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Patent Searching and Data


Title:
PIPE HOUSING UNIT
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2011/073648
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A building structure comprises a wall (1) extending upwardly from a floor (3). A pipe housing unit (19) is located in the wall, the pipe housing unit (19) providing a passageway for a pipe, and wherein the structure comprises a pipe (13) extending from the floor, through the passageway (21) in the pipe housing unit and out of the wall. The pipe housing unit may be a replacement for a building unit, such as a brick.

Inventors:
JONES, Warren Nigel (Littledene House, Bailbrook LaneBath, Bath and North East Somerset BA1 7AB, GB)
Application Number:
GB2010/052088
Publication Date:
June 23, 2011
Filing Date:
December 14, 2010
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
JONES, Warren Nigel (Littledene House, Bailbrook LaneBath, Bath and North East Somerset BA1 7AB, GB)
International Classes:
E04C1/39; F16L5/02; F24D3/14; F24H9/12
Domestic Patent References:
2008-04-24
Foreign References:
DE29505443U11995-06-08
DE19735656A11999-02-18
DE9412853U11994-11-03
EP1911899A22008-04-16
DE2936640A11980-03-27
Other References:
None
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
FORD, James Marcus (Abel & Imray, 20 Red Lion StreetLondon, Greater London WC1R 4PQ, GB)
Download PDF:
Claims:
Claims

1. A building structure comprising a wall extending upwardly from a floor, wherein a pipe housing unit is located in the wall, the pipe housing unit providing a passageway for a pipe, and wherein the structure comprises a pipe extending from the floor, through the passageway in the pipe housing unit and out of the wall. 2. A structure according to claim 1, wherein the wall comprises a multiplicity of identical building units and wherein the pipe housing unit is a replacement for at least a portion of one of the building units. 3. A structure according to claim 2 wherein at least one dimension of the pipe housing is the same as the corresponding dimension of a building unit. . A structure according to claim 3 wherein at least two dimensions of the pipe housing are the same as the

corresponding dimensions of a building unit.

5. A structure according to any of claims 2 to 4 wherein the pipe housing is a replacement for an integer multiple, or integer reciprocal, of a building unit.

6. A structure according to any preceding claim, further comprising a pipe housing extension unit, the pipe housing extension unit providing a passageway for the pipe such that the pipe extends from the floor, through the passageway in the pipe housing extension unit and into the pipe housing unit.

7. A structure according to claim 6, wherein the housing extension unit is positioned below the housing unit, thereby raising the height of the housing unit by the height of the extension .

8. A structure according to claim 1, wherein the wall comprises a cavity and the pipe housing unit is located in the cavity . 9. A structure according to any preceding claim, wherein the passageway extends between a lower opening in the pipe housing unit and an upper opening in the pipe housing unit, the pipe extending from the floor through the lower opening, through the passageway and out of the upper opening.

10. A structure according to claim 9, wherein the housing unit comprises a side face that is parallel to the plane defined by the wall, and wherein the lower opening includes an opening in said side face.

11. A structure according to claim 9 or claim 10, wherein the housing unit comprises a plug arranged to plug part of the upper opening adjacent to where the pipe passes through the upper opening.

12. A structure according to any preceding claim, wherein an end face of the housing unit comprises an opening through which the passageway may be accessed. 13. A structure according to any preceding claim, wherein the housing unit comprises a main body portion and a cover portion removeably attached thereto, the passageway being defined, at least in part, between the main body portion and the cover portion .

14. A structure according to claim 13, wherein the cover portion is adjacent to the outer surface of the wall.

15. A structure according to any preceding claim, wherein the pipe housing unit is arranged such that the vertical and/or lateral position of the pipe in the pipe housing unit is adjustable.

16. A structure according to claim 15, wherein the pipe housing unit comprises locating means for locating the lateral and/or vertical position of the pipe, the locating means comprising an array of spaced-apart openings.

17. A structure according to claim 16, wherein the lateral and/or vertical position of the array is adjustable. 18. A structure according to claim 16 or claim 17, wherein the locating means is rotatable from a first position in which the array of openings is in a first layout relative to the remainder of the pipe housing unit, and a second position in which the array of openings is in a second, different, layout relative to the remainder of the pipe housing unit.

19. A structure according to any preceding claim, wherein the pipe is a water pipe for connecting to a radiator. 20. A structure according to any preceding claim, wherein the pipe extends from a floor the first side of the wall and back out of the same side of the wall.

21. A pipe housing unit for use as the pipe housing unit in any preceding claim, the pipe housing unit being locatable in a wall and the pipe housing unit comprising a passageway for ducting the pipe through the pipe housing unit such that when the pipe housing unit is installed in the wall, a pipe may extend from the floor, through the passageway in the pipe housing unit, and out of the wall.

22. A housing unit according to claim 21, wherein the pipe housing unit is suitable for use as a replacement for at least a portion of a building unit in a wall comprising a

multiplicity of said building units.

23. A housing unit according to claim 22, wherein the height of the pipe housing unit is the same as the height of the building units.

24. A housing unit according to any of claims 21 to 23, wherein the passageway extends between a lower opening in the pipe housing unit and an upper opening in the pipe housing unit, the lower opening including an opening in a side face of the housing unit.

25. A housing unit according to any of claims 21 to 24, wherein the pipe housing unit is arranged such that the vertical and/or lateral position of a pipe in the pipe housing unit is adjustable.

26. A housing unit according to any of claims 21 to 25, further comprising a pipe.

27. A housing unit according to claim 26, wherein the pipe comprises a first portion and a second portion extending at an angle to the first portion, the housing unit being arranged such that the pipe is positionable such that the second portion extends out of the upper opening whilst the first portion extends at least partially down the length of the passageway.

28. A housing unit according to claim 27, wherein the pipe is moveable between a stored position in which the second portion is fully received in the passageway, and a deployed position in which at least a portion of the second portion extends out of the upper opening.

29. A method of installing a pipe in a structure comprising a wall and a floor, the method comprising the steps of:

(i) providing a pipe housing unit,

(ii) installing the pipe housing unit in the wall,

(iii) fitting a pipe such that a pipe passes from the floor, through the pipe housing unit, and out of the wall. 30. The method of claim 29 comprising the step of building the wall using a multiplicity of building units, wherein the step of installing the pipe housing unit in the wall comprises using the housing unit as a replacement to at least a portion of one of the building units.

31. A pipe housing unit as herein described with reference to the drawings.

Description:
Pipe housing unit

Technical Field

The present invention relates to a housing unit, and more particularly, but not exclusively, to a pipe housing unit for receiving a pipe in a wall.

Background of the Invention

In many building structures, service pipe work (for example central heating pipes and water pipes) needs to be fitted and located in such a way that the pipes protrude out of the floor, in a location adjacent to a wall, so that they can be connected to radiators, boilers, water tanks, or other associated devices, mounted on or next to the wall within the building. The pipe coming out of the floor may be unsightly and may present an obstacle when fitting floor boards/decking, acoustic layers, and carpets or when undertaking decorating and vacuuming. Floor boards and other such layers often need to be cut around the pipes, increasing installation time and cost. During construction of the building, the pipes can-be difficult to position correctly and may be knocked out of position by other trades during the construction process. The pipes often need to be repositioned once again prior to fitting to devices such as a radiator.

Summary of the Invention

The present invention seeks to remove or mitigate at least one of the above-mentioned disadvantages. According to a first aspect of the invention, there is provided a building structure comprising a wall extending upwardly from a floor, wherein a pipe housing unit is located in the wall, the pipe housing unit providing a passageway for a pipe, and wherein the structure comprises a pipe extending from the floor, through the passageway in the pipe housing unit and out of the wall. By providing a pipe housing unit in the wall, the pipe may be ducted from the floor, through the wall {i.e. in the passageway within the housing unit that is in the wall}, and out of the wall at the required position, without needing to pass in front of the wall, or be seen protruding from a floor (typically in front of a lower part of a wall with skirting board or edging finish) . Instead of having a pipe (for example a hot water pipe for a radiator) extending upwardly out of the floor, it is therefore possible to have the pipe extending out of the wall at a higher

location, thereby omitting it from the lower visible location, and no longer causing an obstacle or being unsightly as described in the background of invention.

The wall may comprise a multiplicity of identical

building units (for example standard building blocks or bricks) . The pipe housing unit may be a replacement for at least a portion of one of the building units. By having the pipe housing unit as a replacement for at least part of a building unit, the pipe housing unit is easily installable during construction of the wall. When building a wall, the installer may simply place the housing unit within the course of identical building units where he would otherwise have placed one of the building units. The inclusion of the housing unit as a replacement to a building unit may enable the pipe to be more reliably installed in the correct position because the pipe may extend out of the wall at a set height and/or lateral spacing from where the housing unit is installed .

The adjacent building unit(s) may need to be resized in order to accommodate the housing unit within the wall.

Preferably, at least one dimension of the pipe housing is the same as the corresponding dimension of a building unit, and more preferably at least two dimensions of the pipe housing are the same as the corresponding dimensions of a building unit. The height of the housing unit is preferably the same as the height of the building unit. The depth of the housing unit may be the same as the depth of the building unit. The length of the housing unit may be the same as the length of the building unit. It will be appreciated that in this context, the dimensio (s) need not be precisely the same, but are sufficiently similar for the relevant dimension of the housing to act as a replacement for the corresponding

dimension of the block.

The pipe housing unit preferably shares a common

interface with an adjacent building unit within the

multiplicity of building units. For example, the end and/or upper surfaces of the pipe housing unit may share a common interface (for example a mortar interface) with adjacent building units.

The pipe housing may be a replacement for an integer multiple of a building unit. Such an arrangement may enable straightforward replacement of a number of building units without requiring resizing of adjacent building units. The pipe housing unit may be a replacement for an integer

reciprocal (for example ½ or H) of a building unit. This may facilitate relatively easy adjustment to the size of adjacent building units.

The building units are typically building blocks of a standard size. For example, the building units may be lightweight insulating blocks such as Celcon™ blocks. The building units may be 440mm long, 220mm high and 100mm deep.

The structure may comprise a pipe housing extension unit. The pipe housing extension unit may provide a passageway for the pipe such that the pipe extends from the floor, through the passageway in the pipe housing extension unit and into the pipe housing unit. The pipe preferably extends from the passageway in the housing extension unit into the passageway in the pipe housing unit. The housing extension unit is preferably positioned below the housing unit, thereby raising the height of the housing unit by the height of the extension. The housing extension unit may be advantageous in a structure in which the subfloor covering is especially deep and/or in which there is a high skirting board. The housing extension unit may be advantageous in a structure in which the

multiplicity of identical building units are of a first size and wherein the structure also comprises a multiplicity of identical building units of a second size. For example, the wall may comprise several layers of Celcon™ blocks and one or more layers of bricks. The pipe housing unit may be a

replacement for at least a portion of a building unit of the first size. The housing extension unit may be a replacement for at least a portion of a building unit of the second size.

The housing extension unit and the housing unit may be arranged to interlock. For example, the extension unit may comprise a key (for example a region of raised edge) which is arranged to interlock with an opening on the bottom and/or side face of the housing unit .

In certain embodiments it may be necessary to bind the housing unit and housing extension unit together using an intermediate layer (for example with mortar). Preferably however, no such layer is required; relative movement between the extension unit and the housing unit may be inhibited by a mechanical interface (for example an interlock) . In embodiments not requiring any intermediate layer, the

extension unit may be slightly larger than the building units of the second size, such that the extension unit is arranged to replace the building unit of the second size, along with the accompanying layer of mortar.

The wall may comprise a cavity and the pipe housing unit may be located in the cavity. For example, the pipe housing unit may be used in a stud wall in which the cavity is defined between two parallel wall panels. The wall may comprise a dry lining spaced apart from a building block structure, the cavity being defined between the dry lining and the block structure. By using a pipe housing unit in the cavity, the pipe is readily installable in the wall without relatively complex and/or time consuming drilling that might otherwise be required. The pipe housing unit may facilitate easier

positioning of the pipe in the wall (for example the height of the pipe in the wall) . Render, concrete or other filling material that might otherwise be used to surround the pipe, has been found to corrode some pipes; the pipe housing may therefore protect the pipe in comparison to these

arrangements. The pipe housing may facilitate compliance with building regulations governing the use of pipes in wall cavities .

For the avoidance of doubt, the floor may comprise not only the upper, exposed, surface, but also the region under the surface, for example the insulation and/or floor void. The pipe is preferably in the region under the upper surface of the floor. The pipe preferably extends from the floor into the wall without being exposed outside the wall and floor.

The pipe may, for example, extend from the floor directly into the passageway of the pipe housing unit (located in the wall). The passageway may extend between a lower opening in the pipe housing unit and an upper opening in the pipe housing unit, the pipe extending from the floor through the lower opening, through the passageway and out of the upper opening. The lower opening may be directly adjacent to the floor. For example, the lower opening may open directly into the region under the upper surface of the floor.

The lower opening is preferably in the base of the pipe housing unit. The lower opening may be in the bottom face of the housing unit. The lower opening may be in the side face of the housing unit. The lower opening may be in both the bottom and side faces of the housing unit. Such an

arrangement allows the pipe to enter the housing unit through either the bottom or side faces of the housing unit, thereby providing greater flexibility. An arrangement in which the pipe can enter the housing unit through the side face may be particularly beneficial in the event that the pipe housing unit is partially recessed below the upper surface of the floor (thus the lower opening opens directly into the region under the upper surface of the floor) .

The openings are preferably elongate in a direction along the length of the housing. Such an arrangement may facilitate lateral positioning of the pipe in the housing unit. The housing unit may comprise a plug arranged to plug part of the upper opening adjacent to where the pipe passes through the upper opening. The pipe may therefore be adjusted laterally with the opening being plugged either side of where the pipe passes through it. The upper opening may comprise a single relatively large opening. The upper opening may comprise a multiplicity of smaller openings arranged adjacent to one another (for example, an array of spaced-apart openings).

The pipe housing unit may be arranged such that the vertical and/or lateral position of the pipe in the pipe housing unit is adjustable. The vertical and/or lateral position of where the pipe extends out of the pipe housing unit may be adjustable. The pipe housing unit may comprise locating means for locating the lateral and/or vertical position of the pipe. The pipe housing unit may comprise support means for supporting the lateral and/or vertical position of the pipe. The support means may provide lateral support simply by providing a structure surrounding part of the pipe (for example a close-fit hole or cut-out). The locating means may act as the support means and vice versa.

The locating means may comprise an array of spaced-apart openings. The pipe preferably extends through one of the openings in the array. The lateral and/or vertical position of the pipe may be altered by passing the pipe through a different opening in the array. The array of openings may, in principle, be at any location through which the pipe passes. However, the array of openings is preferably located in the upper opening of the housing unit, and the array may define said upper opening.

The locating means may be adjustable. For example, in an embodiment in which the locating means comprises an array of openings, the lateral and/or vertical position of the array itself may be adjustable. The locating means may be moveable (for example rotatable) to a position in which the array of openings is presented in a different position relative to the remainder of the pipe housing unit. The locating means may be rotatable from a first position in which the array of openings is in a first layout relative to the remainder of the pipe housing unit, and a second position in which the array of openings is in a second, different, layout relative to the remainder of the pipe housing unit. The locating means may be reversible. For example, the locating means may be rotatable by 180 degrees, about an axis extending perpendicularly from the face of the locating means. Such an arrangement allows the pipe to be positioned in an especially wide variety of locations without necessitating an excessive number of holes and/or vertical/lateral adjustment of the array.

The locating means may comprise a collar through which the pipe passes, the collar being retained within the

passageway. The pipe is preferably an interference-fit through the collar. The collar is preferably received in a recess within the passageway, such that the movement collar is restricted. The locating means may comprise complementary surfaces on the pipe and housing, the complementary surfaces interlocking to support the vertical position of the pipe

The housing unit may comprise a planar side face

substantially parallel to the plane defined by the wall. Such an arrangement may facilitate easy installation of the pipe housing unit into a wall cavity. Having a planar side face parallel to the plane of the wall also ensures the housing unit blends into the wall. The planar side face may be easily rendered if required (the side face may have a keyed surface applied to better receive the render) . The upper opening may be located in the planar side face.

The housing unit may comprise a planar bottom face substantially parallel to the plane defined by the floor. The planar bottom face may facilitate easy installation of the pipe housing unit into a wall cavity and/or may enable the unit to be stacked onto building blocks having similar planar upper/lower faces. The lower opening may be located in the bottom face. Part of the lower opening may also be located in the planar side face. Such an arrangement allows the pipe to enter the housing unit through either the bottom or side face. The housing unit is preferably cuboidal.

An end face of the housing unit may comprise an opening through which the passageway may be accessed. The passageway and the pipe may therefore be linked to an adjacent housing unit having a corresponding opening in an end face. In this manner a pipe may be ducted through housing units laterally as well as vertically. The housing unit may comprise a removable plug, or plurality of plugs, arranged to plug the opening in the end face. Such an arrangement inhibits foreign bodies entering the housing unit when the opening in the end face is not being used. The end face of the housing unit may be arranged to interlock with a corresponding end face of another housing unit. For example, the housing unit may comprise a key on one end face (for example a region of raised edge}, and a complementary detent on the opposite end face. The key is preferably arranged to interlock with the detent on an

identical adjacent housing unit.

The length, height and depth of the housing unit will be readily identifiable to the skilled person. In the event of any doubt, the length is measured in a direction along the wall, the height is measured in a direction up the wall, and the depth is measured in a direction into the wall. The side, upper, lower and end faces of the housing unit will also be readily identifiable to the skilled person. In the event of any doubt, the side face is bounded by the length and height, the upper and lower faces are bounded by the length and depth, and the end faces are bounded by the height and depth.

The housing unit may be a substantially monolithic structure, with the passageway being formed therein. In this case, the pipe may, for example, be installed within the housing unit during manufacture or, in the case of a rigid or flexible pipe, guided through the passageway after the pipe housing has been manufactured. The housing unit may comprise a main body portion and a cover portion removeably attached thereto. The cover portion is preferably removeable to enable access to the pipe. The passageway may be defined, at least in part, between the main body portion and the cover portion. The pipe may therefore be easily installable and accessible by placing it on the main body portion and securing the cover over the pipe. For removal or adjustment of the pipe, the reverse procedure may be effected. The cover portion may be adjacent to the outer surface of the wall. The pipe may therefore be readily accessible even when the housing unit is in the wall. In embodiments of the invention comprising a planar side face, the planar side face may comprise the cover portion. In embodiments of the invention comprising an extension unit, the extension unit may comprise a

corresponding cover portion.

The pipe is preferably a water pipe. The pipe may be connectable to a radiator. The structure may comprise a radiator attached to the pipe. It will be appreciated that the pipe may, in fact, comprise several smaller pipe sections joined together (either fixedly or releasably) . For example, the pipe may comprise a rigid pipe section passing through the void under the floorboards in the floor, a flexible section extending from the end of this rigid pipe and bent upwardly into the pipe housing unit, and an L-shape rigid section coupled to the flexible pipe at its lower end and extending out of the wall at its upper end.

The structure may comprise a plurality of pipes extending from the floor, through the passageway, and out of the wall. The pipe(s) may be part of a manifold assembly, the manifold assembly being located in the pipe housing unit.

The pipe housing unit may duct pipe from a floor one side of the wall, to another side of the wall. Preferably however, the pipe extends from a floor the first side of the wall, and back out of that first side of the wall. The pipe preferably bends back on itself. For example, the pipe passing through the housing unit may comprise a C-shaped section .

According to a second aspect of the invention, there is provided a pipe housing unit, the pipe housing unit being locatable in a wall and the pipe housing unit comprising a passageway for ducting the pipe through the pipe housing unit such that when the pipe housing unit is installed in the wall, a pipe may extend from the floor, through the passageway in the pipe housing unit, and out of the wall. Whilst certain specific optional features of the housing unit are described below, it will be appreciated that any features of the housing unit described with reference to the first aspect of the invention are equally applicable to the housing unit according to the second aspect of the invention, and vice versa.

The pipe housing unit may be suitable for use as a replacement for at least a portion of a building unit in a wall comprising a multiplicity of said building units. It will be appreciated that the pipe housing unit may therefore not only be a size/shape suitable for replacing at least part of a building, but may also possess certain physical

properties that make it suitable for such a use (such as resistance to compression) . The pipe housing unit preferably has a similar thermal conductivity to the building unit.

The height of the pipe housing unit is preferably the same as the height of the building units. Having the housing unit the same height as the building unit is advantageous because this enables the pipe housing unit and the building units adjacent thereto, to form a level course on which further layers of building units may be placed.

The passageway may extend between a lower opening in the pipe housing unit and an upper opening in the pipe housing unit . The upper opening may be located on a side face of the pipe housing unit. The lower opening is preferably on the side face and bottom face of the pipe housing unit.

The housing unit may comprise a pipe. The pipe housing unit and pipe may be provided as a combined entity (for example during sale of the pipe housing unit) . The pipe may comprise a first portion and a second portion extending at an angle to the first portion. The housing unit may be arranged such that the pipe is positionable such that the second portion extends out of the upper opening whilst the first portion extends at least partially down the length of the passageway .

The pipe may be L-shaped, with the first and second portions being at right-angles to one another. The pipe may be connectable to further sections of pipe to form the pipe as described with reference to the first aspect of the invention.

The pipe may protrude out of the housing at all times, but is preferably moveable such that it can be wholly

contained within the pipe housing unit. The pipe may be moveable between a stored position in which the second portion is fully received in the passageway, and a deployed position in which at least part of the second portion extends out of the upper opening.

According to a third aspect of the invention, there is provided a method of installing a pipe in a structure

comprising a wall and a floor, the method comprising the steps of:

(i) providing a pipe housing unit,

(ii) installing the pipe housing unit in the wall,

(iii) fitting a pipe such that a pipe passes from the floor, through the pipe housing unit, and out of the wall.

The method may comprise the step of building the wall using a multiplicity of building units. The step of

installing the pipe housing unit in the wall may comprise using the housing unit as a replacement to at least a portion of one of the building units.

The above-described aspects of the invention relate to pipes. According to a further aspect of the invention, there is provided, a building structure comprising a wall extending upwardly from a floor, wherein a cable housing unit is located in the wall, the cable housing unit providing a passageway for a cable, and wherein the structure comprises a cable extending from the floor, through the passageway in the cable housing unit and out of the wall. In this manner, cable may be easily and neatly ducted within a wall. It will be appreciated that cables include electrical, optical, data and telcomms cables. Any or all of the features described with reference to the above-mentioned aspects of the invention comprising a pipe may be equally applicable to the aspects of the invention

comprising a cable (with reference to a pipe being substituted being referred to as a cable where appropriate) .

Any features described with reference to one aspect of the invention are equally applicable to another aspect of the invention, and vice versa.

Description of the Drawings

Various embodiments of the invention will now be

described, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying schematic drawings of which:

Figure 1 is a sectional view of a structure according to a first embodiment of the invention;

Figure 2 is a perspective view of the pipe housing unit in the structure of Figure 1;

Figure 3 is a sectional view through the pipe housing unit in the structure of Figure 1; Figure 4 is a perspective view of the pipe in the

structure of Figure 1;

Figure 5 is a sectional view of a structure according to a second embodiment of the invention;

Figure 6 is a perspective view of the pipe housing unit in the structure of Figure 5;

Figure 7 is a sectional view through the pipe housing unit in a further embodiment of the invention;

Figure 8 is a perspective view of a pipe housing unit according to a third embodiment of the invention;

Figure 9 is a sectional view through a pipe housing unit according to a fourth embodiment of the invention;

Figure 10 is a sectional view through a pipe housing unit according to fifth embodiment of the invention;

Figure 11 is a schematic perspective view showing the different pipe housing units of Figures 1 to 10 in a wall;

Figure 12 is a sectional view of a structure according to a sixth embodiment of the invention;

Figure 13 is a perspective view of a pipe housing unit according to a seventh embodiment of the invention; and

Figure 14 is a perspective view of the front cover and locating means in the pipe housing unit of Figure 13.

Detailed Description

Figure 1 shows a building structure according to a first embodiment of the invention, and Figures 2 to 4 show specific parts of that structure in more detail. The building

structure of the first embodiment of the invention comprises a wall 1 extending upwardly from a floor 3. The wall 1

comprises two parallel structures, each being formed from a multiplicity of Celcon™ blocks 5. The wall has a central cavity 7 between the parallel block structures. The left-hand structure borders the exterior of the building, whereas the right-hand structure is on the interior of the building. The interior side of the wall 1 comprises a layer of rendering 15.

The floor 3 comprises floor boards 9 positioned above timber joists 11. A hot water pipe 13, connected to the central heating system of the building {not shown) runs below the floor boards 9 in the floor void. A skirting board 17 is attached to the base of the wall where it meets the floor.

In known arrangements, the water pipe is passed upwardly through the floor boards in front of the skirting board, such that it can be connected to a radiator. This presents a number of problems. For example, during construction of the building, the pipe can be difficult to position correctly; the pipe coming out of the floor may be unsightly; the pipe may present an obstacle when vacuuming, carpet fitting, decorating etc.; and/or the floor boards may need to be cut around the pipe, increasing installation time and cost.

In the first embodiment of the invention, a pipe housing unit 19 is located in the wall 1. Referring to Figures 2 and 3, the housing unit 19 is substantially cuboidal, having a length L, a height H and a depth D. The innermost side face of the housing unit {i.e. the one facing the interior of the building) comprises two adjacent rectangular upper openings 27, and two adjacent open-bottomed rectangular lower openings 29. The bottom face of the housing unit also comprises two adjacent rectangular lower openings 31, which adjoin the lower openings 29 on the side face. A C-shaped passageway 21 extends between each set of upper and lower openings 27, 29, 31.

When the housing unit is installed in the wall 1, the hot water pipe 13 is fitted into the passageway 21 (the method of fitting the pipe into the housing unit is described in more detail further below} . The pipe 13 comprises a rigid pipe extending under the floor boards (not shown), coupled to a flexible pipe section 13a. The flexible pipe section 13a is coupled via a connector 14 (not shown in Figure 4) to an L- shaped rigid pipe section 13b. The pipe 13 extends from under the floor boards 9, into the housing unit 19, through the passageway 21 and out of the interior side of the wall 1. As shown in Figure 1, the pipe is connected to a wall-mounted radiator 33. The first embodiment therefore provides an arrangement in which an underfloor pipe is ducted, in the wall, to a position where the pipe extends out of the wall.

This removes the unsightly vertical pipe that would otherwise be on show in the prior art, and also reduces a number of the above-mentioned problems associated with such a vertical pipe.

The length L , height H and depth D of the housing unit are substantially identical to the Celcon™ blocks 5 from which the majority of the wall 1 is built (i.e. the length L is 440mm, the height H is 220mm and the depth D is 100mm) . The housing unit 19 may be constructed from polymer concrete or polypropylene and can withstand the forces that an equivalent Celcon™ block would be subjected to. During construction of the wall, the housing unit is placed at an appropriate

location at the base of the wall, instead of a Celcon™ block {i.e. the pipe housing unit was used as a replacement to the Celcon™ block) . Since the dimensions of the housing unit are identical to those of the blocks, the remainder of the wall can then be built around this course of blocks in the

conventional manner known in the art . By having the pipe housing unit the same dimensions as the building blocks of the wall 1, the housing unit 19 is readily installable in new wall structures. In some embodiments of the invention, an existing block in an existing wall may be removed and replaced by the housing unit. The pipe housing unit has a number of features that facilitate the fitting and positioning of the pipe in the housing unit. Those features are described in more detail below.

Firstly, the L-shaped pipe section 13b passes through a plastic ring 16. The plastic ring 16 is coupled to the pipe 13b by way of an interference fit. The housing comprises a recessed channel 18 in the sides of the passageway 21 for accommodating the ring 16 whilst preventing vertical movement of the ring 16 within the passageway 21. Since the pipe 13 is only held in an interference fit in the ring 16, the vertical positioning of the pipe can be adjusted by pushing the pipe 13 upwardly or downwardly through the ring 16 (as shown by the arrows in Figure 3) . In Figure 1, the pipe is shown exiting the side of the housing, but in some embodiments in which the pipe is positioned slightly lower in the housing, the pipe may protrude from the bottom face of the housing and be received in a recess in the mortar. The installer may easily create this recess my simply removing an appropriate portion of mortar from the block below.

The channel 18 accommodating the ring 16 runs along the length of the housing unit, and the upper and lower openings 21, 29, 31, and the passageway 21, are generally elongate along the length of the housing unit. This allows the lateral position of the pipe to be adjusted, within the length of the openings 27, 29, 31. The housing unit comprises wedge-shaped plugs 28 to partially plug the upper opening 27 once the lateral position of the pipe has been fixed. The plugs inhibit render, plaster or other debris, entering the

passageway, once the pipe housing unit has been installed.

To facilitate access to the pipe, the housing unit 19 comprises a main body portion 23 onto which a cover 25 is releasably fastened with screws. The passageway 21 is defined between the main body 23 and the cover 25 when the cover is attached to the main body 23. The cover 25 faces the interior side of the wall 1 (i.e. an outer surface of the wall, rather than an interior surface such as that facing the cavity 7). Thus, even when the housing unit 19 is installed in the wall 1, the cover 25 can be readily accessed and removed. When the cover is removed, the pipe 13, plastic ring 16 and coupling 14 can readily be accessed, allowing the installer to make adjustments to the height and/or lateral position of the pipe, and also to connect the L-shaped section 13b to the flexible pipe section 13a.

The housing unit 19 in the first embodiment of the invention is sold with the L-shaped pipe section 13b contained in the housing. This allows the unit to be readily installed with the correct pipe section for its particular application. The elongate openings 27, 29, 31 (and elongate passageway 21) allows the L-shaped pipe section 13b to be positioned such that the vertical portion extends down the passageway 21 and the horizontal portion extends along the length of the housing unit, inside the passageway 21. In this stored position, the pipe section 13b is fully contained in the passageway and does not protrude from an opening. The pipe section 13b may be rotated from this position to a deployed position in which the horizontal section is rotated outwards towards the upper opening 27. The access the pipe section 13b, the user can either remove the cover 25, or place their hand through the upper opening 27. The pipe may be moved to the deployed position once, for example, the housing unit is installed in the wall. The plasterer will subsequently render or fit plaster board around the protruding pipe 13.

To ensure uniform insulation in the building structure, the housing unit comprises a layer of insulation, or is made of suitable material (not shown) , such that the thermal conductivity of the housing unit complies with any minimum insulation value required.

Figure 5 shows a building structure according to a second embodiment of the invention, and Figure 6 shows specific parts of that structure in more detail. The second embodiment is identical to the first embodiment except for the features described below. Where appropriate the same reference

numerals have been used to denote equivalent features, but with the prefix λ 1' or λ 10' .

In the second embodiment of the invention the floor 103 is a screed floor and the hot water pipes pass 113 between insulation located between the concrete sub floor 111 and screed 109. The internal side of the wall 101 comprises a multiplicity of concrete blocks 105 (the mortar between the block is omitted from Figure 5) .

The structure comprises a main housing unit 119 and a housing extension unit 122. The housing unit 119 is identical in cross section to the housing unit 119 in the first

embodiment of the invention and has the same height and depth as one of the concrete blocks 105. The housing extension unit 122 is smaller and has virtually the same height and depth as a standard brick. The housing unit 119 is mounted on top of the extension unit, thereby raising the position of the pipe 113 at the point it exits the wall 101. Such an embodiment may be especially useful in structures having a deep subfloor covering and/or high skirting board. Since the change in height is equal to that of a brick, the change may be

compensated elsewhere (if need be) by insertion of a brick in the structure.

The extension unit 122 comprises a key 126 in the form of a raised lip on the upper edge of the unit 122. When the housing unit is mounted on top of the extension unit, the key 126 is arranged to be received in the lower opening 131,129 on the housing unit 119. This arrangement creates an interlock between the pipe housing unit 119 and the extension unit 122, thereby inhibiting relative movement between the units 119, 122. The key also serves to fill the opening 129, and part of the bottom opening 131, thereby preventing foreign bodies (such as mortar or render) entering the passageway 21.

The extension unit 122 comprises an upper opening 135 adjoining the lower opening 131 of the main unit 119. The extension unit also comprises a lower opening 137 which is substantially identical to the lower opening 131,129 in the main unit 119. A passageway in the extension unit adjoins the passageway 121 in the main unit 119 such that a passageway extends between the lower opening 137 in the extension unit 122 and the upper opening 127 in the main unit 119. In this way, the pipe 113 can be ducted from the floor, through the passageway (in the extension unit and main unit) , and out of the wall 101.

Referring to Figure 6, the main unit is half the length of the block 105, and the extension unit is the length of a brick. Since a standard brick is half the length of one of the concrete blocks, the main and extension units are

identical lengths. The upper opening 127 in the main unit 119 comprises eight, discrete openings 127' adjacent to one another. The lateral position of the pipe 113 is determined by which discrete opening 127' the pipe is placed through. The remaining discrete openings 127' are plugged using plugs 128 (only one of which is shown in Figure 6) .

The end face of the main unit 119 comprises a rectangular opening 137 which adjoins the passageway 121. This allows the pipe 113 to be ducted laterally if there is a similar main unit positioned adjacent to it.

Figure 7 shows a cross section through a main housing unit 719 and extension unit 722 according to a further embodiment of the invention (which is a variant of the second embodiment) . The housing unit and extension units are

substantially identical to those in Figures 5 and 6 except that the extension unit 722 does not comprise a key for providing an interlock. The opening 729 in the housing unit 719 is therefore open and the pipe 713 can exit the main unit as shown. If desired, it may also be threaded through the extension unit 722 and then into the main unit 719 in a similar manner to the configuration shown in Figure 5. The housing unit 119 can, of course, be used alone to perform in a similar manner to the housing unit of the first embodiment. In this case the pipe will be in the position shown in Figure 7.

Figure 8 is a housing unit 219 according to a further embodiment of the invention. The housing unit is identical to that in the first embodiment except that the housing unit does not comprise a removeable cover. Instead, a C-shaped pipe 213 is fitted during construction of the housing unit 219. The lower portion 213a of the pipe extends outwardly from the unit so that it can be readily coupled to an underfloor pipe.

Figure 9 is a sectional view through a pipe housing unit 319 according to fourth embodiment of the invention. This embodiment does not offer any vertical adjustment of the pipe 313, since the pipe 313 is held in a chevron-shaped passage 339 in the passageway 321. Such an arrangement has the benefit of precisely fixing the vertical position of the pipe. An optional configuration in which the pipe 313 extends directly out of the bottom face of the unit, is shown in phantom.

Figure 10 is a sectional view through a pipe housing unit

419 according to fifth embodiment of the invention. The pipe comprises a ribbed surface 424a that is complementary with an inversely ribbed surface 424b on the edge of the passageway 421. The pipe may be vertically supported by the

complementary ribbed surfaces 424a, 424b interlocking (support is also provided by the collar 416}. The ribbed arrangement facilitates discrete vertical adjustments of the pipe (the discrete distances being defined by the size and spacing of the ribbed surfaces 424a and 424b} . The size of the ribs and the width of the passageway 421 in the region of these ribbed surfaces in exaggerated in Figure 10 for the sake of clarity. In the fifth embodiment of the invention, the pipe housing unit 419 contains a single C-shaped piece of pipe 413. The lower end of the pipe 413 is directly connectable to an underfloor pipe (not shown) . The vertical adjustments of the pipe are denoted by the up and down arrows in Figure 10.

Figure 11 is a schematic perspective view showing different pipe housing units 519 in a wall 501. The pipes 513 are shown entering the housing units but are not shown exiting the wall for the sake of clarity. As clearly shown in Figure 11, the right-hand housing unit 519' replaces an entire

Celcon™ block, the central housing unit 519'' replaces half (the length) of a Celcon™ block, and the left-hand housing unit 519''' replaces half a Celcon™ block. The extension unit 522"' raises the left-hand housing unit 519'''; the Celcon™ blocks surrounding the left-hand housing unit 519' ' ' are appropriately resized to ensure a level course of blocks above the housing unit 519' ' ' .

Figure 12 is a sectional view of a structure according to a sixth embodiment of the invention. Where appropriate the same reference numerals have been used to denote equivalent features to other embodiments, but with the prefix 6' or 60' . The wall 601 is a stud wall comprising a pair of

parallel wooden or metal studs 641 onto which plasterboard panels 643 are attached. In the cross section shown, a vertical hole 645 is drilled through the lower plate 641 and a flexible portion of pipe 613a is fed through into the cavity 607. A cuboidal housing unit 619 is installed in the cavity 607 and is positioned flush against the plaster board panels 643. The housing unit 619 is identical to that of the first embodiment of the invention except that it does not have the same dimensions as a Celcon™ block, and it is also of a construction or material that would not necessarily be able to withstand the loads of a building block such as a Celcon™ block.

The pipe 613 is received through the plate 641 and into the housing unit 619. The pipe 613 passes through the passageway 621 and out of the upper opening 627. The pipe housing unit 619 is installed on the plate 641 before the right-hand panel is fitted. Before the panel is fitted onto the wall, a hole is drilled and the panel 643 is fitted over the protruding pipe 613b.

By providing a passageway for the pipe inside the wall cavity 607, the pipe 613 can easily be installed.

Furthermore, the pipe 613 is protected in the passageway 621 from render, concrete or other materials which may corrode the pipe wall if left in contact with the pipe. The pipe housing may also be made in a standard size, such that the height of the pipe is easily and correctly located, simply by installing the pipe housing unit on top of the stud (which has a known height) .

Figures 13 and 14 are perspective views of a pipe housing unit according to a seventh embodiment of the invention.

Where appropriate the same reference numerals have been used to denote equivalent features to other embodiments, but with the prefix Λ 8' or Λ 80'. The seventh embodiment of the

invention is similar to the second embodiment show in Figures 5 and 6, except for the features described below. The general shape of the main housing unit 819 and extension unit 822 is identical to that in the second

embodiment. In contrast to the second embodiment however, the housing unit comprises a rectangular front cover 825 having a plate 826 with an array of eighteen small openings 827' therein. The plate 826 is located in the upper opening 827 of the housing unit. The cover 825 is removable from the front of the main unit 819 to allow access to the pipe 813.

In the seventh embodiment, the housing unit does not comprise a collar for supporting the pipe, and instead the pipe freely hangs in the passageway 821 and is supported and located where it passes through one of the small openings 827' in the array. As described below, the vertical and lateral position of the pipe is adjustable.

Vertical positioning of the pipe 813 is, in the first instance, provided by simply inserting the pipe through a particular hole 827' in either the top, middle, or bottom row of openings in the array. Further vertical adjustment is enabled by the cover 825 being slideably moveable in the main housing unit 819. Screws 820 pass through a channel 823 in the cover 825 and are received in the main housing unit 819. The screws 820 define stoppers to constrain vertical movement of the cover to approximately 20mm (the length of the channel 823) . The screws 820 can also be tightened against the cover 825 to hold it in place once the vertical adjustment has been determined, or fully removed to take off the cover 825

completely .

Lateral positing of the pipe 813 is, in the first

instance, provided by simply inserting the pipe through the opening 827' corresponding closest to the desired position of the pipe. Further adjustment of the lateral position is enabled by the plate 826 being (horizontally) slideable in the cover 825. Screw 833 passes through a channel 834 in the cover 825 and is received in the plate 826. The screw 833 defines a stopper to constrain horizontal movement of the plate to approximately 30mm (the length of the channel 834). The screw 833 can be tightened against the cover 825 to hold the plate 826 in place once the vertical adjustment has been determined, released to adjust the plate, or fully removed to allow the plate 826 to be completely removed from the cover (as shown in Figure 14).

The array of small openings 827' are arranged on the plate to give a wide variation of possible positions of the pipe 813. Furthermore, the plate 826 is reversible (i.e. it can be removed, rotated 180 degrees about an axis extending perpendicularly from the face of the plate, and re-inserted into the cover) . Since the adjacent rows of openings are slightly offset from one another (by approximately the radius of an opening 827 f ), reversing the plate in this manner allows the pipe to be located in a position that would otherwise be inaccessible .

It will be appreciated that the seventh embodiment of the invention provides an arrangement in which the location of the pipe (where it exits the pipe housing unit) is easily

adjustable to a variety of different positions. This enables the pipe housing unit to be used in many different situations.

Whilst the present invention has been described and illustrated with reference to particular embodiments, it will be appreciated by those of ordinary skill in the art that the invention lends itself to many different variations not specifically illustrated herein. For example, the building blocks need not necessarily be Celcon™ and may be any other building unit from which the wall is constructed. Although the pipe is generally shown entering the pipe housing through a side face, in may be ducted only through an opening in the bottom face in some circumstances. More than one pipe may be ducted through the passageway,, or passageways in the housing.

Where in the foregoing description, integers or elements are mentioned which have known, obvious or foreseeable

equivalents, then such equivalents are herein incorporated as if individually set forth. Reference should be made to the claims for determining the true scope of the present

invention, which should be construed so as to encompass any such equivalents. It will also be appreciated by the reader that integers or features of the invention that are described as preferable, advantageous, convenient or the like are optional and do not limit the scope of the independent claims.