Topping out Published on September 15, 2016


2015-07-15-15-37-47-1Apparently it all started with an 8th century Scandinavian religious rite that called for placing sheaves of grain atop a new wooden building. (To honor tree-dwelling spirits?) At some point, as the tradition spread through Europe, the celebratory offering became a tree or branch rather than grain.

This tradition followed Europeans to the Americas and continues today, not just with timber frames but also with steel buildings, including skyscrapers. The greenery goes up when the building’s highest beam or structural element is put in place – not when the building is complete, which of course involves sheathing, roofing, plumbing, etc.

At Hardwick Post & Beam we’re a traditional bunch. We always “top out” our timber frame with a leafy branch before we leave the building site for other tradespeople to begin their work. (Find out here what takes place before we raise the frame.)

Perhaps, as writer Mark Vanhoenacker says, topping out is “a kind of secular blessing for the building and its future inhabitants.”tree-goes-on-frame

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