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.


Upcoming Trade Shows for 2014

We are pleased to announce our calendar of trade shows for the remainder of 2014! Stop by our booths to take a look at PVC samples and brochures, sign up for our newsletter, and speak to some of our sales team members about how fabric buildings can fit your needs. And before visiting Rubb Building Systems make sure to add us on our social media pages – Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Linkedin – #excellenceinengineering

breakbulk_americas_2012_bulkinsideBreakbulk Americas 2014 is the largest exhibition & educational forum in the Americas addressing the needs of traditional breakbulk and project cargo logistics professionals. Breakbulk Americas’ targeted programming will ensure that you develop skills and strategy to help you do your job more effectively. The exhibition will be held on September 29th to October 2nd at the George R. Brown Convention Center (Exhibit Hall E) in Houston, Texas. Rubb Building Systems will be set up in booth 518, and don’t forget to RSVP on our event page for a copy of the official floor plan, a link to the Breakbulk Americas 2014 Mobile App, and daily updates from our booth during the show.

Entete_ENXplor 2014, an event organized by the Association of Exploration and Mining Quebec (AEMQ), is a convention that brings together investors, prospectors, geologists, and service providers who contribute to the development of Quebec’s mining industry. In addition to the trade show, this event offers a program of high-level learning, a conference dinner with renowned speakers, and several social activities promoting business networking. The event will be held on October 22nd to the 23rd at Place Bonaventure in Downtown Montreal, Quebec, CANADA. Rubb Building Systems, along with our partners Aztec Group, will be in booth 504, and don’t forget to RSVP on our event page for a copy of the official floor plan and daily updates from our booth during the show.

canadian_waste_and_recycling_expo_2013The Canadian Waste and Recycling Expo is the premier event in Canada for waste and recycling professionals representing a variety of different sectors, including waste collection, hauling, disposal, storage, and much more. This expo also includes a host of networking events and is co-located with the Canadian Waste to Resource Conference which offers and excellent educational form on the latest innovative developments within the industry. The event will be held on November 19th to the 20th at the International Centre in Mississauga, Ontario, CANADA. Rubb Building Systems, along with our partners Aztec Group, will be in booth 1410, and don’t forget to RSVP on our event page for a copy of the official floor plan, a link to the Canadian Waste and Recycling Expo Mobile App, and daily updates from our booth during the show.

PGIThroughout the years, POWER-GEN International has covered it all, providing a world stage for the innovations, ideas and solutions that have formed our industry for more than two decades.  POWER-GEN International is the industry’s premier platform for numerous new product launches and unveilings—a showcase for products and services such as boilers, turbines, engines, boiler water and feedwater treatment services, computer hardware and software, controls and instrumentation systems, engineering and construction services, generators, plant electrical systems, pumps, valves and valve actuators, and more. The event will be held on December 9th to the 11th at the Orange County Convention Center (West Halls) in Orlando, Florida. Rubb Building Systems will be set up in booth 830, and don’t forget to RSVP on our event page for a copy of the official floor plan and daily updates from our booth during the show.

Aviation and Architecture

Vitruvius, Roman architect and author of De Architectura, is noted  for suggesting that structures must possess three traits – firmitas, utilitas, venustas – that is, usability, durability, and beauty. Although this treatise on architecture was written around 15 BC, these components are still prevalent in structures used today, and highly regarded in the design of our projects here at Rubb Building Systems. And so in honor of National Aviation Day, proclaimed by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1939 on the anniversary of Orville Wright’s birthday, we have decided to reflect on some of Rubb’s most awe-inspiring aviation architecture. From past projects like the JFK baggage claim, to current air cargo facilities like LAX, and even a sneak peak at our progress on the HNL hangar, we will discuss the importance of aesthetics, longevity, and functionality of all structures here at Rubb.

1994 JFK Baggage ClaimIn 1994 Rubb was contracted to produce a baggage claim roof for the John F. Kennedy International Airport in Jamaica, NY. this custom facility was designed with special attention to appearance and charisma, and at a span 70ft and a length of 96ft, the building was intended to imitate the shape of the International Arrivals Building (which was eventually remodeled and renamed as Terminal 4 in 2001). Embellished with an arched roof and five symmetrical pillars, the continuity and presentation of the facility preserved the integrity and classic elements at JKF. And although the facility was temporary, the quality of aesthetics was maintained, and JFK is known to this day for being one of the most beautiful airports in the United States. In an article written by The Huffington Post, titled Proof that the Airport is a Really Beautiful Place, photographer Jeffrey Milstein says, “JFK is one of my favorites. It is so big, with so many crazy roads and monorails and taxiways and different terminals that have grown organically over years.”

The Los AngelLAX Air Cargo rubb hangares International Airport is another that, is not only eye-appealing, but has withstood the test of time. Iconic structures at the airport such as Hangar No. 1, which was built in 1929 and is now in the National Register of Historic Places, and the Theme Building, which was built in 1961 and has since been dedicated as a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument, have remained in pristine conditions since their erection. In 1996, Rubb constructed an air cargo facility for LAX, with a span of 110ft and a length of 616ft, that has remained a permanent and welcome addition to the airport. Cargo Services Manager at United Airlines in LA, Jack Paluska, gave a testimonial on the building saying, “…An exterior that elicits kudos from all who pass by, and an interior of intricate customer and employee friendly design. The service efficiency and the employee comforts are unequaled in a cargo warehouse.” Efficiency and longevity are two of our most embraced values here at Rubb, and now with our 20/20 warranty offer, we are willing to prove our customers expectations free of fine print and misinterpretation.

hawaiian airline hangarHere at Rubb, we also take pride in the bigger picture in relation to our buildings. And our current addition to Honolulu International Airport fits “the bigger picture” quite literally in fact, as it is will be our largest clear span building to date. With a maintenance hangar at a length of 347’ and an air cargo facility at a length of 190’, and both at a clear span width of 275’, the functionality of both facilities will be unparalleled. Between ample storage space, a natural light interior, little to no maintenance costs, and the ability to add on to the hangar in the future, this structure will not only be our largest, but one of our most inspiring yet.

Although some of Vitruvius’ ideas on architecture can be seen as primitive, considering the time period and the materials he had to work with, his ideals of usability, durability, and beauty in architecture are timeless concepts that will continue to be carried out in the design of structures, and especially in Rubb aviation buildings, for years to come.

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.

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?