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Title:
A METHOD OF CONNECTING PRE-FABRICATED PRE-FINISHED VOLUMETRIC CONSTRUCTION (PPVC) MODULES FOR CONSTRUCTION OF A BUILDING
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/022673
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A Method for Connecting Pre-fabricated Pre-finished Volumetric Construction (PPVC) Modules for Construction of a Building A method for connecting two adjacent pre-fabricated pre-finished volumetric construction (PPVC) modules is described. The method comprises: (i) providing one connecting element attached to a wall of each of adjacent PPVC modules; (ii) aligning one connecting element of first adjacent PPVC module to one connecting element of second adjacent PPVC module to form one pair of aligned connecting elements; (iii) providing longitudinal bar along walls of each adjacent PPVC module, bar comprising one engaging element operatively complementary to one connecting element; and (iv) connecting one engaging element to one pair of aligned connecting elements to connect two adjacent PPVC modules, where aligning step comprises aligning one connecting element of first adjacent PPVC module to be non-overlapping with one connecting element of second adjacent PPVC module in longitudinal direction of longitudinal bar.

Inventors:
TAN, Bian Tiong (121 Seagull Walk, Singapore 8, 486698, SG)
NG, Choong Guide (339 Choa Chu Kang Ave 3, Singapore 3, 689873, SG)
CHEW, Kuan Sian (205 Balestier Road, Singapore 2, 329682, SG)
Application Number:
SG2018/050382
Publication Date:
January 31, 2019
Filing Date:
July 27, 2018
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
EXCEL PRECAST PTE LTD (12 Kallang Way, #02-01 North East Building, Singapore 6, 349216, SG)
International Classes:
E04B2/56; E04G21/14; E04B1/348; E04B1/35
Foreign References:
CN204531066U2015-08-05
JPH0893083A1996-04-09
CN102535738A2012-07-04
US6301851B12001-10-16
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ENGLISH, Matthew (Marks & Clerk Singapore LLP, Tanjong Pagar,,P O Box 636, Singapore 6, 910816, SG)
Download PDF:
Claims:
Claims

1. A method for connecting at least two adjacent pre-fabricated pre-finished volumetric construction (PPVC) modules, the method comprising:

providing at least one connecting element attached to a wall of each of the adjacent PPVC modules;

aligning the at least one connecting element of a first of the adjacent PPVC modules to the at least one connecting element of a second of the adjacent PPVC modules to form at least one pair of aligned connecting elements;

providing a longitudinal bar along the walls of each of the adjacent PPVC modules, the bar comprising at least one engaging element operatively complementary to the at least one connecting element; and

connecting the at least one engaging element to the at least one pair of aligned connecting elements to connect the two adjacent PPVC modules;

wherein the aligning step comprises aligning the at least one connecting element of the first of the adjacent PPVC modules to be non-overlapping with the at least one connecting element of the second of the adjacent PPVC modules in a longitudinal direction of the longitudinal bar.

2. The method of claim 1 wherein the aligning step comprises aligning the at least one connecting element of the first of the adjacent PPVC modules to be adjacent to and in a same horizontal plane as the at least one connecting element of the second of the adjacent PPVC modules to form at least one pair of aligned connecting elements.

3. The method of claim 1 or claim 2 further comprising:

providing at least one groove longitudinally along the wall of each of the adjacent PPVC modules, wherein the at least one connecting element is accommodated within the at least one groove.

4. The method of claim 3, wherein the aligning step comprises aligning the at least one groove of the first of the adjacent PPVC modules to the at least one groove of the second of the adjacent PPVC modules to form a cavity between the adjacent PPVC modules.

5. The method of claim 4, wherein the at least one connecting element of each of the adjacent PPVC modules is positioned and aligned within a first portion of the cavity, the connecting step further comprises: moving the longitudinal bar into a second portion of the cavity, the second portion of the cavity being adjacent to the first portion of the cavity and comprises a continuous void along the cavity;

positioning the bar such that the at least one engaging element attached to the bar is longitudinally spaced from a corresponding at least one pair of aligned connecting elements;

translating the longitudinal bar in a transverse direction into the first portion of the cavity; and

moving the longitudinal bar in a longitudinal direction such that the at least one engaging element is connected with the corresponding at least one pair of aligned connecting elements in the first portion of the cavity.

6. The method of claim 4 or 5 further comprising providing a grout to fill the cavity between the adjacent PPVC modules.

7. The method of any one of the preceding claims wherein the at least one engaging element comprises one or more hooks.

8. The method of any one of the preceding claims, wherein the at least one pair of aligned connecting elements comprises at least one pair of aligned linkages and the at least one engaging element comprises two inverted U-shaped hooks attached to the longitudinal bar, the two inverted U-shaped hooks form a four-prong fork configured to be inserted into the at least one pair of aligned linkages with two prongs in each linkage for connecting the adjacent PPVC modules.

9. An assembly comprising at least two adjacent PPVC modules, wherein each of the adjacent PPVC modules comprises at least one connecting element attached to a wall of each of the adjacent PPVC modules, the assembly comprises:

at least one pair of aligned connecting elements comprising the at least one connecting element of a first of the adjacent PPVC modules and the at least one connecting element of a second of the adjacent PPVC modules;

a longitudinal bar provided along the wall of each of the adjacent PPVC modules; and

at least one engaging element attached to the bar, the at least one engaging element being operatively complementary to the at least one connecting element and is provided in the at least one pair of aligned connecting elements for connecting the two adjacent PPVC modules;

wherein the at least one connecting element of the first of the adjacent PPVC modules is arranged to be non-overlapping with the at least one connecting element of the second of the adjacent PPVC modules in a longitudinal direction of the longitudinal bar.

10. The assembly of claim 9 wherein the at least one connecting element of the first of the adjacent PPVC modules is aligned adjacent to and in a same horizontal plane as the at least one connecting element of the second of the adjacent PPVC modules to form at least one pair of aligned connecting elements.

11. The assembly of claim 9 or claim 10 further comprising:

at least one groove being provided longitudinally along the wall of each of the adjacent PPVC modules, wherein the at least one connecting element is accommodated within the at least one groove.

12. The assembly of claim 11 , wherein the at least one groove of the first of the adjacent PPVC modules is aligned to the at least one groove of the second of the adjacent PPVC modules to form a cavity between the adjacent PPVC modules.

13. The assembly of claim 12 further comprising:

a first portion of the cavity, the first portion of the cavity being a portion in which the at least one connecting element of each of the adjacent PPVC modules is provided; and

a second portion of the cavity, the second portion of the cavity comprising a continuous void along the cavity adjacent to the first portion of the cavity;

wherein the longitudinal bar is configured to be:

moved into the second portion of the cavity;

positioned such that the at least one engaging element attached to the bar is longitudinally spaced from a corresponding at least one pair of aligned connecting elements;

translated in a transverse direction into the first portion of the cavity; and moved in a longitudinal direction within the cavity such that the at least one engaging element is inserted into the corresponding at least one pair of aligned connecting elements in the first portion of the cavity.

14. The assembly of any one of claims 11 to 16 wherein the at least one engaging element comprises one or more hooks.

15. The assembly of any one of claims 9 to 14, wherein the at least one pair of aligned connecting elements comprises at least one pair of aligned linkages and the at least one engaging element comprises two inverted U-shaped hooks attached to the bar, the two inverted U-shaped hooks form a four-prong fork configured to be inserted into the at least one pair of aligned linkages with two prongs in each linkage for connecting the two adjacent PPVC modules.

16. The assembly of claim 15, wherein each of the inverted U-shaped hooks is configured to be inserted into a same linkage of the at least one pair of aligned linkages.

17. The assembly of claim 15, wherein each of the inverted U-shaped hooks is configured to be inserted into a different linkage of the at least one pair of aligned linkages.

18. The assembly of any one of claims 9 to 17 wherein the bar is a continuity bar, the assembly further comprises:

a coupler at an end of the adjacent PPVC modules, the coupler being fixedly attached to each of the walls of the adjacent PPVC modules and is connected to the bar.

19. The assembly of any one of claims 9 to 18 wherein the at least one connecting element is rigid.

20. A building comprising at least one assembly according to any one of claims 9 to 19.

Description:
A Method of Connecting Pre-fabricated Pre-finished Volumetric Construction (PPVC)

Modules for Construction of a Building

Field of the invention

[0001] The present invention relates to a method of connecting pre-fabricated pre-finished volumetric construction (PPVC) modules for construction of a building. In particular, the PPVC modules may include a shear wall structural system.

Background of the invention

[0002] In recent years, modular construction has gained much popularity. Modular construction is a process where structural elements (or modules) are prefabricated off-site prior to transportation of the completed or mostly completed modules to a construction site for assembly. A form of modular construction is prefabricated prefinished volumetric construction (PPVC), where the prefabricated modules are also fitted with internal finishes, fittings and fixtures in a factory off-site before the completed modules are transported on- site for final assembly.

[0003] One type of PPVC involves a structural system comprising braced panels (also known as shear walls) which are used to counter the effects of lateral load acting on a structure. In particular, a shear wall provides stiff resistances to vertical and horizontal forces acting in its plane and is capable of transferring loads vertically to a building's foundation.

[0004] During an on-site assembly, two PPVC modules can be adjoined side-by-side using their adjacent walls, where a bar is typically placed through over-lapping flexible loops attached to each of the walls to connect the two adjacent PPVC modules. However, use of this technique requires the adjacent walls of the two PPVC modules to be carefully aligned such that each loop attached to a first PPVC module is over-lapped with a corresponding loop attached to a second PPVC module before the bar is provided through these overlapping loops. This undesirably requires much time and man-power during assembly on- site. Moreover, it is difficult to ensure that the bar has been inserted through all of the overlapping loops of the two PPVC modules so as to provide a reliable connection between the two PPVC modules.

[0005] It is therefore an aim of the present invention to provide an improved system and method for construction that helps to ameliorate one or more of the above problems.

Summary of the invention [0006] In accordance with a first aspect of the present invention, there is provided a method for connecting at least two adjacent pre-fabricated pre-finished volumetric construction (PPVC) modules. The method comprising:

providing at least one connecting element attached to a wall of each of the adjacent PPVC modules;

aligning the at least one connecting element of a first of the adjacent PPVC modules to the at least one connecting element of a second of the adjacent PPVC modules to form at least one pair of aligned connecting elements;

providing a longitudinal bar along the walls of each of the adjacent PPVC modules, the bar comprising at least one engaging element operatively complementary to the at least one connecting element; and

connecting the at least one engaging element to the at least one pair of aligned connecting elements to connect the two adjacent PPVC modules;

wherein the aligning step comprises aligning the at least one connecting element of the first of the adjacent PPVC modules to be non-overlapping with the at least one connecting element of the second of the adjacent PPVC modules in a longitudinal direction of the longitudinal bar.

[0007] Embodiments of the invention therefore provide a method for connecting two adjacent PPVC modules for constructing a building. In particular, the aligning step of the above method comprises aligning the at least one connecting element of the first of the adjacent PPVC modules to be non-overlapping with the at least one connecting element of the second of the adjacent PPVC modules in a longitudinal direction of the longitudinal bar. The method therefore does not rely on using over-lapping connectors (e.g. flexible loops) for connecting two adjacent PPVC modules. In contrast, the method provides at least one engaging element attached to the longitudinal bar for facilitating a connection between the at least one connecting element attached to a first of the adjacent PPVC modules to the at least one connecting element of a second of the adjacent PPVC modules via the longitudinal bar. This reduces construction costs since the prior art flexible loops are often costly to produce. Moreover, the elimination of the need to consider flexible loops saves time, skill and resources during a production of the PPVC modules. Since over-lapping of the flexible loops is no longer required in the present method, construction time and resources used can be reduced during the assembly of the PPVC modules on-site and a more secure connection made.

[0008] The aligning step may comprise aligning the at least one connecting element of the first of the adjacent PPVC modules to be adjacent to and in a same horizontal plane as the at least one connecting element of the second of the adjacent PPVC modules to form at least one pair of aligned connecting elements. [0009] The method may comprise providing at least one groove longitudinally along the wall of each of the adjacent PPVC modules, wherein the at least one connecting element is accommodated within the at least one groove.

[0010] The aligning step may comprise aligning the at least one groove of the first of the adjacent PPVC modules to the at least one groove of the second of the adjacent PPVC modules to form a cavity between the adjacent PPVC modules.

[0011] Where the at least one connecting element of each of the adjacent PPVC modules is positioned and aligned within a first portion of the cavity, the connecting step may comprise: moving the longitudinal bar into a second portion of the cavity, the second portion of the cavity being adjacent to the first portion of the cavity and comprises a continuous void along the cavity;

positioning the bar such that the at least one engaging element attached to the bar is longitudinally spaced from a corresponding at least one pair of aligned connecting elements;

translating the longitudinal bar in a transverse direction into the first portion of the cavity; and

moving the longitudinal bar in a longitudinal direction such that the at least one engaging element is connected with the corresponding at least one pair of aligned connecting elements in the first portion of the cavity.

[0012] The method may comprise providing a grout to fill the cavity between the adjacent PPVC modules.

[0013] Where the longitudinal bar is a continuity bar, the method may comprise connecting the longitudinal bar to a coupler at one end of the adjacent PPVC modules, the coupler being fixedly attached to each of the walls of the adjacent PPVC modules.

[0014] In accordance with a second aspect of the present invention, there is provided a assembly comprising at least two adjacent PPVC modules where each of the adjacent PPVC modules comprises at least one connecting element attached to a wall of each of the adjacent PPVC modules, the assembly comprising:

at least one pair of aligned connecting elements comprising the at least one connecting element of a first of the adjacent PPVC modules and the at least one connecting element of a second of the adjacent PPVC modules;

a longitudinal bar provided along the wall of each of the adjacent PPVC modules; and

at least one engaging element attached to the bar, the at least one engaging element being operatively complementary to the at least one connecting element and is provided in the at least one pair of aligned connecting elements for connecting the two adjacent PPVC modules;

wherein the at least one connecting element of the first of the adjacent PPVC modules is arranged to be non-overlapping with the at least one connecting element of the second of the adjacent PPVC modules in a longitudinal direction of the longitudinal bar.

[0015] Where the at least one connecting element of the first of the adjacent PPVC modules may be aligned adjacent to and in a same horizontal plane as the at least one connecting element of the second of the adjacent PPVC modules to form at least one pair of aligned connecting elements.

[0016] The assembly may comprise at least one groove being provided longitudinally along the wall of each of the adjacent PPVC modules, wherein the at least one connecting element is accommodated within the at least one groove.

[0017] The at least one groove of the first of the adjacent PPVC modules may be aligned to the at least one groove of the second of the adjacent PPVC modules to form a cavity between the adjacent PPVC modules.

[0018] The assembly may comprise:

a first portion of the cavity, the first portion of the cavity being a portion in which the at least one connecting element of each of the adjacent PPVC modules is provided; and

a second portion of the cavity, the second portion of the cavity comprising a continuous void along the cavity adjacent to the first portion of the cavity;

wherein the longitudinal bar is configured to be:

moved into the second portion of the cavity;

positioned such that the at least one engaging element attached to the bar is longitudinally spaced from a corresponding at least one pair of aligned connecting elements;

translated in a transverse direction into the first portion of the cavity; and

moved in a longitudinal direction within the cavity such that the at least one engaging element is inserted into the corresponding at least one pair of aligned connecting elements in the first portion of the cavity.

[0019] The assembly may comprise a grout provided to fill the cavity between the adjacent PPVC modules.

[0020] Where the bar is a continuity bar, the assembly may comprise a coupler at an end of the adjacent PPVC modules, the coupler being fixedly attached to each of the walls of the adjacent PPVC modules and is connected to the bar. [0021] Where the at least one pair of aligned connecting elements comprises at least one pair of aligned linkages and the at least one engaging element comprises two inverted U- shaped hooks attached to the longitudinal bar, the two inverted U-shaped hooks form a four-prong fork may be configured to be inserted into the at least one pair of aligned linkages with two prongs in each linkage for connecting the adjacent PPVC modules.

[0022] Each of the inverted U-shaped hooks may be configured to be inserted into a same linkage of the at least one pair of aligned linkages.

[0023] Each of the inverted U-shaped hooks may be configured to be inserted into a different linkage of the at least one pair of aligned linkages.

[0024] The at least one engaging element may comprise one or more hooks.

[0025] The at least one connecting element may be rigid.

[0026] A building comprising at least one of the preceding assembly.

[0027] Embodiments of the present invention aim to provide an improved method for construction that helps to improve productivity and certainty of connection while decreasing construction time and minimising resources.

Brief description of the drawings

[0028] Non-limiting embodiments of the invention will now be described for the sake of example only, with reference to the following drawings in which:

Fig. 1 shows steps of a method for connecting two adjacent PPVC modules in accordance with an embodiment of the invention;

Fig. 2 shows a frontal side perspective view of a building constructed using prefabricated pre-finished construction (PPVC) modules in accordance with an embodiment of the invention;

Fig. 3A shows a frontal top perspective view of adjacent PPVC modules in accordance with an embodiment of the invention, while Fig. 3B shows an enlarged portion of a top of the structure of Fig. 3A showing the connection between two modules in more detail;

Fig. 4 shows steps of a method for providing a groove along a wall of each of the adjacent PPVC modules to form a cavity between the two adjacent PPVC modules in accordance with an embodiment of the invention; Fig. 5 shows steps of a method for connecting two adjacent PPVC modules using a cavity provided between two adjacent PPVC modules in accordance with an embodiment of the invention;

Fig. 6 shows a perspective view of two connecting elements provided in a groove of a PPVC module in accordance with an embodiment of the invention;

Fig. 7 shows a top plan view of a pair of aligned connecting elements provided in a cavity formed between two adjacent PPVC modules in accordance with an embodiment of the invention;

Fig. 8A shows a perspective view of a longitudinal bar comprising six engaging elements being inserted into a cavity between two adjacent PPVC modules in accordance with an embodiment of the invention, while Fig. 8B shows an enlarged view of one of the six engaging elements being attached to the longitudinal bar of Fig. 8A;

Fig. 9 shows a perspective view of a pair of hooks for connecting two adjacent PPVC modules in accordance with an embodiment of the invention;

Fig. 10A shows a perspective view of a longitudinal bar comprising two pairs of hooks provided in two pairs of aligned connecting elements for connecting two adjacent PPVC modules in accordance with an embodiment of the invention, while Fig. 10B shows an enlarged view of one of the two pairs of hooks inserted into a corresponding pair of aligned connecting elements for connecting the two adjacent PPVC modules;

Fig. 11 shows a top plan view of a longitudinal bar comprising a pair of hooks provided in a pair of aligned connecting elements for connecting two adjacent PPVC modules in accordance with the embodiment of Fig. 10B;

Fig. 12A shows a perspective view of a longitudinal bar being used as a continuity bar for connecting PPVC modules vertically in accordance with the embodiment of Fig. 10A, while Fig. 12B shows an enlarged view of a bottom portion of a PPVC module of Fig. 12A where a bottom end of the longitudinal bar is connected to a coupler;

Fig. 13A shows a perspective view of the longitudinal bar of Fig. 12A where the longitudinal bar is connected to a coupler at its top end for use in connecting PPVC modules vertically, while Fig. 13B shows an enlarged view of the top end of the longitudinal bar of Fig. 13A;

Fig. 14 shows a vertical plane cross-sectional view of a pair of aligned top PPVC modules connected vertically to a pair of aligned bottom PPVC modules in accordance with an embodiment of the invention; and Fig. 15A shows a perspective view of a continuity bar being provided separately from a longitudinal bar used in connecting two adjacent PPVC modules in accordance with an embodiment of the invention, Fig. 15B shows an enlarged view of a connecting portion of the longitudinal bar of Fig. 15A where two inverted U-shape hooks are used to connect the longitudinal bar to a pair of aligned linkages attached to the two adjacent PPVC modules, and Fig. 15C shows a top plan view of a cavity between the two adjacent PPVC modules comprising the longitudinal bar and the continuity bar of Fig. 15A.

Detailed description of the embodiment

[0029] Embodiments of the present invention aim to provide an improved method for connecting two adjacent pre-fabricated pre-finished volumetric construction (PPVC) modules in construction of a building, in particular for connecting PPVC modules with a shear wall support system. The present method does not rely on using over-lapping connectors in the form of flexible loops for connecting adjacent PPVC modules. This reduces construction costs since these flexible loops are often more costly to produce. The elimination of the need to consider flexible loops saves time, skill and resources during a production of the PPVC modules. Since over-lapping of the flexible loops is no longer required in the present method, construction time and resources used can be reduced during the assembly of the PPVC modules on-site and a more secure connection can be made, with increased certainty.

[0030] Fig. 1 shows steps of a method 100 for connecting two adjacent PPVC modules in accordance with an embodiment of the invention. The PPVC modules as described herein may be formed of concrete.

[0031] In a step 102, at least one connecting element attached to a wall of each of the adjacent PPVC modules is provided. The at least one connecting element may be a linkage, a loop, a male/female connector, a hook or any other suitable connector. In some embodiments, the connecting element is rigid as opposed to flexible. This is advantageous because the rigid connecting element provides certainty and ease during alignment (e.g. aligning a pair of connecting elements between two adjacent PPVC modules) and connection (e.g. insertion of a bar between the pair of connecting elements for connecting the two adjacent PPVC modules). An appropriate number and/or an appropriate size of the connecting element may be determined based on structural requirements of a building design (e.g. a number of floors, a total area of a block of PPVC modules to be connected etc.). [0032] In a step 104, the at least one connecting element of a first of the adjacent PPVC modules is aligned to the at least one connecting element of a second of the adjacent PPVC modules to form at least one pair of aligned connecting elements.

[0033] In a step 106, a longitudinal bar is provided along the walls of each of the adjacent PPVC modules. The longitudinal bar comprises at least one engaging element operatively complementary to the at least one connecting element. The at least one engaging element may comprise at least one hook, while the at least one connecting element may comprise at least one linkage. In an embodiment where the at least one connecting element comprises a linkage, the at least one engaging element comprises at least a hook for connecting the at least one pair of aligned linkages. Conversely, in an embodiment where the at least one connecting element comprises a hook, the at least one engaging element comprises at least a linkage for connecting the pair of aligned hooks of the two adjacent PPVC modules.

[0034] In a step 108, the at least one engaging element attached to the longitudinal bar is connected to the at least one pair of aligned connecting elements to connect the two adjacent PPVC modules.

[0035] For the step 104, the at least one connecting element of the first of the adjacent PPVC modules is aligned to be non-overlapping with the at least one connecting element of the second of the adjacent PPVC modules in a longitudinal direction along the longitudinal bar. In an embodiment, the at least one connecting element of the first of the adjacent PPVC modules is aligned to be non-overlapping and adjacent in a same horizontal plane as the at least one connecting element of the second of the adjacent PPVC modules to form the at least one pair of aligned connecting elements.

[0036] Fig. 2 shows a frontal side perspective view of a building 200 being constructed using six PPVC modules 202, 204, 206, 208, 210, 212 in accordance with an embodiment of the invention. The building 200 comprises six PPVC modules 202, 204, 206, 208, 210, 212 with three modules 202, 204, 206 being stacked above corresponding modules 208, 210, 212. Each PPVC module has a pre-finished interior and a facade, and they are connected together accordingly to form the building 200. As shown in Fig. 2, a side wall of each of the PPVC modules 202, 208 comprises eleven grooves 214 which runs vertically along the side wall of each of the PPVC modules 202, 208. Though not shown explicitly in Fig. 2, an appropriate number of grooves 214 is also provided along the walls of the other PPVC modules 204, 206, 210, 212 for use in connecting the PPVC modules 202, 204, 206, 208, 210, 212 together. [0037] Fig. 3A shows a frontal top perspective view 300 of adjacent PPVC modules 202, 204, 206 in accordance with an embodiment of the invention. As shown in Fig. 3A, the PPVC module 204 is positioned between adjacent PPVC modules 202 and 206 such that vertical grooves 214 on the side-walls of the PPVC modules 202 and 206 are aligned with the vertical grooves 214 on the side-walls of the PPVC module 204 to form cavities 302 between the PPVC modules 202, 204, 206. Each of the cavities 302 provides a continuous void to accommodate linkages as will be described below and for insertion of a longitudinal bar used in connecting the adjacent PPVC modules 202, 204, 206. In an embodiment where grooves 2 4 are not provided along the side walls of the PPVC modules 202, 204, 206, a cavity can be formed separately using other materials (e.g. a pair of rectangular planks or blocks inserted between two adjacent PPVC modules). In this case, any unnecessary cavities or gaps formed between the two adjacent PPVC modules may be filled with a grout or any other suitable material.

[0038] Fig. 3B shows an enlarged portion of a top of the structure of Fig. 3A showing the connection between the three adjacent PPVC modules 202, 204, 206 in more detail. As shown in Fig. 3B, four cavities 302 are formed between the PPVC modules 202, 204 while four cavities 302 are formed between the PPVC modules 204, 206. A longitudinal bar is provided in each of these cavities 302 for connecting the PPVC modules 202, 204, 206 transversely.

[0039] Fig. 4 shows steps of a method 400 for providing at least one groove 214 along a wall of each of the adjacent PPVC modules 202, 204 to form a cavity 302 between the two adjacent PPVC modules 202, 204 in accordance with an embodiment of the invention.

[0040] In a step 402, at least one groove 214 is provided longitudinally along the wall of each of the adjacent PPVC modules 202, 204, 206 where the at least one connecting element is accommodated within the at least one groove 208.

[0041] In a step 404, the at least one groove 2 4 of the first of the adjacent PPVC modules is aligned to the at least one groove 214 of the second of the adjacent PPVC modules to form at least one cavity 302 between the adjacent PPVC modules. In doing so, the at least one connecting element of a first of the adjacent PPVC modules is configured to be aligned to the at least one connecting element of a second of the adjacent PPVC modules to form at least one pair of aligned connecting elements. As such, both the connecting elements and the grooves 214 between adjacent PPVC modules may be aligned in a single step (i.e. the step 104).

[0042] Fig. 5 shows steps of a method 500 for connecting two adjacent PPVC modules 202, 204 in accordance with an embodiment of the invention. In particular, the method 500 further defines the connecting step 108 for an embodiment where the at least one connecting element of each of the adjacent PPVC modules is positioned and aligned within a first portion of the cavity 302 so that a second portion of the cavity 302 adjacent the first portion comprises a continuous void along the cavity 302. This is illustrated in relation to Fig. 7.

[0043] In a step 502, after providing the longitudinal bar in the step 106, the longitudinal bar is moved into the second portion of the cavity 302.

[0044] In a step 504, the longitudinal bar is positioned such that the at least one engaging element attached to the bar are longitudinally spaced from a corresponding at least one pair of aligned connecting elements. In an embodiment, the longitudinal bar is positioned in a manner such that the at least one engaging element is positioned in between two pairs of aligned connecting elements and just above the corresponding at least one pair of aligned connecting elements.

[0045] In a step 506, the longitudinal bar is translated in a transverse direction into the first portion of the cavity.

[0046] In a step 508, the longitudinal bar is moved in a longitudinal direction such that the at least one engaging element is connected with the corresponding at least one pair of aligned connecting elements in the first portion of the cavity. In an embodiment, the longitudinal bar is inserted in a downward direction following a weight of the longitudinal bar such that the at least one engaging element is positively engaged with the corresponding at least one pair of aligned connecting elements.

[0047] Fig. 6 shows a perspective view 600 of two connecting element 602 provided in a groove 214 in a PPVC module204 in accordance with an embodiment of the invention. As shown in Fig. 6, the two linkages 602 which function as connecting elements are provided in a first portion of the groove 214 (or a first portion of the cavity 302 when grooves 214 of two adjacent PPVC modules are aligned side by side). Each of the two linkages forms a closed U-shaped loop with a wall of the PPVC module 204 and is spaced from the other linkage by a distance, s that is determined depending on a structural need/design of the building 200. To attach the linkage to the wall within the groove 214, a portion of the linkage is embedded within the wall. This is more clearly illustrated in relation to Figs. 7 and 11.

[0048] Fig. 7 shows a top plan view 700 of a pair of aligned connecting elements provided in the cavity 302 formed between the two adjacent PPVC modules 202, 204 in accordance with an embodiment of the invention. As shown in Fig. 7, the pair of aligned connecting elements comprises a pair of aligned linkages 602 (e.g. in a same horizontal/transverse plane in the cavity). Each aligned linkage is separated from the other aligned linkage by a distance d in a transverse/horizontal direction measured from a centre of each closed U- shaped loop. The pair of aligned linkages resides in a first portion 702 of the cavity 302 such that a second portion 704 of the cavity 302 comprises a continuous void extended in a longitudinal (i.e. vertical) direction along the cavity 302 (this will be shown more clearly in Fig. 10). As described by the method 500, the continuous void of the second portion 704 provides a space for inserting the longitudinal bar for use in connecting the two adjacent PPVC modules 202, 204. This is further illustrated below in relation to Figs. 8 to 11.

[0049] Fig. 8A shows a perspective view 800 of the longitudinal bar 802 comprising six engaging elements 804 being inserted into the cavity 302 between the two adjacent PPVC modules 202, 204 in accordance with an embodiment of the invention. The six engaging elements 804 are attached to and spaced along the longitudinal bar 802 with a similar longitudinal/vertical spacing s as the six pairs of aligned connecting elements which are attached to the walls of the adjacent PPVC modules 202, 204 in the cavity 302. As such, when the longitudinal bar 802 with the six engaging elements 804 is lowered into the cavity 302 for connecting the adjacent PPVC modules 202, 204, the six engaging elements 804 are configured to be inserted into the corresponding six aligned pairs of connecting elements in the cavity 302. This advantageously overcomes operational issues associated with connecting overlapping flexible loops in the prior art, thereby reducing time and effort associated with assembling PPVC modules on-site and increases efficiency and certainty for building construction. Each of the engaging elements may comprise at least one hook. In an embodiment which will be discussed further in relation to Fig. 8B, each engaging element comprises at least two inverted U-shaped hooks.

[0050] Fig. 8B shows an enlarged view of one of the six engaging elements attached to the longitudinal bar of Fig. 8A. As shown in Fig. 8B, each of the six engaging elements 804 comprises two inverted U-shaped hooks 806 attached to the longitudinal bar 802, where the two inverted U-shaped hooks 806 form a four-prong fork configured to be inserted into a pair of aligned linkages 602 with two prongs in each linkage for connecting the adjacent PPVC modules 202, 204. In an embodiment, a transverse/horizontal separation between the two prongs of each of the two inverted U-shaped hooks is of a spacing d which matches the separation d of the pair of aligned linkages (as shown in Fig. 7). This advantageously provides for easy insertion of the hooks into the rigid linkages between the two PPVC modules 202, 204.

[0051] Fig. 9 shows a perspective view 900 of a pair of hooks 806 for connecting two adjacent PPVC modules 202, 204 in accordance with an embodiment of the invention. As shown in Fig. 9, each of the pair of inverted U-shaped hooks 806 comprises a rounded U-shaped end 902 and a fork-end 904. The rounded U-shaped end 902 is arranged to be bent substantially orthogonally to the fork-end 904 and is configured to attach to the longitudinal bar 802 such that the rounded U-shaped end 902 of each hook wraps around the longitudinal bar 802; while the fork-end 904 comprises two prongs configured to be inserted into at least one connecting element for connecting two adjacent PPVC modules 202, 204. Moreover, a distance d (as shown in Fig. 8) between the fork-ends 904 of the pair of inverted U-shaped hooks 806 is determined such that the fork-ends 904 can be inserted into a corresponding pair of connecting elements (e.g. a pair of linkages 602) when the longitudinal bar 802 comprising the hooks 806 is lowered into the cavity 302.

[0052] Fig. 10A shows a perspective view 1000 of the longitudinal bar 802 comprising two pairs of hooks 806 provided in two pairs of aligned connecting elements 602 for connecting two adjacent PPVC modules 202, 204 in accordance with an embodiment of the invention. To arrive at the position of the longitudinal bar 802 as shown in Fig. 10, the longitudinal bar 802 is first moved longitudinally into the second portion 704 of the cavity 302 (i.e. the step 502) and positioned such that each of the engaging element 804 (i.e. each pair of hooks 806) attached to the longitudinal bar 802 is longitudinally/vertically spaced from a corresponding pair of aligned connecting elements (i.e. the step 504) within the second portion 704 of the cavity 302. The longitudinal bar 802 is then translated in a transverse direction into the first portion 702 of the cavity 302 before being moved in a longitudinal direction such that each of the engaging element 804 is connected with the corresponding pair of aligned connecting elements in the first portion 702 of the cavity 302.

[0053] Fig. 10B shows an enlarged view of one of the two pairs of hooks 806 of Fig. 10A being inserted into a corresponding pair of aligned connecting elements 602 for connecting the two adjacent PPVC modules 202, 204. As shown in Fig. 10B, the fork-ends 904 of the pair of inverted U-shaped hooks 806 are configured to be inserted into the corresponding pair of connecting elements (e.g. a pair of linkages 602). In this embodiment, each of the inverted U-shaped hooks 806 is configured to be inserted into a same linkage 602 of the corresponding pair of aligned linkages (see e.g. Fig.15 for a different design of the inverted U-shaped hooks 806). Although it is shown that the two prongs of each of the inverted U- shaped hooks 806 is configured to be inserted into the same linkage 602, in another embodiment, it is possible to rotate the pair of inverted U-shaped hooks 806 by 90 degrees so that each of the two prongs is inserted into a different linkage 602. It is noted that at least a weight of the longitudinal bar 802 causes the longitudinal bar 802 with the at least two pairs of hooks 806 to rest stably in place onto the corresponding pairs of connecting elements once the longitudinal bar 802 is properly inserted in the cavity 302. As shown in Fig. 10B, the rounded U-shaped ends of the pair of inverted hooks 806 are configured to wrap around the longitudinal bar 802. This advantageously provides more surface area for welding or attaching the pair of inverted hooks 806 to the longitudinal bar 802 and thereby increases the strength at which the inverted hooks are attached to the longitudinal bar 802. This arrangement also provides more lateral strength for the connecting structure (i.e. the system of the longitudinal bar 802, the linkages and the inverted hooks) where the rounded U-shaped ends also provide resistance if there is any vibration in a transverse direction t to the longitudinal bar 802.

[0054] Fig. 1 1 shows a top plan view 1 100 of a longitudinal bar 802 comprising a pair of hooks 804 provided in a pair of aligned connecting elements 602 for connecting two adjacent PPVC modules 202, 204 in accordance with the embodiment of Fig. 10B. As shown in Fig. 11 , the longitudinal bar 802 and the pair of inverted hooks are connected with the corresponding pair of aligned connecting elements in the first portion 702 of the cavity 302. Also shown in Fig. 1 1 is that a portion of each end of each of the connecting elements (e.g. linkages as shown) is embedded within a wall of the PPVC module 202 so that they are anchored to the PPVC module 202.

[0055] Fig. 12A shows a perspective view 1200 of the longitudinal bar 802 being used as a continuity bar for connecting PPVC modules vertically in accordance with the embodiment of Fig. 10A. Besides being used in connecting the two adjacent PPVC modules 202, 204, the longitudinal bar 802 also functions as a continuity bar for connecting PPVC modules vertically. In this case, the longitudinal bar 802 is mechanically joined to a coupler 1202 at a bottom end of a PPVC module.

[0056] Fig. 12B shows an enlarged view of a bottom portion of the PPVC module of Fig. 12A where a bottom end of the longitudinal bar 802 is connected to the coupler 1202. In an embodiment, the longitudinal bar 802 comprises external screw threads on each of its two ends, while the coupler 1202 comprises an internally screw threaded tube portion 1204 configured to engage with the external screw threads of the longitudinal bar 802. In addition, the coupler 1202 comprises a winged bracket portion 1206. The winged bracket portion 1206 comprises two ends configured to be fixedly attached to each of the walls of the adjacent PPVC modules 202, 204. This is more clearly illustrated in Fig. 13.

[0057] Fig. 13A shows a perspective view 1300 of the longitudinal bar 802 of Fig. 12A where the longitudinal bar 802 is connected to a coupler at its top end for use in connecting PPVC modules vertically, while Fig. 13B shows an enlarged view of the top end of the longitudinal bar 802 of Fig. 13A. As shown in Fig. 13B, the coupler 1202 can also be provided at the top end of the longitudinal rod 802 such that the winged bracket portion 1206 rests on the walls of the adjacent PPVC modules 202, 204 which form the cavity 302. In addition, a top longitudinal rod 1302 which is used for connecting two top adjacent PPVC modules is configured to connect to the coupler 1202 as shown in Fig. 13. In this way, the coupler 1202 locks the longitudinal bars 802, 1302 in place and connects the top PPVC modules with the adjacent bottom PPVC modules 202, 204. As such, the top adjacent PPVC modules can be connected vertically to the adjacent bottom PPVC modules 202, 204 using the longitudinal bars 802, 1302.

[0058] Fig. 14 shows a vertical plane cross-sectional view 1400 of a pair of aligned top PPVC modules 1402, 1404 connected vertically to the pair of aligned bottom PPVC modules 202, 204 in accordance with an embodiment of the invention. A cavity 1406 is formed by side walls of the top PPVC modules 1402, 1404 in a similar manner as the cavity 302 formed by the side walls of the two bottom adjacent PPVC modules 202, 204. Using the method 500 described in Fig. 5, the bottom adjacent PPVC modules 202, 204 are connected in a transverse direction using the longitudinal rod 802, a pair of aligned connecting elements 602 and one engaging element 804. Once the pair of adjacent PPVC modules 202, 204 are connected, a grout is provided to fill the cavity 302. The coupler 1202 is then attached to the top end of the longitudinal rod 802 using the internally screw threaded tube portion 1204 with the winged bracket portion 1206 attached to a top end of each of the walls of the bottom adjacent PPVC modules 202, 204 as shown in Fig. 14. The pair of top PPVC modules 1402, 1404 is subsequently aligned and positioned onto the bottom adjacent PPVC modules 202, 204. The top longitudinal bar 1302 is inserted into a cavity 1406 in a similar manner as described in the method 500. To connect the pair of aligned top PPVC modules 1402, 1404 vertically to the pair of aligned bottom PPVC modules 202, 204, a bottom end of the top longitudinal bar 1302 can be mechanically attached to the coupler 1202 at the top end of the longitudinal bar 802. A grout is then filled the cavity 1406 and the entire process is repeated to connect other PPVC modules transversely or longitudinally to form a building.

[0059] Fig. 15A shows a perspective view 1500 of a continuity bar 1502 being provided separately from the longitudinal bar 802 used in connecting two adjacent PPVC modules 202, 204 in accordance with an embodiment of the invention. In this embodiment, the longitudinal bar 802 does not function as a continuity bar for connecting PPVC modules vertically as described in Figs. 12 to 14. In this case, a separate continuity bar 1502 is provided to connect the PPVC modules vertically. The continuity bar 1502 is inserted into the second portion 704 of the cavity 302 after the longitudinal bar 802 is positioned suitably using the method 500 for connecting the adjacent PPVC modules 202, 204. The continuity bar 1502 is then mechanically attached to the coupler 1202 in a similar manner as described in Fig. 14 for connecting the top PPVC modules 1402, 1404 longitudinally (e.g. vertically) with the bottom PPVC modules 202, 204. [0060] Fig. 15B shows an enlarged view of a connecting portion of the longitudinal bar of Fig. 15A where two inverted U-shape hooks are used to connect the longitudinal bar to a pair of aligned linkages attached to the two adjacent PPVC modules 202, 204. Another embodiment for the engaging element 804 used in connecting adjacent PPVC modules 202, 204 is shown in Fig. 15B. The engaging element 804 of this embodiment comprises a pair of inverted U-shaped hooks 1504, 1506 similar to those shown in Fig. 9. However, in this embodiment, the rounded U-shaped end of each of the inverted U-shaped hooks 1504, 1506 is not bent as compared to that shown in Fig. 9. In this case, the rounded U-shaped end of each hook does not wrap around the longitudinal bar 802 but is attached to the longitudinal bar 802 using a portion 1508 of the rounded U-shaped end. Also, each of the inverted U-shaped hooks 1504, 1506 is configured to be inserted into a different linkage of the at least one pair of aligned linkages.

[0061] Fig. 15C shows a top plan view of the cavity 302 between the two adjacent PPVC modules 202, 204 comprising the longitudinal bar and the continuity bar of Fig. 15A. The longitudinal bar 802 and the pair of inverted hooks 1504, 1506 are connected with the corresponding pair of aligned connecting elements in the first portion 702 of the cavity 302. In addition, the continuity bar 1502 is provided in the second portion 704 of the cavity 302 for connecting PPVC modules vertically as described in Figs. 12A, 12B, 13A, 13B and 14.

[0062] The above described methods and systems for connecting adjacent PPVC modules provide at least one engaging element 804 attached to the longitudinal bar 802 for facilitating a connection between at least one pair of aligned connecting elements attached to the walls of the adjacent PPVC modules via the longitudinal bar 802, eliminating the need for overlapping prior art flexible loops and therefore saving time, skill and resources during an assembly of the PPVC modules on-site and providing a more secure connection. Though two inverted U-shaped hooks are used as the engaging elements in the embodiments above, other forms of connectors may be used as long as the engaging elements are operatively complementary to the connecting elements. For example, each engaging element may comprise only one hook instead of a pair of hooks as shown in the above described embodiments. The shapes of the connecting elements may also vary and may comprise a circular or oval shape instead of the rectangular/square shape as shown. The PPVC modules as described are concrete modules but the described methods and systems may also be applied to PPVC modules made of other materials. Couplers 1202 of other forms (e.g. a coupler configured to provide a snap-on connection instead of a screw and thread type of connection between a longitudinal bar and the coupler) may also be used as long as the couplers 120 are able to provide a vertical connection between the top longitudinal bar 1302 and the bottom longitudinal bar 802 so as to connect the top PPVC modules 402, 1404 with the bottom PPVC modules 202, 204 accordingly. 3] Whilst the foregoing description has described exemplary embodiments, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that many variations of the embodiments can be made within the scope of the present invention as defined by the claims. Moreover, features of one or more embodiments may be mixed and matched with features of one or more other embodiments.