Custom-built structures from the UK’s Rubb Buildings

Rubb Buildings Ltd is a major force in the design and manufacture of custom-made bespoke relocatable and permanent engineered fabric building structures.

Highlights include the company’s ground-breaking military hangars, sunshades, shelters, warehouses and workshops, specialist sport halls and storage buildings for a variety of sectors including aviation, ports, construction, bulk storage and environmental (waste and recycling). Many of Rubb’s structures are used in the bulk handling market, and have been proven to be an effective means of storing bulk and breakbulk cargo.

All of Rubb’s products are designed and manufactured at its UK plant in Gateshead,Tyne and Wear. The company was founded in 1977 and has a proud history of delivering innovative and quality structures to a wide range of clients. Benefits of the company’s products include:


  • fabric structures offer greater flexibility for expansion and creativity in design;
  • clear span buildings offer the maximum usable floor space; 
  • efficient and quick construction; 
  • a more affordable alternative to traditional buildings; 
  • Rubb’s structures can be resold, relocated and reused; and 
  • translucent roofs provide natural light.


Rubb structures are readily configured to accommodate conveyors and other loading methods. Retaining sidewalls can also be integrated to resist lateral loadings.

Rubb bulk storage buildings can be readily converted or relocated to store products allowing a much more flexible storage alternative than bulk storage silos. These facilities also accommodate differential site settlement, allowing simplified foundations.

Meeting high quality bulk storage requirements is easier thanks to Rubb’s custom bulk storage solutions. Rubb bulk storage buildings feature translucent roofs, providing ample light and a bright airy atmosphere. A choice of PVC fabric also offers a solution when the building needs to be secured against UV light filtration.

Rubb’s buildings have been used to store everything from biomass to perlite, and often serve as salt sheds for municipalities in cold climates.

In the case of sealed bulk storage, the walls consist of a steel support structure complete with pre-stressed concrete infill panels which allow for quick and easy construction. This method provides a fully sealed facility to prevent water ingress and also allows for internal retaining walls to be built for different bulk storage needs.

Apart from the advantage of lower costs and speed of erection, Rubb bulk storage buildings are flexible enough to be built on ground susceptible to differential settlement and have much lower maintenance costs than traditional bulk storage facilities.


The Port of Workington offers high quality storage facilities in the form of two relocatable Rubb constructed ports buildings.

The port’s structures measure 25m (82ft) span x 32m (105ft) in length and 25m (82ft) span x 61m (200ft) in length.These port facilities provide storage space for animal feed and protection from the elements and light. The design features a split storage capability.

As this part of the west coast of England is susceptible to severe winds and rain, the storage systems were constructed on top of 4m (13ft) retaining walls.

The walls consist of a steel support structure complete with pre-stressed concrete infill panels which allow for quick and easy construction. This method provides a fully sealed facility to prevent water ingress and also allows for internal retaining walls to be built for different storage needs.

The client required a dark covered structure as animal feed needs to be protected from light, however the translucent PVC material provides a brighter working environment without the need for windows.

DOMTEC: building high-quality domes and helping to improve local economies 

Founded in 1995, after over 10 years in the monolithic concrete dome industry, DOMTEC (pronounced dometec, or dometech) International was awarded a project as the general contractor for a USD$5 million, 40,000 metric tonne fly ash dome. Included in the contract was an automated reclaim system, sub-grade tunnel, stair tower and bridge and head house.

Now a major provider of bulk storage solutions in the mining, power, agriculture and cement industries, DOMTEC has built domes on five continents storing coal, wood pellets, FGD gypsum, fly ash, metals, ores, rare earth elements, potash, fertilizers, grains, peanuts, salt and sugar.

From ownership and sales to construction, DOMTEC’s team is highly experienced. With hundreds of years of combined experience and a goal for continuous improvement, its experience translates into the extremely high safety, quality- control and quality-assurance standards. This organization and attention to detail have produced 100% successful projects without a single failure.

DOMTEC feels strongly about improving the industry. It actively participates in American Shotcrete Association (ASA) and American Concrete Institute (ACI) committees, contributing to policy that will strengthen the future of the industry.



  • honesty and integrity: DOMTEC is known worldwide as a trusted company of trustworthy people who stand by what they say, and whose word is their bond.
  • excellence: DOMTEC builds excellence into everything it does. It believes that if a job is worth doing, it is worth doing right.
  • continuous improvement: DOMTEC strives to become a great company by proactively seeking to become 'Level V" leaders and encourage all people in the company to improve their skills, abilities and become experts in their chosen fields.



DOMTEC mitigates its clients’ risk. It offers 100% on-time delivery. In terms of engineering, the company engineers its domes with a higher safety factor than any other dome builder.This means more foam, rebar and concrete; therefore, stronger, tighter, and longer- lasting.

DOMTEC employs the most experienced technicians (averaging over 20 years' experience each). It also has an extremely stringent quality control programme. DOMTEC is able to offer a triple warranty from builder, manufacturer and supplier.


DOMTEC has been in business about 20 years building domes worldwide. Each dome has been a successful project with zero failures. Its safety and quality control/assurance programmes are extremely stringent. The company’s capabilities include acting as a prime contractor to build the dome shell or providing turnkey solutions, assembling a world- class team to engineer, procure and construct tunnels, foundations, floors, domes, apex curbs, reclaim and conveying equipment.

DOMTEC is committed to improving local economies in the communities where it builds. It hires local labour and purchases local materials to assist its specialty qualified technicians in building the domes, thus keeping much of the contract monies in the local economy.

Rubb meets a tall order with biomass storage solution 

Rubb worked with AJS Contracts Ltd to provide its tallest structure to date and first biomass fuel processing and storage facility to energy giant E.ON UK.

The 31.5m span x 137.5m long building at Ironbridge Power Station, Shropshire, UK, has an apex height of 21m.

The roof provides rigidity without deflection, providing stability and support for a 200-tonne roof-mounted conveyor system used for the dispersal of biomass fuel products.

The structure features a roof pitch of 35° which was designed around the angle of repose of the biomass materials. The UK-based Rubb team was readily available to provide advice, support, recommendations, site visits and ongoing solutions regarding the challenges that arose during the project. These included structure height, weight loadings, access and custom door designs. The company also met with AJS/E.ON requirements that all elements of the structure were to be designed and manufactured in the UK.

The steel framework of the building is protected from corrosion by hot dip galvanizing. Galvanizing is the process of metallurgically bonding a tough coating of zinc in to the steel surface.v The frame is clad with polyester woven base cloth covered on both sides by PVC and coated by a PVDF finish.

Project manager Andy Knox said: “This is our first biomass storage structure to date. It demonstrates our diversity and versatility when it comes to the flexibility of design and manufacture to meet changing requirements and the added challenge of attaching a 200-tonne conveyor system to the roof elements, all within strict time constraints.”

Martin Wylie, Renewable Energy Divisional Manager added,“The real breath of fresh air for AJS was to work with a UK turnkey contractor, a company who can design, manufacture and install the complete package, providing auditable quality procedures and more importantly an excellent understanding of UK Health, Safety and Environmental regulations.

“Rubb Buildings have developed a product that can be rolled out globally across the renewable industry sector and AJS Contracts would be more than happy to recommend their services to any prospective client.” 
Advantages offered by the Eurosilo® system 

ESI Eurosilo offers a range of advanced storage solutions for bulk solids. The company has decades of experience in engineering and the turnkey delivery of mammoth silos. These fully enclosed storage facilities, ranging from 1,000m3 to 100,000m3, offer maximum control in material handling, while saving operational costs and valuable space for expansion. With over 120 units built around the world, ESI Eurosilo serves a variety of customers in today’s major industries, from power industry to basic chemicals and agriculture.

As a leading company in the field, ESI Eurosilo’s aim is to deliver technology that will help its customers meet economical, physical and environmental demands in the best possible way.


The test run of the Trianel coal-fired power plant, based in Lünen, Germany, started last year. It has been receiving coal for several months now. Barges are unloaded by two grab cranes, and transported by fully enclosed belt conveyors to the ESI Eurosilo silos with a design capacity of 1,800tph (tonnes per hour).



  • no pollution or loss of calorific value;
  • minimal footprint for large-scale storage;
  • safest storage method on the market;
  • maximum logistic control and flexibility;
  • minimal operating and maintenance costs; and
  • high availability due to minimal downtime.



As with many other resources, space is often a restraint for expansion. The open-air storage of coal also adds costly environmental drawbacks to that, as well as loss of energetic value. Enclosed storage in highly automated silos solves all these problems at the smallest possible footprint. The Eurosilo® system offers storage capacities of up to 100,000m3. The coal is fed from the top of the silo into a telescopic chute through which it reaches the auger frame on the coal surface. Two main parallel screw conveyors distribute the material over the entire area of the silo, layer by layer, while the auger frame rotates. Reclaiming is done by withdrawing coal from the bottom and by inducing central gravity flow. The screw conveyors than rotate in reverse to feed coal into the formed core-flow. 


The FMS (fuel management system) supports power plant operators with supply planning and coal silo visualization IT solution for coal silos which store several grades of coal. It is fully integrated with the silo Operator Control and Monitoring

System technology. The FMS functionality includes:

  • supply planning and scheduling;
  • quality data capture;
  • silo visualization (qualitative/quantitative);
  • silo automation equipment programming; and
  • balances/forecasts/reports.

To prepare the right blends at the right time, the FMS can be of great help. By visualizing the different grades of coal in multiple silos, it enables the operators to plan the coal blending in an optimal way. By reclaiming the respective coal grades from each silo in a controlled and adjustable rate, the optimal coal blend can be prepared.


The air monitoring system ensures the necessary measuring of carbon monoxide, methane and oxygen for stored coal as stipulated in codes and rules, e.g. International Maritime Solid Bulk Cargoes Code [IMSBC Code] as well as other Fire Protection Agencies. 


Measuring carbon monoxide is strongly preferred as detection method for oxidation (self-heating) in coal storage systems due to its advanced warning period over temperature.


Carbon monoxide monitoring ensures an accurate system to pinpoint the changes in the measured carbon monoxide concentrations on the coal surface. Due to the slewing of the Eurosilo mechanism, the coal surface is scanned and a hot spot is detected in an early stage.


By installing a slide valve, practically closing the reclaim opening of the silo, the air penetration is minimized.


The N2-purging system embodies one of the safety systems, making it possible to purge the whole or just a section of the silo, thus enabling longer trouble-free storage periods for coal.


By using the skid mounted foam/gel system (filled with e.g. FireSorb®) it is now possible to only locally bring in foam or gel, focusing on the hot-spot location in the coal, enabling a dedicated and safe coal handling and storage.


To ensure long-term competitiveness, it is vital to achieve cost- effective compliance with environmental regulations and self- imposed policies.

Environmental Management Accounting (EMA) integrates environmental, operational and maintenance issues into the financial analysis. An integrated lifecycle assessment, as recognized by the European Community, offers a complete evaluation. Following this approach, the investment in Eurosilo® systems comes with a payback period of just 10 to 15 years.

So it is worth checking and comparing not only the investment cost but also the operating and maintenance cost involved. 
Geometrica’s HyparwaveTM: free-style surfaces of inverse curvature 

Surfaces that curve in opposite directions carry all sorts of awkward monikers:‘warped’,‘anti-clastic’,‘minimal’,‘inverse curvature’, ‘hyperbolic parabola’. First popularized by Felix Candela and Frei Otto with concrete shells and cable grids, respectively, these forms later became very popular for fabric and tent structures. Geometrica calls its own such structures HyparwaveTM, which it believes more accurately reflects their beauty.

Geometrica Hyparwaves are framed with tubular members. The resulting structure is strong in both tension and compression, and it can be shaped into surfaces of revolution, as well as combinations of dome-type curvature and inverse curvature in a single gridshell.

Hyparwave's rigid structure supports a variety of cladding systems, including glass, metal-deck and built-up roofing — even airy netting. 
Elegance implies both beauty and simplicity. To achieve elegance when building free-form structures, you need the right construction system. Geometrica's system of compact, universal aluminium connectors develops the full yield strength of the joined steel tubes, offering both efficiency and aesthetics. It has been used for the most beautiful as well as the most functional buildings worldwide.

Used as a secondary structure, Geometrica's Hyparwave brings exacting, complex curvature not only to bulk storage facilities (see industrial warehouse, above), but also to landmark buildings,

such as the Museo Soumaya in Mexico City. Geometrica built the freestyle Hyparwave to support the façade of

the multistory museum. Designed by renowned architect Fernando Romero, the Soumaya is the city’s newest and most visible world-class icon. A thorough explanation of the process by which this remarkable building was realized is presented in Gehry Technology's Soumaya — Façade Design Through Fabrication.


Geometrica is an international firm based in Houston,Texas that specializes in domes and space frames for architectural, industrial, and bulk storage uses. Geometrica also provides extremely striking and cost effective solutions for sports facilities, exhibition centers, passenger terminals, malls, assembly areas, production facilities, and many other buildings that require distinctive structures to cover great spans with no intermediate supports.