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Collapse of masonry buildings still accounts for most earthquake casualties in developing countries, even though effective earthquake-resistant building techniques are available. The amateur builders and local contractors who are responsible for most housing and small-scale commercial construction are typically unaware of these techniques, or they believe that prohibitively expensive engineering design and materials are required. However, the principal technique—confined masonry—is highly effective for nonengineered buildings of less than three stories, and it involves only modest changes in customary building practices.

I developed a 2 hour workshop to teach local builders in Guatemala earthquake-resistant construction techniques. Simple graphics with minimal captions...

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