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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 are acting 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.

Key facts

  • Mott MacDonald is the lead firm responsible for construction supervision and contract administration duties. Our other services include: design review; advice and assistance with procurement; resettlement advice and monitoring; environmental management advice 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 involves 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 powerhouse
  • Construction started in 2010 and is expected to be complete by the end of 2014. 24-hour a day working on site allowed a concrete placement rate of 75,000m3 per month to be achieved.

Challenges

  • 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 means any small delays could push completion back by a whole year
  • Poor rock conditions on the left abutment required significant investigation, re-design and a revised construction methodology
  • Clear communication was challenging in the three languages used on site: Vietnamese, Chinese and English

Solutions

  • 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 is experiencing rising electricity demand of over 15% per year – the project will help to meet increasing power demands, whilst 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 have helped to transfer knowledge of current 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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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.

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