Canadian Patents Database / Patent 2888614 Summary

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(12) Patent Application: (11) CA 2888614
(54) English Title: METHODS, SYSTEMS AND COMPONENTS FOR MULTI-STOREY BUILDING CONSTRUCTION
(54) French Title: PROCEDES, SYSTEMES ET COMPOSANTS POUR LA CONSTRUCTION DE BATIMENT A ETAGES MULTIPLES
(51) International Patent Classification (IPC):
  • E04B 1/35 (2006.01)
  • B66C 7/00 (2006.01)
  • E04B 1/00 (2006.01)
  • E04B 2/88 (2006.01)
  • E04B 5/02 (2006.01)
  • E04C 2/04 (2006.01)
  • E04G 3/32 (2006.01)
  • E04G 21/14 (2006.01)
  • E04G 21/16 (2006.01)
(72) Inventors :
  • MERHI, MARK (Australia)
  • MERHI, KHALIL (Australia)
(73) Owners :
  • MERHIS PTY LTD (Australia)
(71) Applicants :
  • MERHIS PTY LTD (Australia)
(74) Agent: MARKS & CLERK
(74) Associate agent:
(45) Issued:
(86) PCT Filing Date: 2013-09-27
(87) Open to Public Inspection: 2014-04-24
Examination requested: 2018-09-20
(30) Availability of licence: N/A
(30) Language of filing: English

(30) Application Priority Data:
Application No. Country/Territory Date
2012904568 Australia 2012-10-18

English Abstract

A method of forming a multi-storey building structure, comprising the steps of erecting a series of vertically oriented support columns (2) in spaced apart relationship to define a generally vertical support structure, and connecting a series of horizontally oriented support beams (5 ) to the support columns in spaced apart relationship to define a generally horizontal support structure for a floor. Furthermore, releasably attaching a crane carriage assembly (70) to a rail formation (63) attached to the support structure (B), whereby the carriage assembly is adapted securely to traverse the rail, and hoist, position and secure a plurality of prefabricated lightweight structural panels (10), in substantially contiguous side-by-side relationship on the horizontal support structure to form a structural floor.


French Abstract

La présente invention concerne un procédé de formation d'une structure de bâtiment à étages multiples (1), ledit procédé comprenant les étapes: d'édification d'une série de colonnes (2) de support orientées verticalement dans une relation espacée pour définir une structure de support globalement verticale, et de raccordement d'une série de traverses (5) de support orientées horizontalement aux colonnes de support dans une relation espacée pour définir une structure de support globalement horizontale pour un plancher. En outre, on attache de manière libérable un ensemble chariot (70) de grue à un système de rail (63) fixé à la structure de support (B), ce qui permet à l'ensemble chariot de pouvoir traverser le rail le manière sûre, et de hisser, de positionner et de fixer une pluralité de panneaux structuraux légers préfabriqués (10)dans une relation côte à côte sensiblement contiguë sur la structure de support horizontale pour former un plancher structural.


Note: Claims are shown in the official language in which they were submitted.




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Claims
1. A method of forming a building, comprising the steps of:
erecting a series of vertically oriented support columns in spaced apart
relationship to define a generally vertical support structure;
connecting a series of horizontally oriented support beams to the support
columns in spaced apart relationship to define a generally horizontal support
structure for
a floor;
providing a plurality of pre-fabricated structural panels, each including at
least
one lifting hole extending through the panel from a front face to a rear face
thereof, to
facilitate crane lifting of the panels to selected floor levels in the
building structure;
releasably securing a lifting attachment incorporating a pair of lifting
formations
to each of the structural panels such that one of the lifting formations is
accessible from
the front face of each panel and the other lifting formation is accessible
from the rear
face of each panel, and such that the lifting formations are interconnected
directly by a
load-bearing connecting element extending through each of the respective
lifting holes;
releasably interconnecting two or more of the panels in series by means of at
least one intermediate linking element positioned to extend between the
respective lifting
formations;
hoisting the interconnected panels in the series substantially simultaneously
to
a required height whereby the panels are supported in vertically spaced apart
relationship by the linking elements during the hoisting operation, with each
panel being
directly connected to an upper and/or lower panel in the series during the
lifting
operation; and
positioning the structural panels in substantially contiguous side-by-side
relationship on the horizontal or vertical support structure to form a
structural floor or wall
section for the building.
2. A method according to claim 1, wherein the structural panels are formed
from a
relatively light weight low density concrete material.
3. A method according to claim 1 or claim 2, wherein the structural panels
are
formed substantially from an autoclaved aerated concrete (AAC) material.




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4. A method according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the
structural
panels include internal reinforcing elements, at least some of which extend
generally
longitudinally.
5. A method according to any one of the preceding claims, including the
further
step of filling respective clearance spaces defined between adjacent edges of
respective
pairs of adjoining structural panels with a compatible cementitious material,
thereby to
form a substantially continuous upper surface on the structural floor.
6. A method according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the
building is
a multi-storey building and the vertical support structure extends for
multiple levels above
ground.
7. A method according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the
support
columns are formed at least predominantly from steel sections, and wherein the
method
includes the step of fastening the steel sections together by bolting,
bracketing or
welding.
8. A method according to claim 7, wherein the method includes the step of
fastening a plurality of the steel sections together off-site, to form pre-
fabricated
structural sub-assemblies adapted for installation on site as part of the
support structure.
9. A method according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the
structural
panels are formed in a generally rectangular configuration, and wherein the
horizontal
support beams are disposed in generally parallel spaced apart relationship, at

orientations and intervals that are complementary with the orientation, size
and strength
of the structural panels to be supported.
10. A method according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the
structural
panels are formed with complementary or partially complementary edge profiles.
11. A method according to claim 10, wherein the adjoining edge profiles of
adjacent pairs of the structural panels are adapted upon abutting engagement
to define
respective channels, each of said channels extending longitudinally between
the
corresponding pair of adjoining structural panels.




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12. A method according to claim 11, wherein the channels diverge upwardly
in a
generally V-shaped or U-shaped configuration.
13. A method according to claim 11 or claim 12, including the further steps
of
placing an elongate reinforcing bar longitudinally in each of the channels and

subsequently filling the channel with a cementitious material, thereby to form
a
substantially continuous upper surface extending between the adjoining
structural
panels, while reinforcing the intermediate joints.
14. A method according to any one of the preceding claims, including the
further
step of fastening the structural panels to the support beams in situ.
15. A method according to any one of the preceding claims, including the
further
step of positioning a plurality of the structural panels in substantially
contiguous edge to
edge relationship, in a generally vertical orientation, to form one or more
wall sections
extending between or adjacent two or more of the structural columns.
16. A method according to any one of the preceding claims, including the
further
step of applying at least one layer of a sealing, coating or cladding material
over an
exposed surface of the floor or wall section.
17. A method according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein each of
the
lifting formations includes a lifting eye, and wherein each load-bearing
connecting
element includes a shank portion adapted upon installation to extend through
the lifting
hole in the structural panel, thereby to connect the associated lifting eyes.
18. A method according to claim 17, wherein each lifting attachment
includes an
eye-bolt having a head with an integral lifting eye and a complementary eye-
nut
incorporating an integral lifting eye, configured such that a shank of the eye-
bolt is
adapted in use to extend through the lifting hole in the panel for releasable
engagement
with the eye-nut on the opposite side of the panel.
19. A method according to claim 18, wherein the lifting attachment further
includes
a base plate with a mounting hole adapted to accommodate the shank of the eye-
bolt,
the base plate being adapted to be positioned between either the eye-bolt or
the eye-nut
and an outer face of the associated panel, thereby to distribute load and
reduce stress
concentrations in the structural panel around the lifting hole.




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20. A method according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein a
plurality of
the structural panels each include a single centrally located lifting hole.
21. A method according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein at least
one of
the structural panels includes a pair of said lifting holes disposed in spaced
apart
relationship generally symmetrically along or about a centreline of the panel,
wherein
each of the lifting holes is adapted releasably to receive a respective one of
the lifting
attachments.
22. A building structure formed substantially in accordance with the method
as
defined in any one of the preceding claims, the building structure including:-
a series of vertically oriented support columns disposed in spaced apart
relationship to define a generally vertical support structure;
a series of horizontally oriented support beams connected to the support
columns in spaced apart relationship to define a generally horizontal support
structure for
a floor; and
a plurality of pre-fabricated structural panels positioned in contiguous side-
by-
side relationship on the horizontal support structure to form a structural
floor, wherein
each panel includes at least one lifting hole extending from a front face to a
rear face of
the panel so as to be adapted to releasably receive a lifting attachment, the
lifting
attachment having at least one lifting formation and a load-bearing connecting
element
for extending through the respective lifting hole.
23. A building structure according to claim 22, wherein a plurality of the
prefabricated structural panels are positioned in contiguous side-by-side
relationship on
the support structure to form a wall.
24. A method of installing a section of floor or wall in a multi-storey
building
structure, the building structure including a series of vertically oriented
support columns
disposed in spaced apart relationship to define a generally vertical support
structure, and
a series of horizontally oriented support beams connected to the support
columns in
spaced apart relationship to define a generally horizontal support structure
for an
elevated floor, the method including the steps of:-
providing a plurality of pre-fabricated structural panels;




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providing at least one lifting hole extending from a first face to a second
face of
each of the structural panels;
providing each of the structural panels with a pair of lifting formations such
that
one of the lifting formations is accessible from the first face of each panel
and the other
lifting formation is accessible from the second face of each panel, and such
that the
lifting formations are interconnected directly by a load-bearing connecting
element
extending through each of the panels;
releasably interconnecting a plurality of the structural panels together as a
series using a plurality of intermediate linking elements, whereby the lifting
formation on
the second face of each panel in the series is joined to the lifting formation
on the first
face of the next panel in the series by means of a respective one of said
linking
elements;
connecting the first structural panel in the series to a crane hook by means
of
the lifting formation on the first face of the first panel;
hoisting the first panel by means of the crane hook and thereby hoisting the
subsequent interconnected panels in the series to a height corresponding
generally to a
required level for the floor or wall whereby all of the structural panels in
the series are
elevated substantially simultaneously in vertically spaced apart relationship
to the
required level in a single lifting operation, with each panel being directly
connected to an
upper and/or lower panel in the series during the lifting operation;
releasing the lifting formations and the linking elements from the panels in
the
series;
positioning the panels in contiguous side-by-side relationship on the support
structure to define a corresponding section of the elevated floor or wall; and
repeating the process steps as required, to complete the floor or wall for the

building structure.
25. A method according to claim 24, wherein the prefabricated structural
panels
are formed from reinforced, autoclaved aerated concrete (AAC).
26. A method according to claim 24 or claim 25, wherein each of the lifting

formations includes a lifting eye, the lifting eyes forming part of a lifting
attachment, the
lifting attachment further including a shank portion adapted upon installation
to extend
through the lifting hole in the panel, to connect the associated lifting eyes.




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27. A method according to claim 26, wherein the lifting attachment includes
an
eye-bolt having a head with an integral lifting eye and a complementary eye-
nut
incorporating an integral lifting eye, configured such that the shank portion
of the eye-bolt
is adapted in use to extend through the lifting hole in the respective panel
for releasable
engagement with the eye-nut on the opposite side of the panel.
28. A method according to claim 27, wherein the lifting attachment further
includes
a base plate adapted to be positioned between either the eye-bolt or the eye-
nut and an
outer face of the associated panel, thereby to distribute load and reduce
stress
concentrations in the structural panel around the lifting hole.
29. A method according to claim 28, wherein the base plate is formed
integrally
with or fixedly attached to the eye-bolt or the eye-nut.
30. A method according to any one of claims 24 to 29, wherein each of said
linking
elements includes one or more lengths of chain, cable, rope or bar with a hook
at each
end, the hooks being adapted in use for releasable engagement with the
respective
mutually opposing lifting formations on adjacent panels.
31. A method according to any one of claims 24 to 30, wherein multiple
lifting holes
are formed in each of the panels, and adapted for use with corresponding
multiples of
lifting attachments and linking elements.
32. A method according to claim 31, wherein the multiple lifting holes are
distributed substantially uniformly about a centreline or centre of gravity of
the respective
panels, thereby to facilitate stable simultaneous lifting of all of the panels
in the series.
33. A prefabricated structural building panel adapted for use in a method
or
building structure according to any one of the preceding claims, the panel
adapted to be
supported in contiguous side-by-side relationship with a plurality of like
panels to form a
structural floor or wall between supporting frame elements in a building
structure, each
panel including at least one pre-formed lifting hole extending through the
panel from one
face to an opposing face, the or each lifting hole being adapted to receive a
lifting
attachment incorporating a pair of lifting formations such that one of the
lifting formations
is accessible from one face and the other lifting formation is accessible from
an opposing
face, and such that the lifting formations are interconnected directly by a
load-bearing




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connecting element extending through the respective lifting hole, to enable
inter-linking of
multiple panels in series by means of the respective lifting attachments and
thereby to
enable simultaneous lifting of multiple panels in vertically spaced apart
relationship, the
panel further including supplementary internal reinforcement or a
concentration of
reinforcement in the vicinity of at least one of the lifting holes.
34. A prefabricated structural building panel according to claim 33, being
generally
rectangular prismatic in shape, and being formed substantially from reinforced

autoclaved aerated concrete (AAC).
35. A structural panel according to claim 33 or 34, wherein the panel
includes
complementary or partially complementary profiles on opposing longitudinal
edges,
whereby when the panel is positioned in abutting side-by-side relationship
with a like
panel, the adjacent edge profiles are adapted in combination to define a
diverging
generally V-shaped or generally U-shaped channel therebetween.
36. A structural panel according to claim 35, wherein at least one of the
lifting
holes is formed before the panel is autoclaved.
37. A structural panel according to claim 34 or claim 35, wherein the panel
has a
density in the range of 500 kg/m3 to 1,000 kg/m3.
38. A structural panel according to any one of claims 33 to 37, wherein the
panel
includes at least two of the lifting holes, distributed substantially
uniformly about a centre
of gravity of the panel.
39. A method of installing a wall section in a multi-storey building, the
building
including a series of vertically oriented support columns disposed in spaced
apart
relationship to define a generally vertical support structure, the method
including the
steps of:-
providing a plurality of pre-fabricated structural panels, each panel
including at
least one lifting hole extending from a front face to a rear face of the
panel;
releasably securing a lifting attachment to each of the structural panels, the

lifting attachment having at least one lifting formation and a load-bearing
connecting
element extending through the respective lifting hole;




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releasably attaching a rail formation to the support structure in a
substantially
horizontal orientation generally above an intended location for the wall
section;
providing a crane carriage assembly incorporating a panel engagement
mechanism and a rail traversing mechanism;
releasably attaching the crane carriage assembly to the rail formation by
means of the rail traversing mechanism whereby the carriage assembly is
adapted
securely to traverse the rail;
releasably connecting the panel engagement mechanism on the carriage
assembly with the lifting formation on the panel, whereby the panel is
suspended from
the rail formation;
moving the carriage assembly along the rail so as to position the suspended
panel adjacent an intended location for the wall section;
positioning and securing the panel in the wall section;
releasing the panel engagement mechanism;
repeating the foregoing steps with successive panels positioned in contiguous
side-by-side relationship to form the wall section of the building.
40. A method according to claim 39, including releasably connecting the
panel
engagement mechanism with the lifting formation by means of a selectively
disengageable lifting frame, the lifting frame including lifting arms adapted
in use to
extend downwardly from an upper bridge section along opposite faces of the
panel to a
lifting element extending through the associated lifting hole.
41. A method according to claim 39 or claim 40, wherein the panels are
sized so
as to span at least two floor levels of the building in a vertical
orientation, whereby the
wall section of the building formed by a single row of panels positioned in
contiguous
side-by-side relationship spans multiple levels.
42. A method according to any one of claims 39 to 41, wherein the
structural
panels are generally rectangular prismatic in shape, and formed substantially
from
reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (AAC).
43. A method according to any one of claims 39 to 42, wherein the rail
formation is
attached by a series of spaced apart removable connecting brackets, each in
use
extending from a respective support column to a corresponding position on the
rail
formation.


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44. A method according to any one of claims 39 to 43, wherein the lifting
attachment further includes an eye-bolt having a head with an integral lifting
eye,
configured such that a shank of the eye-bolt is adapted to extend through the
lifting hole
for releasable engagement with a complementary nut on an opposite side of the
panel.
45. A method according to claim 44, wherein the panel engagement mechanism
on the carriage assembly includes a wire rope, cable or chain terminating in a
hook
formation adapted for releasable engagement with the lifting eye on the panel.
46. A method according to claim 39, wherein the rail formation takes the
form of an
I-beam comprising horizontally oriented upper and lower flanges and a
vertically oriented
interconnecting web.
47. A method according to claim 46, wherein the carriage assembly includes
a rail
traversing mechanism incorporating guide wheels adapted for rolling engagement
with
the lower flange of the I-beam.
48. A method according to claim 47, wherein the carriage assembly is
motorised,
incorporating a first drive mechanism adapted to drive the carriage on the
rail, and a
second drive mechanism adapted progressively to raise and lower the suspended
panel
via the engagement mechanism.
49. A method according to claim 48, wherein the second drive mechanism is
connected with a winch, adapted to control a wire rope connected to the panel
and
hence to regulate the height of the panel during lifting.
50. A method according to claim 39, including the further steps of:-
releasably interconnecting a plurality of the panels together as a series
using a
plurality of intermediate linking elements,
connecting the first panel in the series to the carriage assembly by means of
the engagement mechanism on the carriage and the lifting formation on the
first panel;
lifting the first panel by means of a drive mechanism in the carriage and
thereby hoisting the subsequent interconnected panels in the series to a
required height
for the lowermost panel;
positioning, securing and releasing the lowermost panel; and


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positioning, securing and releasing the subsequent panels in the series
successively using the drive mechanism to facilitate formation of a
corresponding wall
section or sub-section in the building.
51. A crane carriage assembly adapted for use on a supporting rail
formation to
facilitate positioning of prefabricated structural wall or floor panels for a
building in
accordance with the method as defined in claim 39, the carriage assembly
including a
panel engagement mechanism adapted releaseably to engage a selected wall or
floor
panel and thereby suspend the panel from the carriage assembly, and a rail
traversing
mechanism permitting the carriage assembly to move along the rail formation so
as to
position the suspended panel adjacent an intended location for a section of
wall or floor
to be constructed, the carriage assembly further including a first drive
mechanism
adapted to move the carriage on the rail formation, a second drive mechanism
adapted
in use to progressively raise or lower the suspended panel via the engagement
mechanism, and a remote control mechanism permitting control of the first and
second
drive mechanisms by a remote operator.
52. A pre-packaged kit of complementary component parts including
prefabricated
support columns, prefabricated support beams and prefabricated structural
panels, and
adapted upon assembly in a predefined configuration, according to instructions

associated with the kit, to form a building structure, wherein the assembly
process is
substantially in accordance with the method as defined in any one of claims 1
to 21, 24
to 32, 39 to 50.
53. A prefabricated structural panel adapted for use in the method as
defined in
claim 39, the panel being further adapted to be supported in contiguous side-
by-side
relationship with a plurality of like panels to form a structural floor or
wall between
supporting frame elements in a building, each of said panels including at
least one pre-
formed lifting hole extending through the panel from one face to an opposing
face, the
lifting hole thereby providing a lifting formation to enable secure crane
lifting of the panel
and to enable inter-linking of multiple panels in series by means of the
respective lifting
holes to enable simultaneous lifting of the multiple panels in the series.

Note: Descriptions are shown in the official language in which they were submitted.

CA 02888614 2015-04-16
WO 2014/059463 PCT/AU2013/001103
- 1 -
"Methods, Systems and Components for Multi-Storey Building Construction"
Field of the Invention
[0001] The present invention relates generally to building construction,
and more
specifically to methods, systems and components for multi-storey building
construction.
[0002] The invention has been developed primarily for use in connection
with multi-
level residential apartment buildings, retail shopping complexes, hotels, and
the like and
will be described predominantly in this context. It should be appreciated,
however, that
the invention is not limited to this particular field of use, being
potentially applicable to a
broad range of other building types including high-rise office blocks,
schools, hospitals,
security complexes and other forms of commercial and industrial complex such
as
factories, hangers and warehouses, as well as bridges, towers, tunnels,
elevated
walkways, airport infrastructure and other civil engineering developments. It
should also
be understood that although the invention is particularly well adapted for
multi-level
constructions, it may also be applied to single level structures.
Background of the Invention
[0003] The following description of the prior art is intended to place the
invention in an
appropriate technical context and enable the advantages of it to be more fully

appreciated. However, any references to prior art should not be construed as
an
express or implied admission that such art is widely known or forms part of
common
general knowledge in the relevant field.
[0004] In contemporary civil engineering, a number of techniques are
currently used
to construct multi-level buildings for use as apartment complexes, hotels,
commercial
office blocks and the like. These techniques typically involve constructing
the building
floor by floor, following excavation for foundations and preparation of
appropriate
structural footings. Construction of the building is usually based around
vertical support
structure adapted to transfer structural loads to the foundations. These
support
structures are typically formed from steel columns, beams or trusses, or from
reinforced
concrete. In recent times, it has become increasingly popular to utilize a
structural core
formed from reinforced concrete cast level by level in situ, in a generally
tubular form
which is in essence cantilevered vertically from the ground. Concrete floors
and external

CA 02888614 2015-04-16
WO 2014/059463 PCT/AU2013/001103
- 2 -
walls are then effectively suspended from the structural tubular core. In some
cases,
depending upon the design, the walls or parts of them may also form integral
elements of
the primary vertical support structure.
[0005]
Regardless of the specific form and composition of the vertical support
structure, it is conventional to form the floors defining each level of the
building from
reinforced concrete, which is cast in situ. The fabrication process for these
concrete
floors involves initial fabrication and installation of complex customised
formwork and
associated support props, systematic placement of reinforcing bars, and
subsequent
pumping of concrete into each section of formwork. The concrete must then be
screeded, levelled and allowed to cure until self-supporting. The formwork and

temporary support props must then be removed, following which subsequent floor
levels
are progressively constructed in succession, until the main building structure
has been
completed. In some buildings, internal and/or external wall sections are also
formed
from reinforced concrete cast in situ, floor by floor, in a similar manner.
[0006]
Although this construction technique has proven to be relatively effective and
reliable, it suffers from a number of significant and inherent disadvantages.
Firstly, a
large number of separate trades are required on site, to implement a highly
labour-
intensive process involving lifting of formwork and temporary support
structures into
position on site, erecting the formwork, placing the steel reinforcement,
pumping and
pouring the concrete, screeding and levelling the wet mix, and subsequently
dismantling
and removing the formwork once the concrete has set. Further trades are also
required
to provide access for building services through the concrete floor slabs or
sections as
required. Furthermore, in multi-story developments, sophisticated and
expensive high-
pressure concrete pumping equipment is required in order to deliver the wet
concrete
mix at the necessary elevations. All of these trades and equipment must be
carefully
coordinated in sequence on site along a critical planning path, as part of a
complex
project management exercise.
[0007] As well as the labour intensity, labour cost and planning complexity,
the overall
process is inherently slow. This is partly because of the relatively large
number of
separate and distinct trades involved. More significantly, the concrete in
most cases
must be allowed to set and harden adequately in each section before the
associated
formwork and temporary support props can be removed, and before work on the
next

CA 02888614 2015-04-16
PCT/AU2013/001103
Received 18/09/2014
[AMENDED PAGE]
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floor level can be commenced. This often necessitates delays of up to several
weeks
between floors, because many of the central process steps are on the same
critical path,
which becomes rate-limiting for the entire project. In the context of a medium
to high-rise
developments, the cumulative delays inherent in this process can amount to
many
months, at an economic cost of many millions of dollars for a single
construction project.
[0008] It is an object of the present invention in one or more of its
various aspects, to
overcome or substantially ameliorate one or more of the deficiencies of the
prior art, or at
least to provide a useful alternative.
Summary of the Invention
[0009] Accordingly, in a first aspect, the invention provides a method of
forming a
building, comprising the steps of:
erecting a series of vertically oriented support columns in spaced apart
relationship to define a generally vertical support structure;
connecting a series of horizontally oriented support beams to the support
columns in spaced apart relationship to define a generally horizontal support
structure for
a floor;
providing a plurality of pre-fabricated structural panels, each including at
least
one lifting hole extending through the panel from a front face to a rear face
thereof, to
facilitate crane lifting of the panels to selected floor levels in the
building structure;
releasably securing a lifting attachment incorporating a pair of lifting
formations
to each of the structural panels such that one of the lifting formations is
accessible from
the front face of each panel and the other lifting formation is accessible
from the rear
face of each panel, and such that the lifting formations are interconnected
directly by a
load-bearing connecting element extending through each of the respective
lifting holes;
releasably interconnecting two or more of the panels in series by means of at
least one intermediate linking element positioned to extend between the
respective lifting
formations;
hoisting the interconnected panels in the series substantially simultaneously
to
a required height whereby the panels are supported in vertically spaced apart
relationship by the linking elements during the hoisting operation, with each
panel being
directly connected to an upper and/or lower panel in the series during the
lifting
operation; and
AMENDED SHEET
TflE 11 LVATur

CA 02888614 2015-04-16
PCT/AU2013/001103
Received 18/09/2014
[AMENDED PAGE]
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positioning the structural panels in substantially contiguous side-by-side
relationship on the horizontal or vertical support structure to form a
structural floor or wall
section for the building.
[0010] It should be understand that the terms "building", "buildings" and
the like as
used herein are intended to be construed broadly, as encompassing virtually
any form of
building or civil engineering structure, regardless of the intended purpose
and whether
single or multi-level in configuration.
[0011] Preferably, the pre-fabricated structural panels are formed from a
reinforced
autoclaved aerated concrete (AAC) material.
[0012] Preferably, the method includes the further step of filling
respective clearance
spaces defined between adjacent edges of respective pairs of the adjoining
structural
panels with a compatible cementitious material, thereby to form a
substantially
continuous upper surface on the structural floor.
[0013] Preferably, the building is multi-storey and the vertical support
structure
extends for at least one level above the ground. In some embodiments, the
vertical
support structure extends for multiple levels above ground but may
additionally or
alternatively extend for multiple levels below ground.
[0014] In some preferred embodiments, the support columns are formed at
least
predominantly from steel, in sections that are bolted, welded or otherwise
fastened
together either on site or as pre-fabricated structural sub-assemblies. The
structural
AAC panels preferably include internal longitudinally extending steel
reinforcing
elements.
[0015] In some embodiments, the structural panels are generally rectangular
in
configuration. However, it should be understood that a wide variety of other
shapes and
configurations of panels may be used, preferably tessellating configurations.
Preferably,
the horizontal support beams are disposed in generally parallel relationship,
at
orientations and spacing intervals complementary with the orientation, size
and strength
of the structural panels to be supported.
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[0016] In some embodiments, the panels are formed with complementary or
partially
complementary edge profiles, optionally including corresponding interlocking,
abutting or
interlinking edge formations. In one embodiment, the adjoining edge profiles
define
complementary tongue and groove configurations.
[0017] In one embodiment, the edge profiles are adapted to define an
upwardly
opening or upwardly diverging generally V-shaped or U-shaped channel extending

longitudinally between each pair of adjoining structural panels disposed in
abutting side-
by-side relationship. In some embodiments, the channel may be defined by
upwardly
converging sidewalls.
[0018] In this embodiment, the method preferably includes the further steps
of placing
an elongate reinforcing bar longitudinally in the channel and subsequently
filling the
channel with the cementitious material, thereby to form a substantially
continuous upper
surface extending between the adjoining structural panels, while reinforcing
the
intermediate joints.
[0019] In some embodiments, the method includes the further step of
fastening the
structural panels to the underlying support beams in situ. The fastening step
may involve
one or more fastening techniques including gluing, screwing, bolting, nailing
or securing
with brackets or other mechanical anchoring or locating formations.
[0020] In one embodiment, a plurality of structural panels formed from
autoclaved
aerated concrete (AAC) are oriented vertically and positioned side-by-side, in
contiguous
edge to edge relationship, to form one or more wall sections extending between
or
adjacent the structural columns.
[0021] Optionally, a sealing layer, primer, skim coat, render, textured
surface layer, or
combinations thereof may be applied over the entire exposed surface of the
floor or wall,
to provide a relatively uniform appearance as well as to provide particular
aesthetic or
performance characteristics that may be required, such as additional sealing
or
waterproofing, additional fire retardant properties, suitability for painting,
sound
installation or dispersion, surface grip, colour, texture or the like. Other
suitable surface
finishes, depending upon the intended application, include polymer-modified
stucco or
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plaster, natural or manufactured stone, internal or external cladding
including "Gyprock",
timber panelling or fibre-cement sheeting, as appropriate.
[0022] In preferred embodiments, the method includes the step of forming
the
structural panels so as to include at least one lifting hole extending from a
front or upper
face to a rear or lower face of the panel. The lifting hole is preferably
adapted releasably
to receive a lifting eye, to facilitate crane lifting of the panel to the
appropriate floor level
in the building structure. As an alternative to lifting holes extending
through the panels,
lifting formations may be secured around the panels or to one or more faces of
the
panels, either as temporary or permanent fixtures.
[0023] In one embodiment, each panel includes a single centrally located
lifting hole.
In other embodiments, each panel includes a pair of spaced apart lifting
holes, ideally
disposed generally symmetrically about a centreline or centre of gravity of
the panel. In
some embodiments, three, four or more lifting holes may be provided, not all
of which
need necessarily be utilised in all lifting situations.
[0024] In a variation of this aspect of the invention, prefabricated
structural panels are
additionally or alternatively positioned in substantially contiguous side-by-
side
relationship, preferably in a vertical orientation, on the horizontal support
structure, to
form a wall for the building. This method of wall construction may optionally
be utilised in
conjunction with more conventional floor construction techniques, and vice
versa, if
desired.
[0025] In a further aspect, the invention provides a building structure,
formed
substantially in accordance with the method previously defined, the structure
including:-
a series of vertically oriented support columns disposed in spaced apart
relationship to define a generally vertical support structure;
a series of horizontally oriented support beams connected to the support
columns in spaced apart relationship to define a generally horizontal support
structure for
a floor; and
a plurality of pre-fabricated structural panels positioned in contiguous side-
by-
side relationship on the horizontal support structure to form a structural
floor, wherein
each panel includes at least one lifting hole extending from a front face to a
rear face of
the panel so as to be adapted to releasably receive a lifting attachment, the
lifting
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attachment having at least one lifting formation and a load-bearing connecting
element
for extending through the respective lifting hole.
[0026] In a variation of this aspect, the prefabricated structural panels
are additionally
or alternatively positioned in contiguous side-by-side relationship on the
support structure
to form a wall.
[0027] Again, the structural panels are preferably formed from autoclaved
aerated
concrete (AAC). The respective clearance spaces defined between adjacent edges
of
the adjoining structural panels are preferably filled with a compatible
cementitious
material, thereby to form a substantially continuous upper surface on the
structural floor.
[0028] Preferably, the building is multi-storey, and the vertical support
structure is
formed substantially from steel, extending for at least one level above the
ground and in
some embodiments for multiple levels above and/or below ground level.
[0029] In a further aspect, the invention provides a method of installing a
section of
floor or wall in a multi-storey building structure, the building structure
including a series of
vertically oriented support columns disposed in spaced apart relationship to
define a
generally vertical support structure, and a series of horizontally oriented
support beams
connected to the support columns in spaced apart relationship to define a
generally
horizontal support structure for an elevated floor, the method including the
steps of:-
providing a plurality of pre-fabricated structural panels;
providing at least one lifting hole extending from a first face to a second
face of
each of the structural panels;
providing each of the structural panels with a pair of lifting formations such
that
one of the lifting formations is accessible from the first face of each panel
and the other
lifting formation is accessible from the second face of each panel, and such
that the
lifting formations are interconnected directly by a load-bearing connecting
element
extending through each of the panels;
releasably interconnecting a plurality of the structural panels together as a
series using a plurality of intermediate linking elements, whereby the lifting
formation on
the second face of each panel in the series is joined to the lifting formation
on the first
face of the next panel in the series by means of a respective one of said
linking
elements;
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connecting the first structural panel in the series to a crane hook by means
of
the lifting formation on the first face of the first panel;
hoisting the first panel by means of the crane hook and thereby hoisting the
subsequent interconnected panels in the series to a height corresponding
generally to
the required level for the floor or wall whereby all of the structural panels
in the series are
elevated substantially simultaneously in vertically spaced apart relationship
to the
required level in a single lifting operation, with each panel being directly
connected to an
upper and/or lower panel in the series during the lifting operation;
releasing the lifting formations and the linking elements from the panels in
the
series;
positioning the panels in contiguous side-by-side relationship on the support
structure to define a corresponding section of the elevated floor or wall; and
repeating the process steps as required, to complete the floor or wall for the

building structure.
[0030] Preferably, once again, the prefabricated structural panel is formed
from steel-
reinforced, autoclaved aerated concrete (AAC).
[0031] In one embodiment, each of the lifting formations includes a
generally circular
lifting eye, and each lifting attachment preferably includes a shank portion
adapted upon
installation to extend through the lifting hole in the panel, to connect the
associated lifting
eyes.
[0032] In one preferred embodiment, the lifting formation includes an eye-
bolt having
a head with an integral lifting eye and a complementary eye-nut incorporating
an integral
lifting eye, configured such that the shank of the eye-bolt is adapted in use
to extend
through the lifting hole in the panel for releasable engagement with the eye-
nut on the
opposite side of the panel.
[0033] In some embodiments, the lifting attachment preferably also includes
a base
plate with a mounting hole adapted to accommodate the shank of the eye-bolt,
the base
plate being adapted to be positioned between either the eye-bolt or the eye-
nut and an
outer face of the associated panel, to distribute load and reduce stress
concentrations in
the structural panel around the lifting hole. In some embodiments, the base
plate may be
formed integrally with the eye-bolt and/or the eye-nut.
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[0034] In one embodiment, each linking element includes a predetermined
length of
chain with a hook at each end, the hooks being adapted in use for releasable
engagement with the respective mutually opposing lifting eyes on adjacent
panels. In
other embodiments, the linking elements may take alternative forms, such as
lengths of
wire cable or rope, or bars, rods or the like formed from steel or other
suitable structural
or load-bearing materials.
[0035] Depending upon the size and weight of the panels, multiple lifting
holes and
associated lifting attachments and linking elements may be used. In such
cases, the
lifting holes will typically be distributed uniformly around the centreline or
centre of gravity
of the panels, and will be positioned to facilitate stable simultaneous
lifting of all of the
panels in the series.
[0036] In preferred embodiments, the series may comprise any number of
panels,
from two, up to five, six or potentially more. The upper limit will be
governed by the
weight of each panel and the load rating of the particular crane being
deployed to hoist
the panels, as well as the load ratings of the lifting attachments and linking
elements.
Typically, if lighter panels are used, a larger number can be linked or ganged
in each
series and hoisted together in a single lifting operation.
[0037] In a related aspect, the invention provides a prefabricated
structural building
panel incorporating at least one lifting hole extending from a first face to a
second face of
the panel, adapted for use in conjunction with a plurality of complementary
building
panels to form a wall or floor in a building structure, in the method as
previously defined.
In a further aspect, the invention provides a prefabricated structural
building panel
adapted for use in a method or building structure as defined herein, the panel
adapted to
be supported in contiguous side-by-side relationship with a plurality of like
panels to form
a structural floor or wall between supporting frame elements in a building
structure, each
panel including at least one pre-formed lifting hole extending through the
panel from one
face to an opposing face, the or each lifting hole being adapted to receive a
lifting
attachment incorporating a pair of lifting formations such that one of the
lifting formations
is accessible from one face and the other lifting formation is accessible from
an opposing
face, and such that the lifting formations are interconnected directly by a
load-bearing
connecting element extending through the respective lifting hole, to enable
inter-linking of
multiple panels in series by means of the respective lifting attachments and
thereby to
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enable simultaneous lifting of multiple panels in vertically spaced apart
relationship, the
panel further including supplementary internal reinforcement or a
concentration of
reinforcement in the vicinity of at least one of the lifting holes.
[0038] In a further aspect, the invention provides a method of installing a
wall section
in a multi-storey building, the building including a series of vertically
oriented support
columns disposed in spaced apart relationship to define a generally vertical
support
structure, the method including the steps of:-
providing a plurality of pre-fabricated structural panels, each panel
including at
least one lifting hole extending from a front face to a rear face of the
panel;
releasably securing a lifting attachment to each of the structural panels, the

lifting attachment having at least one lifting formation and a load-bearing
connecting
element extending through the respective lifting hole;
releasably attaching a rail formation to the support structure in a
substantially
horizontal orientation generally above an intended location for the wall
section;
providing a crane carriage assembly incorporating a panel engagement
mechanism and a rail traversing mechanism;
releasably attaching the crane carriage assembly to the rail formation by
means of the rail traversing mechanism whereby the carriage assembly is
adapted
securely to traverse the rail;
releasably connecting the panel engagement mechanism on the carriage
assembly with the lifting formation on the panel, whereby the panel is
suspended from
the rail formation;
moving the carriage assembly along the rail so as to position the suspended
panel adjacent the intended location for the wall section;
positioning and securing the panel in the wall section;
releasing the panel engagement mechanism;
repeating the foregoing steps with successive panels positioned in contiguous
side-by-side relationship to form the wall section of the building.
[0039] In one preferred embodiment, once again the structural panels are
formed
from steel-reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (AAC).
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[0040] Preferably, the rail formation is attached by a series of spaced
apart removable
connecting brackets, each in use extending from a respective support column to
a
corresponding position on the rail formation.
[0041] In one embodiment, the lifting formation includes at least one
lifting hole
extending from a front face to a rear face of each of the structural panels.
Preferably, the
lifting formation also includes an eye-bolt having a head with an integral
lifting eye,
configured such that the shank of the eye-bolt is adapted to extend through
the lifting
hole for releasable engagement with a complementary nut and optionally a base
plate on
the opposite side of the panel.
[0042] In one preferred embodiment, the panel engagement mechanism on the
carriage assembly includes a wire rope, cable or chain terminating in a hook
formation
adapted for releasable engagement with the lifting eye on the panel.
[0043] In one embodiment, the rail formation takes the form of an I-beam
comprising
horizontally oriented upper and lower flanges and a vertically oriented
interconnecting
web. The carriage assembly preferably includes a rail traversing mechanism
including
guide wheels adapted for rolling engagement with the lower flange of the I-
beam. The
support brackets are preferably connected to the upper flange of the I-beam.
[0044] In one preferred embodiment, the carriage assembly is motorised,
incorporating a first drive mechanism adapted to drive the carriage on the
rail, optionally
by remote control. Preferably, the carriage assembly includes a second
drive
mechanism adapted in use to progressively raise and lower the suspended panel
via the
engagement mechanism, again optionally by remote control. Preferably, the
second
drive mechanism is connected with a winch, adapted to control the wire rope
connected
to the panel and hence to regulate the height of the panel.
[0045] In some embodiments, the second drive mechanism permits the panels
to be
raised or lowered by a distance corresponding to at least two floor levels,
thereby
permitting the same rail formation to facilitate the erection of wall sections
on multiple
levels of the building structure.
[0046] In some embodiments, the method also includes the steps of:-
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releasably interconnecting a plurality of the panels together as a series
using a
plurality of intermediate linking elements,
connecting the first panel in the series to the carriage assembly by means of
the engagement mechanism on the carriage and the lifting formation on the
first panel;
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lifting the first panel by means of a drive mechanism in the carriage and
thereby hoisting the subsequent interconnected panels in the series to a
required height
for the lowermost panel;
positioning, securing and releasing the lowermost panel; and
positioning, securing and releasing the subsequent panels in the series
successively using the drive mechanism to form a corresponding wall section or
sub-
section in the building.
[0047] In yet another aspect, the invention provides a crane carriage
assembly as
defined, adapted for use on a supporting rail formation connected to a
building support
structure, to facilitate positioning of prefabricated structural wall or floor
panels,
substantially in the manner previously described.
[0048] In yet a further aspect, the invention provides a pre-packaged kit
of
complementary component parts including prefabricated support columns,
prefabricated
support beams and prefabricated structural panels substantially as defined
above, and
adapted upon assembly in a predefined configuration, in accordance with
instructions
associated with the kit, to form a building structure.
[0049] In one embodiment of this aspect, the assembly process for the kit
utilises one
or more of the methods or systems for building construction substantially as
previously
defined. In one embodiment, the component parts are selected or designed, and
optimally arranged, for compact "flat-packing" and efficient bulk
transportation. This form
of the invention, being highly cost-effective and readily transportable, is
particularly well
adapted, inter-alia, for low-cost housing and other building infrastructure,
in remote
locations or developing countries.
[0050] In yet a further aspect, the invention consists in a prefabricated
structural panel
adapted to be supported in contiguous side-by-side relationship with a
plurality of like
panels to form a structural floor or wall between supporting frame elements in
a building,
each panel including at least one pre-formed lifting hole extending through
the panel
from one face to an opposing face, the lifting hole thereby providing a
lifting formation to
enable secure crane lifting of the panel and to enable inter-linking of
multiple panels in
series by means of the respective lifting holes to enable simultaneous
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[0051] Preferably, the panels are formed substantially from AAC and the
lifting holes
are formed before the panels are autoclaved.
Optionally be panels include
supplementary reinforcement within the in the AAC matrix in the vicinity of
the lifting hole.
The lifting hole may also be lined in some embodiments, for example by means
of a
tubular metal sleeve, for supplementary reinforcement.
Brief Description of the Drawings
[0052] Preferred embodiments of the invention will now be described, by way
of
example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:
[0053] Figure 1 is a diagrammatic perspective view showing a multi-storey
building
structure formed in accordance with the present invention;
[0054] Figure 2 is a plan view of the building structure from the
perspective of arrow
"A" in Figure 1;
[0055] Figure 3 is an elevation view of the building structure from the
perspective of
arrow "B" in Figure 1;
[0056] Figure 4 is an elevation view of a further building structure formed
in
accordance with the invention, showing below-ground basement levels and above-
ground upper levels;
[0057] Figure 5 is a plan view showing an upper level framing and floor
panelling
arrangement of the building structure shown in Figure 4;
[0058] Figure 6 is an enlarged cross sectional side elevation view showing
the
flooring system of the building structure of Figures 4 and 5, in more detail;
[0059] Figure 6A is a further enlarged cross-sectional detail taken from
Figure 6;
[0060] Figure 7 is a perspective view showing a section of flooring formed
from
contiguous AAC structural panels on a steel beam horizontal floor supporting
structure,
in accordance with the invention;

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[0061] Figure 8 is a cross-sectional view taken along line A-A of Figure 7,
showing a
reinforcing bar supported in a channel defined between a pair of adjoining
structural
panels;
[0062] Figure 9 is a side elevation view in the direction of line B-B of
Figure 7,
showing the reinforcing bar and surrounding grouting material in the channel
defined
between the adjoining structural panels;
[0063] Figure 10 is a perspective view showing a structural panel formed
from
reinforced AAC, with a pair of spaced apart lifting attachments in accordance
with the
invention;
[0064] Figure 11 is an enlarged perspective view showing one of the lifting
attachments of Figure 10, in more detail;
[0065] Figure 12 is a perspective view of an alternative form of structural
panel
formed with a lifting hole, fitted with a lifting attachment, and connected to
a crane hook
in accordance with the invention;
[0066] Figure 13 is a perspective view showing two structural panels of the
type
shown in Figure 12, interconnected as a series by linking chains for
simultaneous lifting
in a single operation, in accordance with the invention;
[0067] Figure 14 is a perspective view similar Figure 13, showing a series
of three of
the structural panels interconnected for simultaneous lifting by crane in a
single lifting
operation;
[0068] Figure 15 is a diagrammatic perspective view of a vertically
oriented structural
frame for a multi-storey building, incorporating temporary rail formations to
facilitate
positioning of structural wall panels, in accordance with one aspect of the
invention;
[0069] Figure 15A is an enlarged perspective view showing region "A" of
Figure 15 in
more detail;

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[0070] Figure 15B is an enlarged perspective view showing region "B" of
Figure 15 in
more detail;
[0071] Figure 150 is an enlarged perspective view showing region "C" of
Figure 15 in
more detail;
[0072] Figure 16 is an enlarged perspective view showing one of the rail
formations
and associated panel lifting elements from figure 15 in more detail, with the
carriage
assembly represented diagrammatically;
[0073] Figure 17 is a further enlarged perspective view, showing the
carriage
assembly from Figures 15 and 16 in more detail;
[0074] Figure 18 is a perspective view similar to figure 17, showing the
lifting crane
and carriage assembly used in conjunction with a dedicated lifting frame;
[0075] Figures 18A to 180 are a series of enlarged perspective views
showing
various alternative embodiments of the dedicated lifting frame illustrated in
figure 17,
adapted for use respectively with complementary structural panels having
different
configurations of lifting holes; and
[0076] Figure 19 is a perspective view showing one level of a support
structure
according to a further embodiment of the invention, incorporating diagonal
bracing
elements and a modular support structure for a lift core.

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Preferred Embodiments of the Invention
[0077] The invention in one aspect provides a multi-storey building
structure 1 and
an associated method of construction. Referring initially to Figures 1 to 3,
the structure 1
includes a series of vertically oriented support columns 2 disposed in spaced
apart
relationship to define a generally vertical support structure 3. In this
embodiment, the
support columns 2 are formed from structural steel l-beams, connected end-to-
end as
required by means of complementary steel connection brackets 4 and associated
bolts.
However, it should be appreciated that other structural materials, column
configurations
and interconnection methods may additionally or alternatively be used.
[0078] A series of horizontally oriented floor support beams 5 are
connected to the
vertical support columns 2 in generally parallel spaced apart relationship, to
define a
horizontal support structure 6 for an elevated floor. The floor support beams
5 are
preferably also formed from structural steel l-beams, bolted or welded to the
respective
vertical support columns 2, but again in other embodiments, alternative
materials and
connection methods may be used.
[0079] The flooring itself is formed from a plurality of prefabricated
structural panels
10, formed from a suitable lightweight autoclaved aerated concrete (AAC)
formulation in
a generally rectangular configuration. The AAC panels are pre-formed with
internal steel
reinforcing rods and hence can be used in structural applications. This
material confers
a number of important and unique characteristics and advantages, including
reduced
weight, adequate strength, good acoustic and thermal installation, fire
resistance,
durability (subject to appropriate finishing), ease of installation, and
workability in situ.
AAC is also resistant to water, rot, mould, mildew, insect infestation, and
freeze/thaw
degradation.
[0080] The panels 10 are positioned in contiguous side-by-side relationship
and
anchored to the underlying horizontal support beams 5 to form an elevated
structural
floor 12. Anchoring of the panels 10 to the floor support beams 5 may be
achieved using
a variety of techniques including bolting, screwing, gluing, bracketing,
locating pins, lugs,
or the like. In one preferred method, the panels are simply set into a layer
of thin-bed
mortar applied to the support beams. In some embodiments, because the panels
are

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located laterally by perimeter beams, no internal anchoring or fixing to the
floor support
structure is required.
[0081] The panel dimensions can vary significantly according to the
intended
application. Typically the panels will be 600 mm wide, although the panel
width may vary
from under 200 mm to over 1000 mm according to different applications and
requirements. The panels are preferably around 200 mm thick, although
thickness may
vary from less than 100 mm to more than 300 mm, according to load constraints
and
performance requirements. The panels are preferably formed in lengths of 6 m,
although
length may range from less than 1 metre to 10 metres or more, as required. The
panel
density is typically around 800 kg/m3, but again the density may vary from
less than 500
kg/m3 to more than 1,000 kg/m3, depending upon strength, porosity, durability,

workability and other performance requirements. Compressive strength is
preferably in
the range of 2.0 to 8.0 Mpa, and ultimate tensile strength preferably in the
range of 0.2 to
0.8 Mpa.
[0082] A typical base formulation for a suitable AAC material includes
quartz sand,
lime, cement and water. Aluminium powder is also added, typically in the
proportion of
0.05% to 0.08% by volume, as required according to the density specified for
the finished
product. During the production process, the aluminium powder reacts with
calcium
hydroxide and water to form hydrogen, which foams to substantially increase
the volume
of the mixture. The hydrogen eventually disperses, to be replaced by air.
While the
material is solid but still soft, it is removed from a cast or mould (with
reinforcing rods
embedded as required), and placed in an autoclave chamber, typically for 12
hours at a
temperature of around 190 C and a pressure of 8 to 12 bar. Under these
conditions, the
quartz sand reacts with calcium hydroxide to form calcium silica hydrate,
which confers
the requisite strength and other mechanical properties. After autoclaving, the
product is
ready for use. Depending upon the final density and strength requirements, up
to 80% of
the volume of an AAC block or panel can comprise air, and the weight per unit
volume
can be as little as 20% of that for conventional concrete.
[0083] It should be appreciated that a wide variety of formulations and
process
modifications may be utilised, subject to specified performance parameters
being
satisfied. Special purpose additives or substitute ingredients may be used in
the
formulations for specific applications or performance characteristics,
including fire

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retardants, sealants, surfactants, aerators, density modifiers, insulators,
adhesives, fillers
and the like. Suitable AAC products can be sourced from a number of specialist

suppliers. The detailed manufacturing processes involved in order to achieve
specific
material characteristics and performance parameters are well understood by
those
skilled in the art, and so will not be described in further detail.
[0084] Another building structure 1 is shown in Figures 4 to 6, wherein
similar
features are denoted by corresponding reference numerals. In this case, the
structure
includes several below-ground basement levels 15 and a plurality of above-
ground upper
levels 16. A foundation structure 17 including a peripheral basement shoring
system is
also shown. In this embodiment, the basement levels 15 incorporate floor
levels
composed substantially from composite slabs, comprising wet-poured reinforced
concrete over metal decking, formed in situ in accordance with conventional
constructions techniques. The upper levels 16 incorporate lightweight
structural flooring
formed from AAC panels in accordance with the present invention.
[0085] Figures 5 and 6 show the upper level framing and flooring system
from the
structure of Figure 4, in more detail. Referring particularly to Figures 6 and
6A, it will be
seen that the structural panels 10 rest on the horizontal steel beams 5. The
panel edges
adjacent the wall are located and supported by a steel perimeter beam 20,
which in turn
is connected to the vertical support columns 2. An internal wall structure 22
is formed
from lightweight steel framing members 23 and an internal cladding material
(not shown).
The external walls are formed from vertically oriented generally rectangular
structural
AAC wall panels 25, similar in configuration to the flooring panels and again
disposed in
contiguous side-by-side relationship, but typically thinner and lighter than
the flooring
panels.
[0086] The structural flooring panels 10 and the preferred method of
interconnection
are shown in more detail in Figures 7 to 9. The panels are generally
rectangular in
configuration with complementary edge profiles, which may optionally include
interlocking, overlapping or abutting elements such as tongue-and-groove
formations
adapted for inter-engagement when adjoining panels are disposed in contiguous
side-by-
side relationship.

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[0087] In the specific arrangement shown, as best seen in Figure 9, the
abutting
edge profiles are adapted in combination to define an upwardly depending
generally V-
shaped or U-shaped channel 30, extending longitudinally between each pair of
adjoining
panels. In order to finish each inter-panel joint, it is preferred that a
reinforcing bar 32 is
initially positioned to extend longitudinally through the associated channel
30. These
reinforcing bars 32, or alternatively reinforcing cables, are initially
supported by ring
beams 35 (see Figure 8), or other suitable support structures, optionally
including stands
adapted for installation within the channels 30.
[0088] With the reinforcing bars supported in position, preferably with at
least one
bar in each channel, the channels are filled with a compatible cementitious
grouting
material 36, which bonds to the aerated concrete material from which the
panels are
formed. The grouting material thereby forms a substantially continuous upper
surface 37
extending between the adjoining structural panels, while securing the panels
to one
another and reinforcing the intermediate joints. Suitable joint filling
materials include a
variety of non-shrink grouts, mortar and concrete. The finished joint is best
seen in
Figure 9. In one variation of this embodiment (not shown), the side walls of
the U-
shaped channels 30 converge upwardly to a marginal degree. This has the effect
of
mechanically keying the grouting material in place once it has set, thereby to
provide
additional integrity, stability and durability to the respective inter-panel
joints.
[0089] In the building structures of Figures 1 and 4, a similar technique
using AAC
panels disposed in contiguous side-by-side relationship is used to form the
main wall
sections 38. As best seen in Figure 6, the wall panels 25 are primarily
supported on
horizontal flanges 39 extending outwardly from the perimeter beams 20, and are
retained
in place by suitable bolts, brackets, adhesives, lugs and/or other fastening
means.
[0090] In some embodiments and implementations of the invention, various
components of the building system may be compactly pre-packaged as discrete
bundles
of componentry in matched quantities and efficiently delivered to site as a
kit, optionally
with detailed assembly instructions in accordance with a pre-defined building
plan. This
form of the invention may be particularly advantageous for construction in
isolated or
remote locations, or in developing countries, where supplementary materials,
resources
or expertise on site may be limited.

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[0091] In a further variation on this theme, another implementation
involves the
construction of discrete building modules off-site, for example in a dedicated
production
facility. Such modules may comprise, for example, a series of vertical support
columns,
horizontal support beams and structural panels, partially or fully pre-
assembled for
delivery to site in a modular format. The modules in this context may comprise
sections
of floor or wall, entire rooms, a multiple of interconnected rooms, discrete
sections of a
structural core, or potentially even an entire level of a building structure,
subject to size,
weight, transportation and other logistical constraints. In this way,
construction on site
may be oriented primarily toward the interconnection and integration of a
series of
prefabricated structural modules, in accordance with a pre-defined building
plan.
[0092] Because of the possibility of partial pre-fabrication, modular
construction
and/or final assembly at different locations, it should be understood that
unless the
context clearly dictates otherwise, the various method steps described may be
carried
out in different sequences, at different times and at different locations.
Such variations
wherever feasible should be understood to fall within the scope of the
invention as
described.
[0093] In a further aspect, the invention provides a method and system for
efficiently
lifting and positioning the structural panels on site, as described below.
Referring initially
to Figures 10 to 12, each panel includes at least one lifting hole 40,
extending from the
upper face to the lower face of the panel. In the embodiment shown in Figure
10, two
such lifting holes are provided and these holes are disposed symmetrically
about the
centreline and centre of gravity of the panel, for well-balanced, stable
lifting with the
panels in a generally horizontal orientation.
[0094] Each lifting hole 40 is adapted releaseably to receive a lifting
formation 43, to
facilitate secure crane lifting of the panel to the appropriate level and
position in the
building structure.
[0095] In one embodiment, as best seen in Figure 11, the lifting formation
43
comprises a threaded eye-bolt 44 formed with a head incorporating a lifting
eye 46, and
a complementary eye-nut 47 which optionally incorporates a second lifting eye
46,
permitting the panel to be lifted from either side. A base plate 50 is also
optionally
provided as part of the lifting formation, to minimise stress concentrations
around the

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lifting hole, particularly during lifting operations. Base plates 50 may be
provided on both
sides of the panel, if required, and may optionally be permanently attached.
Importantly,
the bolt shank extends right through the panel, for optimal safety and
security during
lifting operations.
[0096] If required, additional steel mesh or other suitable reinforcing
materials may
be incorporated into the panel in the vicinity of the lifting hole during the
panel fabrication
process, for enhanced structural integrity. Other lifting formations are also
envisaged,
such as external clamping mechanisms or brackets anchored to one or more faces
of the
panel, whereby through-holes and through-bolts are not necessarily required.
[0097] As well as allowing the individual panels to be securely lifted, as
shown in
Figures 10 and 12, the method and system of the invention in a further aspect
allows
multiple panels to be at interlinked and lifted simultaneously, as described
more fully
below.
[0098] With reference to Figures 13 and 14, each lifting attachment 43 in
this case
incorporates a pair of lifting eyes 46. One lifting eye is incorporated into
the head of the
eye-bolt as previously described and is accessible from the upper face of the
panel,
while the other lifting eye is incorporated into the eye-nut and is accessible
from the
lower face of the panel. In this way, the lifting eyes are interconnected
directly by a load-
bearing connecting element, in this case the shank of the lifting bolt,
extending through
the respective lifting hole.
[0099] This arrangement allows a number of the panels to be releaseably
connected
as a series 52, using a plurality of intermediate linking elements 53 (see
Figures 13 and
14). Each linking element includes a predetermined length of chain 54 with a
hook 55 at
each end, the hooks being adapted for releasable engagement with the mutually
opposing lifting eyes 46 on adjacent panels. In other embodiments, the linking
elements
may take alternative forms, such as lengths of wire cable or rope, solid bars,
rods or the
like formed from steel or other suitable load bearing materials.
[00100] In the arrangement shown, each panel is connected to the next panel
in the
series by a pair of linking elements 53 disposed uniformly about the
centreline of the
respective panels. In other arrangements, different numbers and configurations
of

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linking elements may be used. In some cases, only a single linking element is
used
between each pair of interlinked panels, whereas with heavier panels, three,
four or more
linking elements may be used, as required. Also in other arrangements, the
panels in
each series may be interconnected in different orientations, including
horizontally edge-
to-edge, and vertically end-to-end.
[00101] Once the predetermined number of panels has been interconnected to
form a
series 52, the first panel in the series is connected to a crane hook 58 by
means of the
lifting eye or eyes on the upper face of the first panel.
[00102] The process then involves the step of lifting the first panel via
the crane hook
and thereby hoisting the subsequent interconnected panels in the series to a
height on
the support structure corresponding generally the floor level where the panels
are
required. In this way, all of the panels in the series are elevated
substantially
simultaneously, in a single crane lifting operation. It should also be
appreciated that
multiple series of panels may be lifted simultaneously in a single operation.
[00103] Once each series of panels has been manipulated into position at
the
required floor level, the linking chains 54 are released from the lifting eyes
46 and the
eye-bolts and nuts are removed from the panels. The panels are then manually
positioned in contiguous side-by-side relationship on the horizontal support
structure, to
form the basis for a corresponding section of the elevated floor.
[00104] The process is then repeated as often as required with successive
series or
inter-linked groups of structural panels, and the joints finished as required,
until the entire
floor for that level has been completed. The next series of panels is then
lifted to the
height of the next level and so on, until the entire flooring system for the
multi-level
building structure has been completed.
[00105] It will be appreciated that advantageously, this method allows
multiple panels
(typically three, four, five or six at a time depending upon panel size and
weight) to be
elevated in each lifting operation of the crane, which greatly reduces the
overall
construction time. The time savings become greater with increasing height, due
to the
corresponding increase in the time required for the crane hook to be raised
and lowered
from ground level in each lifting operation.

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[00106] In yet another aspect, the invention provides a method and system
for
installing a wall section in the building structure, again preferably
utilizing structural
panels formed from steel-reinforced AAC or other suitable materials. This
system and
method will typically be deployed once the wall panels 25 have been lifted to
the
appropriate floor level in series or groups using the panel linking method
previously
described. However, it may also be adapted to lift the wall panels directly
from the
ground, if required.
[00107] Referring to Figures 15 to 17, a rail formation 63, which in this
embodiment
takes the form of an I-beam having an upper flange 64 and a lower flange 65,
is initially
secured to the building frame or support structure in a generally horizontal
orientation
above the intended location for the wall section to be constructed. This is
done by
means of a series of spaced apart removable connecting brackets 66. In the
embodiment shown, each of the connecting brackets 65 extends from a respective

vertical support column 2 to a corresponding position on the upper flange of
64 of the !-
beam rail.
[00108] Each of the panels is fitted with a lifting formation 43,
preferably in the form of
an eye-bolt 44 extending through a pre-formed lifting hole, in the manner
previously
described in relation to the AAC floor panels. In this case, however, the
lifting hole is
ideally positioned toward the upper end of the panel, so as to facilitate
lifting of the panel
in the vertical orientation in which it will be positioned in the building
structure.
[00109] As best seen in figure 17, a remote controlled electrically
operable lifting
crane carriage assembly 70 is then attached to the lower flange 65 of the
guide rail,
whereby the carriage is adapted to securely traverse the rail on guide wheels
72. The
carriage 70 includes a panel engagement mechanism, preferably in the form of a
wire
rope 74 terminating in a hook 75 adapted for releasable engagement with the
lifting eye
46 on the wall panel.
[00110] The crane carriage 70 incorporates a first drive motor 80 adapted
to drive the
carriage on the rail via wheels 72 in response to remote control inputs from
the operator.
A second drive motor 82 is connected to a winch mechanism 83, adapted
progressively
to raise or lower the suspended panel via the wire rope 74 connected to the
panel, again
by remote control.

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[00111] In this way, as best seen in Figures 15 to 17, the carriage
supporting a wall
panel is able to traverse the rail to a position directly above the intended
location for the
panel, and then lower the panel into position in the wall section under
construction using
the motorised winch mechanism 83, by remote control.
[00112] With the panels secured in position by operators on the
corresponding floor
of building structure, the lifting hook is then released, and the process
repeated with
successive panels, whereby the panels are progressively positioned in
contiguous side-
by-side relationship to form a wall section of the building structure.
Advantageously,
because the operators can be safely positioned within the building structure
behind
guard rails while securing the outer wall panels, the extent of external
scaffolding during
the wall construction process can be substantially reduced.
[00113] It will be appreciated that multiple crane carriages may operate
simultaneously on a single rail, if required. Also, internal rails 63 and
crane carriages
may optionally be utilised, to facilitate positioning of internal wall and/or
floor panels
within the envelope of the building structure if required.
[00114] In some embodiments the winch mechanism 83 incorporates sufficient
cable
to permit the panels to be raised or lowered by a distance corresponding to at
least two
floor levels, thereby permitting the same rail formation to facilitate the
erection of wall
sections on multiple levels of the building structure. This is indicated in
the arrangement
of Figure 15, in which each guide rail effectively services three floor levels
below it.
Advantageously, this minimises the number of rails required.
[00115] In some embodiments, longer wall panels may be used, such that a
single
vertically oriented panel may span two or more floor levels. For example, a
single 12
metre panel can be used to span four floor levels of a multi-storey building
structure. In
such cases, due to the additional panel weight, multiple lifting holes may be
provided for
improved load distribution within the panel during the lifting operation. This
panel
configuration and installation method not only greatly reduces time required
to place the
wall panels in position, it also substantially reduces (potentially by several
multiples) the
number of inter-panel joints required. This produces a cleaner overall
aesthetic result,
and also minimises the extent of costly labour input at the panel joints,
associated with

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finishing processes, sealing and the like. It should also be appreciated that
this method
and apparatus may be used for elevating the floor panels to the required
levels.
[00116] In the embodiment illustrated, the rails 63 are intended to be
removed once
the walls have been constructed. In other embodiments, however, the rails may
be
formed integrally with the framing structure and/or as permanent features of
the building.
In that case, the rails may be architecturally integrated into the overall
building
aesthetics, and/or may be adapted for other functional purposes such as
supports
external window cleaning or maintenance equipment once the building has been
completed.
[00117] In a further variation, multiple wall panels may be interlinked or
interconnected using a series of intermediate linking elements such as chains
or wire
ropes, in essentially the same manner as previously described in relation to
the floor
panels, whereby multiple panels in the series can be efficiently positioned in
rapid
succession, by means of the crane carriage assembly system.
[00118] Figure 18 shows a crane carriage 70 in the same configuration as
shown in
Figure 17. In this case, however, the wire rope 74 is connected to the
structural wall
panel 25 by means of a dedicated lifting frame 85. The lifting frame is
substantially
symmetrical, including a pair of lifting arms 86 adapted in use to extend
downwardly from
an upper bridge section 87 along opposite faces of the panel to the associated
lifting hole
40. The length of the bridge section 87 corresponds approximately to the
thickness of
the panel. A lifting lug 88 extends upwardly from the bridge section 87 and
includes a
lifting hole 89 adapted for engagement by a corresponding fitting such as a
crane hook
securely mounted to the end of the wire rope.
[00119] A lifting bolt 90 is inserted so as, in use, to extend through
corresponding
aligned holes 91 in the respective lifting arms 86, and also through the
aligned lifting hole
40 in the panel. The bolt is adapted for engagement with a corresponding nut
92, which
in this case is welded to the respective lifting arm. It will be appreciated
that the
symmetrical configuration of the lifting frame permits safe and secure lifting
of the panel,
in a stable vertical orientation, with minimal risk of damage to the panel by
the lifting
apparatus. Once the panel has been securely lifted into position on the
required level of

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the building structure, the lifting frame is removed and lowered to ground
level for reuse
on subsequent panels.
[00120] Figures 18A to 180, in which similar features are denoted by
corresponding
reference numerals, show a series of alternative configurations of the lifting
frame 85.
These frames have different configurations of lifting arms 86 (including
horizontally and
vertically oriented arms) and associated lifting holes 91, to accommodate
panels with
various different configurations of lifting holes.
[00121] Another embodiment of the invention is shown in Figure 19, wherein
again
similar features are denoted by corresponding reference numerals. This figure
shows
one level of a steel framing and support structure 3, which would typically
comprise
multiple levels of similar layout. As in the previous embodiments described,
the structure
includes a series of vertically oriented support columns 2 interconnected as a
matrix with
horizontally oriented floor support beams 5. In this case, in selected
locations, the
support structure also includes a diagonal bracing members 95 to provide
enhanced
structural integrity and lateral stability.
[00122] Additionally, it will be seen that the support structure of this
embodiment
includes a structural elevator core 97, also formed predominantly from steel.
The lift core
is preferably formed from a plurality of structural steel core modules 98
stacked and
secured one above the other, with the height of each module corresponding to
the height
of the respective level in the structure. The lift core modules 98 also
include diagonal
bracing members 95, for enhanced strength and stability. Importantly, these
core
modules can be fabricated off-site if desired, and installed very rapidly on-
site exactly
when required in the project management schedule.
[00123] Once the modular lift core 97 is secured in place, it forms an
integral part of
the steel support structure. The outer walls can then be completed with
structural panels
of the type previously described, or by other suitable materials, including
non-
structural materials. Further cladding layers may also be provided if needed,
for example
to provide appropriate levels of acoustic insulation, fire rating performance,
and the like.
Advantageously, this avoids the need for costly, time-consuming and labour-
intensive
formwork and wet pouring of concrete on-site, as is usually required for
structural
elevator cores in conventional high-rise building construction.

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[00124] It will be appreciated that the invention in its various aspects
and preferred
embodiments provides a number of advantages. By avoiding the need to construct
each
floor level from concrete formed and poured in situ, there is a significant
reduction in the
number of individual workmen and different trades required on-site, which
reduces cost
and planning complexity while substantially improving safety.
[00125] As an indication of the significance of this advantage, a typical
medium-rise
building project using conventional techniques would usually require around 80
to 100
workers on site at any given time during construction of the primary
structural framing
and flooring, with all of the cost, scheduling complexity and safety risks
that this
inherently entails. By contrast, a comparable building project optimised and
constructed
in accordance with preferred aspects of the present invention may typically
only require 8
to 10 workers spanning significantly fewer trades on site at any given time,
during the
corresponding construction phase.
[00126] By avoiding the inherent delays involved in waiting for the wet
concrete on
each level to adequately set before the next level can be formed, further
substantial
production efficiencies and reductions in overall construction time can be
achieved.
[00127] Moreover, by eliminating the need for conventional propping to be
erected,
left in place while wet concrete sets, and subsequently removed, an entire
layer of cost,
complexity and delay is removed from the construction process Risks of injury
associated with the propping processes and related equipment are also
substantially
eliminated.
[00128] By allowing multiple prefabricated structural flooring panels to be
linked in
series and crane-lifted simultaneously, yet further improvements in project
planning,
efficiency and construction time are achievable. By providing a dedicated
method and
system for rapid positioning of structural wall panels, yet further efficiency
gains are
obtainable.
[00129] A further benefit of the invention in its preferred aspects is the
significant
reduction in weight achievable through the use of AAC structural panels, which
produce
flooring or walling that is substantially lighter than an equivalent area of
conventional
reinforced concrete. This in turn allows the use of lighter steel framing
and/or alternative

CA 02888614 2015-04-16
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supporting structures, which contributes to further cost savings, in terms of
both material
utilisation and construction time.
[00130] Substantially lighter steel and AAC concrete building structures
are also
inherently more resistant to earthquake damage, which represents an additional
cost
saving dimension and a further safety feature.
[00131] The lightweight nature of the building structure also readily lends
itself to the
construction of additional levels or other extensions on top of existing
building structures.
Such structures may otherwise need to be completely demolished in order to
create
additional height or additional storeys using conventional techniques, as a
result of the
associated additional weight. Construction of additions and extensions based
on the
methods and systems described herein, using an existing building and other
structure as
a foundation or base, should be understood to fall within the scope of the
invention.
[00132] By enabling a significant proportion of the primary structural
elements of the
building to be prefabricated under controlled manufacturing conditions in
dedicated
factories off-site, an improved quality product with tighter tolerances, more
accurate
dimensional control and superior finishes can be achieved. Furthermore,
because more
of the manufacturing processes can take place in a more readily controlled
production
environment at ground level off-site, the risks of workplace injury can be
substantially
reduced, along with the associated on-costs such as downtime and workers
compensation.
[00133] As an added dimension, the invention in its preferred forms offers
a more
environmentally friendly solution to building construction by requiring less
material, less
energy, less time, fewer crane lifts and fewer people on site, thereby
creating a
substantially lower carbon footprint as compared with conventional building
construction
techniques.
[00134] A related advantage stems from the requirement for relatively fewer
deliveries of construction materials to building sites, and reduced levels of
waste
materials requiring removal, leading in turn to reduced traffic congestion and
road
blockages caused by delivery trucks, concrete mixers, cranes and the like. As
an
extension of this benefit, concentration of the prefabrication processes in
dedicated

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factories allows for improved utilisation of public transport infrastructure
by workers,
again helping to minimise traffic congestion and associated environmental
impacts.
[00135] In these and other respects, the invention represents a practical
and
commercially significant improvement over the prior art.
[00136] Although the invention has been described with reference to
specific
examples, it will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that the
invention may be
embodied in many other forms. It should also be understood that the various
aspects
and embodiments of the invention as described can be implemented either
independently, or in conjunction with all viable permutations and combinations
of other
aspects and embodiments. All such permutations and combinations should be
regarded
as having been herein disclosed.

A single figure which represents the drawing illustrating the invention.

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Admin Status

Title Date
Forecasted Issue Date Unavailable
(86) PCT Filing Date 2013-09-27
(87) PCT Publication Date 2014-04-24
(85) National Entry 2015-04-16
Examination Requested 2018-09-20
Dead Application 2020-09-28

Abandonment History

Abandonment Date Reason Reinstatement Date
2019-09-27 FAILURE TO PAY APPLICATION MAINTENANCE FEE
2020-02-12 R30(2) - Failure to Respond

Payment History

Fee Type Anniversary Year Due Date Amount Paid Paid Date
Application Fee $400.00 2015-04-16
Maintenance Fee - Application - New Act 2 2015-09-28 $100.00 2015-04-16
Maintenance Fee - Application - New Act 3 2016-09-27 $100.00 2016-09-27
Maintenance Fee - Application - New Act 4 2017-09-27 $100.00 2017-08-31
Request for Examination $800.00 2018-09-20
Maintenance Fee - Application - New Act 5 2018-09-27 $200.00 2018-09-27
Current owners on record shown in alphabetical order.
Current Owners on Record
MERHIS PTY LTD
Past owners on record shown in alphabetical order.
Past Owners on Record
None
Past Owners that do not appear in the "Owners on Record" listing will appear in other documentation within the application.

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Document
Description
Date
(yyyy-mm-dd)
Number of pages Size of Image (KB)
Abstract 2015-04-16 2 82
Claims 2015-04-16 10 482
Drawings 2015-04-16 16 364
Description 2015-04-16 30 1,382
Representative Drawing 2015-04-16 1 39
Cover Page 2015-05-08 2 60
PCT 2015-04-16 64 3,078
Assignment 2015-04-16 4 122
Correspondence 2015-04-28 1 31
Correspondence 2015-07-28 3 85
Prosecution-Amendment 2018-09-20 2 73
Fees 2018-09-27 1 33
Prosecution-Amendment 2019-08-12 4 223