What's That Tree Doing Up There?

CSL Behring construction project in Switzerland follows the custom of “topping out.”

Topping out ceremony in Bern Switzerland

If you’ve ever watched a building go up, you know it’s a slow and careful process. But, thankfully, there are milestones.

For a large construction project, like the one going on at our facility in Bern Switzerland, a major accomplishment comes when the highest beam has been placed in the structure. Called “topping out,” it’s an achievement that CSL Behring recently celebrated with the team of more than 300 construction professionals, including construction site suppliers, planners, engineers, architects and construction and project managers. It’s customary to raise a small tree or some greenery to celebrate the progress. The custom dates back as early as 8th century Scandinavia, when sheaves of grain were used instead of trees, according to Slate.com explanation of the tradition.

topping out ceremony in bern switzerland

But there will be more to celebrate later, said Site Manager Pierre Caloz. CSL Behring, a global biotechnology leader, produces medicines for people who have rare and serious diseases, such as hemophilia and immune system diseases. The ongoing project, valued at 250 million Swiss francs, adds new capacity to the company’s existing manufacturing facility in Bern. When production begins in 2021, the site will be able to provide additional immunoglobulin products for thousands of patients, he said.

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