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Patent Searching and Data


Title:
BUILDING SYSTEMS, METHODS AND BUILDING ELEMENTS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2007/062487
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
Building systems and methods are disclosed, which comprise at least one elongate frame member and at least one connector. Each frame member has a pair of longitudinal grooves and each connector comprises a body having mating portions extending therefrom for connecting with the frame members. The body of the connector comprises a pair of grooves which form continuations of the respective pair of longitudinal grooves of the frame members when the connector is connected to the frame members.

Inventors:
DINNING RICHARD (AU)
Application Number:
AU2006/001837
Publication Date:
June 07, 2007
Filing Date:
December 04, 2006
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
TCLIP PTY LTD (AU)
DINNING RICHARD (AU)
International Classes:
E04B1/58; E04D5/00; F16B9/02
Foreign References:
EP1223298A22002-07-17
EP0150970B11988-08-31
US3000656A1961-09-19
JP2004176874A2004-06-24
US4484429A1984-11-27
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
FISHER ADAMS KELLY (12 Creek Street Brisbane, Queensland 4000, AU)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. A connector for a building system, said connector comprising: a body comprising at least two grooves in a surface thereof; and mating portions extending from the body for receiving frame members; wherein said at least two grooves form a continuation of respective longitudinal grooves in said frame members when connected to said frame members.

2. The connector as claimed in claim 1 , wherein the mating portions and the body are either solid or hollow.

3. The connector as claimed in claim 1 , wherein the body is solid and the mating portions extending therefrom are hollow.

4. The connector as claimed in claim 1 , wherein the one or more grooves in the body extend between at least two mating portions.

5. The connector as claimed in claim 1 , wherein the one or more grooves are in an upper surface of the body.

6. The connector as claimed in claim 5, wherein the upper surface of the body is planar or curved.

7. The connector as claimed in claim 1 , wherein the one or more grooves are substantially U-shaped in cross-section.

8. The connector as claimed in claim 1 , further comprising one or more inserts for securing sheet material in the one or more grooves of the body and/or the one or more longitudinal grooves of the frame members.

9. The connector as claimed in claim 1 , wherein an angle between mating

portions of the at least one connector is in the range 30°-180°.

10. The connector as claimed in claim 1 , wherein an angle between mating portions of the at least one connector is one of the following: 45°, 60°, 90°,

108°, 120°, 148°, 150°.

11. The connector as claimed in claim 1 , wherein the body substantially conforms to one of the following shapes: an elbow shape, a T-shape, a C- shape, a Y- shape, a cross shape.

12. The connector as claimed in claim 1 , wherein a cross-sectional shape of each mating portion is one of the following shapes: a semi-circle, a C shape, a U shape, a Y shape, a rectangle, a parallelogram, an oval, a regular polygon, an irregular polygon.

13. The connector as claimed in claim 1 , wherein part of an end face of the body is exposed around a perimeter of each mating portion.

14. The connector as claimed in claim 1 , further comprising a base extending from a side of the body opposite the surface comprising the at least two grooves.

15. An elongate frame member for a building system comprising: a pair of spaced apart longitudinal grooves for receiving flexible sheet material; and a hollow bore for receiving a mating portion of the connector as claimed in any of claims 1-14.

16. The elongate frame member as claimed in claim 15, further comprising a base section, a pair of opposed walls extending from the base section, a pair of opposed curved walls extending from the opposed wall and a top wall extending between the pair of opposed curved walls.

17. The elongate frame member as claimed in claim 15, wherein said hollow bore is formed from a top wall and a curved wall extending between opposed ends of the top wall.

18. The elongate frame member as claimed in claim 16 or 17, wherein the pair of spaced apart longitudinal grooves are provided in the top wall.

19. The elongate frame member as claimed in claim 15, further comprising one or more serrations on a wall of at least one of the longitudinal grooves.

20. The elongate frame member as claimed in claim 15, wherein the hollow bore is formed from a top wall, a pair of opposed curved walls extending from the top wall and one or more arcuate members extending from at least one of the pair of opposed curved walls.

21. The elongate frame member as claimed in claim 20, further comprising an elongate reinforcing member received within the hollow bore and supported by the one or more arcuate members.

22. The elongate frame member as claimed in claim 18, further comprising a substantially planar wall extending substantially perpendicular to the top wall and a flange extending from the top wall.

23. An elongate bracket for a building system for receiving the elongate frame member as claimed in any of claims 15-21 , said bracket comprising: a substantially planar section for attachment to a surface; and a flange extending from the substantially planar section for supporting the hollow bore of the elongate frame member.

24. An elongate bracket of claim 23, wherein the flange is curved to support a curved wall of the hollow bore.

25. A building system comprising: at least one elongate frame member as claimed in any of claims

15-22; and at least one connector as claimed in any of claims 1-14; wherein said at least two grooves in each connector form a continuation of the respective longitudinal grooves of the at least one elongate frame member when said connector is connected to said at least one elongate frame member.

26. The building system as claimed in claim 25, further comprising sheet material secured in the one or more grooves of the body of the connector and/or the one or more longitudinal grooves of the frame members with one or more inserts.

27. The building system as claimed in claim 25, further comprising the elongate bracket as claimed in claim 23 or 24.

28. A connector for the building system as claimed in any of claims 25-27, said connector comprising: a wall for attachment to a surface; and a mating portion extending from the wall for receiving one of the elongate frame members of the building system.

29. The connector of claim 28, wherein the mating portion is hollow or solid.

30. A method of construction including: connecting at least one elongate frame member to at least one

connector, each elongate frame member having a pair of longitudinal grooves and said at least one connector comprising a body having mating portions extending therefrom, said body comprising a pair of grooves forming a continuation between the respective longitudinal grooves of the at least one frame member.

31. The method as claimed in claim 30, further including inserting one or more sheets of sheet material in the grooves of the at least one connector and/or the at least one elongate frame members.

32. The method as claimed in claim 31 , further including inserting an insert in the grooves of the at least one connector and/or the at least one elongate frame members to retain the one or more sheets of sheet material.

33. A structure constructed in accordance with the building system as claimed in any of claims 25-27.

34. A structure constructed in accordance with the method as claimed in any of claims 30-32.

35. A connector for a building system comprising: a base; an elongate mating portion extending from said base, said elongate mating portion having a cross section formed from a major arcuate surface and a pair of adjacent minor arcuate surfaces extending between said

major arcuate surface.

36. The connector of claim 35, wherein said major arcuate surface comprises one or more ribs.

37. The connector of claim 35, wherein the base comprises a curved surface for mounting on the elongate frame member as claimed in any of claims 15- 21.

38. The connector of claim 35, further comprising a flange extending from a side of the base opposite the elongate mating portion.

39. An elongate bracing member comprising: a hollow bore formed from a curved wall and a planar wall extending between ends of the curved wall, said hollow bore capable of receiving the elongate mating portion of the connector as claimed in any of claims 35-38.

40. A structure comprising one or more of the following: the connector as claimed in any of claims 1-14, the elongate frame member as claimed in any of claims 15-22, the elongate bracket as claimed claim 23 or 24, the connector as claimed in any of claims 35-38, the elongate bracing member as claimed in claim 39.

Description:

TITLE BUILDING SYSTEMS, METHODS AND BUILDING ELEMENTS

FIELD OF THE INVENTIQN The present invention relates to building systems, methods and building elements. In particular, but not exclusively, the present invention relates to building systems and methods comprising interconnecting elements for the attachment of sheet material and panels.

BACKGROUND TO THE INVENTION

Component and modular building systems speed up the construction of buildings and make construction more accessible to smaller operators by reducing the requirements for specialized equipment and advanced skills.

An example of such a building system is disclosed in WO 99/24722. The system comprises a sheet material securing fastener comprising a fork member and a keeper member. The fork member has two arms and the keeper member may be inserted into the fork member to hold a portion of sheet material between the fork member and the keeper member. A tension control mechanism is also provided to enable a tensile force in the sheet to be controlled by repositioning the keeper member in the fork member. However, a drawback of this arrangement is that the fork member is cumbersome and necessitates a visible gap between the two arms which is unsightly. The fastener is also structurally complicated and expensive to manufacture.

US Patent 4,788,806 discloses a molding strip assembly which is adapted to secure a flexible covering on a support surface. The assembly includes a

molding element attachable to the surface and a mounting element that snap-fits into, and is secured by, the molding element. Each molding element has a retaining channel to lockably receive a latching structure that projects downwardly from a support wall of the mounting element. The flexible covering may extend along the support wall and be retained by the latching structure. Again this arrangement is complicated structurally and expensive to manufacture.

Similar drawbacks apply to the system disclosed in US Patent 4,662,038, which comprises a clip for retaining thin plastics material in tension. The clip comprises a pair of elongate channel members removably assembled together in an inverted relationship.

US Patent 4,233,790 discloses an extrusion having a locking element formed of a substantially rigid plastic material which is provided with spaced integral flexible projections which are adapted to be inserted in a channel formed in a rectangular frame so as to hold a flexible sheet locked in the channel.

US Patents 3,722,052, 3,840,960 and 3,789,563 disclose a structural beam having a pair of opposed metal extrusions having pre-formed slot structures extending therealong in which edge portions of a pair of opposed sheet metal side wall panels are secured by deforming certain of such panels relative to the others so that secure interconnection is effected without requiring separate fasteners.

Thus, in summary, conventional mounting and locking systems for holding flexible sheets as described in US Patents 4,233,790, 3,722,052, 3,840,960 and 3,789,563 are all complicated in construction and expensive to manufacture. The component building system marketed under the name Florida

Outdoor Rooms structure comprises a rectangular hollow section beam which

has a pair of spaced grooves in a top surface for retaining overlapping sheets of

flexible material by a rubber spline. The beam has a pair of inwardly directed

locking flanges on each side of the groove to prevent spline roll out. However,

beams are also interconnected by mitred edges, which limit effectiveness in

connecting adjacent beams.

In this specification, the terms "comprises", "comprising" or similar terms

are intended to mean a non-exclusive inclusion, such that a method, system or apparatus that comprises a list of elements does not include those elements solely, but may well include other elements not listed.

OBJECT OF THE INVENTION

It is an object of the present invention to address or at least ameliorate one or more of the aforementioned problems associated with the prior art or to provide a useful commercial alternative.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In one form, although it need not be the only or indeed the broadest form,

the invention resides in a connector for a building system, said connector

comprising: a body comprising at least two grooves in a surface thereof; and

mating portions extending from the body for receiving frame members;

wherein said at least two grooves form a continuation of respective

longitudinal grooves in said frame members.

The mating portions and the body may be solid or hollow. In a preferred

embodiment, the body is solid and the mating portions are hollow.

Preferably, the one or more grooves in the body extend between at least two mating portions.

Suitably, the grooves are in an upper surface of the body and the upper surface of the body may be planar or curved.

Suitably, the one or more grooves are substantially U-shaped in cross- section.

Preferably, the connector further comprises one or more inserts for securing sheet material in the grooves of the body and/or the longitudinal grooves of the frame members.

An angle between the mating portions may be in the range 30°-180° and in

some embodiments is one of the following angles: 45°, 60°, 90°, 108°, 120°,

148°, 150°.

The body may substantially conform to one of the following shapes: an elbow shape, a T-shape, a C-shape, a Y- shape, a cross shape.

A cross-sectional shape of each mating portion may be one of the following shapes: a semi-circle, a C shape, a U shape, a Y shape, a rectangle, a parallelogram, an oval, a regular polygon, an irregular polygon.

In another form, the invention resides in an elongate frame member for a building system comprising: a pair of spaced apart longitudinal grooves for receiving flexible sheet material; and a hollow bore for receiving a connector of the building system. The elongate frame member may further comprise a base section, a pair of opposed walls extending from the base section, a pair of opposed curved walls

extending from the opposed wall and a top wall extending between the pair of opposed curved walls.

The hollow bore may be formed from a top wall and a curved wall extending between opposed ends of the top wall. Alternatively, the hollow bore may be formed from a top wall, a pair of opposed curved walls extending from the top wall and one or more arcuate members extending from at least one of the pair of opposed curved walls.

The pair of spaced apart longitudinal grooves are preferably provided in the top wall and may comprise one or more serrations on a wall of at least one of the longitudinal grooves.

In another form, the invention resides in an elongate bracket for a building system for receiving at least one of tHe elongate frame members, said bracket comprising: a substantially planar section for attachment to a surface; and a flange extending from the substantially planar section for supporting the hollow bore of the elongate frame member.

The flange may be curved to support a curved wall of the hollow bore. In a further form, the invention resides in building system comprising: at least one of the aforementioned elongate frame members; and at least one of the aforementioned connectors; wherein said at least two grooves in each connector form a continuation of the respective longitudinal grooves of the at least one elongate frame member when said connector is connected to said at least one elongate frame member.

The building system preferably further comprises sheet material secured in the one or more grooves of the body of the connector and/or the one or more

longitudinal grooves of the frame members with one or more inserts.

In a yet further form, the invention resides in connector for the building system comprising: a wall for attachment to a surface; and a mating portion extending from the wall for receiving one of the elongate frame members of the building system.

The mating portion of the connector may be hollow or solid. In another form, the invention resides in method of construction including: connecting at least one elongate frame member to at least one connector, each elongate frame member having a pair of longitudinal grooves and said at least one connector comprising a body having mating portions extending therefrom, said body comprising a pair of grooves forming a continuation between the respective longitudinal grooves of the at least one frame member.

The method may further include inserting one or more sheets of sheet material in the grooves of the at least one connector and/or the at least one elongate frame members.

The method may further include inserting an insert in the grooves of the at least one connector and/or the at least one elongate frame members to retain the one or more sheets of sheet material. Further aspects and features of the present invention will become apparent from the following detailed description.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

By way of example only, preferred embodiments of the invention will be described more fully hereinafter with reference to the accompanying drawings,

wherein:

FIG 1 is a perspective view of a structure constructed in accordance with an embodiment of the building system of the present invention;

FIG 2 is a perspective view of frame members of the building system of FIG 1 ;

FIG 3 is a perspective view of further frame members of the building system;

FIG 3b is a perspective view of a bracket of the building system; FIG 4 is a perspective view of an ancillary connector of the invention; FIG 5 is a perspective view of a connector and frame members of the building system of the present invention;

FIGS 6a-6e show perspective views of various connectors of the building system of the invention;

FIG 7a is a perspective view of a frame member separated from a connector of the building system of the invention;

FIG 7b is a perspective view of a connected frame member and connector;

FIG 7c is a sectional view of a frame member showing sheet material retained in grooves of the frame member; FIGS 8a - 8e show perspective views of various connectors connecting two frame members;

FIGS 9a - 9c show further connectors of the present invention; FIG 10 is a perspective view of a combined frame member and bracket of the building system of the invention; FIG 11 is a perspective view of a bracing bar, brackets and further

connectors of the building system of the invention; and

FIG 12 is a perspective view showing the brackets and inserts shown in FIG 11 in use with the elongate frame member of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

In describing different embodiments and elements of the present invention common reference numerals are used to describe like features.

FIG 1 shows an assembled structure 100 constructed with the building system according to one embodiment of the invention. As shown in FIG 1 , the building system comprises a plurality of elongate frame members 101 , 102 forming a roof section connected together with a plurality of connectors 140. The building system comprises further frame members in the form of uprights 103, base members 104, 105 and upper frame members 106, 107 connected by connectors 140 to form structure 100. Building sheets 110, such as sheet material, flexible panels, mesh, cloth, plastics sheets or the like can be affixed to the elongate frame members to form walls of the structure, which will be described in more detail hereinafter. It will be appreciated that only part of one sheet 110 is shown in FIG 1.

Referring to FIG 2, there is shown an embodiment of a frame assembly 200 of the present invention that can be used to construct a structure, such as the structure shown in FIG 1. The frame assembly 200 comprises frame members in the form of a female elongate section 201 and a male elongate section 220. The female elongate section 201 comprises a first groove 202 and a second groove 203 which in combination form a pair of spaced apart grooves 202, 203 designed to allow one or more building sheets 110 to be attached to

the female elongate section 201 by a spline, insert or wedge as described in detail hereinafter.

As shown in FIG 2, the female elongate section 201 comprises a hollow bore 204 that runs the length of the female elongate section 201 and is adapted to receive male elongate section 220. Hollow bore 204 is formed by opposed arcuate members 212, 213 having a gap 215 therebetween. Female section 201 also comprises opposed planar walls 205 extending from a base wall 206.

Female section 201 also comprises top wall 208 which incorporates grooves 202 and 203 as well as opposed curved walls 210 extending between top wall 208 and planar walls 205.

In another arrangement, opposed arcuate members 212, 213 may be replaced by a continuous tubular section if desired to form bore 204.

Male elongate section 220 is complementary in shape to hollow bore 204.

This complementarity allows the male elongate section 220 to be inserted into and pass partly, or entirely, into hollow bore 204. Male elongate section 220 can act as a reinforcing member for the female elongate section 201 and/or a connector between adjacent female elongate sections 201.

As shown in FIG 2 male elongate section 220 has a planar section 221 and curved section 222 with hollow bore 223 such that the male elongate section 220 is substantially semicircular in cross-section. Hollow bore 223 is present to save on material and provide a strong lightweight structure. However, in alternative embodiments, male elongate section 220 can be solid if required.

To save on materials and therefore reduce cost, and to provide a lightweight structure without sacrificing any strength, as shown in FIG 2, advantageously female elongate section 201 may be formed from two hollow

sections. A first hollow section can be formed from opposed arcuate members 212, 213, hollow bore 204, grooves 202, 203, wall 208 and opposed curved sections 210. A second hollow section can be formed from hollow bore 214, base wall 206 and opposed side walls 205. The inverse of the embodiment depicted in FIG 2, wherein the twin grooves 202, 203 are comprised in a male elongate section is also encompassed in the invention and such an inverse embodiment is depicted in FIG 3. In this embodiment, frame assembly 300 of the building system comprises an elongate frame member, such as the frame members 101 , 102, 103, 104, 105, 106 or 107 of the structure 100 shown in FIG 1 , in the form of male elongate section 301 and an elongate bracket in the form of female elongate section 320.

Male elongate section 301 comprises a pair of elongate grooves 302, 303, a substantially planar section 305, which facilitates attachment to another planar member or flat surface (not shown), and a curved wall 306 that is substantially circular in cross-section. A hollow bore 304 extends throughout the length of male section 301 , although alternative embodiments can be solid if desired.

The female elongate section 320 has a substantially planar section or wall 324 that can be affixed to a surface, such as a wall, and a flange in the form of an arcuate section 322, extending from the substantially planar section 324. Arcuate section 322 is concave and complementary in shape to curved wall 306 of male elongate section 301. This complementarity allows the male elongate section 301 to be inserted in and retained and supported by arcuate section 322, which thus functions as a receiving channel. With reference to FIG 3a, according to another embodiment, female

elongate section 320 can be extruded in, or cut into, short lengths to produce a bracket 325, one or more of which can be used to support an awning or the like. Substantially planar section or wall 324 comprises one or more apertures 326 for attaching the bracket 325 to a surface, such as a wall. Apertures 326 can also be provided in the substantially planar section or wall 324 of the female elongate section 320 shown in FIG 3.

Reference will now be made to FIGS 4, 5, 6a, 6b, 6c, 6d and 6e showing examples of the connectors 140 according to embodiments of the present invention. FIG 4 shows one embodiment of an ancillary connector 440 comprising a wall in the form of attachment section 441 and a mating portion in the form of tubular component 450. Attachment section 441 can comprise one or more apertures 442 through which a fastener such as a screw, a bolt or a nail, can pass to secure connector 440 to a curved support structure (not shown). Tubular component 450 comprises a planar surface 451 , a curved wall 452 and a hollow bore 453. However, tubular component 450 may be replaced by a solid component if required. As described above, tubular component 450 is adapted for receiving male elongate section 220 or male elongate section 301 or being received in female elongate section 201 or female elongate section 320. FIG 5 shows a connector 540 comprising a body in the form of an attachment section 541 and mating portions in the form of a pair of tubular components 550. Attachment section 541 may be tubular having a hollow bore 542, which may be engageably received in a hollow support, for example, a tubular pole 543 shown in phantom in FIG 5. Alternatively, attachment section 541 may itself have an engagable support (not shown). Each tubular component

550 may be slidably received in mating hollow sections 551 in each elongate frame member 501. Mating hollow sections 551 are defined by opposed curved sections 552 and an upper wall comprising grooves 502 and 503. Connector 540 comprises intermediate section 554, which is received within a hollow bore 561 of a mating tubular component 560 of complementary shape, which resembles an ellipse in cross-section. Tubular component 560 can also include grooves 502 and 503, which can mate with continuation grooves (not shown) in section 554.

In similar fashion tubular components 550 can also have continuation grooves (not shown) which align with grooves 502 and 503 of each frame member 501. However, it is emphasized that connector 540 may only be an ancillary connector of the invention if the continuation grooves are omitted.

FIG 6a shows another example of a connector 640 of the invention comprising a body 658 and mating portions 641 extending from ends of the body 658. The mating portions 641 have a semi-circular cross-sectional shape, but alternative embodiments can have an alternative shape, such as a C shape, a U shape, a Y shape, a rectangle, a parallelogram, an oval, a regular polygon or an irregular polygon. It should be appreciated that the length the mating portions extend from the body 658 can vary between different embodiments. Spaced apart continuation grooves 648 are provided in an upper surface of the body 658, which are arcuate and extend between each mating portion 641. Flat end faces 649 of the body 658 are exposed around a perimeter of each mating portion 641 and abut an adjacent end of a frame member as described in more detail hereinafter with reference to FIGS 7a and 7b. As shown in FIGS 6a-6e, the path of the continuation grooves 648 as they

extend from one mating portion 641 through the body 658 to another mating portion 641 is determined by the angle between the mating portions 641. For example, in the connector 640 shown in FIG 6a, both continuation grooves 648 curve in a substantially parallel, spaced apart path through body 658 and terminate at each mating portion 641 , the mating portions being disposed at a

90° angle to one another in this embodiment. Throughout the curved path, the

continuation grooves 648 remain equidistant from one another.

In the connector 651 shown in FIG. 6b, both continuation grooves 648

extend through a 120° curve as they extend through body 658 between mating

portions 641 , which are disposed at a 120° angle to one another. Throughout

their orientation each continuation groove 648 is equidistant from one another. It will be noted that the upper surface of the body 658 is curved or convex between the mating portions 641 , whereas the upper surface of the body 658 of the previous connector embodiment shown in FIG 6a is planar. The connector 652 shown in FIG. 6c has three mating portions 641 extending from body 658, which is arranged in a T-shape. One continuation groove 648A extends linearly between mating portions 641 A, 641 B as shown. In

contrast each of continuation grooves 648B, 648C extend through a 90° curve or

arc as they extend between mating portions 641 A and 641 C and between mating portions 641 B and 641 C. Groove 648C is a mirror image of 648B and both grooves can be considered to comprise a pair of perpendicular linear portions linked by a curved portion.

Each of grooves 648A, 648B and 648C can align with grooves 202, 203 or 302, 303 of frame assemblies 200, 300 respectively. This enables flexible building panels, sheet material or the like to be inserted in grooves 202, 203 or

302, 303 and secured by a spline arrangement or rubber insert. Such insertion is supported by the corresponding continuation grooves 648.

The continuation grooves 648A, 648B and 648C extending through the body 658 further assist in the disposition of the panels or flexible material fitted to an adjacent frame member 101-107 flush with flat sections 649 such that no unsightly gaps or protrusions are visible.

It should be appreciated that mating portions 641 , 641 A, 641 B and 641 C may be oriented at any angle to vertical or horizontal as may be required to provide maximum flexibility in constructing structures with the building system of the present invention.

FIGS 6d and 6e show connectors 653 and 654 respectively which are similar to connectors 640 and 652 respectively. Connectors 653 and 654 differ to connectors 640 and 652 by having a base or foot 660 extending from a side of the body 658 opposite the surface comprising the grooves 648 that is adapted for being secured to another element.

FIG 7a shows the elongate frame member in the form of male elongate section 301 previously shown in FIG 3 ready to be attached to connector 652. FIG 7a also shows serrations 700 on inner walls of the longitudinal grooves 302, 303. In FIG 7b the male elongate section 301 has been attached to the connector 652 and the pair of grooves 302, 303 of the male elongate section 301 are aligned with and continued by continuation grooves 648A, 648B of the connector 652.

With additional reference to FIG 7c, it will be appreciated from the foregoing that building sheets 110 will be supported by flat or planar surfaces

701 , 702, of the male elongate section 301 and flat surfaces 703, 704, 705, 706 of connector 652 shown in FIG 7b. FIG 7c also shows the building sheets 110 retained in the grooves 302, 303 with splines, wedges or inserts 710. The splines, wedges or inserts 710 can be formed from rubber, aluminium, PVC or other material as required for the particular application. Whilst two separate sheets are shown in FIG 7c, one sheet retained in each groove, a single sheet can be retained in both grooves or multiple sheets can be retained in each or both grooves.

FIG 8a shows two male elongate sections 301 connected by connector

640 in which the two inserts 641 are orientated at 90° to one another. Hence, the two male elongate sections 301 , when connected to the connector 640, are also

oriented to each other at 90°.

The connector shown in FIG 8b is connector 651 which is also shown in FIG 6b. As shown in FIG 8b, when the two male elongate sections 301 are

connected to connector 651 they are oriented at 120° relative to one another and

are disposed in different planes.

FIGS 8c, 8d and 8e show three connectors 655, 656 and 657, respectively designed to connect two elongate sections 301 in different planes. Connector 655 connects the two elongate sections 301 so that one elongate section 301 extends, for example, in the horizontal plane while the other

elongate section 301 extends in the vertical plane i.e. so that they are 90° to

each other. Connectors 656 and 657 connect elongate sections 301 at 108° and

148° angles respectively. In FIGS 8a-8e, continuation grooves 648 in the body

658 of the connectors extend between the grooves 302, 303 of each elongate

male section 301.

FIGS 9a, 9b and 9c show further connectors according to embodiments of the present invention. FIG 9a shows a connector 940 comprising a mating portion in the form of a tubular insert 941 having a hollow bore 942. The mating portion extends from a base in the form of an attachment section 943 having one or more attachment apertures 944. The mating portion can receive the elongate frame members of the present invention within the hollow bore 942 or the mating portion can be received by the hollow bore of the elongate frame members.

FIG 9b shows another embodiment of an ancillary connector 950 comprising a mating portion in the form of a tubular section 951 having a hollow bore 952. Tubular section 951 comprises a base wall 953 having one or more attachment apertures 954 for attaching the connector 950 to a suitable support, such as the ground or a wall. Tubular section 951 is formed from a planar wall

955 and a substantially circular wall 956. The mating portion can receive the elongate frame members of the present invention within the hollow bore 952 or the mating portion can be received by the hollow bore of the elongate frame members.

FIG 9c shows a variation on the connector shown in FIG 9b in which planar wall 955 includes a gap or slot 960 to facilitate access to the one or more attachment apertures 954. Slot 960 also makes the casting process easier. FIG 9c also shows elongate frame member 301 , which goes over the connector 950 such that the hollow bore 304 of the connector 950 receives the tubular section 951.

FIG 10 shows a combined or integral frame member and bracket 1000 of the building system of the invention. Integral frame member and bracket 1000

comprises an elongate, substantially planar section or wall 1010 integrally formed with elongate frame member 1020 having the same cross-sectional shape and features of the elongate frame member 301 shown in FIG 3. Elongate frame member 1020 comprises a flange 1030 that extends from the top wall 1040 that comprises elongate grooves 302, 303. Flange 1030 allows conventional roofing elements, such as roof trusses or the like, to be attached thereto by passing fasteners through flange 1030 from the top or from underneath. Substantially planar section or wall 1010 is substantially perpendicular to the top wall 1040. Referring to FIG 11 , the building system of the present invention further comprising an elongate bracing member 1100 that can be used with the elongate frame members to provide further support and structural integrity where required in situations where it is inconvenient and/or undesirable to use further elongate frame members. Such situations may include where there is insufficient space available, where mass is a factor and/or where it is undesirable to obscure a view from the structure.

Elongate bracing member 1100 comprises a curved wall 1110 that is substantially circular in cross-section and a planar wall 1120 extending between ends of the curved wall 1110, thus creating a hollow bore 1125. A groove 1130 is provided in the planar wall 1120 to receive sheet material in a similar manner as described above in relation to the elongate frame members. One or more serrations 1140 are provided along an inner wall 1150 to facilitate retention of the sheet material in the groove 1130 using a spline or insert 710 as described above. FIG 11 also shows a plurality of connectors 1160, 1165, 1170, each

comprising a base 1175 and an elongate mating portion 1180. Each mating portion 1180 is formed from a major arcuate surface 1182 and a pair of adjacent minor arcuate surfaces 1184, the radius of curvature of the major arcuate surface 1182 being greater than that of each minor arcuate surface 1184. In the embodiment shown, the radius of curvature of each minor arcuate surface 1184 is the same, but in other embodiments they can differ. Nonetheless, the mating portion 1180 is of a size and shape to be received within the hollow bore 1125 elongate bracing member 1100. The base 1175 of connector 1160 comprises a curved surface 1186 having a radius of curvature suitable to be mounted on the curved surface 306 of elongate frame member 301 and the base 1175 of connector 1165 comprises a flat surface 1188 for mounting on, for example, a wall. The base 1175 of connector 1170 comprises a flange 1190 extending from the base in an opposite direction to the elongate mating portion 1180, the flange 1190 having an aperture 1192 therethrough. FIG 11 also shows two brackets 1194, 1196 each comprising a flange

1198 extending from a base 1175. The flange comprises an aperture 1199 therethrough for attachment to lug 1190 of connector 1170 with a fastener (not shown), such as a nut and bolt passing through apertures 1192 and 1199. Brackets 1194, 1196 respectively comprise a curved surface 1186 for mounting on elongate frame member 301 and a flat surface 1188 for mounting on, for example, a wall.

FIG 12 shows the connector 1160 and the bracket 1194 mounted to the curved surface 306 of elongate frame member 301 and connector 1170 attached to the bracket 1194 in a substantially vertical orientation, although the fastener is not shown. FIG 12 also shows bracket 1196 with connector 1170 attached to

the bracket 1196 at an acute angle, although the fastener is not shown. FIG 12 also shows that the elongate mating portions 1180 of the connectors 1160, 1165, 1170 further comprise one or more ribs 1200 extending along the major arcuate surface 1182 to further facilitate the mating portions 1180 being engagably received within the hollow bore 1125 of elongate bracing members 1100.

The building system described herein is flexible, allowing the builder to select components to suit the exact structure being built. The building system described herein also permits attachment of two sheets of material or two flexible building panels to one longitudinal section so that the sheets are continuous. This provides a visually attractive product.

The inventors have found the provision of continuous grooves through the connector adds a great deal of strength to the holding power of the spline. Additionally, the provision of two grooves gives increased strength overall for a continuous sheet and advantageously creates the opportunity to put different coloured, textured and/or types of fabrics, sheet material or flexible panels in the one plane by way of a double joiner. Further advantages of the grooves of the connectors being continuous with the grooves of the frame members include sheets being fitted to the building system without requiring squares to be cut out in order to be fitted to the connector and beam. Throughout the specification the aim has been to describe the invention without limiting the invention to any one embodiment or specific collection of features. Persons skilled in the relevant art may realize variations from the specific embodiments that will nonetheless fall within the scope of the invention.




 
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