Court battle continues over Ackerman roof leaks
A DuPage County judge on Thursday refused to dismiss a countersuit brought by Glen Ellyn Park District against a contractor that built the district's recreation center, which has had a leaky roof since opening in 2010.
T.A. Bowman Constructors originally filed suit against the district last summer, arguing that park officials refused to allow work crews the opportunity to correct the leaks at the Ackerman Sports & Fitness Center. The district responded with its own suit soon after.
Rec center roof leakage
A report by a Glen Ellyn Park District-hired consultant details factors that contributed to roof leakage at the Ackerman Sports & Fitness Center:
Ÿ The slope is too shallow in the corner valleys to allow effective draining
Ÿ Flashing is too narrow to handle ice accumulations and the draining of melt water
Ÿ Closure seals were inconsistent with shop drawings
Ÿ Roof panels have overdriven and stripped screws
Ÿ There is defective flashing at the locations of mechanical equipment
Ÿ There are inadequately folded seams on the roof panels
Source: Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates Feb. 28, 2011 report
Judge Dorothy French denied Bowman's request to throw out the park district's suit on procedural grounds, which allows the legal dispute to continue.
Both sides claim the other breached a contract for construction of the $11.2 million, 88,000-square-foot facility.
In court on Thursday, T.A. Bowman attorney Mike Nigro said when the park district discovered leaks in the roof in early 2010, his client asked to come back to make repairs — but officials refused.
"The contract says if there's any deficiencies, we're entitled to come inspect and cure them," he said. "They did not give us the opportunity to correct any deficiencies that were there."
Nigro also said Bowman shouldn't be blamed for building a structure that was constructed according to the district's chosen design. That includes a narrow roof slope and a "sag and bag" type of roof that is susceptible to condensation, he said.
"They picked this type of design. We just built it," he said.
Park district attorney Ralph Kooy said the limited repairs suggested by Bowman wouldn't have solved the roof's problems long term. The district hired consultant Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates to evaluate the roof and suggest fixes of its own.
"Could this be easily remedied? Our expert says no — not by patching or replacing a few stripped screws," Kooy said.
In April, the park board approved a $679,125 contract with Solaris Roofing Solutions to attach a single-layer insulated membrane to the roof. Park district Executive Director Dave Harris said Thursday construction crews are expected to begin their work next week.
First, they'll do a "mock-up" — making repairs to a portion of the roof — and once those repairs are approved by the district's roof consultant, the rest of the roof will be done, Harris said.
Construction is expected to take 32 to 39 working days.
The park district previously paid for a $10,540 temporary covering to get the roof through the winter.
The park district is hoping to recover money it has spent to fix the roof. Bowman is seeking about $167,000 from the park district — the money it says it is still owed for work at Ackerman.
Park district officials are expected to file an amended complaint in the next month that seeks to hold Bowman responsible for damage to the Ackerman gymnasium floor, due to the leaks.
Both sides are due back in court Sept. 13.
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