Barrier assembly for balconies

A barrier assembly 10 for balconies is disclosed. The barrier assembly 10 includes: a lower barrier portion 20 securable to a floor 5, the lower barrier portion 20 having a hand rail 22, the hand rail 22 having an underside defining or housing a guide track 24; and at least one bi-fold window assembly 40. The bi-fold window assembly 40 has first and second panels 42 and 47 mounted between the hand rail 22 itself and an upper horizontal carriage track 70 positioned over and spaced apart from the hand rail 22. The bi-fold window assembly 40 is movable between an open position and a closed position.

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Description

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims priority to Australian Patent Application No. 2008901610 filed on Apr. 4, 2008. The entire content of this application is hereby incorporated by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to balconies on buildings and in particular barrier assemblies for balconies.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Multi-story buildings are commonly designed to have balconies. Balconies provide an outdoor environment for building occupants. Balconies are typically provided with barriers to prevent people falling from them. These barriers typically only come to approximately hip height. This allows the occupant of the balcony to be substantially outside and exposed to the environment surrounding the building. Barriers on balconies are often fitted with a hand rail.

A problem with existing balconies and their barriers is that there is minimal separation of the balcony from the outside environment. Therefore, noise and, in some circumstances, driving rain, can enter the balcony area. Noise can be a problem where the building is located in an urban area or in an area near a transport corridor. A further drawback of many balcony designs is that there is a lack of privacy for persons on the balcony.

It is an object of the invention to provide a barrier assembly for balconies that overcomes at least some of the above identified problems or at least offers a useful choice to existing balcony designs.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

According to a first aspect of the invention there is provided a barrier assembly for balconies, the barrier assembly including:

    • a lower barrier portion securable to a floor, the lower barrier portion having a hand rail, the hand rail having an underside defining or housing a guide track; and
    • at least one bi-fold window assembly, the bi-fold window assembly having first and second panels, the first panel having a proximal side hingedly mounted between the hand rail and an upper support for rotation about a vertical axis and a distal side swingable between a position generally adjacent to the hand rail to a position away from the hand rail, the second panel having a proximal side hingedly mounted to the distal side of the first panel and a distal side both hingedly and slidably mounted between the hand rail and an upper support for relative rotation about a vertical axis and longitudinal movement parallel to the hand rail,
    • whereby the bi-fold window assembly is movable between an open position and a closed position.

In one form the barrier assembly further includes:

    • a carriage engagable with an upper horizontal carriage track positioned over and vertically spaced apart from the hand rail, the carriage movable along the carriage track; and
    • a traveller slidably engaging the guide track of the hand rail,
    • wherein the distal side of the second panel of the bi-fold window assembly is hingedly mounted to both the carriage and the traveller for relative rotation about a vertical axis and longitudinal movement with the carriage and traveller in directions parallel to the hand rail.

In one form the barrier assembly the first and second panels of the bifold window assembly include glass panels.

In one form each of the first and second panels include a frame.

In one form the frames each include an elongate top frame member and an elongate bottom frame member,

    • whereby the glass panels themselves provide a structural connection between the top and bottom frame member, obviating the need for vertical side frame members, thereby providing an assembly that minimises obstruction of view.

In one form the barrier assembly further includes a means for restraining the traveller against rotation with respect to the hand rail.

In one form the traveller includes at least one roller, the roller rotatable about a vertical axis.

In one form the traveller including at least two laterally spaced apart rollers having parallel axes of rotation.

In one form the rollers act to facilitate the longitudinal movement of the traveller while restraining the traveller against rotation with respect to the hand rail.

In one form the barrier assembly includes a first brush mounted to a lower edge of the first panel and a second brush mounted to a lower edge of the second panel, the brush arranged to minimise air drafts.

According to a second aspect of the invention there is provided barrier assembly for balconies, the barrier assembly including:

    • a lower barrier portion securable to a floor, the lower barrier portion having a hand rail, the hand rail having an underside defining or housing a guide track;
    • a carriage engagable with an upper horizontal carriage track positioned over and vertically spaced apart from the hand rail, the carriage movable along the carriage track;
    • a traveller slidably engaging the guide track of the hand rail; and
    • at least one bi-fold window assembly, the bi-fold window assembly having first and second panels, the first panel having a proximal side hingedly mounted between the hand rail and an upper support for rotation about a vertical axis and a distal side swingable between a position generally adjacent to the hand rail to a position away from the hand rail, the second panel having a proximal side hingedly mounted to the distal side of the first panel and a distal side hingedly and mounted to both the carriage and the traveller for relative rotation about a vertical axis and longitudinal movement with the carriage and traveller in directions parallel to the hand rail,
    • whereby the bi-fold window assembly is movable between an open position and a closed position.

Specific embodiments of the invention will now be described in some further detail with reference to and as illustrated in the accompanying Figures. The embodiments are illustrative, and are not meant to be restrictive of the scope of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENT OF THE INVENTION

A preferred embodiment of the invention is illustrated in the accompanying representations in which:

FIG. 1 shows a barrier assembly for a balcony in an isometric view as viewed from below.

FIG. 2 is a diagrammatic top view showing the barrier assembly of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is an isometric view of the barrier assembly similar to that shown on FIG. 1 or 2 viewed from above and from outside the balcony of FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 is a similar isometric view to that of FIG. 3 but shows a portion of the barrier assembly of FIG. 3 from above and inside of the balcony.

FIG. 5a is a cross-sectional view of the barrier assembly of FIG. 3.

FIG. 5b is an enlarged view of a portion of the barrier assembly of FIG. 5a.

FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional view of the hand rail of the barrier assembly of FIG. 3.

FIG. 7 is an isometric view from the underside of a portion of the barrier assembly of FIG. 3.

FIG. 8 is an isometric view of a roller sub-assembly of the barrier assembly of FIG. 3.

FIG. 9 is an isometric view of an alternative barrier assembly view from above and from inside the balcony of FIG. 3.

FIG. 10 is a similar isometric view to that of FIG. 9 but shows a portion of the barrier assembly of FIG. 9 from above and outside the balcony.

FIG. 11a is a cross-sectional view of the barrier assembly of FIG. 9.

FIG. 11b is an enlarged view of a portion of the barrier assembly of FIG. 11a.

FIG. 12 is a cross-sectional view of the hand rail of the barrier assembly of FIG. 9.

FIG. 13 is a cross-sectional view similar to that shown in FIG. 5b, but showing an alternative bracket and hand rail assembly.

FIG. 14 is a similar to that of FIG. 6 but shows the alternative hand rail of FIG. 13 in more detail.

FIG. 15 is a similar view to that of FIG. 1 but shows an alternative “semi-frameless” embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 16 an isometric view showing an alternative to the roller sub-assembly of FIG. 8, together with an alternative bracket 51.

Referring to FIG. 1, a barrier assembly for a balcony is shown. The barrier assembly 10 includes a lower barrier portion 20 securable to the floor 5 of the balcony 2. The lower barrier portion 20 has a hand rail 22. The hand rail 22 is shown more clearly in FIGS. 3, 4, 5a, 5b and 6. From these Figures, in particular FIG. 6, it can be seen that the hand rail defines a guide track 24 having guide track sidewalls 26.

Referring again to FIG. 1, it can be seen that the barrier assembly 10 also includes a bifold window assembly 40. The bifold window assembly 20 has first and second panels 42 and 47. In this embodiment of the invention, the panels 42 and 47 are glazed. In other embodiments (not shown) louvers may be used.

The first glazed panel 42 has a proximal side 43 that is most clearly shown in FIG. 2. Proximal side 43 is hingedly mounted between the hand rail 22 and an upper support portion for rotation about a vertical axis 41′ as shown in FIG. 3. A distal side 44 is swingable between a position generally above the hand rail 22 to a position inboard of the hand rail. In a similar way, the second glazed panel 47 has a proximal side 48 hingedly mounted to the distal side 44 of the first glazed panel 42. This second glazed panel 47 has a distal side that is both hingedly and slidably mounted between the hand rail 22 and an upper support for rotation about a vertical axis 58′ and longitudinal movement parallel to the hand rail 22.

Having the guide track 24 on the underside of the hand rail 22 not only improves the aesthetics of the barrier assembly, it also provides significant operational advantages. For instance, secretions and material that could otherwise block the guide track 24 are less likely to enter and be captured within the guide track 24 because it opens downwards.

The glazed panels 42 and 47 described above comprise a frame 90 supporting a glass panel 42′ and a frame 100 supporting a glass panel 47′ as shown in FIG. 1.

The barrier assembly 10 further includes a carriage 60 mounted to an upper portion of the distal end of the second glazing panel, the carriage 60 engagable with horizontal carriage track 70 for suspension therefrom as illustrated in FIG. 5a.

A traveller 50, shown in FIG. 3, is mounted to a lower portion of the distal end 49 of the second glazed panel 47. This traveller 50 slidably engages the guide track 24 referred to above and illustrated in FIGS. 5a, 5b and 6.

Referring again to FIG. 1, the bifold window assembly 40 is shown in a intermediate position between opened and closed. From this Figure it is clear that a person on the balcony 2 can manually fold the bifold window assembly 40 to either a fully opened position or to a closed position. When the bifold window assembly 40 is in the fully open position, the balcony 2 functions like a regular balcony with uninterrupted communication of air between the environment and the balcony generally. The hand rail 22 functions like any other hand rail with the guide track 24 concealed and positioned away from the top surface of the hand rail.

Referring now to FIGS. 6 and 7 the traveller 50 can be seen in more detail. The traveller 50 includes two rollers 53 that facilitate longitudinal movement of the traveller 50 and act to provide a means to restrain the traveller 50 against rotation with respect to the hand rail. Referring to FIG. 8, it can be seen that the rollers 52 are laterally spaced apart and have parallel axes of rotation. The rollers 52 are mounted to a roller support 54. The roller support 54 is in turn attached to the bracket 51 using a screw 55. Referring to FIGS. 6 and 7, it can be seen that the rollers 52 are guided by the guide track sidewalls 26 of guide track 24. A lip 28 is provided to capture the rollers 52 within the guide track 24.

A bottom hinge 58 shown in FIGS. 5a, 5b and 7 is provided to allow rotational movement between the second glazed panel 47 and the traveller 50 about an axis 58′.

Referring again to FIG. 3, a fixed hinge axis 41′ is illustrated. Hinging about hinge axis 41′ can be achieved in a number of conventional ways. For instance, a fixed hinge 41 attached to column 9 as illustrated in FIG. 3 can be provided. Generally at least two hinges 41 will be required.

The bifold window assembly 40 is hung at its distal end 49 from a carriage track 70 as illustrated in FIG. 5a. The carriage track supports a carriage 60 having carriage rollers 62 rotating about an axis 62′. The carriage 60 is connected to a top hinge 59 for rotation about hinge axis 58′.

A brush 80 as illustrated in FIG. 3 may be provided to minimize drafts and the ingress or dust and noise into the balcony 2.

Referring now to FIG. 9, an alternative embodiment of the invention is shown.

This embodiment is similar to the embodiment described above with the main difference being that the bracket 51 of the traveller 50 protrudes outwards away from the balcony 2 rather than inwards toward the balcony 2.

With both of the embodiments described above, the hand rail 22 is preferably shaped to provide a sloped hand rail surface 29 as illustrated in FIGS. 6 and 12. This sloped surface provides a number of advantages. First it discourages people placing glasses or other objects on the hand rail 22. This important particularly in highrise building applications where persons below could be at risk of falling objections. A second advantage of the hand rail 22 having a sloped surface 29 arises from the first embodiment of the invention. That advantage is that rain tends to flow down the slope 29 and away from the balcony 2.

Referring now to FIG. 15, an alternative embodiment of the invention is shown that is substantially the same as the embodiment described above, but has semi-frameless panels 42 and 47. These semi-frameless panels comprise glass panels 42′ and 47′ with narrow framing supports provided top and bottom. The framing supports are aluminium extrusions. The top extrusion 94 and bottom extrusion 92 are clearly shown in FIG. 15. With this embodiment of the invention, when the window assembly is in its closed position, a “clean” look is provided without the obstruction from vertical framing members.

In other embodiments of the invention, not shown, a completely frameless glazing system may be employed.

Referring now to FIGS. 13, 14 and 16, alternative components of the barrier assembly are shown.

In FIGS. 13 and 14, it can be seen that the hand rail 22 has a guide track 24 that extends vertically upwards further that the guide track 24 of FIG. 6. This additional vertical space provides for greater variations in the distance between the horizontal carriage track 70 and the hand rail 29.

Referring to FIGS. 13 and 16 it can be seen that the bracket 51 differs from the bracket 51 shown in FIG. 5b. The bracket 51 of FIGS. 13 and 16 includes a strengthening portion 51′.

Returning now to FIG. 16, the roller support 54 includes holes for two screws (or bolts) 55. The two screws 55 ensure that the bracket 51 can not rotate with respect to the roller support 54. Furthermore, the fact that there is pair of spaced apart rollers 52 that sit with in the guide track 24 ensures that the bracket 51 can not rotate with respect to the hand rail 22 and is therefore held in the same orientation shown in the drawings as it slides horizontally.

The attachment of the hand rail 22 to post 15 can be achieved in a number of ways. For instance, the attachment means described in the Applicant's Australian Patent Application No. 2004274513 entitled “Hand rail or Toprail, Post and Panel Assembly and Connector Therefore” can be used and is hereby incorporated by reference.

The bifold window assembly 20 of the barrier assembly 10 can be actuated manually.

That is, an operator may manually open or close the bifold window 20. In other embodiments of the invention, not shown, an electorally driven automatic bifold assembly 20 may be provided. With such an embodiment, a motor is provided within or adjacent to the carriage track 70. The motor may drive, for instance, a worm rod that may extend to a worm nut attached to the top frame 104 of panel 47 as shown in FIG. 15. A wind speed indicator and/or a rain sensor may be provided with a control system to close the bifold window assembly 20 during adverse weather conditions. Such an automated system not only provides to protect the balcony environment, it may also assist in preventing damage to the bifold window assemble 20 itself.

Glazed panels 42 and 47 may be laminated to improve strength, may be tinted to provide privacy and may be treated to improve solar, thermal or acoustic performance.

While the invention has been described in terms of preferred embodiments in order facilitate their understanding of the invention, it should be appreciated that various modifications can be made without departing from the principles of the invention. Therefore, the invention should be understood to include all such modifications within its scope.

Claims

1. A barrier assembly for balconies, the barrier assembly including:

a lower barrier portion securable to a floor, the lower barrier portion having a hand rail, the hand rail having an underside defining or housing a guide track; and
at least one bi-fold window assembly, the bi-fold window assembly having first and second panels, the first panel having a proximal side hingedly mounted between the hand rail and an upper support for rotation about a vertical axis and a distal side swingable between a position generally adjacent to the hand rail to a position away from the hand rail, the second panel having a proximal side hingedly mounted to the distal side of the first panel and a distal side both hingedly and slidably mounted between the hand rail and an upper support for relative rotation about a vertical axis and longitudinal movement parallel to the hand rail,
whereby the bi-fold window assembly is movable between an open position and a closed position.

2. The barrier assembly of claim 1 further comprising:

a carriage engagable with an upper horizontal carriage track positioned over and vertically spaced apart from the hand rail, the carriage movable along the carriage track; and
a traveller slidably engaging the guide track of the hand rail,
wherein the distal side of the second panel of the bi-fold window assembly is hingedly mounted to both the carriage and the traveller for relative rotation about a vertical axis and longitudinal movement with the carriage and traveller in directions parallel to the hand rail.

3. The barrier assembly of claim 2 wherein the first and second panels of the bifold window assembly include glass panels.

4. The barrier assembly of claim 3 wherein each of the first and second panels include a frame.

5. The barrier assembly of claim 4 wherein the frames each include an elongate top frame member and an elongate bottom frame member,

whereby the glass panels connect the top and bottom frame member.

6. The barrier assembly of claim 3 further comprising a means for restraining the traveller against rotation with respect to the hand rail.

7. The barrier assembly of claim 6 wherein the traveller includes at least one roller, the roller rotatable about a vertical axis.

8. The barrier assembly of claim 7 wherein the traveller including at least two laterally spaced apart rollers having parallel axes of rotation.

9. The barrier assembly of claim 8 wherein the rollers act to facilitate the longitudinal movement of the traveller while restraining the traveller against rotation with respect to the hand rail.

10. The barrier assembly of claim 1 further comprising a first brush mounted to a lower edge of the first panel and a second brush mounted to a lower edge of the second panel.

11. A barrier assembly for balconies, the barrier assembly including:

a lower barrier portion securable to a floor, the lower barrier portion having a hand rail, the hand rail having an underside defining or housing a guide track;
a carriage engagable with an upper horizontal carriage track positioned over and vertically spaced apart from the hand rail, the carriage movable along the carriage track;
a traveller slidably engaging the guide track of the hand rail; and
at least one bi-fold window assembly, the bi-fold window assembly having first and second panels, the first panel having a proximal side hingedly mounted between the hand rail and an upper support for rotation about a vertical axis and a distal side swingable between a position generally adjacent to the hand rail to a position away from the hand rail, the second panel having a proximal side hingedly mounted to the distal side of the first panel and a distal side hingedly and mounted to both the carriage and the traveller for relative rotation about a vertical axis and longitudinal movement with the carriage and traveller in directions parallel to the hand rail,
whereby the bi-fold window assembly is movable between an open position and a closed position.

12. The barrier assembly of claim 11 further comprising a means for restraining the traveller against rotation with respect to the hand rail.

13. The barrier assembly of claim 12 wherein the traveller includes at least one roller, the roller rotatable about a vertical axis.

14. The barrier assembly of claim 13 wherein the traveller including at least two laterally spaced apart rollers having parallel axes of rotation.

15. The barrier assembly of claim 14 wherein the rollers act to facilitate the longitudinal movement of the traveller while restraining the traveller against rotation with respect to the hand rail.

16. The barrier assembly of claim 15 further comprising a first brush mounted to a lower edge of the first panel and a second brush mounted to a lower edge of the second panel.

Patent History

Publication number: 20110079762
Type: Application
Filed: Oct 4, 2010
Publication Date: Apr 7, 2011
Inventor: David Adderton (Wingfield)
Application Number: 12/924,727

Classifications

Current U.S. Class: Hinged (256/26)
International Classification: E04H 17/16 (20060101);