On Tuesday 19 June, Scania, Kier Property, Kier Construction and members of the project team gathered to celebrate the successful completion of the roof of Scania’s new headquarters with a topping out ceremony.

On the day guests made their way to the top of the building to tighten the last bolt and ceremoniously pour a local beer on the roof, marking the milestone and wishing a safe and successful continuation of works.

Scania Managing Director, Claes Jacobsson, and Kier Construction Operations Director, Sean Yeo, begin tightening the last bolt.

Scania Finance Director, Richard Gray, and Kier Project Manager, Ian Palmer, complete the tightening of the bolt.


Richard Gray, Scania Finance Director, pouring a local beer from the Concrete Cow Brewery in Milton Keynes.

What is a topping out ceremony?

The practice of “topping out” a new building can be traced 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, then to America.

The exact origins of topping outs are unknown, but evidence exists that the practice took place in Roman Times and in ancient Egypt, and would involve human sacrifice. Today we have replaced this tradition with the pouring of the local beer.