US 3822519 A
A building system utilizing discrete prefabricated modular building units, adapted to be erected with additional units to form a complete building structure of one or more stories; each unit including a rigid metal parallelopiped framework having upright tubular column sections and selectively spaced truss sections which cooperate with connector means to positively intertie adjacent units both vertically and horizontally to provide a building structure having both column and truss support systems.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 119] Antoniou BUILDING STRUCTURE  Filed: June 28, 1971  Appl. No.: 157,402
 US. Cl 52/79, 52/236, 52/585  Int. Cl E04b 1/348  Field of Search 52/79, 236, 726, 637, 638,
1111 3,822,519 11451 July 9, 1974 3,642,310 2/1972 Hudson 52/220 Primary Examiner-Henry C. Sutherland Assistant Examiner-Henry E. Raduazo Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Davis, McCaleb & Lucas 57 ABSTRACT 285/25, 24 I A building system utilizing discrete prefabricated  Referenc s Cit d modular building units, adapted to be erected with ad- UNITED STATES PATENTS ditional units, to form a complete building structure of 366 541 7 1887 28 27 one or more stories; each unit including a rigid metal 2 086'009 937 z iz "7 4 iparallelopiped framework having upright tubular col- 2 857 994 /1958 Sheard lllllllllllllllll unin sections and selectively spaced truss sections 3:245:188 4/1966 iavansflfi1211;111:111: 1:: 182/178 .I which with Connector means to Positively 3,429,092 2/1969 Perry 52 intertie adjacent units both vertically and horizontally 3,500,595 1 3/1970 Bennett 1. 52/79 7 toprovide a building structure having both column 3,564,786 2/l97l Baker 52/79 and truss support systems.
v 7 Claims, 17 Drawing Figures T 1 152 i l 1 15a 1 i; 1 150 1 159 155 l i l l 1 I 1 I in? i 745 I40 1 I f4/ ri 1 1 '1 1|11 l 1 A 11 1111111 Pmmmm emu SHEET 1 BF 5 lllllllltllll H mm n mm W WA Wm A MW E? w w Am;
lllllll lllll ll PATENTEDJUL 91w 3,822,519
SHEET h 0F 5 fNI/ENTOR 7 lgr w thony A. Antoniou A 7" TOPNEVS BUILDING STRUCTURE This invention generally concerns building constructions and more particularly relates to improved means for structuring a building utilizing a plurality of prefabricated modular units, each of which is a three dimensional entity, utilizing module dimensions, and each of which contains, as part of its structure, all conjunctive supply systems as well as support members which interconnect with like support members of adjacent units to form vertical support columns and vertical and lateral truss structures in the completed building.
The general or basic concept of constructing buildings, such as office or apartment buildings, from a plurality of prefabricated modular units has been known for many years. However, despite its apparent economic appeal, it has enjoyed only limited commercial success, mainly due to lack of a practical workable system.
Recent efforts utilizing the modular concept have centered largely in precast concrete units, which, how ever, are heavy, fragile, difficult to handle, and have limited design flexibility. Nevertheless, there have been successful applications in both Europe and the United States of concrete modular constructions. Of additional interest, partially prefabricated metal or wooden residence units, in which walls, roof frames and like substructures are factory built and assembled at the building site, have met with limited acceptance.
Typifying prior art developments in this field, the following United States patents have been noted:
One of the major drawbacks in prior art systems centers about the inability to provide a complete building without extensive on-site construction of conventional ancillary components, such as floors, roofs, utility supply and distribution systems, or separate structural support systems in which the modular units are mounted. Additional drawbacks appear in the lack of effective connector means capable of positively interlocking modular units into an integrated structure without maintaining close column dimensions and tolerances requiring expensive, manufacturing procedures and complicated assembly procedures in the field, such as extensive on-site welding.
In brief, the present invention seeks to improve on prior efforts in modular structural units and to avoid the shortcomings of the prior art by providing simplified, structurally superior combinations productive of a practical, economically feasible and simplified system of fabricating housing, commercial, and institutional use buildings out of discrete modular units, each of which is a complete entity including ancillary systems, ready for attachment to adjacent modular units by simple connector means. Among the advancements which distinguish the present invention is the provision of both vertical and lateral support systems by interlocking multiple units whereby the strength to weight ratio of the completed structure is markedly improved.
One of the major objects of this invention is the provision of improved and simplified modular structural units for building constructions of various types.
Another object of this invention is to provide novel connector means for interjoining adjacent modular units as aforesaid.
Still another object of this invention is to provide improved modular structural units and connector means, as aforesaid, which interact and cooperate in assembly to produce building structures having both column and truss support systems of improve-d strength and integrity.
A further object of this invention is to provide modular structural units for buildings which are discrete entities, complete with all systems and means necessary for use, and which are capable of factory prefabrication using metal materials of standard shapes and sizes for transporting to and installation at a remote building site with other modular units to formulate a finished building ready for use.
A still further object of this invention is to provide a simplified system for building structures utilizing modules that are readily mass fabricated in assembly-line factory conditions, with little departure from presently known building trade practices and skills.
Having thus described this invention, the above and other objects, features, advantages and novel aspects thereof will be readily apparent to those of skill in this art from the following detailed description of the specific embodiment set out in the accompanying drawings, wherein:
FIG. I. is a perspective view showing the support frame structure of a typical modular unit according to this invention; I
FIG. 2 is a partial plan view of a unit as shown in FIG. 1, assembled with an adjacent unit;
FIG. 3 is a schematic illustration of a building constructed with plural units of the order illustrated in FIG. 1;
FIG. 4 is a typical load diagram of the truss support system seen in FIG. 3;
FIG. 5 is an exploded perspective of a column structure formed according to this invention;
FIG. 6 is an enlarged partial view in front elevation of the base connector assembly used with a two cluster column;
,FIG. 7 is a plan view of the assembly seen in FIG. 6;
FIG. 8 is an enlarged partial vew in front elevation of a typical two cluster column and connector assembly, showing the manner of interjoining adjacent and superposed column sections;
, FIG. 9 is a cross-sectional view taken along vantage line 9-9 of FIG. 8;
FIG. 10 is a view in front elevation of novel alignment means, showing the same assembled in guide means according to this invention;
FIG. 11 is atop plan view thereof;
FIG. 12 is a view in front elevation of one plate member used in the alignment means of FIG. 10;
FIG. 13 is a view in front elevation of a second plate member used in the alignment means of FIG. 10;
FIG. 14 is a perspective view of a modified connector guide means useful in interjoining two cluster colum sections in paired tandem;
FIG. is a perspective view of another form of connector guide means used for the same purpose as the guide means shown in FIG. 14;
FIG. 16 is another perspective showing, similar to FIGS. 14 and 15, illustrating an eight section column connector guide means; and
FIG. 17 is still another perspective view similar to FIG. 16, showing a modified version of the eight section column guide means shown in FIG. 16.
Turning now to the illustrative embodiment of the invention set forth in the accompanying drawings which demonstrates the best mode presently contemplated for enabling those familiar with this art to practice and understand this invention, reference is first made to FIG. 1. As there shown, a typical modular unit fora motel building is designated generally at 20. Unit 20 is formulated with a metal, preferably standard rolled steel, fabricated framework comprising essentially three parallelopiped portions of dissimilar size utilizing a plurality of vertically upright, parallel spaced, column sections 2l30 which are interjoined at their upper reaches by rigid ceiling frame members 31-39 and at their lower reaches by corresponding floor frame members 41-49.
The several column sections 21-30 are of tubular construction, generally square or quadrangular in cross-section and preferably standard rolled steel members having a longitudinally extending, welded seam.
The several ceiling and floor frame members are made i of standard angle iron of conventional L-shape crosssection as best shown in FIG. 7, for example.
Composite ceiling ties 50 and 51 parallel the end ceiling frame members 31 and 35, 36, each comprising a pair of back-to-back related ceiling frame angle iron members 50a, 50b and 51a, 51b which are welded together at spaced intervals and extend between the upper ends of opposite column sections 22-29; 22a-29a and 23-28; 23a 27, respectively. In a similar fashion, composite floor ties 52 and 53, also comprising back-to-back interwelded angle iron frame members 52a, 52b and 53a, 53b extend between the lower ends of such column sections directly beneath the ceiling ties 50 and 51.
The floor frame members 41-49 as well as tie members 52a, 52b; 53a, 53b constitute angle irons of L- shaped cross section having an upright flange preferably-'of-somewhat greater vertical dimension than the horizontal flange thereof whereas the ceiling frame members 31-39, 50a, 50b; 51a, 511) preferably are symmetrical and have vertical and horizontal flange portions of generally equal dimensions.
It is important to note that in this described framework of unit 20, three parallelopiped sub-frameworks are interjoined, two of identical size and shape and the third one smaller. The first parallelopiped frame has corners defined by vertical column sections 21, 22, 29 and the second by corner column sections 22a, 23, 28 and 29a; and the third by corner column sections 23a, 24, 26 and 27. It will be noted that the latter framework is shorter in dimension, particularly lengthwise, than the other two parallelopipeds which are identical. In the manufacturing program the two identical parallelopiped sub-frameworks are rigidly interjoined, back-to-back, by welding column sections 22, 22a and 29, 29a together as well as their opposing floor and ceiling frame members to formulate the composite floor and ceiling ties 52 and 50, respectively. In similar fashion the smaller parallelopiped framework is joined to the intermediate sub-framework having corner column sections 22a, 23, 28 and 29a. That is to say, column section 23a is welded to column section 23, while the ceiling and floor frame members 51a, 51b and 53a and 53b are rigidly welded together to form the composite ties 51 and 53. It is to be noted that the one corner column section 27 of the smaller framework is welded to the outside faces of the vertical flange portions of the ceiling and floor frame members 51a and 53a, intermediate the column sections 23 and 28.
As a consequence, one comer of the module unit 20 is inset from the other comers thereof as shown best in FIG. 1. Thus, the column sections 26 and 27 lie in a plane which is parallel to, but set inwardly of the plane passing through the corner column sections 28 and 30 in the completed modular unit framework. The significance of this offset construction will appear presently, particularly in association with a study of FIG. 2.
Of additional importance in the structural framework for unit 20 is the provision of one or more trussbracings between selected adjacent column sections. For example, truss frame members 55 and 56 are tied diagonally across the generally rectangular space defined by theframe members 30, 39, 29 and 49. Similar truss bracing is provided by members 57, 58 between the frame members 25, 36, 26 and 46 while corresponding truss-bracing members (only member 59 being shown in FIG. 1) are provided diagonally across the frame portion defined by the members 21, 32, 22 and 42. Such truss-bracing serves to not only rigidify and wind-brace the framework for the unit 20, but more importantly comprise sectional portions of vertical and lateral truss supports which present themselves in the overall framework of the assembled building as the several units thereof are integrated and interlocked. This provides a unique lateral and vertical truss support system in the completed building according to this invention. Amplification of this feature will appear hereinafter.
As shown best in FIGS. 1 and 2 of the drawings, it will be recognized that the opposing peripheral floor frame members of the unit 20 provides a horizontal support for a poured or prestressed concrete flooring assembly 60 utilizing metal pan underflooring tack-welded to the floor frame members.
In a similar fashion, the several peripheral ceiling frame members 31-39 and ties 50, 51 provide horizontal flange supports for the periphery of overlying ceiling panels 61, preferably constructed of layers of plasterboard, and acoustic backing fastened to metal pans (see FIG. 1). The several inside walls of the unit are conventionally covered with layers or panels of plasterboard 63 mounted over vertically extending metal channel stud members 64, mounted upright between the ceiling frame members, such as 36, and the floor (see FIG. 1) and backed up by batt insulation or the like. Preferably the studs 64 are not rigidly tied to any of the load carrying tubular column sections, thereby permitting relative movement between the latter and the interior walls, especially when handling a modular unit.
With special reference to FIG. 2 of the drawings, it will be understood that when fully constructed, the unit 20 typically is'enclosed by the floor and ceiling, an opaque side wall 66 reaching along one side, a door opening wall 67 along one end, containing a mounted extending inwardly of side wall 66, parallel an opposing portion of end wall 67 to provide a closet spacing therebetween.
Within the confines of the bathroom space are located a conventional tub and shower unit 80; a sanitary facility 81 and a washstand 82. The several units 80, 81 and 82 are completely hooked up with conventional plumbing fittings and piping for hot and cold water supply and sanitary drain; all such plumbing fittings tenninating at the outside face of the utility wall 69 whereat the same are adapted for quick coupling connection with a unitary utility supply system which will now be described briefly.
As best seen in FIG. 2 of the drawings, when two module units and 20a are mounted in side-by-side adjacency, the'offset corner thereof previously alluded to and specifically defined by opposing utility walls 69 and 69a, enclose therebetween a utility space or closet 85 having an access door 86 which usually opens onto a public hall or passageway (not shown) in the completed building. It will be noted that at the inner end of the utility closet 85 is a vertically extending utility stack unit, indicated generally by numeral 88, which will not be described in detail herein, but briefly comprises a prefabricated modular unit containing all the necessary conduits and carriers for hot and cold water, sanitary drains and vents, air conditioning and heating, telephone, radio and T-V antennae and any other supply systems ancillary to the successful operation of modular room unit 20. As will be surmised, the utility stack 88 extends vertically through the several superposed spaced provided between opposing utility walls 69-69a of the vertically superposed units 20 in a completed building. At each level unit 88 carries appropriate outlets which are suitably coupled with connections project ing into the utility room 85 through the adjacent utility walls 69 and 69a of opposing units. Each of the several closets 85 is suitably floored to enable a person to walk upright into the closest for inspection, installation, upkeep and repair. As a result of this arrangement, each modular room unit at final assembly in the building, is simply plugged into all supplies and utilities needed for its full operation, including heat, light, air, phone, etc.
Inasmuch as it is fully contemplated that each modular unit 20 to be assembled in the final building will be a discrete and complete entity unto itself, including all internal furnishings, decorations, utility outlets and the like as well as any exterior facia materials, window walls, doors and other hardware, it will be readily understood that the assembly of a multiplicity of such units effectively presents a substantially completed building except for utility hook-ups, stairwells and common public spaces. These, while not comprising a part of the present invention, are likewise provided through modular hall units, stairwell units, elevator units and the like..Thus as soon as the several modular units, as herein described, are in place and interconnected to provide the rigidified building framework and the utility stacks 88 are suitably coupled to the supply system carried to the building by conventional means, for all intents and purposes the building will be ready for occupancy.
, While not specifically illustrated herein, the uppermost units of the completed structure carry in addition to normal ceiling panels, a suitable overroofing structure to provide a sectional roofing construction which may be readily sealed to present a weatherproof roof.
Turning now to the schematic showing of an assembled building, set out in FIG. 3 of the drawings, it will be understood that the partial structure therein illustrated shows an end elevation of a partially completed two-story structure, such as a motel, in-which modular units 90, 91, 92, 93, 94 and 95 are interlocked in their assembled interpositioning; the same being supported on footing walls 96 which occur at the vertical upright side walls of the units as underpinnings and supports for the column support structure of the building. An underground tunnel unit 97 also is shown in FIG. 3, provided to carry all utility supply systems to the building for lateral distribution to various mechanical, electrical stacks 88 located in the vertical upright closet spacings 85 extending from the ground floor to the roof level of the building. It is particularly noteworthy that in the illustrated structure of FIG. 3, the two end units 92 and.
93 are shown with the truss segment construction. It will be understood that with the interlocking of the units 92 and 93 the several cross frame members 100-103 cooperate with the vertical column section members 104-107 and horizontal frame members 108-110 to present a rigid truss framework vertically oriented to provide increased vertical load bearing capacities as well as lateral support particularly under wind loads as indicated schematically by the arrow W in FIGS. 3 and 4.
With special reference to FIG. 4, the various forces transmitted throughout the truss: members are indicated under wind load W, to illustrate the tension and compression loading of the various joints and members of the truss framework provided by interlocking adjacent truss sections associated with individual units. The absolute values of the various loads applied at the truss frame are of no particular moment to thecurrent description other than to show the general distribution and transmission of force factors therein according to this invention.
Referring now to FIG. 5, a typical two cluster column support system according to this invention is illustrated in exploded perspective; the same being formed by twin superposed tubular column sections. For purposes of this description, it may be assumed! that the column system illustrated in FIG. 5 occurs at the juncture of single tube column sections of laterally adjacent modular units (such as occurs at outside comer column sections 21 and 30 of adjacent units 20) or at the interconnection of tandem related double column section clusters, (such as occur at the back-to-back column sections 22, 22a in modular unit 20 of FIG. 1 on the outside walls of a building, for instance). The principles involved, however, apply to all column supports of a building constructed according to this invention, the only major differences appearing in the number of tubular sections involved at any junction and the configuration of the connector means, principally in the number of guide elements.
In brief, each column structure rests on a foundation pier or wall 96 which extends into the ground a suitable depth and is of a size and strength sufficient to support the vertical loads designed to be carried by the overdisposed column. Each pier is formed with a planar upper end 120 having the threaded shank ends of two or more laterally spaced holddown bolts 121, 121 projecting upwardly therefrom for anchoring a connector means 124 to the pier 96. As shown best in FIGS. 5, 6
and 7, the particular foundation connector means 124 accommodates two column sections and has a planar base plate 125 on top of which are mounted a pair of laterally spaced guide elements 126, 126. Each guide element, in the illustrated case of FIG. 5, is formed as a short length of square cross-sectioned tubing capable of insertion into the open end of a single tubular column section, and is welded to plate 125 coaxially about an enlarged opening 127 receptive of the projecting end of one of the hold-down bolts 121. Washer and nut assemblies 128 are mounted on the bolts 121 within the guide means to tie the base plate 125 of the connector means firmly to the upper end of the pier 96 (see FIG. 6).
Mounted laterally outwardly of each guide element 124 and aligned on a common center line therewith (see FIG. 7) is an internally threaded stud connector means 129 welded at its lower end to the upper face of base plate 125.
It will be understood that when four section clusters are used to make up a column, then there will of course be four guide elements 126 on the base plate of the connector means 124, each received in the open end of a single tubular column section.
As shown best in FIG. 5, each of the guide elements 126 is formed with four intersecting planar side walls as presented by a short length of rigid square or quadrangle tubing conforming to, but slightly smaller than, the hollow interior configuration of a column tube 133 or 134 to be fitted thereover. In this respect, sufficient clearance is provided to assure relatively loose fitting reception thereof within the open lower ends of the superposed column sections. This provides necessary clearance for easy internesting of the tubular column sections and guide elements when lowering a modular unit into place over the connector means from an overhead crane or the like.
As the column sections 133 and 134 are placed over their respectively associated underlying guide elements of a connector means, each of the stud connectors 129 loosely passes into the lower interior of a cylindrical spacer tube member 135 disposed coaxially over an opening 136 formed in the lower horizontal flange portion 137 of a related attached floor frame member 138 (corresponding to floor frame members41-49 shown in FIG. 1').
Stud bolts and washer assemblies 139 are inserted into each tube member 135, to engage the upper end thereof and the stud connector 129; the bolts being drawn down into the threaded interior of the latter to positively lock the tubular column sections abuttingly against plate 125 of the associated connecter means. In dealing with adjacent modular units, the column sections 133 and 134 will occur in separate modular units and, therefore, be lowered onto the associated guide elements of the connector means 126 individually.
However, when dealing with intermediate double cluster tube column sections, such as occurs at 22, 22a in the side wall of a module unit 20, for example (see FIG. 1), the twin tube sections are lowered simultaneously over the guide means. In either event, the lower ends of the tubular column sections are ultimately anchored firmly to the underlying connector means 124 to transmit both vertical tension, compression and bending loads.
The upper end of each of the tubular column sections 133 and 134 (see FIG. 5) is fabricated with associated laterally extending ceiling frame members or angle irons 140 which correspond to the previously described ceiling frame members 31-39 illustrated in FIG. 1. The horizontal flange portions 141 of such ceiling frame members are fitted with upwardly projecting, internally threaded stud connector sockets 142 (similar to connectors 129) located immediately adjacent a related column section (see FIGS. 5, 8 and 9). The lower ends of the stud sockets preferably are welded to the upper face of such horizontal flange portions 141 according to known practice for installing any of several commercially available stud weld connector systems.
Once two adjacent column sections, such as 133, 134 are mounted on base connector means 124, as previously described, the upper ends thereof will lie in near contacting adjacency presenting open upper ends (see FIG. 5) receptive of intermediate column connector means 144. As best shown in FIG. 5, connector means 144 comprises a double connector having a pair of square tubular guide elements 145, 145 depending from the lower face of a planar base plate 146 and a pair of like guide elements 147, 147 projecting from the upper face thereof. It will be recognized that the guide element pairs or projections 145 and 147 are identical to the elements 126, 126 of the base column connector means 124, previously described. The lower guide elements or projections 145, 145 fit loosely into the open upper socket ends of the column sections 133 and 134 in assembly. In similar fashion, the upwardly extending guide elements 147, 147 fit into the lower open socket ends of the next succeeding pair of superposed column sections 151 and 152.
I With specific reference to column sections 151 and 152, it will be appreciated that each is welded to a horizontally extending floor frame member 155 (corresponding to the floor frame members 4149 of the modular frame shown in FIG. 1). Spacer tube members 156 are welded to the horizontal flange portion 157 of the floor frame members over suitable openings (not shown) adjacent the column sections so as to register with the upwardly projecting stud connectors 142 mounted on the underlying ceiling frame members 14%. Thus, in assembly the tube members 156 align registeringly over the stud connectors 142 so that hold-down bolts 158 may be inserted downwardly through the tubes 156 and threaded into the stud connectors 142. This positively interlocks the lower end of each of the column sections 151 and 152 rigidly with the upper ends of the under-disposed column sections 133 and 134; such being separated only by the intervening connector plate means 144.
Turning now to FIGS. 8 and 9, a detailed showing of the assembled relationship between column sections 133, 134, 151 and 152 is illustrated. As shown, the lower tubular ends of the two-cluster column sections 151 and 152 align registeringly over the upper ends of the below disposed column sections 133, 134, respec tively, in assembly. It should be noted that once assembled the guide element pairs 145 and 147 are relatively passive or inactive insofar as a connective function is concerned since they normally loosely contact the inside walls of the tubular column sections. One exception to this occurs under heavy lateral loading of the column, in which event the guide elements serve to limit any lateral sliding movement of the related column sections.
In the normal loaded condition of the column, compressive loads are transmitted directly betwen superposed column sections via the intervening base plate 146 of the connector means. Tension loads are transmitted via the stud connector systems.
All bending and lateral loading of the column is basically resisted by the bolts 158 and the stud connectors cations laterally outwardly of the tubular column sections.
It is also to be noted that the lateral spacing between adjacent guide elements 147, 147, for example, is such as to place opposing walls 159 and 160 of adjacent column sections in face-to-face frictional contact or adjacency which feature assists column strength and rigidity, particularly under lateral or bending loads.
Uniform compressive connection of column sections with the intervening connector base plate 146 is established' conveniently by uniform torque loading of bolts 158 in assembly. This assists likewise in the assembled integrity and strength of a column structure using the tube cluster column teachings of this invention as hereinabove set forth.
In order to finish a column structure as set out in FIG. 5, it will be recognized that the upper or top ends of the column sections 151 and 152 are interjoined with a single cap connector means 160, having quadrangular guide elements 161, 161 depending from a base plate 162. It will be recognized that the cap connector means 160 is structurally similar to the base connector means 124 previously described and essentially serves to intertie the upper ends of the tube sections 151 and 152.
To provide convenient means for lifting each modular unit, as by crane means, lifting pads 165 are connected over the upper ends of selected column clusters.
Essentially, tie-down bolts 163 pass through openings 164 in an angle iron lifting pad 165 for threaded engagement with stud connector sockets 166 welded to the horizontal flange portions 167 of ceiling frame members 168 associated with the column sections in question. Each pad 165 has a pad eye web wall 170, formed with a hook receiving opening or eye 171 whereby cables, chains or slingsmay be joined to a lifting crane. The lift pads 165 are removed after lifting a unit into assembly position.
Throughout the above description of the column structure according to this invention, no mention has been made of the practical problem of aligning a column tube end substantially coaxially over a guide element of the connector means so as to interfit the same when lowering a modular unit into assembled position. In attempting such alignment, particularly with larger sizedunits of several tons in weight, the alignment problem can become extreme. To this end, auxiliary alignment means are contemplated, one of the more t outer periphery of the guide element.
10 successful being in accordance with the embodiment set out in FIGS. 10-13.. i
As shown in front elevation in FIG. 10, alignment means 173 comprises two biaxially related metal plates 174 and 175, of substantially identical profile including a rectangular base skirt portion and convergingly tapered sides, somewhat in the shape of a Christmas tree. The two plates are individually shown in FIGS. 12 and 13. When assembled, they are interfitted to form a symmetrical cross in plan configuration (see FIG. 11) in which they are interfitted at right angles to one another.
Referring to FIGS. 12 and 13, it will be noted that both plates are formed symmetrical about a vertical central axis, and that plate 174 has a slotted opening 176 extending about half way of its length from the upper peak end thereof. Plate 175, conversely has a similar slotted opening 176a extending upwardly from its lower end. In assembly, the lower slotted opening 176a of plate 175 receives or is filled by the portion of plate 174 immediately below the slotted opening 176 thereof. Conversely, the unslotted portion of plate 175, above its slotted opening 176a resides within the slotted opening 176 of plate 174 in assembly. This interfitting relation produces the right angular biaxial cross configuration for alignment means 173 as best illusportion 179 and 179a thereof abut the upper edges of the side walls'of such elements, with the base or skirt portions of plates 174 and 175 extending into the interior of the hollow guide elements (see FIG. 10). Now as a tubular column section is lowered over the peak or pointed upper end of the alignment means, the cam edges 177, 178 and 177a, 178a thereof cooperate to center the axis of the tube with the axis of the underlying guide means in response to lowering movement of the related modular unit. In this fashion, the tubular column sections are quite easily lowered coaxially onto the guide elements of a connector means; the several cam edges of the alignment means operating biaxially against the inside end edges of the column section tubing to effect the desired centering operation.
Once assembled with a connector means, the alignment means are left in place after assembly inside the column sections. For convenience of handling, the individual plates 174 and 175 thereof may be welded together if so desired prior to insertion into a guide element. It is to be noted that desirably the shouldered inset on each lateral edge of the plates 174 and 175 is substantially equal to the wall thickness of the guide elements so that the same interfit snugly in assembly and avoid any projection of the alignment means past the While the foregoing description sets forth the features of a preferred and workable embodiment of this invention, it is fully contemplated'that obvious variations particularly of the described connector means,
may be necessary to meet various building design conditions. To that end, reference is now made to FIGS. 14-17 of the drawings.
It will be recalled for example that the several described connector means 124, 144 and 1611 each utilize quadrangular, relatively short, tubular, closed wall guide elements, having four planar wall portions each of which adjacently opposes an interior wall portion of a column section tube in final assembly. While such connector means are workably satisfactory if manufacturing tolerances of the tubular column sections can be maintained, experience shows that one cannot always depend on uniformity of rolled tubular steel, particularly in larger dimensions and wall thicknesses even though so-called standard tube products are specified. In order to meet a relatively wide range of tolerances, modified connector means in accordance with FIGS. 14-17 may be resorted to.
As shown in FIG. 14 for instance, modified guide elements 180, having a U-shaped cross section or plan configuration, are welded to the upper and lower faces of a planar base plate 181 to provide a double connector means 182 capable of a relatively wide variation in interior dimensions for the tubular column sections fitted thereon. More specifically, connector means 182 is designed as an intermediate column connector for interjoiningtandem related two section column clusters, similar to the described connector means 144 of FIGS. 8 and 9. It will be noted that the U-shaped guide elements 180 are symmetrically oriented on plate 181, with the base walls 183 thereof central of plate 181 and in parallel spaced opposition; the spacing therebetween tolerating at least two wall thicknesses of standard tubular column sections to be mounted thereover. This arrangement is carried out on both faces of plate 181. The side or arm walls 184 of each guide element 180 are likewise purposely shorter than the base wall 183 so that they will enter the tubular interior of a column section with relatively wide clearance.
' In FIG. 15, a variation of connector means 182 (shown in FIG. 14) and designated 182a, is set forth. As shown, in this instance the U-shaped guide elements 180 fixed to plate 181 are rearranged and reversed in position from that shown in FIG. 14 so that the open sides thereof are opposing or facing each other. When using'this arrangement, the spacing between elements 181 is purposely such as to permit relatively wide variations in wall thickness of the tubular column sections fitted thereon; a factor which is more critical in the connector means 182 due to the limited spacing between base walls 183, 183 of the adjacent guide ele ments 180. In both connector means 182 and 182a, only three interior walls of a column tube are normally contacted by or in near adjacency to each guide element in assembly. It further is to be noted that the plate members 181 thereof are dimensioned so as to be flush with or project only slightly past the outside walls of the tube sections mounted thereon.
Turning now to the connector means 190 of FIG. 16,
the same is for use in interjoining eight column sections to provide a column made up of four clustered tubular sections as would occur at a comer junction of four modular units superposed by four additional such units, for instance.
In brief, connector means 190, as illustrated, comprises a planar base plate 191 of substantially square plan profile. Mounted centrally on and fixed to opposite faces of plate 191, so as to project at right angles therefrom, are four guide elements 192; each being a symmetrical angle iron member having like rectangularly related legs 193, 193. Such four angle elements are disposed comer-to-comer in quadrants about a central axis lying normal to the plane of plate 191 with the spacing between opposing legs 193 of adjacent members being substantially twice the thickness of the tube walls which mak up the column sections plus necessary design clearance. This permits easy insertion of tube walls therebetween. It will be understood that the members 192 each engage the inside walls of opposingly adjacent comers of four clustered column tubes in making up the column. Such relation obtains both above and beneath the base plate 191 of the connector means 190.
The connector means 200, shown in FIG. 17, like connector means 190, is used for joining eight tubular column sections in constructing a four tube cluster column. Essentially connector means 200 is made up of the identical elements 191 and 192 employed in connector means 190. However, instead of the guide elements being arranged comer-to-corner in each quadrant about the central vertical axis normal to base plate 191, as previously described, the same are located at each of the four comers of the four column tube cluster to be mounted thereon. That is to say, such guide elements are each located at the comer of a quadrangle (square in this instance) so as to engage or oppose only two inside walls of a quadrangular tube section fitted thereover. When four such tube sections are mounted on the top face of base plate 191, for instance, the same nest or cluster together in near contacting adjacency, each occupying substantially a quadrant of a quadrangle. Importantly, the lengthwise dimension of each leg 193 of the guide elements 192 is less than the inside side wall dimension of the tubular column section fitted thereover. It will thus be recognized that the tolerance limits when mounting the tubular column sections on connector means 200 is not as severe as encountered when using the connector means of FIG. 16, particularly as to variations in wall thickness of the column tubes.
From the foregoing description, those of skill in this art will readily recognize the novel aspects and unique features of the hereinabove described invention which mark the same as a material advancement over the prior art. It is to be understood that while the specifics of one embodiment with variations have been set forth, obvious changes and modifications may be made within the scope and teachings of this invention. Among other things, for example, it has been found in practice that it is not essential for workable structuring of a column support according to this invention that the tube lengths be uniformly equal, even in a clustered situation, or that is, in column structures embodying two or more tubular sections clustered in adjacency. If perchance one or more tubular members of a clustered column section are slightly longer than the remainder, the final assembly and loading of the column is not materially affected thereby due in part to the floating arrangement of the connector means between adjacent tube ends which serves to transmit forces to all column sections of a particular cluster. Added strength to the illustrated columns is also optionally available by filling the cores thereof with concrete, although it is preferred that the simple tubular structure and network described be utilized in most instances. Obviously, various cross sectional or polygonal configurations for the column sections may be resorted to other than the square illustrated but, again, the square or rectangle seems to be the most practical geometric shape in practice. Also, variations in strength are readily available in accordance with the selected tube wall thickness and material selected for the column sections.
Of furtherximportance to the practicality of the described construction is the configuration of the connec-' tor means whereby the base plate thereof terminates substantially at the external periphery of superposed column sections or clusters thereof so as to avoid external projections much beyond the dimensions of columns formulated therefrom. Consequently, modular units according to the hereinabove described system may be placed in near abutting adjacency throughout the building, permitting ready transmittal of lateral loads which is especially enhanced by the presence of the truss networks described. The lack of protrusion of the connector means beyond the column faces also materially assists in fastening facia materials to the exterior units, either at construction of the modular units in the factory, or on the job, if desired, as by conventional brick and stone masonry techniques per the dictates of an architect, much as in conventional practice.
Of no slight importance is the unique abilityof the connector system and column formation according to this invention to produce a generally rigid selfsupporting structural framework throughout the erection stages of a building whereby modular units may be erected both in superposed and adjacent fashion without fear of collapse. Due to the requirement of the connector means to intertie adjacent units as well as align superposed units, it is necessary to assemble at least two rows of units for any one floor level of the building before superposing units of the next higher level thereon. In essence, erection proceeds in a stair-step fashion from one end of the building toward the other, although erection horizontally floor-by-floor and endto end of the building may also be resorted to.
Having thus described this invention and the features of a workable embodiment thereof so as to enable those familiar with this art to understand and practice the same,
1. A column support structure comprising a plurality of like elongated tubular column sections configured with regular polygonal cross sections and constituting vertical frame elements of prefabricated room units adapted to be integrated vertically and horizontally to form a building, said column sections being aligned operably upright in coaxial end-to-end relation; at least two rigid structural frame members affixed to and extending laterally outwardly of each end of each column section whereby such members associated with adjacent ends of opposing column sections lie in spaced parallel registration one above the other; and connector means at said adjacent ends comprisin g a single planar plate means lying transversely therebetween and abuttingly engaged thereby, guide means fixed to said plate means for loose fitting insertion into the open ends of adjacently opposed column sections and operative to align the same in substantially coaxial relation, and plural tensioning means extending between and operative to positively interconnect said registeringly aligned frame members, at at least two locations spaced substantially equidistance outwardly of associated opposed column sections and plate means thereby to rigidly intertie said frame members and sections and frictionally engage said adjacent ends of said sections and said plate means with predetermined regulated force sufficient to prevent relative movement between said sections and said plate means under lateral design loads for the building.
' 2. The invention of claim ll wherein said means extending between said frame members comprises stud bolt connector means having interlocking parts, one connectively related with each frame member associated with opposing column sections and operable to produce predetermined frictional engagement between said adjacent ends and plate means.
3. The combination of claim 1, and alignment means removably insertable into selected said guide means so asto' project coaxially outwardly therefrom; said alignment means presenting plural biaxially related cam surfaces diverging from a pointed outer end thereof toward the periphery of said guide means and engage- I able with opposing interior walls of the said tubular column sections so as to automatically cam the latter coaxially over said guide means in response to lowering one room unit onto another.
4. In a building constructed of a plurality of discrete modular units adapted to be interlocked into an integral whole, a combined vertical column and truss support framework capable of withstanding tension, compression and bending loads comprising, a plurality of tubular column sections spaced in. vertical upright relation about the periphery of each modular unit, a plurality of horizontal ceiling frame members affixed to and extending between the upper ends of said sections, a corresponding pluralityv of floor frame members affixed to and interconnecting the lower ends of said sections, said ceiling and floor frame members lying wholly be tween parallel planes containing the exterior surfaces of said column sections of an associated modular unit; truss frame members extending diagonally between the upper and lower ends of corresponding selected pairs of column sections in each modular unit; and connector means joining opposing ends of superposed tubular sections in the building comprising planar plate means lying between and abuttingly engaging each pair of said opposing ends, guide means affixed to said plate means and projecting outwardly therefrom for loose fitting insertion into the open interior of each said tubular section abuttingly associated therewith and operable to align superposed sections substantially coaxially, and at least two tensioning means interconnecting adjacent superposed ceiling and floor frame members of superposed modular units, at locations spaced substantially equidistant laterally outwardly of each pair of superposed column sections thereof, said tensioning means being operable to rigidly interlock said sections and plate means with predetermined frictional resistance to lateral loads thereby to form upright tension, compression and bending resistant columns of interconnected column sections; the interconnection of column sections comprising said selected pairs formulating vertically extending truss framing in the building which functionally transmits lateral loads to and between adjacent columns comprising said selected column sections.
5. The invention of claim 4 wherein certain of said column sections in each modular unit comprise a cluster of at least two column sections joined in side-byside contacting adjacency, and said connector means joining the ends thereof with the ends of corresponding clustered sections of superposed and adjacent units have plural guide means projecting from opposite faces of said plate means thereof, one guide means being re ceived in the interior of each column section of each cluster whereby to align the superposed clustered sections in coaxial column relationship and laterally intertie horizontally adjacent clustered sections.
6. In a building, a plurality of modular units adapted to be mounted side by side and in superposed registration, each unit having a generally parallelopiped framework comprising a plurality of vertical, parallel, tubular column sections at spaced locations about its periphery, a plurality of ceiling frame members affixed to and interjoining the upper ends of said column sections for each unit, and a corresponding plurality of floor frame members affixed to and interconnecting the lower ends thereof; and connector means for interlocking opposing and laterally adjacent ends of column sections associated with both superposed and laterally adjacent units, comprising: planar plate means interposed and extending between the adjacent ends of superposed and laterally adjacent column sections, guide means affixed to and projecting from said plate means for loose fitting insertion into the hollow interior of each said section confronting said plate means, and at least two threaded fastener means extending between registeringly superposed floor and ceiling frame members of tion, each unit having a generally parallelopiped framework comprising a plurality of vertical, parallel, tubular column sections at spaced locations about its periphery, a plurality of ceiling frame members affixed to and interjoining the upper ends of said column sections for each unit, a corresponding plurality of floor frame members affixed to and interconnecting the lower ends thereof, and connector means interlocking opposing and laterally adjacent ends of column sections associated with both superposed and laterally adjacent units, comprising planar plate means interposed between the ends of superposed and laterally adjacent column sections, guide means affixed to and projecting from said plate means for inserted reception into the hollow interior of each said section confronting said plate means, and fastener means extending between superposed floor and ceiling frame members of adjacent units at locations laterally outwardly of related column sections and operable to positively interlock the latter with regulated force abuttingly against said plate means whereby to effect tension compression columns from said sections; each said modular unit being formed with a foreshortened parallelopiped framework at one end thereof to provide one comer portion of the unit which is offset from one side wall thereof, said units being arranged in the building with offset corners of adjacent units adjacently opposite and registeringly over one another whereby to provide vertical shaftways at spaced locations throughout the building, the opposing offset comer portions between adjacent side by side mounted units defining a utility closet, and utility walls enclosing two opposing sides of each said closet and each comprising one wall attached to a said foreshortened parallelopiped framework; each said utility wall presenting connections in said closet which communicate with all ancillary utility support systems within a related modular unit whereby the utilities of all units associated with each vertical shaftway are commonly interjoined.