B.C. Place says rain no problem for finishing roof

German stadium with similar technology had initial leaks

Crews rushing to seal B.C. Place Stadiums roof were delayed by early fall wind and rain storms that drenched the inside of the $563 million renovation project.

Each of the 36 fixed fabric roof panels must be stretched and welded together to be watertight.

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Six panels are to be sealed with a combination of temporary and permanent seals, B.C. Pavilion Corporation spokesman Trevor Pancoust said Tuesday by email.

[Its] not a leak; roof not finished just yet, he said. Still sealing up the remaining gaps in roof this week, so water from rain wasn't unexpected.

Based on the experience of the first stadium to use this retractable technology, B.C. Lions fans may or may not want to consider rain jackets for Fridays reopening.

Patrik Meyer, general manager of Commerzbank Arena in Frankfurt, Germany, said there were issues with the sealing and tensity of the retractable roof when the retrofitted soccer stadium opened in 2005. Pools of water formed on the roof, leading to leaks.

One big problem was at the beginning, Meyer said in a September 2010 interview. To tighten the roof was not working properly, so sometimes we had water, bathtubs building. Then, of course, there's emergency exits in the roof built in, we had some problems with water coming through the roof. That has been fixed in the first year.

Meyer said the roof technology offers very good weather protection but is no substitute for a fixed roof that covers the entire stadium.

The installation of roofing fabric at B.C. Place was originally scheduled to begin in February but was delayed until June. The construction schedule was shuffled after the late installation of cables. Quebec-based steel contractor Structal blamed French cable subcontractor Freyssinet. Structals parent, Canam Group, reported a $25 million cost overrun to its shareholders in April.

On Tuesday morning, Environment Canada forecast cloudy weather with 40 percent chance of showers on Friday. B.C. Pavilion Corporation officials have said they do not plan to open or close the roof during events.

If there is any hint of rain, it is possible management could play it safe and simply keep the roof shut all day Friday to avoid comparisons with the embarrassing June 3, 1989 opening night of Torontos $570 million SkyDome, now called Rogers Centre.

The vinyl polymer-covered steel roof was already leaking before it was ordered open amid a rainstorm. Attendees began leaving early and several performers were injured and their costumes ruined when they slipped and fell on the rain-soaked stage.

B.C. Places interior webcam, as of Tuesday morning, continued to display an image from 1:45 p.m. on Sept. 20. Officials say it was turned off so that network and electrical systems could be re-routed.

2010goldrush@gmail.com

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