The first step is to draw out a plan. “Consider what you want every piece to look like and how the pieces will fit together,” says Cuthbert.
Keeping the roof light minimizes the structural load, or weight, on the walls. When a heavy roof shifts from side to side, it puts stress on its supports. That’s why an accidental jolt can knock down an unstable house.
Also, builders should think about the distribution of mass, or material, in the house. “Avoid stacking something heavy on top of something skinny,” says Cuthbert. “You want a house that’s wider at the base and narrower toward the top.”