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Patent Searching and Data


Title:
PANEL
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/100120
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A wall/roof panel (3,5) includes (a) a façade (7) that has (i) an outer surface that defines a front surface (9) of the panel and (ii) a rear surface (11) and (b) a structural element (13) connected to and supporting the façade.

Inventors:
KRALIC, John (PO Box 1319North Sydney, New South Wales 2059, 2059, AU)
CELEBAN, Michael (PO Box 1319North Sydney, New South Wales 2059, 2059, AU)
GALLATY, Rodney (PO Box 1319Noth Sydney, New South Wales 2059, 2059, AU)
KLEES, Robert (PO Box 1319North Sydney, New South Wales 2059, 2059, AU)
HAMPTON, Glen (PO Box 1319North Sydney, New South Wales 2059, 2059, AU)
Application Number:
AU2018/051259
Publication Date:
May 31, 2019
Filing Date:
November 26, 2018
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
BLUESCOPE STEEL LIMITED (Level 11, 120 Collins StreetMelbourne, Victoria 3000, 3000, AU)
International Classes:
E04C2/32; B32B7/04; E04B2/88; E04D3/30; E04D3/35; E04D3/36
Domestic Patent References:
WO1993012304A11993-06-24
WO2008127207A22008-10-23
Foreign References:
US4718214A1988-01-12
JPH04166541A1992-06-12
FR2737236A11997-01-31
US5239798A1993-08-31
US20030101682A12003-06-05
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
GRIFFITH HACK (GPO Box 1285, Melbourne, Victoria 3001, 3001, AU)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. A panel for a wall or a roof that is adapted to be mounted to a structural framework of the wall or the roof, the panel including at least two components that are connected together, with the components comprising (a) a facade that has (i) an outer surface that defines a front surface of the panel and (ii) a rear surface and (b) a structural element connected to and supporting the facade.

2. The panel defined in claim 1 wherein the structural element includes a profiled sheet having parallel ribs and parallel troughs positioned with the ribs or the troughs contacting and connected to the rear surface of the facade.

3. The panel defined in claim 1 or claim 2 wherein the facade and the structural element are connected together with an adhesive.

4. The panel defined in any one of the preceding claims wherein the facade and the structural element are mechanically connected together.

5. The panel defined in claim 4 wherein the mechanical connection is via a mechanically interlock between the facade and the structural element.

6. The panel defined in claim 5 wherein the mechanical interlock may be a friction fit of the structural element and the facade.

7. The panel defined in claim 5 of claim 6 wherein the mechanical interlock is the result of folding a section of the structural element over a section of the facade.

8. The panel defined in any one of the preceding claims being formed so that in use adjacent panels are in an overlapping relationship with the front surfaces of the facades of adjacent panels forming a continuous front surface on the wall or the roof.

9. The panel defined in claim 8 wherein the overlapping relationship is side-by- side and/or end-to-end relationship with the front surfaces of the facades of the adjacent panels forming a continuous front surface on the wall or the roof.

10. The panel defined in claim 8 or claim 9 wherein the overlapping relationship involves a section of the structural element of one panel, covering, i.e. overlapping, a section of the structural element of another panel.

11. The panel defined in claim 8 or claim 9 wherein the overlapping relationship involves a section of one panel covering, i.e. overlapping, a section of another panel.

12. The panel defined in claim 11 being formed so that adjacent panels in use are in the overlapping relationship with one panel of a pair of adjacent panels extending partially over and covering the other panel of the pair of panels and forming a continuous front surface on the wall or the roof, for example with a saw-tooth profile when viewed from a side of the panels.

13. The panel defined in any one of the preceding claims includes an alignment and fastening system for facilitating alignment of the panel in relation to other panels and the structural framework and fastening the panel to the structural framework.

14. The panel defined in claim 13 wherein the alignment/fastening system is a concealed system in that the system is not visible when a person views the panel positioned on a wall or a roof.

15. The panel defined in claim 13 or claim 14 wherein the alignment/fastening system includes:

(a) an elongate retainer member such as a plate that is connected to the

structural element on a bottom surface of the structural element, with the retainer member and the structural element defining a plurality of spaced- apart slots; and

(b) an elongate retainer element (which may also be described as a“ladder” clip) that is connected to the front surface of the facade on a front surface of the panel and includes an elongate strap and a series of tabs that extend from one side of the strap, with a first series of tabs including openings to facilitate fastening the tabs to the structural framework and a second series of tabs to extend into the spaced-apart slots of the retainer plate of a panel in a successive row that, in use in the construction of a wall or a roof, is formed and thereby locate the two panels together.

16. The panel defined in claim 13 or claim 14 wherein the alignment/fastening system includes openings, such as openings that each have a positioning component and a locking component, such as keyhole openings, in the structural element that in use of the panel locate the panel in a correct alignment on mounting elements such as fasteners that are connected to the structural framework.

17. The panel defined in claim 13 or claim 14 wherein the alignment/fastening system includes openings, such as openings that each have a positioning component and a locking component, such as keyhole openings, in the structural element that in use of the panel locate the panel on mounting elements such as fasteners that mount another panel to the structural framework.

18. The panel defined in any one of the preceding claims wherein the structural element is completely behind the facade.

19. The panel defined in any one of claims 1 to 17 wherein the structural element is partially behind the facade and extends partially laterally in relation to the facade.

20. The panel defined in claim 19 wherein, when the structural element is a profiled sheet, the profiled sheet extends partially laterally from at least one side of the facade as an exposed section that is visible when the panel is viewed in a direction looking towards the facade.

21. The panel defined in claim 19 wherein, when the structural element is a profiled sheet, the profiled sheet extends partially from two sides of the facade as two exposed sections that are visible when the panel is viewed in a direction looking towards the facade.

22. The panel defined in claim 20 or claim 21 wherein the exposed section or sections includes openings, such as openings that each have a positioning component and a locking component, such as keyhole openings, that in use of the panel locate the panel in a correct alignment on mounting elements such as fasteners that are connected to the structural framework.

23. The panel defined in any one of the preceding claims wherein the front surface of the facade is a flat surface.

24. The panel defined in any one of the preceding claims wherein the facade is quadrilateral with a first pair of parallel sides and a second pair of parallel sides.

25. The panel defined in claim 24 wherein the sides of the first pair of parallel sides include complementary formations, such as complementary male and female formations, that allow the overlapping relationship with an adjacent panel.

25. The panel defined in claim 24 wherein one side of the first pair of parallel sides includes an extension of the front surface of the facade that can be fastened to the structural framework and then covered by an adjacent panel when, in use, the adjacent panel is positioned in the overlapping relationship.

26. A wall or a roof constructed from a plurality of the panels defined in any one of the preceding claims connected to a structural framework.

Description:
PANEL

TECHNICAL FIELD The present invention relates to a panel that is suitable for use as a wall panel.

The present invention relates to a panel that is suitable for use as a roof panel. The present invention also relates to a wall panel system that includes a plurality of the wall panels.

The present invention also relates to a roof panel system that includes a plurality of the roof panels.

BACKGROUND ART

The present invention provides a wall panel that can be used as a basic unit in the construction of an exterior wall or an interior wall of a building.

The present invention also provides a roof panel that can be used as a basic unit in the construction of an exterior skin of a roof of a building.

The term“building” is understood herein to be any type of building such as a domestic house, shed, garage, apartment building or office building.

There is a wide range of different known options for wall panels and wall panel systems for use in the construction of exterior and interior walls of buildings.

In the case of exterior walls, the options include conventional options for constructing timber or steel frames and brick or timber exteriors on a building site.

The options also include wall cladding systems that do not form a major structural part of exterior walls that are manufactured in a factory and are transported to a building site and are connected to a structural part of exterior walls and provide a required exterior appearance.

The options also include pre-cast wall panels that form major structural components of exterior walls and are manufactured in a factory and transported to a building site and used in the construction of exterior walls. These pre-cast wall panels may be formed with exterior surfaces that provide an attractive exterior appearance for the wall. These pre-cast wall panels may also be formed to be used with an exterior cladding that provides a required exterior appearance.

Each of the exterior and interior wall panels and wall panel systems known to the applicant has advantages and disadvantages.

There is also a wide range of different known options for roof panels and roof panel systems for use in the construction of roofs of buildings.

The options include masonry tiles and profiled steel roof panels.

Each of the roof panels and roof panel systems known to the applicant has advantages and disadvantages.

The present invention provides an alternative wall panel and wall panel system to the wall panels and wall panel systems known to the applicant.

The present invention also provides an alternative roof panel and roof panel system to the roof panels and roof panel systems known to the applicant.

The above references to the background art do not constitute an admission that the art forms a part of the common general knowledge of a person of ordinary skill in the art.

SUMMARY OF THE DISCLOSURE In general terms, the present invention provides a panel for a wall or a roof that is adapted to be mounted to a structural framework of the wall or the roof, the panel including at least two components that are connected together, with the components comprising (a) a facade that has (i) an outer surface that defines a front surface of the panel and (ii) a rear surface and (b) a structural element connected to and supporting the facade.

One purpose of the structural element is to make it possible to provide the panel with sufficient structural rigidity to resist warping, twisting, buckling and other forms of distortion of the panel that detract from the appearance of the front surface of the facade of the panel. In other words, one purpose of the structural element is to structurally support the facade so that the front surface presents a required appearance without any distortion of the front surface. For example, in the case of a flat front surface of the facade the purpose of the structural element is to ensure that the panel presents the front surface of the facade as a flat surface and not with rippling or other distortions of the flat surface that detract from the intended appearance.

Another purpose of the structural element is to facilitate mounting the panel to the structural framework. More specifically, this other purpose is to make it possible to confine the functionality to mount the panel to the structural framework to the structural element and not to the facade of the panel. As a consequence, the exterior appearance of the panel need not be compromised by fasteners extending through the facade that are visible to persons looking at the panel.

The facade may be made from any suitable material and be in any suitable form. The facade may be made from a sheet material.

The facade may be made from steel sheet. Other options are aluminium and other metal sheet materials.

The combination of the facade and the structural element makes it possible to form the facade from thin sheet, such as thin gauge steel sheet, such as 0.4-0.7 mm thickness steel sheet. This thickness range is by way of example only.

The structural element may be made from any suitable material and be any suitable form.

By way of example, the structural element may be one or more than one elongate stiffener, such as a flat strip, adhered or otherwise connected to the rear surface of the facade.

In an embodiment, the structural element includes a plurality of elongate stiffeners, such as flat strips, spaced apart and adhered or otherwise connected to the rear surface of the facade.

By way of further example, the structural element may be a profiled sheet having parallel ribs and parallel troughs positioned with the ribs or the troughs contacting and connected to the rear surface of the facade.

The profiled sheet may be made from any suitable material.

Typically, the profiled sheet is made from a metal (which term includes metal alloy), such as steel or aluminium.

Forming the structural element as a profiled sheet with ribs and troughs makes it possible to make the structural element from thin gauge steel sheet, such as 0.4-0.7 mm thickness sheet. This thickness range is by way of example only. The facade and the structural element may be connected together with an adhesive.

The facade and the structural element may be mechanically connected together. This is an important functional feature, for example in the case of a fire which may cause adhesive to fail. The mechanical connection will keep the facade and the structural element together and maintain the panel.

The mechanical connection may be any suitable connection.

For example, the mechanical connection may be via fasteners.

By way of further example, the mechanical connection may be via a mechanical interlock between the facade and the structural element.

The mechanical interlock may be a friction fit of the structural element and the facade.

The mechanical interlock may be the result of folding a section of the structural element over a section of the facade.

The panel may be formed so that in use adjacent panels are in an overlapping relationship with the front surfaces of the facades of adjacent panels forming a continuous front surface on the wall or the roof.

The overlapping relationship may be side-by-side and/or end-to-end relationship with the front surfaces of the facades of the adjacent panels forming a continuous front surface on the wall or the roof.

The overlapping relationship may involve a section of the structural element of one panel, covering, i.e. overlapping, a section of the structural element of another panel.

The overlapping relationship may involve a section of one panel covering, i.e. overlapping, a section of another panel.

By way of example, the panel may be formed so that adjacent panels in use are in the overlapping relationship with one panel of a pair of adjacent panels extending partially over and covering the other panel of the pair of panels and forming a continuous front surface on the wall or the roof, for example with a saw-tooth profile when viewed from a side of the panels.

The overlapping relationship may be between:

(a) lower and upper panels; and/or (b) side-by-side panels.

The panel may be formed so that adjacent panels in use are in abutting relationship with the front surfaces of the facades of the adjacent panels forming a continuous front surface on the wall or the roof.

The panel may be formed so that adjacent panels in use are in spaced-apart relationship with a defined gap between the adjacent panels on the wall or the roof.

The panel may include a weather seal to prevent water flowing under the facades at the join between adjacent panels.

The panel may include an alignment/fastening system for facilitating alignment of the panel in relation to other panels and the structural framework and fastening the panel to the structural framework.

In one embodiment, the alignment/fastening system may be a concealed system in that the system is not visible when a person views the panel positioned on a wall or a roof.

The alignment/fastening system may include:

(a) an elongate retainer member, such as an elongate plate, that is connected to the structural element on a bottom surface of the structural element, with the retainer member and the structural element defining a plurality of spaced- apart slots; and

(b) an elongate retainer element (which may also be described as a“ladder” clip) that is connected to the front surface of the facade on a front surface of the roof panel and includes an elongate strap and a series of tabs that extend from one side of the strap, with a first series of tabs including openings to facilitate fastening the tabs to a structural framework and a second series of tabs to extend into the spaced-apart slots of the retainer plate 61 of a panel in a successive row that, in use in the construction of a wall or a roof, is formed and thereby locate the two panels together.

It is noted that the elongate retainer element may be a separate element and used as a separate element.

In another, although not the only other embodiment, the alignment/fastening system may include openings, such as openings that each have a positioning component and a locking component, such as keyhole openings, in the structural element that in use of the panel locate in a correct alignment the panel on mounting elements such as fasteners that are connected to the structural framework.

The alignment/fastening system may include openings, such as openings that each have a positioning component and a locking component, such as keyhole openings, in the structural element that in use of the panel locate the panel on mounting elements such as fasteners that mount another panel to the structural framework.

The structural element may be completely behind the facade.

The structural element may be partially behind the facade and extend partially laterally in relation to the facade.

By way of example, when the structural element is a profiled sheet, the profiled sheet may extend partially laterally from at least one side of the facade as an exposed section that is visible when the panel is viewed in a direction looking towards the facade.

By way of example, when the structural element is a profiled sheet, the profiled sheet may extend partially from two sides of the facade as two exposed sections that are visible when the panel is viewed in a direction looking towards the facade.

With the arrangements described in the two preceding paragraphs, the exposed section or sections may include openings, such as such as openings that each have a positioning component and a locking component, such as keyhole openings, that in use of the panel locate the panel in a correct alignment on mounting elements such as fasteners that are connected to the structural framework. The exposed section or sections with the openings and the fasteners facilitate securing successive panels to the structural framework of the wall or the roof.

When the structural element is a profiled sheet, the ribs or the troughs of the structural element and the rear surface of the facade may be adhered together. The invention is not limited to the use of an adhesive to connect together the ribs of the structural element and the rear surface of the facade.

The profiled steel sheet may be described as a corrugated sheet in one embodiment.

The profiled steel sheet may have a square or a trapezoidal profile with the parallel ribs and parallel troughs being flat surfaces interconnected by straight surfaces that are perpendicular to the ribs and the troughs in the case of the square profile or angled surfaces in the case of the trapezoidal profde. Forming the ribs and the troughs as flat surfaces maximises contact with the rear surface of the facade when the ribs are in contact with the facade and when the troughs are in contact with the facade. The invention is not limited to a square or a trapezoidal profile.

The front surface of the facade may be a flat surface.

The invention is not limited to facades having flat surfaces. The facade may be any surface profile that presents a required outwardly-facing appearance.

The facade may be quadrilateral with a first pair of parallel sides and a second pair of parallel sides.

The sides of the first pair of parallel sides of the facade may be any suitable form.

By way of example, the sides of the first pair of parallel sides of the facade may formed to contribute to locating the facade and the structural element together.

For example, the sides of the first pair of parallel sides of the facade may include complementary formations, such as complementary male and female formations, that allow the above-described overlapping relationship with an adjacent panel.

By way of further example, the sides of the first pair of parallel sides of the facade may be formed to contribute to locating the panel in relation to the structural framework.

By way of particular example, one side of the first pair of parallel sides of the facade may include an extension of the front surface of the facade that can be fastened to the structural framework and then covered by an adjacent panel when, in use, the adjacent panel is positioned in the overlapping relationship.

The one side of the first pair of parallel sides may include a flange extending rearwardly from the front surface of the facade and a lip extending outwardly from the flange and the front surface of the facade parallel to the front face of the facade. Basically, the lip is the extension of the front surface of the facade. One purpose of the flange may be to contribute to locating the facade and the structural element together. One purpose of the lip may be to contribute to locating the panel in relation to the structural framework. Another purpose of the lip may be to provide the above- described overlapping relationship with an adjacent panel. The lip may include a plurality of openings to receive mounting elements such as fasteners to mount the panel to the structural framework.

The other side of the first pair of parallel sides may include a flange extending rearwardly from the front surface of the facade and an upturned lip. This arrangement of the (a) front surface of the facade, (b) the flange and (c) the lip defines a channel.

The channel may receive the structural element and thereby contribute to locating the facade and the structural element together.

The structural element may extend between the flanges of the first pair of parallel sides.

The flanges of the two sides of the first pair of parallel sides may define upper and lower side edges of the panel when positioned on the wall or the roof.

The flanges of the two sides of the first pair of parallel sides may define opposite side edges of the panel when positioned on the wall or the roof.

The sides of the second pair of parallel sides of the facade may be any suitable form.

By way of example, each side of the second pair of parallel sides may include a rearwardly extending flange. The flanges may define opposite side edges of the wall panel, with the structural element extending between the side edges. With this arrangement, one purpose of the flanges may be to contribute to locating the facade and the structural element together.

By way of further example, each side of the second pair of parallel sides may be open and the panel may include a separate elongate edge element that can be located to close each side of the second pair of parallel sides.

The edge element may be a L-shaped element that can be located so that one web of the element contacts a rear surface of the panel and the other web of the element closes a side of the second pair of parallel sides.

Another option for the edge element is that the element be adapted to close each side of the second pair of parallel sides of two adjacent panels. The edge element may be formed to define an elongate gap between adjacent panels. The edge element may include a backing plate and two spaced-apart parallel webs extending from the plate, with a section of the backing plate and one of the webs defining the above-described L- shaped element, and with another section of the backing plate and the other of the webs defining the above-described L-shaped element.

The structural element may extend between the sides of the second pair of parallel sides.

The sides of the second pair of parallel sides may define upper and lower side edges of the panel when positioned on the wall or the roof.

The sides of the second pair of parallel sides may define opposite side edges of the panel when positioned on the wall or the roof.

The space defined by each trough and the facade may be used to locate building services.

The panel may be any suitable size. By way of example, the panel may be 1-2 m wide and 3-4 m long.

The present invention also includes a panel system for a wall or a roof that comprises a structural framework and a plurality of the above-described panels connected to the framework.

The ribs and the troughs of the structural elements of each panel may be horizontal. Horizontal ribs and troughs may be more suitable for wall panel applications.

The ribs and the troughs of the structural elements of each panel may be vertical. Vertical ribs and troughs may be more suitable for roof panel applications.

The invention is not confined to these orientations of the ribs and the troughs.

In the case of a wall, the structural framework may include a plurality of parallel upwardly extending posts and parallel horizontally-extending rails connected to the posts. The posts and rails may be made from steel sheet or any other suitable material.

The wall panel assembly may be a major component of the structure of a wall.

Alternatively, the wall panel assembly may be a minor component only, such as a cladding, of a wall.

The wall may be an exterior wall.

The wall may be an interior wall.

In the case of a roof, the structural framework may include a plurality of parallel rafters extending between a ridge board and a gutter and a plurality of parallel horizontally-extending battens connected to the rafters. The rafters and battens may be formed from steel sheet or any other suitable material.

The present invention also includes a wall or a roof constructed from a plurality of the above-described panels connected to a structural framework.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention is described further by way of example only with reference to the accompanying drawings of which:

Figure l is a perspective exploded view of one embodiment of a wall panel in accordance with the invention;

Figure 2 is an enlarged end view of a lower part of the wall panel shown in Figure 1;

Figure 3 is a perspective view of an embodiment of a L-shape elongate edge element for use with the wall panel shown in Figure 1;

Figure 4 is a perspective view of another embodiment of an elongate edge element for use with the wall panel shown in Figure 1;

Figure 5 is a perspective view of a section of an embodiment of a wall panel system made from a plurality of the wall panel shown in Figures 1 and 2;

Figure 6 is a perspective view of the section of the embodiment of the wall panel system from a different direction to that of Figure 5;

Figure 7 is a perspective view of a lower section of the wall panel system shown in Figure 6;

Figure 8 is a perspective view that illustrates the construction of a lower section of the wall panel system shown in Figure 6;

Figure 9 is a perspective view that illustrates how a wall panel is connected to a post in the wall panel system shown in Figure 3;

Figure 10 is a perspective view of one embodiment of a roof in accordance with the invention formed from a plurality of one embodiment of a roof panel in accordance with the invention;

Figure 11 is a perspective view of a gutter end of the embodiment of the roof shown in Figure 10; Figure 12 is a perspective view of embodiment of the roof shown in Figure 10 that shows how a panel is fastened to a roof support batten;

Figure 13 is a front view of another embodiment of a roof panel in accordance with the invention;

Figure 14 is a rear view of the embodiment of the roof panel shown in Figure 13;

Figure 15 is a front view of the facade of the roof panel shown in Figure 13;

Figure 16 is a side view of the facade of the roof panel shown in Figure 13;

Figure 17 is a front view of a structural element of the roof panel shown in Figure 13;

Figure 18 is a side view of the structural element of the roof panel shown in Figure 13;

Figure 19 is a top view of a retainer plate of the roof panel shown in Figure 13; and

Figure 20 is a top view of a retainer element of the roof panel shown in Figure

13;

Figure 21 is a side view of the retainer element shown in Figure 20;

Figure 22 is a perspective view that illustrates a retainer element of the type shown in Figure 20 fastened to a batten of a roof structural framework and a roof panel of the type shown in Figures 13-21 positioned with the lower surface facing upward;

Figure 23 is perspective view of another embodiment of a wall panel in accordance with the invention;

Figure 24 is a top plan view of the wall panel shown in Figure 23;

Figure 25 is a side view of the wall panel shown in Figure 23;

Figure 26 is a perspective exploded view of the wall panel shown in Figure 23;

Figure 27 is a cross-section along the line 27-27 in Figure 23;

Figure 28 is a cross-section similar to that shown in Figure 27 of another embodiment of the wall panel of Figure 23; and

Figure 29 is a cross-section similar to that shown in Figure 27 of another embodiment of the wall panel of Figure 23.

DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS Figures 1-9 show an embodiment of a wall panel 3 of the invention and an embodiment of a wall panel system of the invention that includes a plurality of the wall panels 3, with the wall panels 3 forming an exterior skin of the wall.

Figures 10-12 show an embodiment of a roof panel 5 of the invention and an embodiment of a roof panel system of the invention that includes a plurality of the roof panels 5, with the roof panels 5 forming an exterior skin of the roof.

Figures 13-22 show another embodiment of a roof panel 5 in accordance with the invention.

Figures 23-27 show another embodiment of a wall panel 3 in accordance with the invention.

Figures 28 shows another embodiment of a wall panel 3 in accordance with the invention.

Figure 29 shows another embodiment of a wall panel 3 in accordance with the invention.

The embodiments of the wall panel 3 and the roof panel 5 shown in the Figures may be any suitable shape and size. By way of example only, the panels 3, 5 may be 1- 2 m wide and 3-4 m long. It is emphasised that these are examples of dimensions.

The embodiments of the wall panel 3 and the roof panel 5 are adapted to be mounted to a structural framework of a wall and a roof, respectively.

With reference to Figures 5-9, the structural framework of the wall includes a plurality of parallel spaced-apart upright posts 21 and horizontal rails 23 that are fastened together and to an underlying wall structure by suitable fasteners and an upwardly opening elongate channel member 31 (see Figure 8) that forms a lower support for the wall panels 3 in a lowermost row of panels 3 and is fastened to the posts

21. The posts 21 and the rails 23 may be formed from timber, steel sheet or any other suitable material. The invention is not limited to this particular arrangement of posts and rails.

In the embodiments of the wall panel system shown in the Figures, the wall panel 3 is used as a minor component only, in this instance as an exterior cladding, of the wall and relies on a major underlying wall structure for support. The major underlying wall structure includes the plurality of parallel spaced-apart upright posts 21 and horizontal rails 23.

It is noted that the wall panel assembly may be a major component of the structure of a wall.

With reference to Figures 10-12, the structural framework of the roof includes a plurality of parallel spaced-apart rafters 27 extending between a ridge board (not shown) and a gutter 29 and a plurality of parallel horizontally-extending battens 31 connected to the rafters 27 by suitable fasteners. The rafters 27 and the battens 31 may be formed from timber, steel sheet or any other suitable material. The invention is not limited to this particular roof structural framework.

As is the case with the embodiments of the wall panel system, in the embodiments of the roof panel system shown in the Figures, the roof panel 5 is used as a minor component only, in this instance as an exterior cladding, of the roof and relies on a major underlying roof structure for support.

The embodiments of the wall panel 3 and the roof panel 5 shown in the Figures are not identical but have the same basic components, namely:

(a) a facade 7 that forms the exterior surface of the panels 3, 5 and has

(i) an outer surface that defines a front surface 9 of the panels; and

(ii) a rear surface 11 ; and

(b) a structural element 13 connected to and supporting the facade 7.

In the embodiments shown in the Figures, the facade 7 and the structural element 13 of the wall panel 3 and the roof panel 5 are connected together with a suitable adhesive.

The present invention is not limited to the use of adhesives.

By way of example, the facade 7 and the structural element 13 of the embodiments of the wall panel 3 and the roof panel 5 may be mechanically connected together.

In this regard, the embodiments of the wall panel 3 shown in Figures 22-29 also includes a mechanical interlock, namely a friction fit, between the facade 7 and the structural element 13 at upper and lower ends (the left side and the right side of the embodiments as viewed in Figures 27-29). The embodiment of the wall panel 3 shown in Figure 28 also includes a further mechanical interlock in the form of a section of the structural element 13 that is folded over a section of the facade 7 and the structural element 13 at a lower end of the wall panel 5 (the right side of the embodiment as viewed in Figure 28).

The mechanical interlocks are an important feature in situations where there is a fire risk, as described further below.

As viewed in the Figures, the facade 7 of the embodiments of the wall panel 3 and the roof panel 5 is formed from steel sheet, typically thin gauge sheet, and is quadrilateral with a pair of opposed parallel sides and parallel top and bottom as viewed in the Figures and presents a flat front surface 9 in both embodiments shown in the Figures.

The facade 7 may be any surface profile that presents a required outwardly- facing appearance.

The structural element 13 of the embodiments of the wall panel 3 and the roof panel 5 is a profiled steel sheet having parallel elongate ribs 15 and parallel elongate troughs 17 positioned with the ribs 15 contacting and adhered to the rear surface 19 of the facade 7. The rear surface of the facade 7 is shown only in Figure 2.

In the embodiment of the wall panel 2 shown in Figures 1-9, the ribs 15 and the troughs 17 have a square form with the parallel ribs and parallel troughs being flat surfaces interconnected by straight surfaces that are perpendicular to or slightly inclined with respect to the ribs 15 and the troughs 17. Forming the ribs 15 and the troughs 17 as flat surfaces maximises contact with the rear surface of the facade 7 when the ribs 15 are in contact with the facade 7 and also has benefits in terms of maximising contact of the troughs 17 with support structures.

The invention is not limited to a square form profile.

By way of example, the ribs 15 and the troughs 17 may have a trapezoidal profile. This profile is shown in the embodiments of the wall panel 3 and the roof panel 5 in Figures 10-29.

By forming the structural element 13 as a profiled sheet with ribs 15 and troughs 17, it is possible to form the structural element 13 from thin gauge steel sheet, such as

0.4-0.7 mm thickness sheet. This thickness range is by way of example only. The wall panel 3 is formed so that the structural element 13 is covered by the facade 7 when viewed looking at the front surface 9 of the facade 7.

As is evident from the exploded perspective view of Figure 1, a lower section of the structural element 13 of the embodiments of the wall panel 3 of Figures 1-9 includes a plurality of spaced-apart openings 47 in a trough 17. The openings 47 facilitate mounting a lower section of another wall panel 3 in an overlapping relationship with the panel 3.

The embodiments of the wall panel 3 shown in Figures 23-29 have a different structure for facilitating mounting a lower section of another wall panel 3 in an overlapping relationship with the wall panel 3. This is described further below.

As is evident from Figures 10-12, the embodiment of the roof panel 5 shown in these Figures is formed with sections of the structural element 13 that extend laterally relative to the facade 7 along one side and across the top of the roof panel 5, whereby these sections are exposed sections that are visible when the panel 5 is viewed in a direction looking towards the facade 7. The exposed sections include a plurality of spaced-apart openings 47 (see Figure 11) in a trough 17. The openings 47 facilitate mounting a lower section of another roof panel 5 in an overlapping relationship with the panel 5. The embodiment of the roof panel 5 shown in Figures 13-22 is a different arrangement and is described in a later section of the specification.

The sides of the embodiments of the wall panel 3 and the roof panel 5 shown in

Figures 1-22 are open and the panels 3, 5 include separate elongate edge elements 49, i.e. mouldings, that can be located to close each side. On the other hand, the sides 81 of the embodiments of the wall panel 3 shown in Figures 23-29 are closed, as described further below.

Two embodiments of the edge elements 49 are shown in Figures 3 and 4.

The edge element 49 shown in Figure 3 is a L-shaped element that can be located so that one web 40 of the element contacts a rear surface of the wall panel 3 and can be adhered to the wall panel 3 and the other web 43 of the edge element 49 closes a side of the wall panel 3.

The edge element 49 shown in Figure 4 is adapted to close the sides of two adjacent wall panels 3. The edge element 49 is formed to define an elongate gap G between adjacent panels 3. The edge element 49 includes a backing plate 46 and two spaced-apart parallel webs 47 extending from the plate, with a section of the backing plate and one of the webs defining the above-described L-shaped element, and with another section of the backing plate and the other of the webs defining the above- described L-shaped element.

The combination of the facade 7 and the structural element 13 of the embodiments of the wall panel 3 and the roof panel 5 makes it possible to form the facade 7 from thin sheet, such as thin gauge steel sheet, such as 0.4-0.7 mm thickness steel sheet.

The embodiments of the wall panel 3 and the roof panel 5 are formed so that the structural elements 13 contact the rear surfaces 11 of the facade 7 over a substantial area of the facade 7. By way of example, the substantial area of the facade 7 may be at least 75%, typically 80%, typically at least 85%, and more typically at least 90%, of the total facade area.

The structural elements 13 of the embodiments of the wall panel 3 and the roof panel 5 make it possible to provide the panels 3, 5 with sufficient structural rigidity to resist warping, twisting, buckling and other forms of distortion of the panels that detract from the appearance of the front surfaces 9 of the facades 7 of the panels 3, 5. In other words, the structural elements 13 structurally support the facades 7 so that the front surfaces 9 present a required appearance without any distortion of the front surfaces 9. The structural elements 13 also facilitate mounting the panels 3, 5 to the structural framework. More specifically, it is possible to confine the functionality to mount the panels 3, 5 to the structural framework to the structural elements 13 and not to the facades 7 of the panels 3, 5. As a consequence, the exterior appearance of the panels 3, 5 need not be compromised by fasteners extending through the facades that are visible to persons looking at the panels 3, 5.

In the embodiments of the wall panel 3 shown in the Figures, the structural element 13 is arranged with the ribs 15 and the troughs 17 extending horizontally. In the embodiments of the roof panel 5 shown in the Figures, the structural element 13 is arranged with the ribs 15 and the troughs 17 extending upwardly between the ridge board (not shown) and the gutter 29. The invention is not confined to these orientations of the ribs 15 and the troughs 17 in the panels 3, 5. The embodiments of the wall panel system shown in the Figures includes a plurality of the embodiments of the wall panels 3 mounted to the support structure of posts 21 and rails 23 with small gaps between the sides of the facades 7 of adjacent panels 3, with the wall panels 3 arranged in horizontally-extending rows and vertically- extending columns. In use, the lowermost row of wall panels 3 is positioned first, with successive wall panels 3 in the row being positioned moving along the row form one end. Wall panels 3 in each successive row are then positioned, as described below.

As described above, the facade 7 of the embodiments of the wall panel 3 and the roof panel 5 shown in the Figures is formed from steel sheet, typically thin gauge sheet, and is quadrilateral with a pair of opposed parallel sides and parallel top and bottom (as viewed in the Figures) and presents the flat front surface 9 in the embodiments shown in the Figures.

By way of example, the parallel top and bottom of the facade 7 of the embodiment of the wall panel 3 as viewed in the Figures:

(a) are formed to contribute to locating the facade 7 and the structural element

13 together;

(b) include complementary formations that allow the above-described

overlapping relationship with an adjacent wall panel 3; and

(c) are formed to contribute to locating the wall panel 3 in relation to the

structural framework.

More particularly, the parallel top and bottom of the facade 7 of the embodiment of the wall panel 3 as viewed in Figures 1-5 include an extension, in the form of a lip 41, of the front surface 9 of the facade that can be connected, such as by being fastened, to the structural framework and then covered by an adjacent panel when, in use, the adjacent panel is positioned in overlapping relationship.

With reference to Figure 2, the bottom of the facade 7 of the embodiment of the wall panel 3 includes a rearwardly extending flange 35 and an upturned lip 37 that define an upwardly-opening channel that receives and locates lower sections of the structural element 13. In use, when forming the lowermost row of wall panels 3 in a wall panel assembly, this channel sits snuggly in the upwardly opening channel member

31 (see Figure 8) of the structural framework and overlaps with the top of the facade 7 - see the next paragraph - of an adjacent wall panel 3. With reference to Figures 1, 5, and 6, the top of the facade 7 of the embodiment of the wall panel 3 includes a rearwardly extending flange 39 (only visible in Figure 1), which could be described as a shoulder, and an outwardly extending lip 41 that is parallel to the front face 9 of the facade 7. The flange 39 contributes to locating and fastening the facade 7 and the structural element 13 together. The lip 41 is provided to facilitate locating the wall panel 3 in relation to the structural framework and to provide an overlapping relationship with an adjacent wall panel 3 in the next row of panels. More particularly, the lip 41 includes a plurality of spaced-apart openings 43 that, in use, receive fasteners 45 that secure the facade 7 and therefore the wall panel 3 to the structural framework and, at the same time provide mounting locations for a lower section of the panel 3, i.e. the bottom of the facade 7 of the wall panel 3 in the next row of panels, as described below.

The openings 47 in the structural element 13 of the embodiment of the wall panel 3 and the roof panel 5 shown in Figures 1-5 are formed as key-hole openings 47, with the narrower stems of the openings 47 extending upwardly from the wider circular parts of the openings 47.

With this key-hole opening arrangement, in use, a new wall panel 3 in the next row of wall panels 3 is positioned so that the circular parts of the key-hole openings 47 receive the already-positioned fasteners 45 and the new panel 3 is slid downwardly so that the fasteners 45 extend through the stems of the openings 47. In this position, the lower section of the new panel 3 overlaps the lip 41 of the lower wall panel 3 and is retained in position in this overlapping relationship by the fasteners 45 and the key-hole openings 47. These steps are repeated to position successive wall panels 3 to form the wall panel assembly.

The embodiment of the roof panel system shown in Figures 10-12 includes a plurality of the above-described roof panels 5 mounted to the support structure of the rafters 27 and the battens 31.

The roof panels 5 are arranged in successive rows of panels 5, with the lowermost row being positioned first in relation to the gutter 29, and then the roof panels 5 in successive rows being positioned in overlapping relationship moving from one end of a row to the other end to form a saw-tooth profile when viewed from a side and with adjacent roof panels 5 in each row being in side-by-side relationship separated by gaps and defining a flat surface separated by the gaps.

The key-hole openings 47 in the exposed sections of the structural element 13 of each roof panel 5 makes it possible to secure each successive roof panel 5 in a row simply and easily. The roof panels 5 in a successive row are positioned in overlapping relationship with the already-positioned roof panels 5 in a lower row by positioning each new roof panel 5 in turn so that the fasteners 45 extend through the circular parts of the key-hole openings 47 and then sliding the new roof panel 5 downwardly so that the stems of the key-hole openings 47 receive the fasteners 45.

With reference to Figures 13-22, the other embodiment of the roof panel 5 shown in these Figures includes the same key components of the facade 7 and the structural element 13 described in relation to the other embodiment of the roof panel 5 and the embodiment of the wall panel 3 shown in Figures 1-12.

Specifically, with reference to Figures 13-22, the facade 7 is a non-structural element, intended to present a flat front surface in this embodiment.

With reference to Figures 14-16, the facade 7 also includes a lip 79 that facilitates locating the roof panel 5 of this embodiment in relation to another roof panel 5 in a successive row of panels.

In addition, with reference to Figures 13-22, the structural element 13 is a profiled steel sheet having parallel elongate ribs 15 and parallel elongate troughs 17 positioned with the ribs 15 contacting and adhered to the rear surface 19 of the facade 7.

The embodiment of the roof panel 5 shown in Figures 13-22 also includes an elongate retainer plate 61 that is connected by rivets 63 or any other suitable means to troughs 17 of the structural element 13 on the bottom surface of the structural element 13 - see Figures 14 and 22. The retainer plate 61 and the structural element 13 define a plurality of spaced-apart slots 65 (see Figure 14).

The embodiment of the roof panel 5 shown in Figures 13-22 also includes an elongate retainer element 69 (which may also be described as a“ladder” clip) that is connected to the front surface of the facade 7 on the front surface of the roof panel 5 - see Figure 13. The retainer element 69 may also be used as a separate element - see

Figure 22. The retainer element 69 includes an elongate strap 71 and a series of tabs 73, 75 that extend from one side of the strap 71. A first series of tabs 73 includes openings 77 to facilitate fastening the tabs 73 to roof structural framework, e.g. battens 31. A second series of tabs 75 are provided to extend into the spaced-apart slots 65 of the retainer plate 61 of a roof panel 5 in a successive row that, in use in the construction of a roof, is formed and thereby locate the two panels 5 together. The tabs 73, 75 alternate along the length of the strap 71.

In use, in the construction of a roof, a plurality of the embodiment of the roof panel 5 shown in Figures 13-22 is positioned in side-by-side overlapping relationship on the gutter line of a roof frame to form a first row of the roof panels 5 - as described above in relation to the other embodiment of the roof panel 5.

In this regard, with reference to Figure 22, a plurality of the retainer elements 69 are first fastened to a roof batten 31 on the gutter line of the roof frame, with the tabs 75 directed up the roof line to receive the roof panels 5 in the first row of roof panels 5.

With further reference to Figure 22, it can be appreciated that the roof panel 5 as shown in the Figure, i.e. with the structural element 13 facing upwardly in the Figure (and shown in this orientation for the purpose of explaining the embodiment), can be turned over so that the retainer plate 61 is facing downwardly and can be manoeuvred down the roof line so that the slots 65 defined by the retainer plate 61 and the ribs 15 receive and retain the tabs 75 of the retainer elements 69.

When in this position, the upper end of the embodiment of the roof panel 5 in the first row overlies the next batten 31 in the roof frame and fasteners can be positioned through the openings 77 in the tabs 73 of the retainer elements 69 at this end of the roof panels 5 to connect the roof panels 5 to the batten 31.

A plurality of the embodiment of the roof panel 5 shown in Figures 23-22 is then placed in successive rows in overlapping relationship with the roof panels 5 in the first row, moving from one end of a row to the other end to form a saw-tooth profile when viewed from a side and with adjacent roof panels 5 in each row being in side-by- side relationship.

More particularly, a plurality of the embodiment of the roof panel 5 shown in Figures 13-22 is positioned in the successive rows with the tabs 75 facing up the roof- line and the tabs 73 fastened to battens 31 of the roof frame. Each embodiment of the roof panel 5 shown in Figures 13-22 that is in the next row is positioned so that the slots 65 defined by the retainer plate 61 and the structural element 13 receive the upwardly- facing tabs 75 of roof panels 5 of the lower row, with the tabs 75 being retained in the slots 65.

The embodiment of the roof panel 5 shown in Figures 13-22 is configured so that, when in this position, the roof panels 5 of the successive row extends over the upper section of the retainer element 69 of the roof panels 5 of the lower row, with the lip 79 of the facade 7 of each roof panel 5 of the successive row extending over and engaging the strap 71 of one of the lower roof panels 5 and forming a lower edge of the succussive roof panel 5.

It can readily be appreciated that the above combination of the retainer plate 61 and the retainer element 69 aligns, indexes and fixes placement of the roof panels 5 together and on the roof framework.

Figures 23-29 show three other embodiments of the wall panel 3 in addition to the embodiment shown in Figures 1-9.

With reference to Figures 23-29, these other embodiments of the wall panel 3 includes the same key components of the facade 7 and the structural element 13 described in relation to the other embodiment of the wall panel 3 shown in Figures 1-9 and the embodiments of the roof panel 5 shown in Figures 10-12 and Figures 13-22.

Specifically, with reference to Figures 23-29, the facade 7 is a non-structural element, intended to present a flat front surface in this embodiment.

In addition, with reference to Figures 23-29, the structural element 13 is a profiled steel sheet having parallel elongate ribs 15 and parallel elongate troughs 17 positioned with the ribs 15 contacting and connected to the rear surface 19 of the facade 7. In these embodiments, the steel sheet has a trapezoidal profile. It is noted that the profile may be any suitable profile.

In addition, with reference to Figures 23-29, the structural element 13 includes the extension, in the form of the lip 41, of the upper section of the front surface 9 of the facade 7 (which is the left side in the Figures) that can be connected, such as by being fastened, to an underlying structural framework and then covered by an adjacent wall panel 3 when, in use, the adjacent wall panel 3 is positioned in overlapping relationship.

There are differences between the embodiment of the wall panel 3 of Figures 1 -

9 and the embodiments of the wall panel 3 of Figures 22-29. With reference to Figures 23-29, the embodiments of the wall panels 3 have closed rather than open sides - see the numeral 81 in Figures 23-26.

In addition, the embodiments of the wall panel 3 of Figures 22-29 have different structures at the upper section and the lower section of the wall panels 3 to the embodiment of Figures 1-9. Specifically, the upper section and the lower section of the wall panels have complementary male formations 83 and female formations 85 that allow adjacent wall panels 3 to be connected together.

The facade 7 and the structural element 13 of each of the embodiments of the wall panel 3 of Figures 22-29 are mechanically connected together. As noted above, this is an important functional feature, for example in the case of a fire which may cause adhesive to fail. The mechanical connection will keep the facade 7 and the structural element 13 in each embodiment together and maintain the integrity of the wall panel 3.

As can best be seen in Figures 27-29, each embodiment of the wall panel 3 is formed with the facade 7 and the structural element 13 mechanically connected together via a mechanical interlock, namely a friction fit, between the facade 7 and the structural element 13 at upper and lower sections (the left side and the right side respectively of the embodiments as viewed in Figures 27-29). The friction fit is provided by the flanges 39 of the facade 7 (described in relation to the embodiment of Figures 1-9) and flanges 87 of the structural elements 13.

The embodiment of the wall panel 3 shown in Figure 28 also includes a further mechanical interlock in the form of a section of the structural element 13 that is folded over a section of the facade 7 and the structural element 13 at a lower end of the wall panel 5 (the right side of the embodiment as viewed in Figure 28). This fold-over section is shown by the three fold steps in the Figure.

It can readily be appreciated from the above description that the embodiments of the wall panel 3 and the roof panel 5 make it possible to assemble wall and roof panel assemblies as shown in the Figures quickly and easily.

Many modifications may be made to the embodiments of the invention described herein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. By way of example, whilst the embodiments of the panel 3 shown in Figures 1-9 and Figures 22-29 are described as a wall panel, it can readily be appreciated that the panel 3 could also be used as a roof panel.

By way of further example, whilst the panel 5 shown in Figures 10-12 and Figures 13-22 are described as a roof panel, it can readily be appreciated that the panel 5 could also be used as a wall panel.

By way of further example, whilst the embodiments are described as wall panels 3 and roof panels 5, the invention extends to embodiments in which the described wall panels 3 are used are roof panels and the roof panels 5 are used as wall panels 3. By way of example, the combination of the elongate retainer plate 61 and the elongate retainer element 69 (i.e. the“ladder” clip) may be used in wall panels 3 to form continuous front surfaces.