Ground breaking ceremonies are an excellent way to start off your building project. With the need for content creation the way that it is these days, a ceremony is a sure-fire way to bring excitement and attention to your future building and business.
Since ground breaking ceremonies aren’t a regular occurrence for many business owners, if you’re planning one, you may be asking “What is the best way to commemorate the start of a construction project?” We’ve seen a variety of ceremonies from a simple photo opportunity with limited guests to large community-wide grandeur. There is no right way to hold an event, but we offer up some ideas to help you start planning.
- Get Help Organizing
There are a couple of ways to find help planning your ground breaking ceremony. We, as the general contractor, have helped our customers plan and hold their event. We have created invitations and social media announcements, developed agendas, and provided shovels, hard hats, and a podium for our customers’ ceremonies. In an instance like this, you, the building owner, have control over your guest list and any community leaders that you’d like involved. Alternatively, in our region, if you are part of the Chamber of Commerce, they will help put together a program for you and notify other Chamber Members to come to the event. They usually bring media coverage, their shovels and other items you may need, and provide a few speakers and make it a really nice and organized event. It depends on how much focus you want on your organization compared to it being a Chamber event in your honor. Either way will provide a memorable start to your project.
- Look the Part
What is needed to help you show off your new location? For the photo, you’ll certainly want the hard hats and shovels, but you may also want to have construction equipment in the background. Scheduling plays a big role if you’d like to dig into an untouched, grassy site. You’ll need to communicate that with your contractor to get it on the calendar before they start site work, which is typically a firm date. Also, having a rendering of your building displayed at the ceremony adds to the ambiance.
If you’re looking to have a grand event, having a canopy with a podium and chairs can make it look more official and give your guests an area to congregate when they arrive.
- Bring in Entertainment
We’ve seen some creative entertainment at ground breakings and ribbon cuttings including a high school band marching through playing their instruments, a singer with a keyboardist performing together, a minister to bless the site, company mascots representing, bleachers full of students at school ground breakings, hand out logo items, restaurants passing out their food, or a cooler full of beverages and cookies. There are many options to customize an event.
- Consider Alternative Celebrations
If it is a remodel, or the ground is frozen - you can still celebrate the start of a remodel even if there is no dirt to turn by hosting a “Project Kickoff” and skip the turning of the soil all together. Or have soil on hand in an animal feed pan or bucket.
If you’re building multi-story building, like those that use structural steel to create multiple floors, you can have a “Topping Out” ceremony when you complete the highest part of the project. It can include the signing of the beam by the company’s staff, a flag or banner hung from the beam, and/or a lunch for the construction team and building owner for a couple of suggestions.
- Prepare for the Worst
What if it rains? Have umbrellas, a canopy for coverage, and even think about having boards available to cover puddles or mud as a walkway. Depending on the parking area, have a plan to get cars unstuck, if necessary.
And, finally, if you are using a microphone, make sure that there are extra batteries or a power source on site.
If you’ve encountered other ground breaking ceremonies with creative ideas, please share them in the comment section.