My son, Brian L. Hill and I are collaborating on a construction consulting startup called mending wall (sg), or Mending Wall Solutions Group. Here is a recent blog post I wrote about my time with FEMA responding to claims following the terrible Northridge earthquake:
I was shocked at the number of homes that went up in the earthquake, shifted over a few inches and then came down with disastrous affects. The worst of all were the "soft story" apartment buildings that had car ports under them with the structure supported by steel pipes.
The steel pipes provided plenty of support for the load, but no lateral support (resistance to side ways forces) or hold down ability (tension). Everyone remembers seeing the picture of the apartment building that had collapsed into the parking garage.
Read the full article: Remembering Northridge: Thoughts on "Soft Story" Buildings