News release

From PMU Communications

16 October 2009

Topping out ceremony marks milestone in construction of the Life Sciences Building

Life Scienes Building

A topping out ceremony hosted by the main contractor, BAM Construction Ltd, was held on 15th October at which the University’s new Vice-Chancellor, Professor Don Nutbeam, performed the ceremonial “topping out”. This is a traditional ceremony dating back over many centuries, and one of a number of customs and ceremonies observed amongst builders to have survived into modern times. As with most customs the origins are obscure, however we do know that William of Wykeham attended what is thought to be a topping out on 28 March 1393, during the construction of Winchester School. The celebration is intended to ensure good fortune for the future - this is symbolically done by the placing of a yew tree branch at the highest level.


The topping out ceremony also marks a significant milestone in the new Life Sciences Building project - we are now two-thirds of the way through the construction programme, with the new facility expected to be ready for the final fit-out during the summer of 2010, closely followed by occupation by the Schools of Biological Sciences and Medicine in readiness for the start of the 2010 academic year.