Builders nationwide are becoming increasingly familiar with shear walls, especially along the earthquake-prone West Coast and in the wake of recent hurricanes in the East. They're aware of the kinds of metal connectors involved, and they're accustomed to having the inspector check plywood nailing schedules and framing layouts.

But shear walls are just one element of earthquake- and wind-resistant construction. Less obvious, and somewhat more difficult to build, are the collectors. Also known as drag-struts or drag-ties, collectors gather the lateral earthquake loads from a large area of a building — a roof or floor diaphragm, for example — and deliver them to a...

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