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Title:
CONSTRUCTION ELEMENT
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/051567
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A construction element for mounting to a structure, the construction element having first and second elongate edges that extend between opposing sides, being shaped such the first elongate edge defines a male formation that projects laterally away from the construction element, with the first elongate edge comprising a base portion to connect with the structure and a step portion that steps up so as to space the male formation with respect to the structure, with the male formation extending laterally from the step portion; and wherein the second elongate edge defines a female formation that in use is able to receive a male formation of an adjacent construction element, with the second elongate edge comprising: a first side portion that is able to be arranged to locate between the male formation of an adjacent construction element and the structure; a wall portion inset from the second elongate edge and connected along one side to the first side portion, with the wall portion arranged in use to generally extend away from the first side portion; a second side portion connected along an opposite side of the wall portion and extending laterally from the construction element and opposing the first side portion, the second side portion able to locate adjacent to the male formation of an adjacent element in use.

Inventors:
PEACEY, Ian (Suite 5, 872 Military Road, Mosman New South Wales 2088, 2088, AU)
DAVISON, Mark (Suite 5, 872 Military Road, Mosman New South Wales 2088, 2088, AU)
Application Number:
AU2018/051023
Publication Date:
March 21, 2019
Filing Date:
September 18, 2018
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
JETSTONE BUILDING SYSTEMS PTY LTD (Suite 5, 872 Military Road, Mosman New South Wales 2088, 2088, AU)
International Classes:
E04D3/361; E04B1/38; E04B7/20; E04F13/07
Domestic Patent References:
WO2005068741A12005-07-28
WO2010135626A22010-11-25
Foreign References:
US4316351A1982-02-23
FR1082475A1954-12-29
US4177615A1979-12-11
US4122641A1978-10-31
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
GRIFFITH HACK (GPO Box 4164, Sydney, New South Wales 2001, 2001, AU)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. A construction element for mounting to a structure, the construction element having first and second elongate edges that extend between opposing sides thereof, wherein, when the construction element is viewed in profile from one of the sides, the first elongate edge defines a male formation that projects laterally away from the construction element, with the first elongate edge comprising: a base portion arranged to enable in-use mounting of the construction element to the structure; a step portion that in use generally extends away from the structure and that steps up so as to space the male formation with respect to the structure, with the male formation then extending laterally from the step portion; and wherein the second elongate edge defines a female formation that in use is able to receive therein a male formation of an adjacent construction element, with the second elongate edge comprising: a first side portion that extends laterally from the construction element and that is able to be arranged in use to locate between the male formation of an adjacent construction element and the structure; a wall portion inset from the second elongate edge and connected along one side to the first side portion, with the wall portion arranged in use to generally extend away from the first side portion; a second side portion connected along an opposite side of the wall portion and extending laterally from the construction element and opposing the first side portion, the second side portion able to locate adjacent to the male formation of an adjacent element in use.

2. A construction element as claimed in claim 1, wherein the male formation is defined in the form of a longitudinally extending tongue member, and wherein the female formation is defined in the form of a corresponding longitudinally extending groove, the groove of a given construction element able to receive therein the tongue of an adjacent construction element.

3. A construction element as claimed in claim 2, wherein the construction element is in the form of a sheet, and wherein the tongue member is defined by the first elongate edge of the sheet being hooked at a distal tongue end, or by being bent back over itself, and wherein the groove is defined by a series of bends at the second elongate edge of the sheet.

4. A construction element as claimed in claim 3, wherein an in-use underside of the step portion is configured to generally correspond to a distal end of the first side portion, and such that this distal end locates in adjacency of the step portion underside when adjacent construction elements have been mounted to the structure.

5. A construction element as claimed in any one of the preceding claims, wherein the base portion of the first elongate edge is able to be secured to the structure by a fastening mechanism, such as one or more discrete fasteners, and wherein when two or more fasteners are present, the fasteners may be spaced out along the first elongate edge.

6. A construction element as claimed in any one of the preceding claims, the construction element having:

- a first side wall that protrudes generally perpendicularly with respect to a face of the construction element at a location adjacent to but inset from the base portion of the first elongate edge, and

- a second side wall that also protrudes generally perpendicularly with respect to a face of the construction element at a location adjacent to the second side portion of the second elongate edge, wherein, when adjacent construction elements have been mounted to the structure, the second side wall locates in proximity of the first side wall.

7. A construction element as claimed in any one of the preceding claims, wherein the construction element has a contour defined between the first and second elongate edges, the contour being configured such that an encasement material may be located and retained proximal to at least one face of the construction element.

8. A construction element as claimed in claim 7, wherein the contour is configured so as to provide at least one retaining formation at each face of the construction element, the at least one retaining formation able to retain the encasement material at its respective face of the construction element.

9. A construction element as claimed in claim 8, wherein the construction element comprises a base surface that is located and defined between the first and second elongate edges and the opposing sides thereof, one side of the base surface able to face the structure in use, with each retaining formation being configured to generally project away from the base surface such that each retaining formation defines one side of an elongate channel that extends generally parallel to the opposing first and second elongate edges.

10. A construction element as claimed in claim 9, wherein each retaining formation comprises a channel wall that is able to define said one side of the elongate channel, the channel wall comprising an elongate undercut such that, in use, the encasement material is able to be retained in that undercut.

11. A construction element as claimed in claim 10, wherein each channel wall is configured to define an elongate undercut at a respective side of the base surface such that, in use, the encasement material is able to be retained at opposite sides of the base surface of the construction element.

12. A construction element as claimed in claim 10 or 11, wherein at least two retaining formations are provided between the first and second elongate edges, with two adjacent and opposing retaining formations defining therebetween a respective channel.

13. A construction element as claimed in claim 12, wherein the retaining formations are arranged to form alternating elongate channels at opposite sides of the base surface of the construction element.

14. A construction element as claimed in any one of claims 7 to 13, further comprising a connector, the connector being configured to interact with one of the retaining formations such that, when the connector is mounted to the structure, the connector can contribute to retention of the construction element at the structure. 15. A construction element as claimed in claims 7 to 14, wherein the encasement material comprises wet-pour rubber crumb.

16. A construction element as claimed in claim 15, wherein the wet-pour rubber crumb encasement material comprises a mixture of recycled rubber granules and resin. 17. A construction element as claimed in any one of claims 7 to 16, wherein the encasement material incorporates a living green wall.

18. A construction element as claimed in any one of the preceding claims, wherein the construction element extends substantially linearly between at least one of the first and second elongate edges and the opposing sides thereof. 19. A construction element as claimed in any one of the preceding claims, wherein the construction element is non-planar between at least one of the first and second elongate edges and the opposing sides thereof.

20. A construction element as claimed in any one of the preceding claims, wherein, when the female formation at the second elongate edge has been removed, the construction element further cooperates with an elongate adaptor that is arranged to locate at the resultant second elongate edge, the elongate adaptor being further configured to receive the male formation of an adjacent construction element thereat in use.

21. A construction element for mounting to a structure, the construction element having first and second elongate edges that extend between opposing sides thereof, wherein, when the construction element is viewed in profile from one of the sides, at least one face of the construction element defines at least one elongate retaining channel that is configured such that an encasement material may be located and retained therein, wherein each side wall of the retaining channel is configured to define an undercut into which the encasement material is able to locate.

22. A construction element as claimed in claim 21, wherein, when the construction element is viewed in profile from one of the sides, one channel side wall is configured with an S-shaped profile, and the other channel side wall is configured with a reverse S-shaped profile. 23. A construction element as claimed in claim 21 or 22, wherein, when the construction element is viewed in profile from one of the sides, and moving from the first to the second elongate edge, adjacent elongate channels are formed at alternating sides of the construction element.

24. An elongate adaptor suitable for use with a construction element as set forth in any one of the preceding claims, the elongate adaptor being further configured such that, when the female formation at the second elongate edge has been removed, the adaptor is arranged to locate at the resultant second elongate edge, the elongate adaptor being further configured to receive the male formation of an adjacent construction element thereat in use. 25. An elongate adaptor as claimed in claim 24, the elongate adaptor comprising a first elongate edge that is adapted to mount onto the resultant second elongate edge, the elongate adaptor further comprising a second elongate edge that is adapted to define a female formation for receipt therein of the male formation of an adjacent construction element in use.

26. An elongate starter strip suitable for use with a construction element as set forth in any one of claims 1 to 23, the elongate starter strip comprising a male formation that extends along one edge thereof and that is configured in a like manner to the male formation of the construction element such that, in use, with the starter strip mounted to the structure, the starter strip male formation is able to be received in the female formation of an adjacent construction element.

27. A method of installing the construction element as set forth in any one of claims 1 to 23, the method comprising: installing a first construction element onto a structure; installing a second construction element onto the structure such that, in use, the male formation of the first construction element is received in the female formation of the second construction element. 28. A method as claimed in claim 27, the method further comprising installing one or more further construction elements onto the structure such that, in use, the female formation of a next construction element receives the male formation of a prior installed construction element, and so on across the structure.

29. A method as claimed in claim 27 or 28, the method initially comprising installing an elongate starter strip onto the structure prior to locating the first construction element thereat, the starter strip being adapted along an inwardly facing edge to inter-engage with a corresponding facing edge of the first construction element so as to retain that corresponding facing edge at the structure. 30. A method as claimed in claim 29, wherein the inwardly facing edge of the starter strip comprises a male formation, and wherein, during installation of the first construction element, the female formation of the first construction element then receives the male formation of the pre-installed starter strip.

31. A method as claimed in any one of claims 27 to 30, wherein, prior to installing a next construction element, the method comprises inserting at least one fastener through the base portion of a first elongate edge of the currently installed construction element, such that this construction element is secured to the structure and, when two or more fasteners are employed, the fasteners are spaced out along the first elongate edge.

32. A method as claimed in any one of claims 27 to 31, the method further comprising locating sealant between the male formation and the female formation of two adjacent construction elements during installation such that, in use, the construction elements are able to form a substantially airtight and weatherproof barrier.

33. A method as claimed in any one of claims 27 to 32, the method further comprising integrating encasement material onto each construction element prior to or post installation, such that the encasement material is substantially retained in use by the retaining formations of each construction element.

Description:
CONSTRUCTION ELEMENT

TECHNICAL FIELD

This disclosure relates to construction elements. Specifically, though not exclusively, the disclosure relates to construction elements that can be used as cladding (e.g. external or internal cladding) and as panels (e.g. in walls, fencing, etc.).

BACKGROUND ART

External cladding is employed on domestic, commercial and industrial buildings for aesthetics and speed of construction. Such cladding may be pre- engineered and pre-manufactured (e.g. in off-site factories). External cladding can be manufactured from metal, glass, composite materials, etc.

A recently emerging field is so-called "Environmentally Sustainable Development" (ESD) which encompasses environmentally sustainable design, construction and materials. Coupled with ESD, social trends and lifestyle demands continue to reshape the construction industry and influence the regulatory environment. Product manufacturers, builders and developers are responding to this demand in various ways. Thus, ESD can also impact on external cladding materials.

WO 2005/068741 to the present applicant discloses a composite constructional element that has a plank profile having a retaining formation that retains a moulded cladding material to the plank profile. Further, each edge section of the plank profile comprises an attachment formation for attachment to a mating attachment formation on an adjacent constructional element.

US 3,906,696 (Poter) discloses a panelling combination for cladding, wherein a first panel with a longitudinally extending U-shaped rib along one end of the panel, is snap engaged with a longitudinally extending U-shaped rib along an opposite end of a second panel. The U-shaped snap engagement of Poter requires expensive high accuracy manufacturing in order to achieve the disclosed snap engagement. Additionally, the snap engagement disclosed by Poter does not allow for the construction of a curved panel with horizontal ribs. Furthermore, the means of connection disclosed by Poter, requires a panel to snap over the top of an adjacent panel, thereby preventing a seamless joint between panels. As such, the panel disclosed by Poter only enables a moulded cladding material to be affixed internally and cannot allow for an external decorative treatment, other than paint. Additionally, the Poter panel can present a difficulty in aligning of the panels where there is a tight tolerance for the snap engagement of the panels.

It is to be understood that a reference herein to the prior art does not constitute an admission that the prior art forms a part of the common general knowledge in the art, in Australia or any other country.

SUMMARY

Disclosed is a construction element for mounting to a structure, such as a wall frame. The construction element can be used as external or internal cladding or as a panel (e.g. in walls, fencing, etc.).

The construction element has first and second elongate edges that extend between opposing sides thereof. The construction element can be rectangular and generally planar, or it can be non-planar (e.g. curved, having intermediate bends, etc.). When the construction element is viewed in profile from one of the sides, the first elongate edge defines a male formation that projects laterally away from the construction element. The first elongate edge also comprises both a base portion arranged to enable in-use mounting of the construction element to the structure and a step portion that in use generally extends away from the structure. The step portion "steps up" so as to space the male formation with respect to the structure, with the male formation then extending laterally from the step portion.

The second elongate edge defines a female formation that in use is able to receive therein a male formation of an adjacent (e.g. like) construction element. The second elongate edge comprises a first side portion, a wall portion and a second side portion. The first side portion extends laterally from the construction element and is arranged in use to locate between the male formation of the adjacent construction element and the structure. The wall portion is inset from the second elongate edge and is connected along one side to the first side portion. In use, the wall portion is arranged to generally extend away from the first side portion. The second side portion is connected along an opposite side of the wall portion that extends laterally from the construction element, while also opposing the first side portion. The second side portion in use locates adjacent to the male formation of an adjacent (e.g. like) element.

The base portion can initially be fastened to secure the construction element to the structure. Then, a female formation of a next adjacent construction element can receive therein the male formation that extends from the fastened base portion, and so on across the structure. During such receipt, a sealant (e.g. as set forth below) can also be introduced to locate between the male and female formations, and to thereby weatherproof the structure. In this way, a face of a building can be rapidly clad and, at the same time, can be sealed to the elements.

In one embodiment, the male formation may be defined in the form of a longitudinally extending tongue member. In one embodiment, the female formation may be defined in the form of a corresponding longitudinally extending groove. The groove of a given construction element may receive therein the tongue of an adjacent construction element. This tongue and groove formation can facilitate the rapid installation of cladding across the face of the building.

In some embodiments, the construction element may be in the form of a sheet. In some embodiments the tongue member may be defined by the elongate edge of the sheet being hooked at a distal tongue end, or by being bent back over itself. The groove may be defined by a series of bends at the second elongate edge of the sheet. In some embodiments, an in-use underside of the step portion may be configured to generally correspond to a distal end of the first side portion of the female formation. This distal end may locate in adjacency of the step portion underside when adjacent construction elements have been mounted to the structure.

In some embodiments, the base portion of the first elongate edge may be secured to the structure by a fastening mechanism. In some embodiments, the fastening mechanism may comprise one or more discrete fasteners. When two or more fasteners are present, the fasteners may be spaced out along the first elongate edge.

In some embodiments, the construction element may be provided with first and second side walls. The first side wall may be formed to protrude generally perpendicularly with respect to a face of the construction element at a location adjacent to but inset from the base portion of the first elongate edge. Similarly, the second side wall may also be formed to protrude generally perpendicularly with respect to a face of the construction element; however it may be located adjacent to the second side portion of the second elongate edge. When adjacent construction elements have been mounted to the structure, the second side wall can locate in proximity of or it may abut the first side wall. This arrangement of the first and second side walls may in use function to conceal or obscure an underlying joint of the adjacent construction elements. These side walls can also enable an encasement material to be contained by the construction element (as explained hereafter).

In some embodiments, the construction element may have a contour defined between the first and second elongate edges. The contour of the construction element may be configured such that an encasement material may be located and retained proximal to at least one face of the construction element.

In some embodiments, the contour may be configured so as to provide at least one retaining formation at each face of the construction element. The at least one retaining formation may be configured so as to retain the encasement material at its respective face of the construction element.

In some embodiments, the construction element may comprise a base surface that is located and defined between the first and second elongate edges and the opposing sides thereof. One side of the base surface may be able to face the structure in use, and the opposite side of the base surface may be able to face outwards from the structure in use.

Each retaining formation may be configured to generally project away from the base surface. Each retaining formation may further define one side of an elongate channel that extends generally parallel to the opposing first and second elongate edges.

In some embodiments, each retaining formation may comprise a channel wall that is able to define said one side of the elongate channel. The channel wall may comprise an elongate undercut such that, in use, the encasement material is able to be retained in that undercut. This undercut may function to help reduce delamination of the encasement material from the construction element (i.e. in situ and over time).

In some embodiments, each channel wall may be configured to define an elongate undercut at a respective side of the base surface such that, in use, the encasement material is able to be retained at opposite sides of the base surface of the construction element. This may be useful when, for example, the construction element functions as a partition wall or divider, in addition to its use as cladding.

In some embodiments, at least two retaining formations may be provided between the first and second elongate edges. Thus, two adjacent and opposing retaining formations may define therebetween a respective channel. Multiple such channels may be formed across the construction element between the first and second elongate edges. In some embodiments, the retaining formations may be arranged to form alternating elongate channels at opposite sides of the base surface of the construction element. Thus, a given retaining formation may function to retain encasement material at each side of the base surface. In some embodiments, a connector may also be employed. The connector may be configured to interact with one of the retaining formations such that, when the connector is mounted to the structure, the connector can contribute to retention of the construction element at the structure. For example, the connector may be employed when the construction element is employed in a high wind area (e.g. a cyclonic/hurricane region). It may function in addition to the fasteners, to retain the construction element at the structure. The connector may take the form of a plate.

In some embodiments, the encasement material may comprise wet-pour rubber crumb. The wet-pour rubber crumb encasement material may, in some embodiments, comprise a mixture of recycled rubber granules and a resin. In some further embodiments, the encasement material may incorporate a living green wall. Nutrients and water retention aids for the green wall may be provided or retained amongst the recycled rubber granules. Such water retention aids may include vermiculite. In addition, a watering system may be incorporated into the construction element to both water and fertilise the green wall.

In some embodiments, the construction element may also have encasement material applied so as to bridge across, and be retained simultaneously by, a plurality of adjacent construction elements. This may be advantageous in situations where it is desired that there be no visible joint lines. Here, the encasement material can be applied to the construction element when in situ, rather than being prefabricated onto the construction element. Or an additional layer can be applied over pre-existing encasement material. In some

embodiments, the construction element may extend substantially linearly between at least one of the first and second elongate edges and the opposing sides thereof. In some embodiments, the construction element may be non-planar between at least one of the first and second elongate edges and the opposing sides thereof (e.g. it may be curved, or form a corner element, etc.). In some embodiments, a planar/curved construction element may function together with one or more corner elements. In some embodiments, the construction element may also function together with one or more starter pieces or end pieces provided at a structure.

In some embodiments, the female formation at the second elongate edge may be removed. In such an embodiment, the construction element may further cooperate with an elongate adaptor that can be arranged to locate at the resultant second elongate edge. The elongate adaptor may also be configured to receive the male formation of an adjacent construction element thereat in use. The elongate adaptor can enable a variable dimension to be applied to the construction element to suit various construction applications (e.g. walls of varying lengths).

Also disclosed herein is a construction element that is configured such that, when the construction element is viewed in profile from one of the sides, at least one face of the construction element defines at least one elongate retaining channel that is configured such that an encasement material may be located and retained therein. Each side wall of the retaining channel can be configured to define an undercut into which the encasement material is able to locate. The opposing undercuts can, in combination, better function to retain the encasement material proximal to at least one side of the construction element.

When the construction element is viewed in profile from one of the sides, one channel side wall may be configured with an S-shaped profile, and the other channel side wall may be configured with a reverse S-shaped profile. The S- shaped profiles can define channel undercuts at each side of the construction element. Further, when moving from the first to the second elongate edge, adjacent elongate channels may be formed at alternating sides of the construction element. The channel profiles may be otherwise as set forth above. Also disclosed herein is an elongate adaptor suitable for use with a construction element as set forth above. The elongate adaptor may be further configured such that, when the female formation at the second elongate edge has been removed, the adaptor may then be arranged to locate at the resultant second elongate edge. The elongate adaptor may also be further configured to receive the male formation of an adjacent construction element thereat in use.

In some embodiments of the elongate adaptor, the elongate adaptor may comprise a first elongate edge that is adapted to mount onto the resultant second elongate edge of the construction element. Further, the elongate adaptor may also comprise a second elongate edge that is itself adapted to define a female formation for receipt therein of the male formation of an adjacent construction element in use. As above, the elongate adaptor can transform the resultant second elongate edge to have a groove-like formation, and can also enable a variable dimension to be applied to the construction element, to suit various construction applications.

Also disclosed herein is an elongate starter strip that is suitable for use with a construction element as set forth above. The elongate starter strip comprises a male formation that extends along one edge thereof and that is configured in a like manner to the male formation of the construction element. In use, with the starter strip mounted to the structure, the starter strip male formation is able to be received in the female formation of an adjacent construction element.

Also disclosed herein is a method of installing the construction element as set forth above. The method comprises installing a first construction element onto a structure. The method also comprises installing a second construction element onto the structure such that, in use, the male formation of the first construction element is received in the female formation of the second construction element.

In one embodiment, the method may further comprise installing one or more further construction elements onto the structure such that, in use, the female formation of a next construction element receives the male formation of a prior installed construction element. This methodology may then be continued on/repeated across the structure (e.g. to clad one or more given walls thereof).

In one embodiment of the method, an elongate starter strip may be installed onto the structure prior to locating the first construction element thereat.

The starter strip may be adapted along an inwardly facing edge to inter- engage with a corresponding facing edge of the first construction element so as to retain that corresponding facing edge at the structure. For example, the inwardly facing edge of the starter strip may comprise a male formation. During installation of the first construction element, the female formation of the first construction element may then receive the male formation of the pre-installed starter strip.

In one embodiment of the method, prior to installing a next construction element, the method may comprise inserting at least one fastener through the base portion of a first elongate edge of the currently installed construction element. Thus, this construction element can then become secured to the structure. When two or more fasteners are employed, the fasteners may be spaced out along the first elongate edge. Each fastener may secure into a respective component of the structure (e.g. into a purlin/stud of a wall frame, etc.).

In one embodiment of the method, a sealant may be located between the male formation and the female formation of two adjacent construction elements during installation. Thus, in use, the adjacent construction elements may form a substantially airtight and weatherproof barrier.

In one embodiment of the method, encasement material may be integrated onto each construction element prior to or post installation. The encasement material may be substantially retained in use by the retaining formations of each construction element. BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Embodiments will now be described by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings in which

Figure 1 shows an end (profile) view of a construction element in the form of a cladding plank incorporating encasement material at one face thereof;

Figure 2 shows an end (profile) detail of ajoint of adjacent cladding planks, each according to Figure 1, and each incorporating encasement material at one face thereof;

Figure 2A shows an end (profile) view a cladding plank without encasement material, the cladding plank comprising a variation of the tongue formation to that employed in Figures 1 and 2;

Figure 2B shows a detail of adjacent, joined cladding planks according to Figure 2A, each without encasement material;

Figure 2C shows a detail of adjacent, joined cladding planks, each with encasement material, the cladding plank comprising a variation of the second edge wall to that employed in Figures 1 and 2-2B;

Figures 3A and 3B respectively show: a perspective view of two adjacent cladding planks without encasement material when mounted in a horizontal orientation to the purlin of a wall frame; a perspective view of a cladding plank without encasement material when mounted in a vertical orientation between two purlins of a wall frame;

Figure 4 shows a perspective end view of adjacent, joined cladding planks, each incorporating encasement material at one face thereof;

Figures 5A & 5B respectively show: a perspective view of the cladding plank incorporating encasement material at opposite faces thereof; and a perspective view of adjacent, joined cladding planks, each incorporating encasement material at opposite faces thereof; Figures 6 & 6A respectively show a reverse perspective view of Figure 5B and a detail view, illustrating adjacent, joined cladding planks, each incorporating encasement material at opposite faces thereof, but additionally illustrating the fastening at the joint of the adjacent cladding planks to a purlin/stud; Figure 7A, 7B, 7C & 7D respectively show: a perspective view of a corner cladding plank with an adjacent, joined cladding plank, each incorporating encasement material at one external face thereof; and a corner adaptor that joins between the female elongate edge of a cladding plank and the male elongate edge of another cladding plank, both also illustrating fasteners at the joints; the corner adaptor in another mode of use; and a perspective detail of two adjacent cladding planks each mounted in a vertical orientation, wherein they form an internal corner in use;

Figures 8A & 8B respectively show: a perspective view of an adaptor strip; and a perspective view of adjacent, joined cladding planks, each incorporating encasement material at one face thereof, with one of the cladding planks having its female (groove) formation removed and replaced with the adaptor strip of Figure 8A;

Figure 9 shows a perspective view of a starter strip for mounting at a foundation;

Figure 9A shows a perspective view an adjacent cladding plank joined to the starter strip of Figure 9, the cladding plank incorporating encasement material at one external face thereof;

Figure 10 shows a perspective view of a connector mounted to a frame member and interacting (hooking) with a retaining formation at a rear face of an adjacent encased cladding plank, with Figure 10 also showing a separate services connector mounted to the retaining formation;

Figure 11 shows a schematic view of a watering/irrigation system for a series of vertically mounted and interconnected cladding planks, such as for green wall applications; Figure 12 shows a perspective view of a frame structure comprising a series of vertically mounted and interconnected cladding planks, such as for green wall (e.g. grass wall) application; and

Figure 13 shows a perspective view of a cladding plank with encasement (e.g. green wall) material when mounted in a vertical orientation between two purlins of e.g. a fence.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF SPECIFIC EMBODIMENTS

In the following detailed description, reference is made to accompanying drawings which form a part of the detailed description. The illustrative embodiments described in the detailed description, depicted in the drawings and defined in the claims, are not intended to be limiting. Other embodiments may be utilised and other changes may be made without departing from the spirit or scope of the subject matter presented. It will be readily understood that the aspects of the present disclosure, as generally described herein and illustrated in the drawings can be arranged, substituted, combined, separated and designed in a wide variety of different configurations, all of which are contemplated in this disclosure.

The Figures illustrate a number of embodiments of a construction element in the form of a cladding plank 10, 10' for mounting to a structure, such as a wall frame (see e.g. Figures 3A, 3B, 6, 9 and 10). The cladding plank can also take the form of a corner cladding plank 100 (as shown in Figure 7A). The wall frame can be a stud frame of timber, metal (e.g. steel, aluminium, etc.), or any other suitably engineered sub-frame. The cladding plank 10, 10' can be formed by continuous roll forming, and all folds and bends in the cladding plank 10 can be curved for ease of manufacture .

The cladding plank 10, 10' may be square or rectangular, linear, generally planar, and optionally it may be elongate, as illustrated in any one of Figures 1-6 and 8-11. Alternatively, the cladding plank can be non-planar (e.g. curved, bent), such as the corner cladding plank 100 shown in Figure 7A, or it may even be non- linear. Whilst the cladding plank 10 is typically used as cladding for external and internal walls of varying types, it may form a structural element, or a partition or dividing wall, etc.

Figure 1 illustrates a cladding plank 10 when viewed in profile from one of the sides (ends) thereof. The cladding plank 10 of Figure 1 comprises an encasement material 70 located and retained proximal to one (e.g. external) face of the cladding plank 10. Figure 2A illustrates a variation of the cladding plank 10' and does not comprise an encasement material. Whilst the cladding plank 10, 10' can be employed without an encasement material, typically it is provided with encasement material at one or both faces thereof, as described hereafter. Further, the cladding plank 10, 10' may be prefabricated and supplied with the encasement material in place, or encasement material may be applied in situ (e.g. once the plank has been installed).

The cladding plank 10, 10' has first 20 and second 30 elongate edges that extend between opposing sides 23, 24 thereof (e.g. see Figure 3B). The first elongate edge 20 defines a male formation in the form of a tongue 21 that projects laterally away from the cladding plank 10.

In the cladding plank 10 of Figure 1 the tongue 21 comprises a hook formation 21H at a distal end thereof. However, in the cladding plank 10' of Figure 2A, the tongue 21 comprises a bent or folded back formation 2 IB. In a further variation, the tongue 21 may simply be defined by a single (i.e. non-bent or non-hooked) wall.

The first elongate edge 20 further comprises a generally flat base portion 25 that is arranged to enable in-use mounting of the cladding plank 10 to a structure (e.g. to a purlin/stud 400, such as is shown in Figures 3 A and 3B). In this regard, one or more fasteners 40, e.g. in the form of self-tapping bolts or screws (e.g. tec-screws, etc.), can each be screwed through the base portion 25 and into a respective purlin/stud 400 or similar to secure the first elongate edge 20 to the structure. The first elongate edge 20 also comprises a step portion 22 that generally extends away from the base portion 25 and away from the structure to which the base portion 25 is mounted in use. The step portion 22 "steps up" so as to space the tongue 21 with respect to the structure (e.g. it defines a space between tongue 21 and purlin/stud 400), with the tongue 21 then extending laterally from the step portion 22.

The second elongate edge 30 defines a female formation in the form of a groove 31 that in use (e.g. as illustrated in Figures 2 and 2B) is able to receive therein the tongue 21 of an adjacent (typically a like) cladding plank 10. In the drawings, the tongue 21 is shown as spaced from the walls of the groove 31. However, in practice there may in fact be little or no spacing therebetween, in which case the tongue 21 may be received within the groove 31 in a press-, push-, interference- or friction-type fit.

The groove 31 at the second elongate edge 30 is defined by a first side portion 32, a wall portion 33 and a second side portion 34. The wall portion 33 is inset from the second elongate edge 30 and is connected along one side to the first side portion 32, and along the other side to the second side portion 34. The wall portion 33 generally extends away from the first side portion 32 and, in use, generally extends away from the structure. The wall portion 33 thus defines a base of the groove 31, with the spaced, facing first 32 and second 34 side portions defining side walls of the groove 31.

The first side portion 32 is formed by bending back onto itself a portion of the cladding plank, so that the first side portion 32 effectively extends laterally from the cladding plank 10, but so as to be arranged in use (i.e. as illustrated in Figures 2 & 2B) to locate at the structure - i.e. between the tongue 21 of an adjacent cladding plank 10 and e.g. the purlin/stud 400 of the structure. Thus, the first side portion 32 also defines a type of tongue.

As also illustrated in Figures 2 & 2B an underside of the step portion 22 is curved in a manner that generally corresponds to a distal end 35 of the first side portion 32. Thus, the distal end 35 is able to locate snugly and in adjacency of the step portion 22 underside when adjacent construction elements 10 or 10' are mounted to the structure. This arrangement further contributes to sealing at the joint of adjacent construction elements. As illustrated in Figures 2 & 2B, the second side portion 34 extends laterally from the cladding plank 10 to a greater extent than the first side portion 32. This then enables the second side portion 34 in use to cover the base portion 25 of an adjacent cladding plank, thereby concealing or obscuring an underlying joint of the adjacent cladding planks. In use, the second side portion 34 also locates adjacent to the tongue 21 of an adjacent cladding plank 10.

As also illustrated in Figures 2, 2B & 3, each cladding plank 10, 10' comprises a first edge wall 27 and second edge wall 37. These walls 27, 37 can provide side retention formations to help retain encasement material 70 when it is e.g. poured, sprayed, troweled or otherwise applied onto the cladding plank. The first edge wall 27 is defined by bending back onto itself a portion of the cladding plank, so that the wall protrudes generally perpendicularly with respect to a face of the cladding plank 10 at a location adjacent to but inset from the base portion 25 of the first elongate edge 20. Similarly, the second edge wall 37 is defined by bending up an end of the second side portion 34, so that the second edge wall 37 also protrudes generally perpendicularly with respect to a face of the cladding plank 10. However, the second edge wall 37 is located at the extremity of the second elongate edge 30. Thus, when adjacent construction elements 10, 10' are mounted to the structure (as illustrated in Figures 2 & 2B), the second side wall 37 locates in proximity of or abuts the first side wall 27. Again, this can make for a tight or even flush joint between adjacent cladding planks. A sealant may even be applied between adjacent walls 27, 37.

Figures 2 & 2B also show that a sealant S can be located between a distal end of the tongue 21 and at a base of the groove 31 (i.e. adjacent to the wall portion 33). The sealant can be applied (e.g. from a gun) to extend for a full length of the groove 31, and can thereby weatherproof the structure (e.g. against the passage of air and water). In this way, a face of a structure (e.g. building) may be rapidly clad in a sealed manner.

Referring now to Figure 2C, a detail of adjacent, joined cladding planks 10", 10" is shown. Each plank comprises encasement material 70. Each cladding plank 10" comprises a variation of the second edge wall 37 to that employed in Figures 1 and 2-2B. In this regard, the cladding plank 10" comprises a bent or folded back wall formation 37'. The cladding plank 10" is otherwise very similar to the cladding plank 10' of Figures 2A & 2B. As best illustrated by Figures 3 A and 3B, to secure the cladding plank 10,

10' to a structure, the base portion 25 is fastened by respective fasteners 40 to respective, spaced purlins/studs 400 that form part of e.g. a wall frame structure.

For the horizontal plank mounting illustrated in Figures 3A and 9, installation commences by initially bolting/screwing B, B' a starter strip 300 to a base plate/foundation P and frame 400. A groove 31 of a first adjacent cladding plank can then be manoeuvred to receive the tongue formation 302 of the starter strip 300 therein and/or until the wall 327 of the starter strip 300 and the wall 37 of the adjacent cladding plank touch/abut. Next, the base portion 25 of cladding plank 10, 10' is fastened by respective fasteners 40 to respective, spaced purlins/studs 400 that form part of the wall frame structure.

A similar procedure can be employed for the vertical plank mounting illustrated in Figure 3B, including the initial mounting of a vertical starter strip 300 (see e.g. Figures 7B & 7C).

Then, as illustrated by Figures 2, 2A, 3A, 4, 5B, 6, etc., a groove 31 of a next adjacent cladding plank can be manoeuvred into adjacency of the tongue 21 of the pre-secured plank, until the groove 31 of the next plank receives that tongue fully therein and/or until the walls 27, 37 of the adjacent cladding planks touch/abut. Prior to such receipt, the sealant S is typically introduced into the groove 31 of the first and each next plank. This next plank is then secured by respective fasteners 40 to respective purlins/studs 400, and the procedure is then repeated across the structure.

The fasteners 40 are spaced out along the first elongate edge 20 to correspond to the particular framework to which the cladding planks are to be mounted. The length of the first elongate edge 20 enables a variety of different fastener spacings to be deployed. Once a structure is clad, the fasteners 40 are also aesthetically hidden from view in use under the second side portion 34 of each adjacent cladding plank. As best seen in Figures 2A and 3B, the profile of the cladding plank 10 has a particular contour that is defined between the first 20 and second 30 elongate edges. In this regard, the contour is configured so that the encasement material 70 is best able to be retained proximal to at least one face of the cladding plank 10 in use. In the embodiment of each of Figures 1, 2, 4 and 7-10, the encasement material 70 is retained proximal to one face only of the cladding plank 10, 10' (e.g. to an in -use external face).

However, in the embodiment of Figures 5 and 6, the encasement material 70 is retained proximal to both faces of the cladding plank 10, 10' (i.e. at opposite faces thereof). In other words, the configuration of the cladding plank is such that the in-use internal face can also be "finished" with an encasement material. Thus, the plank can be used as a dividing or partition wall, internal wall, etc., with the plank being "encased" by the encasement material at each side thereof.

The contour that is defined between the first 20 and second 30 elongate edges is configured so as to provide at least one and typically a plurality of retaining formations, each in the form of a retention shoulder 80. Further, the contour is configured such that each retention shoulder is located at opposite faces of the cladding plank 10, 10' . Additionally, the contour and retention shoulders are formed such that each is able to act to retain encasement material 70 at both faces of the cladding plank 10, 10' (i.e. one shoulder can simultaneously retain encasement material 70 at both faces of the cladding plank 10, 10'). This encasing at both sides can provide additional thermal, acoustic, protective and/or aesthetic/decorative properties to the cladding plank.

As described in greater detail below with reference to Figure 10, the retention shoulders 80 can also be used for attaching accessories such as guides and fasteners for running electrical wiring, cabling, conduits, piping, or any other service or accessory that may need to be secured to either face of the cladding plank 10, 10' . For example, where the cladding plank 10, 10' forms the external face of a green wall, a saddle may be clipped onto a retention shoulder 80 prior to the encasement material 70 being applied to secure a larger plant, or to support irrigation tubing or devices, etc.

When the cladding plank 10 comprises encasement material 70 at one face thereof, this can effectively define a base surface 125 (i.e. see the dashed line 125 in Figure 1) of the cladding plank 10. Such a base surface 125 is located and defined between the first 20 and second 30 elongate edges and between the opposing sides 23, 24.

With reference to Figure 1, an underside of the base surface 125 is arranged to face the purlins/studs 400 in use, whereas an upperside of the base surface 125 is arranged to face outwardly in use, and to retain the encasement material 70 thereat.

Again with reference to Figure 1, each retention shoulder 80 can then be seen as generally projecting away from the base surface 125, such that each retention shoulder 80 is able to define one of the sides of three elongate channels 85A, 85B and 85C. Each such channel extends generally parallel to the opposing first 20 and second 30 elongate edges, with each retention shoulder 80 defining a side wall 81 of a given channel. Further, each channel wall 81 generally has an S- shaped profile to thereby define an elongate undercut 82 that extends for the length of each channel wall 81. In use, the encasement material 70 is able to be retained in the undercuts 82 of each channel, as best illustrated in Figures 4 & 7. This functions to "key-in" the encasement material and reduces its tendency to de laminate from the cladding plank 10, 10' in use.

It will be seen that, for channel 85A, one of the channel walls is defined by the first side portion 32 and wall portion 33. It will also be seen that, for channel 85C, one of the channel walls is defined by the first edge wall 27. However, for channel 85B, both of the channel walls is defined by a respective retention shoulder 80, giving this channel a dual centre-front retaining profile 87 that can provide structural integrity to the plank as well as additional retention strength to reduce the occurrence of encasement material delamination. It will also be seen that each retention shoulder 80 defines at the in-use underside of the base surface 125 two elongate channels 86A and 86B that each extend generally parallel to the opposing first 20 and second 30 elongate edges. The channels 86A and 86B and their associated undercuts are, like the channels 85A, 85B and 85C, able to retain and key-in encasement material at the underside of the base surface 125. This is best illustrated in Figures 5 & 6. In this way, the S-shaped profile of each retention shoulder 80 enables encasement material to be securely retained at either or both sides of the cladding plank 10, 10' .

The encasement material 70 can comprise a cementitious render, which may optionally comprise polymeric additives. This can give the external surface a stone-like or rendered appearance. The encasement material 70 may be fabricated (e.g. with certain additives and polymeric resins) to have a wide variety of finishes, including but not limited to, traditional sandstone, timber, terrazzo, cement render, textured and stamped effects, and to be of any colour.

In a variation, however, the encasement material 70 can comprise a wet- pour rubber crumb, such as a mixture of rubber granules and resin. The rubber crumb can be recycled, such as from vehicle waste tyres. Such rubber crumb can be cheap, light weight, durable, non- corrosive and flexible. Additionally, recycled rubber may have beneficial acoustic and thermal properties. Recycled materials also benefit the general environment, as disposal of rubber, especially waste tyres, is a major problem worldwide, a problem which may be somewhat addressed through recycling. This can provide an ESD benefit to the cladding.

The encasement material 70 may also be manufactured with varying thicknesses and degrees of hardness depending on individual design and performance criteria. For example, if a wall will have body contact in use, e.g. in a sporting facility or in a children's playground, the encasement material 70 may be fabricated using a spongy finish that absorbs the force of impact and may aid in injury prevention.

In a further variation, as illustrated in Figure 1 1, encasement material 70 can be employed that incorporates hydroponic technology, thereby enabling the encasement material 70 to incorporate a living green wall. This is described in further detail hereafter.

Whilst the cladding plank 10, 10' as illustrated in Figures 1, 2-6 & 8-10 is shown as extending linearly between at least one of the first 20 and second 30 elongate edges and the opposing sides 23 & 24, in some embodiments, the cladding plank may be non-planar between the elongate edges and opposing sides. In this regard, and as illustrated in Figure 7A, the cladding plank may take the form a corner element 100.

The corner element 100 as shown in Figure 7A has a first elongate edge 120 and a second elongate edge 130 that are, in effect, identical to the first 20 and second 30 elongate edges of cladding plank 10. This allows the corner to locate between and be mounted to respective adjacent cladding planks (i.e. at either side thereof). However, to accommodate the corner formation 102, the dual centre- front retaining profile 87 is reformed at 187 (i.e. in effect by being "opened-out"). Referring now to Figure 7B and 7C, an elongate corner adaptor 1 10 is shown which utilises a similar male engagement mechanism to the tongue 21 of cladding plank 10, 10' . The corner adaptor can be similar or identical to the starter strip 300. In this regard, the corner adaptor 1 10 comprises a tongue formation 1 12 that extends along an elongate edge thereof. The tongue formation 1 12 is able to locate and be sealed in a groove 31 of an adjacent first cladding plank 10, 10' in use. The first elongate edge 20 of a perpendicularly aligned further adjacent cladding plank 10b, 10b' can then be located proximal to the corner adapter.

When so located, the tongue 21 of the further adjacent cladding plank 10b, 10b' is located in close proximity to the opposite edge wall 1 14 of the corner adaptor 1 10. As shown in Figure 7C, fasteners 41 are used to install the corner adaptor 1 10 to a frame 400. Typically, the fasteners 41 are similar to the fasteners 40 used to install the cladding plank 10, 10' (as seen in Figures 3A and 3B).

Referring now to Figure 7D, two adjacent cladding planks 10, 10' are shown that form an internal corner in use. The cladding planks 10, 10' are mounted to perpendicular faces of a vertical post or stud 475. Whilst the stud 475 as shown is an extruded (e.g. metal) section, it may comprise a rectangular timber post or stud, etc. The cladding planks lO, 10' are mounted in a vertical orientation to the perpendicular faces of the stud 475 by a number of spaced-out fasteners 40. In use the two adjacent cladding planks lO, 10' may be in close proximity or abut such that they or the encasement material 70 retained therein combine to form an internal corner 402. The corner 402 may be further sealed if required (e.g. prior to painting, etc.).

Referring now to Figures 8A & B, to enable the cladding plank to be employed at a variety of varying length structures (e.g. walls of different, nonstandard lengths), at least the elements (33, 34, 35 & 37) that define the groove 31 and second elongate edge 30 of the cladding plank can be removed (e.g. cut-off on site, or a the terminated cladding plank may be pre-fabricated based on a specification). This defines a cut-off edge 36 of a resultant cladding plank 10".

To then enable the resultant cladding plank 10" to be connected to the tongue 21 of an adjacent cladding plank 10, an elongate adaptor member 200 is employed. As shown in Figure 8B, the elongate adaptor member 200 comprises a first female channel 202 that is arranged to receive therein the tongue 21 of an adjacent cladding plank 10. A sealant can be applied between the female channel 202 and the tongue 21.

The elongate adaptor member 200 also comprises an elongate hook formation 204 that is arranged to hook onto the resultant cut-off edge 36 of the cladding plank 10". Here, and as necessary, a groove 71 can be machined into the encasement material 70 to enable the hook formation 204 to be hooked onto the resultant cut-off edge 36.

Referring now to Figures 9 & 9A, to initiate mounting of the cladding plank 10 to a frame (e.g. to a purlin or stud), a starter strip 300 can be attached to a base plate or foundation of the structure (e.g. via bolts/screws 41). This base plate may instead be a vertical member of a frame (e.g. for vertical cladding plank installations). The starter strip 300 can also be attached to the frame of the structure (e.g. via bolts/screws). The starter strip 300 utilises a similar male engagement mechanism to the tongue 21 of cladding plank 10, 10' . In this regard, the starter strip 300 comprises a tongue formation 302 that extends along an elongate edge thereof. The tongue formation 302 is able to locate and be sealed in a groove 31 of an adjacent first cladding plank 10, 10' in use.

Referring now to Figure 10, to enable the cladding plank 10, 10' to be employed e.g. in high wind areas (such as a cyclonic/hurricane region), or in high internal pressure applications, a connector in the form of a retainer plate 350 can be employed. The retainer plate 350 comprises a hooking formation 352 defined at one of its corners, with the hooking formation 352 being configured to hook over and interact with one of the retention shoulders 80 of the cladding plank 10, 10'. The retainer plate 350 is able to e.g. be screw-mounted via pre-formed screw holes 354 to the purlin/stud 400 of the structure and, once secured to the purlin/stud 400, can thereby contribute to retention of the cladding plank 10, 10' at the purlin/stud 400. The retainer plate 350 can thus function in addition to the fasteners 40, to retain the plank 10, 10' at a structure. Figure 10 also shows a services plate 450. The services plate 450 comprises protruding flanges that are shaped to form dual hooking formations 452. The dual hooking formations 452 are configured such that they are able to hook onto adjacent shoulders 80 and 80' of the cladding plank 10, 10'. The services plate 450 comprises small through-holes 454 (e.g. for supporting electrical wire, computer and speaker cabling, etc.). The services plate 450 also comprises a large through -hole 456 (e.g. for supporting pipework, such as water and gas piping, irrigation tubing, etc.).

The services plate 450, and modifications thereto, can be hooked onto the adjacent shoulders 80a and 80a' of an internal and/or external face of the cladding plank 10, 10'. The services plate 450 can assist with the attachment to the cladding plank of internally and/or externally mounted accessories. For example, in a green wall application, the services plate 450 can be used to mount a large or heavy weight plant, or a mechanism that can divert water to that plant.

In some applications, the services plate 450 when externally mounted can be installed prior to the encasement material 70 being applied. In other applications (e.g. when the encasement material will be covered by plants, etc.), the externally mounted services plate 450 can be installed by removing a section of the encasement material 70, mounting the services plate 450 and then patching around it. The hooking formations can be such as to retain the services plate 450 with sufficient strength such that no fasteners are required, or such that only the addition of an adhesive is required, thereby advantageously not compromising the weatherproof-ness of the cladding tray. The placement of encasement material 70 around and over the hooking formations 452 of the services plate 450 can also function to further strengthen and stabilise mounting of the services plate 450 in use.

Referring now to Figure 11, a green wall structure 500 is schematically depicted. The green wall structure 500 comprises a series of vertically mounted cladding planks 10, 10', each retaining an encasement material (e.g. rubber crumb) that is able to incorporate a living green wall (i.e. the plants can grow out of the wall surface). Nutrients for the green wall are able to be provided along an upper edge of the green wall structure 500 via a drip/weep line 502. These nutrients can be retained amongst the encasement material (e.g. in amongst the recycled rubber granules). The drip/weep line 502 can also function as a watering system (i.e. it can both water and fertilise the green wall).

In this regard, the drip/weep line 502 is connected to receive a water and nutrient mixture via a submersed water pump 504. The submersed water pump 504 is located in a water/nutrient reservoir 506, which may optionally be aerated 508. The water/nutrient reservoir 506 is fed via a mains water supply 510, which also draws in nutrients from a nutrient supply tank 512 via a venturi system 514. The water level in the reservoir 506 is controlled via a float valve 516 which cooperates with the mains water supply line 510.

Water W that flows down through the wall deposits its nutrients and is collected via a gutter 518 located along a lower edge of the green wall structure 500. The gutter 518 then recycles 520 the water back into the water/nutrient reservoir 506 for reuse. Thus, the cladding planks 10, lO'as set forth herein can, when appropriately encased, provide the dual purpose of a wall cladding as well as a green wall. Referring now to Figure 12, a frame structure 600 is depicted that substantially surrounds and retains a series of vertically mounted and interconnected cladding planks 10, 10' . In this embodiment the encasement material 70 is such as to support a living green (e.g. grass) wall 610. The frame structure 600 also integrates a drip/weep line 502 along the upper edge of the cladding planks 10, 10 ' for watering the grass wall, and a gutter 518 along the lower edge of the cladding planks 10, 10' for catching excess water. The frame structure 600 further comprises vertical braces 602 to complete the frame.

The cladding planks 10, 10' are retained within grooves formed into the inside face of the frame structure 600. The cladding planks 10, 10' may be retained within the grooves of the frame structure 600 by suitable fasteners and/or by sealants, adhesives, etc. Alternatively or additionally, the cladding planks 10, 10' can be retained by compression within the frame structure 600. The cladding planks can also be secured (e.g. via fasteners 40) to horizontal battens 604 that are spaced out at the rear of the frame 600. Alternatively or additionally, the battens 604 can be secured (e.g. by fasteners and/or adhesives, etc.) to the frame 600. The battens 604 enable the frame structure 600 to be mounted at and retained to a structure such as a post, wall, roof, floor, etc.

Referring now to Figure 13, a green wall fence 700 is shown mounted to the purlins/studs 480 of a fence line 485. The green wall fence 700 comprises a series of vertically mounted cladding planks 10, 10', each retaining an encasement material 70 (e.g. rubber crumb) that is able to incorporate a living green wall, i.e. such that plants, grass, etc. may grow out of the wall surface. A drip/weep line 702 is provided along an upper edge 730 of the green wall fence 700 in order to feed nutrients into the green wall. A gutter 718 is located along a lower edge 732 of the green wall fence 700 to collect water that drips from the living green wall encasement material. Thus, the cladding planks 10, lO'as set forth herein can, when appropriately encased, provide another purpose, namely a fence or barrier wall. To install the cladding planks 10, 10, 10" as generally set forth above, the following methodology can be employed:

• Commence installation by bolting/screwing B, B' a starter strip 300 to a base plate/foundation P (horizontal plank mounting) and frame 400; or to a vertical pole/member/stud/framework (vertical plank mounting). · Install the groove 31 of a first cladding plank 10, 10, 10" onto the tongue formation 302 of strip 300; or

• Install the groove 31 of a first cladding plank 10, 10, 10" onto the tongue 121 of corner element 100 when cladding a next wall. The groove 131 of an existing corner element 100 can first be fastened to the tongue 21 a preexisting end/final cladding plank of an adjacent previous clad wall (i.e. the base portion 25 of this cladding plank has already been fastened onto the purlin/stud 400 via a plurality of spaced-out fasteners 40).

• Fasten the base portion 25 of the first cladding plank 10, 10, 10" onto the purlin/stud 400 via a plurality of spaced-out fasteners 40 (e.g. tec-screws, etc.).

• The groove 31 of the first (and each subsequent) cladding plank can, immediately prior to installation, have a polymeric resin- or silicon-type curable sealant located therein to enable the resultant joint to form a substantially airtight and weatherproof barrier.

• Install the groove 31 of a second cladding plank 10, 10, 10" onto the fastened first cladding plank (i.e. such that the tongue 21 of the first cladding plank is received in the groove of the second cladding plank).

• Fasten the base portion 25 of the second cladding plank 10, 10, 10" onto the purlin/stud 400 via a plurality of spaced-out fasteners 40 (e.g. tec- screws, etc.).

• Install and fasten one or more further cladding planks on the wall, etc. of the structure, until completely clad.

Variations and modifications may be made to the parts previously described without departing from the spirit or ambit of the disclosure.

For example, in some embodiments, a thin linear expressed joint can be used, whereby e.g. a steel trim is inserted at the joint between two adjacent cladding planks in either vertical or horizontal orientations. In the claims which follow and in the preceding description, except where the context requires otherwise due to express language or necessary implication, the word "comprise" or variations such as "comprises" or "comprising" is used in an inclusive sense, i.e. to specify the presence of the stated features but not to preclude the presence or addition of further features in various embodiments of the construction element.