US 3673751 A
The specification describes a building panel with a snap engaging fitting for simplified interlocking of multiple panels to form building structures. The panels are especially suitable for swimming pool construction with a convenient crib-type arrangement that can be easily and quickly assembled.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Boassy et al.
 BUILDING AND SWIMMING POOL CONSTRUCTION  Inventors: Emil J. Boassy, Berkeley Heights; Vincent Shanni, Scotch Plains, both of NJ.
 Assignee: Champion Incorporated, Scotch Plains,
 Filed: July 21, 1970  Appl.No.: 56,802
 US. Cl ..52/169, 4/172.l9, 52/618  Int. Cl ..E04h 3/16  Field of Search ..52/495, 169, 627, 630, 618,
[5 6] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 8/1966 Daly ..52/588 7/1969 l-leirich ..52/627 [451 July 4,1972
3 ,427 ,663 2/1969 O'Connell ..52/ l 69 3,216,538 11/1965 Miller ..52/495 3,253,371 5/1966 Honold ..52/627 3,419,917 1/1969 Schankler.... ..52/l69 3,505,771 4/ 1970 Thompson ..52/495 FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 656,748 3/1965 Belgium ..52/495 France ..52/169 Primary Examiner-Henry C. Sutherland Attorney-Peter V. D. Wilde  ABSTRACT The specification describes a building panel with a snap engaging fitting for simplified interlocking of multiple panels to form building structures. The panels are especially suitable for swimming pool construction with a convenient crib-type arrangement that can be easily and quickly assembled.
7 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures PATENTEDJUH I972 3.573 751 SHEET 30F 3 FIG. 3
BUILDING AND SWIMMING POOL CONSTRUCTION This invention relates to construction panels for fabricating building units. More specifically it concerns swimming pool structures made with these units.
Recent interest in modular building has created a demand for new building panels. Panels which interlock with one another or with a simple frame are especially attractive.
This invention is directed in its broader aspects to such a panel. Installation of several panels to form a wall or other building unit can be accomplished with a minimum of effort and expense.
The use of these construction panels in building swimming pools is especially attractive. The inventive designs which incorporate these panels allow a nonskilled worker to complete essentially an entire pool construction in a surprisingly brief period.
This approach to swimming pool construction is essentially new. Current manufacturing methods favor unitary structures such as poured concrete or, in less expensive construction, simply a plastic liner set in a carefully sculptured sand excavation.
The construction panel of the invention is a dual thickness or rigid or semirigid sheet material, suitable for building walls, with a structural separator in between. A filler in combination with the separator for increased strength or rigidity or for thermal or acoustic insulation is optional. The inventive feature of the panel is a snap fitting made integral with the rest of the panel and extending along at least one edge thereof. The fitting comprises the edge portions of the sheets which are folded toward each other so as to essentially overlap. A channel is formed along the edge of each sheet, and each channel is adapted to engage a retaining ridge in the female member. At least one of the said edge portions is resilient so as to allow the channels to squeeze together with pressure appropriately aplied. The interlocking parts may include sloped regions on the engaging surfaces to facilitate snap fitting of the parts together.
The swimming pool according to the invention is made with a crib structure. A frame including female fitting members is provided and the panels are laid into the frame as slats in a crib. The panels either interlock with one another or, preferably, are fitted into frame members provided between each panel. In many cases it will be convenient to employ panels having lengths less than the overall pool dimension in which case two or more panels can be laid end to end and fitted only along the sides of the panels. The ends of the panels engaging the crib frame can simply rest in the frame or can interlock in some fashion with the frame. The sidewalls of the pool are constructed in a like manner by simply snapping together a series of panels. The comer fittings are somewhat more complex as will become evident later.
The panel structure is fabricated in a plastic-lined excavation, the latter serving simply to retain water. This feature is especially important. The excavation requires a minimum of preparation since the liner need not be smooth. This means that a relatively thick plastic liner can be used without the common problem of avoiding wrinkles in the liner. It also means that puncture or tearing of the liner due to its thinness or to pool trafiic is avoided. It is significant to note that the liner in this structure is not exposed to UV solar radiation. The panel assembly is inherently porous so that it remains submerged within the lined excavation. It is preferably supported from a frame on the ground at the upper periphery of the excavation. However, since the panels are typically relatively rigid, the weight of traffic on the pool bottom will be distributed and the use of the earth at the bottom of the excavation for support in whole or part will not ordinarily be objectionable.
These and other aspects of the invention will become apparent from the following detailed description.
In the drawing:
P16. 1 is a sectional view of an exemplary construction panel according to the invention;
FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a swimming pool fabricated with construction panels similar to that of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a sectional view through the end wall of the pool; and
FIG. 4 is a sectional view through the sidewall of the pool.
A building panel according to the invention is shown in FIG. 1. It comprises a top sheet 10 which is ordinarily square or rectangular in dimension and terminates at both edges in a reentrant channel 11 and a folded edge portion 12. This leaves an interior channel portion 13. The bottom sheet 16 is provided in this particular structure with large ridges or corrugations 17 for imparting longitudinal strength. The remaining portion of the bottom sheet is glued or otherwise affixed to the filler 18. The top sheet is likewise fastened to the filler 18. The filler can comprise a series of rib members spaced apart or could be any of a number of structural members of a variety of materials simply serving to support the top and bottom sheets in a spaced relationship. Foamed plastics such as polyurethane can be used in combination with rigid plastic, wood or metal supports.
The top sheet is shown flat for normal wall facings. However, corrugations, embossings and other designs may be used for decorative and even functional purposes.
The bottom sheet 16 terminates at each edge with a V- shaped channel 19, a resulting V-channel 20 and a folded edge 21, the latter largely co-extensive with the edge 12 of the top sheet. The terminal rim 22 on this folded edge is optional in this design and simply serves as a bearing when the edge is urged against the top sheet in interior channel 13. Provided at the base of the V-channel 19 on the side thereof remote from the edge is a notch 23. This notch serves to engage the female fitting as will be described.
This panel member is adapted to be used with joining strips, one of which is shown at 30 engaging the right side of the panel. This fitting resembles an I-bar with one channel-forming member 31 somewhat longer than the other channel forming member 32, although this feature is not per se essential. The edge fitting of the panel is adapted to engage within the channel 33 formed by arms 31 and 32 and main beam member 34. The arm 31 terminates with lip 35 which engages the.
notch 23 of the male fitting. Arm 32 terminates with lip 36 which engages the re-entrant channel 11 of the panel. The lbar 30 is preferably rigid.
It can be inferred from this drawing that the combination of the male fitting of the panel and the I-bar joining strip comprise an interlocking assembly that can be joined simply by snapping the members together, it being remembered that the edge portions of the panel are sufficiently resilient to allow the channels 11 and 20 to close together. The normal channel separation is such as to tightly engage the arms 31 and 32. The biased surfaces 37 and 38 in this particular design ease the joining operation. The additional length of arm 31 as compared with the length of arm 32 also contributes to this result. This panel is most effectively joined by tilting the top panel (or the joining strip) and engaging lip 36 and channel 11 first. Then by urging the members into horizontal alignment, the interlock is effected. The actual operation is accomplished with remarkable ease and the interlocking joint is very effective.
It will be evident that the V-groove 20 formed due to the presence of the adjacent corrugation is not vital to the structure. It is necessary only that a ridge extend along the edge of the panel beyond the normal panel thickness.
The panel shown in FIG. 1 is provided with two male edge fittings to be used preferably with joining strips. However, one edge of the panel can be provided with a female fitting resembling the l-bar 30 so that multiple panels can be assembled together directly. Further along these lines the l-bar joining strip can be permanently affixed to one edge of the panel during manufacture. One edge fitting can thus be eliminated during assembly.
In an exemplary embodiment the panel of FIG. 1 was constructed with 40 mil sheets, a sheet separation of approximately 1 inch and an overall thickness of 3 inches. The overall panel size was approximately 4 X 8 feet when joined. The corrugations 17 were on 3 inch centers. The filler 18 was a continuous cross member with 1-86 inch corrugations made normal to the corrugations 17. All material was polystyrene or ABS. The edge fittings comprised a A inch deep by V4 inch channel in the top sheet with a 1 inch folded edge. The channel 13 was 3/8" deep by approximately 7/16 inch. The bottom sheet edge comprised in sequence a V4 inch rim, a folded edge approximately three-fourths inch, a 45 bend extending approximately 1 inch, a /4 inch notch, and an overall width of approximately l-% inch.
The joining strip 30 has an overall height of 2 inches, a width for arm 31 of 3 inches, a width for arm 32 of l-% inch, a gauge generally of one-eighth inch with 3/16 inch rims on arm 32, and /16 inch rims on arm 31. The dimensions of this element were controlled very conveniently as the strips were extruded PVC.
A swimming pool fabricated with construction panels of the type just described is shown in FIGS. 2,3, and 4. FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a pool showing the basic employment of the construction panels of FIG. 1 in a crib-type structure.
At the top periphery of the pool is a decorative coping 40 made in sections of a convenient length, e.g., 8 feet. Comer sections 41 include a 45 end for proper fitting. The side walls of the pool 42 comprise construction panels such as those described in connection with FIG. 1. Again the size of these panels is a matter of design choice. In the structure shown, the side wall panels are approximately 4 X 4 feet. These panels are supported along their top edge with a fitting engaging a hanging grid. The hanging grid appears in subsequent figures. The vertical edges of the panels simply butt together although a molding strip may be provided at this joint. The lower edges of the side wall panels are provided with a floor support bracket which includes a laterally extending lip similar to a right-angle 7 bar. A portion of this floor support bracket shows at 43.
The end walls 44 are suspended at their upper edge in the same manner but engage a different floor support member, part of which appears at 45.
The floor panels 46 are similar to the side and end wall panels and in the structure shown are approximately 4 X 8 in size. The long edge of the panels include fittings which engage either the end wall floor support members 45 by joining strips 47.
The details of the hanging grid and the end wall floor support member 45 can be seen in FIG. 3 which is a section through the end wall of. FIG. 2. This figure also shows the disposition of the pool liner. The hanging grid assembly comprises a flat support 50 which is laid flat over the earth or a prepared foundation and overhangs the excavation as shown. This support may be wood, aluminum, plastic or any suitable rigid material. It conveniently comprises a peripheral walkway for the pool. Attached to the overhanging edge of the support 50 is a hanging bracket 51. In the structure shown, this bracket serves four functions. The most important involves the channel 52 and depending arms 53 and 54. These will be identified as comprising the female fitting on one half of the joining strip 30 shown in FIG. 1. The side wall and end wall panels engage this fitting along their upper edge. Shown in FIG. 2 is a portion of an end wall panel 44.
The hanging bracket includes a U-shaped groove 69 into which the top of the pool liner 70 is fitted. The pool liner is a water-tight plastic material similar to conventionally used liners except, as pointed out previously, it can be of heavier construction. For example, nylon reinforced vinyl having a thickness of 20 mils is suitable. It is unlikely that this material will be punctured or torn during installation or use. Since the liner is not exposed to the suns rays, UV degradation will be absent and it will only be necessary to protect the plastic against thermal oxidation, although this too will be minimal.
The hanging bracket 51 is also provided with a groove 68 for suspending an earth retaining member 58. The earth retainer may be of heavy gauge plastic, treated wood, or rustresistant metal. It preferably depends below the midpoint of the depth of the excavation. In some cases where the sides of the excavation have exceptional integrity or where auxiliary earth bonding procedures are employed, the retainer may be unnecessary.
However experience has shown that the typical earth excavation requires this, or a similar, provision for retaining the earth walls. It will be appreciated that this pool construction afiords considerable flexibility in this regard since the pool liner 70 is outside the actual pool surface. Thus the earth retaining members can assume a variety of forms with no thought to preserving a smooth surface for liner 70. If necessary the retaining members can extend to the bottom of the excavation and be supported with stakes into the bottom or the sides of the excavation.
Finally the hanging bracket 51 includes grooves 59 and 60 for attaching the pool coping 40 as shown. Any convenient means for attachment would be appropriate. Note that the coping covers the upper edge fitting of the panel 44 giving an attractive and integrated appearance to the assembly.
Afiixed to the lower edge fitting of panel 44 is the end wall floor joining member 45. This joining member is similar to the joining strip 30 except that the female channel fittings are disposed normal to one another. Thus arms 71 and 72 will be identified with arms 31 and 32 in FIG. 1. Likewise the lips 75 and 76 correspond in design and function to lips 35 and 36 of FIG. 1. A distinguishing feature is that one of the arms 72 has been omitted. This feature is helpful'since the floor panel 46 cannot be manipulated to engage both the connecting beam 45 and the joining strip 62 if the latter is already in place. The connecting beam is designed to permit the panel to be laid in place onto the lower arm 71 and engaging the lip 75. This design is recommended for at least one end (or side) of the pool. It will be evident that the beam at the other end may have two standard female fittings molded in one piece as long as construction proceeds from that end. The fitting is completed from the inside of the pool by snapping the closure strip 77 into place. The closure strip is a right angle edge molding as shown with an anchor strip 78 depending along the bisecting plane into engagement with the end wall-to-floor joining beam 45. The anchor strip includes a groove 79 which engages a bead 80 provided along the central region of beam 45. A closure strip retaining member 81 provides a snap action fitting for the anchor strip. Since the member 45 is preferably formed of plastic or light-weight metal, the retaining member 81 is partly resilient to allow for the snap action fitting. The floor panel 46 engages the floor joining beam 45 at lip 55 and lip 82 of the closure strip 77. Along the opposite side the panel engages the floor panel joining strip 62. A portion of another floor panel is shown engaging the other fitting of the joining strip. Panels are joined in this manner until the desired dimension is reached. In the other dimension the panels simply butt end-to-end.
The floor-to-side wall joint is shown in detail in FIG. 4. The lower portion of the sidewall panel is shown at 42. The sidewall-to-floor connecting beam 43 is affixed to the lower edge fitting of panel 42. The side walls and end walls may comprise more than one panel interlocked vertically depending upon the panel dimensions and the depth of the pool. In this case a joining strip such as that shown at 30 in FIG. 1 is used to join the panels in the same way the floor panels are joined.
The sidewall-to-floor connecting beam 43 resembles the end wall-to-floor beam 45 in the portion engaging the sidewall 42. As the floor panel along this edge does not have an interlocking fitting, the beam is provided with a laterally extending portion 64 upon which the floor panel rests. A short rounded stub 65 retains the upper surface of the floor panel 46 and also provides an edge molding for the wall-to-fioor joint. Holes 66 may be provided for an optional anchoring pin 67. In this view the filler member 18, appearing also in FIG. 1, is shown in cross-section. 1
For simplicity, the pool illustrated has a uniform depth.
tional deep portion at one end of the pool are straightforward and hence will not be detailed. Briefly, one such suucture would include floor panel joining strips such as those shown at 30 in FIG. 1 in which the two female fittings, rather than being back-toback in the same plane, would be molded at an appropriate angle to pitch the bottom as desired. The lower edge of the side wall panels would be cut with an appropriate bias and the sidewall-to-floor connecting beam would be suitably bent or jointed.
The floor of the pool is shown suspended from the side and end walls but may have additional support from the ground beneath the floor. This may be especially useful during constructionyWith the pool filled, the weight supported by the floor will be inconsequential.
It is preferable that the panels be completely water permeable. It is essential to allow for flow of water through the assembled panel structure.
Various additional modifications and deviations of these basic structures will occur to those skilled in the art. All such variations which rely on the teachings through which this invention has advanced the art are properly considered within the scope of this invention.
What is claimed is:
1. A swimming pool comprising a ground excavation, a hanging grid assembly disposed around the upper periphery of the excavation, said hanging grid including means for attaching a pool liner to said hanging grid, a flexible watertight pool liner attached to said hanging grid so as to cover the interior surface of the excavation, the hanging grid further including a pair of arms depending downwardly into the excavation, the arms terminating in lip portions each extending horizontally towards the other arm to form a female fitting extending around the upper periphery of the excavation, a plurality of wall construction panels each having a male fitting along the upper and lower edge thereof, the male fitting on the upper edge engaging the female fitting of the hanging grid to form side and end walls, the male fittings having retaining ridges extending along the upper and lower edge of the panel for engaging the lip portions of the hanging grid, at least a portion of the panel being compliable so that the upper and lower ridges can be squeezed together while engaging the hanging grid, a floor beam extending around the lower periphery of the excavation,said floor beam comprising, along two opposite sides of the lower periphery, a plurality of wall-to-floor joining members, each joining member having two female fittings disposed at a right angle, the fittings each having two parallel arms terminating with lip portions facing approximately together for engaging the retaining ridges of a male fitting with one of said female fittings engaging the male fitting of a wall construction panel, a plurality of floor construction panels each having male fittings similar to the wall construction panels joined together with female joining strips to form a pool floor assembly, the pool floor assembly having, along two opposite sides thereof, male fittings engaging a female fitting of the wall-to-floor joining member.
2. A swimming pool comprising a ground excavation, a hanging grid assembly disposed around the upper periphery of the excavation, said hanging grid including means for attaching a pool liner to said hanging grid, a flexible, watertight pool liner attached to said hanging grid so as to cover the interior surface of the excavation, and a crib-type, water-permeable interior pool shell attached to said hanging grid and extending into the covered excavation, said interior pool shell comprising a plurality of side wall and end wall construction panels depending from the hanging grid and interlocked with snap fittings to form pool side and end walls, and a plurality of floor construction panels interlocked with snap fittings to form a pool floor, the pool floor being attached to the side wall and end wall panels.
3. The swimming pool of claim 2 further including a floor retaining beam attached to the panels along two opposite walls of the pool and comprising an L shaped member, one leg of said L interlocked with the wall panels and the other leg of the L sup p grtingthe floor construction panels.
4. e swrmmmg pool of claim 2 further including snap fittings on the hanging grid for attaching a pool coping to the hanging grid by interlocking with the snap fittings.
' 5. A construction panel comprising a top sheet, a bottom sheet substantially coextensive with the top sheet and spaced therefrom, a filler body filling the space between said sheets to which each sheet is afiixed, a peripheral region of said top sheet extending beyond the filler body, said region being resilient and having an edge portion folded toward the bottom sheet and a re-entrant channel formed parallel and adjacent to said folded edge portion, the said region having an approximately S-shaped transverse cross-section, a peripheral region of said bottom sheet coextensive with said peripheral region of the top sheet, said region of said bottom sheet being resilient and having an edge portion folded toward the top sheet and being contiguous to the inside of the folded edge portion of said top sheet, the edge of said edge portion being spaced from the top sheet so as to allow movement of the top peripheral region with respect to the bottom peripheral region, and a V- shaped channel adjacent to and extending parallel to the folded edge portion, said channel having a notch at the base of the V on the side thereof remote from the edge.
6. The panel of claim 3 in which the top and bottom sheets comprise polyvinylchloride.
7. The panel of claim 3 in which the filler body is a corrugated plastic material and the top and bottom sheets are bonded thereto.