What is the actual name of those rods, which are hung from the ceiling, used to support walkways or overhead catwalks ?

Note: I'm not talking about curtain or shower rods, I'm talking about the kind capable of handling a huge load.

  • Have you done an online search for these structural parts? If so, what has your search yielded? Commented Jun 28, 2016 at 15:00
  • Rigged/Non-rigged super truss?
    – NVZ
    Commented Jun 28, 2016 at 15:10
  • @KristinaLopez: Of course, I have. But it just returns amazon ads for shower and curtain rods (hence the note) and adding "bridge" to the search terms returns something about some ceiling mounted cranes.
    – user96551
    Commented Jun 28, 2016 at 15:11
  • 1
    @Hugh, this link didn't work for me: ia801406.us.archive.org/28/items/practicaltreatis00steiuoft/…‌​icaltreatis00steiuoft_bw.pdf Commented Jun 28, 2016 at 15:34
  • @user96551, ha! My search yielded all kinds of results - none showing a rod-type support structure. Have you tried searching for "pole" instead of rod? Just a thought. Commented Jun 28, 2016 at 15:36

1 Answer 1


I believe they're called tie rods - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tie_rod

There's a famous case of a massive engineering failure involving walkways held up by steel rods - the 1981 Hyatt Regency disaster:


The walkways collapsed onto the people below, and it turned out to be because the steel rods holding up the walkway had not been attached to the walkways in the precise way detailed in the plans. This deviation introduced a terrible structural weakness which led to the collapse.

In that Wikipedia article, the rods are variously referred to as "tie rods", "steel rods" or "steel tie rods". If we use this as evidence, I'd say that the name of the component is a "tie rod", and the ones used in this incident were made of steel, hence "steel tie rods".

  • @PhilSweet I learned about this in a great Horizon episode about the concept of failure in engineering, called "To Engineer Is Human". The Challenger disaster features as an example of what a "safety factor" doesn't actually mean. Commented Jun 28, 2016 at 15:43
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    I think in the context of construction/engineering, tie rods just means any long thin (usually, metal) rods/components bearing a tensile (as opposed to compressive) load/strain. So you can have tie rods going right through a house horizontally, holding in walls which would otherwise sag outwards and cause the building to collapse. Commented Jun 28, 2016 at 15:54
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    I deleted my first comment after 1 minute. I had written the same answer,nearly word for word, with the same reference to the Hyatt collapse. You beat me to it by about 1 minute.
    – Phil Sweet
    Commented Jun 28, 2016 at 17:36
  • I was reading some more about the Hyatt Regency disaster after posting - 114 crushed to death, absolutely horrendous. Worst building collapse disaster in the US until 9/11. One of the firemen was so traumatised he later killed himself. Just awful. Commented Jun 29, 2016 at 7:23

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