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The river has been diverted to allow construction of the dam foundation. The dam at about 50% complete. View from upstream.

Song Bung 4 hydropower, Vietnam

We acted as owner’s engineer and technical advisor on behalf of Electricity Vietnam through its management unit Song Bung 4 Hydropower Management Board for the 156MW Song Bung 4 hydropower project. The project is located in Quang Nam province of Vietnam.

The challenges have been met by the development of good, open working relationships between the client, contractors, designer and our site supervision team and a proactive approach to problem solving.

Key facts

  • We were the lead firm responsible for construction supervision and contract administration duties. Other services we provided include design review, assistance with procurement, resettlement advice and monitoring, environmental management and monitoring.
  • This is the first major hydropower project in Vietnam funded by the Asian Development Bank.
  • The project capex is around US$250 million.
  • The scheme involved the construction of 110m high roller compacted concrete dam, an intake structure, a 3.2km long headrace tunnel of 7.2m diameter, 16m diameter surge shaft and a powerhouse.
  • 24-hour a day working on site allowed a concrete placement rate of 75,000m3 per month to be achieved.


  • The steep and rugged terrain, isolated location and a work site spread over a large area make this a particularly challenging construction site logistically.
  • A tight timescale constrained by rainy seasons and floods meant small delays could push completion back.
  • Poor rock conditions on the left abutment required significant investigation, re-design and a revised construction methodology.
  • Clear communication was challenging in the languages used on site: Vietnamese, Chinese and English.


  • The challenges have been met by the development of good, open working relationships between the client, contractors, designer and our site supervision team and a proactive approach to problem solving.

Value and benefits

  • Vietnam has experienced rising electricity demand of over 15% per year – the project helps meet increasing power demands, while reducing reliance on fossil fuels.
  • Our collaborative approach to solving the geotechnical problems at the left abutment contributed to significant schedule and cost savings.
  • We helped transfer knowledge of international practices and standards in the areas of engineering, procurement, resettlement and contract management to the client, our local counterpart staff and the contractor.
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