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Today, a non-religious but formal ceremony is often held to commemorate this milestone in the construction of a building. All tradesmen on the job usually join in the celebration as well as the supervisors, representatives of the architecture and engineering firms, the owner or representatives of the owning organization, donors and any VIPs that are invited.

While the ceremony itself has no standard agenda, it usually includes the placing of an evergreen tree upon the structure to symbolize growth and bring luck. The American Flag is raised atop the structure. It may take place during lunch time and can include a catered meal and entertainment. In large building construction, the topping out beam may be signed by the ironworker crew, or by local dignitaries depending on the importance of the building. Ironworkers may take this as an opportunity to publicise their union local. The beam is signed on the ground before it is hoisted into place by crane. The height of the ceremony takes place whne the piece of steel is lifted into place and secured.