Isaiah Cushman

Some houses are simple. You have a shoebox shape to work with, there aren't too many big window or door openings, and you're not in a seismic zone or high-wind area. But some builders work in seismic zones, and some builders work in hurricane country. In those regions, any structure—high-rise or house—has to be designed for lateral loads, the sideways force of wind pressure or earthquake action.

Whether it's of a Florida beach, a Los Angeles hillside, or a Colorado mountaintop, homeowners love a beautiful view, and designs often call for high ceilings, walls full of windows, and large open rooms; and, of course, there's always the garage door. The result is structural situations where an extreme wind or seismic load has to be handled by...

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