There are numerous methods of making buildings earthquake resistant. Engineers have spent many years researching earthquakes and their effects and developing new technologies that help residential and commercial buildings remain standing after an earthquake.
Some strategies that have been developed to help buildings withstand earthquakes include using more lightweight materials, particularly on the roof, to reduce the amount of sideways stress the building experiences as it sways. Engineers suggest that walls need to be able to move slightly from side to side without buckling, and should be firmly strapped to the house and the foundation.
Houses with a rigid, steel frame are more likely to resist earthquakes, and those with multiple floors need to have strong columns and beams to support those floors. In larger buildings, such as skyscrapers, engineers recommend cross-bracing the trusses and using shear walls to reinforce the building's frame.
The up-and-down and side-to-side movement that takes place during an earthquake often shakes buildings from their foundations. Most buildings are built to withstand heavy vertical loads, such as snow that builds up on the roof. However, earthquakes put stress on lateral loads, and many buildings are not equipped to deal with that stress, which leads to structural failure.