Rubb supports Sanford, Maine airport (SFM) with hybrid fabric building

Rubb Building Systems, which has its US headquarters at the Sanford Airport Industrial Park, provided Sanford Seacoast Regional Airport (SFM) with a hybrid insulated membrane covered building.

The 58′ W x 117′ L x 20′ H building will be used for snow removal equipment storage and maintenance as well as a base for airport operations.

The project was a partnership between the airport, City of Sanford, Rubb, Civil Consultants Engineering along with TPD Construction who served as project general contractor.  The roof of the building has a 4” Rubb Thermohall® insulation system and the structure also has a heated salt storage area for winter operations.

SFM is a former WWII Naval Auxiliary Air Facility (NAAF) equipped with a 6389ft runway able to handle most commercial narrow body jets. Located close to southern Maine resort areas the airport is a popular landing destination for summer residents and visitors.  Specifically, Air Force One (the 757 version) was a frequent visitor during both Bush Administrations.

Rubb had the opportunity to sit down with airport manager Allison Navia to discuss this project.

Conceptually, how did this project, with its hybrid Rubb building, come to fruition?

They say necessity is the mother of invention… and we certainly had some need! The situation we had existed in for years had employees working in two separate areas of the airport and almost all of the equipment outside in the elements. Some of our equipment did not fit inside the building at all, so if a repair needed to be done and it was -3 degrees outside, the crew was working in those conditions. We needed a functional, versatile, durable and expandable structure and I wanted it to be energy efficient.

After taking a tour of Rubb’s facility I was really inspired and motivated by the technology and capabilities of their membrane covered building systems. Not to mention we are neighbors—doesn’t get more local than that! It gave us an opportunity as a City to obtain Federal and State funding and keep it right in our own municipality.

What do you like most about this building?

Ask a music lover what their favorite song is! There are so many great things about the building that work well for both every day and the occasional happenstance. Speaking practically and functionally, I like the versatility of all the spaces. We have office space, a repair bay for active work, a storage mezzanine, two large parking bays, and a heated sand storage bay for winter operations.

Speaking aesthetically and a bit emotionally, it has to be a tie between the custom welded staircase in the repair bay and the letters on the roof.

Tell me about the sign on the roof.

I’ve always enjoyed seeing airport identifications painted in various places on airports. It’s practical from a navigation standpoint and it’s nostalgic; kind of old school. When I started at the Sanford Airport 7 years ago, I rifled through a lot of paperwork trying to get my bearings and I came across an old photo of the parking apron with “SFM” and the old CTAF frequency painted 20ft tall. I always thought “I want to bring that back, somehow.” Now we have “SFM”, our three-letter identifier, taking up half of brilliant white roof of our building. Any pilots or passengers flying by may look down and wonder, hey what’s that airport with all the solar panels and development going on? And they’ll know it’s SFM.

What would you say to other airports considering similar membrane covered structures?

You may as well create a line item in your payroll for me! I would highly recommend it. This is not your typical metal building frame—come inside and take one look at it to see the difference. The roof material and options are cutting edge and there are even more options available now – insulation, colors, and technology. With no penetrations to the membrane, there is no opportunity for the inefficiency that comes with thermal breaks. The longevity is equal to many other products available and with the only maintenance involved consisting of pressure washing occasionally, it is virtually worry-free.

I would highly recommend a design-build project rather than a design-bid-build for airports wanting to construct a hybrid building like ours. Having the engineers that design at Rubb involved from day one rather than inheriting another design created by someone not intimately familiar with the building systems.

Rubb has been there for us through construction and on. Less than desirable things always come up and I find the true measure of a good firm is how they own it and handle it. Rubb has always made everything right.

Any “famous” people pass through SFM?

I like to jokingly say I really only talk to them if they are causing trouble! The airport is an attractive alternative to nearby more congested airports with commercial service and it’s our purpose in the national airspace system to relieve private traffic from those major metropolitan areas. We have no shortage of famous—or infamous, as the case may be—people taking off and landing here.

Rubb is thrilled to support SFM’s operations with this stunning building. Though Rubb has projects worldwide, it is always a pleasure to assist a business within the local community—especially one as vital as SFM.

To find out more about our aviation sector, click here.