Architect fires back in lawsuit over Investors Group Field troubles

The architect behind the design of Investors Group Field has filed a statement of defence in response to a lawsuit covering a long list of problems that have emerged since the stadium officially opened in the spring 2013.

Architect files statement of defence in Triple B Stadium lawsuit as well as cross-claim

Investors Group Field is structurally safe and can be used for events, but major repairs will have to be done, Triple B Stadium Inc. officials said earlier this year. (CBC)

The architect behind the design of Investors Group Field (IGF) has filed a statement of defence in response to a lawsuit covering a long list of problems that have emerged since the stadium officially opened in the spring 2013.   

The architect said in court documents the stadium was not originally intended for four-season use or outdoor concerts.

Triple B Stadium Inc., the consortium made up of the Winnipeg Football Club, the City of Winnipeg, the Manitoba government and the University of Manitoba, owns IGF and filed a lawsuit against the construction company Stuart Olson and architect Ray Wan in March.

It consists of 26 pages of allegations involving several problems that include leaking, drainage, cracking in concrete and poor insulation.

In a statement of defence and cross-claim filed in June by Raymond S.C. Wan Architect Inc., the architect denies most allegations put forward in the lawsuit. 

In it, Wan alleges "that the issue of water infiltration into private suites was first raised in March 2013. Further investigation has revealed improper application and installation of the flooring assembly, which was the sole responsibility of Stuart Olson."

In response to heating and insulation issues, "Wan states that Investors Group Field was designed and constructed within the construction budget set by the Plaintiff and within the approved functional program approved by the Plaintiff which asked [for] a two/three season facility, not a four season facility, to be constructed."

The statement continued: "Field level seating became an issue when the plaintiff chose to explore the use of (IGF) for outdoor concerts, which was never contemplated in the original design."

The stadium, which is home to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers football club, showed signs of cracking in the concrete even before the first game was ever played in the new facility two years ago.

In the statement of defence, Wan claims "that concourse slab cracking is restricted to the topping or wearing slab only and not the structural supporting slab. Wan further states that the cracking is not structural but is indicative of drying, shrinkage and restrained cracking that occurred during the process and is largely a construction sequencing issue." 

Firm hired to examine problems

Triple B hired a Winnipeg architectural firm to examine the problems last summer. In March, it said a completed report concluded that "during the design and construction of the stadium there was insufficient attention to the management of water drainage and heating, poor execution of critical details and poor construction quality control."

Triple B said while the facility is structurally safe, repairs will cost millions of dollars. 

In March, $4.7 million had already been spent in repairs to fix cracks, drainage problems and leaks at the stadium. 

Total government funding for the stadium was $208.5 million, including $171.5 million in loans and financing along with millions in grants and other contributions, according to the province.

Stuart Olson fires back 

Stuart Olson responded with its statement of defence and a cross-claim of its own against Raymond Wan in April. 

It cites the actions of the Manitoba government in the defence, saying, "Throughout the course of the project the Plaintiff (Triple B Stadium Inc.) and its stakeholder, the Province of Manitoba, sought to complete the project in as fast a manner as possible."

The statement of defence says Triple B Stadium and the province "knowingly approved a design without regard for the problems that the Plaintiff now pleads as being the responsibility of Stuart Olson."

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