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Top Hats on the Rise


The term “Top Hat” is not found in any Oxford Dictionary, it is a building industry term that describes a wide range of steel profiles with a cross section that resembles the shape of a top hat (as worn on the head).  From a very flat ‘top hat’ with a very wide brim to a very high ‘top hat’ with a narrow brim, hats are made for different purposes to suit people with different head shapes and sizes. Top Hats in the building industry work much the same. The range of sizes and metal thicknesses enable a variety of uses in a wide range of applications.

Top Hats are manufactured by hundreds of companies throughout the world for a whole variety of reasons; a case of a “top hat” to fit all “heads”.

What is a Top Hat used for?

Top Hat profiles can be used for a variety of purposes both internally and externally.  In simple terms, top hats are used for roof purlins or wall grits to span between portals and other structural framing elements particularly in applications where there is a higher wind loading or where heavy duty sheeting is to be installed. The load being supported and the wind loading requirements both determine the size of the top hat needed.

Rondo “Top Hats” are manufactured to suit the general requirements of Rondo’s particular section of the building industry, i.e., a simple symmetrical shape with all angles being 90° and are produced from cold roll formed steel coil.

Other companies make similar profiles to ours and some different, like those in the roofing industry who use a profile more a like a truncated wizards hat, to use the headwear comparison, but still call it a top hat.
Top Hats are available in a variety of sizes and thicknesses. This variety offers Structural Engineers a choice of profiles to suit their particular requirements which may include the consideration of wind loads if it is an external environment.

Generally speaking, a Project Engineer will identify what his job requires, specify a Top Hat profile accordingly (inclusive of the fixings to secure the top hat to the substrate). The contractor should then follow the specification and install the system appropriately.  The installation should then be checked and signed off by the Engineer responsible.

An additional benefit to using Rondo Top Hats is the availability of Rondo’s own range of fixing cleats which enable adjustable fixing of its top hats to steel or masonry/concrete substrates providing adjustment for plumb and level.  The cleats are available to suit both the 50 & 75mm width Top Hats and are available in depths of 35 & 55mm.

Where are Top Hats used around the world?

Top Hats are used in virtually any building construction you can think of and aren’t designed just for the occasional building or the biggest construction site in the country at any given time.

Rondo’s Top Hats are used every day somewhere in the world from major projects to the smallest façade lining job on a local shopping centre. An example of this is the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital in Queensland, pictured below, where Top Hats were used to support the weight of the timber ceiling and wall linings featured in the hospitals atrium.

Rondo manufactures product primarily for the Australian, New Zealand, Asian, Indian and Middle Eastern markets. Rondo ensures its products comply with the relevant local building codes and standards as well as to the highest standards of quality control and environmental performance in manufacture, both elements of which Rondo is regularly inspected for compliance.