Loose Panels, Leaks Plague Minneapolis Stadium


Construction-related flaws at U.S. Bank Stadium in downtown Minneapolis continue to arise, as crews addressing one issue on the building’s exterior discovered another that needed repair.

Workers fixed a problem with leaking exterior zinc panels, which were loosened by high winds, at the 1-year-old, $1.1 billion facility. Several panels flew off after a snowstorm in December.

As crews were securing the panels with screws and fasteners, they noticed another concern related to layers beneath the zinc panels.

A Closer Look

The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority said it plans to examine the durability of the water-resistant barrier installed under the panels.

Rick Evans, executive director and CEO of the MSFA, said Friday that the organization is in talks with general contractor M.A. Mortenson Co., as well as subcontractor MG McGrath, which did the paneling.

Mortenson, which is building a stadium in Las Vegas slated to house the National Football League’s Oakland Raiders starting in 2020, has had previous issues with the Minneapolis facility.

In 2016, it paid several million dollars to replace a moisture barrier after dampness was found on a parapet. And the firm is investigating why water seeped into the building and created puddles in a women's restroom, a concourse and a storage area in the stadium’s northwest facade.

That same year, a leak within a snow gutter system on the stadium required $3 million to fix.

The MSFA has proposed replacing moisture barriers on the joints of the building's interior panels, then adding a new layer of Tyvek under the zinc panels to provide extra protection.

Mortenson also will install heat trace to the lower edge of the wall to prevent icicles from forming. Icicles had to be manually removed from the building last winter so they didn't hit pedestrians walking below.

Cost Issues

Evans said the MSFA isn’t sure how much it will cost to remedy all of the problems. He said he doesn't expect the MSFA to pay for any repairs because the facility’s building materials are still under warranty.

“We’re still investigating the extent of the issues—whether it is a problem, what it will cost and who will pay. All that is still in discussion,” he said. “We just want to make sure (the building envelope) is as designed and what we paid for.”

The MSFA is also patching minor leaking around the building, and a problem with an area around a ticket window plagued by ice build-up last winter is being rectified.

Taking Steps

Meanwhile, the facility—the home of the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings; it played host to its first game in September 2016—has needed $75,000 in repairs to eight escalators this month.

Plastic strips that demarcate the folds between the steps are degrading, which makes the escalators catch without warning and creates a safety hazard.

“They are splintering and breaking, and that obviously interferes with the smooth operation of the escalators,” Evans said.

Evans said a cleaning product used may be the culprit, and escalator manufacturer Otis Worldwide will investigate.


Tagged categories: Building Envelope; Construction; Glass; Metal panels; North America; Stadiums/Sports Facilities; water damage; Zinc

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