Topping Out Beam Flying

Daytona Beach Campus Hosts Topping Out Ceremony for New Student Union

The final piece of big steel was bolted in place on the student union at the topping-out ceremony held by the construction team at Barton Malow over the weekend. Next up – finishing the roof and installing the thermal glass for the massive skylight that will stretch the length of the fourth floor in the library.

So why the pine tree on the steel beam?

In modern construction, the trees are known as topping trees. They are placed on the final steel beam to be installed to celebrate completion of the skeleton of a building structure.  Like many rituals, topping-out celebrations stem from ancient superstitions.

The practice of "topping-out" a new building can be traced back to 700 A.D. in Scandinavia when a finished building had a tree placed atop the new structure to appease the tree-dwelling spirits displaced in its construction. Today, topping trees are a symbol good luck and prosperity for the future occupants of the building.

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Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, the world’s largest, fully accredited university specializing in aviation and aerospace, is a nonprofit, independent institution offering more than 80 baccalaureate, master’s and Ph.D. degree programs in its colleges of Arts & Sciences, Aviation, Business, Engineering and Security & Intelligence. Embry-Riddle educates students at residential campuses in Daytona Beach, Fla., and Prescott, Ariz., through the Worldwide Campus with more than 125 locations in the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East, and through online programs. The university is a major research center, seeking solutions to real-world problems in partnership with the aerospace industry, other universities and government agencies. For more information, visit erau.edu, follow us on Twitter (@EmbryRiddle) and facebook.com/EmbryRiddleUniversity, and find expert videos at YouTube.com/EmbryRiddleUniv.