Love and Rayleigh waves travel more slowly than P-and S-waves, but they have larger horizontal and vertical movements.
When the underground seismic waves reach the surface, they no longer have to travel through solid rock. Waves move more quickly on the surface because it is much less dense than solid rock and is surrounded primarily by air. This allows for much greater movement and much greater destruction.
Buildings built securely on bedrock have a better chance of surviving surface waves because bedrock is more difficult to move.
If buildings are built on a softer foundation, the waves can shift the ground particles to a greater extent, causing more damage. Solidity is not always the answer, however, because under enough stress, solids will snap.
Buildings made of materials that can give, or withstand stress without breaking, may suffer less damage. Almost nothing, however, will last if it sits directly on top of an actual fault.