Canada: Ville De Montréal C. Pomerleau – Un Retour Sur Le Devoir D'information

Le journal de la Corporation des Entrepreneurs Généraux du Québec – Édition hiver 2017

Dans l'affaire récente Ville de Montréal c. Pomerleau1, la Cour supérieure a rejeté une demande en dommages-intérêts présentée par la Ville de Montréal (ci-après la « Ville ») contre l'entreprise Pomerleau et ses sous-traitants Vespo et Ramsol (ci-après collectivement les « défenderesses »). La Ville réclamait un montant de 131 555,52$, soit les coûts de reconstruction d'un massif de conduits endommagé lors des travaux d'excavation en vue de la construction d'un immeuble.

La Cour a rejeté la demande de la Ville au motif que cette dernière avait manqué à son devoir d'information vis-à-vis les défenderesses. Selon la Cour, il appartenait à la Ville de fournir des plans clairs ainsi que toute l'information utile et pertinente permettant d'identifier le nombre de massifs et leur localisation.

Faits et prétentions des parties

Pomerleau obtient un contrat pour la construction d'un immeuble sur la rue Saint-Catherine, au coin de la rue Clark, à Montréal. Les travaux d'excavation et d'installation de pieux et de soutènement temporaire sont sous-traités aux entreprises Vespo et Ramsol respectivement.  Durant les travaux d'installation de pieux, un massif de conduits, arbitrant notamment des câbles électriques d'Hydro-Québec, est perforé et endommagé. Selon la Ville, les coûts pour la reconstruction du massif s'élèveraient à 131 555,52$, somme que la Ville réclame aux défenderesses.

Au soutien de sa demande, la Ville prétend que les défenderesses ont été négligentes en omettant de prendre les précautions préalables et de faire les vérifications nécessaires afin de s'assurer d'éviter le massif. De plus, la Ville soumet que les plans fournis aux défenderesses démontrent clairement la présence et l'emplacement du massif qui fut heurté.

Les défenderesses soumettent que les plans sont incomplets, ambigus et incompréhensibles en ce qui concerne le nombre et l'emplacement des massifs. De plus, les défenderesses invoquent que le représentant de la Ville a omis de fournir toute l'information utile en temps opportun concernant l'emplacement du massif.

La décision

Face à ces prétentions, la Cour doit décider qui est responsable des dommages causés au massif.  À la lumière de la preuve présentée, la Cour reconnaît que les plans présentaient des mentions quant à la présence de massifs. Cependant, la Cour est d'avis que les plans sont incomplets et qu'ils ne permettent pas de repérer la présence du massif endommagé. Le juge Bisson indique que « même si les défenderesses sont des spécialistes de la construction et de l'installation de pieux, elles ne peuvent pas deviner ce que le plan de localisation comporte ou ne comporte pas. »

La Cour se prononce ensuite sur les obligations des défenderesses de se renseigner quant à la présence et l'emplacement des massifs. À cet égard, le juge Bisson reconnaît que les défenderesses avaient l'obligation de procéder à une excavation exploratoire raisonnable afin de localiser la présence des massifs, et, le cas échéant, de se renseigner auprès de la Ville quant à l'emplacement des massifs. La Cour est d'avis que les mesures prises par les défenderesses lors de l'installation du pieu respectaient cette obligation.

La Cour conclut qu'il serait déraisonnable d'imposer aux défenderesses l'obligation de creuser profondément et largement partout où un pieu doit être planté afin de déterminer avec précision s'il y a un ou plusieurs massifs, surtout dans la mesure où la Ville connaissait ou devait connaître cette information. La Ville a manqué à son devoir d'information à l'égard des défenderesses et les défenderesses ne sont pas responsables des dommages réclamés. Le recours de la Ville est par conséquent rejeté.

Footnote

1. 2017 QCCS 475

Cet article est paru dans l'édition hiver 2017 du Journal de la Corporation des Entrepreneurs Généraux du Québec 

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