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Publication numberUS3703058 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateNov 21, 1972
Filing dateSep 14, 1970
Priority dateSep 14, 1970
Publication numberUS 3703058 A, US 3703058A, US-A-3703058, US3703058 A, US3703058A
InventorsAkerstrom Gary L, Klett George G
Original AssigneeBuilding Block Modules Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Modular building construction and erection system utilizing selectively oriented modules
US 3703058 A
Abstract
This invention relates to a low cost system for erecting multi-room buildings from preformed modules. Precast concrete modular units having opposing side walls and opposing floor and ceiling panels are oriented in relationship to each other so that a side wall of one module closes off selectively, at least partially, an open end of an adjacent module. Fill-in end wall panels are utilized as required to complete a building construction. Additional floor levels stacked on lower levels are employed to provide a building assembly having a predetermined number of floors. Means are provided for integrally connecting together the series of modules defining each floor level. As required, additional connecting means are provided to secure overlying floor levels with floor levels lying therebelow.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent Klett et al.

[54] MODULAR BUILDING CONSTRUCTION AND ERECTION SYSTEM UTILIZING SELECTIVELY ORIENTED MODULES [72] Inventors: George G. Klett, Berkeley; Gary L.

Akerstrom, Moraga, both of Calif.

[73] Assignee: Building Block Modules, Inc.,

Richmond, Calif.

[22] Filed: Sept. 14, 1970 [21] Appl. No.: 71,978

[52] US. Cl. ..52/79, 52/236, 52/579, 52/583, 52/587 [51] Int. Cl. ..E04h 1/04 [58] Field of Search ..52/227-229, 79, 52/234, 236, 583, 579-581, 587, 238, 239

[56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 4 1,024,852 4/1912 l-lolmberg ..52/587 1,624,802 4/1927 Rebell ..52/587 2,003,670 6/1935 Walker ..52/236 2,373,409 4/ 1945 Myer ..52/227 2,645,114 7/1953 Amirikan ..52/587 2,751,635 6/1950 Donnahue ..52/79 3,284,966 11/1966 Bolt ..52/79 3,372,519 3/1968 Russell ..52/587 3,377,755 4/1968 Stucky et al. ..52/236 3,378,971 4/1968 Singer et al ..52/236 3,432,978 3/1969 Erickson ..52/227 3,500,595 3/1970 Bennett ..52/228 [451 Nov. 21, 1972 Shelley ..52/79 Primary Examiner-Frank L. Abbott Assistant Examiner-Leslie A. Braun Attorney-Flehr, l-lohbach, Test, Albritton & Herbert [57] ABSTRACT This invention relates to a low cost system for erecting multi-room buildings from preformed modules. Precast concrete modular units having opposing side walls and opposing floor and ceiling panels are oriented in relationship to each other so that a side wall of one module closes off selectively, at least partially, an open end of an adjacent module. Fill-in end wall panels are utilized as required to complete a building construction. Additional floor levels stacked on lower levels are employed to provide a building assembly having a predetermined number of floors. Means are provided for integrally connecting together the series of modules defining each floor level. As required, additional connecting means are provided to secure overlying floor levels with floor levels lying therebelow.

14 Claims, 15 Drawing Figures PKTENTEDnuvz: m2

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MODULARBUILDING CONSTRUCTION; AND ERECTION SYSTEM UTILIZING SELECTIVELY ORIENTED MODULES CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION Assignees copending application Ser. No. 872,608 filed Oct. 30, 1969, entitled. Modular Building, and System for Erecting the Same relates to a modular building construction and erection system utilizing,

precast modules arranged generally incheckerboard fashion so that open areas or spaces are provided between adjacent modules, such spaces being closedoff by fill-in wall and ceiling panels, or by other modules, stacked onan underlying series of. modules in preselected fashion to complete a building assembly. The present invention is distinguished from the invention of the copending application in. that in the present building construction and erection system the free space or checkerboard stacking concept of the identified application is not utilized.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION -more floor levels therein. In such buildings which include more than one floor level, modules ofupper floor levels are stacked directly upon and generally inv conformance with the orientation of the modules em.- ployed in floor levels lying therebeneath.

Still more particularly, this invention relates to the field of precast concrete modular building systems which are specifically designed so that, to the fullest extent possible, all work on individual room units defined by. the respective modules may be effected at a factoryprior to. transportation of the modules to a building site so that only a minimum amount of on-site labor is required in the erection procedures and finishing procedures to prepare the building for occupancy.

2. Description of the Prior Art While preformed modular building constructions and erection procedures have been generally known and utilized heretofore, so far as is known, the particular construction of the modular building construction and erection system employed to provide the building assembly of the present invention have been unknown heretofore. While as noted above, assignees copending application discloses an improved and effective modular building construction and erection system in which precast modules are arranged and stacked one upon the other in checkerboard fashion, utilizing fill-in end wall and floor and ceiling panels as required to complete a building assembly, such checkerboard arrangement does not employ or suggest the particular modular building construction and erection system and procedure disclosed herein.

Specifically, the present invention is designed as a modification of the checkerboard erection system of said copending. application'and the present building construction and system have certain distinct advantages. and featureswhich make the same utilizable under conditions occasionally more suitable for use than the erection system of said copending application.

In that regard, an important characteristic of the present invention which distinguishes the same from the improved system. of said copending application, and also from prior systems known in the modular building field, residesin the fact that the present building construction and erection system results from utilization 'of precast modules which: are positioned in such a fashion thata wall ofionc modulecooperates to define a full or partial wall of another adjacent module, thereby limitingthe number of fill-in wall panels or floor and ceiling panels required to effect erection of a completed modular building. construction. In the present invention, in distinction to the invention of said copending application andv contrary to other known procedures in the prior art, the preformed modules of this invention are arranged in a simplified. fashion which eliminates free. space therebetween' and which minimizes the total number of separate structural components or parts requiredtocompletea pluralfloor building assembly.

Furthermore, with a modular building construction of the present invention, in which the modular units are preformed at a factory and their interiors finished to the fullest possible extent at the factory prior to transportation tothe construction site, construction costs, can be greatly reduced. Also, less skilled labor is required at the erection site to erect a building construction embodying the present invention than to erect buildingsproduced from more conventional construction procedures heretofore known.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION defined by one or more floor levels, such as a multifamily apartment house or multi-unit office building. Still more particularly, this invention relates to a modular building system utilizing preformed modular units designed to be'oriented relative to and interconnected with each other in a particular fashion so that a multiroom building on one or more levels may be quickly and inexpensively erected with minimum on-site labor.

Furthermore, this invention relates to the manufacture and utilization of precast building modular units formed at a factory in which the interior of'each modular unit, such as wall coverings, floor coverings, draperies, internal plumbing walls for kitchens and bathrooms, and the like may be fully installed at the factory prior to transportation of individual modules to the construction site for erection thereat in preplanned fashion into a multi-room building of predetermined size and preplanned architectural design. With the present invention, fewer fill-in wall panels and ceiling or floor panels are required than with prior known constructions, thereby minimizing the total number of structural components required to complete a building assembly of predetermined size and design.

level or on overlying floor levels, into a unitary,stprdy building construction. More particularly, in that regard, this invention relates to the inclusion in a building modular unit of improved connector structure which is embedded during the module forming procedure into the module walls at predetermined locations. Such connector structures are designed to be selectively interconnected with each other during erection of a building assembly.

In the aforementioned copending application, a modular building construction is disclosed which utilizes acheckerboard erection pattern which obviates the presence of double ceiling and floor panels in a multi-level building. In the present invention such double ceiling and floor panels are encountered as a result of the stacking procedure involved herein. However, this arrangement minimizes the requirement for exterior end wall panels in a completed building construction. That is, with the present invention, the double ceiling and floor construction employed is planned to limit the number of fill-in wall, ceiling and floor panels required to complete a building. Additionally, with the present arrangement, double side walls characteristic of prior known modular buildings also are obviated. Additionally, with the present invention the number of interior fill-in wall panels may be substantially decreased.

This invention lends itself to a wide variety of uses and building constructions and, by suitable preparation of the casting form in which the modular building units preferably are produced from concrete, a wide variety of arrangements for internal and external openings for doors and windows in the erected building may be effected in accordance with a predetermined building design plan.

The stacking arrangement of the present invention when a multi-floor level building is produced generally makes utilization of vertical connecting means to interconnect overlying and underlying floor levels optional. Although such connecting means may be utilized as described herein, it has been found that the same are not required under all circumstances, primarily because of the effective means for interconnecting adjacent modules in each floor level of the building being erected.

In the present invention, in contrast to that of said copending application, the preformed modular units, comprising opposed side walls and opposed floor and ceiling panels which define open ends, are arranged on a foundation or on an underlying floor level so that the open end of one modular unit is closed off to the extent desired by a side wall panel of an adjacent modular unit. As a result, fill-in wall panels are required generally only at the'outer margins of a building construction being erected.

From the foregoing, it should be understood that objects of this invention include the provision of a low cost, improved modular building construction and building system; the provision of an improved process,

procedure and system for erecting a modular building facilitate interconnection thereof with other building units; the provision in a building module or improved connector structure designed to facilitate removal of a precast concrete module from the casting forrnand to subsequently facilitate erection of a building utilizing such a'module; the provision of improved means for securing together modular building units stacked in one or more layers or floor levels; and the provision of an improved erection procedure and resulting building construction in which precast concrete modular units are oriented relativeto each other so that the walls of certain units close off the normally open ends of other units whereby the number of fill-in wall panels required is minimized.

These and other objects of this invention will become apparent from a study of the following disclosure in which reference is directed to the attached drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. I is an isometric, generally schematic view illustrating the subject building system and erection procedure employed therewith.

FIG. 2 is an isometric, generally schematic view of the subject system showing a modified embodiment thereof.

FIG. 3 is a horizontal sectional view through a portion of the building system of FIG. 1 showing theattachment means to a foundation therefor.

FIGS. 4 through 7 are isometric views of foundation attachment connector plates effectively utilized in the present building system.

FIG. 8 is a vertical sectional'view through two vertically stacked series of modular units showing the operative interconnection therebetween and the positioning thereof on a foundation therefor.

FIG. 9 is a plan view taken in the plane of line 99 of FIG. 8 illustrating details of means for connecting together four modular units employing the improved connecting structure of this invention. I

FIG. 10 is an isometric view of an improved connecting structure utilized herein.

v, FIG. 11 is an isometric view of a connector fitting utilized in the subject module means.

FIG. 12 is an isometric view of a guide tab utilized in the subject connecting means to facilitate stacking of modules one upon the other.

FIG. 13 is a plan view illustrating the interconnection between three contacting modules.

FIG. 14 is a sectional view taken generally in the plane of line 14-14 of FIG. 13 and illustrating the interconnection between overlying modules.

} FIG. 15 is a plan view corresponding generally to FIG. 13 and showing the interconnection of an end wall fill-in panel with a modular unit.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Before describing specific details of the subject building construction and the erection system therefor, and the individual modular units which are employed in erecting a multi-room building construction of one or more floor levels, a brief description will be given of the manufacturing procedures employed to produce a modular unit designed for utilization in the present system.

Individual modules are cast vertically in a form having opposed sections which are movable toward and away from each other to permit separation of a completed concrete module therefrom. Such form .also permits positioning of reenforcing rods, electrical conduits, openings for plumbing fixtures, inserts for connecting a completed unit with an adjacent unit in a building construction, inserts for picking up and transporting a completed unit, and other fixtures, prior to casting. When all such rods, inserts and fixtures are properly positioned, the casting form is closed and held securely together while concrete or other suitable construction material is pumped into the form and allowed to harden therein.

The basic modular unit in its preferred embodiment consists of an integral four sided body open at its opposite ends. One preferred embodiment is formed from precast reenforced concrete having exemplary outside dimensions of 12 feet by 8 feet 8 inches by 12 feet 8 inches, with 4-inch thick side walls and ceiling and floor panels. Obviously the dimensions of the module can be modified to meet particular construction needs as can the panel thicknesses thereof. However, the basic module size just described has been found effective for rapidly erecting a modular building construction of the type illustrated in the attached drawings. When special modular sizes are desired to provide a modified construction, preferably the modified modules are increased or reduced in dimensional increments of length, such as increments of 2 feet.

In line with a predetermined plan, the walls of the modules may be formed with suitable window and internal or external door openings during casting of the same. Such window and door openings can be blocked out up to sizes of about eight feet to meet particular needs.

By way of further illustration, a concrete module, without door or window openings, having the dimensions and wall thickness noted previously weighs approximately ten to twelve tons depending upon the type of concrete utilized.

As is the case with the modular units of the aforementioned copending application, the present building system is designed for mass production at a factory with completed modules being intended to be prefinished to the fullest possible extent at the factory for subsequent transportation to the construction site. In that regard, the factory prefinishing operations may be carried out at various stations for installing or completing interior partitions and closets; bathroom and kitchen units which require only plumbing and electrical connections to be completed at the construction site; heating, plumbing and electrical conduits and equipment; doors, windows and trim therefor; painting and finishing; carpets and draperies; and protective wrapping of finished modules for transportation to the construction site.

As will be described hereinafter, each module is constructed to facilitate positioning of the same on afoundation or on a correspondingly oriented underlying module if a multi-level building construction is desired. In that connection, a particular erection procedure has been designed which utilizes to the fullest extent the existing wall structures of each preformed module so that minimum fill-in wall panel requirements are involved.

With the foregoing in mind, reference is directed to FIG. 1 which illustrates basic details of this invention and the building system embodied therein. Preferably, all precast modular units are basically the same although, as noted previously, individual units may be provided with selective window or door openings to fit into the architectural scheme and design for a particular preplanned building. So far as this disclosure is concern'ed, modules employedin the illustrated building construction or assembly, generally designated 1, are shown essentially in the form in which they are produced in the casting procedure noted previously (but without internal finishing details illustrated therein).

In that regard, the building construction shown in FIG. 1 is illustrated in the partially completed condition. A series of modules and end wall fill-in panels are shown oriented relative to each other to define a building assembly which includes two floor levels designated 2 and 3 respectively. It should be understood, of course, that additional floor levels may be stacked on top of the two floor levels partially illustrated if desired in accordance with a particular architectural plan.

In basic construction each module shown, identified by reference numeral 4, comprises a unit which is four sided and generally rectangular in cross section defined by two opposed side walls 6 and 7 and integral floor and ceiling panels 8 and 9 which extend between and connect the side walls. Opposite ends of the unit are generally open and unrestricted as seen. In accordance with predetermined architectural designs, the side walls of certain units may include window openings 13 and interior or exterior door openings 14, the latter providing access between adjacent rooms in a completed building when such a door opening is interposed between adjacent modules.

The side walls and ceiling and floor panels are essentially planar and form therebetween upper and lower right angled corner portions. As will be described hereinafter, the comer portions have embedded therein at selective predetermined locations means for interconnecting modules together in a completed building construction.

An important concept of the present invention, and a basic distinction thereof from the building construction of the copending application mentioned above, is that the present building is erected from modules without leaving free spaces between adjacent modules. That is, as seen in FIG. 1, each level of the building is defined by a series of modules generally oriented so that the open end of one module is closed off by a side wall of another module. To that end, in line with a predetermined architectural plan, the modules are positioned in sequence so that the axis running between the opposite open ends of each module is oriented at generally right angles relative to the open end axis of the adjacent module. This angular orientation of adjacent modules produces maximum utilization of side wall panels to minimize the need for fill-in interior and exterior wall panels.

While with the arrangement shown double thickness ceiling and floor panels result from the direct stacked relationship of one level of units relative to another, the

minimization of fill-in floor, ceiling and wall panels compensates for the double floor and ceiling thickness and results, under certain circumstances, in cost savings at the erection job site.

In that connection, it will be noted also from FIG. 1 that the only need for fill-in panels arises at the lateral margins of the building. Such fill-in wall panels may be dimensioned to fit flush with the outer marginal edge of a modular unit, as noted by panel 11 in FIG. 1, or alternatively the peripheral dimensions of such a fill-in wall panel 12 may be such that the same may be received within the confines of the side walls and floor and ceiling panels of a module also as seen in FIG. 1. The fillin wall panels may have window or door openings .provided therein as required.

With a flush type wall panel 11 of the type seen in FIG. 1, the same may be secured in place with conventional fasteners extending through the wall panels into the end margin of the adjacent module or the improved connector means of this invention may be utilized in conjunction therewith as will be described. With an interiorly positioned fill-in wall panel 12 of the type shown in FIG. 1, conventional fasteners may be extended through the side wall panels 6 and 7 of the module, and also through the ceiling panel 9 thereof, into the edge of the wall panel to hold the same in place in known fashion.

Obviously, caulking or other leak proofing procedures may be employed with respect to positioning the fill-in wall panels in place or in the formation of any other joints or connections disclosed herein, as may be required.

Also, referring to FIG. 2, while it is preferred to utilize essentially the same dimension modular units in the building construction of this invention to simplify erection procedures, to provide improved appearances and meet aesthetic design considerations, somewhat larger modules, such as the one shown at 4' in FIG. 2, may be-utilized. In that regard, module 4' is formed with longer side walls 6 and 7' and floor and ceiling panels 8and 9 relative to a shorter module 4 underlying the same so that an overhanging effect is provided to impart architectural interest in the resulting building. Alternatively, the size of an overlying or underlying module may be reduced in dimension relative to the module stacked thereon or positioned therebeneath for the same purpose. In that regard, as will be described, when such oversized or undersized modules are used, selective positioning of the connecting means employed is necessary to connect the same with adjacent modules in accordance with the modified architectural lan. p The module connecting means to be described hereinafter has been designed so that it may be utilized in conjunction with securing together two or more modules in a given floor level. To that end, as illustrated by reference numeral 16 in FIG. 1, such connecting means may be employed to secure together four adjacent modules. Also, as indicated by reference numeral 17, such connecting means may be employed to connect three adjacently positioned modules. Similarly, the connecting means may be employed to secure together one module and a flush positioned fillin wall panel as indicated by reference numeral 18. Reference numeral 19 in FIG. 1 identifies a fill-in panel joint employing conventional fastening means as mentioned previously. Also, as indicated by reference numeral 21, the improved connecting means of this invention may be utilized to secure together two adjacent inline modules as noted.

The respective modules may be positioned and placed in their prearranged orientation by means of large fork-lift trucks, cranes or the like. The particular erection equipment and machinery chosen will be determined largely by the size of the building complex being erected. While available equipment may be employed, specially designed equipment for use in erecting the present system may be preferred under certain circumstances.

While hereinafter reference will be directed to means for horizontally connecting a series of adjacent modules in the same floor level together into a unitary assembly, it is also contemplated that under certain zoning ordinances and building code conditions it may be necessary or desirable to operatively vertically interconnect overlying floor levels of a building with those underlying the same and to tie all the floor levels to a supporting foundation. If such requirement is encountered, suitable securing means, such as the post tensioning arrangement illustrated and described in the aforementioned copending application, may be utilized herewith. If such post tensioning, or other suitable means for vertically interconnecting overlying modules with underlying modules, is employed, the accommodation therefor may be made in the casting form during production of the particular modules in line with a predetermined architectural plan. Because post tensioning, and other equivalent vertical connecting systems, are not per se novel and have been utilized heretofore, a disclosure thereof has not been made in detail herein.

It has been found, that under many circumstances vertical interconnection of the respective floor levels of a building embodying the present system is not required, it being normally adequate, because of the substantial weight of the precast modules, to securely interconnect together adjacent modules in the same floor level. Each level of the building forms a unitary assembly which, under many circumstances, is strong and rigid enough to withstand stresses to which a building is exposed without requiring additional vertical connection to other structures or levels.

While it is generally contemplated that adjacent modules will be oriented with their open ended axes arranged relative to each other, if it is desired to produce an enlarged internal room dimension, two or more modules may be arranged with their open ends axially aligned as shown by the two modules lying at the left of the building in FIG. 1. By using modules of less than standard length, such as half-length or quarter length, enlarged rooms at the outer margin of a building may be produced as desired. Generally, however, adjacent'modules are oriented as noted previously in line with the basic concept of this invention.

Referring to FIG. 3, one preferred means for connecting the subject building construction to a supporting foundation is illustrated. Such means comprises a series of securing plates designated 27, 28, 29 and 31 respectively, each of which is formed to insure secure interconnection of adjacent modules of the first level of a building to a supporting foundation. In that regard, it will be seen that each of the securing plates has one or more upwardly projecting tabs 36 thereon which includes a tapered, angularly oriented bent point 37 projecting in a predetermined direction therefrom. Also, each tab has two or more holes 38 provided therethrough by means of which the respective plates may be secured to a supporting foundation for the building.

The tabs 36 provide guide means which facilitate proper positioning of modules upon the foundation. Such tabs are designed to cooperate with and be received in connecting means positioned at the corners of the respective modules or fill-in wall panels during erection of the building as will be described.

FIG. 3, it will be noted, illustrates a portion of the first level floor plan of the building of FIG. 1. In that regard, it will be seen that such figure shows both the principal feature of orienting adjacent modules at 90 relative to each other, and the alternative feature of orienting two adjacent modules in axial alignment with each other.

The securing plate 27 shown in FIG. 4 is employed to operatively interconnect four modules in a joint as identified by reference numeral 16. Similarly, the respective plates 28 and 29 shown in FIGS. Sand 6 are designed to interconnect three and two modules, respectively, as shown by reference numerals 17' and 21 in FIG. 3. Finally securing plate 31 shown in FIG. 7 is used to properly position a fill-in flush wall panel 11 to close off the end of a module as shown by reference numeral 18. It will be understood that the guide tabs 36 on the respective securing plates are oriented in accordance with the particular type of module joint of which the associated securing plate forms a part.

While the securing plates shown in FIGS. 4 through 7 are exemplary of the type of foundation connection means suitably employed in this invention it should be understood that modifications thereof to meet particular needs also may be utilized as required.

Taking FIG. 3 in conjunction with FIG. 8, it will be 'noted that the building construction is intended to be supported upon a foundation, such as a poured concrete slab or spaced piers, generally designated 41, which is designed to rigidly support each of Y the modulesat its corners and also at selected locations between the corners as may be required in line with accepted engineering practice.

Mounting bolts, generally designated 43, are cast in place when the foundation slab 41 is poured. The threaded upper ends of the bolts 43 project from the foundation upper surface and are used to secure the respective mounting plates in place as seen in FIG. 8. To that end, each bolt has a leveling nut 44 threadedly secured thereon beneath an associated mounting plate. When the respective leveling nuts are properly oriented, the mounting plates are positioned thereon and secured thereto by hold down nuts 47 engaged with the upper surface of the respectivemounting plates. Thereafter, the space between the foundation slab and the mounting plate is filled with grouting to provide a footing 48. When thus arranged, each mounting plate has its upwardly projecting tabs properly oriented to perform their function of guiding and positioning each of the respective modular units 4 into place in conjunction with the foundation and the mounting plates secured thereto.

Each of the modular units is provided at its upper and lower margins with the aforementioned connecting means defined by a specially designed connecting box structure which is cast in place when the module is made. Each such connecting box structure is designated 51 and, with the exception of the special module configuration and location shown at 51 in FIG. 2, eachsuchconnecting box structure is located closely adjacent the corner of the respective ceiling and wall panels of a givenmodular unit.

In its preferred embodiment, each connecting box structure 51 includes as an important component thereof a separate guide tab 52 (FIG. 12) having a tapered angularly oriented bent point 53 integral therewith. The base of the tab is provided with a hole 54 therethroughto permit attachment of the tab as part of a connecting box structure in those locations where such a tab is desirably provided to facilitate operative interconnection of vertically stacked building modules in the manner best seen in FIG. 8.

As shown in FIG. 10, each connecting box structure comprises an open ended connector box 56 which is generally rectangular in cross section and is defined by opposed pairs of integral side walls. The box 56 may be forrnedfrom any suitable procedure, such as by cutting a metal extrusion to the desired length, or by folding a flat metal strap into the shape illustrated and welding the same together.

Structure for rigidly bonding the connector box 56 within the ceiling or floor panel of a building module is integrally connected to the box structure, preferably by welding. Such bonding structure comprises a first reenforcing member 57 defined by a bent length of conventional constructional reenforcing rod having spaced leg portions as shown, each of which includes a bent marginal end portion 58 andan integral intermediate arcuately curved portion 59, the latter being positioned generally within the confines of the connector box 56. The arcuate portion 59 defines a hook member by means of which a connector box and the module in which the same is embedded may be lifted or otherwise moved during manufacture of a module or during positioning of the module during, erection of a building assembly.

A second reenforcing member, defined by another length of bent reenforcing rod 61 including a curved arcuate intermediate portion 62 and marginal end portions 63 integral with the spaced legs thereof, is attached by welding the same to an outer surface of the connector box.

An additional anchoring member, defined by a rigid generally flat metal strap 64, is welded at one of its ends to the surface of the connector box adjacent the arcuate portion 62 of the rod 61. Strap 64 extends at an angle relative to the connector box of approximately 45. The end of the strap is bent generally at right angles thereto to define an end margin 66 which assists in anchoring the strap securely in place in the building module.

While bent dual reenforcing rod structures 57 and 61 are preferred as components of the module connecting means, it should be understood that, under certain circumstances, the same may be replaced by flat straps similar to that defined by strap 64 or by single rods of suitable strength.

It should further be understood that the reenforcing rod structures 57 and 61 are interfitted with the conventional reenforcing rods embedded in the ceiling and the connector box 56 is integrally and rigidly tied in with the basic structure of the modular unit. The rod.

structures 57 and 61 extend in the direction of the planes of both a side wall and a floor or ceiling panel of the modular unit. The bent ends 58 and 63 of the reenforcing rod structures and 66 of the reenforcing strap 64 insure secure interconnection of a connector box with the modular unit. a

In that regard, it should be understood that one such connecting box structure preferably is located adjacent each of the corners of a modular unit, with four such connecting box structures being oriented in each of the floor and ceiling panels thereof. Thus, the connecting box structures are available to facilitate removal of a modular unit from a casting form and alsoto assist in positioning of a module during building erection. Posi tioning of the connecting box structure in a given module is best seen from FIGS. 8 and 9.

g It should be understood that the guide tabs 52 mentioned previously are positioned in predetermined connecting box structures after proper orientation of a modular unit has been effected. Such tabs are provided only in conjunction with those connecting box structures which are embedded in the ceiling panel of a given unit so as to be available to assist in properly positioning another modular unit to be stacked thereon in the manner shown in FIG. 8. Because the respective connecting box structures in the ceiling panel of a given module are accessible prior to stacking of another module thereon, adjacent modules to be horizontally interconnected may be so connected and the positioning tabs 52 may be properly located prior to such stacking.

While the connecting box structure shown in FIG, 10 is suitable for most purposes, it should be understood that to meet special needs, such as when a connector box 56 to be provided in a fill-in panel 11 or 12, the anchoring strap 64 and the bent ends 63 of the reenforcing rod structure 61 may be eliminated because of the generally planar construction of such afill-in wall panel. Also for specific purposes, other alterations to the connecting box structure may be made to meet particular needs but in general the structure as shown in FIG. 10 is utilized at the respective corners of the building modules in the manner seen in FIGS. 8, 9 and 13 through 15.

A fitting for horizontally interconnecting adjacent modules at their upper corners is employed as part of the module connecting means. Such fitting 71 may take the form shown in FIG. 11 and comprises an open ended body 72 which is generally square in cross section defined by opposed walls. The fitting body may be cut from a metal extrusion or may be formed from a flat metal strap bent and welded into a unitary body. Each of the opposite walls of the fitting is provided with a centrally located hole 73 for the purpose to be described. I I

As best seen in FIGS.. 8 and 9, when four modular units are properly oriented to be interconnected, the corner portions thereof are slightly offset or staggered relative to each other to define a generally rectangular vertically extending space 74 therebetween in which a fitting 71 is receivable. Such staggered orientation results from the fact that the respective modules, when axially oriented 90 relative to each other, are approximately 8 inches'longer in one direction than the other, hereby creating a 4-inch open space between adjacent modules when located as shown. In that regard, such vertical space may be left open to receive therein electrical conduits, plumbing pipes or the like, or the same may be filled with insulation or grouting applied after the modules are in place but before adjacent modules are horizontally interconnected in the manner shown.

Each of the connector boxes 56 is provided with an aperture 75 in its end wall through which a bolt and nut fastener 76 may be extended when the fitting 71 is properly oriented relative to the respective connector boxes with the apertures 73 and 75 of the respective members aligned to receive the bolt and nut fasteners therethrough as seen in FIG. 8. It should be understood that the bolt and nut fasteners, in addition to securing together all four modules throughfitting 71, also hold the guide tabs 52 in place in the manner also illustrated in FIG. 8. g

It has been found preferably to attach by welding or the like a reenforcing shim 78 within the respective connector boxes 56 in the manner seen in FIGS. 8 and 10 to reenforce the end of connector box and to provide suitable spacing for the guide tabs relative to a connector box of a module to be stacked thereon. A similar shim 79 preferably is positioned between the end of each connector box 56 and the adjacent wall of the fitting 71 to further provide proper positioning of modules being stacked on underlying modules in a building assembly.

It will be understood from FIG. 8 that the guide tabs 52 insure proper positioning of underlying and overlying modules, just as guide tabs 36 insure proper positioning of overlying modules and underlying foundation securing plates. In that connection, it should be understood that normally no physical interconnection is I required at the floor panels of the respective modules, the weight of the respective modules being normally sufficient to maintain the same securely in place, with the guide tabs precluding lateral shifting thereof. The physical inteiconnection of stacked modules normally is made only at the ceiling comers of the modules through the fasteners 76 and fittings as shown in FIG. 9.

As shown in FIG. 14, the connecting effect of the guide tabs in each module joint is clearly illustrated between underlying and overlying modules. Such interconnection insures a secure joint between underlying and overlying modules with the substantial weight of the overlying modules maintaining the same effectively in place on the underlying modules. I

As noted from FIGS. 13 and 15, when less than four modules are to be horizontally interconnected, the fitting '11 may be eliminated and the connector boxes may be directly secured to each other by fasteners 76. In FIGS. 13 and 14, a joint is shown between three modules brought together in the manner illustrated by reference numeral 17 in FIG. 3. Similarly, FIG. 15 shows a joint between an end wall fill-in panel 11 and a module in the manner illustrated by reference numeral 18 in FIG. 3. In that latter regard, each connector box 56 preferably is provided with a second bolt receiving hole 80 in an outer side wall thereof as best seen in FIGS. and 15, to receive a fastener 76 therethrough when a joint of the type seen in FIG. is required. In

that same connection, it will be noted from FIG. 15 that the connecting box structure 51 positioned in the end wall fill-in panel 11 has the aforementioned anchoring strap 64 and the second reenforcing rod structure 61 omitted therefrom because the end wall panel cannot accommodate the same therein because of its generally planar configuration.

Thus, it will be understood referring to FIGS. 9 and 13 through 15 that each connecting box structure of the present invention may be effectively utilized to insure secure interconnection between adjacent upper and lower modular structures to meet almost any particular need. Normally such connecting box structures are embedded closely adjacent the respective corners of the modules but under certain architectural circumstances the same must be embedded at a special location as seen at 51' in FIG. 2 to meet a particular need.

Having thus made a full disclosure of a preferred embodiment of the modular building system of this invention, reference is directed to the appended claims which define the scope of protection to be afforded to this invention.

We claim:

1. A modular building construction intended for human habitation comprising A. a series of substantially identical four sided one piece precast and preformed concrete building modules each of which comprises a room unit of a size sufficient to permit adult humans to move freely thereabout therein, each such module being defined by l. a pair of opposed side walls, and 2. a pair of opposed floor and ceiling panels integral with and formed as one piece with said side walls,

3. said floor and ceiling panels being integrally connected with said side walls at opposed upper and lower generally right angled corner portions of such module,

4. opposite ends of such module being generally open and unrestricted prior to assembly thereof with other modules of said series into said building construction,

5. each of such module opposite ends being defined by a series of four generally smooth edge portions of said panels and side walls which lie generally in a single plane so that each of such module ends may be abutted against another module of said series,

. the outer surfaces of the panels and walls which define each of said corner portions of such module being generally smooth so that each comer portion of such module may be positioned in contacting abutting engagement with another module of said series,

. the maximum dimensions and configuration of that portion of each of said side walls of such module which lies between the inner surfaces of said floor and ceiling panels corresponding 6 generally to the internal dimensions and configuration of the respective open ends of such module,

B. the majority of adjacent alternate modules of said series being oriented generally a right angles relative to each other with the end edges of the floor and ceiling panels of one module generally contacting and abutting upper and lower comer portions of aside wall of another module,

1. said side wall of each said other module closing off substantially completely said open end of each said one module in accordance with the predetermined architectural plan for said building construction,

C. foundation structure initially separate from said series of modules upon which the respective modules of said series are supported,

D. securing means including guide and positioning structure interposed between said foundation structure and the respective modules of said series for securely interconnecting said modules with said foundation structure, and

E. releasable connecting means for separably securing said series of modules together horizontally into an operative building assembly,

1. said connecting means being positioned at generally abutting upper comer portions of said adjacent modules,

. each group of four abutting modules of said series having their respective generally abutting comer portions offset relative to each other to define a generally rectangular vertically extending opening therebetween,

3. and a connector fitting positioned in said opening in alignment with said releasable connecting means of said group of modules providing structure by means of which said group of modules is releasably yet securely connected therewith and with each other.

2. The building construction of claim 1 which further includes F. a second series of said building modules corresponding to said first mentioned series of modules and being arranged generally as recited in claim 1 and positioned to overlie the modules of said first mentioned series to define thereabove a second floor level of said building, and

G. other releasable connecting means for separably securing said second series of modules together horizontally to define said second floor level,

1. said other connecting means being positioned at generally abutting corner portions of said adjacent modules of said second series of modules.

3. The building construction of claim 2 which further includes H. further connecting means for vertically joining together said first and second series of said modules to each other and to said foundation structure provided for said building.

4. The building construction of claim 2 in which the modules of said second series of modules are positioned on and supported directly by the side walls and ceiling panels of correspondingly oriented modules of said first series of modules.

5. The building construction of claim 1 in which at least one side wall of preselected modules is provided with an opening therethrough t0 define an access opening therein, such as for a door and window.

6. The building construction of claim 1 which further includes F. end wall fill-in panels positioned to close off said open ends of those modules which define outer margins of said building construction, and G. means for securing each of such fill-in panels in place at the end of its associated module. 7. The building construction of claim 1 in which said connecting means comprises l. a hollow connector box embedded in each ceiling panel of each module of said series adjacent a panel thereof, whereby each connector box in a floor panel of one module is engageable with a connector box of another module overlying the same. 10. The building construction of claim 9 in which said connecting means further includes 3. reenforcing structure projecting in at least one direction from each connector box and secured thereto to insure effective embedding of such connector box in its associated module.

11. The building construction of claim 10 in which such reenforcing structure projects in three directions from each connector box into the two panels of an as sociated module which define a corner thereof.

12. The building construction of claim 9 which further includes I 3. guide tab means projecting from each connector box embedded in the ceiling panels of said series of modules to be received in the connector boxes embedded in the floor panels of other modules to be stacked on said series of modules.

13. The building construction of claim 1 in which the corner portions of each group of four modules of said series spaced inwardly from the outer margins of said building construction define a vertical space of generally square configuration therebetween, the dimensions of each such space corresponding generally to said thickness of said side walls and ceiling and floor panels.

14. The building construction of claim 13 in which a fitting forming part of said connecting means is received in said space and said space is filled with insulating material.

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US3861093 *Apr 24, 1973Jan 21, 1975Robinson StevenModular building construction
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Classifications
U.S. Classification52/79.13, 52/579, 52/79.14
International ClassificationE04B1/348
Cooperative ClassificationE04B1/34823
European ClassificationE04B1/348C2