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Title:
A CLADDING ASSEMBLY
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2017/201578
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The present invention relates to a cladding assembly for cladding a structure, including a frame member, a frame formed by frame members and a preformed panel including a panel member. The preformed panel is formed by a frame member fastened at least partially around an outer edge of the panel member or the panel member being operatively associated with the frame. The frame member of the present invention includes at least two ends and at least five walls including a structure facing wall, an opposed panel member abutting wall, an intermediate wall positioned between and extending substantially parallel to the structure facing wall and the panel member abutting wall, a connecting wall and either an outer frame wall or an inner frame wall. In some embodiments, the panel member is a fire retardant panel member.

Inventors:
DAY, Simon (1630 Chambers Flat Road, Chambers Flat, Queensland 4133, 4133, AU)
LEE, Richard Anthony (45 Mountain Road, Laidley, Queensland 4341, 4341, AU)
MARSKELL, Steve (8/175 Ocean Drive, Twin Waters, Queensland 4564, 4564, AU)
Application Number:
AU2017/050488
Publication Date:
November 30, 2017
Filing Date:
May 25, 2017
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
DAY, Simon (1630 Chambers Flat Road, Chambers Flat, Queensland 4133, 4133, AU)
LEE, Richard Anthony (45 Mountain Road, Laidley, Queensland 4341, 4341, AU)
MARSKELL, Steve (8/175 Ocean Drive, Twin Waters, Queensland 4564, 4564, AU)
International Classes:
E04C2/38; E04B2/78; E04B2/88; E04C2/40; E04F13/08; E04F13/12
Domestic Patent References:
WO2014071450A12014-05-15
Foreign References:
US20090241451A12009-10-01
US20110283635A12011-11-24
US5724784A1998-03-10
US20160138273A12016-05-19
US20080168723A12008-07-17
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
IP GATEWAY PATENT AND TRADE MARK ATTORNEYS PTY LTD (PO Box 1321, Springwood, Queensland 4127, 4000, AU)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. A frame member adapted to be fastened to at least one panel member to form a preformed panel for use in a cladding assembly for cladding a structure, said frame member including:

at least two ends; and

at least five walls including:

a structure facing wall;

an opposed panel member abutting wall having an outer surface and an opposed inner surface;

an intermediate wall positioned between and extending substantially parallel to the structure facing wall and the panel member abutting wall;

either one of:

an outer frame wall extending between the panel member abutting wall and the intermediate wall; or

an inner frame wall extending between the structure facing wall and the intermediate wall; and

at least one connecting wall extending between either the intermediate wall and the structure facing wall or the intermediate wall and the panel member abutting wall,

wherein:

when said frame member includes the outer frame wall, the inner surface of the panel member abutting wall at least partially abuts against the at least one panel member; and

when said frame member includes the inner frame wall, the outer surface of the panel member abutting wall at least partially abuts against the at least one panel member.

2. The frame member of claim 1, wherein frame member includes the outer frame wall which extends between the panel member abutting wall and the intermediate wall and wherein the inner surface of the panel member abutting wall at least partially abuts against the at least one panel member.

3. The frame member of claim 1, wherein the frame member includes the inner frame wall, which extends between the structure facing wall and the intermediate wall and wherein the outer surface of the panel member abutting wall at least partially abuts against the at least one panel member.

4. The frame member of any one of claims 1 to 3, wherein the at least one panel member is a fire retardant panel member.

5. A frame of a performed panel for use in a cladding assembly for cladding a structure, said frame including:

at least two frame members each as defined in any one of claims 1 to 4 and joined together to form the frame; and at least two joining components, each joining component operatively associated with each frame member to join the at least two frame members together.

6. The frame of claim 5, wherein each joining component includes two component pieces, each piece attachable to one of the at least two frame members to be joined and wherein the two component pieces are hinged together.

7. The frame of claim 6, wherein each joining component piece has a substantially T-shaped cross section and includes an elongate frame coupling member and a hinge member for rotatably coupling with the hinge member of a like joining component piece.

8. The frame of claim 7, wherein the frame member coupling member of each joining component piece clamps over at least two shoulder of one of the at least two frame members, including a first shoulder defined on the outer surface of the panel member abutting wall of the frame member and a second shoulder defined on an outer surface of the structure facing wall of the frame member.

9. A preformed panel for use in a cladding assembly for cladding a structure, the preformed panel including:

a frame as defined in any one of claims 5 to 8; and

at least one fire retardant panel member operatively associated with the frame to form the preformed panel.

10. The preformed panel of claim 9, wherein the at least one fire retardant panel member is formed from a mixture comprising at least 30 wt% magnesium oxide and at least one binding or filling agent.

11. The preformed panel of claim 9 or claim 10, wherein the at least one fire retardant panel member includes an interior portion positioned in between two opposed surfaces of the panel member, the interior portion including at least a first reinforcing mesh positioned in the middle of the interior portion, the panel member including at least a second reinforcing mesh at or near one of the two opposed surfaces of the panel member.

12. The preformed panel of claim 11, wherein the at least one fire retardant panel member includes at least a third reinforcing mesh positioned at or near the other of the two opposed surface of the panel member.

13. The preformed panel of claim 11 or claim 12, wherein the reinforcing meshes are spaced apart from one another.

14. The preformed panel of any one of claims 9 to 13, wherein the at least one fire retardant panel member comprises no more than 60 wt% magnesium oxide.

15. The preformed panel of any one of claims 9 to 14, wherein the at least one fire retardant panel member is fastened to the frame such that the inner surface of the panel member abutting wall of each of the at least two frame members forming the frame at least partially abuts against the least one fire retardant panel member.

16. The preformed panel of any one of claims 9 to 14, wherein the at least one fire retardant panel member is fastened to the frame such that the outer surface of the panel member abutting wall of each of the at least two frame members forming the frame at least partially abuts against the least one fire retardant panel member.

17. The preformed panel of any one of claims 9 to 14, wherein each of the at least two frame members forming the frame define a channel or groove for at least partially receiving an outer edge of the least one fire retardant panel member, wherein the channel or groove is defined between the panel member abutting wall, the outer frame wall and the intermediate wall of each frame member.

18. The preformed panel of any one of claims 9 to 14, wherein the at least one fire retardant panel member is fastened to the frame by one or more couplers associated with each of the at least two frame members forming the frame, wherein each coupler has a substantially L-shaped cross section including a frame coupling member configured to clamp over at least two shoulders of each frame member, including a first shoulder defined on the outer surface of the panel member abutting wall of the frame member and a second shoulder defined on an outer surface of the structure facing wall of the frame member, and a panel member abutting or fastening member configured to be fastened to the at least one fire retardant panel member.

19. The preformed panel of any one of claims 9 to 18, further including a cover panel adapted to be fitted over the frame and the at least one fire retardant panel member.

20. A cladding assembly for cladding a structure, the assembly including:

a plurality of preformed panels each as define in any one of claims 9 to 19; and

one or more fasteners for fastening each said preformed panel to the structure.

21. The cladding assembly of claim 20, wherein each frame member forming the frame of each preformed panel includes a receiving opening for receiving the one or more fasteners for fastening the frame of each performed panel to the structure.

22. The cladding assembly of claim 21, wherein the one or more fasteners include one or more tags, each adapted to be associated with a frame member of the frame of each preformed panel via the receiving opening.

23. The cladding assembly of claim 21, wherein the one or more fasteners include a frame fastening bracket adapted to be associated with a frame member of the frame of each preformed panel via the receiving opening.

Date: 25 May 2017

Description:
A CLADDING ASSEMBLY

TECHNICAL FIELD

[0001] The present invention relates to a cladding assembly for attachment to an external surface of a structure or building. In particular, the present invention relates to a preformed panel for use in a cladding assembly.

BACKGROUND

[0002] The facade or external appearance of a structure or building is often one of the most important visual aspects of the structure or building from a design standpoint.

[0003] The advent of modern building practices through the use of structural steel and reinforced concrete has dramatically changed the way facades are used. The importance of load-bearing walls has diminished, which, in turn, has resulted in a decreased use of traditional masonry facades and an increased use of modern cladding systems that are suspended from or attached to a structure or building to form a facade.

[0004] Many modern cladding systems use metallic panels made from light-weight metals, such as, e.g., aluminium composite materials. Such cladding systems are becoming increasingly popular due to the many advantages they provide. For example, such cladding systems are mainly manufactured by extrusion, which allows various profiles for different uses to be produced with relative ease and at a reasonably low cost. Furthermore, such metallic panels have a visually appealing external appearance that may further be modified or customised with relative ease by various surface treatment processes. Lastly, such cladding systems are light weight and substantially maintenance-free.

[0005] Despite the above, a problem associated with the use of light-weight metal aluminium composite materials in building products is that the polyethylene material typically used in the core of such products is highly combustible. As such, the material poses a significant fire risk and has been found to assist in the spread of fire in a fire event.

[0006] Another problem associated with modern cladding systems is that they are labour intensive and time consuming to assemble and install. This is because, typically, each cladding unit is assembled on site from multiple parts and individually suspended from or attached to a structure or building. The act of installing each cladding unit is particularly labour intensive and time consuming, often initially requiring the fitting of various frames and brackets to the structure or building prior to fitting the actual cladding.

[0007] As such, a further and resultant problem associated with modern cladding systems is that they are expensive.

[0008] A yet further problem associated with modern cladding systems is that they are not readily compatible with other cladding systems. For instance, a structure or building may incorporate portions of curtain walling suspended from concrete floor slabs with portions of other modern cladding systems to achieve a desired aesthetic affect. However, as alluded to, the installation process is typically difficult requiring onsite engineering with no guarantee that the resultant join between the two types of modern cladding systems will not detract or mar the desired aesthetic affect.

[0009] The inventors have addressed one or more of the aforementioned problems by virtue of their cladding assembly as disclosed in International Patent Publication No. WO 2014/071450 Al, which is herein incorporated by reference in its entirety. However, the inventors recognise that refinements of the invention are possible in order to further improve the cladding assembly.

SUMMARY OF INVENTION

[0010] Embodiments of the present invention provide a cladding assembly including a frame member, a frame and a preformed panel including at least one panel member, which may overcome at least one of the problems mentioned above or which may provide the public with a useful or commercial choice.

[0011] According to a first aspect of the present invention, there is provided a frame member adapted to be fastened to at least one panel member to form a preformed panel, said frame member including:

at least two ends; and

at least five walls including:

a structure facing wall;

an opposed panel member abutting wall having an outer surface and an opposed inner surface;

an intermediate wall positioned between and extending substantially parallel to the structure facing wall and the panel member abutting wall;

either one of:

an outer frame wall extending between the panel member abutting wall and the intermediate wall; or

an inner frame wall extending between the structure facing wall and the intermediate wall; and

at least one connecting wall extending between either the intermediate wall and the structure facing wall or the intermediate wall and the panel member abutting wall, wherein:

when said frame member includes the outer frame wall, the inner surface of the panel member abutting wall at least partially abuts against the at least one panel member; and

when said frame member includes the inner frame wall, the outer surface of the panel member abutting wall at least partially abuts against the at least one panel member.

[0012] In a first form, the frame member includes:

at least two ends; and

at least five walls including:

a structure facing wall;

an opposed panel member abutting wall having an outer surface and an opposed inner surface;

an intermediate wall positioned between and extending substantially parallel to the structure facing wall and the panel member abutting wall;

an outer frame wall extending between the panel member abutting wall and the intermediate wall; and

at least one connecting wall extending between the intermediate wall and the structure facing wall,

wherein the inner surface of the panel member abutting wall at least partially abuts against the at least one panel member.

[0013] In a second form, the frame member includes:

at least two ends; and

at least five walls including:

a structure facing wall;

an opposed panel member abutting wall having an outer surface and an opposed inner surface;

an intermediate wall positioned between and extending substantially parallel to the structure facing wall and the panel member abutting wall;

an inner frame wall extending between the structure facing wall and the intermediate wall; and

at least one connecting wall extending between the intermediate wall and the panel member abutting wall,

wherein the outer surface of the panel member abutting wall at least partially abuts against the at least one panel member.

[0014] According to a second aspect of the present invention, there is provided a frame of a preformed panel for use in a cladding assembly for cladding a structure, said frame including: at least two frame members each as defined in the first aspect and joined together to form the frame; and

at least two joining components, each joining component operatively associated with each frame member to join the at least two frame members together.

[0015] According to a third aspect of the present invention, there is provided a preformed panel for use in a cladding assembly for cladding a structure, the preformed panel including:

at least one frame member as defined in the first aspect; and

at least one panel member,

wherein the at least one frame member is configured to be fastened at least partially around an outer edge of the least one panel member to form the preformed panel.

[0016] According to a fourth aspect of the present invention, there is provided a preformed panel for use in a cladding assembly for cladding a structure, the preformed panel including:

a frame as defined in the second aspect; and

at least one panel member operatively associated with the frame to form the preformed panel.

[0017] According to a fifth aspect of the present invention, there is provided a preformed panel for use in a cladding assembly for cladding a structure, the preformed panel including:

at least one fire retardant panel member; and

at least one frame member configured to be fastened at least partially around an outer edge of the least one fire retardant panel member to form the preformed panel.

[0018] According to a sixth aspect of the present invention, there is provided a cladding assembly for cladding a structure, the assembly including:

a plurality of preformed panels each as defined in any one of the third, fourth or fifth aspects; and

one or more fasteners for fastening each said preformed panel to the structure.

[0019] Advantageously, the cladding assembly of the present invention may be readily installed on site by engaging one or more fasteners with each preformed panel and fastening the preformed panels via the engaged fasteners to a structure or building. As such, the cladding assembly of the present invention is less time consuming and labour intensive to install compared to modern cladding systems and is thus a cost-effective alternative to such modern cladding systems. Moreover, due to the simplified installation process and the already assembled nature of the cladding assembly as preformed panels, the cladding assembly of the present invention is able to be readily installed adjacent other forms of cladding and the like. Lastly, in embodiments in which the panel is a fire retardant panel, the present invention provides a cladding assembly with enhanced fire retardant properties than other modern cladding systems.

[0020] As indicated above, the preformed panel of the present invention includes at least one panel member around which at least one frame member is fastened to form the preformed panel or which is operatively associated with a frame formed from at least two frame members to form the preformed panel. The at least one panel member may be of any suitable size, shape and construction and be formed from any suitable material or materials.

[0021] Generally, the at least one panel member may have a polygonal shape suitable for tiling or forming a tessellation. Typically, the at least one panel member may be substantially rectangular, triangular, hexagonal, heptagonal, octagonal or oblong shaped, or any variation or combination thereof. Preferably, the at least one panel member may be rectangular or square-shaped.

[0022] Typically, the at least one panel member may have two opposed surfaces including an outward facing surface and an opposed structure facing surface. The opposed surfaces may be substantially parallel to one another and interconnected by opposing edges including opposed side edges and opposed top and bottom edges. In some embodiments, the opposed sides edges may be profiled to enable the at least one panel member to be joined side edge to side edge with another panel member.

[0023] In some embodiments, the at least one panel member may be formed from metal, plastic, glass, fibre, concrete, stone and/or wood material or materials, preferably metal and/or plastic material or materials, more preferably metal material or materials.

[0024] The at least one panel member may be of any suitable thickness. For example, the at least one panel member may have a thickness of at least 10mm, at least 15mm, at least 20mm, at least 25mm, at least 30mm, at least 35mm, at least 40mm, at least 45mm, at least 50mm, at least 55mm, at least 60mm, at least 65mm, at least 70mm, at least 75mm, at least 80mm, at least 85mm, at least 90mm, at least 95mm or even at least 100mm between the opposed surfaces of the panel member. Typically, the at least one panel member may have a thickness of about 10mm to 50mm, preferably about 20mm to 40mm.

[0025] In preferred embodiments, the at least one panel member may include a fire retardant panel member. The fire retardant panel member may be of any suitable construction and formed from any suitable material or materials that are at least partially fire retardant.

[0026] Typically, the fire retarding panel member may be formed from a mixture of magnesium oxide and at least one binding or filling agent. [0027] The fire retardant panel member may include an interior portion positioned between the opposed surfaces. The interior portion may include at least one reinforcing mesh to at least partially enhance the structural strength of the panel. The at least one reinforcing mesh may preferably extend in a substantially parallel orientation relative to the opposed surfaces. Typically, the at least one reinforcing mesh may be positioned in the middle of the interior portion, preferably substantially midway between the opposed surface of the fire retardant panel member.

[0028] The fire retardant panel member may typically be moulded. For example, the fire retardant panel member may be formed by positioning the at least one reinforcing mesh in a mould containing a slurry comprising the mixture (containing magnesium oxide or a magnesium oxide precursor and the at least one binding or filling agent) such that at lease some slurry particles are able to pass through the at least one reinforcing mesh. The at least one reinforcing mesh may preferably be resistant to acidic and/or alkaline conditions.

[0029] In some embodiments, the fire retardant panel member may include more than one reinforcing mesh.

[0030] For example, in one embodiment, the fire retardant panel member may include a first reinforcing mesh positioned in the middle of the interior portion and a second reinforcing mesh positioned at or near one of the opposed surfaces of the fire retardant panel member.

[0031] In another embodiment, the fire retardant panel member may include a third reinforcing mesh positioned at or near the other of the opposed surfaces of the fire retardant panel member.

[0032] In yet another embodiment, the fire retardant panel member may include a plurality of reinforcing mesh positioned between the opposed surfaces of the retardant panel member, preferably spaced apart from one another.

[0033] In embodiments of the fire retardant panel member including more than one reinforcing mesh, adjacently positioned reinforcing mesh may be spaced any suitable distance from one another. Typically, the adjacently positioned reinforcing mesh may be spaced 2mm to 8mm from one another, preferably 3mm to 6mm from one another.

[0034] The mixture may contain any suitable amount of magnesium oxide. For example, the mixture may contain at least 10 wt%, at least 20 wt%, at least 30 wt%, at least 40 wt%, at least 50 wt%, at least 60 wt%, at least 70 wt%, at least 80 wt% or at least 90 wt% magnesium oxide. Typically, the mixture may contain no more than 60 wt% magnesium oxide, preferably about 30 wt % to about 60 wt% magnesium oxide. [0035] The mixture may include any suitable binding or filling agent or agents.

[0036] In some embodiments, the binding agent may be a carbonaceous material, such as, e.g., a carbon fibre or a cellulosic fibre. For example, the mixture may contain at least 5 wt% cellulose, preferably 5 to 20 wt%.

[0037] In some embodiments, the filling agent may include perlite. For example, the mixture may contain at least 2 wt% perlite, preferably at least 6 wt%, more preferably 6 to 12 wt%. The perlite may preferably include, by volume, 64% silicon, 14.2% potassium, 10.9% aluminium, 3.8% sodium, 3.2% iron, 2.5% calcium, 0.5% arsenic, 0.3% titanium, 0.3% manganese, 0.1% rubidium and 0.1% zirconium. The use of perlite as a filling agent provides several advantages in forming the fire retardant panel, including that it is a light-weight material and thus does not substantially contribute to the overall weight of the fire retardant panel, and that it is expandable under high temperature and thus acts as a fire retardant.

[0038] In some embodiments, the filling agent may include fly ash. Advantageously, the use of fly ash as a filling agent may at least partially enhance the overall strength and density of the mixture and decrease permeability of the mixture. The mixture may contain at least 5 wt% fly ash, preferably 5 to 20 wt%.

[0039] In some embodiments, the mixture may further include a hydrophobizing agent, such as, e.g., SHP 50 or SHP 60 (manufactured by Dow Chemicals). The hydrophobizing agent may be dispersed in the mixture.

[0040] In some embodiments, the mixture may further include a dispersant for dispersing constituents of the mixture. The dispersing agent may include formaldehyde-2-naphthalenesulfonic acid copolymer sodium salt, for example, for dispersing magnesium oxide.

[0041] In some embodiments, the mixture may further include an acid, such as, e.g., a polybasic acid, preferably oxalic acid.

[0042] In some embodiment, the mixture may further include magnesium chloride. For example, the mixture may include at least 5 wt% or at least 10 wt% magnesium chloride, preferably the latter, more preferably 10 wt% to 30 wt% magnesium chloride.

[0043] In use, the fire retardant panel member is adapted to reflect at least a part of thermal and/or ultraviolet radiation incident on the panel member. The panel member forming mixture may further include additives for at least partially reducing emissivity of the panel member.

[0044] In some embodiments, the fire retardant panel member may include ceramic particle material for forming the interior portion of the panel. For example, the ceramic particle material may include at least 0.01% of the total dry weight of the panel, preferably 0.01% to 5% of the total dry weight of the panel, more preferably 0.02% to 3% of the total dry weight of the panel.

[0045] In some embodiments, the fire retardant panel member may include at least one fabric layer positioned at or near one or both of the opposed surfaces of the panel member. The fabric layer may contact or form part of a surface of the panel member.

[0046] The frame member may be of any suitable size, shape and construction and formed from any suitable material or materials to be fastened to the at least one panel member to form the preformed panel and/or joined together with at least one other like frame member to form a frame with which the panel member is operatively associated to form the preformed panel.

[0047] The frame member may have an elongate shape. The frame member may be linear or curved, preferably linear. In some embodiments, the frame member may include one or more bends.

[0048] Typically, the frame member may be formed from metal or plastic, preferably metal, such as, e.g., corrosion resistant metal. Most preferably, the frame member may be formed from aluminium, titanium or a composite thereof.

[0049] The frame member may be constructed by any suitable means. For example, the frame member may be machine folded from sheet metal or may be an extrusion. Preferably, the frame member may be an extrusion.

[0050] The frame member may have any suitable profile shape that provides the at least five walls including the structure facing wall, the opposed panel member abutting wall, the intermediate wall, the connecting wall and the inner frame wall or the outer frame wall.

[0051] For example, in some embodiments, the frame member may have a profile shape that is square-shaped, rectangular, pentagonal, hexagonal, heptagonal or octagonal, or any variation or combination thereof. In other embodiments, the frame member may have a profile shape that is substantially U-shaped, S-shaped or Z-shaped, or any variation or combination thereof. Preferably, the frame member may have a profile shape that is substantially Z-shaped.

[0052] In the first form of the first aspect of the present invention, the frame member includes a structure facing wall, an opposed panel member abutting wall, an intermediate wall position between and extending substantially parallel to the structure facing wall and the opposed panel member abutting wall, an outer frame wall and at least one connecting wall extending between the intermediate wall and the structure facing wall. [0053] The panel member abutting wall may have a free inner edge and an opposed outer edge. The free inner edge may include an inner edge protrusion.

[0054] The intermediate wall may have an inner edge and an opposed outer edge.

[0055] The outer frame wall may extend from the outer edge of the panel member abutting wall to the outer edge of the intermediate wall, preferably the outer frame wall may extend orthogonally from the outer edge of the panel member abutting wall to the outer edge of the intermediate wall.

[0056] The intermediate wall may extend from the outer frame wall a same length or shorter than the panel member abutting wall, preferably shorter. Preferably, the intermediate wall may extend orthogonally from the from the outer frame wall.

[0057] The structure facing wall may have a free outer edge and an opposed inner edge. The free outer edge, like the free inner edge of the panel member abutting wall, may include an outer edge protrusion.

[0058] The at least one connecting wall may extend between the inner edge of the structure facing wall to the intermediate wall.

[0059] In some embodiments, the at least one connecting wall may extend from the inner edge of the structure facing wall to an inner edge of the intermediate wall, preferably orthogonally.

[0060] In preferred embodiments, the at least one connecting wall may extend from the inner edge of the structure facing wall to the outer edge of the intermediate wall. Typically, the at least one connecting wall may be in the form of at least one angled wall extending between inner edge of the structure facing wall to the outer edge of the intermediate wall. The inner edge of the intermediate wall may preferably be a free inner edge.

[0061] The at least one connecting wall may be a single wall or may include two or more connecting wall segments having differing orientations relative to one another.

[0062] For example, in one embodiment, the at least one connecting wall may include at least two connecting wall segments. The connecting wall may include a first connecting wall segment extending from the outer edge of the intermediate wall and a second connecting wall segment extending from the first connecting wall segment toward the inner edge of the structure facing wall. Preferably, the first connecting wall segment may extend orthogonally from the outer edge of the intermediate wall. The first connecting wall segment may further define an elongate channel or groove extending at least partially along a longitudinal length of the frame member, preferably along an outer surface of the frame member. [0063] In another embodiment, the at least one connecting wall may include at least three connecting wall segments. The connecting wall may further include a third connecting wall segment extending between the second connecting wall segment and the inner edge of the structure facing wall. The third connecting wall segment may preferably extend orthogonally from the inner edge of the structure facing wall. Like the first connecting wall segment, the third connecting wall segment may also further define an elongate channel or groove extending at least partially along a longitudinal length of the frame member, preferably along an outer surface of the frame member.

[0064] The one or more elongate channels or grooves extending at least partially along a longitudinal length of the frame member will be described in further detail later.

[0065] In the second form of the first aspect of the present invention, the frame member includes a structure facing wall, an opposed panel member abutting wall, an intermediate wall positioned between and extending substantially parallel to the structure facing wall and the opposed panel member abutting wall, an inner frame wall and at least one connecting wall extending between the intermediate wall and the panel member abutting wall.

[0066] The panel member abutting wall may have a free inner edge and an opposed outer edge. The free inner edge may include an inner edge protrusion.

[0067] The intermediate wall may have an inner edge and an opposed outer edge.

[0068] The at least one connecting wall may extend between the outer edge of the panel member abutting wall to the intermediate wall.

[0069] As with the frame member of the first form, in some embodiments, the at least one connecting wall may extend from the outer edge of the panel member abutting wall to the outer edge of the intermediate wall, preferably orthogonally.

[0070] However, in preferred embodiments, the at least one connecting wall may extend from the outer edge of the panel member abutting wall to the inner edge of the intermediate wall. Typically, the at least one connecting wall may again be in the form of at least one angled wall extending between outer edge of the panel member abutting wall to the inner edge of the intermediate wall. The outer edge of the intermediate wall may preferably be a free outer edge.

[0071] The structure facing wall may have a free outer edge and an opposed inner edge. The free outer edge, like the free inner edge of the panel member abutting wall, may include an outer edge protrusion.

[0072] The inner frame wall may extend from the inner edge of the intermediate wall to the inner edge of the structure facing wall.

[0073] The inner frame wall may extend from the inner edge of the intermediate wall to the inner edge of the structure facing wall, preferably orthogonally.

[0074] The intermediate wall may extend in the same direction as the structure facing wall and may be of the same length or shorter than the structure facing wall, preferably shorter.

[0075] As with the frame member of the first form, the at least one connecting wall may include two or more connecting wall segments having differing orientations as described above. Furthermore, the first and/or third connecting wall segments may define elongate channels or groove as briefly described above and to be described in further detail later.

[0076] In preferred embodiments, the frame member of the first form and the second form may be the same frame member but with a different orientation. For example, the frame member of the second form may preferably be the frame member of the first form rotated 180° around its longitudinal axis. In such embodiments, the structure facing wall of the frame member of the first form may correspond with the panel member abutting wall of the frame member of the second form. Likewise, the panel member abutting wall of the frame member of the first form may correspond with the structure facing wall of the frame member of the second form. The outer frame wall of the frame member of the first form may correspond with the inner frame wall of the frame member of the second form. Advantageously, this allows the one type of frame member to be used interchangeably in the first and second forms.

[0077] The at least one panel member may be fastened to the at least one frame member or operatively associated with the frame formed from at least two frame members by any suitable means.

[0078] Generally, the at least one panel member may be fastened to the at least one frame member such that panel member abutting wall of the frame member at least partially abuts against the panel member. Typically, in the first form of the frame member, an inner surface of the panel member abutting wall at least partially abuts against the at least one panel member. In the second form, an outer surface of the panel member abutting wall at least partially abuts against the at least one panel member.

[0079] In some embodiments, the panel member abutting wall may be fastened to the at least one panel member with one or more fasteners. The one or more fasteners may include one or more mechanical fasteners (such as, e.g., threaded fasteners, rivets or the like) and/or one or more chemical fasteners (such as, e.g., a wet adhesive or a dry adhesive).

[0080] In other embodiments, the panel member abutting wall of the frame member may be fastened to the at least one panel member by one or more brackets or couplers. [0081] In yet other embodiments, the at least one panel member and the panel member abutting wall of the frame member may be fastened together by a connecting mechanism or part of a connecting mechanism. For example, a first part of a connecting mechanism associated with the panel member abutting wall of the frame member may mate or engage with a second part of the connecting mechanism associated with the panel member, preferably an outer edge portion of the panel member.

[0082] The connecting mechanism may include mateable male and female portions that couple together, including threaded connections or interference fit (snap fit) connections, for example. The connecting mechanism may include a male formation associated with the panel member abutting wall of the frame member configured to be inserted into or coupled with a female formation associated with the outer edge portion of the panel member. Conversely, the connecting mechanism may include a female formation associated with the panel member abutting wall of the frame member configured to at least partially receive or be coupled with a male formation associated with the outer edge portion of the panel member.

[0083] In preferred embodiments, the first form of the frame member may define a channel or groove for at least partially receiving an outer edge of the at least one panel member. The channel or groove may be defined between the panel member abutting wall, the outer frame wall and the intermediate wall of the frame member, preferably the panel member abutting wall and the intermediate wall may form opposed sides or walls of the channel and the outer frame wall may form a bottom of the channel. The channel or groove may extend at least partially along a length of the frame member, preferably the entire length.

[0084] The inner surface of the panel member abutting wall may further include one or more guiding members for guiding a portion of the outer edge portion of the at least one panel member at least partially received in the channel or groove. Advantageously, the one or more guiding members may at least partially force or urge the at least partially received portion of the outer edge portion of the at least one panel member against the intermediate wall to, in use, at least frictionally engage or secure the portion against the intermediate wall of the frame member.

[0085] The one or more guiding members may be of any suitable size, shape and constructions and formed from any suitable material or materials. Typically, the one or more guiding members may be formed of metal and may extend from the inner surface of the panel member abutting wall at least partially towards the intermediate wall.

[0086] Preferably, the inner surface of the panel member abutting wall may include at least two guiding members. For example, a first guiding member may be in the form of the inner edge protrusion defined at the free inner edge of the panel member abutting wall, and a second guiding member may extend from a location at or near the outer edge of the panel member abutting wall.

[0087] In some embodiments, the second guiding member may additionally define a space between the outer edge portion of the panel member and the outer frame wall. The space defined may provide clearance between the outer edge portion of the panel member and the outer frame wall for a mechanical fastener or the like for, e.g., fastening a cover panel over the frame member and panel member or frame operatively associated with the panel member.

[0088] In some embodiments, the intermediate wall may also include one or more guiding members for again guiding the portion of the outer edge portion of the at least one panel member at least partially received in the channel or groove.

[0089] The guiding members may extend from a surface of the intermediate wall at least partially toward the panel member abutting wall. The one or more guiding members may be of any suitable size, shape and constructions and formed from any suitable material or materials typically metal. The one or more guiding members may be of the same size, shape and construction as the one or more guiding members of the panel member abutting wall or smaller, preferably smaller.

[0090] Preferably, the intermediate wall may include at least two guiding members. For example a first guiding member may be in the form of an outer edge protrusion located at or near the free outer edge of the intermediate wall, and a second guiding member may be located substantially opposite the second guiding member of the panel member abutting wall.

[0091] In preferred embodiments, the frame member of the second form may be fastened to the panel member via a coupler associated with the frame member.

[0092] The coupler may be of any suitable size, shape and construction and formed from any suitable material or materials. Furthermore, the coupler may be associated with the frame member by any suitable means. The coupler may be of one piece or multi-piece construction.

[0093] Preferably, the coupler may be of unitary, one piece construction and may have a panel member abutting or fastening member and a frame coupling member extending substantially perpendicular relative to the panel member abutting or fastening member from a common or shared edge of the panel member abutting or fastening member. The coupler may have a substantially L-shaped cross section.

[0094] The frame coupling member of the coupler and the frame member may be coupled in any suitable way. For example, the frame coupling member of the coupler and the frame member may be fastened together with one or more fasteners as described above or with a connecting mechanism or part of a connecting mechanism as described above.

[0095] Typically, the frame coupling member of the coupler may clamp over at least one shoulder defined on the outer surface of the panel member abutting wall of the frame member, preferably at or near the free inner edge.

[0096] For example, the frame coupling member may have at least one projection with an enlarged end portion extending outwardly from an outer longitudinal edge of the frame coupling member for clamping or hooking over the at least one shoulder.

[0097] Preferably, the frame coupling member may clamp over at least two shoulders. For example, the frame coupling member may clamp over a first shoulder defined on the outer surface of the panel member abutting wall of the frame member, preferably at or near the free inner edge, and over a second shoulder defined on an outer surface of the structure facing wall of the frame member, preferably at or near the inner edge.

[0098] In this regard, the frame coupling member may preferably include at least two projections each with an enlarged end portion and each extending from an outer longitudinal edge of the frame coupling member for clamping over the at least two shoulders.

[0099] The frame coupling member of the coupler may couple to the frame member such that the panel member abutting or fastening member is substantially planar with the panel member abutting wall of the frame member.

[00100] In use, the coupler may be slideable over an end of a frame member into a desired position. The at least two projections of the frame coupling member of the coupler may prevent lateral disengagement of the coupler from the frame member.

[00101] Once coupled to the frame member, the panel member abutting or fastening member of the coupler may be fastened to the panel member by one or more mechanical fasteners (such as, e.g., threaded fasteners, rivets or the like) via one or more apertures defined in the panel member abutting or fastening member of the coupler and/or by one or more chemical fasteners (such as, e.g., a wet adhesive or a dry adhesive) extending between the panel member abutting wall or fastening member of the coupler and the panel member.

[00102] In some embodiments, the panel member abutting or fastening member of the coupler may further include one or more fixing anchors associated with the one or more apertures. The one or more fixing anchors may be of any suitable size, shape and form to securely engage with the at least one panel member when fastened with a mechanical fastener. The fixing anchors may preferably at least partially protrude from a periphery of each aperture on a panel member abutting surface of the panel member abutting or fastening member of the coupler. Advantageously, the inventors have found that the incorporation of the one or more fixing anchors into the coupler results in a significant cost saving as it reduces the number of parts necessary to securely fasten the at least one panel member to the coupler.

[00103] The at least one frame member may be fastened to a structure by any suitable means to thereby fasten a frame and a preformed panel of the cladding assembly to the structure.

[00104] Generally, the frame member may be fastened to the structure such that structure facing wall of the frame member at least partially faces the structure. The frame member may be fastened directly or indirectly to the structure.

[00105] In some embodiments, the structure facing wall of the frame member may be directly fastened to the structure with one or more fasteners. The one or more fasteners may include one or more mechanical fasteners (such as, e.g., threaded fasteners, rivets or the like) and/or one or more chemical fasteners (such as, e.g., a wet adhesive or a dry adhesive).

[00106] In other embodiments, the structure facing wall of the frame member may be indirectly fastened to the structure via one or more brackets.

[00107] In yet other embodiments, the structure facing wall of the frame member may be indirectly fastened to the structure by a connecting mechanism or part of a connecting mechanism. For example, a first part of a connecting mechanism associated with the structure facing wall of the frame member may mate or engage with a second part of the connecting mechanism associated with the structure, preferably via a bracket associated with the structure.

[00108] The connecting mechanism may include mateable male and female portions that couple together, including threaded connections or interference fit (snap fit) connections, for example. The connecting mechanism may include a male formation associated with the structure facing wall of the frame member configured to be inserted into or coupled with a female formation associated with the bracket associated with the structure. Conversely, the connecting mechanism may include a female formation associated with the structure facing wall of the frame member configured to at least partially receive or be coupled with a male formation associated with the bracket associated with the structure.

[00109] In preferred embodiments, the frame member may include a receiving opening for receiving one or more fasteners for fastening the frame to the structure. The receiving opening may be defined between the outer edge protrusion of the structure facing wall and at least a portion of the at least one connecting wall in the first form of the frame member, and between the outer edge protrusion of the structure facing wall and at least a portion of the inner frame wall and the intermediate wall in the second form of the frame member. The receiving opening may be of any suitable size, shape and form for receiving the one or more fasteners.

[00110] Typically, the receiving opening may be a suitably sized and shaped groove or channel defined between the outer edge protrusion of the structure facing wall and the at least a portion of the at least one connecting wall in the first form of the frame member, and between the outer edge protrusion of the structure facing wall and the at least a portion of the inner frame wall and the intermediate wall in the second form of the frame member. The groove or channel may extend at least partially along the length of the frame member. Preferably, the groove or channel may extend along the entire length of the frame member.

[00111] In some embodiments, the one or more fasteners for fastening the frame to a bracket associated with the structure may include one or more tags. Each tag may be adapted to be associated with a frame member via the receiving opening. Each tag may define one or more apertures. Each aperture may be adapted to at least partially receive a threaded fastener, mechanical fastener or the like for fastening the tag and thereby the frame member and, in use, the frame and the preformed panel to the structure. Preferably, each tag may be formed from metal, more preferably corrosion resistant metal.

[00112] In a preferred embodiment, each tag may be a substantially planar member with a frame member abutting portion, a structure abutting portion and shaped groove defined therebetween. The shaped groove may be adapted to, in use, at least partially receive and engage with the outer edge protrusion when the tag is associated with the frame member via the receiving opening.

[00113] Preferably, the shaped groove is sized and shaped to engage and retain the outer edge protrusion in the receiving opening within the shaped groove. This may be achieved by the outer edge protrusion having at least two portions of differing dimensions, a first portion with a first dimension adjacent the edge and a second portion of a dimension larger than the first dimension at the edge. Likewise, the shaped groove may be complementarily-shaped to receive the outer edge protrusion.

[00114] In one embodiment, engagement of the outer edge protrusion with the shaped groove may involve resilient deformation of an outer edge of the shaped groove to receive the second portion of outer edge protrusion.

[00115] A person skilled in the art will realise that the shaped groove is configured to allow resilient deformation of the outer edge of the shaped groove without detracting from the structural integrity of the shaped groove in securely engaging the outer edge protrusion when snap-fitted together.

[00116] In another embodiment, engagement of the outer edge protrusion with the shaped groove may involve sliding the tag over an end of the frame member such that the shaped groove slides over an end of the outer edge protrusion. Preferably, the tag may be slideable relative to the frame member.

[00117] In a preferred embodiment, the receiving opening may further include a guiding member for, in use, positively positioning the frame member abutting portion of the tag against an inner surface of the structure facing wall of the frame member. The guiding member may preferably be formed of metal and may extend from the inner surface of the structure facing wall at or near the inner edge of the structure facing wall. The guiding member may extend at least partially toward the at least one connecting wall in the first form or the intermediate wall in the second form.

[00118] In use, the guiding member may guide the frame member abutting portion of the tag into the correct position prior to the outer edge protrusion being snap-fitted into the shaped groove of the tag or the shaped groove being slid over an end of the outer edge protrusion.

[00119] In some embodiments, the guiding member and the snap-fitting of the outer edge protrusion with the shaped groove may provide tactile and audible feedback to an installer attaching the fasteners to the frame. This advantageously allows the installer to attach the fasteners quickly without necessarily relying on visual cues.

[00120] Preferably the structure abutting portion of the tag may define one or more apertures sized and shaped to receive one or more threaded or mechanical fasteners or the like for fastening the tag to the structure.

[00121] Typically, the tag when associated with a frame member may be positioned such that the tag extends from the edge of the frame member and lies substantially in plane with the structure facing wall of the frame member. However, in some instances, it may be desirable that the tag extending from the edge of the frame member does not lie in plane with the structure facing wall of the frame member, e.g., to allow tags from adjacent frames to be fastened to the structure one atop of another with a single threaded or mechanical fastener or the like.

[00122] Typically, the frame and the performed panel of the present invention may, in use, be fastened to a structure with at least two tags positioned on substantially opposite sides of the frame.

[00123] In other embodiments, the one or more fasteners for fastening the frame to the structure may include a frame fastening bracket. The frame fastening bracket may be adapted to be associated with a frame member via the receiving opening. Each frame fastening bracket may define one or more apertures. Each aperture may be adapted to at least partially receive a threaded fastener, mechanical fastener or the like for fastening the bracket and thereby the frame member and, in use, the frame and/or the preformed panel to the structure. Preferably, each frame fastening bracket may be formed from metal, more preferably corrosion resistant metal. [00124] Typically, the frame fastening bracket may include at least a frame member abutting wall having a hook or clip for hooking or clipping over the outer edge protrusion of the receiving opening when the bracket is associated with the frame member via the receiving opening. The frame fastening bracket may further include at least a pair of opposed sidewalls each extending from one of a pair of opposed outer edges of the frame member abutting wall. The frame fastening bracket may further include at least one structure abutting portion extending from at least one sidewall of the bracket, preferably a pair of structure abutting portions each extending from one of the pair of sidewalls, more preferably outwardly extending structure abutting portions.

[00125] Each structure abutting portion may at least partially abut against the structure. Each structure abutting portion may define one or more apertures, each adapted to at least partially receive a threaded fastener, mechanical fastener or the like for fastening the bracket and thereby the frame member and, in use, the frame and the preformed panel to the structure.

[00126] In use, the hook or clip of the frame abutting wall of the frame fastening bracket may be slid over an end of the frame member such that the hook or clip are slid over the outer edge protrusion of the receiving opening. The frame fastening bracket may then be slid into a desired position.

[00127] The structure facing wall of the frame member may at least partially abut against the frame member abutting wall of the bracket when the hook or clip of the bracket is hooked or clipped over the outer edge protrusion of the receiving opening.

[00128] The at least one frame member may preferably be joined or connected end to end with at least one other like frame member to form a frame. The frame members may be joined or connected together either directly or indirectly.

[00129] Likewise, frame members may joined or connected end to end at any suitable angle relative to one another to form a frame of any desired shape, preferably to match the panel member. Generally, frame members may be connected end to end at right angles/90 o . Typically, each join or connection may include at least two frame members.

[00130] Any type of join or connection may be used between adjacent frame members. If the frame members are directly joined or connected end to end, the join may be a butt joint, a mitre joint, a lap joint, box joint, dovetail joint, a daddo joint or a mortise and tenon joint, typically a butt joint or mitre joint, preferably a mitre joint.

[00131] In some embodiments, each frame member may include a first end having a female formation and a second end having a male formation. The frame members may be joined end to end by having the male formation at a first end of a first frame member engage the female formation at a second end of a second frame member.

[00132] In other embodiments, the frame members may be joined together end to end via a joining component adapted to be operatively associated with or near the respective ends of the frame members to be joined. Each join may include one or more joining components.

[00133] The joining component may be operatively associated with the respective ends of the frame members by any suitable means. For instance, in one embodiment, the joining component may be fastened to each of the frame members by one or more fasteners or adhesives. In another embodiment, the joining component may be at least partially received in an opening defined in the respective ends of the frame members to be joined.

[00134] The joining component may be of any suitable size, shape and form and be formed from any suitable material or materials to be at least partially received within the respective ends of frame members being joined together. The joining component may, for instance, be a corner connector, a biscuit joiner, a plate joiner or a domino joiner. Preferably, the joining component may be formed from a resilient and durable material such as, for instance, a plastics or metal material or materials.

[00135] In one embodiment, the joining component may be configured to be used with frame members having "profiled" ends such that the ends may mate and be connected or joined directly to each other via the joining component such that the two ends joined meet flush. The joining component may be an elongate member including two portions, each portion adapted to be at least partially received within the openings. The two portions of the joining component may be angled at any suitable angle to one another to achieve the desired angle of the join between the two frame members. For instance, to form a frame that may be square-shaped or rectangular, the joining component may be substantially L- shaped.

[00136] In another embodiment, the joining component may be in the form of a corner connector configured to connect frame members having square cut ends. Each frame member may define the opening in the form of a channel at each square cut end to allow a corner connector to be fitted into the channel thereby enabling the frame to be assembled.

[00137] Typically, the corner connector may have a substantially L-shaped configuration that allows a first part of the corner connector to be at least partially received in an end of a first frame member and a second part to be at least partially received in an adjacent end of a second frame member to be joined or connected to the first frame member.

[00138] In yet another embodiment, the joining component may include at least two component pieces, each component piece attachable to one of the frame members to be joined. Preferably, the at least two joining component pieces may be hinged together such that in use any desirable corner or join angle between the two joined frame members may be obtained.

[00139] Each joining component piece may be of unitary, one piece construction and have a substantially T-shaped cross section. The joining component piece may include an elongate frame coupling member and a hinge member for rotatably coupling with the hinge member of a like joining component piece.

[00140] The elongate frame coupling member may couple to the frame member by any suitable means.

[00141] Typically, the frame coupling member of the joining component piece may clamp over at least one shoulder defined on an outer surface of the panel member abutting wall of the frame member, preferably at or near the free inner edge.

[00142] As with the frame coupling member of the coupler described above, the elongate frame coupling member may have at least one projection with an enlarged end portion extending outwardly from an outer longitudinal edge for clamping or hooking over the at least one shoulder.

[00143] Preferably, the frame coupling member may clamp over at least two shoulders. For example, the frame coupling member may clamp over a first shoulder defined on the outer surface of the panel member abutting wall of the frame member, preferably at or near the free inner edge, and over a second shoulder defined on an outer surface of the structure facing wall of the frame member, preferably at or near the inner edge.

[00144] In this regard, the elongate frame coupling member may preferably include at least two projections each with an enlarged end portion and each extending from an outer longitudinal edge of the frame coupling member for clamping over the at least two shoulders.

[00145] The hinge members from the respective joining component pieces may be rotatably coupled by any suitable means. Typically, however, the hinge members may be rotatably coupled by way of a fastener such as a threaded or mechanical fastener received in co-aligned apertures defined by the respective hinge members. In this way, the join angle between two joined frame members may be adjusted by loosening the fastener adjusting the angle between the two joined frame members and tightening the fastener.

[00146] In use, the joining component piece may be slideable over an end of a frame member into a desired position, typically at or near an end of the frame member. The at least two projections of the frame coupling member of the joining component piece may prevent lateral disengagement of the joining component piece from the frame member.

[00147] Each join may be further supported by a supporting member, which may be attached by any suitable means to the at least two frame members forming the join. The supporting member may be a brace, bracket or the like suitably adapted to support and maintain the relevant angle at which the at least two frame members are joined.

[00148] In some embodiments, the preformed panel of the present invention may include a cover panel adapted to be fitted over the frame member fastened to the panel member or the panel member operatively associated with the frame formed from at least two frame members. The cover panel may be fitted over and fastened to the preformed panel by any suitable means, such as, e.g., architectural adhesive or one or more threaded or mechanical fasteners or the like.

[00149] The cover panel may have two opposed surfaces including an outward facing surface and an opposed structure facing surface. The cover panel may also include at least one sidewall extending from the inward facing surface.

[00150] When fitted, the cover panel may cover the panel member and the panel member abutting walls of the frame members. The at least one side wall may at least partially cover an outer surface of each frame member, preferably the outer frame wall of each frame member.

[00151] Typically, the at least one sidewall of the cover panel may be fastened to the outer surface of each frame member, preferably the outer frame wall of each frame member.

[00152] In some embodiments, the second guiding member may additionally define a space between the outer edge portion of the panel member and the outer frame wall. The space defined may provide clearance between the outer edge portion of the panel member and the outer frame wall for a mechanical fastener or the like for, e.g., fastening a cover panel over the frame member and panel member or frame operatively associated with the panel member. This will be described in detail later.

[00153] In some embodiments, the panel member and/or the cover panel if present may be further secured or fastened to the frame member or the frame by way of one or more edge covers adapted to clip, hook or clamp over an outer edge of the panel member and/or an outer portion of the frame member. In use, edge covers may be attached to any or all edges of a panel member fastened to frame. The edge cover may also be fastened to the outer frame wall of a frame member by one or more threaded or mechanical fasteners.

[00154] The cover panel and the one or more edge covers may be formed from any suitable material that may be durable and aesthetically pleasing. For example, the cover panel and the one or more edge covers may be formed from metal, plastic, glass, fibre, concrete, stone and/or wood material or materials, preferably metal and/or plastic material or materials, more preferably metal material or materials. Likewise, the external surface of the cover panel and the one or more edge covers may include an aesthetically pleasing finish or texture. For example, the external surface of the cover panel and the one or more edge covers may include a gloss finish, a matte finish or a textured finish.

[00155] In some embodiments, the panel member abutting wall of the frame member may further include one or more ridges extending at least partially along a length of the frame, preferably the entire length of the frame. The ridges may preferably extending along an external surface of the panel member abutting wall of the frame member to provide space between the frame member and the panel member for the coupler and/or the joining component piece to hook or clamp over the at least one shoulder of the frame member.

[00156] In some further embodiments, the structure facing wall of the frame member may also include one or more ridges extending at least partially along a length of the frame, preferably the entire length of the frame. As with the ridges defined on the panel member abutting wall, the ridges may preferably extending along an external surface of the structure facing wall of the frame member to provide space between the frame member and the structure (or a bracket or frame piece associated with the structure) for the coupler and/or the joining component piece to hook or clamp over the at least two shoulders of the frame member.

[00157] In some embodiments, the cladding assembly of the present invention may further include at least one sealing member configured to be positioned between at least two adjacently positioned preformed panels and provide at least a partial seal between the adjacently positioned preformed panels. The at least one sealing member may be of any suitable size, shape and construction and formed from any suitable material or materials known in the art.

[00158] The sealing member may be fastened to at least one of the adjacently positioned preformed panels in any suitable way.

[00159] Typically, the frame member of the first form and the second form may each include a female formation in the form of the elongate channel or groove extending along an outer surface of the frame member at least partially along a length of the frame member, preferably the entire length, and the at least one sealing member may include a male formation in the form of a retaining member with an enlarged head or other type of retaining end at each end of the rail. The enlarged head or other type of retaining end of the retaining member may be configured to engage and be retained within the elongate channel or groove.

[00160] The elongate channel or groove may preferably have a substantially C-shaped cross-section to at least partially prevent lateral disengagement of the at least one sealing member from the elongate channel or groove.

[00161] In some embodiments, the preformed panel of the cladding assembly may include more than one panel member. For example, each preformed panel may include at least two panel members, at least three panel members, at least four panel member or even at least five panel members.

[00162] For example, each preformed panel may include a first panel member and a second panel member. The first and second panel members may be the same type of panel member or different and may each be operatively associated with the frame or at least one frame member of the preformed panel in any suitable way.

[00163] Typically, the first panel member may be fastened to at least one frame member or the frame of the preformed panel as described above.

[00164] The second panel member may be fastened by one or more brackets or couplers to the frame or at least one frame member of the preformed panel, preferably such that the second panel member underlies the first frame member.

[00165] For example, the second panel member may be fastened by a panel member coupler to the frame fastening bracket described above such that the second panel member extends between the structure and the first panel member.

[00166] The panel member coupler may be of any suitable size, shape and construction and may be formed from any suitable material or materials, preferably corrosion resistant metal. The panel member coupler may be of unitary construction or may include two or more panel member coupler pieces, preferably the latter.

[00167] Typically, the panel member coupler may include a first coupler piece and a second coupler piece each configured to at least partially abut against an opposed surface of the second panel member when connected together and configured to connect to the frame fastening bracket, preferably an outer edge of a structure abutting portion of the frame fastening bracket.

[00168] In preferred embodiments, the first coupler piece may include an elongate member. The elongate member may include a structure facing surface, an opposed outward facing surface, opposed side edges, a frame fastening bracket abutting end edge and an opposed free end edge. The frame fastening bracket abutting end edge may preferably include a turned or rolled edge that turns or rolls back towards the outward facing surface of the elongate member. The turned or rolled edge may preferably define a channel. [00169] The first coupler piece may include a hook or clip extending from the structure facing surface of the elongate member for hooking or clipping over an outer edge of the structure abutting portion of the frame fastening bracket.

[00170] The first coupler piece may further include a panel member edge abutting portion extending orthogonally from the outward facing surface of the elongate member for at least partially abutting against an edge of the second panel member. The panel member edge abutting portion may include a free end, preferably having an enlarged edge portion.

[00171] In use, the first coupler piece may be configured to be positioned at least partially against an outward facing surface of a structure abutting portion of the frame fastening bracket such that the hook or clip hooks or clips over the outer edge of the structure abutting portion and the turned or rolled edge defined at the frame fastening bracket abutting end edge of the elongate member at least partially abuts against the structure abutting portion and the adjacent side wall of the frame fastening bracket.

[00172] The first coupler piece may preferably be fastened to the structure abutting portion of the frame fastening bracket by one or more mechanical fasteners (such as, e.g., threaded fasteners, rivets or the like) via one or more apertures defined in the elongate member at or near the frame fastening bracket abutting end edge and/or by one or more chemical fasteners (such as, e.g., a wet adhesive or a dry adhesive) extending between the elongate member and the structure abutting portion of the frame fastening bracket.

[00173] The second coupler piece may have a substantially L-shaped profile. The second coupler piece may include an elongate portion configured to at least partially abut against the outward facing surface of the second panel member and an end portion extending orthogonally from the elongate portion. The end portion may include an outwardly turned lip configured to be at least partially received in the channel defined by the turned or rolled edge of the first coupler piece.

[00174] The second coupler piece may further include a panel member edge abutting portion extending orthogonally from the elongate portion. The panel member edge abutting portion may preferably include a hook defined at a free end of the panel member edge abutting portion for hooking over the enlarged edge portion of the panel member edge abutting portion of the first coupler piece.

[00175] In use, once the first coupler piece is positioned and fastened to the structure abutting portion of the frame fastening bracket and the second panel member is positioned against the first coupler piece, the second coupler piece may be connected to the first coupler piece. Preferably, this may be achieved by first inserting the outwardly turned lip of the second coupler piece into the channel of the first coupler piece and then hooking over the hook of the second coupler piece over the enlarged edge portion of the first coupler piece. [00176] Any of the features described herein can be combined in any combination with any one or more of the other features described herein within the scope of the invention.

[00177] The reference to any prior art in this specification is not, and should not be taken as an acknowledgement or any form of suggestion that the prior art forms part of the common general knowledge.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

[00178] Preferred features, embodiments and variations of the invention may be discerned from the following Detailed Description which provides sufficient information for those skilled in the art to perform the invention. The Detailed Description is not to be regarded as limiting the scope of the preceding Summary of Invention in any way. The Detailed Description will make reference to a number of drawings as follows:

[00179] Figure 1 is an end view of a frame member according to an embodiment of the present invention;

[00180] Figure 2 is an exploded view of a preformed panel according to an embodiment of the present invention including four frame members each as shown in Figure 1 fastened to a panel member;

[00181] Figure 3 is an upper perspective view of the preformed panel shown in Figure 2 in an assembled state;

[00182] Figure 4 is a lower perspective view of the preformed panel shown in Figures 2 and 3;

[00183] Figure 5 is a sectional side view showing part of a cladding assembly according to an embodiment of the present invention, including portions of two preformed panels as each shown in Figures 2 to 4 fastened to a structure;

[00184] Figure 6 is a sectional side view showing another part of the cladding assembly, including a portion of a preformed panel as shown in Figures 2 to 4 fastened to a structure;

[00185] Figure 7 is an end view of a frame member according to another embodiment of the present invention;

[00186] Figure 8 is a partial exploded view of an underside of a preformed panel according to another embodiment of the present invention including four frame members each as shown in Figure 7 fastened to a panel member;

[00187] Figure 9 is an upper perspective view of the preformed panel as shown in Figure 8 in an assembled state;

[00188] Figure 10 is a lower perspective view of the preformed panel as shown in Figure 9;

[00189] Figure 11 is a sectional side view showing part of a cladding assembly according to another embodiment of the present invention, including portions of two preformed panels as shown in Figures 8 to 10 fastened to a structure; and

[00190] Figure 12 is a sectional side view showing part of a cladding assembly according to another embodiment of the present invention including preformed panels each having two panel members.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[00191] Figures 1 to 6; Figures 7 to 11 ; and Figure 12 respectively show different embodiments of a cladding assembly (100) of the present invention for cladding a structure (10).

[00192] Figures 1 to 6 show a cladding assembly (100) or parts thereof, including four frame members (110) that are each fastened around an edge portion of a fire retardant panel member (120). A cover panel (130) is fitted over the fire retardant panel member (120) and the frame members (110) to form a preformed panel (140). The preformed panel (140) can be fastened to the structure (10) with other preformed panels to clad the structure (10) as part of the cladding assembly (100).

[00193] Figures 7 to 11 show a cladding assembly (100) or parts thereof, including four frame members (710) joined together to form a frame (720). Each frame member (710) is additionally fastened to an edge portion of a fire retardant panel member (120) to form a preformed panel (740). The preformed panel (740) can be fastened to the structure (10) with other preformed panels to clad the structure (10) as part of the cladding assembly (100).

[00194] Figure 12 shows a cladding assembly (100) similar to as shown in Figures 7 to 11 except each preformed panel (740) of the cladding assembly (100) includes two panel members (120, 1220).

[00195] A person skilled in the art will appreciate that frame member (710) shown in Figure 7 is substantially the same as frame member (110) shown in Figure 1 save that it is used in a different orientation (i.e., rotated 180° about its longitudinal axis). For the sake of clarity, however, the frame members (110, 710) will be described as two different embodiments.

[00196] Referring to Figure 1, the frame member (110) is an extrusion formed from aluminium, titanium or a composite thereof.

[00197] The frame member (110) has an elongate and linear shape with two opposed ends (112). The frame member (110) has a substantially Z-shaped profile shape formed from five walls, including: a structure facing wall (150); an opposed panel member abutting wall (160); an intermediate wall (170) positioned between and extending substantially parallel to the structure facing wall (150) and the panel member abutting wall (160); an outer frame wall (180) extending between the panel member abutting wall (160) and the intermediate wall (170) and an angled wall (i.e., the at least one connecting wall; 190) extending between the intermediate wall (170) and the structure facing wall (150).

[00198] The panel member abutting wall (160) has a free inner edge (162) and an opposed outer edge (164). The free inner edge (162) further includes an inner edge protrusion (166).

[00199] The intermediate wall (170) has a free inner edge (172) and an opposed outer edge (174). Like with the panel member abutting wall (160), the free inner edge (172) also further includes an inner edge protrusion (176).

[00200] The outer frame wall (180) extends orthogonally from the outer edge (164) of the panel member abutting wall (160) to the outer edge (174) of the intermediate wall (170).

[00201] The structure facing wall (150) has a free outer edge (152) and an opposed inner edge (164). The free outer edge (152), like with free inner edges (162, 172), further includes an outer edge protrusion (156).

[00202] The angled wall (190) extends from the inner edge (154) of the structure facing wall (150) to the outer edge (174) of the intermediate wall (170). The angled wall (190) includes three angled wall segments having different orientations relative to each other.

[00203] A first angled wall segment (192) extends orthogonally from the outer edge (174) of the intermediate wall (170). A second angled wall segment (194) extends from the first angled wall segment (192) to a third angled wall segment (196), which extends orthogonally from the inner edge (154) of the structure facing wall (150).

[00204] The first angled wall segment (192) further defines an elongate channel or groove (193). The elongate channel or groove (193) extends a length of the frame member (110).

[00205] The frame member (110) defines a channel (114) for at least partially receiving an outer edge (124; shown in Figures 5 and 6) of the fire retardant panel member (120; shown in Figures 5 and 6). The channel (114) extends a length of the frame member (110).

[00206] The channel (114) is defined between the panel member abutting wall (160), the outer frame wall (180) and the intermediate wall (170). The panel member abutting wall (160) and the intermediate wall (170) form opposed side walls of the channel (114) and the outer frame wall (180) forms a bottom wall of the channel (114).

[00207] The inner surface of the panel member abutting wall (160) includes two guiding members

(115) for, in use, guiding a portion of the outer edge (124; shown in Figures 5 and 6) of the fire retardant panel member (120; shown in Figures 5 and 6) received in the channel (114) and assisting in at least frictionally engaging or securing the portion by at least partially forcing or urging the portion against the intermediate wall (170).

[00208] The first guiding member (115) corresponds with the inner edge protrusion (166) of the panel member abutting wall (160). The second guiding member (115) extends from a location at or near the outer edge (164) of the panel member abutting wall (160).

[00209] As best shown in Figures 5 and 6, the second guiding member (115) additionally assists in defining a space between an end of the portion of the outer edge (124) of the fire retardant panel member (120) received in the channel (114) and an inner surface of the outer frame wall (180). As shown, the spaced defined advantageously provides clearance for a mechanical fastener used to fasten at least one sidewall (136) of the cover panel (130) to an outer surface of the outer frame wall (180).

[00210] Referring back to Figure 1, the intermediate wall (170) also includes two guiding members

(116) for likewise guiding a portion of the outer edge (124; not shown) of the fire retardant panel member (120; not shown) received in the channel (114).

[00211] The guiding members (116) extend from a surface of the intermediate wall (170) at least partially toward the panel member abutting wall (160). A first guiding member (116) corresponds with the inner edge protrusion (176) of the intermediate wall (170). A second guiding member (116) extends from a location on the intermediate wall (170) substantially opposite the second guiding member (115) on the panel member abutting wall (160).

[00212] The guiding members (116) on the intermediate wall (170) are substantially smaller than the guiding members (115) extending from the panel member abutting wall (160).

[00213] The frame member (110) also includes a receiving opening (117) for receiving one or more fasteners for fastening the frame member (110) and thereby a preformed panel (140; not shown) to a structure (10; not shown). The receiving opening (117) is defined between the outer edge protrusion (156) of the structure facing wall (150) and at least a portion of the angled wall (190) and extends an entire length of the frame member (110).

[00214] The receiving opening (117) further includes a guiding member (118) for, in use, positively guiding the one or more fasteners received in the receiving opening (117). The guiding member (118) extends from the inner surface of the structure facing wall (150) at or near the inner edge (154) of the structure facing wall (150). The guiding member (118) extends at least partially toward the angled wall (190).

[00215] Referring to Figure 2, each frame member (110) is fastened around an outer edge (124) of the fire retardant panel member (120).

[00216] The fire retardant panel member (120) has a rectangular shape including two opposed surfaces (122) interconnected by opposed edges (124).

[00217] The fire retardant panel member (120) offers a combination of a high degree of fire resistance, a high density, high flexural strength and effective moisture and water resistance.

[00218] The above advantageous properties of the fire retardant panel member (120) are obtained from a core of the panel member (120), which is composed of about 30% to about 60% by weight magnesium oxide and at least about 10% by weight magnesium chloride. The core also incorporates one or more hydrophobic agents to increase the overall water -resistance of the panel member (120) and additives such as a binding agent, such as, e.g., cellulose (at least % to about 20% by weight), perlite (preferably 6-12% by weight) and dispersants. The core of the panel member (120) also includes one or more fillers that serve to lower the weight of the panel member (120).

[00219] The core of the panel member (120) also includes reinforcing mesh to enhance the strength of the panel member (120). The core includes a plurality of reinforcing mesh spaced through the core of the panel member (120). Each reinforcing mesh extends in a substantially co-planar orientation as the opposed surfaces (122) of the panel member (120).

[00220] Each frame member (110) is fastened to the fire retardant panel member (120) by inserting an outer edge (124) of the panel member (120) in the channel (114) of the frame member (110).

[00221] Referring to Figures 3 and 4, the cover panel (130) is fitted over and fastened to an outer surface of the frame members (110) to form the preformed panel (140).

[00222] The cover panel (130) is rectangular and is generally of the same shape as the fire retardant panel member (120; visible only in Figure 4).

[00223] The cover panel (130) has two opposed surfaces including an outward facing surface (132; visible only in Figure 3) and an opposed inward facing surface (134; visible only in Figure 3).

[00224] The cover panel (130) includes at least one sidewall (136) extending from the inward facing surface (134; visible only in Figure 3). [00225] When fitted, the cover panel (130) covers the fire retardant panel member (120 visible only in Figure 4) and the panel member abutting walls (160; not visible) of the frame members (110). The at least one side wall (136) at least partially covers the outer frame wall (180; not visible) of each frame member (110).

[00226] Referring to Figures 5 and 6, each preformed panel (140) is able to be fastened to the structure (10) with various fasteners.

[00227] In one embodiment, the fastener is a tag (510) adapted to engage with the receiving opening (117) of a frame member (110) of the preformed panel (140) and a bracket (520) associated with the structure (10).

[00228] The tag (510) is a substantially planar member with a frame member abutting portion (512), a structure abutting portion (514) and a shaped groove (516) defined therebetween.

[00229] The shaped groove (516) is adapted to, in use, at least partially receive and engage with the outer edge protrusion (156) when the tag (510) is associated with the frame member (110) via the receiving opening (117).

[00230] The shaped groove (516) is sized and shaped to engage and retain the outer edge protrusion (156) in the receiving opening (117) within the shaped groove (516).

[00231] In use, the tag (510) is slid over an end (112) of the frame member (110) such that the shaped groove (516) slides over an end of the outer edge protrusion (156).

[00232] The guiding member (118) of the receiving opening (117) assists in positively positioning the frame member abutting portion (512) of the tag (510) against an inner surface of the structure facing wall (150) of the frame member (110).

[00233] The structure abutting portion (514) of the tag (510) includes an aperture for receiving a threaded fastener, mechanical fastener or the like for fastening the tag (510) to the bracket (520) associated with the structure (10).

[00234] In another embodiment, the fastener is the bracket (i.e., a frame fastening bracket; 520) adapted to engage with the receiving opening (117) of a frame member (110) of the preformed panel (140) and the structure (10).

[00235] The bracket (520) includes at least a frame member abutting wall (524). The frame abutting wall (524) includes a hook or clip (528) configured to hook or clip over the outer edge protrusion (156) of the receiving opening (117) when the bracket (520) is associated with the frame member (110) via the receiving opening (117). The bracket (520) further includes a pair of opposed sidewalls (522) extending from opposed edges of the frame abutting wall (524) and at least one structure abutting portion (526) extending outwardly from at least one of the sidewalls (522). The structure abutting portion (526) at least partially abuts against the structure (10) and includes an aperture for receiving a threaded fastener, mechanical fastener or the like for fastening the bracket (520) to the structure (10).

[00236] In use, the hook or clip (528) of the frame abutting wall (524) of the bracket (520) is slid over an end (112) of the frame member (110) such that the hook or clip (528) is slid over the outer edge protrusion (156) of the receiving opening (117). The bracket (520) can then be slid into a desired position.

[00237] The structure facing wall (150) of the frame member (110) at least partially abuts against the frame member abutting wall (524) of the bracket (520) when the hook or clip (528) of the bracket (520) is hooked or clipped over the outer edge protrusion (156) of the receiving opening (117).

[00238] Referring to Figure 6, in some embodiments, the cladding assembly (100) further includes at least one sealing member (610) configured to be positioned between at least two adjacently positioned preformed panels (140) and provide at least a partial seal between the adjacently positioned preformed panels (140).

[00239] The at least one sealing member (610) can be of any suitable size, shape and construction and formed from any suitable material or materials known in the art.

[00240] The sealing member (610) is fastened to an outer edge of a frame member (110) of one of the adjacently positioned preformed panels (140).

[00241] The sealing member (610) includes an enlarged head (612) configured to be received and retained in the elongate channel or groove (193) positioned adjacent the outer frame wall (180) of the frame member (110).

[00242] The elongate channel or groove (193) has a substantially C-shaped cross-section to at least partially prevent lateral disengagement of the sealing member (610) from the elongate channel or groove (193).

[00243] Figure 7 shows another embodiment of the frame member (710). As with the frame member (110) shown in Figure 1, the frame member (710) is an extrusion formed from aluminium, titanium or a composite thereof.

[00244] The frame member (710) has an elongate and linear shape with two opposed ends (712). The frame member (710) has a substantially Z-shaped profile shape formed from five walls, including: a structure facing wall (750); an opposed panel member abutting wall (760); an intermediate wall (770) positioned between and extending substantially parallel to the structure facing wall (750) and the panel member abutting wall (760); an inner frame wall (780) extending between the structure facing wall (750) and the intermediate wall (770) and an angled wall (790; i.e., at least one connecting wall) extending between the intermediate wall (770) and the panel member abutting wall (760).

[00245] The panel member abutting wall (760) has a free inner edge (762) and an opposed outer edge (764). The free inner edge (762) includes an inner edge protrusion (766).

[00246] The intermediate wall (770) has inner edge (772) and an opposed outer edge (774). The outer edge (774) includes an outer edge protrusion (776).

[00247] The angled wall (790) extends between the outer edge (764) of the panel member abutting wall (760) to the inner edge (772) of the intermediate wall (770).

[00248] The structure facing wall (750) has a free outer edge (752) and an opposed inner edge (754). The free outer edge (752) includes an outer edge protrusion (756).

[00249] The inner frame wall (780) extends orthogonally from the inner edge (772) of the intermediate wall (770) to the inner edge (754) of the structure facing wall (750).

[00250] As with the angled wall (190) of the frame member (110) shown in Figure 1, the angled wall (790) includes three angled wall segments having different orientations relative to each other.

[00251] A first angled wall segment (792) extends orthogonally from the outer edge (764) of the pane member abutting wall (760). A second angled wall segment (794) extends from the first angled wall segment (792) to a third angled wall segment (796), which extends orthogonally from or near the inner edge (772) of the intermediate wall (770).

[00252] The first angled wall segment (792) further defines an elongate channel or groove (793). The elongate channel or groove (793) extends a length of the frame member (110).

[00253] As with the frame member (110) shown in Figure 1, the frame member (710) also includes a receiving opening (717) for receiving one or more fasteners for fastening the frame member (710) and thereby a preformed panel (740; not shown) to a structure (10; not shown). The receiving opening (717) is defined between the outer edge protrusion (756) of the structure facing wall (750) and at least a portion of the inner frame wall (780) and the intermediate wall (770).

[00254] Furthermore, the receiving opening (717) also includes a guiding member (718) for, in use, positively guiding the one or more fasteners received in the receiving opening (717). The guiding member (718) extends from the inner surface of the structure facing wall (750) at or near the inner edge (754) of the structure facing wall (750). The guiding member (718) extends at least partially toward the intermediate wall (770).

[00255] Figures 8 to 10 show the assembly of the frame members (710) together to form a frame (720) and the fastening of the fire retardant panel member (120) to the frame (720) to form a preformed panel (740).

[00256] Referring to Figure 8, each frame member (710) is joined end (712) to end (712) with a joining component (810) including two component pieces (820) hinged together to, in use, allow any desirable corner or join angle between the two joined frame members (710) to be obtained.

[00257] Each joining component piece (820) has a substantially T-shaped cross section and includes an elongate frame coupling member (822) and a hinge member (824) for rotatably coupling with the hinge member (824) of the other joining component piece (820) of the joining component (810).

[00258] In use, the frame coupling member (822) of the joining component piece (820) clamps over two shoulders (830) of the frame member (710).

[00259] Referring back to Figure 7, a first shoulder (830) is defined on the outer surface of the panel member abutting wall (760) of the frame member (710) near the free inner edge (762). A second shoulder (830) is defined on an outer surface of the structure facing wall (750) of the frame member (710) near the inner edge (754).

[00260] Turning back to Figure 8, the elongate frame coupling member (822) includes two projections (826) each with an enlarged end portion and each extending from an outer longitudinal edge (823) of the frame coupling member (820) for clamping over the at least two shoulders (830).

[00261] The hinge members (824) from the respective joining component pieces (820) are rotatably coupled by way of a fastener such as a threaded or mechanical fastener received in co-aligned apertures defined by the respective hinge members (824).

[00262] In use, the joining component piece (820) is slideable over an end (712) of a frame member (710) into a desired position near an end (712) of the frame member (710). The two projections (826) of the frame coupling member (822) of the joining component piece (820) prevent lateral disengagement of the joining component piece (820) from the frame member (710).

[00263] As shown in Figure 8 and best shown in Figure 11, each frame member (710) of the frame (720; not shown in Figure 11) is fastened to an outer edge portion of the fire retardant panel member (120) with one or more couplers (840) associated with each frame member (710).

[00264] Referring to Figure 11, each coupler (840) has a panel member abutting or fastening member (842) and a frame coupling member (844) extending substantially perpendicular relative to the panel member abutting or fastening member (842) from a common or shared edge of the panel member abutting or fastening member (842). The coupler (840) has a substantially L-shaped cross section.

[00265] The frame coupling member (844) of the coupler (840), like the frame coupling member (822) of the joining component piece (820), clamps over the two shoulders (830) of the frame member (710).

[00266] Again like the frame coupling member (822) of the joining component piece (820), the frame coupling member (844) of the coupler (840) includes two projections (846) each with an enlarged end portion and each extending from an outer longitudinal edge (845) of the frame coupling member (844) for clamping over the two shoulders (830).

[00267] When coupled, the panel member abutting or fastening member (842) of the coupler (844) sits or lies substantially planar with the panel member abutting wall (760) of the frame member (710).

[00268] As with each joining component piece (820), each coupler (840) is be slideable over an end (712) of a frame member (710) into a desired position. The two projections (846) of the frame coupling member (844) of the coupler (840) prevent lateral disengagement of the coupler (840) from the frame member (710).

[00269] Once coupled to the frame member (710), the panel member abutting or fastening member (842) of the coupler (840) is fastened to the fire retardant panel member (120) by one or more mechanical fasteners (such as, e.g., threaded fasteners, rivets or the like) via one or more apertures defined in the panel member abutting or fastening member (842) of the coupler (840).

[00270] Referring to Figures 8 and 10, the preformed panel (740) is further strengthened two braces (850) extending between opposed frame members (710). Each brace (850) is fastened to an underside of the fire retardant panel member (120) and is joined to the opposed frame members (710) by any suitable means.

[00271] Referring again to Figure 11, as with preformed panel (140) shown in Figures 5 and 6, the preformed panel (740) of this embodiment is able to be fastened to the structure (10) with various fasteners.

[00272] In one embodiment, the fastener is a tag (510) as previously described. The tag (510) is adapted to engage with the receiving opening (717) of a frame member (710) of the preformed panel (740) and a bracket (520) associated with the structure (10).

[00273] As previously described, the shaped groove (516) is adapted to, in use, at least partially receive and engage with the outer edge protrusion (756) when the tag (510) is associated with the frame member (710) via the receiving opening (717).

[00274] Also as previously described, the guiding member (718) of the receiving opening (717) assists in positively positioning the frame member abutting portion (512) of the tag (510) against an inner surface of the structure facing wall (750) of the frame member (710).

[00275] In another embodiment, the fastener is the bracket (520) as previously described. The bracket (520) is adapted to engage with the receiving opening (717) of a frame member (710) of the preformed panel (740) and the structure (10).

[00276] As previously described, the frame abutting wall (524) of the bracket (520) includes a hook or clip (528) configured to hook or clip over the outer edge protrusion (756) of the receiving opening (717) when the bracket (520) is associated with the frame member (710) via the receiving opening (717).

[00277] Figure 11 also shows two pairs of ridges (1110) respectively defined along the structure facing wall (750) and the panel member abutting wall (760) of the frame member (710).

[00278] The ridges (1110) extend along an external surface the structure facing wall (750) and the panel member abutting wall (760) of the frame member (710) and extend for the entire length of the frame member (710).

[00279] The ridges (1110) advantageously provide respective spaces between the frame member (710) and the bracket (520) and between the frame member (710) and the fire retardant panel member (120) for the coupler (840) to hook or clamp over the at least two shoulders (830) of the frame member (710).

[00280] While not shown, the ridges (1110) also provide respective spaces between the frame member (710) and the bracket (520) and between the frame member (710) and the fire retardant panel member (120) for the joining component pieces (820; not shown) to hook or clamp over the at least two shoulders (830) of the frame member (710).

[00281] Again while not shown, in some embodiments, the enlarged head (612; not shown) of a sealing member (610; not shown) can be received and retained in the elongate channel (793) to provide a seal between adjacently positioned preformed panels (740). [00282] Figure 12 shows another embodiment of the cladding assembly (100) of the present invention in which each preformed panel (740) of the cladding assembly includes two panel members (120, 1120).

[00283] Each preformed panel (740) includes frame members (710) fastened to an outer edge portion of a first panel member (1120) with one or more couplers (840) associated with each frame member (710) as shown and described previously with respect to Figures 8 and 11, and a second fire retardant panel member (120) fastened by a panel member coupler (1210) to each preformed panel (740) such that the second fire retardant panel member (120) underlies the first panel member (1120).

[00284] The panel member coupler (1210) is formed from a first coupler piece (1220) and a second coupler piece (1230) that are each configured to abut against an opposed surface of the second fire retardant panel member (120) when connected together and configured to connect to the structure abutting edge portion (526) of the bracket (520).

[00285] The first coupler piece (1220) has a structure facing surface, an opposed outward facing surface, opposed side edges, a bracket abutting end edge (1225) and an opposed free end edge. The bracket abutting end edge (1225) includes a turned or rolled edge that turns or rolls back towards the outward facing surface defining a channel (1227).

[00286] The first coupler piece (1220) further includes a hook or clip (1228) extending from the structure facing surface for hooking or clipping over an outer edge of the structure abutting portion (526) of the bracket (520).

[00287] The first coupler piece (1220) also includes a panel member edge abutting portion (1229), which extends orthogonally from the outward facing surface for abutting against an edge of the second fire retardant panel member (120). The panel member edge abutting portion (1229) includes a free end having an enlarged edge portion (1229a).

[00288] In use, the first coupler piece (1220) is configured to be positioned at least partially against an outward facing surface of a structure abutting portion (526) of the bracket (520) such that the hook or clip (1228) hooks or clips over the outer edge of the structure abutting portion (526) and the turned or rolled edge defined at the bracket abutting end edge (1225) at least partially abuts against the structure abutting portion (526) and the adjacent side wall (522) of the bracket (520).

[00289] The first coupler piece (1220) is fastened to the structure abutting portion (526) of the bracket (520) by the same mechanical fastener or the like used to fasten the bracket (520) to the structure (10) via an aperture defined in the first coupler piece (1220) near the bracket abutting end edge (1225). [00290] The second coupler piece (1230) has a substantially L-shaped profile. The second coupler piece (1230) includes an elongate portion (1232) configured to at least partially abut against an outward facing surface of the second fire retardant panel member (120) and an end portion (1234) extending orthogonally from the elongate portion (1232). The end portion (1234) includes an outwardly turned lip (1235) configured to be at least partially received in the channel (1227) of the first coupler piece (1220).

[00291] The second coupler piece (1230) further includes a panel member edge abutting portion (1239) extending orthogonally from the elongate portion (1232). The panel member edge abutting portion (1239) includes a hook (1239a) defined at a free end of the panel member edge abutting portion (1239) for hooking over the enlarged edge portion (1229a) of the panel member edge abutting portion (1229) of the first coupler piece (1220).

[00292] In use, once the first coupler piece (1220) is positioned and fastened to the structure abutting portion (526) of the bracket (520) and the second fire retardant panel member (120) is positioned against the first coupler piece (1220), the second coupler piece (1230) is connected to the first coupler piece (1220). This is achieved by first inserting the outwardly turned lip (1235) of the second coupler piece (1230) into the channel (1227) of the first coupler piece (1220) and then hooking over the hook (1239a) of the second coupler piece (1230) over the enlarged edge portion (1229a) of the first coupler piece (1220).

[00293] Advantageously, by having the second fire retardant panel member (120) underlie the first panel member (1120), the second fire retardant panel member (120) may additionally function as a moisture barrier.

[00294] Figure 12 also shows an embodiment of the cladding assembly (100) in which the panel member abutting or fastening member (842) of the coupler (840) includes at least two fixing anchors (1280) associated with each aperture defined in the panel member abutting or fastening member (842).

[00295] The fixing anchors (1280) at least partially protrude outward from a periphery of each aperture on a panel member abutting surface of the panel member abutting or fastening member (842) of the coupler (840). In use, the fixing anchors (1280) are spread apart and driven into the first panel member (1120) when a mechanical fastener is inserted through the aperture and fastened into the first panel member (1120).

[00296] In the present specification and claims (if any), the word "comprising" and its derivatives including "comprises " and "comprise " include each of the stated integers but does not exclude the inclusion of one or more further integers.

[00297] Reference throughout this specification to "one embodiment" or "an embodiment" means that a particular feature, structure, or characteristic described in connection with the embodiment is included in at least one embodiment of the present invention. Thus, the appearance of the phrases "in one embodiment" or "in an embodiment" in various places throughout this specification are not necessarily all referring to the same embodiment. Furthermore, the particular features, structures, or characteristics may be combined in any suitable manner in one or more combinations.

[00298] In compliance with the statute, the invention has been described in language more or less specific to structural or methodical features. It is to be understood that the invention is not limited to specific features shown or described since the means herein described comprises preferred forms of putting the invention into effect. The invention is, therefore, claimed in any of its forms or modifications within the proper scope of the appended claims (if any) appropriately interpreted by those skilled in the art.