Topping out ceremony marks major milestone for MRC LMS project

Friday 2 July marked a major milestone for our MRC LMS project with the official Topping Out ceremony, celebrating completion of the building’s structure.

The ceremony was attended by key stakeholders of the Medical Research Council (MRC), London Institute of Medical Sciences (LMS), Imperial College London, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and project architect Hawkins\Brown. With Covid restrictions and social distancing impeding attendee numbers, the event was a hybrid on site ceremony that was live streamed to a virtual online platform to ensure as many people could be involved in the celebrations.

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

Several dignitaries took part in the official ceremony on the 9th floor, levelling concrete to form a plinth to mount the ceremonial trowel that will be displayed within the LMS building once in occupancy. The ceremonial pine tree will also take residency within the building on the 7th floor terrace.

MRC’s Director of Capital & Estates, Dr Susan Simon extended the tradition with a German custom for Richtfest (topping out) by blessing the building and its inhabitants for the future with a splash of Schnapps into the concrete mix.

Susan gave thanks to all those involved on the project ‘‘This ceremony marks a very important milestone in the life of this building and provides me the opportunity to thank organisations and individuals who have helped us along the way. A building such as this is a result of an effort by many hands and minds.”

“Thank you to our contractor Walter Lilly and their subcontractors who have been working under very difficult circumstances and show everyday excellent workmanship and embrace the collegial spirit and very friendly environment.”

Walter Lilly’s Managing Director, Chris Butler says “We are delighted to have reached this key milestone for the project and to celebrate the progress made to date. It has been a challenging 16 months on site with the impact of COVID-19, but we are extremely proud of the team’s efforts to achieve this milestone on programme under these difficult circumstances.”

The next stage of the project will see the screeding, dry lining and the M&E installation progress up the building, including the installation of the cladding. The project is due for completion in Summer 2022.

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