Builders changed Tim Hortons stadium designs mid-construction

The builders of Hamilton’s new Tim Hortons Field stadium had to modify their designs mid-build, but it’s hard to know whether that contributed to the delay, says a senior staffer with Infrastructure Ontario (IO).

It's not unusual, an official says, but it's hard to know if it contributed to the delay

The builders of Hamilton’s new Tim Hortons Field stadium had to modify their designs mid-build, but it’s hard to know whether that’s contributed to the delay, says a senior executive with Infrastructure Ontario (IO).

Ontario Sports Solutions, a consortium building the stadium, did have to change its designs during the last 16 months as it built the $145-million stadium, said John McKendrick, IO's executive vice-president.

That may have added to the time it’s taken to build the stadium, but it’s up the builders to take that into account, McKendrick said.

Ticat officials had planned to have Tim Hortons field ready for the 2014 season's first game on July 26. (Cannon Group)

“Yes, they have confirmed that they have made modifications as they were going,” McKendrick told reporters outside a Pan Am subcommittee meeting at city hall on Tuesday.

It’s not unusual for designs to change during a build, he said. But that should have been factored in if it wasn’t already.

“It adds to their costs and to their time and that’s what they’re supposed to factor in,” he said.

The details of what's contributed to the delay will be worked out in the coming months, he said.

"I do know that they went back and forth on the structural design a few times, but that was their responsibility."

The 22,500-seat stadium was originally due to open on June 30. That’s been delayed several times, resulting in the Hamilton Tiger-Cats playing three home games at McMaster University.

The project is now down to the wire, with city building officials on site every day to issue approvals so the stadium can get an occupancy permit in time for the Labour Day Classic.

Greg Stack of Kenaidan Contracting, part of Ontario Sports Solutions, says there’s an 85-per cent chance the Tiger-Cats will play the Labour Day Classic in the stadium.

Elevators aren't done

In the past, the consortium has attributed the delay to a harsh winter and problems with subcontractors. Stack mentioned design issues on Tuesday.

“The time frame from the stadium was always tight, and there’s been a number of things that have occurred throughout the design process that have added pressure to that.”

When asked to elaborate, Stack declined further comment.

“I’m not prepared to talk about why there’s a delay or the reasons for it,” he said. “Everyone has their own interpretation of that, so that will be resolved. Our goal right now is to finish the stadium.”

The Tiger-Cats have two contingency plans if they can't play at Tim Hortons Field on Monday. One involves playing in the new stadium at 7 p.m. on Tuesday. The other will be playing at the Rogers Centre in Toronto at 7 p.m. on Tuesday.

The concession stands won’t be ready, but the scoreboard will. The elevators will also not be working, but there is space for 40 wheelchairs on one of the patios, said Ed VanderWindt, the city’s head building official.

Fans will find out what drinks they can bring to the game

The Ticats will let fans know what food and beverages they can bring to the game, where they should park and other details, Gibson said.

Even with the stadium unfinished, fans will be wowed, he said.

“This is the most anticipated event that we’ve seen in the last 100 years of the city.”

The new target date for the stadium’s substantial completion is Oct. 2.

The stadium will also host soccer games for the 2015 Toronto Pan Am Games. Ontario Sports Solutions is also building the velodrome in Milton and the stadium at York University. Both of those projects are also behind schedule.


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.