Traditional Construction Ceremonies

I really miss these ceremonies in Ireland (are they still done in the UK?), they’re sort of done here !

Foundation Stone

Frequently a ‘corner-stone’ ceremony where a foundation stone with an inscription (date, person laying it etc…) is fixed into a premade position. Sometimes this stone is hollowed to contain objects appropriate to the occasion and building.

I particularly like the ‘speech’ that goes with the laying:

“In equity, justice, temperance and fortitude, I declare this stone well and truly laid”, with three light taps of the stone at each corner with a maul in an anti-clockwise direction.

The Topping Out Ceremony

Traditionally performed when the topmost part of the building is completed. The simplest form is to hoist a branch of evergreen to the top of the building and a toast drunk to everyone on the site to celebrate the completion of the structure of the building.

Historically there have been many variations of this over the years; on an open site an evergreen is frequently thrown to the ground and burnt (this last part is to ward off evil). Also there were stories of Architects being sacrificed and building the architect into the structure.

The purpose of the ceremony is for the client to thank the people responsible for constructing the structure of the building.

Opening Ceremony

Pretty obvious this one, a nice ceremony when the client becomes the occupier and owner of the building

Planning Permission Granted

I’m going to start this one; it’s traditional for the client to give the architect a bottle of champagne on receiving the grant of planning permission 😉 (worth a try)

Source: The Architects Guide to Running a Job, Ronald Green

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