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Title:
TEMPORARY FLOORING
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/197827
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A temporary flooring for pedestrian and/or vehicle access comprising a first plank comprising a first coupling portion and a second plank comprising a second coupling portion configured to cooperate with the first coupling portion such that relative movement of the first plank and the second plank along first and second perpendicular axes is restricted. The temporary flooring further comprises an alignment feature comprising a first alignment portion of the first plank and a second alignment portion of the second plank. The alignment feature is configured to cooperate with the first coupling portion and the second coupling portion such that, coupling of the first coupling portion to the second coupling portion causes the first alignment portion and the second alignment portion to engage to restrict relative movement of the first plank and the second plank along a third axis that is substantially perpendicular to the first and second axes.

Inventors:
ROBINSON, Dale (102 Dalton AvenueBirchwood Park, Birchwood, Warrington WA3 6YE, WA3 6YE, GB)
CHAMBERS, Ben (102 Dalton AvenueBirchwood Park, Birchwood, Warrington WA3 6YE, WA3 6YE, GB)
COOKE, Aaron (102 Dalton AvenueBirchwood Park, Birchwood, Warrington WA3 6YE, WA3 6YE, GB)
MESSENGER, Simon (102 Dalton AvenueBirchwood Park, Birchwood, Warrington WA3 6YE, WA3 6YE, GB)
Application Number:
GB2019/051040
Publication Date:
October 17, 2019
Filing Date:
April 10, 2019
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
ASHTEAD PLANT HIRE COMPANY LIMITED (102 Dalton Avenue, Birchwood Park Birchwood, Warrington WA3 6YE, WA3 6YE, GB)
International Classes:
E01C9/08; E01C5/00; E04G27/00
Foreign References:
JPH09296408A1997-11-18
US3538819A1970-11-10
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MARKS & CLERK LLP (1 New York Street, Manchester Greater Manchester M1 4HD, M1 4HD, GB)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS:

1. A temporary flooring comprising:

a first plank comprising a first coupling portion; and,

a second plank comprising a second coupling portion configured to cooperate with the first coupling portion such that, when the first coupling portion is coupled to the second coupling portion, relative movement of the first plank and the second plank along first and second perpendicular axes is restricted; and,

an alignment feature comprising a first alignment portion of the first plank and a second alignment portion of the second plank, wherein the alignment feature is configured to cooperate with the first coupling portion and the second coupling portion such that, coupling of the first coupling portion to the second coupling portion causes the first alignment portion and the second alignment portion to engage to restrict relative movement of the first plank and the second plank along a third axis, wherein the third axis is substantially perpendicular to both the first axis and the second axis.

2. The temporary flooring of claim 1 , wherein the first coupling portion is collocated with the first alignment portion and wherein the second coupling portion is collocated with the second alignment portion.

3. The temporary flooring of claim 1 or claim 2, wherein the first coupling portion comprises a flange and the second coupling portion comprises a lip which forms a channel configured to receive the flange.

4. The temporary flooring of claim 3, wherein the first alignment portion comprises a protrusion and wherein the second alignment portion comprises a notch, the notch being configured to receive the protrusion when the first alignment portion and the second alignment portion engage.

5. The temporary flooring of claim 4, wherein the protrusion of the first alignment portion is formed from a separate piece that is attached to the first plank; and, optionally, where said separate piece is attached to the flange.

6. The temporary flooring of claim 5, wherein the separate piece comprises a nut and a bolt.

7. The temporary flooring of any of claims 1 to 6, wherein when the first coupling portion is coupled to the second coupling portion the first plank is substantially adjacent the second plank such that the first axis is parallel to a length of both the first and second planks.

8. The temporary flooring of any of claims 1 to 7, wherein the first coupling portion and the second coupling portion comprise rounded edges for enabling relative rotational movement between the first plank and the second plank when coupling and decoupling the first coupling portion and the second coupling portion.

9. The temporary flooring of any of claims 1 to 8, wherein the first alignment portion and the second alignment portion are positioned relative to each other such that, in use, when the first coupling portion is coupled to the second coupling portion, the planks may be offset from each other by an offset length leaving an open section having a length equal to the offset length along a coupling edge of at least one of the planks.

10. The temporary flooring of claim 9, wherein a length of one of the first and second planks is substantially equal to a length of the other of the first and second planks minus the offset length.

11. The temporary flooring of claim 10, wherein the open section of the coupling edge of the at least one of the planks comprises a first alignment portion or a second alignment portion that is configured to engage with a complimentary alignment portion of a further plank such that the temporary floor has a cross bond layout.

12. The temporary flooring of claim 11 , wherein the first or second plank having the open section comprises at least four alignment portions along the coupling edge and wherein the other of the first and second planks comprises at least two alignment portions along the coupling edge.

13. The temporary flooring of any of claims 1 to 8, wherein the first plank forms part of a first repeating flooring portion and the second plank forms part of a second repeating flooring portion, the first and second repeating flooring portions being substantially identical such that they each comprise a first plank and a second plank, and each further comprising at least one third plank interposed the respective first plank and the respective second plank such that the temporary flooring has a run layout.

14. The temporary flooring of claim 13, wherein each first plank and each third plank comprise a male mating portion and wherein each second plank and the each third plank comprise a female mating portion, the male mating portions being configured to cooperate with the female mating portions to attach each first plank to each third plank, and to attach each second plank to each third plank.

15. The temporary flooring of claim 14, further comprising a fastening element configured to secure the first plank to the third plank when the male mating portion of first plank is received by the female mating portion of the third plank; and, optionally, comprising a second fastening element configured to secure the second plank to the third plank when the male mating portion of third plank is received by the female mating portion of the second plank.

16. The temporary flooring of claim 15, wherein the fastening element comprises a nut and a bolt; and, optionally, if present, wherein the second fastening element comprises a nut and a bolt.

17. The temporary flooring of any of claims 1 to 16, wherein a majority of a volume between a user-engaging surface and a ground-engaging surface of each plank is occupied by at least one cavity.

18. The temporary flooring of any of claims 1 to 17, wherein each plank comprises at least one rib spanning a gap between a user-engaging surface and a ground- engaging surface of the plank.

19. The temporary flooring of claim 18, wherein there are at least three ribs per plank.

20. The temporary flooring of any preceding claim, wherein a user engaging surface of each plank comprises a first set of grooves having a first pitch.

21. The temporary flooring of claim 20, wherein the user engaging surface of each plank further comprises a second set of grooves having a second pitch that is different to the first pitch.

22. The temporary flooring of any preceding claim, wherein a ground engaging surface of each plank comprises a set of ground-engaging grooves.

23. The temporary flooring of claim 22 when dependent on claim 21 , wherein the set of ground-engaging grooves has a third pitch that is greater than the first pitch and the second pitch.

24. The temporary flooring of claim 21 or any claim dependent on claim 21 , wherein the first and second sets of grooves form a generally triangular waveform across a user-engaging surface of each plank.

25. The temporary flooring of any of claims 22 to 24, wherein the set of ground- engaging grooves forms a generally trapezoidal waveform on the ground engaging surface of each plank.

26. A first plank comprising a first coupling portion and a first alignment portion for use with the temporary flooring of any of claims 1 to 25.

27. A second plank comprising a second coupling portion and a second alignment portion for use with the temporary flooring of any of claims 1 to 25.

28. A method of installing a temporary flooring comprising:

providing a first plank comprising a first coupling portion;

providing a second plank comprising a second coupling portion;

the temporary flooring comprising an alignment feature, the alignment feature comprising a first alignment portion of the first plank and a second alignment portion of the second plank;

coupling the first coupling portion to the second coupling portion to thereby restrict relative movement between the first plank and the second plank along first and second perpendicular axes; and, whilst coupling the first coupling portion to the second coupling portion, engaging the first alignment portion and the second alignment portion to thereby restrict relative movement between the first plank and the second plank along a third axis, wherein the third axis is substantially perpendicular to both the first axis and the second axis.

29. The method of claim 28, wherein the first alignment portion and the second alignment portion are positioned relative to each other such that, when the first coupling portion is coupled to the second coupling portion, the planks are offset from each other by an offset length leaving an open section along a coupling edge of one of the first and second planks, and wherein a length of the other one of the first and second planks is substantially equal to the length of the plank having the open section minus the offset length, wherein the open section comprises a first alignment portion or a second alignment portion that is configured to engage with a complimentary alignment portion of a further plank such that the temporary floor is installed in a cross bond layout.

Description:
Temporary Flooring

The present invention relates to temporary flooring. The temporary flooring may form a pad which can support a load on otherwise unaccommodating terrain. The temporary flooring may form a track which can be used to enable pedestrian and/or vehicle access across otherwise unaccommodating terrain.

A known type of temporary flooring system compromises a plurality of panels. The panels themselves comprise a plurality of planks. The panels are bolted to each other in order to restrict relative movement between the bolted panels. Likewise, the plurality of planks of each panel are bolted together to restrict relative movement between the planks. Installing known temporary flooring can be difficult, time-consuming and expensive. For example, known panels and/or planks must be aligned with one another before they are then bolted together. Before the panels and/or planks are bolted together, relative movement between the panels and/or planks may not be adequately restricted making bolting of the panels and/or planks a difficult task. Bolting the planks and/or panels together is itself a time consuming and expensive task. It is desirable to provide a temporary flooring with simpler, faster and cheaper installation of panels whilst reducing risk of unwanted relative movement of the panels and/or the planks during installation.

According to a first aspect of the invention there is provided a temporary flooring comprising a first plank comprising a first coupling portion and, a second plank comprising a second coupling portion configured to cooperate with the first coupling portion such that, when the first coupling portion is coupled to the second coupling portion, relative movement of the first plank and the second plank along first and second perpendicular axes is restricted and, an alignment feature comprising a first alignment portion of the first plank and a second alignment portion of the second plank, wherein the alignment feature is configured to cooperate with the first coupling portion and the second coupling portion such that, coupling of the first coupling portion to the second coupling portion causes the first alignment portion and the second alignment portion to engage to restrict relative movement of the first plank and the second plank along a third axis, wherein the third axis is substantially perpendicular to both the first axis and the second axis. The alignment feature comprising a first alignment portion of the first plank and a second alignment portion of the second plank enables securing of the first and second planks to each other in all directions. That is, the single act of coupling the first coupling portion with the second coupling portion whilst the first alignment portion is aligned with the second alignment portion results in the first plank being coupled to the second plank such that relative movement between the planks is restrained along three perpendicular axes. In other words, the presence of the alignment feature means that coupling of the first coupling portion to the second coupling portion causes both planks to be securely connected to each other such that relative movement is restricted in all directions. This advantageously provides simpler, faster and cheaper installation of individual planks of the temporary flooring whilst also reducing the risk of unwanted relative movement of the planks during installation and use of the temporary flooring. The benefits in relation to the installation of individual planks also apply to the panels of which the planks form part. The temporary flooring of the present invention may be used indoors or outdoors.

Coupling the first coupling portion to the second coupling portion may result in an upper surface of the first plank being flush with an upper surface of the second plank. That is, once coupled together, an upper surface of the first plank and an upper surface of the second plank form a plane of travel across the temporary flooring (i.e. a user-engaging surface of the temporary flooring). Relative movement between the first and second planks may be restricted along three perpendicular axes such that the upper surface of the first plank and the upper surface of the second plank remain flush with one another during use. For example, relative movement between the planks is restricted such that applying a point pressure to the upper surface of either plank does not cause the planks to partially or totally decouple from one another.

Relative movement between the first and second planks may be restricted along three perpendicular axes such that decoupling of the first coupling portion and the second coupling portion is only possible by performing an intentional decoupling motion (e.g. a specific action by a user). For example, after coupling the first coupling portion and the second coupling portion, rotation of one plank relative to the other plank may only be possible about a single rotation axis and in a single rotational direction. The intentional decoupling motion may comprise rotating one of the planks with respect to the other plank past a predetermined angle (in said single rotation direction) to decouple one of the coupling portions from the other coupling portion.

Relative movement of the first and second planks along three perpendicular axes may be restricted such that relative movement between the planks is substantially prevented.

A first alternative temporary flooring involves coupling a first plank with a first coupling portion to a second plank with a second coupling portion to restrict relative movement of the first plank and the second plank along first and second perpendicular axes. Restricting relative movement of the first plank and the second plank along the third perpendicular axis is then achieved by actuating a locking mechanism, such as a locking pin, after coupling the first and second coupling portions. Actuating the locking pin involves lifting a hinged handle which forms part of an upper surface of one of the planks and using the handle to slide the locking pin between locked and unlocked positions. The first alternative temporary flooring is less preferable than the temporary flooring according to the first aspect of the invention because restricting relative movement of the planks along three perpendicular axes requires the additional steps of lifting the hinged handle and actuating the locking pin, thereby increasing installation time and complexity. In contrast, the temporary flooring according to the first aspect of the invention advantageously allows for restriction of relative movement of the planks along three perpendicular axes by the single action of coupling the first coupling portion to the second coupling portion. That is, no further step of accessing and/or actuating a locking mechanism is required to restrict relative movement of the planks along the three perpendicular axes. Furthermore, the hinged handle of the first alternative temporary flooring may reduce the functionality of the first alternative temporary flooring because vibration of the planks during use of the first alternative temporary flooring may result in unintentional movement of the hinged handle such that the hinged handle is no longer flush with the upper surface of the plank. The hinged handle may thereby act as an obstruction to entities passing along the upper surface of the planks (e.g.an unintentional speed bump for vehicles passing along the upper surface of the planks) and restrict or prevent travel across the first alternative temporary flooring in one or more directions. A second alternative temporary flooring involves coupling a first plank and a second plank to opposing sides of an intermediate element, e.g. a bridging plate. Apertures of the first and second planks are then aligned with corresponding bores in the bridging plate before bolts can be inserted through both the bores and the apertures in order to restrict relative movement of the planks and the bridging plate. The second alternative temporary flooring is less preferable than the temporary flooring according to the first aspect of the invention because restricting relative movement of the planks requires an additional piece of equipment (i.e. the bridging plate) making the second alternative temporary flooring more complex and expensive. Furthermore, restricting relative movement of the planks of the second alternative temporary flooring involves the additional steps of coupling the planks to the intermediate element, aligning the bores and apertures and inserting a bolt through the bores and apertures, thereby increasing installation time and complexity. In contrast, the temporary flooring according to the first aspect of the invention advantageously allows for restriction of relative movement of the planks along three perpendicular axes by the single action of coupling the first coupling portion to the second coupling portion. That is, no further steps of engaging an intermediate element, aligning bores of the intermediate element with apertures of the planks and inserting bolts through the bores and apertures are required to restrict relative movement of the planks along the three perpendicular axes. In addition, the bridging plate is not flush with the upper surfaces of the first and second planks after coupling the planks to the bridging plate. Instead, the bridging plate protrudes above the upper surfaces of the planks, thereby acting as an obstruction to entities passing along the upper surface of the planks (e.g. a speed bump for vehicles passing along the upper surface of the planks) by restricting travel across the second alternative temporary flooring in one or more directions.

A third alternative temporary flooring involves a first plank having a tongue and a groove on each edge and a second plank having a tongue and a groove on each edge. The first plank is attached to the second plank by inserting a tongue of the first plank into a groove of the second plank whilst also inserting a tongue of the second plank into a groove of the first plank. The tongue and groove system does not restrict relative movement of the planks along three perpendicular axes because the planks may be unintentionally rotated with respect to one another during use. That is, applying a point pressure at a variety of locations on an upper surface of the planks (i.e. the user- engaging surface of the planks) will cause the planks to partially decouple (e.g. such that the upper surfaces of the planks are no longer flush with one another) or totally decouple. In contrast, the temporary flooring according to the first aspect of the invention advantageously allows for sufficient restriction of relative movement of the planks along three perpendicular axes such that the planks do not unintentionally become partially or totally decoupled during use. That is, the upper surfaces of the planks of the temporary flooring of the first aspect of the invention remain flush with one another during use.

The first coupling portion may be collocated with the first alignment portion. The second coupling portion may be collocated with the second alignment portion.

The first coupling portion may comprise a flange. The second coupling portion may comprise a lip which forms a channel configured to receive the flange.

The first alignment portion may comprise a protrusion. The second alignment portion may comprise a notch. The notch may be configured to receive the protrusion when the first alignment portion and the second alignment portion engage.

The protrusion of the first alignment portion may be formed from a separate piece that is attached to the first plank. Optionally, the separate piece may be attached to the flange.

The separate piece may comprise a nut and a bolt.

When the first coupling portion is coupled to the second coupling portion the first plank may be substantially adjacent the second plank such that the first axis is parallel to a length of both the first and second planks. A plane shared by both the first axis and the third axis may constitute a plane of travel along the temporary flooring. It will be appreciated that a user of the temporary flooring may travel along the plane of travel in any desired direction.

The first coupling portion and the second coupling portion may comprise rounded edges for enabling relative rotational movement between the first plank and the second plank when coupling and decoupling the first coupling portion and the second coupling portion. The first alignment portion and the second alignment portion may be positioned relative to each other such that, in use, when the first coupling portion is coupled to the second coupling portion, the planks may be offset from each other by an offset length leaving an open section having a length equal to the offset length along a coupling edge of at least one of the planks. The term“offset” is intended to indicate that non-coupling ends of the planks are not in alignment with each other, i.e. part of at least one of the planks juts out relative to the other plank after coupling.

A length of one of the first and second planks may be substantially equal to a length of the other of the first and second planks minus the offset length.

The open section of the coupling edge of the at least one of the planks may comprise a first alignment portion or a second alignment portion that is configured to engage with a complimentary alignment portion of a further plank such that the temporary floor has a cross bond layout.

The first or second plank having the open section may comprise at least four alignment portions along the coupling edge. The other of the first and second planks may comprise at least two alignment portions along the coupling edge.

The first plank may form part of a first repeating flooring portion. The second plank may form part of a second repeating flooring portion. The first and second repeating flooring portions may be substantially identical such that they each comprise a first plank and a second plank. The first and second repeating flooring portions may further comprise at least one third plank interposed the respective first plank and the respective second plank such that the planks are arranged in a run layout. The repeating flooring portions may be referred to as panels.

Each first plank and each third plank may comprise a male mating portion. Each second plank and the each third plank may comprise a female mating portion. The male mating portions may be configured to cooperate with the female mating portions to attach each first plank to each third plank, and to attach each second plank to each third plank. The temporary flooring may further comprise a fastening element configured to secure the first plank to the third plank when the male mating portion of first plank is received by the female mating portion of the third plank. Optionally, the temporary flooring may further comprise a second fastening element configured to secure the second plank to the third plank when the male mating portion of third plank is received by the female mating portion of the second plank.

The fastening element may comprise a nut and a bolt. Optionally, if present, the second fastening element may comprise a nut and a bolt.

A majority of a volume between a user-engaging surface and a ground-engaging surface of each plank may be occupied by at least one cavity.

Each plank may have a solid body rather than one or more cavities between a user- engaging surface and a ground-engaging surface. For example, when the planks are formed from plastic the planks may not comprise one or more cavities between the user-engaging surface and the ground-engaging surface.

Each plank may comprise at least one rib spanning a gap between a user-engaging surface and a ground-engaging surface of the plank. There may be at least three ribs per plank.

A user engaging surface of each plank may comprise a first set of grooves having a first pitch. The user engaging surface of each plank may further comprise a second set of grooves having a second pitch that is different to the first pitch.

The ground engaging surface of each plank may comprise a set of ground-engaging grooves. The set of ground-engaging grooves may have a third pitch that is greater than the first pitch and the second pitch.

The first and second sets of grooves may form a generally triangular waveform across a user-engaging surface of each plank.

The set of ground-engaging grooves may form a generally trapezoidal waveform on the ground engaging surface of each plank. According to a second aspect of the invention there is provided a first plank comprising a first coupling portion and a first alignment portion for use with the temporary flooring of the first aspect of the invention.

According to a third aspect of the invention there is provided a second plank comprising a second coupling portion and a second alignment portion for use with the temporary flooring of the first aspect of the invention.

According to a fourth aspect of the invention there is provided a method of installing a temporary flooring comprising providing a first plank comprising a first coupling portion, providing a second plank comprising a second coupling portion, the temporary flooring comprising an alignment feature, the alignment feature comprising a first alignment portion of the first plank and a second alignment portion of the second plank, coupling the first coupling portion to the second coupling portion to thereby restrict relative movement between the first plank and the second plank along first and second perpendicular axes and, whilst coupling the first coupling portion to the second coupling portion, engaging the first alignment portion and the second alignment portion to thereby restrict relative movement between the first plank and the second plank along a third axis, wherein the third axis is substantially perpendicular to both the first axis and the second axis.

The first alignment portion and the second alignment portion may be positioned relative to each other such that, when the first coupling portion is coupled to the second coupling portion, the planks are offset from each other by an offset length leaving an open section along a coupling edge of one of the first and second planks. A length of the other one of the first and second planks may be substantially equal to the length of the plank having the open section minus the offset length. The open section may comprise a first alignment portion or a second alignment portion that is configured to engage with a complimentary alignment portion of a further plank such that the temporary floor is installed in a cross bond layout.

The term height is intended to indicate a separation between a user-engaging surface and a ground-engaging surface of a plank. The height may, for example, be a shortest distance between the ground-engaging surface and the user-engaging surface of the plank. The height of a plank may correspond to the extent of the plank substantially along the second axis. The term length is intended to indicate a distance along a longest edge of a user-engaging surface of the plank. The length of a plank may correspond to the extent of the plank substantially along the third axis. The term width is intended to indicate a distance along a shortest edge of a user-engaging surface of the plank. The width of a plank may correspond to the extent of the plank substantially along the first axis. If the length and width of a plank are substantially the same then the terms length and width are interchangeable for that plank.

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

Figure 1 schematically depicts a side view of a first plank of a temporary flooring according to an embodiment of the invention;

Figure 2 schematically depicts a side view of a second plank of a temporary flooring according to an embodiment of the invention;

Figure 3 schematically depicts a side view of a temporary flooring comprising the first plank of Figure 1 and the second plank of Figure 2 in the process of being coupled; Figure 4 schematically depicts a perspective view of the temporary flooring of Figure 3 after coupling of the first plank and the second plank;

Figure 4a schematically depicts a perspective view of an alignment feature of the temporary flooring according to an embodiment of the invention;

Figure 5 schematically depicts a side view of a temporary flooring comprising a panel according to an embodiment of the invention;

Figure 6 schematically depicts a view from above the temporary flooring of Figure 5; Figure 7 schematically depicts a side view of a first coupling portion comprising a first alignment portion in the form of a separate piece according to an embodiment of the invention;

Figure 8 schematically depicts a side view of a fastening element engaging a male mating portion of a plank and a female mating portion of another plank according to an embodiment of the invention;

Figure 9 schematically depicts a view from above a temporary flooring comprising a plurality of planks arranged in a run layout according to an embodiment of the invention; and, Figure 10 schematically depicts a view from above a temporary flooring comprising a plurality of planks arranged in a cross bond layout according to an embodiment of the invention.

Figure 1 schematically depicts a side view of a first plank 100 of a temporary flooring according to an embodiment of the invention. In the example of Figure 1 , the first plank 100 has a generally cuboid form. In other embodiments the first plank 100 may take other forms. In the example of Figure 1 , the first plank 100 is a unitary piece of material which may be formed via an extrusion process in which material is pushed through an appropriate die. The first plank 100 may be formed using any appropriate method from any appropriate material (or combination of materials) e.g. plastic or metal such as, for example, aluminium.

The first plank 100 comprises an outwardly facing user-engaging (or user-supporting) surface 150 on one side and an outwardly facing ground-engaging surface 160 on an opposing side. The user-engaging surface 150 is configured to provide support for a load, such as pedestrians and/or a vehicle such as, for example, a bicycle, car, lorry, aircraft, etc. traveling across the user-engaging surface 150. The user-engaging surface 150 of the first plank 100 comprises a first set of grooves 120 having a first pitch 121. The first pitch 121 may, for example, be between about 4 mm and about 6 mm, e.g. about 5 mm. A height of the first set of grooves 120 may, for example, be between about 0.5 mm and about 2 mm, e.g. about 0.75 mm. The first set of grooves 120 are configured to improve grip between the user-engaging surface 150 and a surface in contact with the temporary flooring such as, for example, the soles of shoes of a pedestrian and/or the tyres of a vehicle. The first set of grooves 120 may, for example, comprise a cross-serration pattern for extra grip. The user-engaging surface 150 further comprises a second set of grooves 140 having a second pitch 141 that is different to the first pitch 121. The second set of grooves 140 assist the first set of grooves 120 in improving grip between the user-engaging surface 150 and a surface in contact with the temporary flooring. The second set of grooves 140 may comprise a cross-serration pattern for extra grip. In the example of Figure 1 , the first set of grooves 120 has a pitch 121 that is greater than the pitch 141 of the second set of grooves 140. The second pitch may, for example, be between about 2 mm and about 3 mm, e.g. about 2.5 mm. A height of the second set of grooves 140 may, for example, be between about 0.5 mm and about 2 mm, e.g. about 1.5 mm. In the example of Figure 1 , the first and second sets of grooves 120, 140 form a generally triangular waveform across the user-engaging surface 150 of the first plank 100. The first set of grooves 120 may take a different shape. The second set of grooves 140 may take a different shape.

The ground-engaging surface 160 of the first plank 100 is configured to come into contact with terrain on which the first plank 100 is placed and grip the terrain such that relative movement between the first plank 100 and the terrain is reduced. The ground- engaging surface 160 of the first plank 100 is also configured to allow air flow between the terrain and the first plank 100. The ground-engaging surface 160 comprises a ground-engaging grooves 190 having a third pitch 191. The ground-engaging grooves 120 are configured to improve grip between the ground-engaging surface 160 and terrain in contact with the temporary flooring. The ground-engaging grooves 120 may comprise a cross-serration pattern for extra grip. In the example of Figure 1 , the third pitch 191 is greater than both the first pitch 121 and the second pitch 141. The third pitch 191 may, for example, be between about 40 cm and about 60 cm, e.g. about 50 cm. The ground-engaging grooves 190 forms a generally trapezoidal waveform on the ground-engaging surface 160. The ground-engaging grooves 190 may take a different shape.

The first plank 100 comprises three ribs 180-182. The first plank may comprise greater or fewer numbers of ribs 180-182. The ribs 180-182 span a gap between the user- engaging surface 150 and the ground-engaging surface 160 of the first plank 100. The ribs 180-182 are configured to provide strength to the first plank 100. Such strength is that which resists a load placed on the user-engaging surface 150 crushing the user- engaging surface towards the ground-engaging surface. The majority of a volume defined between the user-engaging surface 150 and the ground-engaging surface 160 of the first plank 100 is occupied by cavities 170-173. In the example of Figure 1 , there are four cavities 170-173 that are defined and separated by the ribs 180-182. The presence of the cavities 170-173 ensures that the weight of the first plank 100 is kept to a minimum. The ribs and/or cavities may vary in volume and/or thickness. Each plank may have a solid body rather than one or more cavities between a user-engaging surface and a ground-engaging surface. For example, when the planks are formed from plastic the planks may not comprise one or more cavities between the user- engaging surface and the ground-engaging surface. A length of the first plank 100 along a third axis (not shown) may be between about 1 m and about 5 m, e.g. about 3 m. A width of the first plank 100 along a first axis X may be between about 0.2 m and about 1 m, e.g. about 0.6 m. A height of the first plank 100 along a second axis Y may be between about 20 mm and about 50 mm, e.g. about 35 mm. In other embodiments the height and length may be any appropriate size.

The first plank 100 comprises a first coupling portion 110. The first coupling portion 110 is configured to enable coupling between the first plank 100 and a second plank of the temporary flooring (not shown in Figure 1). In the example of Figure 1 , the first coupling portion 110 comprises a flange 115. The flange 115 projects outwardly from an end of the first plank 100 along the first axis X. The first plank 100 comprises a first alignment portion 310. In the example of Figure 1 , the first alignment portion 310 comprises a protrusion 310 on the flange 115 of the first coupling portion 110. In the example of Figure 1 , the first alignment portion 310 is integrally formed with the first plank 100. That is, the first alignment portion 310 is formed in the extrusion process along with the rest of the first plank 100. Alternatively, the first alignment portion 310 may be a separate piece configured to be attached to the flange 115, as is shown and discussed in further detail with reference to Figure 7.

Figure 4a schematically depicts a perspective view of the alignment feature 330 of the temporary flooring according to an embodiment of the invention. The alignment feature 330 comprises the first alignment portion 310 of the first plank 100 and the second alignment portion 320 of the second plank 200. The first alignment portion 310 comprises a protrusion 119 on the flange 115 of the first coupling portion of the first plank 100. In the example of Figure 4a, the first alignment portion 310 is a nut that has been installed on the flange 115 of the first plank 100. The second alignment portion 320 comprises a notch 219 in the lip 215 of the second coupling portion of the second plank 200. The notch 219 of the second alignment portion 320 is configured to receive the protrusion 119 of the first alignment portion 310. The notch 219 and the protrusion 119 have complimentary shapes such that the notch 219 and the protrusion 119 may mate and thereby cooperate. Once the notch 219 has received the protrusion 119, the alignment feature 330 cooperates with the first coupling portion and the second coupling portion such that, coupling of the first coupling portion to the second coupling portion causes the first alignment portion 310 and the second alignment portion 320 to cooperate to restrict relative movement of the first plank 100 and the second plank 200 along a third axis Z (or, in other words, the first alignment portion 310 and the second alignment portion 320 cooperate to secure the first plank 100 to the second plank 200 such that relative movement along the third axis Z is substantially prevented). The third axis Z is substantially perpendicular to both the first axis (not shown - but perpendicular to the plane of the page) and the second axis Y. It can be seen that the protrusion 119 abuts the walls of the notch 219 if movement along the third axis Z is attempted. Thus, relative movement of the first plank 100 and the second plank 200 along a third axis Z is restricted.

Referring again to Figure 1 , the first coupling portion 110 comprises a rounded edge 117 for enabling relative rotational movement (about an axis perpendicular to both directions X and Y) between the first plank 100 and a second plank (not shown) when coupling and decoupling the first coupling portion 110 and a second coupling portion belonging to the second plank of the temporary flooring.

Figure 2 schematically depicts a side view of a second plank 200 of a temporary flooring according to an embodiment of the invention. In the example of Figure 2, the second plank 200 has a generally cuboid form. The second plank 200 may take other forms. In the example of Figure 2, the second plank 200 is a unitary piece of material formed via an extrusion process in which material is pushed through an appropriate die. The second plank 200 may be made from the same material as the first plank.

The second plank 200 comprises an outwardly facing user-engaging (or user supporting) surface 250 on one side and an outwardly facing ground-engaging surface 260 on an opposing side. As discussed in relation to the user-engaging surface of the first plank, the user-engaging surface 250 is configured to provide support for a load, such as pedestrians and/or a vehicle such as, for example, a bicycle, car, lorry, aircraft, etc. traveling across the user-engaging surface 150. The user-engaging surface 250 of the second plank 200 comprises a first set of grooves 202 having a first pitch 221. The first pitch 221 and the height of the first set of grooves 202 on the second plank 200 may be substantially the same as the first pitch 121 of the first set of grooves 120 on the first plank 100 as shown in Figure 1. Referring again to Figure 2, the first set of grooves 202 are configured to improve grip between the user-engaging surface 250 and a surface in contact with the temporary flooring such as, for example, the soles of shoes of a pedestrian and/or the tyres of a vehicle. The user-engaging surface 250 further comprises a second set of grooves 240 having a second pitch 241 that is different to the first pitch 221. In the example of Figure 2, the first set of grooves 202 has a pitch 221 that is greater than the pitch 241 of the second set of grooves 240. The second pitch 241 and the height of the second set of grooves 240 on the second plank 200 may be substantially the same as the second pitch 141 of the second set of grooves 140 on the first plank 100 as shown in Figure 1. Referring again to Figure 2, the first and second sets of grooves 202, 240 form a generally triangular waveform across the user-engaging surface 250 of the second plank 200. The first set of grooves 202 may take a different shape. The second set of grooves 240 may take a different shape. The first set of grooves 202 and/or the second set of grooves 240 may comprise a cross-serration pattern for extra grip.

The ground-engaging surface 260 of the second plank 200 is configured to come into contact with terrain on which the second plank 200 is placed and grip the terrain such that relative movement between the second plank 200 and the terrain is reduced. The ground-engaging surface is also configured to allow air flow between the terrain and the second plank 200. The ground-engaging surface 260 of the second plank 200 comprises grooves 290 having a third pitch 291. In the example of Figure 2, the third pitch 291 is greater than both the first pitch 221 and the second pitch 241. The third pitch 291 and the height of the ground-engaging grooves 290 on the second plank 200 may be substantially the same as the third pitch 141 of the ground-engaging grooves 140 on the first plank 100 as shown in Figure 1. Referring again to Figure 2, the ground-engaging grooves 290 forms a generally trapezoidal waveform on the ground engaging surface 260. The ground-engaging grooves 290 may, in other embodiments, take a different shape. The ground-engaging grooves 290 may comprise a cross serration pattern for extra grip.

The second plank 200 comprises three ribs 280-282. The second plank 200 may comprise greater or fewer numbers of ribs 280-282. The ribs 280-282 span a gap between the user-engaging surface 250 and the ground-engaging surface 260 of the second plank 200. The ribs 280-282 are configured to provide strength to the second plank 200. Such strength is that which resists a load placed on the user-engaging surface 250 crushing the user-engaging surface towards the ground-engaging surface. The majority of a volume defined between the user-engaging surface 250 and the ground-engaging surface 260 of the second plank 200 is occupied by cavities 270-273. In the example of Figure 2, there are four cavities 270-273 that are defined and separated by the ribs 280-282. The presence of the cavities 270-273 ensures that the weight of the second plank 200 is kept to a minimum. The ribs and/or cavities may vary in volume and/or thickness. Alternatively, each plank may have a solid body rather than one or more cavities between a user-engaging surface and a ground- engaging surface. For example, when the planks are formed from plastic the planks may not comprise one or more cavities between the user-engaging surface and the ground-engaging surface.

A length of the second plank 200 along a third axis (not shown) may be between about 1 m and about 5 m, e.g. about 3 m. A width of the second plank 200 along a first axis X may be between about 0.2 m and about 1 m, e.g. about 0.6 m. A height of the second plank 200 along a second axis Y may be between about 20 mm and about 50 mm, e.g. about 35 mm. The height of the first and second planks according to the present embodiment is the same. The width of the first and second planks according to the present embodiment is the same. The length of the first and second planks according to the present embodiment is the same. However, in other embodiments, some of which are discussed at a later point within this document, this need not be the case.

The second plank 200 comprises a second coupling portion 220. The second coupling portion 220 is configured to enable coupling between the first plank (not shown in Figure 2) and the second plank 200 of the temporary flooring. In the example of Figure 2, the second coupling portion 220 comprises a lip 215 which forms a cavity 212 in one end of the second plank 200 configured to receive the flange of the first plank. The second plank 200 comprises a second alignment portion 320. In the example of Figure 2, the second alignment portion 320 comprises a notch 219 in the lip 215, the notch 219 being configured to receive the protrusion of the first alignment portion of the first plank (not shown). In some embodiments the notch may be formed by milling or otherwise removing material from the lip 215. The notch 219 is represented as a dotted line because the notch 219 would not be visible from the side view of Figure 2. The notch 219 of the second alignment portion 320 is configured to receive the protrusion 119 of the first alignment portion 310 of the first plank 100 shown in Figure 1. The second coupling portion 220 comprises a rounded edge 217 (shown in Figure 3) for enabling relative rotational movement (about an axis perpendicular to both directions X and Y) between the first plank 100 (shown in Figure 1)and the second plank 200 when coupling and decoupling the first coupling portion and the second coupling portion 220.

Figure 3 schematically depicts a side view of a temporary flooring 400 comprising the first plank 100 of Figure 1 and the second plank 200 of Figure 2 in the process of being coupled. The first coupling portion 110 and the second coupling portion 220 have complimentary shapes such that they can cooperate to connect the first plank 100 and the second plank 200. The second coupling portion 220 of the second plank 200 is configured to cooperate with the first coupling portion 110 of the first plank 100 such that, when the first coupling portion 110 is coupled to the second coupling portion 220, relative movement of the first plank 100 and the second plank 200 along first and second perpendicular axes X, Y is restricted. As discussed in more detail below, the first coupling portion 110 is coupled to the second coupling portion 220 by inserting a lip 215 of the second coupling portion 220 into a channel 110a of the first coupling portion 110 whilst the second plank 200 is held at an insertion angle Q between axis X of the first plank 100 and axis X of the second plank 200. This is shown in Figure 3. To complete the coupling, once the lip 215 is received by the channel 110a, the second plank 200 is rotated relative to the first plank 100 about an axis perpendicular to both the X and Y axes, until axis X of the first plank 100 and axis X of the second plank 200 are substantially parallel (as shown in Figure 4).

The temporary flooring 400 further comprises an alignment feature 330. The alignment feature 330 comprises the first alignment portion 310 of the first plank 100 and the second alignment portion 320 of the second plank 200. The alignment feature 330 is configured to cooperate with the first coupling portion 110 and the second coupling portion 220 such that coupling of the first coupling portion 110 to the second coupling portion 220 causes the first alignment portion 310 and the second alignment portion 320 to cooperate to restrict relative movement of the first plank 100 and the second plank 200 along a third axis (not shown). That is, the alignment feature 330 acts to secure the first plank 100 to the second plank 200 along the third axis. Abutment between the first alignment portion 310 and the second alignment portion 320 provides reduced relative movement between the coupled planks 100, 200 along the third axis. The third axis is substantially perpendicular to both the first axis X and the second axis Y. That is, in the example of Figures 3 and 4, the third axis is perpendicular to the plane of the page. Restricting the movement of the first plank 100 and the second plank 200 along three mutually perpendicular axes reduces the risk of unwanted movement between the planks 100, 200 once they are coupled together to form the temporary flooring 400.

A method of installing the temporary flooring comprises aligning the first alignment portion and the second alignment portion and coupling the first coupling portion to the second coupling portion to install the temporary flooring. For example, the method of installing the temporary flooring 400 may include laying the first plank 100 on the ground at a desired location and subsequently aligning the second alignment portion of the second plank 200 with the first alignment portion of the first plank. In the example of Figure 4, this would involve aligning the notch of the lip of the second plank with the protrusion 310 of the flange 115 of the first plank 100 such that the notch is above the protrusion. The second plank may then be released and the rounded edges 117, 217 of the first and second planks enables a hinge action (i.e. relative rotational movement) between the first and second planks that results in the planks being coupled to one another. The rounded edges 117, 217 of the first coupling portion 110 and the second coupling portion 220 enable a smooth hinge action when coupling the first plank 100 and the second plank 200. This reduces the risk of unwanted catching occurring between the planks 100, 200 and also reduces wear and tear of the first coupling portion 110 and the second coupling portion 220 resulting from repeated coupling and decoupling of the first and second planks 100, 200 throughout their lifetime. The hinge action when coupling the first plank 100 and the second plank 200 may be seen when moving from the configuration of Figure 3 to the configuration of Figure 4. The hinge action when decoupling the first plank 100 and the second plank 200 may be seen when moving from the configuration of Figure 4 to the configuration of Figure 3. Put another way, for completeness, uncoupling of the first and second planks 100, 200 is a reversal of the coupling process.

Figure 4 schematically depicts a side view of the temporary flooring 400 of Figure 3 after coupling of the first coupling portion 110 to the second coupling portion 220. Coupling of the first coupling portion 110 to the second coupling portion 220 causes the first alignment portion 310 and the second alignment portion 320 to cooperate to restrict relative movement of the first plank 100 and the second plank 200 along a third axis (not shown). The third axis is substantially perpendicular to both the first axis X and the second axis Y (i.e. the third axis is perpendicular to the plane of the page). The first plank 100 is substantially adjacent the second plank 200 such that a plane shared by both the first axis X and the third axis constitutes a plane of travel along the temporary flooring 400.

In the examples of Figure 3 and Figure 4, the first coupling portion 110 is collocated with the first alignment portion 310 and the second coupling portion 220 is collocated with the second alignment portion 320. This eases alignment between the first plank 100 and the second plank 200 when installing the temporary flooring 400. It also means that the single act of coupling the first coupling portion 110 with the second coupling portion 220 whilst the first alignment portion 310 is aligned with the second alignment portion 320 results in the first plank 100 being coupled to the second plank 200 such that relative movement between the planks 100, 200 is restrained in three dimensions (first and third - generally parallel to (or contained within) the plane of travel along the flooring, and second - generally perpendicular to the plane of travel along the flooring and generally perpendicular to both the first and third dimensions).

Referring again to Figure 1 , the first plank 100 comprises a male mating portion 130. The male mating portion 130 comprises two projections 132, 134. The male mating portion 130 is configured to cooperate with a female mating portion (for example, that discussed in relation to the second plank) of another plank belonging to the temporary flooring.

With reference to Figure 2, the second plank 200 further comprises a female mating portion 230. The female mating portion 230 comprises a recess 232 configured to receive the two projections 132, 134 belonging to the male mating portion (for example, that discussed in relation to the first plank) of another plank belonging to the temporary flooring. The temporary flooring may comprise a plurality of different sequences of planks 100-300. For example, a temporary flooring may comprise three third planks 300 (as shown in Figure 5) connected together, with a first plank 100 (as shown in Figure 1) coupled to one end of the three third planks and a second plank 200 (as shown in Figure 2) coupled to the other end of the three third planks. Other arrangements of the planks may be used. For example, the second plank 200 shown in Figure 2 may comprise a first coupling portion 110 (shown in Figure 1) instead of the female mating portion 230. That is, a single plank 100, 200 may comprise the first coupling portion 110 at one end and the second coupling portion 220 at the opposing end. Repeat units of said plank may be coupled to each other to form a panel and/or a temporary flooring.

Figure 5 schematically depicts a side view of a portion of a temporary flooring 600 comprising a repeating flooring portion (also referred to as a panel) 500 according to an embodiment of the invention. Each panel 500 comprises the first plank 100, the second plank 200 and a third plank 300 configured to be attachable to the first plank 100 and the second plank 200.

As with the first and second planks 100, 200, the third plank 300 comprises an outwardly facing user-engaging surface 350 on one side and an outwardly facing ground-engaging surface 360 on an opposing side. Again, the user-engaging surface 350 is configured to provide support for pedestrians and/or a vehicle such as, for example, a bicycle, car, lorry, aircraft, etc. traveling across the user-engaging surface 350. The user engaging surface 350 of the third plank 300 comprises a first set of grooves 320 having a first pitch 321. The first pitch 321 and the height of the first set of grooves 320 on the third plank 300 may be substantially the same as the first pitch 121 of the first set of grooves 120 on the first plank 100 as shown in Figure 1. The first set of grooves 320 are configured to improve grip between the user-engaging surface 350 and a surface in contact with the temporary flooring 600 such as, for example, the soles of shoes of a pedestrian and/or the tyres of a vehicle. The user-engaging surface 350 further comprises a second set of grooves 340 having a second pitch 341 that is different to the first pitch 321. In the example of Figure 5, the first set of grooves 320 has a pitch 321 that is greater than the second pitch 341 of the second set of grooves 340. The second pitch 341 and the height of the second set of grooves 340 on the third plank 300 may be substantially the same as the second pitch 141 of the second set of grooves 140 on the first plank 100 as shown in Figure 1. In the example of Figure 5, the first and second sets of grooves 320, 340 form a generally triangular waveform across the user-engaging surface 350 of the third plank 300. The first set of grooves 320 may take a different shape. The second set of grooves 340 may take a different shape. The first set of grooves 320 and/or the second set of grooves 340 may comprise a cross-serration pattern for extra grip.

The ground-engaging surface 360 of the third plank 300 is configured to come into contact with terrain on which the third plank 300 is placed and grip the terrain such that relative movement between the third plank 300 and the terrain is reduced. The ground- engaging surface 360 is further configured to allow air flow between the terrain and the third plank 300. The ground-engaging surface 360 comprises grooves 390 having a third pitch 391. In the example of Figure 5, the third pitch 391 is greater than both the first pitch 321 and the second pitch 341. The third pitch 391 and the height of the ground-engaging grooves 390 on the third plank 300 may be substantially the same as the third pitch 141 of the ground-engaging grooves 140 on the first plank 100 as shown in Figure 1. Referring again to Figure 5, the ground-engaging grooves 390 forms a generally trapezoidal waveform on the ground engaging surface 360. The ground- engaging grooves 390 may take a different shape.

The third plank 300 comprises three ribs 380-382. The third plank 300 may comprise greater or fewer numbers of ribs 380-382. The ribs 380-382 span a gap between the user-engaging surface 350 and the ground-engaging surface 360 of the third plank 300. The ribs 380-382 are configured to provide strength to the third plank 300. Such strength is that which resists a load placed on the user-engaging surface 350 crushing the user-engaging surface 350 towards the ground-engaging surface 360. The majority of a volume defined between the user-engaging surface 350 and the ground-engaging surface 360 of the third plank 300 is occupied by cavities 370-373. In the example of Figure 5, there are four cavities 370-373 that are defined and separated by the ribs 380-382. The presence of the cavities 370-373 ensures that the weight of the third plank 300 is kept to a minimum. The ribs and/or cavities may vary in volume and/or thickness. Alternatively, each plank may have a solid body rather than one or more cavities between the user-engaging surface and the ground-engaging surface. For example, when the planks are formed from plastic the planks may not comprise one or more cavities between the user-engaging surface and the ground-engaging surface.

A length of the third plank 300 along a third axis (not shown) may be between about 1 m and about 5 m, e.g. about 3 m. A width of the third plank 300 along a first axis X may be between about 0.2 m and about 1 m, e.g. about 0.6 m. A height of the third plank 300 along a second axis Y may be between about 20 mm and about 50 mm, e.g. about 35 mm. The height of the third plank according to the present embodiment is the same as that of the first and second planks. The width of the third plank according to the present embodiment may be the same as at least one of (or both of) the first and second planks. The length of the third plank according to the present embodiment may be the same as at least one of (or both of) the first and second planks.

The first plank 100 and the third plank 300 each comprise a male mating portion 130. The second plank 200 and the third plank 300 each comprise a female mating portion 230. The male mating portion 130 of each of the first and third planks 100, 300 is configured to cooperate with the female mating portion 230 of each of the second and third planks 200, 300 to form one of the panels 500 (or repeating flooring sections). To form a desired length and/or width of flooring from the panels 500, a plurality of panels 500 are coupled to one another in an end-to-end fashion. For example, to repeat the panel 500 (i.e. couple one panel to another), the first coupling portion of another panel (not shown) of the same type as that shown in Figure 5 may be coupled to the second coupling portion 220 of the panel 500. Alternatively, the second coupling portion of another panel (not shown) of the same type as that shown in Figure 5 may be coupled to the first coupling portion 110 of the panel 500. The temporary flooring 600 may comprise as many panels 500 as required for the assembled flooring to have a required overall length and/or width.

A fastening element 800 (as seen best in Figures 5 and 8) extends between the first plank 100 and the third plank 300 of the panel portion 500. The fastening element 800 is configured to secure the first plank 100 and the third plank 300 together once the male mating portion 130 of the first plank 100 has been received by the female mating portion 230 of the third plank 300. Likewise, a further fastening element 800 is used to secure the second plank 200 and the third plank 300 together once the male mating portion 130 of the third plank 300 has been received by the female mating portion 230 of the second plank 200. Once the fastening elements 800 have been used to secure the third plank to both the first plank and the second plank, this links the planks of the panel together so that the panel can be handled as a single article. In the example of Figure 5, the fastening element 800 comprises a nut and a bolt. The fastening element 800 may comprise other components such as, for example, pins, rivets, clips or any other suitable fastening means. The fastening element 800 may comprise a male fastening portion integrally formed with the male mating portion and a female fastening portion integrally formed with the female mating portion, e.g. in a similar manner to the first and second alignment portions.

Figure 6 schematically depicts a view from above of the portion of the temporary flooring 600 shown in Figure 5. The first plank 100 is substantially adjacent the third plank 300, and the third plank 300 is substantially adjacent the second plank 200 (or, put another way, the third plank 300 is between the first and second planks 100, 200), such that the planks are substantially aligned along a plane shared by both the first axis X and the third axis (not shown) of each of the planks 100, 200, 300, the plane constituting a plane of travel along the temporary flooring 600. In the example of Figure 6, the panel 500 comprises four second alignment portions 320 spread out along an end of the second plank 200. The panel 500 may comprise a larger or smaller number of second coupling portions 320. Another plank (not shown) may be attached to the panel 600 by aligning four first alignment portions belonging to the first coupling portions of the other first plank with the four second alignment portions (not shown) belonging to the four second coupling portions 220 of the second plank 200 of the panel 500. The second coupling portions 220 are configured to cooperate with the first coupling portions such that, when the first coupling portions are coupled to the second coupling portions 220, relative movement of the other first plank and the second plank 200 along first X and second perpendicular axes (not shown, but perpendicular to the plane of the page) is restricted. The alignment feature (not shown) comprises the first alignment portions of the other first plank and the second alignment portions (not shown) of the second plank 200. The alignment feature is configured to cooperate with the first coupling portions of the other first plank and the second coupling portions 220 such that, coupling of the first coupling portions to the second coupling portions 220 causes the first alignment portions and the second alignment portions to cooperate to restrict relative movement of the other first plank and the second plank 220 along a third axis Z. The third axis Z is substantially perpendicular to both the first axis X and the second axis (not shown). A length of each plank along the third axis Z may be between about 1 m and about 5 m, e.g. about 3 m.

In the previously described embodiments the first plank 100 comprises a first coupling portion 110 that includes an integral first alignment portion. In some embodiments the first plank 100 could be manufactured in such a way that the first alignment portion is formed of the same piece of material as the rest of the first plank - for example by casting, 3D printing or machining. In other embodiments the first alignment portion may be a separate piece configured to be attached to the first plank (e.g. the flange 115 of the first coupling portion 110).

Any appropriate method may be used to secure the first alignment portion in the form of a separate piece to the first plank - for example, it may be secured with adhesive, welding, riveting, or the like. A specific example of securing a first alignment portion in the form of a separate piece is discussed in greater detail below with reference to Figure 7.

Figure 7 schematically depicts a side view of a first coupling portion 110 according to an embodiment of the invention comprising a first alignment portion 310 in the form of a separate piece 700. In the example of Figure 7, the separate piece 700 comprises a nut and bolt. In order to assemble the first alignment portion 310, a hole (not shown) is drilled or punched in flange 115 of the first plank 100, the bolt is inserted into the hole and the nut is screwed to the bolt. Alternatively, a hole may be integrally formed in the flange 115 of the first plank 100 and the separate piece 700 may be a bolt that is inserted into the hole. In other embodiments, the separate piece 700 may comprise other components. For example, the separate piece 700 may be a clasp, a pin or any other suitable piece. Alternatively, the separate piece 700 may comprise an adhesive such as glue.

The separate piece 700 is attached to the flange 115 of the first plank 100. Once attached, the separate piece may act as the first alignment portion 310 and allow coupling between the first plank 100 and the second coupling portion of another plank in the manner discussed above. In the example of Figure 7, the flange 115 is shaped so as to form a cavity 720 in the first coupling portion 110. The cavity 720 allows space for an end of the separate piece 700 to extend through the flange 115. Once the bolt has been bolted through the flange 115 into the cavity, a nut may be fastened onto an end of the bolt thereby securing the separate piece 700 to the first coupling portion 110. As already discussed, a second alignment portion (not shown in Figure 7) may comprise a notch in the lip of a second coupling portion, the notch being configured to receive the separate piece 700. Abutment between the notch and the separate piece 700 provides reduced relative movement between the coupled planks along the third axis (not shown).

Figure 8 schematically depicts a side view of a fastening element 800 engaging a male mating portion 130 of a plank 100 and a female mating portion 230 of another plank 300 according to an embodiment of the invention. It will be appreciated that the fastening element 800 in Figure 8 could engage a male portion of a third plank 300 and a female mating portion of a second plank 200 such as those shown in Figure 5. This has already been discussed with reference to Figure 5. In the example of Figure 8, the fastening element 800 comprises a nut and bolt. In other embodiments the fastening element 800 may comprise other components. For example, the fastening element 800 may comprise pins, rivets, clips or any other suitable fastening means. The fastening element 800 may comprise a male fastening portion integrally formed with the male mating portion 130 and a female fastening portion integrally formed with the female mating portion 230, e.g. in a similar manner to the first and second alignment portions.

Various possible layouts of the panels of the invention will now be discussed.

Figure 9 shows a plurality of panels 500 arranged in a layout that may be referred to as a run layout. That is, each panel 500 (and each plank 100-300 of each panel 500) is arranged and installed such that the ends 503 of each panel 500 (and hence the planks 100-300) are aligned with each other. In the present context, the term ends 503 relates to the sides of the panel 500 between which the length of the panel 500 is measured. As previously discussed, in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention, the first plank 100 forms part of a first panel 501 and the second plank 200 forms part of a second panel 502. The first and second panels 501 , 502 are substantially identical such that they each comprise a first plank 100 and a second plank 100. Each panel 500 further comprises at least one third plank 300 interposed the respective first plank 100 and the respective second plank 200. Figure 9 shows a run of four panels 500 arranged end to end such that the first plank 100 of three panels 500 is secured to the second plank 200 of three panels. That is, the first coupling portion belonging to each first plank 100 of three panels 500 is coupled to the second coupling portion belonging to each second plank 200 of three panels 500 such that relative movement of the first planks 100 and the second planks 200 along first X and second (not shown) perpendicular axes is restricted. The first alignment portion of three of the first planks 100 and the second alignment portion of three of the second planks 200 are engaged to restrict relative movement of the first planks 100 and the second planks 200 along a third axis Z. The third axis Z is substantially perpendicular to both the first axis X and the second axis.

Figure 10 schematically depicts a view from above a temporary flooring 980 comprising a plurality of panels 900, 950 arranged in a cross bond layout according to a further embodiment of the invention. The temporary flooring 980 comprises a plurality of primary planks 900 and a plurality of secondary planks 950. Each primary plank 900 has a first length 901 along the third axis Z. Each secondary plank 950 has a second length 952 along the third axis Z. The first length 901 may be greater than the second length 952. In this case, a length of the primary panels may be greater than a length of the secondary panels. In the example of Figure 10, the first length 901 is double the size of the second length 952. In other embodiments the first length 901 may be greater than the second length 952 by any appropriate amount. The first length 901 may, for example, be between about 1 m and about 5 m e.g. about 3 m. The second length 952 may, for example, be between about 0.5 m and about 2.5 m e.g. about 1.5 m. The first length 901 and the second length 952 may be any appropriate distance.

The primary planks 900 (i.e. the planks having the first length 901) each comprise a plurality of the first and/or the second alignment portions 310, 320. In the example of Figure 10 each primary plank 900 comprises four alignment portions 330 along a length of the plank 900 and each secondary plank 950 comprises two alignment portions 330 along a length of the plank 950. The first alignment portion of a primary plank 900 and the second alignment portion of a secondary plank 950 are positioned relative to each other such that, in use, when the first coupling portion is coupled to the second coupling portion, the planks 900, 950 are offset from each other by an offset length 995 leaving an open section (or uncoupled section) having a length equal to the offset length 995 along a coupling edge of at least one of the planks 900, 950. That is, when the first coupling portion of a primary plank 900 is coupled to the second coupling portion of a secondary plank 950 only some of the plurality of first and/or the second alignment portions 330 belonging to the primary plank 900 are engaged with alignment portions of the secondary plank 950. In the example of Figure 10, only two out of the four alignment portions 330 along a length of the primary plank 900 are engaged by the two alignment portions 330 belonging to the secondary plank 950. A length 992 of the secondary planks 950 is substantially equal to a length 991 of the primary planks 900 minus the offset length 995.

The open section of the coupling edge of at least one of the planks 900, 950 comprises a first alignment portion or a second alignment portion that is configured to engage with a complimentary alignment portion of a further plank 990 such that the temporary floor 980 has a cross bond layout. That is, the first and/or second alignment portions 330 belonging to a primary plank 900 are positioned relative to the first and/or second alignment portions 330 belonging to the secondary plank 950 such that, when the first coupling portion is coupled to the second coupling portion, the planks 900, 950 are arranged in a cross bond layout. The cross bond layout may also be referred to as a brick bond layout.

The temporary flooring 980 layout of Figure 10 may be referred to as a temporary pad. In the example of Figure 10, the temporary flooring 980 forms a generally square shaped user-engaging surface 970. The temporary flooring 980 may take other forms than that shown in Figure 10. For example, the user-engaging surface 970 of the temporary pad may be generally rectangular in shape or any other appropriate shape.

It will be appreciated that various modifications to the specific embodiments described above could be made by the person skilled in the art, whilst still falling within the scope of the invention as defined by the claims. For example, whereas the panel 500 described above includes three planks, in other embodiments the panel may include any appropriate number (two or more) of planks. In some embodiments the panel itself may be referred to as a repeating flooring section.