Topping out

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Topping out in southern Denmark Rejsegilde.jpg
Topping out in southern Denmark

In building construction, topping out (sometimes referred to as topping off) is a builders' rite traditionally held when the last beam (or its equivalent) is placed atop a structure during its construction. Nowadays, the ceremony is often parlayed into a media event for public relations purposes. [1] It has since come to mean more generally finishing the structure of the building, whether there is a ceremony or not.

Construction Process of the building or assembling of a building or infrastructure

Construction is the process of constructing a building or infrastructure. Construction differs from manufacturing in that manufacturing typically involves mass production of similar items without a designated purchaser, while construction typically takes place on location for a known client. Construction as an industry comprises six to nine percent of the gross domestic product of developed countries. Construction starts with planning, design, and financing; it continues until the project is built and ready for use.

Builders' rites are ceremonies attendant on the laying of foundation stones, including ecclesiastical, masonic or other traditions connected with foundations or other aspects of construction.

Media event event created for publicity

A media event, also known as a pseudo-event, is an event or activity conducted for the purpose of media publicity. It may also include any event that is covered in the mass media or was hosted largely with the media in mind. Media events may center on a news announcement, an anniversary, a news conference, or planned events like speeches or demonstrations. Instead of paying for advertising time, a media or pseudo-event seeks to use public relations to gain media and public attention.

Contents

History

The practice of "topping out" a new building can be traced to the ancient Scandinavian religious rite of placing a tree atop a new building to appease the tree-dwelling spirits displaced in its construction. [2] Long an important component of timber frame building, [3] it migrated initially to England and Northern Europe, thence to the Americas.

Scandinavia Region in Northern Europe

Scandinavia is a region in Northern Europe, with strong historical, cultural, and linguistic ties. The term Scandinavia in local usage covers the three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. The majority national languages of these three, belong to the Scandinavian dialect continuum, and are mutually intelligible North Germanic languages. In English usage, Scandinavia also sometimes refers to the Scandinavian Peninsula, or to the broader region including Finland and Iceland, which is always known locally as the Nordic countries.

Timber framing building technique, construction method using heavy squared-off and carefully fitted and joined timbers

Timber framing and "post-and-beam" construction are traditional methods of building with heavy timbers, creating structures using squared-off and carefully fitted and joined timbers with joints secured by large wooden pegs. It is commonplace in wooden buildings through the 19th century. If the structural frame of load-bearing timber is left exposed on the exterior of the building it may be referred to as half-timbered, and in many cases the infill between timbers will be used for decorative effect. The country most known for this kind of architecture is Germany. Timber framed houses are spread all over the country except in the southeast.

A tree or leafy branch is placed on the topmost wood or iron beam, often with flags and streamers tied to it. A toast is usually drunk and sometimes workers are treated to a meal. In masonry construction the rite celebrates the bedding of the last block or brick.

In some cases a topping out event is held at an intermediate point, such as when the roof is dried-in, which means the roof can provide at least semi-permanent protection from the elements. [4]

The practice remains common in the United Kingdom and assorted Commonwealth countries such as Australia, [5] and Canada [6] as well as Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Iceland, Chile, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary, the Baltic States, and the United States, where the last beam of a skyscraper is painted white and signed by all the workers involved. [5] In New Zealand, completion of the roof to a water-proof state is celebrated through a "roof shout", where workers are treated to cake and beer. [7]

United Kingdom Country in Europe

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a sovereign country located off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state, the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world. The Irish Sea separates Great Britain and Ireland. The United Kingdom's 242,500 square kilometres (93,600 sq mi) were home to an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017.

Commonwealth of Nations Intergovernmental organisation

The Commonwealth of Nations, normally known as the Commonwealth, is a political association of 53 member states, nearly all of them former territories of the British Empire. The chief institutions of the organisation are the Commonwealth Secretariat, which focuses on intergovernmental aspects, and the Commonwealth Foundation, which focuses on non-governmental relations between member states.

Germany Federal parliamentary republic in central-western Europe

Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central and Western Europe, lying between the Baltic and North Seas to the north and the Alps, Lake Constance and the High Rhine to the south. It borders Denmark to the north, Poland and the Czech Republic to the east, Austria and Switzerland to the south, France to the southwest, and Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands to the west.

The tradition of "pannenbier" (literally "(roof) tile beer" in Dutch) is popular in the Netherlands and Flanders, where a national, regional or city flag is hung once the highest point of a building is reached. It stays in place until the building's owner provides free beer to the workers, after which it is lowered. [8] It is considered greedy[ clarification needed ] if it remains flown for more than a few days.

Dutch language A West Germanic language

Dutch(Nederlands ) is a West Germanic language spoken by around 24 million people as a first language and 5 million people as a second language, constituting the majority of people in the Netherlands and Belgium. It is the third-most-widely spoken Germanic language, after its close relatives English and German.

Netherlands Constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Europe

The Netherlands is a country located in Northwestern Europe with some overseas territories. In Europe, it consists of 12 provinces that border Germany to the east, Belgium to the south, and the North Sea to the northwest, with maritime borders in the North Sea with those countries and the United Kingdom. Together with three island territories in the Caribbean Sea—Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba—it forms a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The official language is Dutch, but a secondary official language in the province of Friesland is West Frisian.

Flanders Community and region of Belgium

Flanders is the Dutch-speaking northern portion of Belgium and one of the communities, regions and language areas of Belgium. However, there are several overlapping definitions, including ones related to culture, language, politics and history, and sometimes involving neighbouring countries. The demonym associated with Flanders is Fleming, while the corresponding adjective is Flemish. The official capital of Flanders is Brussels, although the Brussels Capital Region has an independent regional government, and the government of Flanders only oversees the community aspects of Flanders life in Brussels such as (Flemish) culture and education.

Warsaw radio mast former radio mast in Poland

The Warsaw Radio Mast was a telecommunications tower located near the town of Gąbin, central Poland, and the world's tallest structure at 646.38 metres (2,120.7 ft) from 1974 until its collapse on 8 August 1991. It was the second tallest structure ever built, being surpassed as tallest by the Burj Khalifa, completed in 2009.

See also

Notes

  1. The Hoary Tradition of Topping Out Archived 2017-01-09 at the Wayback Machine . The New York Times, 21 October 1984.
  2. "CUSSW: News:: History of the 'Topping Out' Ceremony". Columbia University School of Social Work. Archived from the original on 11 June 2012. Retrieved 6 June 2012.
  3. Topping Off the Frame Archived 2016-03-03 at the Wayback Machine , 26 November 2008.
  4. Drying In, Part 2 Archived 2009-11-09 at the Wayback Machine , 6 November 2009.
  5. 1 2 "What Is a Tree Doing on Top of That Construction Site?". 19 December 2013. Archived from the original on 16 September 2017 via Slate.Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  6. "The Telegram". www.thetelegram.com.
  7. "Putting the cherry on top". Stuff. Retrieved 2016-08-10.
  8. "Topping Out - A Timber Frame Tradition". www.vermonttimberworks.com. Archived from the original on 2017-08-05.Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)

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References