Moisture condensation behind the glass panels on the outside of the building has caused new concerns about Buffalo's new federal courthouse project.
Construction experts working on the $137 million project plan to meet this afternoon to try to figure out what is causing the problem and how it can be fixed.
In recent weeks, drips of water have been visible on the glass panels that surround the 10-story building, marring the sleek look that designers envisioned for the building.
The wet look is not viewed as a positive development, court officials said Tuesday.
"We have an issue with the condensation that keeps forming, and we're trying to figure it out The water sometimes drips down behind the glass," Michael J. Roemer, district court clerk, said in an interview.
"There is definitely an issue with condensation that can be seen on the inside of some of the glass panels, and we're trying to figure out what is causing it and what needs to be done."
It is not yet known whether the recent howling winds and wet weather contributed to the problem.
Roemer, who meets frequently with construction supervisors on the project, said he has not yet heard of any mold or mildew being caused by the condensation.
"But there is the potential for mold and mildew, and we are concerned about that," he said.
Roemer said it is too soon to determine whether the problem will delay the anticipated August opening of the court building.
When construction began in October 2007, federal officials hoped to open the courthouse in July 2010. Since then, the planned opening date has been pushed back three times, usually because of concerns about the glass panels that will encase the egg-shaped building.
The construction team that is working on the building will meet today to discuss the problem, and experts who have worked on similar projects are being consulted, Roemer said.
He said there is no reason for distress over the problem at this point.
"This is a major construction project. We've seen other problems crop up, and we've been able to address them," he said.
The project on Niagara Square near Buffalo's City Hall will be the most expensive government building in the history of Western New York. The current Michael J. Dillon Courthouse at Niagara and Franklin streets will be vacated and then filled with other government offices, including U.S. Bankruptcy Court.
Roemer hopes that federal court judges and other staff members will begin the move to the new courthouse in late June or early July, with the building opening for business in August.