The construction holidays are likely to be prolonged for the employees of Habitations Trigone. The cancellation of its 19 licenses, decreed last year by the Régie du bâtiment, has just been confirmed by the Administrative Labor Tribunal.
Posted at 6:30 a.m.
The news had created a shock wave, remember. All the licenses held by the bosses of Habitations Trigone had been canceled at once, in September 2021. The sites had to cease their activities immediately. There were a dozen. It was unclear who would complete the thousands of homes expected by customers.
This is exactly what Trigone had pleaded for to regain his licenses. Their cancellation jeopardized the delivery of 2,353 housing units.
The approach had worked. The well-known real estate developer had obtained a “stay of execution”, but his challenge had to be heard on the merits.
This time, his argument, which stretched over 85 pages, did not convince the Tribunal. Judge Jean Paquette dismissed the appeal.
However, Trigone’s lawyers did not lack imagination to convince the judge that the Régie du bâtiment du Québec (RBQ) had erred in its analysis.
In particular, they argued that the RBQ “imposes unrealistic standards of perfection, so that any problem allows it to conclude that Trigone lacks competence in the exercise of its entrepreneurial activities”.
The Auditor General of Quebec (VGQ) had however denounced exactly the opposite a year ago. In his opinion, the RBQ’s strategy “to ensure the competence of contractors is insufficient”.
Above all, if the requirements were so high, we would not have seen all these discouraging images of buildings badly built by Trigone and eaten away by water on the show. The bill. There wouldn’t have been 200 lawsuits in 20 years.
“It is up to Trigone to establish that she is of good moral character and that she can exercise her entrepreneurial activities with competence and probity and she has not satisfied this burden,” wrote Justice Paquette.
In the middle of a construction holiday, the judgment had no shock effect on deserted sites.
But next Monday morning, will the hundreds of employees and subcontractors of Trigone show up on open or closed sites? “It’s too early to tell,” replied one of Trigone’s owners, Patrice St-Pierre.
The businessman had little to say about what happened next since he was abroad and the judgment had only been known for a few working hours.
I imagine they [nos avocats] will look at the remedies we have.
Patrice St-Pierre, one of the owners of Trigone
His company, which has built 25,000 homes since its creation, has 30 days to bring the case to Superior Court. If so, will its licenses be maintained during the proceedings? That remains to be seen.
But at the RBQ, we will ensure that Trigone does not work without a permit, which is an offense liable to criminal prosecution, says its spokesperson Sylvain Lamothe.
“We are doing checks to determine what is being worked on and we are going to do checks on the sites, he continued. And if it turns out that the decision is not respected by the contractor, there could be stop work orders. »
The RBQ does not know how many construction sites Trigone is carrying out at the same time, nor the number of dwellings whose completion is in jeopardy.
Worried consumers awaiting delivery of their home should read their contract to see if their future property is covered by a warranty plan, suggests the RBQ.
However, while buildings with four superimposed apartments or less are compulsorily protected by the GCR guarantee plan (Residential Construction Guarantee), taller towers are not always guaranteed. This decision is at the contractor’s discretion.
GCR claims that three buildings currently under construction by Trigone are covered by its guarantee. These are located in the Domaine de l’équerre, in Laval. The project is carried out in partnership with the Charplexe group. “In the coming days, we will communicate with the people concerned to explain the complaints procedure to them,” promises spokesperson François-William Simard.
On the Trigone site, the “Discover our projects” section leads to the lokalia.ca site, which specializes in “rental spaces with a human dimension”. The co-owner of Trigone, Patrice St-Pierre, is both the main shareholder and the president. We can see projects in Longueuil, Granby and Mascouche promised this fall or next spring. All the accommodations presented are for rent.
This new chapter in the Trigone saga is quite reassuring. In an industry that too often makes headlines for its dubious practices, the substantial judgment of the Administrative Labor Tribunal shows that the RBQ is capable of putting serious obstacles in the way of unscrupulous entrepreneurs.
But it took “scandalous” reports from The bill so that it moves, deplores the director general of the Association of consumers for quality in construction (ACQC), Marc-André Harnois.
And the end of the story is not yet written.