Ing. Eugenio ZOPPIS

EUGENIO ZOPPIS is an Italian citizen born in 1958 in Florence (Italy). He is a civil engineer with a law degree, and holds a master degree in Construction Law and Dispute Resolution awarded by the King’s College in London where he is currently a PhD researcher in construction law (current research topic: risk management in construction contracts).  At present he is managing the construction of a large hydropower project in Ethiopia.

He has 30 years of on-site experience in construction management for large international projects. As a contractor, he has built large dams (totalling 15 million m3 of concrete or rock fill), tunnels and shafts (over 45 km), roads (over 1,200 km), bridges and buildings.  Among them, he has built the tallest RCC dam in the world (246m high) and one of the longest, deep tunnels without intermediate adits (26 km long).  He has taken part to three ICC arbitration proceedings and to dispute boards (DRB, DAB), participating to the preparation of claims and appearing as a party witness. He was arbitrator in an insurance arbitration in Italy.


2016 – present        SALINI-IMPREGILO S.p.A. – Ethiopia

Project Manager for Koysha Hydroelectric Project (2160MW), construction under an EPC contract of:  170m high RCC dam with a volume of 7.1 million m3; surface Powerhouse with 8 Francis units and three steel penstocks; more than 100 Km of roads and 1 bridge of 175m span;  total of 25 million m3 of earthmoving and 1.5 million m3 of concrete. Reservoir storage capacity: 9 billion m3.  FIDIC EPC/Turnkey Contract. Value: Euro 2.25 billion.

2011 – 2016           SALINI-IMPREGILO S.p.A. – Ethiopia

Project Manager for Gibe III Hydroelectric Project (1870MW), for the construction under an EPC contract of: 246m high RCC dam with a volume of 6.2million m3; surface Powerhouse with 10 Francis units three diversion tunnels and two Headrace Tunnels concrete and steel lined, max 13m diameter, for a total length of about 6 Km; six shafts 90 m deep, diameter 18m, a total of 18.6 million m3 of earthmoving.  Reservoir storage capacity: 19 billion m3. FIDIC EPC/Turnkey Contract. Value: Euro 1.47 billion.

2004 – 2011           SALINI COSTRUTTORI S.p.A. – Ethiopia

Project Manager for Gilgel Gibe II Hydroelectric Project (420MW), for the construction under an EPC contract of: a 26Km long tunnel excavated with two TBMs, a concrete Dam, a rockfill and RCC Desilting Weir, a total 120Km long access roads (gravel and DBST), 2 x 1000m long metal Penstocks, a surface Powerhouse with 4 Pelton units for a total installed power of 420MW.  Works financed by the Italian and Ethiopian Government and European Investment Bank. FIDIC EPC/Turnkey Contract. Value: Euro 396 million.

2001 – 2003           JV NECSO (ACCIONA) – SALINI – Ethiopia

Project Manager, for the construction of Gilgel Gibe Hydroelectric Project Lot 1 and Lot 5 (186MW), 40m high – 1,870 m long asphalt faced rockfill dam 3.5 million m3, and a 9 Km long, concrete lined Power Tunnel, excavated in drill and blast.  Works financed by the World Bank. Measurement (FIDIC Red Book) Contract. Value: USD. 295 million.

1999 – 2001           SALINI COSTRUTTORI S.p.A. – Ethiopia

Project Manager for Dire Dam Emergency Project, 2.5 million m3 earthfill, dam with an impervious clay core, and a 10 Km long water supply pipeline. Works financed by the Ethiopian Government.  Measurement (FIDIC Red Book) Contract.

1997 – 1999           SALINI COSTRUTTORI S.p.A. – Ethiopia

Project Manager for the construction of Chida Sodo Feeder Road Project, 170 Km gravel road, 5.3 million m3 of earthworks, with 6 bridges (of which: 1 x 80m single span) and several concrete culverts.  Works financed by the African Development Bank and Ethiopia. Measurement (FIDIC Red Book) Contract.

1995 – 1997           SALINI COSTRUTTORI S.p.A. – Sierra Leone

Project Manager for the Completion of Bumbuna Dam Hydroelectric Project, 90m high rockfill dam 3 million m3 with asphalt concrete facing, surface powerhouse, gates, and for Contract “C” of Bumbuna Dam, turbines and electro-mechanical installations, two Francis units for 50MW. They were respectively measurement and design & build contracts. FIDIC based bespoke measurement contract.

1993 – 1995           SALINI COSTRUTTORI S.p.A. – Sierra Leone

Project Manager for the construction of:

the Waterloo – Masiaka Highway   (40 Km);

the Makeni – Kabala Road              (80 Km);

the Waterloo – Wellington Road    (20 Km);

The above works were financed by the European Development Fund.

Project Manager for Taiama – Bo – Kenema Road Rehabilitation (120 Km): final stage, demobilisation and contractual matters upon completion. Works financed by the World Bank. Measurement (FIDIC Red book) contract.

These roads were paved with asphaltic concrete (180Km) or with DBST (double bituminous surface treatment, 80Km) and included concrete bridges and culverts.

1990 – 1993           SALINI COSTRUTTORI – IMPREGILO J.V. – Sudan

Deputy Project Manager for the Port Sudan Road Rehabilitation Project, a 760Km long asphaltic concrete highway, with concrete structures either new or to be strengthened, financed by the World Bank and K.f.W.

1989 – 1990           SALINI COSTRUTTORI S.p.A. – Sudan

Project Manager for the Road Transport Unit Project, for the construction of industrial buildings, design, plant supply and erection, for DIPCO, the Italian Coooperation and Development Fund.

1988 – 1989           SALINI COSTRUTTORI S.p.A. – Italy

Assistant Area Manager in charge of project analyses, evaluation, planning and logistics for works in Africa and Europe.  Involved in the following projects:

– Tana Beles Project, in Ethiopia: integrated agricultural project including two concrete dams, 10 Km pipeline,  drainage and irrigation, building works.

– Afgoi – Goluen Road, in Somalia: construction of a 100 Km asphalt (bituminous surface treatment) road.

– TEM Motorway Kalotina – Kapitan Andreevo, in Bulgaria.  Negotiating and preparing a BOT contract.

1987 – 1988            PROCOGEN S.p.A. – Italy

Site Manager for the turnkey construction of several telecommunication plants in Southern Italy (design and build).

Academic Qualifications

– MSc Degree, in Construction Law and Dispute Resolution.

– Law Degree.

– Civil Engineering Degree.

Training and further study courses:

– Roller Compacted Concrete – CED Engineering, USA – 2010

– Health and Safety at the Workplace – SGS, Rome (Italy) – 2008

– English Proficiency Certificate, Cambridge University (UK) 1987.

– English Academic Proficiency Test – IELTS; British Council (UK), 2014.

– Dispute Review Board Advanced Workshop, DRBF, Genoa (Italy), 21st May 2015.

– Advanced Dispute Board Workshop with Peer Review, DRBF, Madrid, 24 May 2017.

– Attendance to international conferences on hydropower, construction, management, contracts and construction law in Europe, Emirates and Ethiopia.

– Speaker at the World Hydropower Congress, 9 -11 May 2017, Addis Ababa,

Papers Published:

–  Managing Unprecedented RCC Challenges at Gibe III Dam, Ethiopia; Hydropower and Dams, issue n. 4 – (Special Africa), April 2015, USA.

–  Seismic Prospection for the Reconstruction of the Geomechanical Tunnel Profile During the Excavation with a TBM of an Hydraulic Tunnel, presented during the XXIV Convegno Nazionale di Geotecnica in Naples – 2011, Italy.

–  An extreme case of structural reinforcing by external prestressing: the Bridge over the Gibe River in Ethiopia – 2008; Presented at ICCRR 2008 South Africa and published in Italy by the iiC – Industria Italiana del Cemento, Magazine of the Italian Concrete Institute  (AITEC), Italy.

–  Hydroelectric Project Gilgel Gibe I in Ethiopia: the Tunnel – 2006; FELSBAU issue n. 24, Austria.

–  Gilgel Gibe Hydroelectric Project Phase I – 2001; Hydropower and Dams, issue n. 6 – 2001, USA.

– The Ground Risk and Geotechnical Baseline Reports at the 2016 Hudson Prize of the Society of Construction Law, London.  The information is available at the King’s College –London website:

Contributed to the preparation of 2016 Hydropower Status Report, a global database on hydropower, published by the International Hydropower Association, London – UK,

Professional Affiliations

–    Member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, MCIArb, (UK)

–    Member of the Association for Project Management, MAPM, (UK)

–    Graduate Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers, GMICE, (UK)

–    Member of the Chartered Institution of Civil Engineering Surveyors, MCInstCES, (UK)

–    Member of the Dispute Resolution Board Foundation DRBF, (USA)

–    Member of the Society of Construction Law, (UK)

–    Member of International Bar Association, (UK)

–    Member of the Arbitration Club, London King’s College Branch and of the King’s College Construction Law Association, (UK)

–    Member of International Hydropower Association, IHA, (UK)


Several certificates were awarded for positive social contribution in the course of project work and  for professional achievements in the cursus of the career, among them:

Certificate of appreciation for contribution to the University of Wolayta – Sodo in Ethiopia; July 2017.

Certificate of Recognition for contribution to the successful completion of Gibe III Hydroelectric Project, awarded by the Ethiopian Electric Power public enterprise, in February 2017.

The paper on ‘The Ground Risk and Geotechnical Baseline Reports’ submitted to 2016 Hudson Prize of the Society of Construction Law, London, was ‘highly commended’.

The degree thesis on ‘Contract Conditions for Ground Risk under 1999 FIDIC Suite of Contracts: a Critical Review’ has been awarded 2nd prize of the Master Thesis Prize (2017) by the European Society of Construction Law, in Fribourg, Switzerland.


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Matera settembre 2015


10th October 2014 ESCL Conference “Construction Contract, Arbitration and ADR”


Dinner Party 9th October 2014