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.



Ask the Engineer: Occupancy Categories

Ask the Engineer is a blog segment presented by the engineering department at Rubb Building Systems. Our goal is to help Rubb customers to understand the world of structure engineering in a way that is free of jargon and easy to comprehend. We hope to educate, advise, and consult on best practices and why proper engineering is crucial to project safety and cost over the long term.

What is an “Occupancy Category”?

Occupancy category is defined as the purpose for which a building or other structure, or part thereof, is used or intended to be used. “It essentially breaks down to how many people are inside, whether it’s temporary or permanent, and the function of the building,” our engineer explained. There are four occupancy categories, each determined by the nature of the occupancy which is based on elements such as hazard to human life in the event of failure, economic impact, essentiality of the facility, and so on. The basic breakdown is as follows:

Occupancy Categories

Why do structural engineers need occupancy categories?

The purpose of occupancy categories is to calculate your design load, which is the maximum force a building must handle before being deemed unsafe. This is based on the combined weight of the building materials, occupants, and environmental effects such as snow, wind, rain, seismic activity, ice, etc.

What is an importance factor?

Importance factors are numeric values assigned to each occupancy category that will increase or decrease the design loads for snow, wind, rain, seismic activity, ice, etc. when multiplied by the base load. This calculation system is based on a minimum requirement in which the primary intent is to protect the life and safety of the public. Therefore, a higher hazard to human life will result in a higher design load, and a lower hazard to human life will result in a lower design load. Occupancy category II will always have an importance factor of 1.0, thus making the design load the same as the base load.

Who determines the occupancy category?

Occupancy category is determined by the authority having jurisdiction over the project. Although the engineer is not responsible for choosing the occupancy category, it is useful for them to know when calculating design loads for a structure.

How does occupancy category affect building costs?

Depending on the occupancy category, your price will fluctuate to account for the structural requirements and cost of materials. Higher occupancy categories will result in higher costs, and lower occupancy categories will result in lower costs. When researching and pricing out your building, it is important to compare “apples to apples”, and make sure the occupancy category is appropriate for the intended use of the building.

How does Rubb view occupancy categories?

Rubb Building Systems takes occupancy categories and the safety of those in our buildings very seriously. Unfortunately, others may not, capitalizing on technicalities in the wording of each occupancy category. Where does the line get drawn between “minor” and “major”, or “temporary” and “permanent”? “A responsible engineer determines the intended use and the customer needs, and uses their best judgment in determining occupancy category,” our engineer stressed. All of our engineers take the time and care to put the occupancy category on top of every cover sheet, so that our clients can see it up front and use it in correlation with other information. Our calculations are in accordance with the most current building codes, and all plans and drawings are documented and signed before sending them to our clients.

Didn’t answer your question? You can contact us by leaving a comment, e-mailing us, or messaging us on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, or Google+ and we’ll be happy to respond as soon as possible. You can also contact us by phone at 1-800-289-7822 or visit us at 1 Rubb Lane, Sanford, ME 04073.

Art or Architecture: From Stone to Fabric

Göbekli TepeAs we progress further into the 21st century, so does the structure of our society; quite literally in fact. The demand for unique, creative, and contemporary buildings is more prevalent now than ever before, and that begs the question; is it art or is it architecture?

Architecture is one of the oldest professions known to man. From the Neolithic period came Göbekli Tepe, also known as the World’s first temple, which is a formation of stacked stones that dates back almost twelve thousand years. From Ancient Mesopotamia came ziggurats, giant monoliths that incorporated a long staircase leading to a terraced roof. From the Ancient Egyptian Pyramids of Giza, to the Persian Persepolis, to India’s Taj Mahal, architecture is a prominent and historic part of every culture. And although we classify them as aesthetically pleasing relics now, they were initially built with practicality in mind, rather than style.

Although artistic architecture has become widely accepted as hip and exclusive in today’s day and age, so much that the two almost seem to be synonymous, that was not necessarily the case in the early 20th century. Expressionist Architecture was seen as a protest movement surrounding the activities of World War I with the intention of opening the doors to a futuristic and Utopian society. Many of these Expressionists came from the central European avant guarde, and pioneered the use of new building materials such as steel, concrete, glass, and fabric, as well as experimented with distortion of space and curvature in their designs to reflect the emotion and mood of that period. Some examples include the Grundtvig’s Church in Copenhagen, Denmark completed in 1940, the famously known Sydney Opera House in Sydney, Australia completed in 1973, and Frei Otto’s fabric tension coverings on the Tuwaiq Palace in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia completed in 1985.

Since the turn of the century, almost anything goes when considering a design, and that includes the adoption of fabric structures like Otto’s. Within the boundaries of construction codes, buildings can be as big or as strange as your heart desires, further Home Within Homeblurring the line between art and architecture. Take, for example, artist Do Ho Suh’s exhibit at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Gwacheon, South Korea titled Home within Home within Home within Home within Home. This whimsical masterpiece is made up of a thin wire frame that is tightly and delicately wrapped in deep blue silk fabric, and replicates Suh’s different residencies: one of his childhood home in Korea and the other of his first apartment in the United States. Another example of artistic architecture, or architectural art, is Peter Steinhauer’s photographic series titled Cocoons 1 and Cocoons 2. These vibrantly colorful and intricate pictures capture bamboo framework covered in dyed silk fabric that envelops buildings under construction in Hong Kong, China, and are a true testament to the symbiotic relationship of art and architecture.

UCLAEven here at Rubb, Inc., we consider both functionality and presentation when designing our fabric buildings. One of our most noted structures was a temporary facility to house the Powell Library at the University of California, Los Angeles, which was featured on the cover of Architectural Record Magazine in March 1993. And over twenty years later, we are still committed to the same ideals in regards to art in architecture. Designed to inspire – Engineered to impress.

From Blue to Green: 5 Ways Rubb is Eco-Friendly

Fuel Tank CoversIn honor of World Environment Day, we decided to reflect on some of the things that make Rubb, Inc. an eco-friendly organization. Whether it’s recycling, reducing energy consumption, or preventing pollution, we consider the environmental impact of our products at all stages of their life cycle from design, to manufacturing, to customer use and finally to recycling or disposal.

  1. Environmental Buildings – Rubb has provided environmental protection structures to a variety of companies that foster good neighbor and green policy plans. From chemical and fuel tank covers, portable water and sewage covers, to nuclear decontamination facilities, to land remediation buildings, all Rubb environmental structures meet health and safety requirements and environmental protection laws. And the best part is that covers can be readily decontaminated to be used again or to be recycled when appropriate.
  2. Hot-Dip Galvanization – Steel, the most recycled material in the world, and zinc, the 27th most abundant element in the Earth’s crust, are both 100% recyclable infinitely without the loss of any mechanical properties. And not only is zinc recyclable, it is a natural element that plays an essential role in the biological processes of all living organisms, including humans, animals, and plants. Because of the longevity of hot-dip galvanized steel, it has the potential to deliver huge economic savings, as well as contributing to the global economy. Rubb, along with other organizations like the American Galvanizers Association and our partnered vendors, is committed to sustainable development and a better environmental future with hot-dip galvanization.
  3. PVC – Polyvinyl chloride, commonly known as PVC, is a polymer used safely and successfully in a range of applications, and is completely recyclable. In our case, Rubb uses PVC to coat highest grades of flame retardant, high tenacity polyester which features a rip-stop structure weave to prevent tears.
    By coating the fabric with PVC, it gives the membranes of our buildings color, strength and waterproof properties. In 2012 Rubb was approached by our fabric supplier Serge Ferrari, located in France, with a proposal to support a green initiative. Through a relationship with a recycling company in Italy that prepares recycled materials for manufacturing, Rubb was able to contribute a 40′ ISO container filled with scrap and unserviceable fabric materials.
  4. Thermohall – Rubb’s patented Thermohall Insulation System is the most eco-friendly relocatable building on the market today. Between using insulation that consists mostly of recycled glass, extensive heat and energy savings, and natural lighting that reduces electricity, Thermohall proves just how dedicated Rubb is to protecting the environment.
  5. Internal Movements – Not only does Rubb have a strict Environmental Policy for our processes and product designs, we also make a conscious effort to be internally environmentally friendly. Here at our Sanford, Maine facility, we recycle paper, cans and bottles, magazines, electronics, and just about everything that can be recycled.  We encourage staff to be part of wellness initiatives, and even purchased Rubb branded water bottles that are made with recycled materials, BPA and lead free, and FDA approved.

So there you have it – who knew Rubb blue was so green. We hope that you celebrate World Environment Day by leaving comments and letting us know which ways you are eco-friendly too.

The Benefits of Hot-Dip Galvanization Answered by Rubb

If you are in the market for a steel framed building, careful thought should be given to the construction materials, and ultimately, on the manufacturing process of the structures’ framework to ensure its quality and longevity. You could have the steel painted; although the paint is prone to chipping, which can result in rust damage. You could have the steel pre-galvanized; although the welding process strips off the zinc, making the weld point susceptible to rust . Or you could have the steel hot-dip galvanized, a technique used in the post-production of all Rubb Buildings. But before deciding on a process, it is important to understand what exactly galvanization entails.

Galvanization is the process of applying a protective zinc coating to steel or iron to prevent rusting. The most common method used today is hot-dip galvanization, in which the steel or iron is submerged in a tank of hot zinc in its fabricated shape to ensure the entire structure gets coated, and therefore, is completely protected from rust and erosion. And you might not think so, but hot-dip galvanization is much more intricate than simply giving the steel a zinc bath.

Before being submerged, the steel must undergo a caustic cleaning. This involves soaking it in a hot alkali solution to remove any contaminants such as oil or grease built up during production. Then the pieces are subjected to pickling, a cycle in which the steel is immersed in an acid solution to remove surface scale and any existing rust. Finally, before getting dipped in zinc, the steel must be put through the fluxing process. The flux is a substance used to r
 oxides from and prevent further oxidation of fused metals, and in the case of hot-dip galvanization, zinc ammonium chloride is used. Because the density of the flux is less than that of the zinc, it floats on the surface, allowing for fluxing and coating to be done simultaneously.

Now that you know hot-dip galvanization is, I’m sure the next question on your mind is “How much does it cost?
Golden Gate Bridge

Although every structure will have a unique cost depending on the size, shape, and other project specs, you really want to be thinking about how long you want your building to last. Post production hot-dip galvanizing to the framework offers corrosion protection that is far superior to other construction types, minimizing maintenance costs and ensuring long term structural integrity. And that’s the key – long term savings. A case study showed that if the Golden Gate Bridge had been hot-dip galvanized, the potential savings would be around $319 million. That’s enough to build the entire bridge several times over!

So if you are in the market for a steel framed building, you have to decide; do you want a structure that is going to rust, or do you want it hot-dip galvanized?

10 Sports Facilities Questions Answered by Rubb

  1. What space is available at your location? Available in spans from 65′ to 262′ (20m to 80m) wide by any length, Rubb has over 30 years’ experience in meeting individual requirements for custom buildings. With this experience, we are able to provide a complete package for sports halls and training complexes, including help with planning approval and the installation of all services such as roads, drainage, mechanical and electrical services. As experts in space usage and efficiency, we offer a wide range of advice on how to maximize the potential of any sports facility.
  2. What will the facility be used for? Rubb can tailor designs to accommodate a variety of athletic activities. Whether its soccer, field hockey, lacrosse, football, ultimate frisbee, baseball, basketball, gymnastics, tennis, rock climbing, horseback riding enclosures or professional training facilities, Rubb Sportspans provide an economical building solution.
  3. Why play inside? Rubb sports buildings are highly cost-effective building and our use of translucent fabric gives the impression of playing and training outside. And now, with the development of our Thermohall Insulation System, teams and individuals are provided with first class illumination and full weather protection in any climate that also yields significant energy savings.
  4. What equipment will you need to ensure your activities can run smoothly? Rubb can provide features and equipment such as bleachers, rebound walls, division nets and curtains, scoreboards, and a variety of other customizable owner supplied options.
  5. What kind of flooring are you looking for? Rubb can accommodate any surface needs with state of the art floor solutions, including Synthetic Infill Sports Turf installed on a crushed gravel base, hard wood court or a multi-sport synthetic surface, and high density playing surfaces available in a choice of colors. Design the floor to function as one large playing surface or sub-divide it into smaller surfaces for younger age groups or training programs. Rubb takes pride in being flexible and partnering with trusted businesses, and is comfortable working with local providers for flooring and equipment needs.
  6. What building materials will be used? Rubb buildings are designed to meet or exceed local building, fire and safety codes, and use only the highest quality materials and components in the manufacturing process. Rubb’s traditional galvanized internal steel frame resists corrosion and is virtually maintenance free and PVC membrane cladding materials are sourced from reputable suppliers with long and proven track records of supplying architectural membranes. As a public service warning, Rubb does not condone the use of harmful or lesser materials, and urges clients to be cautious of companies promoting inferior substances.
  7. What are the energy savings and environmental benefits? Rubb’s Thermohall Insulation System offers great energy savings and is environmentally friendly, both in fabrication and operation. Elimination of air gaps in the cladding reduces heat loss and helps control condensation, non-combustible glass wool insulation encapsulated in air and water tight pockets offers protection for any climate, and all recyclable materials provide eco-friendly solutions. Structures can be temporary or permanent; readily adaptable to suit changing requirements, extendable, relocatable and reusable ensuring a cost effective solution in the long term.
  8. What experience does Rubb have with Sports Buildings? Take a look at projects, photos, videos, brochures, and building highlights on our website.
  9. How do I contact Rubb for my Sports Building needs? Send us a project inquiry, send us an e-mail at, or call toll free at 1-800-289-7822
  10. What sets Rubb apart from other Sports Buildings? Simply, we build structures to protect your assets…we take our commitment to service seriously and we do it right. Rubb has earned a reputation for tackling difficult and unique projects, and holds a number of certifications from reliable and trusted organizations. Rubb follows a strong commitment to: codes and standards, reducing impact to the environment, and above all, our valued clients.