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Title:
IMPROVED FLOOR ASSEMBLY
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2014/059492
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A floor assembly for a decking or like structure, the assembly comprising: a plurality of elongate preformed planks arranged parallel and adjacent to each other to form a floor; and, for each adjacent pair of planks a preformed connecting block provided with complementary mating components, wherein the planks comprise a depending portion having mating components shaped to mate with the complementary mating components when a connecting block is assembled between each pair of adjacent planks on a supporting structure to form a stable floor.

Inventors:
GIACOBBE LUIGI GINO (AU)
Application Number:
PCT/AU2013/001327
Publication Date:
April 24, 2014
Filing Date:
November 19, 2013
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
GRC ENVIRONMENTS PTY LTD (AU)
International Classes:
E04F15/08; E04B5/06; F16S3/06
Foreign References:
GB149444A1920-08-16
US6449918B12002-09-17
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MACPHERSON & KELLEY LAWYERS (Melbourne, VIC 3000, AU)
Download PDF:
Claims:
Claims:

1. A floor assembly for a decking or like structure, the assembly comprising:

a plurality of elongate preformed planks arranged parallel and adjacent to each other to form a floor; and,

for each adjacent pair of planks a preformed connecting block provided with complementary mating components,

wherein the planks comprise a depending portion having mating components shaped to mate with the complementary mating components when a connecting block is assembled between each pair of adjacent planks on a supporting structure to form a stable floor.

2. The floor assembly for a decking or like structure accordin to claim 1 , wherein the planks and connecting blocks comprise glass reinforced concrete (GRC).

3. The floor assembly for a decking or like structure according to claim 1 or claim 2, wherein the connecting blocks support the planks.

4. The floor assembly for a decking or like structure according to any one of claims 1 to 3, wherein the connecting blocks are split blocks and the split blocks are, in an assembled condition, releasably interconnected.

5. The floor assembly for a decking or like structure according to claim 4, wherein the split blocks are each connected by a pin, screw or bolt.

6. The floor assembly for a decking or like structure according to any one of claims 1 to 5, wherein the dependin portion comprises a tongue member intermediate a pair of oppositely disposed mating components.

7. The floor assembly for a decking or like structure according to any one of claims 1 to 5, wherein the depending portion comprises an arcuate recess intermediate a pair of oppositely disposed mating components.

8. The floor assembly for a decking or like structure according to claim 1, wherein the planks include a releaseable system for engaging an adjacent plank to provide an overall appearance of a continuous decking.

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(Rule 26) RO/AU

9. The floor assembly for a decking or like structure according to claim 8, wherein the releasable system comprises a tongue and groove system.

10. The floor assembly for a decking or like structure according to claim 1 , wherein the plank comprises a glass reinforced concrete (GRC) panel having a vertical cross-sectional profile including a planar platform, a body having an arcuate centre portion, and mating components either side of the arcuate centre portion.

1 1. The floor assembly for a decking or like structure according to any one of claims 1 to 10, wherein a pattern is applied to the plank.

12. The floor assembly for a decking or like structure according to claim 1 1, wherein the pattern is a wood grain appearance.

13. A plank as defined in claim 10.

14. The plank of claim 13 wherein the longitudinal edges of the plank comprise a tongue and groove system.

Substitute Sheet

(Rule 26) RO/AU

AMENDED CLAIMS

received by the International Bureau on 10 February 2014 (10.02.2014)

Claims:

1. A floor assembly for a decking or like structure, the assembly comprising:

a plurality of elongate preformed planks arranged parallel and adjacent to each other to form a floor; and,

for each adjacent pair of planks a preformed connecting block provided with complementary mating components,

wherein the planks comprise a depending' portion having mating components shaped to mate with the complementary mating components when a connecting block is assembled between each pair of adjacent planks on a supporting structure to form a stable floor, and

wherein the connecting blocks are split blocks and the split blocks may be, in an assembled condition, releasably interconnected.

2. The floor assembly for a decking or like structure according to claim 1, wherein the planks and connecting blocks comprise glass reinforced concrete (GRC).

3. The floor assembly for a decking or like structure according to claim 1 or claim 2, wherein the connecting blocks support the planks.

4. The floor assembly for a decking or like structure according to any one of claims 1 to 3, wherein the split blocks are each connected by a pin, screw or bolt.

5. The floor assembly for a decking or like structure according to any one of claims 1 to 4, wherein the depending portion comprises a tongue member intermediate a pair of oppositely disposed mating components.

6. The floor assembly for a decking or like structure according to any one of claims 1 to 5, wherein the depending portion comprises an arcuate recess intermediate a pair of oppositely disposed mating components.

7. The floor assembly for a decking or like structure according to claim 1, wherein the planks include a releaseable system for engaging an adjacent plank to provide an overall appearance of a continuous decking.

8. The floor assembly for a decking or like structure according to claim 7, wherein the releasable system comprises a tongue and groove system.

9. The floor assembly for a decking or like structure according to claim 1, wherein the plank comprises a glass reinforced concrete (GRC) panel having a vertical cross-sectional profile including a planar platform, a body having an arcuate centre portion, and mating components either side of the arcuate centre portion.

10. The floor assembly for a decking or like structure according to any one of claims 1 to 9, wherein a pattern is applied to the plank.

11. The floor assembly for a decking or like structure according to claim 10, wherein the pattern is a wood grain appearance.

Description:
IMPROVED FLOOR ASSEMBLY

Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to an improved floor assembly for a decking or like structure. In a particular aspect, the present invention relates to an improved floor assembly for a decking or like structure constructed from elements comprised of glass reinforced concrete (GRC).

Background of the Invention

Decking structures, such as, for example, a jetty/pier or outdoor entertaining area, are well known and typically are formed using timbers. Timber used in conventional decking structures is subject to weathering such that it expands and contracts depending on the prevailing environment. Hence timber for decking is often pre-treated and sealed with a protective coat of varnish or the like, and timber decking when laid must provide a gap between planks to accommodate expansion of timber decking regardless of any pre- treatment.

Timber decking is commonly used in outdoor entertaining areas both in domestic and commercial settings. Commercial uses of timber decking may include, for example, an outdoor dining area of a restaurant or the patio of the cellar door of a winery. In areas that are prone to fire (for example, bush fire or wild fire), such as rural or semi-rural areas, it is desirable to use an alternative material(s) to timber that is fire resistant or at least less flammable than timber.

Structures such as decking or piers and the like made from timber are prone to rotting in the presence of moist air and attack from salt from surrounding sea water even if pre-treated. Timber decking left for many years, without frequent maintenance, is apt to fall into disrepair reducing aesthetic and/or potentially compromising structural stability. Similarly, timber decking structures, for example, which surround a salt water pool or a chlorinated water pool may be subject to chemical degradation.

Despite any pre-treatments which may be applied, timber nonetheless degrades with time, and may be prone to attack by termites, giving rise to decrease in structural integrity and diminishing aesthetics. In order to maintain such

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(Rule 26) RO/AU structures, general maintenance is required. In some circumstances the only method of maintenance is restoration where timber decking is removed and replaced with a new timber structure. The cost of maintenance can be relatively high, and, in the particular case of public decking structures, such a cost is usually borne by local Councils and, ultimately, rate payers.

Decking or jetty type structures are also conventionally installed by providing a timber supporting structure. A supporting structure may include posts, bearers and joists. Alternatively, a supporting structure may be formed from a concrete slab with timber joists affixed to the slab. Timber planks are then nailed to the joists of the supporting structure in spaced apart relation to form a walkway. The heads of the nails are typically exposed and additional labour may be required during assembly and/or by way of maintenance to ensure the heads of the nails are level to or below the surface of the walkway. Over time, typically the nail heads affixing the planks to the joists will protrude which can create trip hazards(s) and other related safety issues.

In order to build a structurally stable timber decking or jetty, the number of joists required in the supporting structure to support timber decking follows an engineering convention. Hence if it is desired to increase the width of a decking or jetty or like structure by using longer timber planks, the number of joists required to adequately support the walkway formed by the planks, must increase. Therefore, if a wide decking or jetty is desired, the amount of timber material required to form a stable structure necessarily increases, leading to increasing labour and material costs with increasing span of decking.

In view of the foregoing issues with timber decking structures and the like, it would be advantageous to provide improved structures which extend the life of the structure in exposed environments, is easy to install and disassemble, and provides sufficient structural strength substantially without increasing subassembly material requirements and associated costs.

One attempt to address the above problem is shown in reference to Irish Patent No. S77154. In S77154 there is shown a floating marina comprising a support frame, wherein the support frame includes a series of longitudinal ribs and

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(Rule 26) RO/AU cross-members supported on floatation devices; a skin-like fender mounted to and surrounding the support frame; decking mounted on the support frame, wherein the decking comprises individual parallel transverse planks of glass reinforced concrete, wherein the planks are fastened to the ribs by screws.

To the extent that timber planks are replaced with planks of glass reinforced concrete (GRC), the life of the marina can be extended. The improvement in life expectancy is derived from use of GRC, which incorporates alkali resistant glass fibres to reinforce cement, as opposed to steel, which fibres are not subject to the type of corrosion exhibited in steel reinforcement.

However one drawback with the structure described in S77154 is that the length of the GRC planks, and therefore the width of the marina structure, is limited to the extent that the support structure will need to be reinforced to support extra weight and length of a longer array of GRC planks. For practical purposes this severely restricts the degree of freedom to create different structural designs without adding to the cost of a support structure.

It is an object of the present invention to substantially overcome or at least ameliorate one or more of the disadvantages of the prior art.

Summary of the Invention

In an aspect of the present invention there is provided a floor assembly for a decking or like structure, the assembly comprising:

a plurality of elongate preformed planks arranged parallel and adjacent to each other to form a floor; and,

for each adjacent pair of planks a preformed connecting block provided with complementary mating components,

wherein the planks comprise a depending portion having mating components shaped to mate with the complementary mating components when a connecting block is assembled between each pair of adjacent planks on a supporting structure to form a stable floor.

Substitute Sheet

(Rule 26) RO/AU Aspects of the present invention represent an advance over the prior art at least because the assembly of planks and connecting blocks may be easily assembled and disassembled.

In one embodiment the planks and connecting blocks comprise glass reinforced concrete (GRC).

In a further aspect the connecting blocks may be GRC split blocks. The split blocks, in an assembled condition, may be releasably interconnected. The split blocks may be releasably connected by a pin, screw or bolt or the like. The pin, screw or bolt or the like may be adapted to be readily removed to allow disassembly of the structure. This allows the assembly to be readily disassembled.

In one embodiment, the depending portion of the preformed planks may comprise a tongue member intermediate the pair of oppositely disposed mating components.

In an alternative embodiment, the depending portion of the preformed planks may include an arcuate recess intermediate the pair of oppositely disposed mating components. In this alternative embodiment the arcuate recess may provide improved structural strength, and/or allow an increase in the length and/or width of the plank substantially without adding further supporting structure.

Aspects of the foregoing alternative embodiment of the present invention represent an advance over the prior art at least because the arcuate recess may provide improved structural strength and/or increased freedom to create different designs without necessarily increasing labour and costs otherwise associated with adding further supporting structure.

In a further aspect, the preformed planks may include a releaseable system for engaging an adjacent planJc. This releasable system may provide an overall appearance of a continuous decking or walkway with minimal gaps between adjacent planks.

In a further related aspect, the preformed planks may comprise a glass reinforced concrete (GRC) panel having a vertical cross-sectional profile including a planar platform, a body having an arcuate centre portion, and mating components either side of the arcuate centre portion.

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(Rule 26) RO/AU Brief Description of the Drawings

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

Fig 1A is a vertical cross- sectional view of an assembled GRC decking in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;

Fig IB is a vertical cross-sectional view of an alternative assembled GRC decking in accordance with an embodiment Of the present invention;

Fig 1C is a vertical cross-sectional view of a further alternative assembled GRC decking in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;

Fig ID is a vertical cross-sectional view of a further still alternative assembled GRC decking in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;

Fig 2A is a perspective view of a preformed plank for use in an embodiment of the GRC decking assembly of the present invention;

Fig 2B is a vertical cross- sectional view of a preformed plank for use in an embodiment of the GRC decking assembly of the present invention;

Fig 3A is a perspective view of a preformed GRC connecting block used in the assembly of an embodiment of the present invention;

Fig 3B is a vertical cross-sectional view of a preformed GRC connecting block used in the assembly of an embodiment of the present invention;

Fig 4A is an exploded perspective view of an alternative GRC connecting block being a split block in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;

Fig 4B is a vertical cross-sectional view of an alternative preformed GRC connecting block being a split block in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;

Fig 4C is a plan view of the alternative preformed GRC connecting block being split block in accordance with Fig 4;

Fig 5A is a perspective view of an alternative preformed plank for use in the GRC decking assembly in an embodiment of the present invention;

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(Rule 26) RO/AU Fig 5B is a vertical cross-sectional view of an alternative preformed plank for use in the GRC decking assembly in an embodiment of the present invention;

Fig 6A is a perspective view of alternative edge sections in an embodiment of the present invention of adjacent planks; and

Fig 6B is a vertical cross-sectional view of alternative edge sections in an embodiment of the present invention of adjacent planks.

Description of the Preferred Embodiments

Referring to Fig 1A of the drawings, there is shown a vertical cross- sectional view of a floor assembly 105 including a plurality of elongate preformed planks 100 forming a stable floor, and preformed connecting blocks 101 for each adjacent pair of planks. Preferably, the planks and connecting blocks comprise glass reinforced concrete (GRC) in order to provide fire and/or salt resistance. However, other suitable materials may be used. The connecting blocks may support the planks. Alternatively, the planks may be self-supporting and the connecting blocks only locate the planks on the support structure.

In an assembled condition as shown in, for example, Fig lA, the planks 100 are located on adjacent spaced apart connecting blocks 101 to form a substantially continuous platform or walkway. The mating components on the planks and complementary mating components on the connecting blocks may allow both easy assembly and ready disassembly. The pairing of planks and connecting blocks may allow for a reliably consistent gap 125 (in, for example, Fig 1A).

The connecting blocks 101 are adapted to be mounted in spaced apart relation on a support structure (not shown). The support structure may take any suitable form. The support structure may comprise a sub-structure of posts, bearers and joists. The support structure may comprise a sub-structure of joists affixed directly to posts. The support structure may be made of metal or a combination of metals including, for example, galvanized steel and/or aluminum. The support structure may be made of timber. The support structure may be made of a composite material. The support structure may comprise a concrete slab. The

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(Rule 26) RO/AU support structure may comprise a combination of materials. The support structure may comprise a sub-structure of joists affixed to a concrete slab.

Referring to Fig 2A there is shown an elongate preformed plank 200. The plank 200 comprises a platform 210 and a depending portion 240. The platform 210 and depending portion 240 are separated by a longitudinal edge 220. As shown best in vertical cross-section in Fig 2B, the depending portion 240 of the plank 200 comprises a pair of oppositely disposed mating components 240a and 240b which are shaped to mate with complementary mating components (for example, complementary mating components 350a and 350b on connecting block 301 depicted in Figs 3A and 3B) when a connecting block is assembled between each pair of planks on a support structure to form a stable floor.

In Fig 2B, the depending portion 240 of the plank 200 comprises a tongue member 245 intermediate the pair of oppositely disposed mating components 240a and 240b.

In an aspect (best seen in Figs 4A through 4C), the connecting blocks 401 are formed from a pair of split blocks 470 and 480. The pair of blocks include complementary mating components 475 and 485 and a central opening 490. In an assembled condition the split blocks 470 and 480 are releaseably interconnected. The split blocks 470 and 480 may be joined by any suitable fastening means such as a pin, screw or bolt (not shown). In an arrangement of this aspect, a pin, screw or bolt is inserted within the opening 490 to (releasably) connect the split blocks. The pin, screw or bolt or other fastening means may be adapted to be readily removed to allow disassembly of the structure. For example, the a pin, screw or bolt or other fastening means may be accessible for releasing the split blocks between, for example in Fig lA, gaps 125 in between adjacent platforms.

In Figs 5A and 5B there is shown an alternative plank 500 in which there is included an arcuate recess 560 intermediate the pair of oppositely disposed mating components 540a and 540b. The arcuate recess 560 may reduce the weight of a GRC plank and/or increase the strength of the plank so that longer planks and wider platforms may be used.

Substitute Sheet

(Rule 26) RO/AU Referring to Fig 1C, in an assembled condition the connecting blocks 101 are adapted to be mounted in spaced apart relation on a support frame (not shown). In an assembled condition, the planks 100 are located on adjacent connecting blocks 101 to form a substantially continuous platform with gaps 125 between adjacent planks.

In an alternative embodiment depicted in Figs 6A and 6B (and also in Figs IB and ID), longitudinal edge portions 620 of the planks 600 may include a releasable tongue 620b and groove 620b system for engaging an adjacent plank. In such an arrangement, the releasable system provides an overall appearance of a continuous decking. This is best shown in Figs IB and ID where adjacent planks are releasably engaged at 127. In this manner, a sealed surface may be provided.

As can be seen from the foregoing description of the preferred and alternate embodiments, it is plain that the present invention may incorporate one or more of the following advantages over existing decking structures or like structures, particularly timber decking structures:

ease of assembly and disassembly;

concealed fixing;

option for substantially continuous surface or with minimal gaps; fire resistance; and

salt resistance.

Although preferred forms of the present invention have been described, it will be apparent to persons skilled in the art that modifications can be made to the embodiments described above or that the invention can be embodied in other forms. For example, while decking applications have been described, like structures may be assembled on a substantially vertical support frame to provide a screen or wall. Similarly, the planks described above may take the form of larger surface area panels.

Throughout this specification and the claims which follow, unless the context requires otherwise, the word "comprise", and variations such as "comprises" and "comprising", will be understood to imply the inclusion of a

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(Rule 26) RO/AU stated integer or step or group of integers or steps, but not the exclusion of any other integer or step or group of integers or steps.

The reference in this specification to any prior publication (or information derived from it), or to any matter which is known is not, and should not be taken as an acknowledgment or admission or any form of suggestion that that prior publication (or information derived from it) or known matter forms part of the common general knowledge i the field of endeavour to which this specification relates.

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(Rule 26) RO/AU