A Rubb Arctic adventure on the move…

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The Rubb structure built on the ice cap in Greenland for the National Science Foundation has taken a sled ride to a different location.

As previously referenced, the Rubb BVR storage facility, known as the Summit Mobile Garage, is a 32’ x 97’ heavily insulated building designed and engineered to be moved or, more aptly, moved by sled from place to place. Due to massive amounts of drifting snow it is easier to tow the building to a new resting spot rather than remove the piles of snow.

In the pictures above, the site crew is shown towing and pivoting the building to its new temporary location. According to Marc Boutet, who spent a month in Greenland as technical advisor: “The guys told me they waited for a warm, balmy day and dragged the building to a spot less likely to get buried with drifting snow… warm and balmy means a few degrees above zero,” Marc added with a chuckle.

Actually the Rubb building was moved about 400 yards and the crew at Summit Station reported no problems with the move. “That’s because we designed and built it right,” concluded Marc.

For more information on this project or on any other high quality Rubb products go to www.rubbusa.com


A Rubb Arctic adventure

“What an experience!” were the first words spoken by long time Rubb USA site supervisor and current salesman Marc Boutet after spending nearly a month overseeing the erection of a Rubb BVR on the polar ice cap.

Rubb USA has completed a 32’ x 97’ BVR structure at Summit Station CH2M Polar Hill Services, in Greenland, for the National Science Foundation.

Located at 72° 36′ N latitude, and at an altitude of 10,600 feet with a mean annual air temperature of -31°, Summit Station has long challenged the physical fitness of its visitors.

In the spirit of “a picture is worth a thousand words” we can reveal a handful of recently taken photos related to the project and provide some interesting insight.


C-130: Shipping and Receiving

The Rubb building was neatly packed and delivered via a USAF C-130 equipped with skis to land on the ice cap. The interior of the plane was ‘tight quarters’ as you can see in the picture below. That is the Rubb building to the left.


Free refrigeration

Food and supplies are stored ‘undersnow’ in a dug out cavern. Due to snowfall the depth of the cavern increases significantly over time to the point where the crew will dig a new ‘refrigerator’. From the photo below you can see the crew moving supplies into the cavern.


Not your average Ritz-Carlton

Sleeping arrangements at Summit Station… room service?


Building under construction:

The work begins…


With building framework complete, the gable end is lifted into position.


The Thermohall PVC ‘sheets’ are pulled/adjusted onto the frame via snowmobile.


The cladding on this building is R-35 rated Thermohall with 8” of high density insulation, after all the temperature can reach -100F! Rubb Thermohall is designed to withstand and perform in the harshest of environments.

Interior of building:


The BVR will be equipped with a generator driven lighting and heating system. The structure will support operations at Summit Station and will primarily serve as an equipment and maintenance shed. The building is set upon a foundation of wood/metal that can be best described as an ‘oversized toboggan’. Thus the structure can be moved periodically to prevent being ‘snowed over’. Rubb innovation at its best!


When asked what was most interesting experience about the Greenland project, Marc smiled and immediately said departing the site on a C-130. “The runway, actually ‘snowway’ is over three miles long and lined mostly with black flags. When you see red flags the plane must stop and turn around and try to take off again in the opposite direction. This is at nearly 11,000 ft. and the snow creates a lot of friction. After three failed attempts to lift off we stopped and the land crew attached portable ‘rockets’ to the plane to help us gain enough speed to gain altitude. I heard a couple of ‘booms’ and up in the air we went! All I could think was… what is going on? Well, I made it!”

More Rubb adventures to follow!

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.”

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.

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.

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 info@rubbusa.com, 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.

Fabric structures – an alternative world


Rubb UK’s structural engineer Dale Robinson highlights the features and benefits of fabric structures, their versatility and the benefits they can bring to clients looking for unique building solutions…

Tensioned fabric structures are becoming a well-developed technology. Architects have had the ability to experiment and create innovative fabric solutions. They are aesthetically pleasing, sensitive to the environment, and can be very cost efficient. 

Tension structures are becoming more commonly used in modern architecture due to the pleasing aesthetic properties they hold. It is believed they are efficient structures due to their weight/ strength ratio. There are three main elements of a membrane structure; the fabric which has to be constantly in tension in order to generate stiffness in the structure, flexible elements such as ties or cables, and the rigid support member’s that are subject to compression and bending forces.

In architecture fabric structures tend to be associated with large scale projects such as the London Millenium Dome, the Water Cube in Bejing, the Kiev Stadium and Jeddah Haj terminal to name a  few. However, there is another side to fabric structures that the architecture world may be less aware of. Structures that bridge the gap between the iconic structures mentioned above and the typical cycle shelter or entrance canopy. The ordinary structures used on a daily basis in the industrial, sports and aeronautical industries. There have been numerous successful, non-iconic projects where fabric structures have been adopted as an alternative to more traditional materials for buildings such as warehouses, hangars or sports halls.

These types of structures which are most commonly akin to portal frame structures use the fabric membrane as a cladding rather than the structure itself. Therefore the natural stiffness that is generated by the curvature of the fabric is not required to stabilise the structure. This offers great advantages over traditional builds. The main advantage is having the potential for a faster installation which results in a more cost effective solution. Another advantage is the ability to specify a translucent roof which can allow natural daylight into building saving energy costs. Given the flexibility of the fabric almost any shape can be accommodated and these structures are easily deconstructed which is predominantly why they excel in the temporary and relocatable markets. More recently there has been a large requirement for this type of structure to be designed and installed as a permanent solution. This tends to be in the sports industry mainly for schools, sports clubs and training facilities for professional sports teams. For a permanent solution additions can be made to the structure to include insulation, heating and ventilation to meet the necessary environmental regulations and more importantly to comply with Part L of the Building Regulations. Other ancillaries can be incorporated such as gutters, windows and doors along with any other additional requirements to provide sufficient amenities to the end user.

A fabric clad building solution is one of the most versatile and innovative solutions to modern day building problems. Although these structures tend to take the geometric stance of an industrial shape structure the shaping possibilities are limitless. The specific market and cost restrictions generally dictate this type of structure albeit we have seen exceptions in sports training facilities where alternative shapes tend to be introduced.

If a project operating on a tight timescale and requires a reliable, robust and cost effective solution, fabric covered buildings should be considered. They are designed suitably, as any other building, for the relevant environmental loading and to comply with Building Regulations. There are a variety of fabric colours available, that come with the necessary information on fire resistance and thermal properties to aid the designer. These structures can be partly clad in fabric along with alternative materials to form a unique hybrid solution which enables the architect to easily incorporate their own ethos into the final solution. Not forgetting this type of structure is sensitive to the environment and most fabric is recyclable which in turn makes this option sustainably viable.