Login| Sign Up| Help| Contact|

Patent Searching and Data


Title:
BUILDING STRUCTURE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2009/052590
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The invention relates to a building assembly comprising an operatively lower retaining channel for receiving wall panel sections, and an elevated ring beam, wherein the ring beam is connected or secured to the lower retaining channel by way of securing means or connectors internal to the wall panel section. The wall panel sections may be profiled internally so as to define cavities through which the connectors or securing elements may be passed when the panels are placed in situ.

Inventors:
BUSH, Terry (Unit 4a, 176 Main StreetOsborne Park, Western Australia 6017, AU)
MONTELEONE, Tony (Unit 4a, 176 Main StreetOsborne Park, Western Australia 6017, AU)
Application Number:
AU2008/001589
Publication Date:
April 30, 2009
Filing Date:
October 27, 2008
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
OPTIBUILD CREATIONS WA PTY LTD TRADING AS OPTIBUILD WA (Unit 4a, 176 Main StreetOsborne Park, Western Australia 6017, AU)
BUSH, Terry (Unit 4a, 176 Main StreetOsborne Park, Western Australia 6017, AU)
MONTELEONE, Tony (Unit 4a, 176 Main StreetOsborne Park, Western Australia 6017, AU)
International Classes:
E04H9/14; E04B1/18; E04B2/56; E04C2/38
Domestic Patent References:
WO1999057387A11999-11-11
Foreign References:
US20070245640A12007-10-25
US2883852A1959-04-28
US4633634A1987-01-06
US6298619B12001-10-09
US3777426A1973-12-11
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WRAYS (Ground Floor, 56 Ord StreetWest Perth, Western Australia 6005, AU)
Download PDF:
Claims:

The Claims Defining the Invention are as Follows;

1. A building assembly comprising:

an operativβly lower retaining channel for receiving a wall panel section, the retaining channel being fastenable to a building support base;

one or more wall panel sections, edges of which are dimensioned to be receivable within the retaining channel; and

an elevated retaining beam resting upon, and substantially coextensive with, the one or more wall panel sections;

the wall panel sections defining internal cavities through which securing elements are passed for securing the beam to the lower retaining channel or the building support base.

2. The building assembly of claim 1 , wherein the securing element is a tensile member or rod.

3. The building assembly of claim 1, wherein the securing element comprises a support pillar or column extending between the beam and the retaining channel and to which both the beam and channel are affixed.

4. The building assembly of claim 1 or claim 2, wherein, when fastened in situ using the tensile rod system, the beam is drawn downwardly toward the lower retaining channel, thereby applying compressive forces to the wall panel sections, in so doing rendering the panels at least partially load bearing.

5. The building assembly of claim 1 or 3, wherein the elevated beam is fastened by way of tensile fasteners to an operatively upper part or end of the column.

6. The building assembly of claim 5, wherein an operatively lower end of the column is fastened by way of tensile fasteners to the lower retaining channel, with the columns serving as primary load bearing members.

7. The assembly as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 6, wherein the columns or rods are spaced at regular intervals of between 1200 mm and 3600 mm from each other.

8. The assembly as claimed in claim 7, wherein the columns or rods are spaced at intervals of between 1800 mm and 3000 mm from each other.

9. The assembly as claimed in claim 8, wherein the columns or rods are spaced at intervals of about 2400 mm from each other.

10.The assembly as claimed in one of claims 1 to 9, wherein the retaining channel comprises, when seen in cross-section, a U-shaped seat for receiving a wall panel, and an operatively downwardly extending skirt or flange which extends in dog leg fashion from an operatively lower edge of the channel.

11. The assembly as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 10, wherein, in use, the lower retaining channel substantially follows, and is substantially coextensive with, a periphery of the building support base, and the elevated retaining beam similarly follows or traces the path of the retaining channel.

12.Thθ assembly as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 11 , wherein an operatively upper inverted U-shaped channel or guide is placed intermediate to an upper section of each wall panel section and the elevated beam, so as to assist in evenly distributing any compressive forces acting upon the wall panel sections.

13.The assembly as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 12, wherein the wall panel sections each comprise a core panel having stepped edges or cut-outs which allow the wall panel sections to fit snugly within the retaining channel, while being substantially flush with the outer edge of the retaining channel.

14.The assembly as claimed in claim 13, wherein operatively lower edges of each core panel are chamfered or profiled to define a unilateral or bilateral step, the step having a height commensurate with the length of the upwardly extending sides of the lower retaining channel.

15.The assembly as claimed in any one of claims 12 to 14, wherein the upper edges of each core panel are suitably chamfered, profiled, or stepped to fit snugly within the operatively upper inverted U-shaped channel or guide.

16.The assembly as claimed in any one of claims 13 to 16, wherein the wall panel sections further include inner and outer cladding panels which are fixed to the core panel.

17.The assembly as claimed in any one of claims 10 to 16, wherein the dog leg flange on the lower edge of the channel serves as a support for the operatively outer cladding panel and is dimensioned to define a support platform for the . outer cladding wall panel, while also preventing water ingress into the slab or core panel.

18The building assembly as claimed in any one of claims 2, 4 and 6-18 wherein, when the securing means is in the form of a tensile rod, the rod is at least partially threaded so as to be fastenable via nuts at the respective ends thereof to the elevated beam, at one end, and the lower retaining channel, at an opposed end thereof, thereby tying down or drawing in the elevated beam and lower retaining channel towards each other.

19.The building assembly of the invention, wherein the elevated beam is attached to and serves as a support for roof panels, ceiling panels, or floor panels and further serves as attachment point for beam joists, chords, purlins, trusses, ceiling panels, or the like.

2O.The building assembly as claimed in claim 19, wherein the ceiling panels comprise one or more wall panel sections.

21.The building assembly as claimed in any one of claims 13 to 21 , wherein the core panels have edges which, when seen in top plan view, are crenellated or stepped so as to define to tongues which extend from the core and define a central cut-out therebetween.

22.The building assembly as claimed in claim 21 wherein, when the wall panels are placed in situ, the tongues abut each other and define an elongate central cavity which extends substantially the length of the panel sections and which is dimensioned to receive a support column or a rod to serve as a fastening element in securing the elevated beam to the lower retaining channel.

23.The building assembly as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 22, wherein the elevated beam structure is in the form of a ring beam which extends substantially along the wall panel sections and serves as an upper stabilising element to the building construction or assembly.

24.A building produced using the assembly as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 23.

25.A kit for a building, the kit comprising the components of claims 1 to 23.

26.A method of erecting a building which is resistant to high wind speeds, the method comprising the steps of:

securing an operatively lower retaining channel to a building substructure;

providing one or more wall sections and placing a lower end of each panel within the lower retaining channel;

providing an elevated beam structure which (s affixed via securing means to the lower retaining channel, the securing means being contained within the wall sections; and

tying down or securing the elevated beam to the retaining channel.

27.The assembly as claimed in claim 1 , substantially as herein described and illustrated.

28.A building as claimed in claim 24, substantially as herein described and illustrated.

89

- 19 - 29.A kit as claimed in claim 25, substantially as herein described and illustrated.

30.A method as claimed in claim 26, substantially as herein described and illustrated.

Description:

BUILDING STRUCTURE Field of the Invention

This invention relates to construction. More particularly, the invention relates to a wind resistant building assembly particularly suitable for cyclone prone areas, and to a system for building a wind resistant building.

Background Art

Buildings in high wind areas are subjected to greater compressive and tensile forces than buildings in areas of more moderate seasonality. Pre-fabricated and panel-built buildings are especially susceptible to destruction by high winds due to inherent problems with securing the panels and other construction elements securely without significant costs being incurred.

As such, there exists a need for a low cost panel wall building assembly which is secure enough to withstand high wind speeds and gusts and complies with building safety codes in high risk hurricane or cyclone areas. Disclosure of the Invention

Broadly, according to one aspect of the invention there is provided a building assembly comprising at least one wall section provided between a lower wall retaining channel and an elevated beam structure, the beam structure being secured to the lower retaining channel by way of fastening means which pass through, or internal to, the wall sections.

According to another aspect of the invention, there is provided a building assembly comprising:

an operatively lower retaining channel for receiving a wall panel section, the retaining channel being fastenable to a building support base or substructure;

one or more wall panel sections, edges of which are dimensioned to be receivable within the retaining channel; and

an elevated retaining beam resting upon, and substantially coextensive with, the one or more wall panel sections;

the wall panel sections being profiled so as to define, when placed adjacent to each other in situ, cavities through which securing elements may be passed for securing the beam to the !ower retaining channel or the building support base.

According to yet another aspect of the invention, there is provided a method of erecting a building which is resistant to high wind speeds, the method comprising the steps of:

securing an operatively lower retaining channel to a building support base or substructure;

providing one or more wall panel sections and placing a lower end of each panel section within the lower retaining channel;

providing an elevated beam structure which is affixed via securing means to the lower retaining channel, the securing means being contained within the wall sections; and

tying down or securing the elevated beam to the retaining channel.

In one embodiment, the securing element may be a tensile member such as an elongate rod or tie.

In another embodiment, the securing element may comprise a support column, pillar, post, or stanchion extending between the beam and the retaining channel and to which both the beam and channel are affixed.

When fastened in situ using the tensile rod system, the beam is drawn downwardly toward the lower retaining channel, thereby applying compressive forces to the wall panel sections, in so doing rendering the panels at least partially load bearing members.

When the support column assembly is utilized, the elevated beam is fa$tened by way of tensile fasteners such as, for example, bolts, to an operatively upper part or end of the column. An operatively lower end of the column, in turn, is fastened by way of tensile fasteners to the lower retaining channel In this embodiment, the columns serve as primary load bearing members.

The columns and rods may be spaced at regular Intervals, typically between 1200 mm and 3600 mm from each other, preferably between 1800 and 3000 mm, most preferably about 2400 mm from each other.

The retaining channel may comprise, when seen in cross-section , a U-shaped seat for receiving a wall panel, and an operatively downwardly extending skirt or flange which extends in dog leg fashion from an operatively lower edge of the channel.

The retaining channel may be fixed to a building support base such as, for example, a concrete slab, or a cementitious or wooden load bearing base.

In use, the lower guide substantially follows, and may be substantially coextensive with, a periphery of the building support base, and the elevated retaining beam similarly follows or traces the path of the retaining channel.

An operatively upper inverted U-shapθd channel or guide may be placed intermediate to an upper section of each wail panel section and the elevated beam, so as to assist in evenly distributing any compressive forces acting upon the wall panel sections.

The wall panel sections may comprise a core panel having stepped edges or cutouts which allow the wall panel sections to fit snugly within the retaining channel,

while being substantially flush with the outer edge of the retaining channel. The σperatively lower edge of each core panel may thus be chamfered to define a unilateral or bilateral step, the step having a height commen$urate with the length of the upwardly extending sides of the lower retaining channel.

Similarly, the upper edges of each core panel may be suitably chamfered or stepped to fit snugly within the operatively upper inverted U-shaped channel or guide. The chamfering ensures that, once the wall panel has been pressed into the guide, that the outer surfaces of the core panel extending from above the sides of the channel are substantially flush with the channel, when seen in cross- section. This similarly applies to the upper edge of each core panel as it relates to the upper channel or guide.

The wall panel sections further include inner and outer panels which are fixed to the core panel. With the core panel outer surfaces being substantially flush with the channel sides, this allows the outer and inner panels to be retained securely to the core panel and to be fixed to not only the core panel, but also directly to the upper and lower channels, without having the tendency to flare outwardly away from the channel sides.

The dog leg flange on the lower edge of the channel serves as a support for the wall panel and is dimensioned to define a support platform for the outer wall panel, while also preventing water ingress into the slab or core panel. The lower retaining channel effectively serves as a water barrier or flashing to prevent water ingress at the base support level, without the need for creating countersunk channels or grooves in the base support itself.

Returning to the fastening means for tying down the beam to the channel, when in the form of a tensile rod, the rod may be at least partially threaded so as to be fastenable via nuts at tho respective ends thereof to the elevated beam, at one end, and the lower retaining channel, at an opposed end thereof, thereby tying down or drawing in the elevated beam and lower retaining channel towards each other.

The elevated beam may be attached to and serve as support for roof panels, ceiling panels, or floor panels. As such, beam may have attached thereto beam joists, purlins, trusses, ceiling panels, or the like. The ceiling panels may, for ease of construction and economies of scale, also comprise one or more wall panel sections such as those used for the making up of the walls of the building assembly of the invention.

The wall panel sections may comprise a central core with flanking outer panels, which may be decorative in nature. The core panel may have edges which, when seen in top plan view, be crenellated, i.e. stepped, so as to define to tongues which extend from the core and define a central cut-out. When the wall panels are placed in situ, the tongues abut each other and define a downwardly extending central cavity which extends the length of the panel sections. The cavity is dimensioned to receive a support column or a rod, which may serve as a fastening element in securing the elevated beam to the lower retaining channel.

A further stepped cut-out is provided between the edge of each core panel and the adjacent outer panels. Further structural rigidity may be added to the wall panel sections when abutted in situ by providing a sideboard into each of the gaps defined between the core panel arid outer panels.

The elevated beam may be a light structural beam and may be fastened to the retaining channel directly via a tensile element, the tensile element extending between the channel and the beam. In certain embodiments, the tensile element may be a rod. Alternatively, in certain embodiments, the beam may be fastened to the retaining channel by way of an intermediate load bearing element, such as a support column. In this embodiment, the elevated beam may be fastened to the support column, which in turn is fastened to the lower retaining channel.

Where the beam is fixed to the guiding channel via a rod, the rod may be dimensioned to be accommodated within cut-outs provided in the wall sections, such that adjacent wall sections define a vertically extending cavity through which the rod may extend, linking the beam and the guide channel. Similarly, where use

- β - is mad© of a support column between adjacent Wall sections, the column is similarly accommodated within the cavity defined by the cut-outs.

The elevated beam structure may be in the form of a ring beam which extends substantially along the wall panel sections and serves as an upper stabilising element to the building construction or assembly. Internal walls of the building do not require support columns.

The lower retaining channel may be bolted at regular intervals, typically at intervals of between 250 mm and 1200 mm, to the building substructure or support structure. The lower retaining channel may be an aluminium extrusion. Similarly, the upper cap may be made of extruded aluminium or pressed sheet metal or steel.

According to a further aspect of the invention, there is provided a wind-resistant building comprising:

a building support structure;

a retaining channel fastenable to the building support structure, the retaining channel being dimensioned to snugly receive at least one wall section;

a wall section having at least a leading edge dimensioned to fit into the retaining channel; and

an elevated ring beam structure resting upon and being substantially coextensive with the wall sections, the ring beam structure being fastenable to the retaining channel by fastening elements internal to, and passing through, the wall sections.

The building may include an elevated capping channel extending substantially the length of the wall sections and which is sandwiched between an operatively upper end of the wall section(s) and the elevated beam.

The base may be a concrete slab, wooden floor, ceiling panel, or other supporting weight bearing structure capable of supporting the retaining channel and associated wall sections.

The assembly may include a roof section including a plurality of roof panels that are mountable to the wall section, and means for attaching the roof section to each of the wall panels or core panels.

In a further embodiment of the invention, there is provided a kit for a building comprising the elements described herein.

Brief Description of the Drawings

Further aspects of the invention will now be described with reference to the following non-limiting examples and drawings, in which:

Figure 1 shows a schematic view of a two storey building structure according to one aspect of the present invention.

Figure 2 shows a schematic view of a single structure building structure according to another aspect of the present invention;

Figure 3 shows a schematic top view cross-section of the layout of support columns and beams, which show the support columns being placed at substantially regular intervals around the building, in one embodiment of the invention.

Figure 4 shows a cross-section view of a double storey installation in accordance with one aspect of the invention;

Figure 5 shows a detailed cross-sectional view of the elevated beam and the attachment thereof, in accordance with one aspect of the invention;

Figure 6 shows a detailed cross-sectional view of the elevated beam and the attachment there of, in accordance with one aspect of the invention;

Figure 7 shows further detail of the beam attachment when attaching a roof;

Figure 8 shows a floor plate for securing a pillar or column to the channel and/or floor of a substructure;

Figure 9 shows the attachment of ends of two aligned beams to one another using a rectangular bracket and bolts;

Figure 10 shows a top plan view of the attachment of the pillar/column to the anchor plate;

Figure 11 shows a connector plate/bracket for connecting sections of the elevated beam to one another,

Figure 12 shows a beam connected using the connector plate of Figure 11 ;

Figure 13 shows a top schematic view showing the attachment of two perpendicular beams to a support column using a right angle bracket, while also showing two "C" shaped brackets for attaching a ceiling panel to a support column and elevated beam, respectively.

Figure 14 shows a support column having a plate attached thereto to which is attached a bracket;

Figure 15 shows a cross-sectional view of a single storey installation in accordance with one aspect of the invention, in which a support column or pillar is used;

Figure 16 shows a cross-sectional view of a lower retaining channel of the invention;

Figure 17 shows a cross-sectional view of an upper channel of the invention;

Figure 18 shows a cross-sectional view of a single storey installation in accordance with one aspect of the invention, in which a tensile rod is used to connect the elevated beam with the lower retaining channel.

Figure 19 shows a top plan cross-sectional view of an assembly of the invention, in which a central channel is shown which is defined between two abutting wall panel sections.

Best Modβ(s) for Carrying Out the Invention

Throughout the specification and claims, unless the context requires otherwise, the word "comprise" or variations such as "comprises" or "comprising", will be understood to imply the inclusion of a stated integer or group of integers but not the exclusion of any other integer or group of integers.

Figure 1 shows a schematic view of a two storey building according to one aspect of the present invention. The building 10 includes a number of spaced vertical support columns 12 which extend from a building support structure 14, typically a foundation slab, up to and adjacent a ceiling 16 or roof structure 17.

The support columns 1 (also referred to as pillars or posts in this specification, where relevant) are connected to each other by beams 31 which are interconnected to form a unitary ring beam structure 18 around the building 10. In the case of a two-storey building, two rings 18 of beams 31 are formed, one below sub-floor joists 20 and the second being just below the roof 17. Wall panels 22 extend between the support columns 12. Closing boards 24 extend between the wall panels to cover the ring beam structure 18. The wall panels 22 include high strength plasterboard suitable for high impact forces, such as that commercially available from Bondor, Austral Panels. As such, the wall panels 22 are, in certain instances, where required, composed of a EPS or XPS core and includes, internal . and external cladding adhered to the core (where necessary a fiber mesh is bonded to the inside of a back face of a panel) (not shown) thereof. Long edges of the panel are recessed for flush jointing in preparation of an acceptable finish. Fixed to the foundation slab 14 is a U-shaped receiving channel or guide 72

(shown in greater detail in Figures 15 and 16), to which the columns 12 are fastenable, and in which the lower edges 22.1.1 of the wall panel cores 22.1 are snugly receivable (shown in greater detail in Figure 15).

For a single storey structure as shown in Figure 2, the structure is similar to the second storey of that shown in Figure 1. Qnce again, a U-shaped channel 72 (shown in greater detail in Figures 15 and 16) is fixed to the floor or slab 14 to which the columns 12 are fastenable and in which the wall panel cores 22.1 are receivable. A single elevated ring beam 18 is provided, which is connected to the ceiling 16 or roof structure 17 byway of C-clips (described hereinafter).

Figure 3 is a schematic top. plan view of the layout of the support columns 12 and the elevated ring beam structure 31 composed of beams 18 resting on top of the wall panels 22 of a peripheral wall of a building 10 in accordance with one aspect of the invention, which shows the support columns 12 being placed at substantially regular intervals around the building 10. The columns are spaced at intervals of about 1200 mm 3600 mm, typically 2400 mm from each other to ensure sufficient stability of the structure in high wind conditions.

Ih constructing the building, the retaining channel 72 (shown in greater detail in Figures 15 and 16) is fastened or tied down to the slab 14, following which the wall panels 22 are attached (spaced from each other) to extend upwardly. The sides of the wall panels 22, when placed in situ, abut each other to form a near- contiguous wall unit. The support columns 12 are then attached to the slab 14 in- between the wall panels 12 at predetermined intervals. Referring briefly to Figures 8 and 10, in one embodiment of the invention the support columns 12 (shown as square structures indicated and bracketed by reference numeral 12) are attached to the slab (not visible in this Figure) using plates 26 welded to the bottom ends of the support columns 12. The plates are attached to the slab 14 using anchor bolts 28.

Referring to Figure 4 (which once again shows a two storey installation), after erecting the support columns 12, ceiling panels 16 are attached to the top e.nds of the wall panels 12 using screws 29 to extend therebetween. The tops of the wall panels 22 include a metal capping 27 for easy attachment of the ceiling panels 16 thereto. The support columns 12 are then connected to each other using beams 31. The beams 31 are preferably LSB (LITESTEEL BEAM) (Trade Mark) beams manufactured by Smorgon Steel. Figure 9 shows the attachment of the ends of two aligned beams 31-1 and 31-2 to each other using a rectangular bracket 52 and bolts 53.

For a sub-floor region 30, two beams 31 which face each other are attached to the support column 12 via fixing bolts 32. Typically, C-shaped brackets 33 are used to connect the ceiling panel 16 to the support column 12 and/or the beams 31.

Sub-floor joists 20 are then laid at regular intervals to extend between the beams 31. The joists 20 are thus perpendicular to the beams 31. C-shaped brackets 33 are also used to connect the beams 31 to the joists 20. Floor material 35 is then laid on top of the joists 20.

The process above is then substantially repeated to erect a second storey. A channel 36b is laid on top of floor material 35 into which the wall panels 22b are placed to extend upwardly, between the support columns 12 (which extend from the slab 14 substantially to the roof 17). Ceiling panels 16b are then attached to extend between the wall panels 22b using screws 29b. The support columns 12 are then connected to each other again using beams 31b to form a second ring 18. The support columns 12 are thus connected to each other by beams 31b at substantially the mid-portions thereof for the sub-floor region 30 and adjacent their top ends. Only a single beam 31 is used between columns 12, the beam being attached to the support columns 12 via fixing bolts 32b. Further C-shaped brackets 33b are used to connect the ceiling panel 16b to the support column 12 and/or the beam 31 b. Closing boards or flashing 24 and 24b are used to cover the structure between the wall panels 12 and 12b, and above the panel 12b.

Spaced chord brackets 40 are attached above the beam 31b, for supporting chords 41 for the rafters 42 of the roof 17.

Figures 11 and 12 show how ends of perpendicular beams 31-1 and 31-2 are secured to each other using a corner bracket 57 and bolts 53 which pass through apertures 57.1 defined in the bracket 57. Attaching the beams 31 to each other as such forms the ring beam structure 18, which is particularly robust and serves to stabilise the building structure 10.

For an internal wall for the structure as shown in Figure 5, the structure is substantially the same as for the external wall, except the beams 31 are attached to either side of a support column 12 by the bolts 32. The two beams 31 in turn support the joists 20.

Figure 6 similarly shows the details for the roof section shown in Figure 4, with like numerals referring to like aspects of the invention. Figure 7 shows a modified version of the roof section, which includes a rectangular hollow section (RHS) 47 attached to the beam 31 b to which is attached a roof frame fixing 49 which is attached to the roof frame panel 50 above the ceiling 16b.

Figure 13 is a top schematic view showing the attachment of two perpendicular beams 31 to a support column 12 using a right angle bracket 58. It also shows two "C" shaped brackets 33, 33-1 for attaching the ceiling panel to the support column 12 and the second 33-2 for attaching the ceiling panel to the beam 31.

Figure 14 shows a modified version of Figure 13, and shows the support column 12 having a plate 70 attached thereto to which is attached the bracket 58.

Figure 15 shows a single storey installation illustrating further details of the lower retaining channel 72, as does, in particular, Figure 16. The channel 72 is an aluminium extrusion which is generally U-shaped when viewed in cross-section, having two operatively upwardly extending sidewalls 72.1, 72.2, and a dog-leg flange 72.3 extending outwardly from and along an operatively lower edge of the channel 72. In use, the channel 72 serves to receive the core panel 22.1 of a wall

panel section 22, a lower section 22.1.1 of which is slid into the channel 72, where it is lightly gripped in a slight interference fit manner. The sidewalls 72.1 , 72.2 are interconnected by a bridging section 72.4. When seen from above, in Figures 1

Outer and inner cladding panels (described below) are then attached to the core panel 22.1. The outer cladding panel is supported at a lower edge thereof by the longitudinally extending dog-leg flange 72.3. The provision of the dog-leg 73 flange, combined with the upwardiy extending walls 72.1, 72.2 of the channel 72 which engage with the core panel 22.1, serves to prevent water ingress into the building 10 via the foundation or slab. As before, the central column extends upwardly from a base plate 28 by which it is fixed to the channel and the foundation slab 14. The wall panels 22 and column in this embodiment are capped by an upper channel 74, through which fasteners 76, 78 extend. Advantageously, the system of the invention allows the external fasteners 76 to be in the form of nails or panel pins, which may easily be counterpunched and smoothed over to ensure a smooth outer surface. The internal fastener 78 is typically in the form of a screw. The upper channel 74 is made up mild steel or extruded aluminium and is shown in greater detail in Figure 17, where it may be seen that the channel 74 has two operatively downwardly extending sidewalls 74.1, 74.2, which are interconnected by a bridging section 74.3. A ceiling panel 16, similar in construction to the wall panels 22, is fixed through the upper channel 74 and beam 31 to the column 12 or the core panel 22.1 , depending on the positioning thereof. As such, when bolt 29b is tightened, the beam 31 is drawn downwardly toward the slab 14 and the lower retaining channel 72, thereby tying it down.

Figure 18 shows an alternative embodiment of the invention where support pillars are not utilized. In this embodiment, the beam 31 is attached directly to the lower retaining channel 72 by way of a tensile rod 76 which has a first threaded end which is locked to the beam 31 with a lock nut or fastener 78, and a lower threaded end 76.2, which is locked to the lower retaining channel 72 by way of a further lock nut or fastener 78.2. In this way, the beam 31 is once again drawn downwardly toward the lower retaining channel 72, thereby rendering the panel walls partially load bearing.

Figure 19 shows a top plan view of an assembly in accordance with one embodiment of the invention. This cross-sectional view shows two wall panels 22a and 22b and their respective cores 22a.1 and 22b.1. Outer cladding panels 22a.2 and 22b.2 are attached to the respective cores 22a, 22b, as are inner cladding panels 22a.3, 22b.3. The core panels 22a, 22b have crenellated abutment surfaces, profiled so that when placed adjacent each other in situ, a central cut-out 22a .4, 22b.4 in each core 22a, 22b is complemented by a mirroring cut-out 22a.4, 22b.4 so as to define a central cavity 79 through which a support column 12 is receivable. In alternative embodiments, the cavity encloses the elongate tensile rod 76 described hereinbefore (not shown in this drawing). In addition, further sideboards 80.1, 80.2 are included between the core panels 22a, 22b, to fill the gap between said panels and the respective cladding panels 22a.2, 22b.2 and 22a.3, 22b.3, in so doing providing further stiffening and rigidity to the structure.

The present invention thus provides, in one embodiment, a structure having support columns spaced at predetermined intervals, wall panels extending between the columns and wherein the columns are connected to each other by beams substantially forming a ring around the structure.