may be achieved by directly connecting adjacent pods to each other. Alternatively or additionally, adjacent pods may be connected to internal and/or external structures of the building in suitable spaced relation to each other to permit communication between said component pods.

Whilst there are restrictions on the number of storeys of a building that can have communicating service pods in accordance with the present invention, it is generally preferred to use the multi-storey service pods in buildings of between two to six storeys in height.

Preferably the framework of the pod is adapted to divide the internal space of a room into two or more distinct spaces or rooms. Preferably the framework is sized to extend into the internal space of the building to divide the internal space into two or more distinct spaces or rooms. Even more preferably, the framework is sized to extend into the internal space of the building to the internal and/or external walls of the building to divide the internal space into two or more distinct spaces or rooms.

Preferably the service pod is provided with an integrated warm air recovery means to improve energy efficiency and insulation. Sections of the pod may also be provided with radiators, panel heaters, storage heaters, low-level heaters and/or focal point fireplaces and the like.

Preferably the service pod is provided with an integrated boiler/hot water cylinder to provide hot water and heating to the pod. The boiler may be located in within any section of the pod, but preferably in the kitchen section or staircase section.

To improve the ability to transport a service pod of the present invention and improve the ease with which the pod can be secured in position within the building envelope, the pod may be provided with removable or retractable transport means. Preferably the pod will be provided with retractable transport means which are adapted to be raised and lowered as required. Suitable transport means may be provided in the form of wheels or rollers mounted on legs that can be mechanically raised and lowered into the pod.

The present invention provides numerous benefits over traditional building methods and currently known pre-fabricated buildings. Building contractors are presented with the option of retaining their traditional building skills to build a building envelope without the need to work with a large number of trades people, thus reducing the construction time and the associated cost. Also due to the ease of installation of the service pods of the present invention, the contractor will be able to produce rapid construction programs, low disruption risks and reduced defects on-site.

As each service pod will be manufactured off-site in a substantially repeatable way, quality control can be imparted to the manufacturing process. As a consequence of the resulting standardisation and quality control, the level of insurance required to cover the construction work can be reduced.

As the service pods offer a degree of internal standardisation to the construction, architects will benefit from the freedom to design the building envelope knowing that the varying designs will improve the consumer desirability without necessarily increasing the building contractors' or property developers' costs.

Property developers will benefit from a unique building envelope identity and a cost efficient manufacturing process that will deliver housing faster and more efficiently, allowing a more controlled management of their financial investment.

The service pod may also be environmentally friendly and can be largely or wholly manufactured with sustainable and recyclable materials and components that provide increased construction efficiency and continued product efficiency development. The size of the pods can render them suitable for inexpensive transportation, which in turn caused less harm to the environment. The off-site construction process means less material waste on site while the building envelope is constructed.

The pods may be provided with integral electricity and/or water meters to allow users to monitor their rate of consumption thereof. Main water pipework, soil pipework, electricity cabling, telecommunication cabling and associated isolation valves can be provided adjacent to or on the same side of the pod to permit an ease of access thereto. Preferably a suitable access means will be provided adjacent said meters/pipework/cabling/valves to facilitate said ease of access.

It is expected that the service pod of the present invention should benefit the end user due to reduced housing costs, improved reliability of the build quality of the finished building whilst providing a traditionally constructed building envelope.

Also, the transport means that can be present on the service pod may provide the potential to upgrade and resell the service pod, thus the pod will provide an adaptable and flexible life-long solution for the building and the user.

According to a second aspect of the present invention there is provided therefore a method of constructing a building wherein:

a building envelope is constructed, said envelope comprising at least external walls, floors, ceilings, and a roof;
the envelope is provided with a service pod access means; and
a service pod in accordance with a first aspect of the present invention is subsequently introduced into the building envelope.

Preferably, the service pod access means is provided in an external side wall to permit access to the interior of the envelope to the service pod. Such an arrangement would allow convenient access and the service pod could be pushed/rolled into the desired position within the pod.

Once the service pod has been introduced into the envelope via the service pod access means, the external wall can be sealed by any convenient means, such as via a window(s), a door(s) and/or by a continuation of the materials used to build the external walls (block-work, bricks, etc).

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Embodiments of the invention will be described, by way of example, with reference to the following drawings, in which:

FIGS. 1 and 2 illustrate a plan view of a first embodiment of the pod.

FIG. 3 illustrates a sectional side view of the first embodiment.

FIGS. 4 and 5 illustrate a plan view of a lower storey of a second embodiment of a pod.

FIGS. 6 and 7 illustrate a sectional side views of the lower storey of a second embodiment at opposite ends of the lower storey of the second embodiment.

FIGS. 8 and 9 illustrate a plan view of the upper storey of the second embodiment of the pod.

FIG. 10 illustrates a sectional side view of the upper storey of the second embodiment.

FIG. 11 illustrates a side elevation of a bathroom section.

FIG. 12 illustrates a side elevation of a kitchen section.

FIG. 13 illustrates a side elevation of a stair section and a toilet.

FIG. 14 illustrates a side elevation of a stair section.

FIG. 15 illustrates a side elevation of a bathroom section.

FIG. 16 illustrates a side section of a stair section.

FIGS. 17 A & B illustrates a plan view for the layout of two studio apartments within a building.

FIGS. 18 A & B illustrates a plan view of a two storey first house type.

FIG. 19 illustrates a plan view of a two storey second house type.

FIGS. 20 A, B & C illustrate a plan view of a three storey third house type.

FIGS. 21A, B, C & D illustrate a plan view of a four storey fourth house type.

FIGS. 22 A & B illustrate a plan view of a two storey fifth house type

FIGS. 23 A, B & C illustrate a plan view of a three storey sixth house type

FIGS. 24 A, B & C illustrate a plan view of a three storey seventh house type

FIG. 25 illustrates a sectional side view of one end section of the pod, including pipework;

FIG. 26 illustrates a sectional side view of one end section of the pod, excluding pipework;

FIG. 27 illustrates a perspective view of a pod including a kitchen section and a staircase section;

FIG. 28 illustrates a perspective view of a pod including a bathroom section and a staircase section;

FIG. 29 illustrates a perspective view of the opposite side of the pods illustrated in FIGS. 27-28, including a staircase section;

FIG. 30 illustrates a perspective view of an alternative opposite side of the pods illustrated in FIGS. 27-28, including a staircase section with a bathroom section combined;

FIG. 31 illustrates a perspective view of a pod including a bathroom section and a staircase section (not shown);

FIG. 32 illustrates a perspective view of a ventilation system of a pod.

FIG. 33 illustrates a perspective view of the hot and cold water supplying of a pod.

FIG. 34 illustrates a perspective view of a drainage pipe layout of a pod.

FIG. 35 illustrates a perspective view of electricity and data cabling for a pod.

FIG. 36 illustrates a perspective view of the base of the frame work for a pod.

FIG. 37 illustrates a perspective view of the skeleton of the frame work for a pod.

FIGS. 38-58 illustrate perspective views of a pod on an incremental basis during the build up from the initial skeleton frame work through to a finished pod comprising a kitchen and bathroom section.

DESCRIPTION OF AN EMBODIMENT

The plan view illustration of FIGS. 1 and 2 illustrate how the sections are attached around a frame work (1). To one side of the framework is a bathroom section (2) comprising a shower (3), a wash basin (4) and a toilet (5). To the other side of the framework (1) is a kitchen section (6). The kitchen section (6) comprises a sink (7), a washing machine (8), an oven and hob (9), a dishwasher (10), a refrigerator (11) and located in spaced relation above the refrigerator (11) is a hot water cylinder (12). Ventilation pipes (13) allocated to an unoccupied side of the framework, i.e. a side of the frame work to which neither the bathroom section nor kitchen section are attached and communicate with pipes running through a void within the framework (1). The pod illustrated also includes a macerator (14) and a heater (15). Cabling points (42) can be provided to the two ends of the pod, these points can be used to provide numerous connectivity points such as television sockets, a electricity sockets, telecommunications sockets, burglar alarm controls, fire alarm controls, smoke/heat detector points, as can be seen more clearly with reference to FIGS. 25-26 as described below.

The sectional side view illustrated in FIG. 3 further illustrates how a pod may be fitted with a bathroom section (2) to one side of the framework (1) and a kitchen section (6) to the other side of the framework (1). The pod may fit below a floor slab of an upper storey with a small gap being present between the base of the slab and the top of the pod.

FIGS. 4 and 5 illustrate a second embodiment of a pod which is specifically a lower level of a two storey pod. On one side of the pod is attached a kitchen section (6) and the other side is attached a staircase section (16). To avoid any wasted space, at the raised end of stairs (17) there is sufficient room underneath for a small bathroom section (2) comprising a toilet (5) and a wash basin (4).

FIG. 6 illustrates how a small bathroom section (2) can be accommodated in the space under the rising set of stairs (17). Again the space between the top of the pod and the lower surface of the floor slab may be present.

FIG. 7 is a sectional side view from the other end of the pod. It can be seen how the stairs (17) of the staircase section (16) can permit the pod of the lower storey to access the upper storey by virtue of a gap in the floor slab of the upper storey which is arranged to allow access to the upper storey when a user approaches the highest stair (17) of the staircase section (16).

FIGS. 8 and 9 illustrate a plan view of the upper pod of a section embodiment which have, to one side of the framework (1), a staircase section (16) and, to the other side of the framework, a bathroom section (2). The bathroom section in this embodiment comprises a bath (18) together with a wash basin (4) and a toilet (5). Additionally a hot water cylinder is provided in the non-used space of the staircase section (16).

FIG. 10 illustrates a side view of the pod and illustrates the space over the stairs which may accommodate the hot water cylinder.

FIGS. 11-13 illustrate a side elevation of a bathroom section (2), a kitchen section (6) and a staircase section with small bathroom section in the space underneath the stairs (17) respectively.

FIGS. 14-16 illustrate a side elevation of a staircase section (16) without a bathroom section in the space underneath the stairs (17), a bathroom section (2) and the upper part of a staircase section with the space above the stairs and room for a hot water cylinder respectively.

FIGS. 17 A & B illustrate a plan view of two studio apartments with a pod located therein. These studio apartments could be stacked one on top of the other and accessed via a circular staircase (18).

FIG. 18 B illustrates the lower floor of a two storey house type with FIG. 18 A illustrating the upper storey. In FIGS. 18 A&B the staircase section of staircase section (16) of the pods permits access between the two storeys.

FIGS. 19-24 illustrate alternative arrangements of house types in which lower and other storeys can be accessed via staircase sections (16) of the pods and there is further illustration of how the pods may be arranged in different locations within the internal space of a building.

FIGS. 25-26 illustrate side elevations of end views of the pod. Specifically, these figures illustrate an end view of the pod which can function as an entertainment section as it is ±25 provided with a collection of sockets/cabling points (42) to permit convenient connection to electrical appliances such as televisions, computers, music centres and the like. FIG. 25 further illustrates main water pipework, soil pipework, electricity cabling, telecommunication cabling, isolation valves (not shown). Although not shown, suitable access means can be provided adjacent said meters/pipework/cabling/valves to facilitate said ease of access.

One embodiment of a lower storey of a multi-storey pod is illustrated in FIG. 27 in which a kitchen section (6) has been provided to one side of the framework and a staircase section (16) has been provided to the other side of the pod. Electrical sockets (38) have also been provided to the end section of the pod to permit convenient access to an electrical power supply to the room defined by the pod adjacent to that end section of the pod.

A further embodiment of a lower storey of a multi-storey pod is illustrated in FIG. 28 in which a bathroom section (2) has been provided to one side of the framework and a staircase section (16) has been provided to the other side of the pod. Electrical sockets (38) have also been provided to the end section of the pod to permit convenient access to an electrical power supply to the room defined by the pod adjacent to that end section of the pod.

The staircase section (16) illustrated in FIG. 29 could form the opposite view of either of the pods illustrated in FIGS. 27-28. The opening at the top of the stairs is intended to be in communication with an opening in the floor slab of the upper storey to allow access to said upper storey. The staircase section (16) illustrated is intended to communicate with a staircase section (not shown) in the upper storey pod illustrated in FIG. 31.

The staircase section (16) illustrated in FIG. 30 could also form the opposite view of either of the pods illustrated in FIGS. 27-28. A small bathroom section (2) (not visible) is located in the space underneath the rising set of stairs, this section comprising a toilet (5) and a wash basin (4). The bathroom section (2) can be viewed more clearly with reference to FIGS. 4-6 however. The opening at the top of the stairs is intended to be in communication with an opening in the floor slab of the upper storey to allow access to said upper storey. The staircase section (16) illustrated is intended to communicate with a staircase section (not shown) in the upper storey pod illustrated in FIG. 31.

An embodiment of an upper storey of a multi-storey pod is illustrated in FIG. 31 which can be used in combination with the pods illustrated in FIGS. 27-30. The upper storey pod includes a bathroom section (2) has been provided to one side of the framework and a staircase section (16) (not shown) has been provided to the other side of the pod.

Electrical sockets (38) have also been provided to the end section of the pod to permit convenient access to an electrical power supply to the room defined by the pod adjacent to that end section of the pod.

FIG. 32 provides a perspective view of how a ventilation system of a pod could operate. Specifically, there is a main fresh air intake and exhaust air outlet (22) which is in communication with a heat recovery unit (23). Also in communication with the heat recovery unit is a kitchen extractor (24) and a bathroom extractor (25) and washing machine/tumble dryer extractor (26) in order to extract the heat from all areas of the pod to ensure optimum energy efficiency.

Turning now to FIG. 33, a hot and cold supply system is illustrated. Specifically, there is a water heater (29) which is in communication with bathroom wash basin (30), a tap on the kitchen sink (31) and a shower mixer outlet (32). The main water supply is connected by all of the taps for the cold water supply along with the water supply into the washing machine and dishwasher (33) and (34) respectively.

FIG. 34 illustrates the drainage system for a pod of the present invention in which all of the waste water outlets are filtered into a common waste water pipe (35) which flows towards a macerator (36) and a soil vent pipe leading it away from the pod and the building within which the pod is located.

Turning now to FIG. 35 there is a diagram of how the electricity and data cabling may be provided within a pod. Lighting (36) may run from power supplied by a lighting ring (37). Power can be provided to a series of sockets, such as 13 amp sockets (38) via an electric fuse box, such as a 13 amp ring (39), which is fed electricity from the main electrical supply and through an electricity meter (20). The pod may also be provided with a satellite main cable box (40) and an ASDL main telecommunications box (41) which can be put into communication with an entertainment section of a pod.

The base of the frame work of a pod is illustrated in FIG. 36. The framework is constructed from a lattice work of tubular rigid material having a generally square cross-section. Providing the tubular material is substantially rigid and robust, any material may be suitable, particularly steel, stainless steel, galvanised steel and hardened plastics materials.

A completed framework is illustrated in FIG. 37 which has been built up from the base of the frame work to produce a cage-like effect to which on one side may be located a bathroom section and to the other side may be located a kitchen section, and further including the ability at one end to locate a section for easy access to utilities and the electricity meter and the like.

In the following FIGS. 38-48 the incremental build up of a pod of the present invention is illustrated as various features are introduced into and connected with the framework to result in a completed pod.