First Roof Wetting held in decades, in celebration of Newman College (Sep 2021) - Misc. AU
First Roof Wetting held in decades, in celebration of Newman College (Sep 2021)

First Roof Wetting held in decades, in celebration of Newman College (Sep 2021)

Recently the TPG Architects team joined with the new principal of Newman College and the Diocese of Cairns representatives, together with Bryant Building Contractors, along with consultants, tradesmen, future staff and parents of the school, to celebrate the project milestone of the roof completion for Newman Catholic College.

Words by TPG Architects
Newman College on JCU campus, work in progress.

This building is one of our latest projects under construction on the JCU campus in Smithfield, Cairns.

So what is a ‘roof wetting’? Let’s look at the meaning and history of a roof wetting.

Otherwise known as “topping out”,  roof wetting is a celebration by the Client as a way to thank all the workers, tradesmen, consultants, and more, who have participated in delivering the project to the point where it has reached its form, height or roof enclosure.

It is also used to indicate the project reaching the halfway milestone. These days with all the complexities of AC electrical and fit-outs the halfway point is reached at so called “lock up“ when the wall claddings and windows are installed.

Roof wetting often included the placement of a pine branch at apex of the roof to celebrate all the timber (or steel from the ground) that has been harvested to create the structure of the building. The tree also reflected the sense of growth and rooting into place.

The origins come from Scandinavia Vikings and has spread throughout the world.

These wettings used to happen with most significant projects and houses too but disappeared in the late 1980s with increased work place safety. The focus was always on it being a big celebration and thanks. We would definitely enjoy the idea of bringing back the notion of celebrating and paying thanks to those involved and the craftmanship and materials that have gone in to the project.

The celebrations started with a tour of the whole building.

The afternoon started with a tour of the college, led by one of our Directors, Roger Mainwood. All the visitors were exposed to the various levels and rooms as well as the design intent behind the layout, quality of the materials and construction processes, as well as visions for future expansion.

Did you know that the Multi-Purpose Hall, innovatively located on the second level of the building and accessible by stairs and a lift, will be one of the safest places in Cairns? Designed as a Level 3 importance building, Newman College has been engineered to withstand cyclones and earthquakes and will be available as a community gathering hub and disaster recovery centre.

Director Roger Mainwood taking a group on a tour of the building
Director Roger Mainwood taking a group on a tour of the building
Director Roger Mainwood taking a group on a tour of the building
Visitors to the site
Stage Door Staircase
Future Multi-Purpose Hall
First students for 2022

Every detail of the building has been carefully considered by specialist teams, from designers and builders to tradesmen and construction specialists. Here are some of the building’s details:

Building details
Building Details
Building Details

And then the party started...

Roof Whetting Celebrations
Roof Whetting Celebrations
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