Quick storage solutions are the first port of call

Rubb has been quick to react to the ever-changing needs of busy ports, creating a range of storage warehousing structures to suit our clients’ requirements.

The benefits of quick storage fabric structures are their relatively affordable cost, quick construction, and their portability – they are easily relocatable and adaptable to accommodate ports’ changing needs and products warehoused in line with cyclical world trade activities.

Port warehousing these days is highly competitive, but fabric structures are gaining popularity as they become tried and proven. Rubb has installed a series of quick storage warehouse structures, which demonstrate just how compatible and reliable these fabric structures are in a variety of environments.


Recently Rubb designed, manufactured and built its fourth steel-framed, fabric-clad storage building for Belfast Harbour (pictured above). The latest structure is 32.5m wide and 76.5m long and features 6.75m high sidewalls, with outside tapered column legs, which ensure all internal walls have a straight vertical face, making the most of the internal space.

Rubb’s signature hot-dip galvanised steel frame and high tenacity PVC covering membrane ensure very little maintenance is required. The durable PVC membrane cladding on Rubb port warehouses will stand up against corrosion in the harsh marine environment.

Rubb also has a similar port structure at Hendon Docks for the Port of Sunderland and two relocatable animal feed structures for the Port of Workington on England’s west coast, where severe winds and rain are common.

Finn Haldorsen established Rubb in 1966. Although the company started out making tarpaulins and bags from PVC fabric, in 1968 it made the first ‘Rubb Building’. This was the first fabric clad building manufactured in Norway.

Rubb now has offices around the world. In the United States, where Rubb is based in Sanford, Maine, the biggest challenge these days is keeping up with the growing needs of multiple market sectors. However port users still make up 25-30% of the business.

While some people may question the quality of temporary buildings versus permanent structures, USA Marketing Manager Chuck Auger says for Rubb there is no difference. “Our buildings are still built to last. That’s what happens when quality products and engineering are a priority. Our customers have realised that the per day cost of owning and operating a Rubb structure is better value than cheaper options.”


In the Port of Virginia, Rubb has recently installed a ‘game changer’ for the 130-year-old Newport News Shipbuilding company. The North Yard structure now has two retractable weather covers (pictured above) to allow workers to continue a building program despite the elements that can affect the production facility.

Meanwhile, a large percentage of new Rubb structures are being insulated using Thermohall, a patented insulation system, which is becoming increasingly popular. One example of such a structure completed at an extremely challenging location is a moveable Thermohall clad structure for the U.S. National Science Foundation. The mean annual air temperature where the structure (pictured below) is located is -31 degrees Fahrenheit. On the innovation side, the 9.7m by 29.5m Rubb building has been set on a foundation of wood/metal that can be compared to a giant toboggan, so the structure can be moved over the Polar ice cap periodically to prevent being snowed over.


For more information about Rubb’s fast and flexible storage solutions, please visit www.rubb.com today.


Building the scenes for a new Rubb Group video


Our new video is set to take viewers behind the scenes at the Rubb Group to highlight the design, manufacturing and construction processes that underpin our fabric building solutions.

Creative company Studio Wallop has been busy gathering video footage and images over the summer for the new company film for the Rubb Group.

Staff and ongoing work at Rubb took centre stage when Studio Wallop spent some time on site filming the design and manufacturing processes involved in creating Rubb fabric structures.


Studio Wallop is an independent creative studio based in Liskeard, Cornwall, specialising in film, animation, photography and design. Set up by director and designer Stephen Tolfrey, Studio Wallop has more than 24 years experience in producing work for many clients, from small independents to major international brands.

Owner/Producers Stephen and Kim Tolfrey filmed at Rubb’s design and sales offices and PVC and steel manufacturing workshops. They also visited the site where Rubb’s building frame steel work is hot dip galvanized to protect it from corrosion.


Staff from Rubb Marketing and the film crew visited two high profile Rubb buildings in the north east of England: Newcastle United and Sunderland Association Football Clubs’ training facilities. These two sports buildings are considered to be flagship indoor football training hubs and are good examples of how Rubb building systems can help protect players from the elements, while providing an internal light and airy atmosphere thanks to our translucent roofing systems.


From the pitch to the airfield

With filming and photography complete at Rubb and key sites in the north, Studio Wallop then set off on the long road trip to Gatwick Airport for the opening of the new Rubb aircraft hangar for easyJet at Gatwick Airport. The new top-flight, two-bay facility provides 5200sq m (58,125sq ft) of usable working floorspace and can accommodate two Airbus A321s at the same time.

The video also features other projects and highlights from throughout the Rubb Group, which has operations in the UK, USA, Norway, Sweden and Singapore.

Rubb Group CEO Rune Vamråk said: “We are very proud of our new video. Studio Wallop and the staff involved did a great job. The video allows clients to explore our commitment to excellence in engineering in everything we do, while watching the processes involved when creating our quality fabric building solutions.”

You can view the Rubb Group video here.


Explore apprenticeships at Rubb

Looking for the best route to careers in design, manufacturing and construction? Apprenticeships could hold the key. Our apprentice Liam Whyatt, aged 19, talks about his journey and experiences…


What is your job title?

Apprentice Design Engineer

How long have you been working in this role?

I have been employed since September 2014, however I was at college full time until January 2015. Then I started working four days a week with a day release at college.

Describe the journey that led to your apprenticeship

I began my higher education studying Art, Maths and Physics at A-level. After half a year I felt it wasn’t the right route for me take. I felt like I had no sense of direction and the lack of practical work disinterested me. I decided to leave sixth form after my first year and began looking for an apprenticeship in engineering. I came across Tyne North Training at a careers fair. After a few tests and interviews I was accepted into Tyne North Training and they helped me get an interview with potential employers. Rubb Buildings Ltd responded and offered me an interview. Shortly after that I was employed as an apprentice design engineer.

Can you describe your working day?

Rubb Buildings Ltd manufactures engineered fabric buildings: portable structures, relocatable buildings, shelters, hangars and custom facilities. I’m tasked to do different things every day, so no two days are the same. At work, I could be producing a ‘Plans and Elevations’ drawing using AutoCAD and Google SketchUp, or producing steelwork, foundation and PVC production drawings for a building we’ve been tasked to design.

What’s the best thing about the job?

I think being surrounded by nice people who help me and I can be open around is a huge benefit, especially as an apprentice. I can have a laugh with my colleagues and I don’t feel uncomfortable when asking questions, and this really helps with my learning. I’m learning something new every day. It is enjoyable and I’m getting payed to do something I’m interested in, which is even better.

Any negatives?

I suppose the worst thing is the frustration of not being as good as the other draughtsmen. They’ve obviously been at Rubb longer than me and they know everything about the work they’re involved in. However, this inspires me to improve my skill set and gain more experience.

What stand-out projects have you got involved in so far

We recently made an indoor trampoline park for a client. It was huge and I was involved from the start. I got to make the conceptual 3D models for it and later on helped with a lot of the design work. What really struck me was going on site visits and seeing the park coming together. Seeing a job through the computer screen is one thing, but seeing it when it was being built was a great experience. When it was completed it was amazing to see something which people were enjoying and knowing I had helped design it.

What has been your career highlight to date?

Again, getting to see the finished trampoline park for myself was a treat. We all went down before it opened to test it out. This was great fun, and ended a challenging project on a positive note.

How would you describe life as a working engineer?

I’ve enjoyed my first year as an apprentice engineer. It has been challenging at times but rewarding. When you’re working you forget how much you are learning and looking back over the last year I can say I’ve gained so much experience.

What did you expect when you started work?

I wasn’t exposed to engineering until getting my apprenticeship so I honestly didn’t know what to expect. Initially I thought I would be doing all sorts of boring work before being trusted to work on more interesting projects.

Was it what you expected or did anything surprise you?

As soon as I started I was working on interesting, thought provoking projects. I started on getting to know the basics of the drawing software we use and then I was on my way to doing sales drawings. This surprised me and I was impressed at the amount of trust which was put in me from the very start. I was treated like an adult from day one.

Is there any advice you’d like to pass on to those about to enter an engineering workplace?

I would advise anyone wanting to start a career in engineering to go down the apprenticeship route. There’s nothing better than getting paid to learn, especially when the workplace is interesting, challenging and the people in it are friendly and helpful. Just make sure you enjoy yourself and try to take in as much useful information and experience as possible.

What do you think you’ll do next?

After gaining my BTEC level 3 in Mechanical Engineering and finishing my NVQ, I hope to move on to my HNC. Gaining more experience at work is also another thing I’m striving for. Hopefully, I’ll move up the workforce and achieve great things for my company.

Newcastle Aviation Academy and Airport


Rubb UK enjoyed the opportunity to explore behind the scenes at Newcastle College’s  Aviation Academy and Newcastle Airport with other members of the Advanced Manufacturing Forum recently. It was an excellent tour.

Tim Jacklin, Manager of Newcastle Aviation Academy and RAF Engineering Veteran, provided an informative tour of the facility. Based at Newcastle International Airport, the £3.3million Aviation Academy allows students to develop their knowledge and skills in an exciting and practical environment.

Facilities include a Boeing 737 fully functional aircraft, incorporating all systems on which students can carry out standard repairs on the flying controls, engine, power supply, air conditioning and landing gear. The academy also features a series of workshops kitted out with the very latest equipment, designed for the study of specific aspects of aircraft engineering and an IT Suite equipped with modern CBT training equipment for the electrical and electronic practical training.

We also found out more about Newcastle International Airport’s Training Academy which provides world class training to businesses and individuals from across the globe. Course are available in Aviation, Firefighting, First Aid, Security, Offshore Emergency Response, Crisis Management and a whole range of other safety related courses. Customers include Heathrow Airport, Faro International Airport, Vector Aerospace and a number of organisations from other industries.

A look behind the scenes of baggage handling completed the tour and gave us some unique insight into the operations at Newcastle Airport.

Rubb UK continues to provide a variety of aircraft hangars to the aerospace and defence sectors. To find out more please visit http://www.rubbuk.com/products/aircraft-hangars.htm



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