US 3905167 A
A building system for easily erected suspended modular buildings deriving substantial advantages from readily transportable modular sections. The building sections comprise in cross-section, a U-shaped sandwich of inner and outer shells with insulation therebetween. Each section comprises one-half of a module, lower or upper, the elements being symmetrical. A module is formed by inverting one element and placing it atop another. A longitudinally extending abutment, on the module, is formed from flanges which extend outwardly from the sidewalls of the module. The modules are suspended from the longitudinal abutment which transfers the building loads to exterior building supports. Single story buildings, either at or above ground level, or multi-story buildings, with the lower floor either at or above ground level, can be formed by associating a number of modules and suspension supports. The building living space and the shape of the building can be varied, almost at will, by varying the numer of modules and the manner in which they are associated. Substantial cost savings, in addition to those flowing from factory manufactured modularized constructon, accrue in ease of transportation of the nestable building elements.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent [191 Watkins et al.
[451 Sept. 16, 1975 MODULARIZED BUILDING SYSTEM Inventors: Berne A. Watkins, 76 Cambridge Rd., Glenmont, NY. 12077; James Sedore, 1 1 Jason St., Pittsfield, Mass. 01201 Filed: -Nov. 9, 1973 Appl. No.: 414,480
US. Cl. 52/79; 52/292; 52/309  Int. Cl. E0411 l/12  Field of Search 52/79, 292, 236,- 309, 194;
Primary ExaminerJohn E. Murtagh Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Pollock, Philpitt & Vande Sande [5 7] ABSTRACT A building system for easily erected suspended modular buildings deriving substantial advantages from readily transportable modularsections. The building sections comprise in cross-section, a U-shaped sandwich of inner and outer shells with insulation therebetween. Each section comprises one-half of a module, lower or upper, the elements being symmetrical. A module is formed by inverting one element and placing it atop another. A longitudinally extending abutment, on the module, is formed from flanges which extend outwardly from the sidewalls of the module. The modules are suspended from the longitudinal abutment which transfers the building loads to exterior building supports. Single story buildings, either at or above ground level, or multi-story buildings, with the lower floor either at or above ground level, can be formed by associating a number of modules and suspension supports. The building living space and the shape of the building can be varied, almost at will, by varying the numer of modules and the manner in which they are associated. Substantial cost savings, in addition to those flowing from factory manufactured modularized constructon, accrue in ease of transportation of the nestable building elements.
1 Claim, 12 Drawing Figures PATENHZ'H SEP 4 6 news SHQET 2 [1F 3 MODULARIZED BUILDING SYSTEM BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION It is well know that the building industry has proved unable to meet the needs in the United States for the construction of new buildings. The inability to meet the need rests, in part, on the high costs of building, both multi-story and single story. A major, if not the major, reason for the high cost of building in the United States relates to the methods used in building construction.
Although it has been wellknown, for many years, that production line methods can materially decrease the costs of products, todays building is substantially a handcrafted, onsite fabricated, product. The builder begins with basic building materials such as lumber, cinderblock, cement, steel, and brick, andd on the site of the final building associates these elements to form the finished product. Inclement weather can, and often does, limit the amount of constructionthat can be accomplished.
To completely eliminate these disadvantages the obvious solution is to completely fabricate the building at a central location or factory and then transport the completed building to the intended site. Obviously, the difficulties associated with this method are directly related to the size of the completed building. In the case of a tool shed or other relatively small structures this method, in some instances, may be practical. However, as the building grows in size, the difficulties, and, concomitantly', the costs, in transporting the building to the site increase. This increase in the cost of transportation is so rapid that it is practically impossible to transport modules for anything except small size residential dwellings.
In an effort to strike a balance between the two extremes discussed above, applicants have developed a building system which greatly increases the amount of fabrication taking place at a factory while at the same time manufacturing a product which is easily transportable and does not require large amounts of skilled labor and equipment at the building site. Applicants have developed a novel suspendable building element which can be mated with an identical building element to form a building module. These elements, each half of a module, are U-shaped in cross-section so that when one is inverted and placed atop another, the combination encloses a volume and forms a building module. The building elements, being identical, minimize the different amounts and types of equipment required to fabricate them. In addition, the building element is formed of a plastic thus making it light in weight and easy to transport. In addition, the shape of the building element makes it possible to nest a number of building elements, one on another, to facilitate transportation. The structural elements used to suspend the modules are also uniform in configuration, making the entire structure readily transportable.
The building elements are so shaped that when joined they form a longitudinally extending flange along both sides of the module which is capable of transferring the load on the module and'the' load of the module itself to the exterior building support which suspends the module from the flange. The fabrication required at the building site is thus limited to joining pairs of building elements into thenumber of building modules desired, erecting the exterior building supports in the pattern needed to support the modules in the desired configuration and then placing the modules atop the supports to complete the operation. Since the modules are plastic, the fabricating steps of joining pairs of identical elements to form modules requires a minimum amount of labor and equipment. A further advantage which flows from the use of plastic to form the building elements is that the modules, once completed, are comparatively light in weight and thus the step of placing the completed modules in the desired position also requires a minimum amount of equipment. The shape of the modules and the fact that they are plastic also simplifies the steps of fabricating a plurality of modules into a completed building which requires joining a plurality of modules together in the desired configuration and sealing the joints to render the completed building weathertight. Since the entire load is supported by the exterior building supports, the only site preparation required is the necessary footings to support the building supports. The result is a building which relies on substantial fabrication in the factory, maximizing the use of labor-saving equipment and materials, and is easily transportable, minimizing the costs and difficulties of construction.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is an isometric view of a single family dwelling constructed with modules formed in accordance with the present invention.
FIG. 2 is a partially cross-sectioned isometric view of a module illustrating an alternate form of the invention.
FIG. 3 is a cross-sectioned view of the flanges which extend along the longitudinal perimeter of the modular sections;
FIG. 4 is a cross-sectioned view of the perimeter flange used to secure one assembled module to another.
FIG. 5 is a representative and partially crosssectioned view of one of the fiberglass skins used in constructing the invention.
FIG. 6 is a cross-sectioned view of the wall construction as formed in a mold.
FIG. 7 is an isometric and partially cross-sectioned view of an alternate embodiment of the invention.
FIG. 8 is a cross-sectioned end view of an assembled module.
FIG. 9 is a cross-sectioned side view of an assembled module.
FIG. 10 is an illustration of the nestable or stacking features of the present invention illustrating the modular sections loaded for transport.
FIG. 1 1 is an isometric view of a multi-story structure constructed with modules of the present invention.
FIG. 12 is a side view of the structure illustrated in FIG. 1 1.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS FIG. 1 illustrates a single family dwelling utilizing modules and modular building techniques of the present invention. The entire structure is suspended from a plurality of vertical support members 11-18. Each of these support members is identical in configuration, and provides a suspension support for the structure.
The modules themselves are formed from a pair of sections 19 and 20 which are symmetrical along their outer surfaces. Each of the modular sections defines a horizontal planar surface 21 or 22 which becomes the ceiling or floor of the module, and upwardly or downwardly extending planar sidewalls 19a or 20a which abut one another along horizontally extending flanges 21a and 22a. The flanges of the upwardly or downwardly extending sidewalls together form or terminate in an outwardly extending flange member 23 which is indicated along the other longitudinal sidewall of the module.
Each of the vertical suspension support members 11-18 supports a longitudinally extending beam member 24 which is adapted to receive the combined flanges 23 for suspending and supporting the modular sections. Each of the exterior support members defines a pair of upwardly extending arms 11a and 11b which define a U-shaped bight for receiving the lower section of the module.
As illustrated in FIG. 1, the ends of the modular sections may be closed as indicated at 25 with doors, windows, or other end-wall constructions. At least one of the modular end walls would define an entrance for the dwelling having at least one door formed therein. As can be seen in FIG. 1, the dwelling is constructed of a plurality of modules, three of which, 26, 27 and 28, have been numbered for the purposes of illustration. Modules 26, 27 and 28 are joined together along their lateral perimeters 29 and 30 by means of an additional flange which is more fully illustrated in FIG. 2.
FIG. 2 illustrates the module 27 having a pair of outwardly extending flanges 29-and 30 along its lateral perimeters, and a pair of outwardly extending flange members 23a and 23b which extend along each of the longitudinal sidewall perimeters. FIG. 2 also illustrates an alternate embodiment of the invention wherein a plurality of upwardly extending reinforcing members 31 and 32 extend traversely of the module from sidewall to sidewall and form floor joists for a floor member 33' placed within the module. When this alternate construction is used, the outer configuration of the modules remains symmetrical, but the inner joist members extend traversely of the module from sidewall to sidewall and are formed as illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 7.
FIGS. 3 and 4 illustrate two additional embodiments that may be used in the construction of the module illustrated in FIG. 2.'In one embodiment of the invention, the butt end 34 of the downwardly extending sidewall 19a terminates in a preformed flange member 35. A similar flange member 36 receives the butt end of the upwardly extending sidewall member 20a. Flange members 35 and 36 may be molded with sidewalls 19a and 20a, or they may be separately molded and bonded to the sidewalls by means of an epoxy resin. Alternatively, they may be extruded of aluminum or other metal and then secured by means of epoxy, rivets, bolts, or the like. As will be hereinafter later explained in more detail, each of the walls of the module is formed of a pair of fiberglass skins 37 and 38 with a foamed resin layer 39 arranged therebetween.
An alternate form of flange construction is illustrated in FIG. 4. In this construction, the sidewalls 37 and 38 are thickened as illustrated at 37a and 38a to form a laterally extending flange which extends outwardly from the sidewalls of the module. This flange construction can be used for either the longitudinally extending flange, or the lateral perimeter flange. In constructing the module, two of the symmetrical sections are placed with their longitudinal perimeter flanges abutting one another to define a single outwardly extending lateral flange 23 on either side of the module. These flanges are then epoxied or bolted together, depending upon the material from which they are constructed.
After the individual modules are assembled as illustrated in FIG. 2, they are lifted onto the vertical suspension members ll-17 illustrated in FIG. 1, and the lateral flange members 29 and 30 which extend outwardly around the transverse perimeter of the module are secured to adjacent modules. Since this flange is normally formed as illustrated in FIG. 4, the flange may be secured by an epoxy resin and the joints covered with an endcap which extends traversely around the perimeter of the module. Each of the modules thus defines a hollow polygon, and when a plurality of modules are joined together, a single extended hollow polygon is defined. As illustrated in-FIG. 2, the slightly diverging sidewall of the modules forms a hexagonal polygon, but it is readily apparent that a variety of polygonal shapes could be adapted for use in the present invention. The present invention envisions that two symmetrical selfsupporting outer shells that are joined together along their midpoints form a hollow polygon, said polygon then being supported along those midpoints by a plurality of suspension means.
Each of the modules is formed of an inner and outer skin with foamed synthetic resin therebetween. The detailed construction of the planer surfaces of the module, and the method of forming the sections, is illustrated in FIGS. 5 and 6.
Referring to FIG. 6, the sidewall construction is illustrated in place between an inner or male mold 41 and an outer or female mold 42. In the fabrication of the panel, the gel coat indicated by numeral 43 in FIG. 5 is first applied to the outer surface of the male mold cavity and the inner surface of the female mold cavity. This gel coat is a pigmentedisophthalic polyester resin and is usually 15 to 20 mils in thickness. The gel coal provides the decorative surface for the panel when desired. The use of a gel coat is not mandatory, but is employed wherever the panel surface is to be exposed to view.
After the application of the gel coat a second layer of non-pigmented synthetic resin is applied. The laminating resin is a self-extinguishing fire-retardant preaccelerated thixotropic resin yielding a tacky bonding surface. Preferably the resin will provide a tacky surface having a characteristic under the Barcol hardness test of 20 to 30 as compared to a normal polyster resin test for cured laminate having a value of 40 to 70. Before the laminating resin 44 is cured, a reinforcing web 45 is applied to the resin and mopped or rolled into place. An additional coat of resin is applied over the mat 45 to thoroughly bond it into the laminating layer. Web 45 is preferably a fiberglass mat, although it may be constructed of rayon, dynel, polypropylene, or other reinforcing fibers. In conventional construction, it is normal to use a fiberglass Web weighing approximately 2% ounces per square foot. In the new and improved version having the fibrous bonding surface, it is possible to use a fiberglass mat having a weight of only 1% ounces per square foot, and have the strength characteristics of a laminated panel using a 2% ounce mat.
After the laminate resin layer 44 has been applied and the fiberglass mat 45 is saturated, the final layer is sprayed on with a fiberglass chopper. The last and inner layer 46 is a mixture of chopped fiberglass and resin having a ratio of about 40% fiberglass and polyester resin. In normal fiberglass applications, a ratio of about 80% resin to 20% fiberglass is used. By drawing out the mixture to about 60% resin, and applying approximately of an ounce per square foot of chopped fiberglass, a fibrillar surface is formed which has a multiplicity of strands extending outwardly from the laminate resin. Panels have been constructed using chopped fiberglass fibers ranging from inch in length to 3 inches in length, but it is found that it is preferable to use fibers which are chopped to approximately 1V2 inches in length..Again the fibers in the preferred embodiment are fiberglass, but may be rayon, dynel, polypropylene, or boron-glass.
The fibril surface is created by applying a hard Silane binder to the chopped roving strands as they are blown with the resin against the laminate layer of resin. Silane is a compound of silicon and hydrogen, and other monomeric silicon compounds which have the ability to bond glass to organic resins. The chopping gun and blower are well known in the art. When inch-and-a-half fibers are used, it is found that there will be a minimum protrusion of the fibers of approximately /8 of an inch, with many of the fibers extending upwardly a half inch or more at completely random angles and orientations. This completely random pattern enables the froth foam to fill the interstices between the fibers and securely interlock the foam layer with the fibrillar surface. This provides a reinforced joint line between the foam and skin that can withstand much greater temperature variations and structural stress loads than the conventional construction.
The resin used in forming the fibril surface is a preaccelerated resin providing a combination of fast wetout" and rigid cure when used with catalyst injection spray-up equipment. The room temperature gel and cure data using different levels of catalyst is shown in Graph I. It illustrates different levels of methyl and ethyl keytone catalyst as a 60% solution in dimethyl phthalate. The cure data was compiled on tests of a 1/8 inch thick laminate panel.
GRAPH l Room Temperature Gel and Cure Data Panel Cure Hours Time to First Barcol 300 gr. Sample MEX Peroxide 71 Concentration trates which form nitrogen gas bubbles between the foam and the resin layer. As illustrated in FIG. 6, a heat reflector shield 49 may be formed by applying a 5 mil layer of aluminum oxide powder to the tacky laminate resin layer before the chopped fiber and resin layer is sprayed onto the mold. The aluminum oxide is applied under pressure and sealed between the resin layer and the fibrous surface as the resin cures. This shield will resist heat penetration from exterior sun load and provide a barrier between the foam and the outside skin. Normal internal temperatures formed from the sun load will run in excess of 120 without the heat shield, but will be reduced to approximately 90 by using the aluminum oxide layer.
After the fiberglass skins have been formed, the molds 41 and 42 are brought into close proximity as illustrated in FIG. 6 for the foaming operation. The distance maintained between the molds 41 and 42 may vary from approximately one-half inch to several inches but in the panels used in modular homes it is normally established at three inches. As described in our copending application U.S. Ser. No. 209,767 entitled Modular Building Unit and Methods of Forming Same, the male mold is inverted and suspended over the female mold to form a semi-circular cavity between the two fiberglass skins. After the mold surfaces 41 and 42 are secured in place, the polyurethane foam 48 is poured or frothed in place. As was pointed out previously, when liquid polyurethane is used, some of the liquid will tend to pool at low points in the mold cavity. Once the liquid pools, it may become isolated from the open end of the cavity by foam which has already expanded and closed the cavity. Once this situation occurs, the remaining liquid foam is forced to foam within a confined space. This foaming, which occurs by chemical reaction, generates substantial pressure and requires exceedingly strong molds 41 and 42.
When froth foam is used, substantially less pressure is generated between the cavities since the foam is already pre-expanded. In using a froth foam, it is possible to achieve a foam density throughout the entire cavity of 1.9 to 2.2 pounds per square foot. In using a liquid polyurethane foam, it is not uncommon to find foam densities ranging as high as 5.5 pounds per square foot wherever the liquid foam has pooled. This uniform density also results in a significant saving in the amount of foam required for each module. In using a liquid foam, the process requires approximately 320 pounds of polyurethane foam for each module, while when using a froth foam, only 210 pounds of foam are required for each module. Additionally, since the pressure exerted on the mold surfaces 41 and 42 is significantly less when using a froth foam, it is possible to use much lighter weight and more inexpensive mold cavities which substantially reduces the cost of the process.
In the preferred form of the embodiment, approximately 3 inches of 2 pounds per cubic foot density polyurethane fire-retardant foam is frothed into the mold cavity. Polyurethane is used as it is found that it yields superior insulating properties. Polyurethane foam has a thermal conductivity or K factor of 0.13 btu per hour per square foot per degree of Fahrenheit. Polyurethane foam used in this manner is three times more effective as insulating material than fiberglass insulation. The heat loss in a module formed from the structural panel described herein is approximately 1/10 of 1 per hour as compared to 4 per hour of heat loss for a brick house at the same temperature differential. This results in tremendous savings in heating and cooling cost to the home owner.
It has also been found in constructing the module that the fiberglass mat 45 may be eliminated, and the entire resin laminate layer 44 and 46 may be constructed with the chopped fiber-resin mixture. While the use of the fiberglass web greatly increases the strength of the laminate, it has been found that the use of the chopped fibers onlyv will provide a laminate structure as strong as that previously provided with conventional non-fibrous surfaces and conventionally poured polyurethane foam. If a chopped fiber and resin mixture is applied to the gel coat with a density of approximately 4 ounce of chopped fiber per square foot, it is found that the resultant structural panel with the fibrous surface and froth foam interior will be equivalent in strength to a conventional panel formed with 2.2 ounces of fiberglass per square foot and conventionally poured polyurethane foam. This not only results in a savings of fiberglass, but also a substantial reduction in the amount of resin required since the resin to fiber glass ratio is reduced from 80% resin: fiberglass to 60% resin: 40% fiberglass. When the froth foam is used, the density is maintained at approximately 2 pounds per square foot and the amount of polyurethane foam required is also substantially reduced. Thus it is possible to build a structural panel with much less material but retain the same strength characteristics, and provide for increased delamination resistance. A module formed from the structural panel has been tested to Withstand hurricane winds of 150 miles an hour and snow loads of up to 40 feet. It is completely impervious to insect damage, corrosion, mildew, and most chemicals, and since it is manufactured of fire-retardant materials, it is virtually fireproof. Since the gel coat is pigmented, the module requires no painting or other cosmetic finishing.
FIG. 8 is a cross-sectioned end view taken along section lines 88 of FIG. 2. FIG. 8 illustrates the inner 37 and outer 38 fiberglass skins, and the inner foam layer 39. Each of the sections 19 and 20 are joined together as indicated at 23a, 23b to form the outwardly extend ing lateral flange which extends along the longitudinal dimension of the module. As illustrated in FIG. 8, the lower module also defines the upwardly extending joist member 31 previously illustrated in FIG. 2.
Each of the modular sections extends approximately 8 feet in its longitudinal direction and approximately 15 feet in its traverse direction. This is to enable shipment of the modules on a flat bed trailer as illustrated in FIG. 10. In one embodiment of the module, the module was constructed having three inch thick planer sidewalls, and a generally horizontal planer surface which would become either the ceiling or the floor of the completed module. The generally horizontal surface has a tapered thickness and is approximately 3 inches thick at the outer corners and 5 inches thick in the center. The inner surface is essentiallyhorizontal, with the taper being essentially on the exterior surface of the module.
FIG. 8 also indicates a broken out portion 50 which illustrates the comer construction of a typical module. In this corner construction the corner walls are thick ened as indicated at 51 to provide additional rigidity and strength to the module. In the preferred embodiment of the invention, the ceiling member is 3 inches thick at the inside corner 53 and the sidewall is approximately 5 inches thick. The sidewall diminishes from 5 inches thick at 53 to 3 inches thick at 54, a space of approximately l2 inches.
Each of the modular sections is approximately 4 /2 feet deep, to provide a module with a 9 foot interior dimension when the two modular sections are joined together with flanges as indicated at 23a and 23b.
As was pointed out previously, the lower modular sections may also define upwardly extending joist members 31 and 32 which are formed as part of the horizontal planer surface. As indicated in FIG. 9, these joist members extend traversely across the module and serve as a basis for supporting a subfloor in the event a subfloor is desired. In addition, when the joists are formed as illustrated in FIG. 9, they may coincide with the placement of the vertical suspension members 11-18 illustrated in FIG. '1. When thus situated, they may also serve to distribute the load to the U-shaped members 11-18 when they are formed to contact the exterior surface of the modules along the outer surface of the module. Even when such construction is employed, the major part of the load is still born by the supporting flanges 23.
As indicated in FIG. 9, the horizontal planar surfaces of the modules are also tapered in the traverse direc tion with the wall surface being approximately 3 inches thick at the traverse peripheral edge 55 and approxi mately 5 inches thick in the center portion 56 of the module. Although two joist members 31 and 32 have been illustrated in FIG. 9, it should be pointed out that a plurality of joist members could be molded in to support a wood subfloor in the event the customer desired a flooring surface which required conventional joisting and subflooring. In the preferred embodiment, the subfloor illustrated in FIG. 2 is employed, and the space between the subfloor 33 and the lower section 20 is used to run pipes, conduits, and other utilities for the module.
FIG. 10 illustrates the stackable features of the mod ular sections wherein a plurality of modular sections may be loaded on a flatbed truck for shipment to the job site. Since each of the modules is only 8 foot long in its longitudinal dimension, it may be loaded on a trailer as illustrated in FIG. 10 for shipment through every state in the union. By simply joining the modular sections together along the flanges 29 and 30, it is possible to provide a hollow polygonal module of any desired length.
As indicated in FIG. 10, nine sections are stacked on a trailer 60 with each of the modules having a substantial overlap as indicated by the arrows 61-62. In actual construction, the modules are approximately 4 /2 inches deep on the interior dimension, and approximately 5 foot deep on the exterior dimension. In the preferred embodiment, the stacking dimension between arrows 62 and 63 is approximately 1 foot 10 inches, with the overlap dimension between arrows 61-62 being in excess of 3 feet. Four modules were stacked on a flatbed truck, and the overall height of the stacked load was lO /2 feet. As indicated previously, each of the modules is approximately 15 feet long along its exterior dimension so that three separate stacks of modules may be loaded on a single 45 foot flatbed truck.
FIGS. 11 and 12 are perspective and elevation views of a multi-story building which has been formed using principles of the present invention. In erecting the building, a slab 79 provides suitable footings for the vertical suspension supports 71. Once the vertical suspension supports 71 are installed, the horizontal beams 70 linking the vertical support members are installed. The horizontal supports 70 comprise longitudinally extending horizontally disposed support beams which are under and in supporting relationship with the longitudinally extending flange members 23. The load is transferred to the exterior support element 70 and is then in turn transferred to, the vertical element 71 which supports the modules. The exterior suspension supports 70 and 71 can be fabricated of pre-stressed concrete or steel. They may be fabricated in the factory and shipped to the job site for erection. Alternatively, the building supports 70 and 71 could be entirely fabricated at the building site. It should be pointed out in FIGS. 11 and 12 that although the building illustrated is two stories in height, each story is supported individually by its own support beam 70. There is no transfer of load from the upper module to the lower module. The entire load for each floor is born by the individual horizontal support beams 70, and the vertically upstanding suspension supports 71. Once the supporting slab 79, and the vertical supports 71 have been erected, the modules may be inserted into the framework in the desired pattern. Adjacent the intersection of each pair of modules, the resulting seam is sealed using suitable adhesives. Subsequent to the erection and location of the modules and the adjoining of adjacent modules, it is only necessary to insert the endwalls as indicated at 81-86 on each side of the building to close in the building structure. The structure illustrated in FIGS. 11 and 12 would be entirely suitable for use as a small office building, motel, dormitory or the like.
It should be pointed out that for both the structure illustrated in FIG. 1, and the structure illustrated in FIGS. 1 l and 12, the synthetic resin walls allow a maximum of flexibility in the insertion of windows and skylights. Since the wall itself serves as a structural member, a window may be inserted at virtually any location without substantially impairing the structural strength of the module. If so desired, decorative cut-out portions such as those indicated at 81 and 82 in FIG. 11
can be added.
As has been illustrated in FIGS. 1, 11 and 12, the manner in which a plurality of modules can be associated together is almost unlimited. In particular, the
modules can be associated end-to-end, that is, with their longitudinal axes being colinear and the modules can be placed perpendicularly, that is, with their longitudinal axes perpendicular to the axes of the other modules. In addition, as illustrated in FIGS. 11 and 12, a plurality of modules can be associated together with their longitudinal axes parallel to one another with some being offset vertically from one another. Although FIG. 1 illustrates a single story structure which is raised from the ground level, it is within the scope of the present invention to provide a single story building which may be erected on a slab, as was the multi-story building illustrated in FIG. 11. In a like manner, although FIGS. 11 and 12 illustrate a multi-story building with the lowest floor at ground level, it would be within the scope of the present invention to provide such a multi-story building with its lowermost level raised from ground level. These changes can be effected by increasing or decreasing the vertical support members 71 in relation to the size of the module.
It is to further understood that the foregoing disclosure is for the purposes of illustration only, and the invention includes all modifications and equivalents which fall within the scope of the following appended claims.
1. A building formed of a plurality of modular units comprising:
each said modular unit being formed of two substantially identical modular elements which are of U- shaped cross-section, each said U-shaped element having depending opposed sidewalls corresponding to the legs of the U which terminate in longitudinally extending flange portions, said two modular elements being assembled in opposing relation with their corresponding flanges in abutting relation and with means for securing said abutting flanges,
and support means for each said modular unit comprising at least one member defining a generally U- shaped recess for supporting on its bight portion the bight portion of the lowermost of said U-shaped modular elements and with the upstanding leg portions of .said member extending upwardly on opposite sides of said lowermost element to support said flange joining the juxtaposed modular elements.