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Title:
A CONSTRUCTION ELEMENT COMPRISING A STORAGE TANK
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2017/205893
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The present disclosure relates to a construction element, a water tank, and a construction system employing these. In one form, the construction element comprises a shell substantially enclosing a cavity for receiving a fluid, a means for connecting the construction element with like elements, and a means for communicating the fluid between connected construction elements. In a further aspect, there is provided a building comprised of at least two side wall panels and at least two end wall panels which cooperatively support a roof, wherein at least each of the pair of side panels comprise a shell substantially enclosing a cavity for a fluid, a means for connecting the panels, and a fluid inlet for the cavity at or near an upper edge thereof, for receiving fluid from the roof.

Inventors:
CREW, Trent (11 Tarana Court, Hillbank, South Australia 5112, AU)
SEMOLA, Marco (11 Tarana Court, Hillbank, South Australia 5112, AU)
Application Number:
AU2017/000122
Publication Date:
December 07, 2017
Filing Date:
May 31, 2017
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
ECO SHED INDUSTRIES PTY LTD (11 Tarana Court, Hillbank, South Australia 5112, AU)
International Classes:
E03B3/03; E04B2/56; E04B2/72; E04C1/00; E04C2/20; E04C2/30; E04C2/34
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MADDERNS PATENT AND TRADE MARK ATTORNEYS (GPO Box 2752, Adelaide, South Australia 5001, AU)
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Claims:
CLAIMS

1. A construction element comprising a shell substantially enclosing a cavity for receiving a fluid, a means for connecting the construction element with like elements, and a means for communicating the fluid between connected construction elements.

2. The construction element of claim 1 , wherein the means for connecting the construction element is formed into the shell.

3. The construction element as in either of the preceding claims, wherein the means for connecting the construction element comprises a male feature and a female feature, where the male feature is adapted to interlock with the female feature of a like element, and vice versa.

4. The construction element as in any one of the preceding claims, wherein the means for communicating the fluid comprises a connector for a pipe.

5. The construction element as in any one of claims 1 through 3, wherein the means for

communicating the fluid comprises a coupling adapted for connection to the coupling of a further construction element.

6. The construction element as in any one of the preceding claims, wherein the shell is made of a plastic material.

7. The construction element as in any one of the preceding claims, wherein the shell is moulded.

8. The construction element of claim 7, wherein the shell is moulded as one piece.

9. The construction element of claim 7, wherein two half shells are moulded, and these are then joined.

10. The construction element as in any one of the preceding claims, further comprising the shape of a panel.

1 1. The construction element as in any one of the preceding claims, further comprising a fluid inlet at or near an upper edge thereof.

12. The construction element of claim 1 1 , wherein, in use, the construction element is employed as a wall panel supporting a roof, and the fluid inlet receives fluid from the roof into the cavity.

13. The construction element as in either of claim 1 1 or 12, further comprising a fluid channel at or near an upper edge thereof, for directing fluid to the fluid inlet.

14. The construction element as in any one of the preceding claims, further comprising a plurality of fluid inlets spaced apart along an upper edge thereof.

15. The construction element as in any one of the preceding claims, further comprising a pair of side walls, a pair of end walls, a floor, and a top.

16. The construction element of claim 15, wherein the side walls, end walls, floor, and top are integrally formed.

17. A water tank comprising a shell substantially enclosing a cavity for receiving a fluid, a means for connecting the water tank with like water tanks, and a means for communicating the fluid between connected water tanks.

18. A wall panel comprising a shell substantially enclosing a cavity for receiving a fluid, a means for connecting the wall panel with like wall panels, and a fluid inlet for the cavity at or near an upper edge thereof, for receiving fluid from a roof supported by the wall panel.

19. A water tank comprising a shell substantially enclosing a cavity for receiving a fluid, a means for connecting the water tank with like water tanks, and a fluid inlet for the cavity at or near an upper edge thereof, for receiving fluid from a roof supported by the water tank.

20. According to a further aspect, there is provided a building comprised of at least two side wall panels and at least two end wall panels which cooperatively support a roof, wherein at least each of the pair of side panels comprise a shell substantially enclosing a cavity for a fluid, a means for connecting the panels, and a fluid inlet for the cavity at or near an upper edge thereof, for receiving fluid from the roof.

Description:
A CONSTRUCTION ELEMENT COMPRISING A STORAGE TANK

PRIORITY DOCUMENTS

[0001 ] The present application claims priority from:

Australian Provisional Patent Application No. 2016902078 titled "A CONSTRUCTION ELEMENT COMPRISING A STORAGE TANK" and filed on 31 May 2016; and

Australian Provisional Patent Application No. 20169041 16 titled "A CONSTRUCTION ELEMENT COMPRISING A WATER TANK" and filed on 1 1 October 2016; the content of each of which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.

TECHNICAL FIELD

[00021 The present disclosure relates to a construction element, a water tank, and a construction system employing these.

BACKGROUND

[0003] Increasingly, property developers are subdividing blocks of land in cities and inner city suburbs, building multiple (in some cases more than two) buildings on land which previously supported only one building.

[0004] In many cases, the stormwater systems in these often older areas were not designed for this higher density of buildings, and cannot cope with the increased inflows from the increased number of buildings, the areas becoming prone to overflow in heavy rains, and in some cases normal rains.

[0005] In part to relieve this problem, many local governments now require that a water tank be incorporated in any new development. In many cases however, there is limited space available on these smaller, subdivided blocks of land to accommodate a garage or a tool shed, let alone a water tank. As a result, narrow tanks are often positioned between buildings, obstructing side access, sometimes completely.

[0006] It is against this background and the problems and difficulties associated therewith that the present invention has been developed.

Substitute Sheet

(Rule 26) RO/AU [0007] Certain objects and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following description, taken in connection with the accompanying drawings, wherein, by way of illustration and example, an embodiment of the present invention is disclosed.

SUMMARY

[0008] According to a first aspect, there is provided a construction element comprising a shell substantially enclosing a cavity for a fluid, a means for connecting the construction element with like elements, and a means for communicating the fluid between connected construction elements.

[0009] That is to say, that the construction element doubles as a tank for the fluid.

[0010] In one form, the means for connecting the construction element is formed into the shell.

[001 1 ] In one form, the means for connecting the construction element comprises a male feature and a female feature, where the male feature is adapted to interlock with the female feature of a like element, and vice versa.

[0012] In one form, the means for communicating the fluid comprises a connector for a pipe. In use, the pipe will extend between the connectors of a pair of construction elements.

[0013 ] In one form, in an alternative, the means for communicating the fluid comprises a coupling adapted for connection to the coupling of a further construction element.

[0014] In one fonn, the or each fluid coupling is incorporated into the attachment means, so that the fluid communication is effected by interlocking of the attachment means.

[0015 J In one form, the shell is made of a plastic material.

[ 0016] In one fonn, the shell is moulded. In one form, this comprises blow moulding. In an alternative, the moulding comprises rotational or centrifugal moulding.

[ 0017] In one fonn, the shell is integrally moulded (i.e. in one piece).

[0018] In one form, in an alternative, two half shells are moulded, and these are then joined.

[0019] In one form, in an alternative, the shell is made of sheet metal. In this case, the shell could be fabricated. [0020 ] In one fonn, the construction element comprises the shape of a panel. In one form, in an alternative, it may comprise the shape of any one of a block, a floor slab, a beam or a column.

[0021 ] In one fonn, the construction element comprises a fluid inlet at or near an upper edge thereof.

[ 0022] In one form, in use, the construction element is employed as a wall panel for supporting a roof, and the fluid inlet receives fluid from the roof into the cavity.

[0023] According to a further aspect, there is provided a wall panel comprising a shell substantially enclosing a cavity for a fluid, a means for connecting the wall panel with like wall panels, and a fluid inlet for the cavity at or near an upper edge thereof, for receiving fluid from a roof supported by the wall panel.

[0024] In one form, the construction element comprises a fluid channel at or near an upper edge thereof, for directing fluid to the fluid inlet. That is to say, that this fluid channel acts as a gutter.

[0025 ] In one form, in an alternative, the construction element comprises a plurality of fluid inlets spaced apart along an upper edge thereof.

[0026] In one form, the construction element comprises a pair of side walls, a pair of end walls, a floor, and a top.

[0027] In one form, the side walls, end walls, floor, and top are integrally formed.

[0028 ] According to a second aspect of the present invention, there is provided a system of construction elements, the system comprising at least one of the above described wall panels.

[0029] In one fonn, this system comprises a bracket for securing the construction element with respect to a concrete slab.

[0030] In one fonn, this system further comprises a bracket for securing a roof with respect to the construction element.

[0031 ] In one fonn, this system further comprises a bracket for securing a pair of connected construction elements together.

[0032] According to a further aspect, there is provided a building constructed of the above described construction elements. [0033] According to a further aspect, there is provided a building comprised of at least two side wall panels and at l east two end wall panels which cooperatively support a roof, wherein at least each of the pair of side wall panels comprise a shell substantially enclosing a cavity for a fluid, a means for connecting the panels, and a fluid inlet for the cavity at or near an upper edge thereof, for receiving fluid from the roof.

[0034] In one form, each side wall extends the full length of the building.

[0035] In one form, each side wall panel extends from one end wall to the other.

[0036] In an alternative, a plurality of side wall panels is required to extend the full length of the building.

[0037] In one form, each end wall panel extends the full width of the building. [0038] In one form, each end wall panel extends from one side wall to the other.

[0039] In an alternative, a plurality of end wall panels is required to extend the full width of the building.

[0040] In one form, each side wall panel extends from a ground surface to the roof.

[0041 ] In an alternative, a plurality of side wall panels is required to extend the full height of the building.

[0042] In one form, each end wall extends from a ground surface to the roof.

[0043] In an alternative, a plurality of end wall panels is required to extend the full height of the building.

[0044] In one form, the building may comprise any one of, but is not limited to, a residential building, a commercial building, a house, a single roomed building, a garage, a shed, a warehouse, an amenities building, a shelter, or an office building.

[0045 ] According to a further aspect, there is provided a wall constructed of the above described construction elements.

[0046] According to a further aspect, there is provided a retaining wall constructed of the above described construction elements. [0047] According to a further aspect, there is provided a water tank comprising a shell substantially enclosing a cavity for receiving a fluid, a means for connecting the water tank with like water tanks, and a means for communicating the fluid between connected water tanks.

[0048] According to a further aspect, there is provided a water tank comprising a shell substantially enclosing a cavity for a fluid, a means for connecting the water with like water tanks, and a fluid inlet for the tank at or near an upper edge thereof, for receiving fluid from a roof supported by the wall panel.

[0049] A detailed description of one or more embodiments of the invention is provided below along with accompanying figures that ill ustrate by way of example the principl es of the invention. While the invention is described in connection with such embodiments, it should be understood that the invention is not limited to any embodiment. On the contrary, the scope of the invention is limited only by the appended claims and the invention encompasses numerous alternatives, modifications and equivalents. For the purpose of example, numerous specific details are set forth in the following description in order to provide a thorough understanding of the present invention.

[0050] The present invention may be practiced according to the claims without some or all of these specific details. For the purpose of clarity, technical material that is known in the technical fields related to the invention has not been described in detail so that the present invention is not unnecessarily obscured.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

[0051 ] Embodiments of the present invention will be discussed with reference to the accompanying drawings wherein:

[0052] Figures 1 and 2 are perspective views of a pair of exploded construction elements according to an embodiment;

[0053 ] Figure 3 is a perspective view of a small building, such as a garden shed, constructed from a plurality of the construction elements illustrated in Figures 1 and 2;

[0054] Figures 4 and 5 are perspective views of a garage, and a garden shed, constructed from a plurality of the construction elements illustrated in Figures 1 and 2;

[0055 ] Figure 6 is a perspective view of a bus shelter constructed from a plurality of construction elements of the type illustrated in Figures 1 and 2; [0056] Figure 7 is a perspective view of a portable lavatory constructed from a plurality of construction elements of the type illustrated in Figures 1 and 2;

[0057] Figures 8 through 12 are perspective views of three construction elements according to a further embodiment.

[0058] In the following description, like reference characters designate like or corresponding parts throughout the figures.

DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS

[0059] Referring now to Figures 1 and 2, where there is shown a construction element 1 according to an embodiment. The construction element 1 comprises a shell 2 that is mostly hollow and so encloses a cavity 4 for receiving a fluid, a means 6 for connecting the construction element 1 with like elements 1, and a means 8 for communicating the fluid between connected construction elements 1.

[0060] In one form, the construction element 1 comprises the shape of a panel (although its shape is not so limited) which is comprised of two substantially mirrored halves 1 A and IB of a moulded plastic material, such as polyethylene (although other suitable plastics may be used), which have been joined and secured together along matching edges by a means such as an adhesive or plastic welding. Alternatively, or in addition to this edge joining, shell halves 1A and IB can be secured together using threaded fasteners 7 passed through the construction element via moulded sockets 9.

[0061 ] The panel-shaped construction element 1 comprises a pair of rectilinear side walls 10, a pair of end walls 12, a floor 14, and a top 16.

[ 0062] Each shell half 1A and I B comprises one of the side walls 10, and a portion of each of the end walls 12, the floor 14, and the top 16, all of which are integrally formed during the moulding process.

[ 0063] Each shell half 1A and I B further comprises a plurality of moulded internal ribs 18 depending from the side wall 10 thereof. These ribs 18 improve the strength and stiffness of the construction element 1 , but which also act as baffles for water stored in the cavity 4.

[ 0064] The connecting means 6 for the construction element 1 is formed into end walls 12 of the shell 2, where each end wall 12 comprises a pair of spaced apart tabs 20, and a pair of spaced apart tab shaped recesses 22 sized and shaped to receive the tabs 20 of a like construction element. To this end, the tabs 20 in a first end wall are aligned with the tab shaped recesses 22 in the other end wall. In order to assist engagement, the tabs 20 could be received in the tab shaped recesses 22 with a slight interference fit. [0065] The fluid communication means 8 comprises a plurality of pipe connectors 8. The side wall of shell half IB comprises one of these pipe connectors 8 at or near each of its lowermost comers. When pipes are extended between pipe connectors of adjacent construction elements 1, fluid can be shared, and even transferred between these.

[0066] In use, the shell half IB side wall 10 comprising the pipe connectors 8 will serve as an internal wall, so that the pipes bridging the pipe connectors 8 of adjacent construction elements 1 are internal of the completed construction.

[ 0067] Various brackets have been devised to form wal ls and buildings using combinations of the construction element. A mounting bracket 30 can be employed to secure a construction element 1 to a concrete slab (or other floor or ground surface). A joiner bracket can be used to secure a pair of construction elements 1 together endwise. A corner bracket 40 can be employed to secure a pair of construction elements together at an angle. A roof bracket 50 can be employed to secure a roof structure to an upper edge of the construction element. A stacking bracket 55 can be employed to stack a pair of construction elements.

[0068] A channel 60 extends along the top of the construction element 1 , where this channel 60 comprises a side wall 62, and the side wall 62 comprises a plurality of fluid inlets 64 for the cavity 4 spaced apart along its length.

10069] In one form, in use, the construction element 1 is employed as a wall panel supporting a roof, and the channel 60 acts like a gutter to receive water from the roof, and the water then passes through the fluid inlets 64 into the cavity 4 for storage.

10070] Referring now to Figure 3, where there is illustrated a small building 70, which is constructed using the above described construction elements 1. The building comprises four sides, each of which is provided by one of the construction elements 1, which are interlocked at corners of the building, and together support a roof 72. One construction element 1 C comprises a doorway 74 (others still may comprise windows). All of the construction elements 1, 1 C will collect and store rain water run-off from the roof 72 via the channels 60 and inlets 64. A building 70 of this type and size could be used as a garden shed, while eliminating the need for a separate rainwater tank. This is particularly useful in cases where space is especially limited.

[0071 ] Referring now to Figures 4 and 5, where there is illustrated both a large building 80, and a small building 70 of the type illustrated in Figure 3. The large building 80 comprises four sides supporting a roof 82, where a pair of side walls are each comprised of a pair of the construction elements 1 , one of which, 1 D, comprises a door 84. A rear wall is comprised of more slender construction elements I E. The large building 80 is a double garage, so the front wall comprises a pair of openings 86 for cars. As before, all of the construction elements will collect and store rain water run-off from the roof 82 via the channels 60 and inlets 64.

[0072 ] Figure 6 illustrates a bus shelter type structure 90 comprising a construction element 1 serving as a rear wall thereof. Rainwater run-off from a skillion roof 92 is captured and stored by the construction element 1.

[0073 ] Figure 7 illustrates a portable lavatory 1 10 of the type employed on building sites. The portable lavatory 1 10 comprises four sides, each of which is provided by a construction element 100, which are interlocked at corners of the building, and together support a roof 1 12. Construction element 100 differs from construction element 1 is as much as it is deficient a top wall 16 (i.e. it is open along its top). The roof 1 12 comprises channels 60 and inlets 64 which pass water to the 4 of each construction element 100 for storage. Water stored in the construction elements 100 may be used to flush a toilet, or for washing hands.

[0074 ] Referring now to Figures 8 through 12, where there is illustrated three construction elements 200, 202 and 204 according to a further embodiment. Those parts of the construction elements 200, 202 and 204 which are identical (or near- identical) to corresponding parts shown in the construction elements of Figures 1 through 7, will be denoted by the same reference numerals and will not be described again in detail.

[0075J Each of these construction elements 200, 202 and 204 is integrally moulded (i.e. each comprises a shell 2 moulded in one piece) from a plastic material such as polyethylene (although other suitable plastics may be used), by way of a blow moulding process, which is mostly hollow and so encloses a cavity 4 for receiving a fluid, as before.

[0076] Each of these construction elements 200, 202 and 204 comprises the shape of a wall panel. For aesthetics, an outer surface (i.e. a surface which will form part of an exterior) of each panel is moulded to resemble weatherboard cladding. In an alternative, these outer surfaces could be moulded to resemble brick, stone, or any one of numerous other building materials.

[0077] An upper edge of each of panels 202 and 204 comprises a matching upper edge profile, which comprises a ridge 220, and which is pitched downwardly on either side of the ridge, with the pitch extending from the ridge to side edges of the panel. Panel 202 differs from panel 204 in that it comprises a doorway 206. [0078] In use, panels 202 and 204 are building end panels. A pair of the panels 200 is employed as side panels extending between side edges of the end panels 202 and 204.

[0079] Panels 202 and 204 comprise a connecting means 6 in the form of a pair of elongate male connection portions (or ribs) 208, where one of these ribs 208 extends along each side edge of panels 202 and 204. It will be apparent however that these ribs 208 could be replaced with a plurality, and even a series or array of male connection portions extending along each side edge of panels 202 and 204, and that a corresponding number and placement of female connection portions could be provided to receive these.

[00801 In this embodiment however, each of the panels 200 comprise connecting means in the form of a pair of elongate female connection portions (or slots) 210, where one of these slots 210 extends alongside each of the side edges of panels 200. Each of these slots 210 is sized and shaped to receive one of the ribs 208 from the panels 202 and 204, to thereby effect a physical engagement of panels 200 to the panels 202 and 204 along contiguous edges thereof. Brackets (of the type discussed above) may be used for additional securement, if required.

[0081 ] Each of the panels 200, 202 and 204 comprises a fluid communication means 8 in the form of a pipe connector located in a slot 212 at or near a lowermost edge thereof. When pipes are extended between pipe connectors of adjacent construction panels, fluid can be shared, and even transferred between these.

[0082] The upper edge of each of panels 202 and 204 further comprises an elongate, step shaped recess (or rebate) 230 extending along an inner edge thereof. Each of these rebates 230 further comprises one or more (a pair in this case) of spaced apart notches 232 breaking through the inner edge thereof. In use, the notches 232 will receive the ends of roof supports or purlins (not illustrated), and each of the rebates 230 will receive the edge of a sheet of roofing material (not illustrated) supported by the purlins.

[0083 ] Each of the panels 200 comprises a channel 60 running along a top edge thereof. In use, these channels will receive runoff from a roof of the building formed using panels 200, 202 and 204, and the water will then pass through the fluid inlets 64 into the cavity 4 for storage.

[0084 ] An internal wall of each of panels 202 and 204 further comprises a plurality of elongate slots 240, each of which extends both in a transverse direction part way across the panel, and through the panel in an inwardly tapering fashion, so as to bring the inner wall into contact with the outer wall thereof. These slots 240 improve the strength and rigidity of the panels, and act as internal baffles for the water. [0085] The building formed from the panels can be employed as a garden/tool shed, whilst doubling as the rain water tank so frequently mandated by local governments, and saving valuable space on smaller, subdivided blocks of land in particular.

[0086] Throughout the specification and the claims that follow, unless the context requires otherwise, the words "comprise" and "include" and variations such as "comprising" and "including" will be understood to imply the inclusion of a stated integer or group of integers, but not the exclusion of any other integer or group of integers.

[0087] The reference to any prior art in this specification is not, and should not be taken as, an acknowledgement of any form of suggestion that such prior art forms part of the common general knowledge.

10088] It will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that the invention is not restricted in its use to the particular application described. Neither is the present invention restricted in its preferred embodiment with regard to the particular elements and/or features described or depicted herein. It will be appreciated that the invention is not limited to the embodiment or embodiments disclosed, but is capable of numerous rearrangements, modifications and substi tutions without departing from the scope of the invention as set forth and defined by the following claims.