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Bombers stadium owners’ lawsuit alleges poor design, construction

The owners of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers' stadium allege in a lawsuit that the architect and builder should be made to pay for extensive repairs to Investors Group Field made necessary by faulty design and construction. Jeremy Desrochers/Global News

WINNIPEG – The owners of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ stadium allege in a lawsuit that the architect and builder should be made to pay for extensive repairs to Investors Group Field made necessary by faulty design and construction.

The $210-million CFL stadium, which opened in 2013 and will host the 2015 Grey Cup, has been plagued by problems such as leaky luxury suite roofs, insufficient insulation to keep plumbing operational in Winnipeg winters and poor drainage. It also needed immediate renovations to make it usable for concerts and its press box was unheated, a problem that needed to be fixed in order to host the Grey Cup game.

LIST: Winnipeg Blue Bombers stadium owners cite 42 defects at IGF

“During the design and construction of the stadium there was insufficient attention to the mechanics of water drainage and heating, there was poor execution of critical details, and poor construction quality control,” a news release from Triple B Stadium states, citing a report from a Winnipeg architectural and engineering firm.

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WATCH: Chairman of Triple B Stadium points out problems at Investors Group Field

Triple B is a consortium with a board of directors that includes representatives from the Manitoba government, the City of Winnipeg, the University of Manitoba and the Winnipeg Football Club, which owns the Bombers and runs the stadium.

READ MORE: Winnipeg stadium ready for winter, Grey Cup

Wade Miller, president and CEO of the Winnipeg Football Club, said in a statement that his organization fully supports the legal action.

“While we are extremely disappointed that we have had to deal with continuous and ongoing issues since we became the primary tenant in 2013,” Miller said, “we believe today is an important step forward in attempting to have them resolved.”

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Ron Lemieux, the sport minister in Manitoba’s NDP government that put up most of the funding for the stadium, also spoke out Wednesday.

“That has been a great investment, I mean had we received what we paid for,” Lemieux said. “Manitobans work hard for their money and that’s why I am extremely disappointed.”

READ MORE: Winnipeg stadium springs leak due to design flaw

The report on the stadium that outlines concerns is part of the stadium owner’s statement of claim filed against Raymond S.C. Wan Architect and Stuart Olson Construction Wednesday.

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Andrew Konowalchuk, chairman of Triple B Stadium, shows reporters some of the problems at Investors Group Field. Triple B is suing the architect and builder for alleged defects. Tamara Forlanski / Global News
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Repair work under way at IGF in Winnipeg on Wednesday, March 4, 2015. T
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Cracks in the concrete at IGF in Winnipeg on Wednesday, March 4, 2015. Tamara Forlanski/Global News
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Water damage to an event room at IGF in Winnipeg on Wednesday, March 4, 2015. Tamara Forlanski/Global News

Among the problems listed are:

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  • insufficient insulation in concession stands with fixtures and water pipes that can’t be allowed to freeze;
  • consistent leaks in luxury suites during heavy rain and during spring thaw;
  • single pane windows and insufficient insulation in luxury suites, which makes it difficult to keep them warm enough to protect pipes; and
  • lack of drains and concrete that slopes the wrong way, which allows rain to pool in the concourse.

Triple B has fixed building code issues and some design and construction deficiencies at a cost of $4.72 million, the statement of claim says. In addition to the cost of repairs, it is seeking damages, court costs and interest.

None of the allegations against Raymond S.C. Wan Architect and Stuart Olson Construction have been proven in court, and the two firms have not yet filed a statement of defence.

READ MORE: Builder says stadium use in Winnipeg’s coldest weather wasn’t planned

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