An eventful show for Rubb

Shepard New Video

Day 5 – The last day
After some great media coverage (pictured above) and positive meetings, it was always going to be tough to top Day 4, especially with Ian heading home this morning. In an attempt not to jinx what has been a good show so far, I started the day the same as every other, gym, breakfast then taxi to the show. Luckily or unluckily, depending upon how you view it, I am now all out of gym clothes, so I am planning on having a night off tonight to celebrate before flying home.
One thing I hadn’t considered until now is how quickly we settled into the show and the routine. Over the week has almost become second nature, getting up early for the gym, the journey to the show, even getting through security and the walk to the stand. Everyone has been extremely friendly and accommodating and this has helped no end to make a hectic week that little bit easier.

EFASS in action

The footfall is inevitably slower on the last day of any show, so with that in mind I had identified a few companies to visit, in a bid to follow up on previous conversations and also lay down some networking foundations for promoting our military buildings (pictured above) at DSEI.
All in all IDEX 2015 has been a pretty good show with some promising leads to follow up when we get home. On another plus side, unlike Eurosatory, my new sunglasses survived this show and there was not one train strike in site…

Lights, camera, action at IDEX

Andy On Film

Day 3 – Continued
Between a couple of quality visits in the afternoon and an impromptu video interview with Shephard Media‘s Tim Fish, Land and Support Editor (pictured above), we were able to arrange two very promising meetings for Day 4, which could really put the icing on the IDEX cake. The afternoon was steady and the show was at its halfway point. We were feeling very positive given the quality of the enquiries we had received so far. This coupled with Wednesday’s meetings had given us an energy boost, which is just as well as it was time for home and yet another gym session.

Day 4 – A busy day
The morning of Day 4 started the same as always (I am now on first name terms with all the members of the gym). After a quick catch up with UKTI, we arrived at the stand early to prepare for our meetings. The morning saw quite a flurry of visitors to the stand and a visit from an old customer of ours, who was good to catch up with.

Meeting at IDEX 2015

Our meetings were scheduled for the afternoon. Both went extremely well, allowing us to make some strong connections which will hopefully open some extra doors into the region. Day 4 has been the hardest day so far, but regarding the people we have met and spoken to, it has been without doubt our best day at the show to date…

A grand gala event

Rubb Sales Manager Andy Knox shares more IDEX news on the Rubb Blog. Find out more about the must-attend event of the show below…

Day 2 – Continued

As more live demonstrations got underway the stand was quieter in the afternoon, however as the final hour of the show approached we had two excellent meetings that really put a spring in our step, that not even the notorious IDEX taxi queue could dampen. The plan for the evening was simple, gym, shower and then off to the Gala Reception (pictured below) for some networking.

IDEX Gala Reception Abu Dhabi

Day 3 – Gala gossip

Again we completed an early morning gym session followed by breakfast and a taxi to the show. Gym sessions, two times a day, on top of a full day at the show are taking their toll, especially after the Gala Reception, but MD Ian Hindmoor is in full flow and and fully dedicated to his new healthy lifestyle. Take a look at his progress here:

Upon arrival at the show the visitors’ queue was out of the door again, which is always a good sign. It didn’t take long for our first visitors to arrive and Day 3 was officially underway. The footfall has been intermittent, which has worked quite well to help us get caught up on emails, walk the show and get to know our stand neighbours. The main topic today was last night’s Gala Reception at the Emirates Palace Hotel. It was an excellent event, nice venue, good food and good entertainment. The downside was that there was no seating, and after two gym sessions and all day on my feet I was ready for a comfy chair, but that could just be me getting old…

Rubb lands at IDEX

Rubb Managing Director Ian Hindmoor (pictured below right) and Sales Manager Andy Knox gear up for IDEX 2015. Andy returns to the Rubb Blog with all the latest news from the show in Abu Dhabi…

Rubb Stand 06-A38
Setting up – An early start
We checked into the hotel at 4am on Saturday and then we were up and out again at 8am to go and collect our passes and set up ready for the opening day. The stand showcasing our military buildings looked good (Hall 06 – Stand A38). Once we had checked everything over and delivered our brochures to the appropriate parties we were done ready for the show to start.
We could not have picked a better hotel. The Novotel Al Bustan is clean, friendly, comfortable and perfectly located, just a five minute taxi ride to and from the exhibition centre. The plan was simple, gym, food, beer whilst watching the match and then bed (we won’t discuss the match).

Day 1 – Don’t look down!
We arrived at the exhibition nice and early on Sunday to get a pre-show walk around and get our bearings. The morning was a little quiet but the opening ceremony was very entertaining and by the afternoon the familiar buzz of chatter was in the air and the show was starting to gather some speed.
Amongst the delegates there was a stand-out person of interest that had to be approached. James Kingston, professional adventurer from Channel 4’s Don’t Look Down documentary was more than accommodating when approached for a quick business selfie. James (pictured below left with Rubb MD Ian Hindmoor) had been scaling the roof tops of Dubai just the day before – feel free to take a look at his latest daredevil antics at
James Kingston at IDEX
Before we knew it the day was done and it was time for a quick shower and turn around for a reception hosted by Ambassador Philip Parham CMG at the British Embassy. As always this was a first class networking event allowing us to spread the Rubb name.

Day 2 – A busy day ahead
A 7am gym session kicked Day 2 off with a bang, followed by breakfast and a taxi to the show. Straight away it was evident that Day 2 was going to be busier than the opening day – the queue for security was nearly out the door and it wasn’t even opening hours.
A quick catch up with emails and the office back home was quickly interrupted by two visits of interest and a familiar face which is always nice, the day was panning out nicely…..

Apprentice builds experience in design and engineering at Rubb

Apprentice Liam Whyatt at Rubb Buildings Ltd

Rubb Buildings Ltd has welcomed our first Technical Apprentice to our Engineering Design Department at Team Valley Trading Estate, Gateshead.

Liam Whyatt, who attended Heworth Grange School decided that he wanted to pursue a technical apprenticeship rather than go to university after achieving excellent GCSE and AS Level grades.

Liam, who is studying Mechanical Engineering at Tyne Metropolitan College, Wallsend, said: “I really wanted to gain some hands-on experience in the world of work. At Rubb it is really interesting how all the elements of design, manufacturing and construction come together in one place. I am looking forward to working here.”

Rubb Buildings Ltd specialises in the design and manufacture of quality relocatable and permanent engineered fabric structures.

Design Office Manager Dale Robinson (pictured above, left) added: “We are pleased Liam has decided to pursue an apprenticeship route with Rubb. From first-hand experience a ‘work while you learn’ system gives a better practical understanding of the theory taught in universities and colleges. Liam has a keen interest in engineering and will develop the skills and knowledge at Rubb to become a successful engineer and play a key role in the future development of the company.”

Liam (pictured above, right) applied to Tyne North Training Ltd in the summer of 2014, where he completed assessments and the interview process. It became clear to TNT that Liam’s future looked bright in the field of Design Engineering, which in the past has been a profession, which started at university.

TNT began working to secure an Engineering Technical Support apprenticeship placement for the 18-year-old.

TNT Training Officer John Hopper said: “This apprenticeship at Rubb is a great opportunity for a young dynamic apprentice. Rubb’s engineers design, plan and manufacture innovative and efficient semi-permanent buildings for a variety of applications.

“Liam will be involved from the start of a project to ensure that he learns all about and contributes to Rubb coming up with the best custom design for their clients. This is an exciting role for any young apprentice who wishes to become a professional engineer.”

Structural Engineer’s passion for design leads from apprenticeship to chartership

Structural Engineer Dale Robinson

Dale Robinson (Structural Engineer, Rubb UK) has recently been elected to become a chartered member of the Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE). The IStructE describes itself as “the world’s leading professional body for structural engineering. Only the best thinkers, designers, and innovators successfully meet our exacting entrance requirements. It’s a tough journey, but it has to be. Once accredited with membership, you will be recognised worldwide as a structural engineer working at the highest level of technical and professional expertise. For many, the Institution is the preferred route to the top.” Read Dale’s account of his journey right here on the Rubb UK Blog…

I was recently elected to become a chartered member of the Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE). It’s been a long journey for me and I recall my initial ambition to become a chartered structural engineer was in 2005 while working for Rubb Buildings Ltd. I’d always had a passion for design, which only became greater during my engineering apprenticeship, prior to joining Rubb. While working at Rubb I was introduced to the wonderful and complex side of structural engineering.

The institution of Structural Engineers is believed to be the leading professional body dedicated to structural engineering. To gain chartership of the IStructE is a rigorous process and tests competence in all aspects of structural engineering.

It’s a four-stage process and you are required to meet the following criteria:

  • Satisfy the educational requirement. A degree generally of minimum MEng or MSc level which must be accredited by the IStructE
  • Complete the Institution’s Initial Professional Development, which consist of 13 core objectives based around all aspects of structural engineering along with a portfolio of work
  • Attend and pass a Professional Review Interview. You are expected to give a short presentation on some of your work which will be followed with an interview process which is based around your portfolio of work and core objectives
  • Attend and pass the seven hour Chartered Membership Examination

When I initially started employment at Rubb I was educated to HNC level (equivalent of A-levels). I immediately recognised the need to fill the gap in the educational requirements. I enrolled to do a part time BEng degree in civil engineering at Teesside University. This was a four-year part time course based on one day a week at university. I performed successfully on the course and graduated with first class honours.

During the course I was awarded the James Winship Jackson Award by the Cleveland Scientific Institution for outstanding performance on an undergraduate course. I was highly commended in the student of the year award by Constructing Excellence in the North East (CENE). In my final year I was presented with the Institution of Structural Engineers Student Prize for achievement in analysis and design.

Following completion of my civil engineering degree I progressed onto a full-time Master’s degree in structural engineering. This was a one year course based at the University of Leeds which I succeeded with distinction.

The Institute then sets a series of core objectives which you must satisfy to set standards to apply for your chartership. The only way to achieve the core objectives is through experience in the workplace and it is expected it will take a minimum of four years of full time employment. When your mentor is satisfied you are at the required standard you must demonstrate your experience through a portfolio of work showing clearly how you have achieved each objective, with examples. Submission of the portfolio is shortly followed by a professional review interview. You are required to attend an interview with at least two assessors (experienced IStructE members) for whom you give a short presentation, typically on an interesting past project you have worked on.

This is followed with a more traditional interview process where you will be asked a series of questions based around your experience and the core objectives. If you pass the professional review interview you then become eligible to sit the chartership exam. The exam is notorious for being extremely difficult which is reflected in its pass rate (approximately 35%). It’s a seven-hour exam which you need to fit a week’s worth of work into. Although structural design is a large part of an engineer’s daily activity it is only a small part of the examination. Problem solving, concept, letter writing, appraisal, environmental, programming and health and safety all form part of the questions. You really need to know your “stuff” do get through the exam.

After successfully passing my interview in December (2013) I pulled together a revision programme that I felt would suitably prepare me for the examination. I had planned to start this at the beginning of January, however I didn’t get underway until the start of February. This still gave me 10/11 weeks of preparation. I initially focused on pulling a file together which I would take into the exam. You are allowed to take as much information into the exam as possible, but trust me you don’t get time to look at it! It was useful for example calculations and the odd look up for something you’re not sure of, but the remaining 300 pages went unturned.

I then spent a few weeks looking over examiners comments and some example papers. This gave me a good idea of what the markers were looking for. The last five weeks leading to the exam I would do mock exams on the weekend. I initially started doing a Saturday morning, then progressed onto Saturday and Sunday mornings, eventually doing a full day Saturday. I don’t think I ever got a full mock exam finished in the allocated time, probably because you can’t comprehend the psychological pressure until you actually sit the exam.

You naturally come out of the exam drained and because you haven’t had time to reflect during the exam you start to replay it through your head straight away. You start to focus on what you think you’ve done wrong or could have done better. Needless to say the three-month wait for the result is excruciating. However, receiving the information I passed was fantastic news, and because of the low pass rate and the fact the majority of people do not pass first time, I felt it was even a greater achievement.

To become a chartered structural engineer is something I take great pride in and my employer and family share in this pride. This is not something that has been easy and has taken considerable effort, time and sacrifice. This will no doubt benefit Rubb for years to come and puts us in a strong position as ever in regards to design and development.

Now I have achieved this it will free up time to delve deeper into some ideas and innovations that I have thought about for some time and will hopefully develop some research. I don’t view achieving my chartership as the end of the journey; it’s just the end of an early chapter.

Dale Robinson

Structural Engineer / Design Manager

BEng Msc CEng MIStructE

BIG meeting sets the agenda for Research and Development at Rubb


The Rubb Group’s Buildings Innovation Group (BIG) came together on September 4th, 2014, to discuss new innovations in the fabric building industry. Rune Vamråk (Group CEO), Dale Robinson (Structural Engineer, Rubb UK), Jamie Bshara (Operations Manager, Rubb USA), Ole Martin Råen (Fabric Production General Manager, Norway), Bjorn Øyvind Råen (Cad Engineer/Project Manager, Norway), Øyvind Sjølie Karlsen (Design Manager, Strukturas) and Gregor Urban (Design Engineer, Norway), gathered to discuss the latest hot topics at Rubb UK’s HQ in Gateshead. Dale Robinson reports from behind the scenes for the Rubb Blog…

The Buildings Innovation Group (BIG) is the latest development in Rubb’s continued drive to deliver the most innovative products to the market and continue to stay ahead of our competitors. The main aim of the BIG is to secure long term focused research and development with regard to products and services, whilst seeking continuous improvements throughout the business.

It was agreed the first BIG meeting would be held at Rubb UK and we welcomed attendees from the Rubb Group’s USA and Norwegian Operating Companies. The attendees, some experienced employees and some fairly new faces to the Rubb team, brought a wealth of knowledge and freshness to the meeting.

There was plenty to talk about, and while waiting for the meeting to make an official start it was no surprise to find the discussion turned to England’s victory over Norway in the football the night before! The meeting was chaired by Rubb’s CEO, Rune Vamråk, who had the initial vision of bringing all of Rubb’s technical expertise together. The meeting started with Rune giving a brief explanation of the focus of the group, which followed with introductions, including everyone’s role and experience within the company. We then took it in turn to discuss items that each OpCo wanted to place on the agenda for further research and development. Then recent projects each Rubb branch had been working on came under the spotlight. It was good to gain an understanding of how each of the companies valued different areas for research and development.

Following a short break we concentrated on Norway’s list of priorities. Norway experiences high snow loads, so it was no surprise this was a major subject, but you would be surprised how much discussion you can have about snow! Without going into too much detail about exactly what was discussed (we don’t want to give away all our secrets), we also covered some of Norway’s additional areas of focus. We then took the opportunity to show our visitors around the UK plant, discussing the process of fabric and steel production.

Following lunch, a short presentation demonstrated how the UK structurally analyse buildings. This was followed with in-depth discussions regarding the UK’s and USA’s list of potential R&D. To bring the meeting to a close we all reflected on the day, talking about what we each found most useful and what we could take away from the meeting. Everyone declared the meeting a success. It was great to share ideas around the table and gain greater knowledge of how each company is operating.

The meeting ended and unfortunately some of our guests were heading home that evening. The remaining guests explored some of the historic landmarks of Durham City, located near our Gateshead office. We took a brief tour around Durham Market Place, home to St Nicholas’s church and Neptune’s statue. We then proceeded up the old cobbled Saddler Street, which leads to the grounds of the Cathedral and Castle. We were able to get access inside the Cathedral to view some of the magnificent architecture. Everyone appreciated the wonderful scenery inside and out, which was enhanced by the imminent sunset. We finally brought the day to close with a meal and some sociable drinks at a local restaurant.

We are beginning to see the potential of the BIG, with plans already in motion and some actioned. The communication between the group has increased and it’s good to finally put some name to faces. There is no doubt the meetings will benefit the company and our customers. There is certainly plenty of R&D to progress in the near future so watch this space!