Our history

70 years of history tunnelling through five continents and more than 100 projects


Carlo Grandori founds S.E.L.I. “Società Esecuzione Lavori Idraulici”

The company begins work, spurred on by public and private clients looking for a company that could improve safety in tunnel works by making use of state-of-the-art technology.


SELI uses the first TBM in Italy

The company uses the first TBM in Italy for the Brasimone project, starting a history of over 100 projects and 1000 km of tunnels excavated using a mechanised system.


Patent for the double telescopic shield TBM

Carlo Grandori and the Robbins Company file the joint patent for the double telescopic shield TBM. This new type of TBM will then be used in hundreds of projects around the world, including the Channel Tunnel and the recent Brenner tunnel.


Partnership with Webuild begins

The company partners with Webuild for the construction of the Tunjita hydroelectric plant in Colombia. This partnership continues over the next 45 years in the most important tunnelling projects on all continents.


The first project in the People’s Republic of China

SELI designs the plants and supplies the specialised technicians to CMC from Ravenna for the first TBM tunnel excavation project in the People’s Republic of China. The project goes on to set extraordinary output records.


The company conquers foreign markets

The company expands its business in Europe, Far East and South America and signs an industrial cooperation agreement with Dragaods for the Spanish and South American markets.


New world output record

The company sets a new world record in mechanised TBM excavation, still unmatched today, in the Esperana Poza Honda project with 2314 m excavated and lined in one month.


Undergrounds around the world

Excavation technology with EPB (Earth Pressure Balance) TBMs with pressurised face is developed and implemented in numerous projects, and the company becomes the most experienced contractor worldwide in the construction of tunnels for underground projects in the most intensely urbanised cities in the world (Caracas, Athens, Turin Milan, San Paolo, New York, Rome, Vancouver, Copenhagen, Thessaloniki, Doha)


The Double Shield Universal TBM

The company develops and implements the new Double Shield Universal technology for excavation in rocks that are highly convergent, under significant overburdens and with variable characteristics, which will be used for projects in Spain, Ethiopia, Turkey, Hong Kong, Chile and Italy, going on to become the market standard for rock tunnels.


Progress record under the Himalayas

In the Kishanganga tunnel project, the specially designed double shield universal TBM achieved an Indian record for progress, with 816 m of excavation and lining in one month of output.


SELI Overseas

SELI launches a subsidiary, SELI Overseas, which starts a growth process both on foreign and Italian markets and progressively strengthens its partnership with the Webuild group. The Doha underground, the Suffolk County tunnel in New York, the Xepian Xenamnoy project in Laos, the Algiers underground, the Serravalle and Radimero tunnels of the Tortona-Genoa high-speed railway (known as the Terzo Valico dei Giovi), the Lonato tunnel for the Brescia-Padua High Speed stages of this development.



SELI Overseas is acquired by the Webuild group and becomes the Italian construction giant’s super-specialist for the tunnelling sector.