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Publication numberUS20010047628 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 09/741,740
Publication dateDec 6, 2001
Filing dateDec 21, 2000
Priority dateDec 21, 1999
Publication number09741740, 741740, US 2001/0047628 A1, US 2001/047628 A1, US 20010047628 A1, US 20010047628A1, US 2001047628 A1, US 2001047628A1, US-A1-20010047628, US-A1-2001047628, US2001/0047628A1, US2001/047628A1, US20010047628 A1, US20010047628A1, US2001047628 A1, US2001047628A1
InventorsRoy Mouton, William Baldwin, Mark Lillie, Page Baldwin, Charles Benedict
Original AssigneeRoy Mouton, Baldwin William M., Lillie Mark F., Baldwin Page M., Benedict Charles E.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Relocatable fire, storm and contaminant resistant modular building structures
US 20010047628 A1
Abstract
Transportable steel module units and methods for assembling such units to form structures on site to create living and workspace building environments which are non-combustible and resistant to unhealthy contaminants, and high winds and other environmental conditions and wherein each module unit is substantially completely prefabricated and finished to permit immediate occupancy and predetermined use of a structure created by connection of two or more module units.
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Claims(14)
We claim:
1. A relocatable fire, storm and contaminate resistant modular building structure comprising; steel walls formed of outer steel panels and inner perforated steel panels having layers of thermal and sound insulation disposed therebetween, said walls being secured relative to a steel floor and to a steel roof so as to define an interior living space therebetween, at least one entry door through one of said side walls to provide access to said interior space.
2. The relocatable modular building structure of
claim 1
including a plurality of modular units each having a wall portion, a floor portion and a ceiling portion and means for connecting said plurality of modular units in assembled relationship so as to define said interior space.
3. The relocatable modular building structure of
claim 2
in which each roof portion includes an outer steel plate and spaced thermal insulation layers.
4. The relocatable modular building structure of
claim 3
including means for suspending a ceiling from each of said roof portions.
5. The relocatable modular building structure of
claim 4
in which said ceiling is formed of at least one steel panel having a plurality of sound attenuation openings formed therein.
6. The relocatable modular building structure of
claim 3
including utility wiring disposed between said outer steel panel and said inner steel panel of a plurality of said wall portions, and means for connecting said utility wiring of one of said modular units with utility wiring of another of said modular units utilizing a polarized connector system.
7. The relocatable modular building structure of
claim 3
including an air circulation system mounted to an outer panel of one of said plurality of modular units, said air circulation unit having at least one discharge opening through an inner panel to said interior space.
8. The relocatable modular building structure of
claim 7
including an air circulation area defined between said ceiling and said steel roof, and duct means for communicating said plenum to said air circulation means.
9. The relocatable modular building structure of
claim 3
including a steel support frame structure for each of said modular units.
10. The relocatable modular building structure of
claim 2
in which each of said wall portions is connected in air tight manner to said roof portions and said floor portions of each of said plurality of modular units.
11. The relocatable modular building structure of
claim 2
including at least one window provided through one of said side walls, and means extending from said outer steel panel adjacent said at least one window for supporting a barrier cover for protecting said at least one window in the event of adverse environmental conditions.
12. The relocatable modular building structure of
claim 2
in which each of said side wall portions of each of said modular units includes at least one vertical steel post, means for securing said at least one steel post of one of said modular units to said at least one steel post of an adjacent modular unit, and means for sealing an interface defined between assembled steel posts of said modular units.
13. A method of building and assembling a modular building structure which may be selectively relocatable and which is resistant to fire, storm and biological contaminants comprising the steps of;
a) forming a plurality of modular building units in a controlled environment wherein each modular unit is formed having side walls with an outer steel panel and an inner steel panel having thermal and sound insulation disposed therebetween;
b) assembling said wall panels to steel floor panels and steel roof panels and providing thermal insulation adjacent said roof panels;
c) providing utility wiring within at least one of said modular units; and
d) transporting said plurality of modular units from said controlled environment to a building site and assembling said modular units at said building site by connecting said modular units to one another to thereby define a habitable interior living space.
14. The method of
claim 13
including the steps of providing polarized mechanical and electrical connectors for each of said plurality of modular units and assembling said plurality of modular units by aligning said polarized connections with respect to one another.
Description
    CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION
  • [0001]
    This application is based on and claims benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/171,310 filed Dec. 21, 1999 in the name of the same inventors and entitled RELOCATABLE FIRE, STORM AND CONTAMINANT RESISTANT MODULAR BUILDING STRUCTURES.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • [0002]
    1. Field of the Invention
  • [0003]
    This invention is generally directed to transportable and relocatable building structures and more particularly to such structures which are fabricated from metallic and preferably steel materials and which are formed of modular units which are substantially completely prefabricated and finished such that they are ready for use when assembled on site. The invention is further directed to the field of transportable and relocatable modular building units which are readily assembled to provide contaminate free, weather resistance and fire proof structures which are safe for numerous work space and/or living environments including, but not limited to, temporary classrooms.
  • [0004]
    2. Brief Description of the Related Art
  • [0005]
    Temporary building structures are used not only for emergency residential or other housing purposes after natural or manmade disasters, but are also used for providing working space or educational space in the form of temporary classrooms. Conventionally, many temporary building structures are fabricated on site or are assembled from modular wooden structures which must be finished on site. Such temporary buildings thus require that appropriate building materials, including structural as well as finishing materials, be appropriately supplied to the site for assembly and/or installation by skilled workers. Not only does site construction require on site engineers, but it also requires appropriate construction technicians to provide for the construction of an outer shell forming the temporary structure as well as skilled individuals for installing and connecting heating and air-conditioning, sources to control the environment of such temporary structures, electricians to install and connect necessary wiring circuits for all electrical purposes which may include not only normal electrical outlets but specialized outlets for purposes of communication including computer, television, audio and other types of communication, plumbing personnel for installing and connecting appropriate sources of water supply and/or waste water disposal, depending upon the contemplated use of a temporary structure.
  • [0006]
    In view of the foregoing, not only does on site construction require that each component of a structure be accurately supplied to the construction site, but, each component must be properly identified and placed into service in an appropriate manner to insure both structural integrity and operativeness of a structure. Frequently parts of systems such as electrical circuits and assembly components may be missing or misplaced during construction thereby necessitating a delay in the construction process and also increasing the overall cost by requiring that replacement parts be provided by special couriers to the construction site. Such construction problems relating to improperly supplied or missing materials and improper use of components in an on site construction may result in unacceptable delays or in unsafe building structures being placed into use.
  • [0007]
    In addition to the foregoing, there are other problems inherent with on site construction of temporary living and working spaces. By way of example, during construction of an on site building, weather conditions and building methods allow moisture and other external contaminates to penetrate into interior components of the building structure which contaminates can create an unhealthy living environment. Once a structure is completed, molds and mildews may develop within floors, ceilings, and wall panels resulting from such ambient conditions and contaminants. Inappropriate assembly of panels to substructures can result in allowing contaminates to enter spaces in walls, floors and ceilings resulting in the growth of mold, mildew and bacteria which can affect the health of individuals utilizing such structures.
  • [0008]
    Further, many on site temporary building structures are not adequately designed to provide a safe environment for those who are to be sheltered therein. By way of example, many temporary or relocatable buildings are constructed of materials which are easily or readily combustible thus making them potentially unsafe and unsuitable for many uses. Further, conventional temporary transportable or relocatable buildings often are subject to damage by high winds, rains, and other weather or ambient conditions thus further making them unsuitable for many uses.
  • [0009]
    Temporary building structures which are relocatable or which are designed to be assembled from component parts on site are frequently used as temporary classrooms. In such environments, children are subjected to the adverse affects associated with conventional structures, making them undesirable and unsafe. Even with this in mind, however, many jurisdictions utilized higher risk portable or relocatable classrooms due to economics and restrictions associated with expanding permanent school facilities. Often school enrollments will increase faster than a jurisdiction can predict, resulting in a lack of classroom space and/or lack of funds to provide permanent space for all students.
  • [0010]
    By way of example, many temporary classrooms or other work space environments are created using transportable modular units constructed in the same manner as mobile houses. Mobile home structures are not designed to withstand harsh environmental conditions such as high winds and are not fireproof or contaminant resistant. Even when securely anchored, mobile home type structures are easily damaged and destroyed when subjected to tropical force winds. In view of the foregoing, mobile home structures are not suitable for providing a safe temporary classroom or other temporary working enclosure.
  • [0011]
    In view of the foregoing, there remains a need to provide relocatable and transportable structures which can be placed into use with minimum assembly and at reasonable costs. In addition, there is a need to provide for transportable and relocatable structures to ensure a healthful and safe environment free from contaminates, which are fire proof, and which are resistant to damage from high wind and other environmental conditions.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • [0012]
    The present invention is directed to transportable and relocatable building structures which are formed of prefabricated modules and wherein preferably two or more modules are assembled on site to form a completed habitable structure suitable for use as a temporary classroom for students as well as other uses. The invention is more specifically directed to modular building units which are formed having metal, and preferably steel, inner and outer wall panels, floors and ceiling components and having suitable insulated space created therein in which both thermal and sound insulation are provided in such a manner as to prevent intrusion and build-up of moisture and to prevent growth of undesirable and unhealthy contaminants including molds, mildews and bacteria. Each modular unit is prefabricated to include all necessary electrical, communication and plumbing components with each of the components being oriented, in a preferred embodiment, so that when modules are assembled, they can only be assembled in a particular manner to ensure proper alignment and connection of all such electrical, communication and plumbing components so that the operativeness of each electrical, communication and plumbing system including air conditioning and heating systems, is ensured. Therefore, the only requirement for trained technicians and electrical, plumbing and other inspections is for connecting exterior connection of sources of electrical, plumbing and communication equipment to a control panel associated with a completed building structure.
  • [0013]
    In the preferred embodiment, each modular unit of the invention includes steel reinforcing to ensure that the floor, ceiling and wall panels associated therewith are hurricane and high wind resistant. Further, the thermal and sound insulation provided in each wall, ceiling and floor panel is positioned and structured to prevent any moisture build-up. In the preferred embodiment, the interior wall panels are perforated in order to provide for good sound attenuation.
  • [0014]
    To assist in preventing outside contamination, each building structure formed by an assembly of modular units of the present invention is heated and/or air conditioned by a central unit mounted thereto. The area above the ceiling of the structure may function as a chamber for the intake associated with such heating and/or air conditioning units. Appropriate filters including electrostatic or HEPA filter elements may be incorporated to provide air purification and removal of harmful bacteria or other contaminants which may gain access to the interior of the structure through the normal use of doors and/or windows provided in each assembled structure and the intake of fresh, make up air. Because of the air tightness of the structure, an exhaust system is incorporated into the HVAC system to maintain a predetermined positive pressure within the structure to balance the fresh intake air and the exhaust air through the windows, doors and to maintain the required air exchange.
  • [0015]
    To provide a fire proof or non combustible environment, the panels of each modular unit contain no flammable or readily combustible materials. Metal flooring associated with each modular unit may be selectively coated with a non-skid coating of a non-combustible material or may be covered with an appropriate carpeting which is specifically designed for fire resistance.
  • [0016]
    As the roof structures of the modular units of the present invention are also formed of a metal and preferably steel material, the exterior surface is coated with a microsphere coating. Such coatings are highly energy reflective thus preventing build up of heat within the interior of a completed structure. In some instances, depending upon climatic conditions, the side walls of the modular units may also be coated with the reflective material.
  • [0017]
    In the preferred embodiment, door and window units are installed during the prefabrication process with the interfaces between adjacent wall components being appropriately sealed in an air tight relationship with respect to one another to prevent contamination of the structural units. Modular units which are connected on site include outer overlapping trim strips which provide for air and water tight seals therebetween or, in the alternative, such abutment joints may be welded on site in some applications.
  • [0018]
    To further prevent damage from environmental conditions including high winds and hurricanes, the structural units of the present invention are provided with appropriate exterior elements for mounting protective barriers such as solid panels or plywood or other materials for purposes of covering windows associated with some of the modular units.
  • [0019]
    Each modular unit also includes mounting structures for securing the modular unit to support pads which are preferably formed of concrete or steel ties which have been appropriately anchored in the soil to provide a strong base for supporting the structural units when assembled.
  • [0020]
    The modular units of the present invention may be mechanically connected utilizing conventional fasteners such as bolts and screws or may be connected utilizing a variety of snap fit connectors which are installed during manufacture of each prefabricated unit such that by properly orienting and positioning one modular unit adjacent another modular unit, the movement of the units together will simultaneously cause or effect connection of the fastening elements in much the manner of a quick disconnect fitting of the type utilized in pneumatic circuits and other quick disconnect couplings.
  • [0021]
    It is the primary object of the present invention to provide prefabricated modular building units which are substantially completely constructed at an assembly location such as a manufacturing facility under controlled conditions to include both exterior and interior components such that when delivered on site, the assembly of two or more modular units to one another forms a substantially completely occupiable building which may be utilized for substantially any purpose. Further, connection of exterior sources of electricity, communication lines and/or plumbing fixtures is effected by single exteriorly accessible connections such that on site inspection of interior wiring and plumbing including electrical and communication wiring is not necessary.
  • [0022]
    It is also an object of the present invention to provide modular units which may be assembled to form complete and immediately usable work, living and teaching space where the overall structure can be assembled on site by connecting only the modular units with respect to one another such that inventory of interior and exterior component parts is not required as such parts are installed prior to on site delivery.
  • [0023]
    It is also an object of the present invention to provide modular transportable building structures which may be suitable for use as classroom environments and which are substantially fire proof, storm proof, including high winds and rains, and contamination proof, including free of bacteria, mold and mildew.
  • [0024]
    It is yet a further object of the present invention to provide modular units which may be assembled on site with a minimal work force and yet provide a rigid, sturdy and healthful environment suitable for a plurality of work and living uses including uses as classroom environment and wherein the structures may be erected at a substantial economic savings thereby reducing the economic burden to expand living and work space environments for the benefit of creating more beneficial work, living and educational space without over crowding.
  • [0025]
    It is yet another object of the present invention to provide modular building units which are formed of steel panels which are uniformly constructed and specifically designed to be interconnected to form usable enclosed work and living space and which are transportable over conventional highways from a point of manufacturer to an assembly site.
  • [0026]
    It is also another object of the present invention to provide modular building units which can be assembled to provide single level working or living space and which can also be assembled in stacked relationship to provide multi-tiered working and living environments.
  • [0027]
    It is also an object of the present invention to provide readily assembleable modular units which are fully fabricated in order to provide immediately useful, healthful and safe environments wherein each modular unit is designed so as to be maneuvered utilizing conventional hoisting and lifting equipment such as forklifts and cranes.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0028]
    A better understanding of the invention will be had with reference to the attached drawings wherein:
  • [0029]
    [0029]FIG. 1 is a front perspective view of a building formed utilizing the transportable modular building units of the present invention;
  • [0030]
    [0030]FIG. 2 is a view taken from the left side of the building of FIG. 1;
  • [0031]
    [0031]FIG. 3 is a view taken from the right side of the building of FIG. 1;
  • [0032]
    [0032]FIG. 4 is a front plan view of the building of FIG. 1;
  • [0033]
    [0033]FIG. 5 is an enlarged cross-sectional view taken along line 5-5 of FIG. 1;
  • [0034]
    [0034]FIG. 6 is an enlarged partial cross-sectional view taken along line 6-6 of FIG. 1;
  • [0035]
    [0035]FIG. 6a is an enlarged cross-sectional view showing a roof joint connection in keeping with the embodiment shown in FIG. 6;
  • [0036]
    [0036]FIG. 7 is an enlarged cross-sectional view taken along line 7-7 of FIG. 1;
  • [0037]
    [0037]FIG. 8 is a top floor plan view illustrating an internal finishing of the building shown in FIG. 1.; and
  • [0038]
    [0038]FIG. 9 is a view similar to FIG. 8 showing electrical connections.
  • DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENT
  • [0039]
    With continued reference to the drawing figures, a building is shown as constructed from a plurality of modular units in accordance with the teachings of the present invention. The building shown includes opposing outer modular units 21 and 23 and a central modular unit 22 which are shown in the drawings figures as assembled in side-by-side relationship to form a free standing temporary classroom. Although the invention will be described with respect to the three modular units shown in the drawing figures, the present invention is operative with respect to one or more modular units and particularly to at least two modular units which are designed to be connected on site to form a completed and habitable building structure. In addition, although a temporary classroom is disclosed in the drawing figures, the modular units of the present invention can be utilized to form any type of residential, commercial, recreational or other type of building. The building when assembled includes a front wall 24 including at least one entry/exit door 25 and windows 26, a rear wall 28 and opposite side walls 29 and 30. Doors and windows may also be provided in the rear and side walls. The front, rear and opposite side walls are primarily formed of metal, preferably steel.
  • [0040]
    With particular reference to FIGS. 1-3, it should be noted that the side walls are formed by joining the modular units such that each side wall is segmented including sections 29A, 29B and 29C and 30A, 30B and 30C. As shown in FIGS. 8 and 9 the completed building also includes a metallic and preferably steel floor 32 which is formed by interconnecting floor segments 32A, 32B and 32C associated with the modular units 21, 22, 23, respectively. The upper or interior surface of each of the steel floor segments 32A-32C is preferably covered with a sheet vinyl, or a polyurethane coating which is skid resistant or with a fire retardant carpet or other appropriate fire retardant material.
  • [0041]
    The completed building also includes a metallic, preferably steel, roof 34 which is formed by interlocking or interconnected roofing plates 34A, 34B and 34C associated with the modular units 21, 22 and 23. Although the roof may be formed relatively flat, in the embodiment shown in the drawing figures, the central section of the roof 34B has a mid-upper apex 35 from which the roof slopes downwardly on opposite sides thereof along the width “W” of the building. Roofing segments 34A and 34C also are shown in the embodiment of the drawing figures as tapering downwardly toward the front and rear walls of the building. The roof is reinforced by providing box or tubular steel or other metallic beams 36 and 37 along each longitudinal edge portion of the central roof section 34B and by providing similar beams 38 and 39 along the longitudinal inner edges of roofing sections 34A and 34C, respectively, as shown in FIGS. 5 and 6. As opposed to box or tubular beams, other cross-sectional rigid support steel beams, such as I-beams, may be utilized in keeping with the teachings of the present invention. To assembly the roofing sections, bolts 40 and associated lock nuts 41 are inserted through aligned openings (not shown) in the reinforcing beams at spaced points along their length. As opposed to utilizing conventional fasteners such as bolts, the reinforcing beams may be welded or otherwise secured with respect to one another. In some embodiments, latching male and female couplers may be utilized between each of the opposing beams 36 and 38, 37 and 39 in order to secure the roofing sections with respect to one another. Such devices may be quick disconnect couplers allowing the separation of the couplers on the release of appropriate locking mechanisms associated therewith.
  • [0042]
    With specific reference to FIG. 6A, the opposing edges of each of the roofing sections 34A, 34B and 34C are either upturned or down-turned, such as shown at 44 and 45 for roofing sections 34A and 34B, and are spaced with respect to one another a slight distance in order to receive a weather seal 46 therebetween. Each weather seal 46 extends the full length of the joint between the roofing sections thereby ensuring that no air or moisture can enter an air space 50 defined between a ceiling 52 of the completed building and the roof sections 34A, 34B and 34C. Each of the roofing sections 34A, 34B and 34C is further reinforced by a plurality of generally laterally extending metallic, preferably steel, channel roof stiffeners 54. The number and spacing of the roof stiffeners 54 will depend upon the effective length of the modular units. In some embodiments, the roof stiffeners 54 may include a plurality of spaced openings 55 therein in which suspension rods or wires 56 preferably formed of metallic material, are selectively mounted for purposes of supporting generally inverted T-shaped suspension grids 58 of a grid system for supporting the ceiling structure 52, as will be described in greater detail hereinafter.
  • [0043]
    To reduce the effect of thermal radiation on the completed building structure, each of the steel roofing sections is coated with a reflective coating or paint preferably of a type containing microspheres. Such a coating or paint is manufactured and distributed under the name Ultra Seal distributed by Nationwide Chemical Coating Mfg., Inc.
  • [0044]
    To further insulate the roofing area or air chamber 50 associated with the completed building of the present invention, each roofing section includes a thermal insulation layer 60 which extends substantially along the entire inner surface thereof. A preferred insulation is AstroFoil™ manufactured by Innovative Energy, Inc. The roofing sections further include additional thermal batt type insulation 62 which extends along the complete lower surface area defined by each section and above the ceiling structure 52. In this manner, the thermal insulation layers 60 and 62 are spaced from one another so as to define the area or air chamber 50 therebetween. Further, and as shown in FIG. 6, the area 50 within the roof section 34A is in open communication beneath the reinforcing beams 38 and 36 with the area 50 of the central roofing section 34B and, in a like manner, the area within the central section is in open communication with the area 50 within the roofing section 34C for purposes of providing uniform air flow to or from a central air distribution, heating, and air conditioning unit 65 which is mounted to an exterior wall of one of the modular units of the building. In the drawing figures, the air circulation unit 65, which includes heating and/or air conditioning capabilities is mounted to the side wall 30 of the structure and is supported on the side wall member 30B associated with the central modular unit 22. The air circulation unit 65 is mounted exteriorly of the building structure so as not to adversely effect occupiable space within the interior of the building. The air circulation, heating and air conditioning unit 65 may also include a fresh air intake 66 which allows air from outside the building to be selectively introduced into the interior after passing through a filter element 67 which may be an electrostatic filter or HEPA filter capable of removing possible contaminants which could effect the health of individuals within the structure. The operating capacity of the air circulation, heating and air conditioning unit in cubic feet per minute will be determined by local code such that the air maintained within the completed building structure is healthful.
  • [0045]
    With specific reference to FIG. 7, an enlarged cross-sectional view having portions broken away of a corner portion of modular unit 21 is disclosed. It should be noted that the cross-sectional characteristics of the rear wall 28 and the opposite side wall 29 of the completed building wall have the same structural characteristics.
  • [0046]
    Each of the outer modular units 21 and 23 include corner columns 72A and 72B which are shown in the drawings as being open steel columns. It should be noted that other types of steel columns may be utilized in keeping with the teachings of the present invention. Each of the steel columns 72A and 72B is welded or otherwise secured at its lower end to the steel floor section 32A which section is welded to a steel frame or beam 74A which extends along the front of the building as shown in FIGS. 2-6. A similar beam 74B extends along the rear of the building. The floor beams are also formed of steel which may be hollow in cross-section or may be formed as an I-beam, channel beam or similar structure. The support beams 74A and 74B are interconnected at their ends to side support beam segments 75A and 75B, respectively, which extend along each side of the modular units 21 and 23. The center modular unit 22 includes a pair of spaced vertical support posts or columns 76A and 76B at each end thereof which are formed of similar material as the corner columns 72A and 72B. The columns 76A and 76B are welded or otherwise secured to a support beams 77A and 77B provided at each side or end of the modular unit. Each of the outer modular units also includes along the side walls thereof interior vertical support columns or posts 78A and 78B, respectively, which are formed of steel similar to columns 72A and 72B.
  • [0047]
    To join the posts or columns 78A and 78B to the columns 76A and 76B, respectively, a plurality of mounting brackets 80 may be welded or otherwise secured to an interior surface of one of each pair of columns to be connected. In drawing FIG. 7, the bracket 80 is shown as being secured to column 78A, however, the bracket could be secured to column 78B. In a like manner, a further bracket 81 is welded or otherwise secured to column 76A. Again, the bracket 81 may be provided along the interior surface of the column 78A if the bracket 80 is attached to the column 76A. The two brackets have aligned openings therein for receiving conventional bolts 82 for securing the brackets together and thus retaining the columns 78A and 76A in assembled relationship. The number of brackets provided along the vertical length of the columns may be varied depending upon the anticipated size of the building. In a preferred embodiment, the brackets 80 and 81 are provided in the ceiling area such that the connections are not visible along the interior space of the building.
  • [0048]
    To seal the connection between adjacent columns of the modular units, snap-on generally unshaped covers 85 are provided. The covers will prevent the passage of air and moisture between the columns as well as between the columns and adjacent segments of the walls associated with each of the modular units. In some embodiments, the covers may be welded or otherwise secured and formed of a metallic material whereas in other embodiments, the covers may be formed of a different material which is suitable for preventing the passage of moisture or air into the areas between the columns.
  • [0049]
    Seals may also be incorporated on the surfaces of each roof, floor and wall column whereby when the modular units are drawn together and connected, the seals compress together against the surfaces of the columns and beams to effect a moisture tight seal.
  • [0050]
    Each of the walls of the modular units of the present invention are defined having outer steel wall panels 86 which may be corrugated as shown at 87 for purposes of reinforcement and strength and inner metallic and preferably steel panels 88 which may include a plurality of generally equally spaced elongated recesses or grooves 89 formed therein. Each of the outer wall panels 86 is welded or otherwise mounted and sealed with respect to one of the vertical support columns such as shown in 72A or to columns providing a frame for one or more windows or one or more doors, as will be described in greater detail. Mounted interiorly of each outer steel panel 86 is a thermal insulation barrier 90 which substantially covers the entire interior surface of the outer wall panels. The preferred type of thermal insulation is Astrofoil™. Spaced inwardly of the thermal insulation layer is a sound attenuation batt insulation material 91 such as manufactured by Eckel Industries, Inc. Spaced inwardly of the sound insulation layer 91 is a vapor barrier 92 which extends substantially along the entire inner surface of the wall panel. A plurality of vertically spaced horizontal steel angles 94 extend along the length of each wall segment and provide a flange for receiving fasteners 95 which are used to secure the inner steel wall panels 88 relative to the exterior wall panels 86. The angles are appropriately secured such as by welding to the outer wall panels. The fasteners 95 are preferably driven through the grooves 89.
  • [0051]
    One of the unique features of the present invention is that the wall structures are formed of outer and inner steel panels and are both insulated for thermal protection as well as for sound attenuation. Further, the outer steel wall panels form a barrier which will prevent moisture from entering insulation materials such that, when the walls are fabricated in a controlled environment within a factory and the modules are assembled on site, the outside walls are impervious to moisture and other contaminates. Once the inner wall panels are sealed with respect to the outer wall panels and because of the steel construction, contaminates can not enter the space between the inner and outer wall panels thereby preventing mold, mildew or other bacteria growth within the walls. Further, with the present invention, the wall structures, as well as ceiling and floor structures can be manufactured in a controlled factory environment before delivery to an assembly site. Such finishing of the wall units is not possible when manufacturing a temporary building on site or off site by conventional means.
  • [0052]
    With reference to FIG. 5, the interior steel wall panels 88 may be provided with a plurality of small openings 100 therein. The interior panels are perforated so as to provide sound attenuating characteristics so that sound waves can not be reverberated within the steel structure. The size and type of openings 100 may be varied and be within the teachings of the present invention; it being the specific purpose to provide surface characteristics for the wall panels which will attenuate sound without the use of combustible type materials.
  • [0053]
    In some embodiments, and as previously discussed, the outer surface of the outer panels 86 may be coated with a radiation reflective coating which may include a coating such as described with respect to the roof panels.
  • [0054]
    With specific reference to FIGS. 5 and 6, partial cross-sectional views are shown showing the manner in which one of the window units is installed with respect to the front wall of the modular unit 21 of the present invention. The window is completely framed by hollow steel, aluminum or other metallic framing 101. The outer metal panels 86 of the wall are curved inwardly adjacent to the frame 101 to provide a welding surface or connection. Inwardly depending steel angles or flanges may be utilized for providing support for the internal insulation associated with the walls of the modular unit and/or for connection of the inner wall panels 88. A trim member may be welded or otherwise secured about the interior portion of the window frame 101 for providing a finishing joint between the inner steel panel 88 and the window.
  • [0055]
    In drawing FIG. 1, four windows 26 are shown mounted in side-by-side relationship within the window frame 101. The type of windows may vary and yet remain within the teachings of the present invention. For purposes of illustration only, the windows 26 may include crank mechanism 110 which allows the windows to be pivoted so as to open. To provide protection to prevent window damage in the event of high winds, such as hurricanes or tornados, opposing L-shaped flanges 114 and 115 are provided along the upper and lower portions of the outer area of the window frame 101. The flanges are spaced a distance from the front surface of the window assembly 26 to allow an appropriate solid barrier to be slidingly or otherwise positioned therebetween. In one embodiment, plywood panels may be slidingly engaged in opposing channels 118 and 119 defined by the flanges 114 and 115 and the interior surface of the window 26. Permanent roll down or other types of window protection can also be provided.
  • [0056]
    With specific reference to FIG. 6, it should be noted that the outer wall panels 86 are designed to extend upwardly into substantial contact with a steel angle to which the steel plate roof panel is attached so as to be substantially sealed with respect thereto. A generally L-shaped trim strip formed of steel trim angle 120 is shown which is used to seal the roof panels and the upper portion of the outer wall panel. It should also be noted that the thermal barrier 90 extending within the wall is preferably coextensive with the thermal barrier 60 extending in the roof portion of the modular units in order to form a continuous barrier.
  • [0057]
    With particular reference to FIG. 7, at least one door 25 is provided into the building. The door is surrounded by a steel frame 124 which is welded or otherwise secured to the inner and outer wall panels 88 and 86 so as to eliminate the flow of ambient air and moisture therebetween. Appropriate seals may be provided along the edges of the door frame to restrict air flow between the door 25 and the door frame. The door is suspended by appropriate hinges (not shown) from the door frame 124.
  • [0058]
    One of the unique features of the present invention is that the modular units 21-23 are substantially fully finished at the point of manufacturer such that when assembled on site, not only is the resultant building readily habitable but the utilities associated therewith including electrical, plumbing, communication and the like are substantially ready for connection to external inputs and outputs. In this manner, all internal electrical wiring, plumbing and communication cables and equipment is pre-installed or pre-wired within each modular unit requiring only quick connect couplings to be made between electrical conductors, pipes, and communication cable. By pre-installing all internal wiring, ducting and plumbing, there is no need to require a plurality of separately skilled technicians to be on site during the erection of the modular units to form a completed structure. Further, there is also no requirement to halt building assembly in order to allow for local inspections as such inspections may be made at the factory during the fabrication of the modular units. This facilitates not only the time of construction but also reduces the cost of construction by enabling those on site to preform their work without interruption.
  • [0059]
    To facilitate the manner in which the utility wiring and plumbing is connected, the present invention, in a preferred embodiment, purposes that all connections be polarized. That is, each electrical conductor, communication cable or wire and plumbing pipe includes a connector which is designed to be joined to a connector of an adjacent modular unit when the units are placed in assembled relationship. Further, the connectors are designed such that the connectors are only cooperatively mated with respect to one another in the event the modular units 21-23 are properly aligned. As shown in FIG. 7, and by way of example, electrical conduits 132 for providing power to conventional outlets 130 disposed at spaced locations within each modular unit extend through the walls defining modular unit 21. At the end of the conduit 132 is a first male connector 134 having appropriate positive, negative and ground leads associated therewith. When the modular unit 21 is to be joined on site with modular unit 22, the male connector 134 is selectively receivable within a female connector 136 provided within the modular unit 22 and which itself is connected to an electrical conduit 138 extending through and communicating with additional electrical outlets in that modular unit. Electrical connector 136 can only receive the electrical connector 134 if the modular units are properly aligned thus ensuring the correct polarity of all electrical connections during assembly.
  • [0060]
    As shown in FIG. 7, the electrical connector 134 of modular unit 21 and the electrical connector 136 of modular unit 22 are installed within the columns of each modular unit, however, such connectors may be provided within the area of the ceiling or in an area beneath the floor. However, it is preferred that all electrical, plumbing and communication connections be polarized to ensure that connections can only be made in a proper manner.
  • [0061]
    Although not specifically shown in the drawing figures, where plumbing pipes are to be connected through the walls of the modular units of the present invention, quick disconnect and sealed couplings will be utilized. Each coupling will include a male connector and a female connector with appropriate seals being provided therebetween, such that when the connectors are assembled, a fluid type connection is established therebetween.
  • [0062]
    The modular units of the present invention may also be pre-wired for communication purposes. In this respect, telephone, cable and other type of wiring may be provided in each of the walls of the modular units and in much the same manner as described with respect to the electrical wiring. This allows connection to television cable and telephone wire for purposes of telephone and internet connections, cable for communication with communication systems such as public address systems utilized in various institutions including schools, and direct fire reporting communication and the like.
  • [0063]
    With specific reference to FIGS. 5 and 9, an example of an electrical and communication wiring hook-up for the building shown in FIG. 1 is disclosed. It is noted that a plurality of 120 volt quadruplex electrical outlets 130 are provided within the interior of the assembled building. Also provided is a TV cable connection 140, a public address speaker 142, a fire alarm 144, a fire pull station 145 and a telephone line connector 146. Also provided are appropriate smoke detectors which are electrically connected to the fire alarms and which detectors are shown at 148.
  • [0064]
    With specific reference to FIG. 6, the details of the ceiling structure 52 for each of the modular units is shown. As previously described, the roof structure provides appropriate hanger rods or wires 56 supporting the grid system 58 for supporting the ceiling. The ceiling will include a plurality of light fixtures 160 which are supported by the grid system 58. Power to the lighting features 160 is provided through electrical conduits extending through the side walls of each of the modular units. However, in some embodiments, as opposed to extending the power through the side walls, as disclosed in FIG. 7, polarized connections may be provided in the roofing structure similar to those previously described with respect to the side wall polarized connections.
  • [0065]
    The ceiling also includes acoustic ceiling tiles 164 which are also suspended from the grid system 58. The acoustical tiles may be of conventional construction but are non-combustible. As opposed to conventional acoustical tiles, the present invention may also incorporate sound attenuation metallic panels similar to the interior wall panels 88 which are suspended from the grid system 58. The use of such metallic panels may be desired to provide for further fire protection and also to provide a more anechoic type interior chamber for the completed building. Where necessary, expansion joints 165 may be provided formed of an appropriate corrugated metallic or similar material which extend between the ceiling tiles 164 and the lighting features 160. The ceiling may also be constructed of sound attenuating metallic sections that cover the entire ceiling with provision for lightning fixtures and the like to eliminate any work required to form any secondary installation of the lights at a site.
  • [0066]
    With particular reference to FIG. 9, there is shown in dotted line a bathroom facility which may be utilized with the building shown in FIG. 1. The bathroom facilitate would include a toilet 170 and a sink 172. The plumbing for the toilet and the sink 172 are disposed through the floor of the modular unit 23 and are designed to be directly connected to a source of water supply as well as to a drain pipe for conveying waste water from the facility.
  • [0067]
    With particular reference to FIG. 5, the modular units 21, 22 and 23 of the present invention are each mounted, as previously described, on steel support beams or channels which are shown in the drawing figures as being generally c-shaped. A box beam and I-beam constructions may be also utilized. The frames are designed to be connected to concrete pads which are provided at the site of the building assembly. Appropriate steel anchor bolts are provided with each of the concrete pads which are connectable through appropriate brackets (not shown) associated with the support beams allowing the beams to be easily secured to the pads by appropriate anchoring nuts.
  • [0068]
    As previously described, the modular units of the present invention are designed to be polarized in that all utility connections, electrical, plumbing, communications and the like, are properly made during the assembly of the units. As shown in FIG. 1, a primary control panel 120 is provided along the end wall of modular unit 23. The panel includes main circuit breakers to which an outside source of electrical supply is selectively connected once the building has been assembled. Further, the control panel also includes appropriate connectors for the telephone cable and other communication equipment. Therefore, all connections made to the building are made at the exterior control panel with the exception of plumbing connections.
  • [0069]
    The modular units of the present invention are specifically designed to be transportable over conventional roads and highways. In preferred embodiments, the width of each module is standardized such as to permit transport over highways without a special permit. In this respect, the modules may be 8 to 12 feet in width. The modules shown in the drawing figures would therefore be approximately 33 feet in length. The width and length, however, may vary depending upon desired interior square footage required by the completed structure. Special permit uses would be necessary for modular construction widths of up to 14 feet and substantially longer modular unit length.
  • [0070]
    To facilitate the building erection, the modular units of the present invention are designed to be maneuvered either by a conventional forklift or by crane. In this respect, appropriate openings 212 may be provided in spaced relationship with respect to one another in the floor support beams for receiving the forks of a conventional forklift. Further, steel lugs such as shown in FIG. 3 at 220 may be provided adjacent each corner of the structure having openings therein for receiving hooks or cable slings associated with a conventional crane. Therefore, manoeuverability of the modular units during assembly is facilitated for different types of equipment.
  • [0071]
    With particular reference to FIG. 8, in some structures, it may be desirable to preinstall various fixtures other than the utility features within the interior of each of the modular units. As shown, it is possible to provide a plurality of work stations 230 which are securely mounted to the steel floor panels 32A, 32B and 32C of the modular units 21-23. Such work stations may include individual computers which are connected to an appropriate LAN system through the control panel 120
  • [0072]
    In view of the steel construction of the modular units of the present invention, the completed building structures are free of structural components which promote the growth of molds, mildews and build up of moisture thus reducing the possibility of building contamination. Further, the steel construction provides a solid structure which is substantially storm resistant allowing the buildings to be erected in areas where high winds can be expected such as in areas where hurricanes may be anticipated. Further, the steel construction including both the interior and exterior walls provides a substantially fire proof structure which is extremely suitable for us as a residence, work space environment or classroom. The interior perforated steel walls, floors and ceilings together with the sound insulation also provide a living space having extremely good acoustical characteristics.
  • [0073]
    Although not specifically shown in the drawing figures, each of the modular units 21-23 of the present invention are sufficiently rigid to allow the units to be stacked one upon another. In this respect, a complete building as shown in FIG. 1 can have a second building vertically stacked thereon by a modification of the roof structure or providing a secondary frame structure that supports and distribute the weight of the second building and by providing appropriate steel connections between the side walls of the lower unit and the side walls or floor support frame of an upper unit.
  • [0074]
    The foregoing description of the preferred embodiment of the invention has been presented to illustrate the principles of the invention and not to limit the invention to the particular embodiment illustrated. It is intended that the scope of the invention be defined by all of the embodiments encompassed within the following claims and their equivalents.
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US6795795 *Jun 13, 2002Sep 21, 2004Honeywell International Inc.Probabilistic map for a building
US8083023 *Mar 29, 2010Dec 27, 2011Joab James PerdueDrum booth and kit for its construction
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US9428927 *Jul 1, 2015Aug 30, 2016Donald ValePre-fabricated module for multi-dwelling housing units
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US20050247024 *May 5, 2004Nov 10, 2005Rick BedellModular building structure
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US20110162293 *Jan 6, 2011Jul 7, 2011Jared LevyModular Housing
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Classifications
U.S. Classification52/144, 52/234, 52/293.1
International ClassificationE04B1/348
Cooperative ClassificationE04B1/3483
European ClassificationE04B1/348C3