Canada: Reducing The Number Of Standard Construction Contracts: The Dawn Of The "Super Contract"?

Cet article a d'abord paru dans le journal « L'entrepreneur général » de la Corporation des entrepreneurs généraux du Québec.

Au fil des ans, le Comité canadien des documents de construction (« CCDC ») a développé et mis à jour une série de contrats normalisés pour l'ensemble du pays. Parmi ces nombreux contrats, sept régissent les relations entre Maître de l'ouvrageet Entrepreneur. 

Ces sept conventions peuvent être divisées en trois catégories : 

1. Contrats d'entreprise générale (CCDC-2 : Contrat à forfait, CCDC-3 : Contrat à prix coûtant majoré (avec option de prix maximum garanti), CCDC-4 : Contrat à prix unitaire, CCDC-18 : Contrat de travaux de génie civil)

Dans cette catégorie, le Maître de l'ouvrage confie à l'Entrepreneur général l'exécution de l'ouvrage, ce dernier confiant directement aux Entrepreneurs spécialisés, si requis, l'exécution d'ouvrages en sous-traitance (par exemple, au moyen d'un ACC-1 : Contrat de sous-traitance à forfait de l'Association canadienne de la construction). 

Les quatre conventions y afférentes se distinguent entre elles essentiellement par le mode de rémunération de l'Entrepreneur général, soit : 

  • à forfait (CCDC-2  et CCDC-18); 
  • à prix coûtant majoré (CCDC-3); 
  • à prix unitaire (CCDC-4). 

2. Contrats de design-construction (CCDC-14 : Contrat de design-construction à forfait).

Aux termes de ce contrat, en plus de l'exécution, le Maître de l'ouvrage confie à l'Entrepreneur général la conception de l'ouvrage. Si nécessaire, ce dernier retient les services d'un ou de plusieurs Professionnels pour la phase conception (par exemple, au moyen d'un CCDC-15 : Contrat entre design-constructeur et professionnel) et ceux d'Entrepreneurs spécialisés pour la phase exécution (par exemple, au moyen d'un ACC-1 : Contrat de sous-traitance à forfait). 

3. Contrats de gérance de construction (CCDC-5A : Contrat de gérance de construction – pour services, CCDC-5B : Contrat de gérance de construction – pour services et construction)

Ici, le Maître de l'ouvrage confie à l'Entrepreneur la fourniture de services divers (répartis en trois phases : préconstruction, construction et postconstruction). 

Dans le cas du CCDC-5A, le Maître de l'ouvrage confie directement l'exécution de l'ouvrage aux Entrepreneurs spécialisés (par exemple, au moyen d'un CCDC-17 : Contrat à forfait entre Maître de l'ouvrage et entrepreneur spécialisé pour les projets en gérance de construction). 

Dans le cas du CCDC-5B, le Gérant est également responsable de l'exécution de l'ouvrage, confiant lui-même aux Entrepreneurs spécialisés, si requis, l'exécution d'ouvrages en sous-traitance comme le ferait un Entrepreneur général (par exemple, au moyen d'un ACC-1 : Contrat de sous-traitance à forfait). 

Régler la confusion 

Complétées par les conventions entre Entrepreneur général et Entrepreneur spécialisé (ACC-1 pour les CCDC-2-3-4-14 [phase exécution] -18 et 5B, entre Entrepreneuret Professionnel (CCDC-15 pour le CCDC-14 [phase conception] et entre Maître de l'ouvrage et Entrepreneur spécialisé (CCDC 17 pour le CCDC-5A), de même que leurs guides d'utilisation respectifs, cette surabondance de contrats pose un défi important en termes de gestion documentaire pour les parties et leurs conseillers juridiques. 

Comment pourrait-on faciliter le choix du contrat normalisé le plus approprié, éviter les situations où un client insiste sur l'utilisation d'un modèle moins approprié1 et concentrer nos efforts de conservation, de formation et de mise à jour sur un moins grand nombre de documents? 

La solution pourrait être le développement d'un « super-contrat ». 

Le « super-contrat » 

L'auteur estime que les contrats CCDC-5A et 5B offrent déjà le potentiel de super-contrats puisqu'ils sont adaptables à une multitude de situations couvertes par les CCDC-2, -3, -4 et -18. Par exemple : 

  • Ils prévoient l'emploi (unique ou combiné) de tous les modes de rémunération2;
  • Ils peuvent être conclus avant, pendant ou après la conception3, selon l'avancement du projet et l'éventail des services préconstruction, construction et postconstruction intégrés « à la carte » à l'Annexe A14;
  • Ils permettent aux parties de choisir leur niveau de risque, selon que l'Entrepreneur assume (CCDC 5B) ou non (CCDC 5A5) la responsabilité de l'ouvrage (d'où le fait que le CCDC-5B6 soit communément désigné « Contrat de gérance de construction à risque »);
  • Dans le cas du CCDC-5B, le titre « Gérant de construction » n'est pas contradictoire à celui d'« Entrepreneur » puisque le Gérant n'agit pas à titre de mandataire du Maître de l'ouvrage. 

Bien que les CCDC-5 ne soient actuellement pas adaptés au mode design-construction, la prochaine génération pourrait y parvenir, notamment par l'insertion d'une Annexe-Option des services de conception

Les avantages du super-contrat seraient multiples, incluant : 

  • réduire le volume de documentation déjà très lourd dans l'industrie;
  • concentrer les efforts de développement et de formation sur ces contrats; et
  • minimiser le risque et les frais associés à l'identification et à la compréhension du contrat approprié. 

De plus, le concept des super-contrats permettrait de résoudre la question des services préconstruction souvent offerts en pratique par l'Entrepreneur général, mais moins encadrés que dans un CCDC-5B (détails pouvant se révéler utiles aux parties en cas d'abandon du projet ou de résiliation hâtive du contrat par la Maître de l'ouvrage). 

Finalement, il offrirait aux parties des options additionnelles qui ne se trouvent pas aux CCDC-2, -3, -4 et -18, telles que : 

  • la combinaison de modes de rémunération;
  • la conversion du contrat à prix coûtant majoré en forfaitaire; et
  • l'éventail de services à la carte et de frais remboursables. 

Si réduire le nombre de contrats normalisés entre Maître de l'ouvrage et Entrepreneur était un premier pas dans la bonne direction, l'auteur croit également que le nombre de clauses de ceux qui demeureront pourrait être significativement réduit puisqu'elles peuvent intimider certains Maître de l'ouvrage et sous-traitants par leur nombre imposant de dispositions.

Footnotes

1 C'est le cas par rapport au CCDC-3, souvent préféré au CCDC-5B.

2 Voir l'Article A-5, l'Annexe A-1, l'Annexe A-2, l'Annexe B et, dans le cas du -5B, l'Annexe-Option du prix forfaitaire.

3 Or, les CCDC-2 et -18 sont généralement peu adaptés aux projets en cours de conception. Quant au CCDC-3, il l'est davantage que les deux autres, mais l'éventail des services préconstruction et des honoraires y afférents n'est pas aussi complet qu'au CCDC-5B.

4 Il suffit de remplir adéquatement la convention, notamment l'Article A-3 et l'Annexe A-1, en fonction de l'avancement du projet.

5 Puisque l'Entrepreneur assume directement la responsabilité pour l'exécution de l'ouvrage envers le Maître d'Suvre.

6 Puisque l'Entrepreneur assume directement la responsabilité pour l'exécution de l'ouvrage envers le Maître d'Suvre.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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