Building Permit | AiDomes

Building Plan Composition 

To keep things simple, the basic dome building kit comes with all the prefab panels for the dome shell and panels for one entryway.  Each floor plan layout varies as to the type and number of entryways and dormers needed for that plan.  For dome structural integrity, wherever an opening will be located in the dome shell where your locally purchased doors and windows will be framed in, a structural awning has to be installed. We call these structural awnings building options and name them entryways and dormers.  Where a vertical framed wall is wanted or where French Doors or multiple windows or large windows are framed in on site, an entryway is installed – it can be standard (8′ tall) or high profile or garage.  High profile is used in a high vaulted ceiling areas and can have fixed glass above standard 6’8” doors.  Or in a HP entryway, tall 8’ doors could be installed with fixed glass above. During the plans design, Ai emails you elevation views of the entryways and dormers showing the width and height available for windows/doors or single windows or single doors.  Our Computer Aided Drafting Department, CAD, makes recommendations for door and window sizes.  But because you have the elevation views,  you can choose to have larger or smaller windows or doors. Where a single window will be framed in a window dormer is installed. Where a single door will be framed in a door dormer is installed.

What are the contents of your Building Plans? Stock sets generally have 13-20 pages per each set. Building plans include the basic drawings for the dome that are needed when acquiring a building permit. They are composed on our computer aided drafting system as stock plans, or based on your individual requirements and design. Some of the pages are a 3-D elevation and a 3-D perspective view.

American Ingenuity’s Building Plans contain all of the typical drawings and details found in new home plans – usually 13-20 sheets. The blueprints included in your plans are based on the type of entryways, dormers and foundation that are designed in your plans. Some of the Blueprint names are:

    • Cover Sheet
    • Legend Sheet
    • First Floor Plan
    • Second Floor Plan
    • Dome Panel Nomenclature
    • Exterior Elevations
    • 1st Floor Electrical Plan (shows location of electrical outlets, lighting fixtures, smoke detectors)
    • 2nd Floor Electrical Plan (shows location of electrical outlets, lighting fixtures, smoke detectors)
    • Foundation Plan
    • Foundation Details
    • 2nd Floor Framing Plan
    • Typical Dome Section
    • Standard Entryway Details
    • High Profile Entryway Details
    • 1st Floor Window Dormer & Door Dormer Details
    • 2nd Floor Dormer Details
    • Stair Details
    • Cupola Blueprint if ordered
    • Link Blueprint if ordered

 

To obtain a building permit, the following items may be needed: Engineer Seal on the Building Plans, Structural Calculations, Energy Report, Engineering Statement,

It is Ai’s philosophy that each Buyer pays for only what they need. Ai does not burden the price of the building kit with building plan’s pricing, engineer seal cost, structural calculations or energy report cost.  Building plans are purchased three months  to two years prior to kit shipment.  About 50% of the building departments require engineer sealed plans and an energy report to issue a permit.  As a result each buyer pays for their plans separately from the building kit and pays for a seal, calculations and energy report only if their building department requires them.  If you give us your property address or tax ID number & building department name, at no cost to you, Ai will call the plans examiner, email a sample of building plans if needed and inquire what is needed to obtain a building permit on the American Ingenuity dome kit.

Once Ai knows which size dome and whether you prefer a stock plan or modified or custom plan, Ai can complete a Plans Quote that lists regular and sale price on the dome plans, other plans if not slab foundation (basement, pilings, etc.), Engineer seal cost and energy report cost if required by your Building Department and any engineer design fees.  Once you agree to the Plans Quote and pay in full, Ai will start the design of your building plans.

Although over 30 different engineers have reviewed our Building Plans over the years, the plans do not come with an engineer’s seal for the following reasons.  About half of our dome owners need engineer sealed Building Plans to obtain a building permit. Rather than adding the engineer cost to all plans or burden the price of the building kit, it is more economical for each buyer to pay for the engineer if needed.

  • As the designer and manufacturer, Ai would not hesitate to guarantee the structural integrity of our dome and we do just that with our 225 wind and EF4 tornado warranty.
  • Each state only accepts a seal from an engineer who is registered in that state which prevents us from applying a seal that would be universally accepted.
  • When an engineer seals a set of plans he is taking responsibility for the structural design for a single dome in the location intended and the seal would not apply to other projects

Engineer Seal Cost  & Engineer Design Fee For Foundations Other Than Slab

Professional Engineer (PE) Seal Cost:  If required by your building department a PE Engineer licensed for your state affixes his seal on the structural pages in the blueprints and signs each seal.  For all states other than Florida, the PE engineer seal fee for one dome on a slab is $600. Two domes on slabs is $900.  For Florida Ai utilizes a different PE engineer to seal the plans.   His seal fee for one small dome on a slab is $450.   His fee for one 36′ or larger dome on a slab is $500.  Fl Seal Fee for two domes on slabs is $800.

Florida Licensed PE Engineer design fee for foundations other than slab:   Standard foundation is monolithic slab.  If basements or stem wall,  design fee is $200 to $300.  Call for Pilings and Concrete Columns design fee.

Engineering Statement comes with Engineer Sealed Building Plans at no additional cost. To view an example of an Engineering Statement on Aidomes, click on Statement.

Structural Calculations Fee

If required by your building department, an engineer licensed for your state can perform structural calculations for your specific floor plan and dome  size based on your area’s design criteria. PLEASE NEVER ASK A BUILDING OFFICIAL IF THEY REQUIRE STRUCTURAL CALCULATIONS BECAUSE THEY WILL SAY YES.  Always wait and see if the subject comes up.  Generally the engineer seal on the plans and the engineering statement should be sufficient.

For example Structural Calcs were completed at a cost of $1,400 on one of Ai’s largest size domes –  a 48′ dome built in Banning California with design criteria of Seismic Zone D, Wind Speed 110, Wind Exposure C, Snow Load 38 psf.   Costs for calculations for smaller domes are less than $1,400 and vary based on dome size and whether Seismic criteria has to be included.

Energy Report Fee

Some building departments require an Energy Report when the building plans are submitted.  The Report calculates the energy efficiency of the building envelope….walls, exterior doors and windows.  In most states other than California, Florida and possibly Washington, if an Energy Report is required, the building department will accept a Rescheck Energy Report.  Ai can complete this report once you provide specific door, window and equipment answers.  Ai has a questionnaire which we email each buyer that lists data we need to complete the report.

The fee to complete the report for one dome on a slab is $190. Two domes on slabs is $270.  One dome on a basement – $270

What paperwork is required to obtain a building permit in Florida? To obtain a building permit for new construction in Florida, Florida Engineer Sealed Building Plans and a Florida Energy Report are required along with other paperwork. The seal and energy report can be purchased from Ai.

Can American Ingenuity complete the California Title 24 Energy Calculations that are required to obtain a building permit in California? No, but we can put you in contact with a California firm who can complete the Title 24 energy calculations for Ai’s dome. Normally their fee is $200 to $300 for one dome on a slab.

 Dome Building Kit Shipping Costs

Why did a buyer near Australia pay $18,000 in shipping costs to receive one 34’ dome kit shipped in a 40’ high cube container?  And why did a California buyer pay $6,500 for one truck to deliver their 48’ in diameter dome kit.  Simply put, these buyers could not build a home or buy any house that has the energy efficiency, strength and noncombustible concrete exterior that the American Ingenuity dome has.  

The Ai dome is more energy efficient, stronger & has less exterior maintenance than a conventional house or mobile home: Why?

  1. Because of the thick insulation which is comparable to 11” of fiberglass batting (A conventional house would need min 2×12 walls filled with 11” of fiberglass batting and still not meet the energy efficiency of the Ai dome because the 2×12 would interrupt the insulation)
  2. the reduced exterior surface area (30% less than a conventional house so less exterior walls for your AC and Heat to pass through)
  3. and because the exterior walls of Ai dome contain no wood to interrupt the insulation.
  4. There is no wood in or on the dome shell to rot or to burn or for termites to eat.  (The Ca buyer purchased the dome because their wood house burned and they wanted a new home with a noncombustible concrete exterior that was super-energy efficient.)
  5. There is no roof to replace every 11-12 years.  After the dome kit is assembled, the exterior concrete is primed and painted with two coats of breathable elastomeric paint.  The exterior concrete is repainted every 4-5-6 years.
  6. The dome is stronger (225 mph wind and F4 tornado due to aerodynamic shape, continuous steel reinforced concrete exterior and triangle panel shape.  To view Ai dome advantages summary, click on Summary.

Shipping Costs:  Each dome kit 27’ thru 48’ requires one semi-truck for delivery. Ai does not provide any interior fittings or interior walls (i.e. plumbing, kitchen, flooring), nor do we supply windows and doors (standard sizes used, locally available, purchased by you). Ai believes the buyer should not pay shipping costs on another truck to receive items that can be purchased locally (windows, doors, flooring, bathroom fixtures, kitchen cabinets, etc.).

Shipping: Minimum shipping cost is $800 within Florida. If delivery is into southern Florida, kit shipping will be more than $800. Shipment out of Florida is approximately $2.50 – $2.90 per mile for a 53′ long step deck semi-truck. Shipping is from Ai’s plant in Rockledge, Florida (zip 32955).  Please call for quote. One truck can carry one 27’, 30′, 34′, 36′, 40′, 45′, or 48′ Kit or one 22’ & one 27’ kit or two 22′ Kits with standard 7″ insulation. 45′ or 48′ kits with 9″ insulation require two trucks for delivery. USA arrangements for shipping is made by American Ingenuity or you can coordinate with Ai for your semi-truck to pick up the kit.  Shipping costs can change without notice due to fuel costs, fuel surcharges, distances, etc.  Please call our office, 321-639-8777, to find out our latest shipping information.

Finished Cost Per Sq.Ft.

To view our web site file that talks about how to calculate square footage costs to build and finish a home, please click on Square Footage Costs.

 Approximate Finished Price Document 

The two page document, gives a general idea of the overall cost of a kit, plans, seal, Parts List, etc.  On the second page you will see finishing costs, which presents an approximate cost to build your dome home (based upon moderately finished interior.  These figures are based upon Central Florida, the cost to build varies from state to state, county to county and city to city.  Please take note of the website mentioned www.Building-cost.net, (by following the parameters listed in the approx. kit pricing document) you can get a clearer idea of the cost to build in your desired location.

American Ingenuity’s Two Page Order Form Lists

Parts List Items Included w’ the Dome Kit & Items Which Can Be Purchased From Ai

Each floor plan varies as to the number and type of entryways, window dormers and door dormers. Once Ai knows which floor plan you prefer, we can complete a preliminary Building Kit Order Form that lists the kit with entryway and dormer pricing. Once your plans are finished, the preliminary Order Form is updated to show pricing for the Parts List Items.

 

Estimate Dome Kit Assembly Time & Costs

As we have described the Dome Kit can be assembled by an owner builder or the owner can hire a builder. Either way if desired the independent Kit Assembly Consultant can be hired to supervise your workers or your builder’s concrete workers. Click on Kit Assembly Consultant to view an article which contains charts showing kit assembly times for kits which have two entryways and four dormers. Also in the article are materials needed at the site for kit assembly.

Temporary Wooden Support System

During Dome Kit Assembly the prefab panels are supported by a temporary wooden rib system assembled in the geodesic shape.  After the panel seams are concreted and the entryways and dormers are concreted, the dome is self-supporting and the rib system is removed. The Rib System consists of using your own 2x4s, bolts/nuts/washers purchased from Ai ($100) and steel hubs on loan from America Ingenuity to assemble a free standing framework which matches the geometry of the dome.  Or Ai can cut, drill and paint the ribs and ship the 2×4’s on the truck with your building kit.  Hub deposit is $800 for five months rental. Thereafter is $20 a month rental cost.  After hubs are returned, deposit is refunded.

Purchase cut, drilled, painted 2×4’s for temporary wooden rib system from Ai or Ai can email specs for the 2×4’s to be cut, drilled, painted on site.  To determine pricing, Ai only charges the cost of the 2×4 and actual labor costs to cut, drill and paint the 2×4’s.  Ai does not add our business overhead costs to the 2×4 pricing. 

  • For two freq: 15’, 18’, 22’ or 27’ dome there are 75 – 2×4’s – approx. price $605
  • For three freq: 30’ – 48’ domes there are 135 – 2×4’s approx. price $1,088
  • For four freq: 60’ dome there are 210 – 2×4’s  approx . price $1,999.

The temporary support system requires 2×4’s cut to a precise length, holes drilled and ends painted red, white or blue to match the hub leg colors.  Ai realizes this cutting, drilling and painting is difficult and time consuming for our buyers; therefore, the cut, drilled and painted 2×4’s can be purchased from Ai and shipped on the truck with the dome kit.

During Kit assembly a temporary wooden rib system is installed that supports the panels and shows correct panel locations.  Once all the panel seams and entryways and dormers are concreted, the dome is self-supporting and the rib system comes down.  In a conventional house the roof trusses need supports.  Most of the wood from the rib system can be recycled for interior framing – some can be used to install the second floor perimeter knee wall that hides the perimeter short space and perimeter suspension rods.  Behind the knee wall HVAC ducts or wiring can be installed or doors can be installed in the knee wall so the area can be used for storage.  Ai can email the cutting specs for the wood.  The panels are hoisted into place with some sort of hoisting mechanism.

The kit can be assembled by an owner builder because there is an Assembly Manual (which can be shipped after signed order forms and deposit is placed) and all the panels come marked with numbers and letters to match the Nomenclature blueprint in the building plans.   Because the panels can be assembled by an owner builder, money is saved on the assembly of the dome shell and the home has greater advantages over a conventional shaped house or mobile home —greater energy efficiency, greater strength and exterior walls which contain no combustible materials.

7th Step – Obtain Building Permit.  Every Building Department in each state and city and county within a state can vary as to what they require to issue a building permit for a new residential home.  As a result it is American Ingenuity’s philosophy that each Buyer pays for only what their building department requires.  Ai does not burden the price of the building kit for building plans pricing, engineer seal fees or energy report fees. If we did, the Ai dome kit price would need to increase in price.

Some areas in Arkansas, Indiana, Vermont, Texas and other states do not have building departments, so the property owner only obtains a septic tank permit and well permit if needed.  In the cases where no Building Plans are submitted to a building department, the building plans (13-17 blueprints) are utilized to build the foundation, dome kit and finish the interior of the dome home.

Some building departments can require not just building plans be submitted but they want the plans sealed by an engineer licensed for that state.   States vary as to what code they adopt and enforce.  The codes can be 2015 International Building Code, 2012 International Building Code, 2009 International Building Code, California Building Code and 2014 Florida Building Code 5th Edition, etc. The Ai dome building plans comply with all these codes, but the building officials do not know this.  The seal confirms that the plans comply with that state’s code.  Engineer seals are specific to each floor plan and to each state. The engineer’s seal can be purchased through American Ingenuity.  The cost for a seal for any state for one dome on a slab is $600.

Prior to utilizing this PE Engineer to seal the dome plans, Ai hired engineering firms or architectural firms whose seal fees were $1,200, $1,500, $3,000 or more depending on the dome size.  The fees were larger because the firms had to cover their overhead and labor costs, etc.  The Professional Engineer that Ai utilizes to seal your plans does not have the high overhead and labor costs that firms do; therefore his fees are much less.

For custom foundations other than slab – basement, stem wall, pilings, concrete columns, etc. engineer seal fees vary.  Please call Ai for pricing.  321-639-8777 Mon-Fri 9-5 ET.

Besides the sealed plans, the building department can require the following be submitted to issue a building permit:

  1. An Energy Report be completed on the envelope of the home including the exterior door and window U factors.  Ai can complete the REScheck Energy Report for all other states but California, Washington and Florida. The price for Energy Report for one dome on a slab is $190.  These three states have their own programs so companies specializing in their completion are hired. Ai has the name of CA firm that has completed California Title 24 Energy Report on an Ai dome in Riverside Ca. For Florida Ai will provide the company you hire the wall dimensions to be entered in the report.
  2. Engineer sealed structural calculations on the structure showing the dome complies with snow, wind and seismic conditions for that area.   The Ai Dome exceeds any code requirements but the officials do not know that so they can ask for structural calculations that are sealed by an engineer licensed for your state.  If needed these engineer sealed calcs can be purchased through Ai. (Please do not ever ask a building official if they want structural calculations, because they will say yes. We wait and see if they request them.)
  3. In Florida all new construction requires Florida Engineer Sealed Building Plans, passing Florida Energy Report and other docs. If building in Florida, at no cost to you if you give us your properties tax ID number or site address we call the building department and email them a sample set of dome building plans and find out what is required.    A few Florida building departments may require Site Specific Local Product Approval on the prefab panel.  If needed the docs and calculations for the site specific local product approval are completed by an engineering firm.  Please call Ai for more pricing.
  4. Elevation Certificate – if your property is in a Flood Zone you will be required to hire a surveyor to determine the height of your finished floor to get it above the water surge or mean high water mark.  This height is entered on your building plans and you give the Certificate to your building department.
  5. Site Map – this is completed by you or a local company.  It shows outline/dimensions of your property, setbacks, driveway, location of the dome, well, septic drain field (or city sewer or city water lines), location of other out buildings, etc.  Ask your building department what they want included on your site map.
  6. Electrical Diagram, Plumbing Diagram and HVAC Diagram.  Ai does not include these diagrams in the 13-17 blueprints because Ai has found the electrical, plumbing and HVAC subcontractors prefer to design their own diagrams based on how they are going to layout your electrical, plumbing and HVAC (heating & air conditioning ducts or ductless units).
  7. If your building department requires the following, please hire your local HVAC subcontractor to complete: Manual S (Equipment Sizing Certification); Manual D (Duct Design & Layout Drawing); or Manual J for the Rescheck Energy Report (Residential Heat Load Calculation).
  8. If no city sewer or water, obtain permit to install well and septic tank and drain field based on number of bedrooms in the plan.
  9. Building Permit Fees are paid to the county or city.  In Florida impact fees are also paid.

3rd Step – Ai Calls Building Dept. For You.   At no cost to you, if you provide Ai with your property’s address or tax I.D. number or the potential property’s tax ID number you are considering purchasing along with the building department’s telephone number, we will call the building department.  We will discuss items on our  web site and email them a drop box invitation that includes info about our prefabricated home dome building kits, sample set of building plans and engineering statement.

Ai will confirm that they will accept the American Ingenuity concrete prefabricated panel as is, as well as what additional  requirements are needed for a new home permit on the dome.  For example will your building department require the building plans be engineer sealed by a engineer licensed for your state?  Will they require an Energy Report?  If so the building plans, engineer seal and REScheck Energy Report can be purchased from Ai.  In Florida, California and Washington private companies complete the required Energy Report after Ai emails them wall dimensions and you provide specific exterior door and window info. During Plans Design Ai emails elevation views of each entryway and dormer showing the rough opening size area with recommended door and window sizes. 

We will recap what we find out and email that info to you along with the name and phone number of the persons we spoke with.  

On our web site file building permit, we list most frequently asked questions about obtaining a building permit.

 HOW TO OBTAIN A CALIFORNIA BUILDING PERMIT. 

Great News a 48′ Aidome received a building permit in Riverside County California in August 2015
and a 36′ and 22′ Aidomes received a building permit in Kern County in 2016.

Assembly pics of Riverside Dome can be viewed at Concrete Dome Home.

Exterior garage Kaufman house 1536

45′ DOME LINKED TO 34′ DOME GARAGE BUILT IN FOREST RANCH CALIFORNIA

To view the Dome’s Construction Photos and other interior pics, click on prefabricated home kit.

A different view showing the doors and fixed glass in one of the High Profile entryways.

Living room in above California 45 ft in diameter dome.

 

Kitchen in 45' dome with island.

Kitchen with island in above Forest Ranch, California 45′ dome.

HOW TO OBTAIN A BUILDING PERMIT IN CALIFORNIA

Prior to the recession some building departments in California could ask that the dome kit and other building kits be certified by the State of California.  As a result of the recession & this requirement less homes were being built resulting in less property tax revenue.  Some building departments are not requiring kit certification to stimulate new house construction.

American Ingenuity (Ai) has sold domes into such California areas as Forest Ranch, Crestline, Borrego Springs, Lake Elsinore, Summerset and Hanford. An Aidome received a residential building permit in Riverside County in August 2015 & is under construction.  Aidomes received building permit in Kern County in 2016. Currently Ai has preliminary building kit approval in the California Counties of Sacramento, San Joaquin, Riverside, San Diego, Trinity, Solona, Kern and Shasta and City of San Benito if all the building department requirements are followed.

For those interested in obtaining a California building permit for American Ingenuity’s concrete dome housing kit, Ai will contact your building department. Please call and give us your parcel ID number, building department name & phone number.  Ai will call the building department, discuss Ai’s building kit, and email generic California plans, California Engineer Sealed Structural Calculations and California engineer sealed engineering statement that says: “The panel composition of the geodesic dome buildings are certified by me as being designed in accordance with and conforms to the intent of the California Residential Code as allowed alternative materials and methods for residential construction per section R104.11  Georgia-Pacific’s DensArmor Plus High Performance Interior ½” Gypsum Wallboard is used as the interior face of the panels which meets the thermal barrier requirements of R719 as shown by third party testing.”

Ai will find out if  California Engineer Sealed Building Plans, California engineer sealed engineering statement, California engineer sealed snow, seismic, wind & bracing structural calculations, a passing Title 24 Energy Report along with the other required paperwork are submitted whether an American Ingenuity dome can be built in your area.  Ai will email you the official’s name and contact info so that you can double check the info that was learned.

American Ingenuity Office number: 321-639-8777.  Mon – Fri 9-5 eastern time. Or email by clicking on Contact Us.

The following information covers buying land for your new Aidome Home.

Or the document can be utilized as a checklist prior to the clearing of your property.

Deck area above basement.

45′ Dome – was built on a basement due to the land slope. 

Beautiful deck area to enjoy spring time.

The following covers the general topics of New Home Construction Budget, Cash Down Payment If Financing and Checklist of Items to look out for prior to purchasing your property. If you own your property already, then use this as a checklist for items to review.

American Ingenuity (Ai) is happy that you are considering its Geodesic Dome Building Kit for your future home. You have made a big decision to build your dream home, and building with an alternative concrete housing structure that comes with 225 mph wind and F4 tornado warranty that saves 50% to 60% on heating and cooling over conventional house is a smart decision.  To view 10 Steps in building Ai dome, click on ten steps.

Prior to purchasing your land or if you own property, first determine the overall budget you can afford for your new home, land and land development.  If you will be financing, determine the amount of cash down payment needed. Loans for alternative housing such as a geodesic dome are often harder to come by, and lenders generally require between 25% and 35% cash down.  On an approximate $200,000 build for the structure and land development, this could mean a cash down payment of between $50,000 and $70,000. Keep in mind lenders may or may not take under consideration your equity in your land, when lending for the structure and land development. Therefore, if needing a loan to build it is wise not to invest all your liquid assets into the purchase of the property because a large cash down payment will be required on the home loan.  Feel free to call us at 321-639-8777 for a friendly chat to clarify these items.

It is sometimes best to purchase a small piece of affordable land instead of large acreage.  This way you keep your land cost down so you have more cash money available for your mortgage cash down payment or more cash to build if you are an owner/builder.  To keep your construction costs down, best to build as small a dome as possible; therefore you are on your property living in a super-strong, super-energy efficient dome home saving money on your heating & cooling costs to add on a second dome later.  For example a 40’ dome (3 bedroom, two bath) can have 1,800 sq.ft.  A 36’ dome (2 or 3 bedroom, two bath) can have 1,400 to 1,600 sq.ft.  If your finished cost per square foot for your area is $105, then building the smaller 36’ dome automatically saves you $20,000 to $40,000 in construction costs.  A 27’ dome (two bedroom/two bath) can have 800 sq.ft.  Building a 27’ dome vs a 36’ dome automatically saves you $60,000 to $80,000 in construction costs.

That being said, American Ingenuity tries to look out after each perspective client to assure that they are not “blindsided” or shocked about some property issue that could stop them from building their dream dome.  The following is a web site that can be used to locate property by state and region without using a real estate agent, click on landwatch.

If building site already owned, use below to determine what’s needed to build on your property.  If purchasing land, American Ingenuity highly recommends the following items be answered before purchasing.

    1. Call the government agency over the different pieces of land you are considering purchasing and ask whether you will be taxed by both a City and County or whether it will be just one taxing authority and which is it?  Each piece of land could be governed by a different entity.  You want to know what your property tax rate will be per each sq. ft. of your house, etc.  Obtain an example of their property tax bill to see what all is on it. Comparing property tax rates from one city to another city or one county to another county may save you a lot of money on your annual property tax bills.
    2. Call the building department and obtain a list of what is required to obtain a building permit; is an Engineer Seal required on the building plans and an energy report?
      1. If building out of Florida, each building department determines if the dome building plans have to be sealed by an engineer licensed for that state and whether an Energy Report is required. The engineer seal and the energy report can be purchased when the building plans are purchased. The engineer seal cost is much lower than what engineering firms or architectural firms charge. A Florida seal for one dome on a slab is $400 or $500 depending on dome size. The seal for one dome on slab for any state other than Florida is $600. The energy report for one dome on a slab is $190.  Ai can call your building department and see if a seal or energy report are required.
        If building in Florida, all new home construction requires a Florida licensed engineer’s seal on the plans and an Energy Report.  Both items can be purchased from Ai.  Even though an Aidome located in Dade County went through Hurricane Andrew and a tornado at the same time and had no structural damage, some Florida counties (Dade, Broward, West Palm Beach & St. Johns) require the dome kit to have Florida Product Approval to issue a permit.  Other Florida Counties do not require product approval….it is the call of the building official as to what they require.   Most Florida Counties will accept Florida Engineer sealed building plans, Energy Report & other paperwork to issue a permit on the dome. For example an Ai dome received a building permit in  2014 in Marathon, Florida (part of the Keys) which is south of  Dade County and in a higher wind speed, 180 mph, than Dade County without needing product approval.  It is not economical for American Ingenuity to purchase product approval.  As a result the Ai dome kit cannot be built in a few Florida counties unless the building official gives you an exception.  See number 2,  Ai will call your building official (email set of building plans if needed) and find out what is required to issue a building permit on the dome.
      2. Provide Ai with the tax id for the property you are considering purchasing & the building department name. At no cost to you, Ai will call the building department, show them our web site, email them sample plans pdfs, describe the component panel, etc. and find out if the Ai dome kit can be built in your area.  Besides engineer sealed plans, an engineer sealed engineering statement can be submitted that states the Ai component panel conforms to the provisions of 2014 Florida Building Code 5th Edition, California Building Code and 2012 International Building Code that allows for alternative materials and methods for construction.  Georgia-Pacific’s Armor Plus High Performance Interior ½” Gypsum Wallboard is used as the interior face of the panels which meets the thermal barrier requirements of R316.4 as shown by third party testing.
      3. Site plan?  Survey?
      4. Impact fees: If building in Florida, because there is no state income tax, government agencies get revenue by assessing impact fees.  They figure new construction, brings more cars on the road, greater need for fire trucks, schools, etc.  so they assess impact fees based on the square footage of the house.  What are the impact fees on that piece of property?  Due to the recession, some cities and counties are waiving some or all of the impact fees, if the fees are waived when will they be going back into effect?   What date do you have to receive your Certificate of Occupancy (CO) before impact fees will be assessed?
      5. If you purchase land with a mobile home that will get moved or older building that will be torn down, are you still assessed impact fees to build your new home or are you exempt?
      6. Any Building permit application fees?  Once you get a permit, how long is the permit good for, can you get extensions on your building permit?
      7. What are the setback requirements on front, rear and sides? What are the setback requirements from city sewer or city water line or wetlands or flowing water?  Or if installing septic tank/drain field and well, what are set backs from each?  By asking these questions you determine how much property is left to build on.
      8. If building in Florida or a coastal area, what is the wind borne speed for that area? If you are in 130 mph or greater wind zone, impact resistant glass and or shutters are required.
      9. Ask if there is a requirement on the minimum house square footage & if a garage is required?
    3. Find out department who handles the endangered plant and animal listing for that city and county. Determine if there are any on the perspective properties.
    4. Are there any running streams on the property? If so, what are the setbacks as to how close you can build to the stream?
    5. Find out which department has the flood plan maps, and make sure your property is high and dry. If your property is in a Flood Plain, the finished floor elevation has to be stated on your building plans. Call F.E.M.A. or local government offices to find out what the finished floor height has to be. This height will determine how much fill has to be brought in and the type foundation that has to be built; slab, pilings, stem wall, above ground concrete columns, etc.
    6. Are there any wet lands on your property? You may not be allowed to build on wetlands.  Or if you do land mitigation is involved.  Talk to local gov’t natural resource department who has wetland maps.
    7. Soil Report: Before purchasing land, have a soil test done on the area where you want to build to prove there is clean, compacted fill with no subsurface vegetation or voids and that soil will perk for septic tank if installing one.  For standard foundation, Ai requires the soil be compacted to 98% density for a minimum of 2,000 PSF of bearing pressure. Compaction can be less if slab is thicker and footer enlarged.
    8. Does any fill need to be brought in before you can put in your foundation, if so what height will the fill need to be? (foundations usually have to be built so many inches above the crown of the nearest street)
    9. What type of soil? Clay soil is the most difficult to build on as it absorbs water and expands.  In the foundation area, the clay soil may need to be removed and replaced with a mixture of gravel and soil. Your building department will know what you need to do if you have clay soil. If you are building on a slab or basement and you have clay soil, if your building department requires engineer sealed plans, the engineer may require you to hire a Soil Engineer and obtain a Geotechnical Study before the engineer can design and seal your slab or basement wall plans.  The soil should be compacted to 98% density for a minimum of 2,000 pounds per sq. ft. (p.s.f.) of load bearing pressure.
    10. Can you get electric to your property or does a neighbor have to sign an easement so you can connect electric?  What is the cost to access closest electric poles?  Contact the local electric company for information.
    11. If you will not have city sewer, will your soil perk for the septic tank drain field? Where are your neighbors septic systems located, is it so close to your property that you cannot obtain a septic permit?
    12. If you do not have city water available to hook up, what does it cost to drill a well?  What is the fee for city water hookup (if available)?
    13. If you have to put in a driveway, how long will the driveway be, culvert size and how much fill and rock will be needed to be brought in to make it drivable?
    14. Access to maintained road: Many building departments will not issue a building permit for property that does not a butt a county/city maintained road. Find out if the property has access to a county maintained road.  Their logic is that the road needs to be maintained so a fire truck or ambulance can get to your residence if needed.
    15. Zoning: Single Family vs Multi family: If you are considering building a smaller dome first and renting out the smaller dome after you add on a larger dome, please check zoning to assure the land you purchase will allow a rental unit on the property.   Is there a minimum size new home requirement?   Is there a garage requirement – if so what size?  What is the zoning on the property?  In Florida if the property is zoned RC1, that area requires a certain pitch to the roof and wants the roof to be a traditional roof.  Ai can change the pitch of the dome roof by increasing the tilt of the cupola panels. However the dome concrete exterior is not a traditional roof, so a variance would be required to build the dome.  Ai can assist in the writing of the narrative that gets submitted with the variance. Just call and we will help you.  321-639-8777 Mon-Fri 9-5 eastern time.
    16. Please click on Planning Process to view steps in site preparation to delivery of dome kit.
    17. It is sometimes best to purchase small piece of affordable land instead of large acreage.  This way you keep your land cost down so you have more cash money available for your mortgage down payment or more cash to build if you are an owner/builder.  Best to build as small a dome as possible; therefore you are on your property living in an energy efficient, strong home saving money on your heating & cooling costs to add on a second dome later.
  • LAND AND ARCHITECTURAL RESTRICTIONS: Over the last seventy plus years, it has become common for developers to buy up large tracks of land, plat it out and resell the individual lots to perspective homeowners. By doing so, they created subdivisions. These subdivisions may, or may not be governed by additional entities of a Homeowners Associations/ Property Owners Associations or Planned Unit Developments. All of these entities may have restrictions on size, style and materials for homes to be built within the subdivision. Before you buy your land, view the MLS listing. MLS listing will show if the property is within a subdivision, HOA, POA or PUD. If there is, ask to review the governing documents to see what restrictions may be in place. Documents for the above are registered in the state located. If the agent or landowner is unable to provide you with the document, contact the Clerk of Courts for the county where the property is located. They will have on file documents that pertain to the subdivision.  These documents are generally free to review; there may be a small fee to get a copy.
    • SUBDIVISONS: You may find a property that although not governed by a homeowners association, property-owners association or Planned Unit Development (P.U.D.) may still be within a Subdivision. Subdivisions are land that has been plotted by a developer, and have legal documents that have been submitted to the state. These documents cover RESTRICTIONS AND COVENANTS pertaining to the subdivision and contain information on what can or cannot be built upon the property (type of structure, rooflines, materials etc.).  It also may contain the minimum/maximum size home that you can erect on the property.  Review the document and look for above restrictions, also look to see if you will need to contact the  developer or agent to get approval for your home. Keep in mind that if the subdivision is older this may not be possible.  If so, and there is no restriction on the style of home or materials to be used listed within the document (other than size), as long as you receive an okay from the building department there should be no issue with building one of our dome kits.
  • PLANNED UNIT DEVELOPMENT (PUD), is a type of building development and also a regulatory process. It may cover multiple Subdivisions . Meaning that there are covenants and bylaws regarding what can and cannot be built regarding size, style and materials. As a building development, it is a designed grouping of both varied and compatible land uses, such as housing, recreation, commercial centers, and industrial parks, all within one contained development or subdivision. Generally, there are building restrictions within a PUD although not as stringent as a HOA. As an example may require that all structures on property have the same style of architecture, so if a structure is Colonial in style any additional structures must also be in Colonial style.   Documents will state if you need approval to build, if so get any approval in writing.
  • HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION In the United States, a homeowner association (or homeowners association) (HOA) is a corporation formed by a real estate developer for the purpose of marketing, managing, and selling of homes and lots in a residential subdivision. HOA’s are governed by elected board members. Generally, there are building restrictions within a HOA, and HOA’s are usually the most restrictive. Within a HOA will be limitations on size, style and finishing materials. These restrictions may exceed the restrictions listed within the subdivision documents and PUD documents. Documents will state if you need approval to build. If granted approval, get it in writing so subsequent boards cannot reverse the approval.
  • PROPERTY OWNER ASSOCIATION: POA members may be residential homeowners, but they might also be property managers or business owners who contribute to the real estate industry. POAs do not necessarily have regulations the way HOAs do. Instead, their purpose is to support the local real estate industry and provide members with networking and education opportunities. Generally not part of building process in terms of what can be built.

 American Ingenuity Inc. 321-639-8777

To email, click on Contact Us

Click on the following to learn about foundations:


Building Permit Links for American Ingenuity’s concrete prefab home kits. Please click on the each link to view its information:

Plans & Building Permit

Building Permit

Planning Process

Engineer Sealed Plans

State Energy Reports

Homeowner Associations

Zoning

Buying Land

When planning the construction of your new dome home, best to consider this Planning Process and whether freezing temperatures could stop your kit assembly.  Do freezing temperatures occur in your area in November or December or January?  Once you know what cold weather dates you want to beat, calculate backwards and determine when your dome kit assembly needs to start.  If your freezing temperatures start in November then commence your kit assembly by mid September.   If your freezing temperatures start in December, then commence your kit assembly by mid October.

The Building industry moves slowly. We cannot stress enough the importance of starting your preparations early for all aspects of building. What you think may take two months can easily consume four or five months or more. To have any hope of beginning the actual construction on time you must at least double the time you think it will take to acquire blueprints, financing, building permits and contractors or subcontractors. Optimists should triple their expectations. Blueprints are usually the first step once your land has been acquired.

If you intend to begin building this fall, order your plans prior to May and accept delivery of your kit by August.

If you intend to begin building spring of 2017,  start the process by September of this year. Other expectant homeowners will be clogging the system during spring, so if you are the early bird they will be waiting behind you instead of vice versa.

Hummingbird in dome front yard.

Hummingbird enjoying spring time flowers. To accept delivery of your dome kit in the spring time, order your kit Nov – Feb.

 

18.17 second floor door & window P2260008

This dome owner completed his kit assembly before the cold, snow season occurred.

During the winter, he is living snug as a bug in his cozy, warm American Ingenuity Dome.

General Planning Timeline

Prior to purchasing Building Plans and an American Ingenuity Dome Building Kit,  assure you have answers to the following questions:

  1. Does the deed for your land have any restrictions on alternative housing such as domes?
  2. If there is a Home Owners Association governing your land, check with them and make sure you can build a dome.  Click on Association to learn more. 
  3. What is required from your building department to obtain a building permit….engineer seal, energy report, site map, survey, soil report, septic tank permit, well permit, etc.
  4. Ask your building department if there is a minimum size new house requirement.  Ask if they require a garage be built with the house. If so is there a minimum size garage requirement?
  5. Do you have your financing secured? Or will you build your dome with boot strap financing, meaning purchasing the dome kit and building as you have money?   Click on Financing Overview to learn more.
  6. Review 10 Steps to building an Aidome.
  7. Review Approx. Finished Price and determine which size dome fits your budget.

Owner builders can acquire their own building permit and do any of the work that they are capable of and that passes code.  To learn more about assembly click on Owner BuilderDome Kit Assembly and  Construction Overview.

ONE TO TWO YEARS OUT,  DETERMINE DOME SIZE, PURCHASE BUILDING PLANS AND PURCHASE LAND:

1. Determine Dome Size(s): because American Ingenuity’s dome kit is so reasonable in price, sometimes our clients forget that the major costs involved in building a home is the site preparation, utility hookups, permits and the interior finishing costs.

To determine the dome size, you need to estimate what it will cost to finish the dome. To view American Ingenuity’s stock plans which show square footage by floor and a to-scale ruler, click on Stock Plans and scroll down the page to the hyperlinks.

Reviewing the different floor plans will help you determine which size dome is the best size for you. To determine the approximate finished price, multiply that dome’s square footage times your area’s square footage construction cost.

  • If you do not know what a finished house costs per square foot to build in your area, contact a local builder or local real estate agent and ask them. To learn more about square footage costs click on Is the A.I. Dome Home cheaper to build than a regular stick built house?
  • For example if you chose a 2,000 sq.ft. dome and if the square footage cost is $100 for your area, then the estimated finished cost for your dome will be $200,000. Lenders tend to want 20% to 30%. So for a $200,000 house they will want $40,000 to $60,000 down. The lender will accept any equity you have in your land towards this down payment. If you cannot afford this down payment, then you may need to build a smaller dome first and later add a larger dome when you can afford it.
  • Figure Finances. Use American Ingenuity’s Financing Booklet for a financing overview.
  • Estimate Building Costs. The web site rsmeans sells Home Building Software for Owner Builders that assists in estimating your building costs.  For those who have never built a house we want to clarify that it is quite easy to make a mistake that will cost you $300 or more. The purchasing of Home Building Software can really help you get a handle on all your building costs and hopefully help eliminate estimating problems.
  • Decide on a floor plan. If you do not find a stock plan that fits your needs, American Ingenuity can modify a stock plan or design a custom plan from your sketches for a reasonable price.  Modified stock plans can take five weeks and custom designed plans can take 8 weeks to design from the date you place your plan order.  It all depends on what plan orders Ai has in queue when you place your plans order.
  • Call the Building Department and print out a list of what is required to obtain a building permit for a new Residential House….Engineer Sealed Building Plans? Energy Report? or just Building Plans?  Site map, survey, septic tank permit, well permit?  Are there impact fees?
  • Order building plans by returning the Plans Quote Form signed with payment in full for the building plans, the Energy Report and the Engineer seal if these two items are required by your building department. Request an exterior door and window chart from American Ingenuity so you can research your doors and windows.  If your building department requires an Energy Report, you can purchase this report thru Ai.  For Ai to complete your plans and Energy Report specific door and window info has to be provided to Ai.   Ai will email a questionaire that lists the info required. You do not need to purchase your doors and windows, but you must select them in order to give Ai specific heat transfer (U factor) and SHGC (Solar Heat Gain Coefficient) info from the vendor spec sheets.

2. Prior to purchasing your land: Give Ai your parcel ID number and building department name and Ai will call the plans examiner, email generic dome plans, etc. and ask what is required to issue a permit on the dome and will the dome panel be accepted as is under the Alternative Materials and Methods Building Code Section.

Please contact your building department and see if there is a minimum size new house requirement.  Ask if they require a garage be built with the house. If so is there a minimum size garage requirement? Also ask the building department what the front, back and side set backs are. Decide if you want to drive around your dome to access the back yard. Determine the largest size dome(s) that you want to build on the property; this will determine the width of the property that you will need. For example if you decide you want a 40’ dome home linked to a 27’ two car garage you will need at least 77’ plus the side sets and drive around space. {40 + 27 + 10 (Link); + side set backs + drive around space}.

Prior to purchasing your land check out these items to assure you can build your dome and review our buying land info.:

  • Assure there is no Home Owner’s Association governing the land and restricting what can be built on it.
  • Assure there are no Deed Restrictions stopping you from building an alternative type home such as a  dome.
  • Assure there are no environmental (Flood Zone or Wetlands or running streams) or rare animal or plant species concerns for the property.
  • Ask if your area has impact fees…fees to pay for new roads, schools, fire stations.  In Florida the impact fees to obtain a building permit can be as much as $10,000 or more depending on the area.
  • Ask the building department if you would have to build your home on pilings and a platform. This can drive up your costs up $60,000 to $80,000 or more. For example one of our Buyer’s soil report showed the soil on the barrier island where she wanted to build required wooden pilings to be driven forty feet into the ground!  Due to water surge, the home had to be built 11-12 feet off the ground.  As a result her foundation design also had to include a grade level concrete beam to connect the pilings together, pile caps to connect the piles to the above ground concrete block columns and 11′ tall concrete block columns with concrete beam to tie the columns together an.
  • Determine if the ground contains rock that has to be blasted out before your foundation can be built. This would drive up your excavation costs.
  • Determine if your soil is clay.  If it is clay, a local company will need to be hired to complete a soils report which will determine your site preparation, footer depth, etc.  If you are constructing a basement, different fill will need to be brought in to back fill your basement.
  • Ask the building department if any fill has to be brought in before you can form your foundation. Or whether you have to build on pilings and a platform.  Usually the foundation has to be so many inches above the crown of the nearest road. For protection from flooding, the building department knows what height the ground needs to be under your foundation. If it is low lying ground, you might have to bring in four feet of fill or more. This could amount to several truck loads of fill. You want to know about this possible expense before you purchase the property.  To view information about possible foundations, Concrete Slab, Pilings, Basements, click on Foundations.

Purchase your land under the following conditions (see buying land doc for all items):

  • If you do not have city sewer, assure the soil will perk for your septic drain field.
  • If you do not have city water, assure that water can be found on the property. If you have to drill a well, how many feet did your neighbors have to go before they found water…..100 feet, 200 feet, 300 feet. How much does it cost per foot in your area to drill a well?
  • Electricity is accessible to your property. Sometimes your neighbors have to sign easements to get electricity brought to your property.
  • There are no environmental concerns (wet lands, flood zone) or plant or tree or animal concerns.
  • Call Zoning and find out zoning on the property.  Some zoning requires certain pitch roof and roof conformity. Also find out side setbacks and front and back setbacks to assure they do not stop you from building the size dome(s) you want.  
  • That you can build on it. If there is a spring or flowing water sometimes building departments determine how close you can build to water. This might cause the property to not have enough buildable space left on it.  Check with your building department to find out how close you can build next to water.

3. Building Plan Items:

  • Decide on a floor plan. If you do not find a stock plan that fits your needs, American Ingenuity can modify a stock plan or design a custom plan from your sketches for a reasonable price. Allow 5 weeks for modified plans and 8 weeks for custom plans.  To view stock plans by dome diameter size, click on Stock Plans.
  • Call the Building Department and ask what is required to obtain a building permit for a Residential House….Engineer Sealed Building Plans? Energy Report? or just Building Plans, Site Map, Survey, Septic Tank Permit, Well Permit, Soil report, etc?
  • Order building plans by returning the Plans Quote Form signed with a check in full for the building plans and the Energy Report and the Engineer seal if these two items are required by your building department. If an Energy Report is required, Ai will email a list of specific technical data that Ai requires on your exterior doors, windows, water heater, AC/furnace, etc. in order to fill out the report.

SIX MONTHS TO ONE YEAR OUT:

  • Obtain a survey of the site
  • Obtain contractor bids (see two months out) on the foundation and finished dome. If your contractor has never assembled an Ai Dome Kit Shell, ask him to hire the Kit Assembly Consultant to supervise his workers to get the kit assembled. Then the Contractor’s subs apply the second layer of seam concrete, apply the finish layer of concrete on the entryways and dormers, prime and paint the exterior, install plumbing, electrical, framing, doors and windows, complete the interior finishing and wallboard finishing, etc.
  • Layout building location and driveway on your site
  • Obtain a site map (ask at the building department for names of companies that perform this function)
  • Apply for financing. Click on Financing Overview to learn more.
  • Obtain an appraisal. Mortgage lenders require an appraisal to help them determine how much your property will be worth once your new home is completed. The appraiser will make a judgement as to the value of your completed dome based on many factors including:
    • Market value of the homesite based on zoning and sales value of comparable properties in the neighborhood
    • Improvements to the property such as fencing, ponds, docks, outbuildings, or extensive landscaping
    • Advancements available to the homesite such as sidewalks, drainage, streetlights, or fire hydrants
    • Type of construction
    • Square footage of living and utility areas
    • Luxury fixtures included in construction
    • Quality of construction
    • Marketability and sales price of the completed home and property if the lender must take possession

If possible obtain one appraisal that is acceptable to all the lenders you are considering. A single appraisal will save you time and the extra expense of duplicate appraisals. An appraisal from a designated professional appraiser, such as an SRA or MAI, will be the most comprehensive and most widely accepted, but may also be the most expensive.

It is also very important that you select the appraiser and spend whatever time it takes until you get someone who has a positive attitude about domes. After you have paid your money, you don’t want to find out that they are as resourceful as a square house. A pessimistic appraiser can kill the whole deal. Ask what they will do about comparables and assist them in locating unique houses in your area.  Ai knows of an appraiser who visited a 15 year old Aidome and completed an appraisal for Wells Fargo.  This appraiser allows us to give out his name and number for other appraisers to call him. 

Many appraisers find it difficult to establish a market value on a dome house. They may also believe that it is necessary to have a “comparable” sale of another dome in your area. Fannie Mae (see Secondary Mortgage Market” page 22), the nations largest source of home mortgage funds, gives special consideration to unique housing.  Mr. Kang at Wells Fargo allows for appraisals of conventional houses with similar square footage without requiring dome home comparables.

Be sure your appraiser is aware of the Fannie Mae “Selling Guide” manual concerning unique housing. Chapter 4, Section 401.01, pages 755 and 756 explains this.

Geodesic domes, etc. are eligible if both the appraiser and the underwriter (lender) determine there is sufficient information to develop a reliable estimate of market value. It is not necessary to have comparable sales of other domes if the appraiser is able to determine sound adjustments for the difference in the homes used for comparison; he can demonstrate the marketability of the dome based on older sales. Sales in competing neighborhoods or the existence (without a sale) of similar homes in the area, or any other reliable data.

FOUR TO SIX MONTHS OUT:

  • Order your Dome Building Kit by returning the Building Kit Order Form signed and include a personal check to equal a 30% to 40% deposit based on the building kit size. Click on Special discount to see the deposit amount.  If your dome has upgraded insulation, the deposit will be increased to cover the thicker insulation costs. 
  • Place deposit with Kit Assembly Specialist to secure him coming to your site. Research where the Consultant/Specialist will stay. 
  • Obtain septic tank permit or sewer hookup
  • Obtain building permit. Click on Building Permit to learn more.

THREE TO FOUR MONTHS OUT:

Find Subs by asking your neighbors, asking your local home building association or looking in the yellow pages under subcontractor listings:

  • For site clearing, look under the sub listing: grading, hauling, site preparation.
  • If you are drilling a well, look under the sub listing: drinking water, pump and tank sales/service
  • To find slab or basement construction sub, look under the sub listing: slab on grade, carpentry formwork, foundations, patios. (If you are in Florida we know of a slab sub that will travel any where in Florida forming up and getting the slab poured.  Plus this person will talk to your slab subcontractor to explain about installing dome slab.
  • If you are installing a septic tank and system, look under the sub listing: tank, drain fields and filter beds new installation.
  • For an electrical subcontractor look under: residential, new construction
  • For a plumbing subcontractor look under: residential, new construction
  • For obtaining temporary electric hookup, find out who sets posts, installs fusible switch and meter can. Ask an electrical contractor, a neighbor or the power company. Be prepared to act as soon as you receive your building permit.
  •  Hire the laborers & concrete workers who will assist the Kit Assembly Specialist with the dome shell assembly.
  • For interior framing of walls, steps and floors look for a building contractor or a framing subcontractor. Click on Choosing a Contractor and Subcontractors and Assemblers/Builders to learn more.

ONE TO TWO MONTHS OUT:

  • Construct foundation.
  • Coordinate the rental of a fork lift to unload the dome kit from the semi truck. Depending upon the size building kit you order, you will need two to three people to assist the fork lift driver in the unloading of the truck. Assure that the semi-truck has enough space to drive to your site and exit from the site. If there is not enough space at your site for the semi-truck to turn around, you will have to figure out where you can off load the kit and then transport the panels to the site using a trailer or “bob cat”.
  • Research which type of hoisting mechanism you will use when erecting the dome shell. Coordinate the rental of the hoisting mechanism.
  • Determine where the building kit will sit on your site.  Prior to winter, the kit can sit outside 2 to 3 months before assembly.
  • Write out directions to your site from the nearest interstate and email to American Ingenuity
  • Take delivery of your Building Kit. (Before the kit shipment, pay the balance due on your kit in the form of a cashiers check or bank check.)

ONE TO TWO MONTHS OUT:

  • If you are using the Kit Assembly Specialist, coordinate his arrival.
  • Confirm that the Kit Assembly Specialist has a place to stay.
  • Confirm the concrete workers are available to assist the Specialist
  • Order supplies for the shell assembly: bags of Portland cement, sand, mortar mixer, wheel barrows, hoisting mechanism. Once you have paid the deposit on the dome kit and signed Kit Order Forms, Ai will mail an Assembly Manual.  It includes a list of items needed at the job site for kit assembly.  (If International Buyer, list can be emailed as Manual is shipped in the container.)

Planning Overview:

The Building industry is not only behind the times, it moves slowly. We cannot stress enough the importance of starting your preparations early for all aspects of building. What you think may take two months can easily consume four or five months or more. To have any hope of beginning the actual construction on time you must at least double the time you think it will take to acquire blueprints, financing, building permits and contractors or subcontractors. Optimists should triple their expectations. Blueprints are usually the first step once your land has been acquired.

If you intend to begin building next summer start the process before the end of this year. Other expectant homeowners will be clogging the system next spring, so if you are the early bird they will be waiting behind you instead of vice versa.

Items to be aware of:

  • Some Building Departments require that blueprints be sealed or approved by one of their state architects or engineers prior to giving permits, which takes more time.
  • Some Building Departments require an Energy Report. The dome buyer provides Ai with techical data on the exterior doors and windows…..U factor and SHGC number, etc. that is utilized to fill out the Energy Report – which can take 2-3 weeks to obtain from your window and door supplier.
  • A survey and site map takes time.
  • Mortgage lenders can take more time.
  • Remember to allow time for having the land cleared, prepped, and ready for the foundation.
  • All permits pertaining to electrical, water, septic tanks, sewer hookups, driveway, and building will take time.
  • Review our Stock Floor Plan Booklet in the Planning Kit and decide what size dome is the best for you and your budget.
  • Purchase your land, so you can determine which direction you want your dome to face, etc.
  • Choose a stock floor plan for the size dome you prefer or have us modify a stock plan or design a custom plan based on your sketches.
  • Take your building plans and obtain your building permit, septic permit, etc.

Conventional mortgage lenders tend to be ultra conservative when considering a dome. Mortgage brokers or indirect sources for financing may be more flexible and quicker for you. Refinancing other property or acquiring loans for other sources may be easier while avoiding the restrictions and requirements of conventional construction loans. Another popular option is the pay-as-you-go method. Combined with partial financing, this can get you into your new dome. For a helpful, in depth look at financing read our Financing Your Dome booklet.

If you obtain financing through a bank, etc. they may require you to have a contractor whom will sign a contract as to what he will charge to totally finish your dome. We know of some independent subs, which can work for the contractor and assemble the dome kit. The contractor can best provide local laborers to work on the dome shell. The contractor can also hire conventional subs to do the interior framing, plumbing, electrical, flooring, etc.

Construction Loans are difficult to acquire. An appraiser takes the Building Plans and determines a value for the finished house and will also appraise your land.

 

What can stop me from building an American Ingenuity Dome?

Prior to purchasing property, provide Ai with the tax id for the property you are considering purchasing & the building department name. At no cost to you, Ai will call the building department, show them our web site, email them sample plans pdfs, describe the component panel, etc. and find out if the Ai dome kit can be built in your area.

Besides engineer sealed plans, an engineer sealed engineering statement can be submitted that states the Ai component panel conforms to the provisions of Florida Building Code, California Building Code and 2012 International Building Code that allows for alternative materials and methods for construction.

Q: Prior to purchasing Dome Building Plans, what do I need to consider?

A: You need to assure you have answers to the following questions:

  1. Does the deed for your land have any restrictions on domes?
  2. If there is a Home Owners Association governing your land, you will need to check with them and make sure you can build a dome.
  3. What is required from your building department to obtain a building permit?
  4. Do you have your financing secured?
  5. If the answers to the above questions are positive then you can proceed with purchasing your dome building plans.

Q: Can my zoning department stop me from building a dome?

A: No. Zoning pertains to whether a residential, commercial or industrial building can be constructed on any given piece of property. Besides zoning ordinances controlling the use of the land, they determine setbacks from property lines, size and height limits and similar things, but we have never heard of a zoning restriction on domes.  Deed restrictions and homeowner associations can limit the type structure that can be built.

Q: Where can I build a dome?

A: Almost any place. Although, there are a few exceptions, some developments or communities control the size, cost and appearance of the homes. Before you buy your land ask if there are any Deed restrictions or Homeowner Associations.

If there is a Homeowners Association, meet with the board and show them information about the dome. If they say you can build the dome, we recommend that you get a notarized statement from them stating this. Over time members of the Board can change and the by laws of the Association can change.

Building departments are basically concerned about safety and structure, not appearance.

Q: Are there any areas in the United States where an American Ingenuity Dome cannot be built?

A: Yes. For the first time in 2006 one of our California clients could not obtain a building permit, because the building officials wanted our dome building kit certified that its design complied with the State of California’s building kit regulations. However, as of 2014 Ai has since learned that the Ai dome kit can be built in San Bernardino, Riverside and San Diego Counties. If planning on building in California, Ai will be happy to contact your building department. Ai will discuss Ai’s building kit, and email generic plans. We will speak with them and find out if you submit California Engineer Sealed Plans, California engineer sealed snow, seismic, wind & bracing calculations, a passing Title 24 Energy Report along with all other required paperwork whether a building permit can be issued on the Ai dome.

Q: Are there any counties in the United States that will not allow the American Ingenuity dome to be built in their area?

A: Yes, Dade and Broward Counties in southern Florida. Even though our building complies with the new 2010 Florida Building Code and one of our domes survived Hurricane Andrew and a tornado at the same time with no structural damage, we have been informed that Dade, West Palm Beach and Broward Counties require product approval. Due to the cost and complexity of the tests, Ai has not paid for the testing.  Ai has learned that some building departments will issue a dome building permit if Florida Engineer Sealed Plans are submitted along with a Florida registered engineer’s letter stating that American Ingenuity’s buildings comply with Florida code. This sealed letter can be provided at no cost.

Our office can call your building department and inquire what is required to issue a building permit.  For us to do this we need your site location and your city or county name.  Ai will call the plans examiner and describe the dome building kit, email pdfs on the building plans if needed, and ask if the department will accept a Florida registered engineer’s letter stating that American Ingenuity’s buildings comply with Florida code.  Our office number is 321-639-8777 and is open Monday through Friday 9-5 Eastern Time.

Q: Is it difficult to obtain financing on a dome home?

A: Yes. For example, a 40’ dome can have 1,800 sq.ft. In your area if the finished price per sq.ft. for a conventional house is running $100 a square foot. Then the finished price of the 40’ dome will be around $180,000 not including the price of the land, utility hook ups, and the cost for the building plans and engineer seal.

Typically lenders want 25% to 35% down based on the finished price of the dome; which in this case would be $45,000 to $63,000. How does this fit in your budget? Consider building a smaller dome first and add on another dome later.  This way the you are living in a super-strong, super-energy efficient Ai dome saving money each month on your heating and cooling costs.

Why are lenders so conservative when it comes to domes? Lenders determine how much they will loan based on what houses in each neighborhood sell for. The lender can usually get within three to four per cent of the value of a conventional house. But because American Ingenuity does not have resale statistics on domes the lender does not know what the dome resale price is. The lender has to be concerned with the worst case sinario. If the homeowner dies, they will have to resale the dome. So the lender is reluctant to loan as much money on a dome project. Try mortgage brokers, small local banks or local credit unions for financing.

If you obtain financing through a bank, etc. they may require you to have a contractor who will sign a contract as to what he will charge to totally finish your dome. Ai knows of an independent subcontractor, who can work for the contractor and supervise the assembly of the dome shell kit. Click on Kit Assembly Consultant/Specialist to learn more about this service. The contractor can best provide local laborers to work on the dome shell. The contractor will hire local conventional subs to do the interior framing, plumbing, electrical, flooring, door and window installation, etc.

Construction Loans are difficult to acquire. An appraiser takes the Building Plans and determines a value for the finished house and will also appraise your land.

To view or print out the American Ingenuity 18 page Financing Booklet click on Financing Booklet.

American Ingenuity has compiled a document that lists the major items to be aware of before purchasing land.  Call us at 321-639-8777 and ask for this document to be emailed to you.

Zoning pertains to whether a residential, commercial or industrial building can be constructed on a property. Besides zoning ordinances controlling the use of the land, they determine setbacks from property lines, minimum required home size and height limits and similar things, Ai has never heard of a zoning restriction on domes.  Health Departments determine set backs from a well and septic tank/drain field.  In Florida that set back can be 50 feet to 100 feet.  It is best to complete a site plan on the particular property you are interested in building on which shows the set backs, driveway location, home location, etc. so it can be determined what buildable area is left on the property to build your home.

Building Departments do not generally deal with appearance. They are usually concerned about strength and code compliance – except for Florida where product approval can be enforced in some areas. Deed restrictions, zoning and homeowner associations can limit the type structure which can be built on a property.  American Ingenuity’s (Ai’s) dome design has proved itself by withstanding hurricane Andrew’s 200 mph winds, four hurricanes in 2004, sub zero temperatures and heavy snow loads of Canada and the Northwest Territory, a large tree impact and many other conditions over a 40 year period.

Do all Florida Counties allow the Ai dome to be built?  Even though the Ai dome building complies with the Florida’s 2014 Building Code 5th Edition and one of Ai’s domes survived Hurricane Andrew and a tornado at the same time with no structural damage, we have learned that Dade, Broward, Orange, Indian River and St John Counties in Florida require product approval. Due to the cost and complexity of the tests, Ai has not paid for the testing.  Ai has learned that most Florida building departments will issue a dome building permit if Florida Engineer Sealed Plans are submitted along with Florida engineer sealed Equivalency Report which includes structural calculations performed on Ai’s largest size dome (48’) at worst case Florida Conditions which are 180 mph wind speed, Wind Exposure Class D with five max first floor entryway openings.  The report states that American Ingenuity’s prefab panel and building system complies with Florida Building Codes section 104.11 allowing for Alternative Materials and Methods for home construction.  This sealed report is provided with the sealed plans at no additional cost.

 At no cost to you, our office can call the building department who governs the property you are considering purchasing to see what is required for them to issue a building permit.  For us to do please provide the tax ID number, main street adjacent to the property and the city or county name who governs the property.  Ai will call the plans examiner and describe the dome building kit, email pdfs on the building plans, and ask if engineer sealed building plans, sealed Equivalency Report and passing Energy Report along with their other required paperwork is submitted, can the Ai dome be built in that area?

Sometimes in California if the dome is being built near a large city, the building department might require the building kit to be certified by the State of California.  Ai has not pursued this certification due to its cost.  However, as of 2014 Ai has since learned that the Ai dome kit can be built in specific areas…please call for our latest list.   If planning on building in California, Ai will be happy to contact your building department. Ai will discuss Ai’s building kit, and email generic plans. We will speak with them and find out if you submit California Engineer Sealed Plans, California engineer sealed seismic, wind structural calculations, a passing Title 24 Energy Report along with all other required paperwork whether a building permit can be issued on the Ai dome.

If you do not have the time or do not want to assemble the dome shell kit, click on Kit Assembly Specialist to learn about this service. The Specialist will supervise your or your contractor’s laborers to complete the shell assembly.

Prior to purchasing Building Plans you need to assure you have answers to the following questions:

  1. Does the deed for your land have any restrictions on domes?
  2. If there is a Home Owners’ Association governing your land, you will need to check with them and make sure you can build a dome.
  3. Do you have your financing secured?

Q:  Explain how to work with my building department.

A: Keep in mind that building departments are concerned with strength and safety. American Ingenuity Domes excel in these areas. Building departments and building codes are not concerned with appearance; although a plans examiner may be unfamiliar with the aspects of dome construction.  At no cost to you, if you give Ai your site TAX ID number and building department name, Ai will call the plans examiner, email generic plans and inquire what is required to issue a building permit on the dome.

When working with building departments, Ai recommends the following:

  • Start by asking your building department a few questions such as: “What are the requirements for a residential building permit? Are there any additional requirements to build a geodesic dome? Is an Architect’s or Engineer’s seal required on the plans?”  If a seal is required it can be purchased through Ai. The cost is $600 for one dome built on a concrete slab for all states other than Florida or California.  Two domes each built on a concrete slab is $900.  Basement plans seal is $300.
  • Building departments are unpredictable. No nationwide standard exists for what is required to receive a building permit and as such what is required in the building plans. Each individual building department adopts and implements their individual policies. Since each department will ask for different items, expect that your first visit may only garner a list of what is required as to the building plans and further documentation (e.g. deed, survey, septic tank location, permits.)

Q: How do I know what my building department will require in order to give me a building permit?

A: Ask your building department to provide a list of what is required to obtain a residential building permit.

Q: Does American Ingenuity have an engineering statement about your dome panels that can be submitted to my building department?

A:  Yes, to view the statement click on Engineering.

Q: Will my American Ingenuity dome be acceptable to my building department?
A: Give us your property’s address or tax ID number & building department name and at no cost to you we will call the plans examiner, email generic plans and ask what is required to obtain a building permit on the Ai dome. Building plans for American Ingenuity domes comply with all building codes worldwide including the Universal Building Code, 2009 International Residential Building Code and 2015 International Residential Building Code.  If required, your plans can be certified by a registered engineer licensed for your state. Please call Ai’s office for pricing…..321-639-8777.

In California, some building departments require building kits be certified that they comply with California’s building kit requirements. Due to the high cost of this certification, it is not economical for American Ingenuity to purchase the certification.  So if your CA building department requires that the Kit be certified, then you will not be able to build the American Ingenuity Dome  in that area. As of 2014 Ai has since learned that the Ai dome kit can be built in the counties of San Diego, San Bernardino, Trinity, Solona, Shasta and Riverside. If planning on building in California, Ai will be happy to contact your building department. Ai will discuss Ai’s building kit, and email generic plans. We will speak with them and find out if you submit California Engineer Sealed Plans, California engineer sealed snow, seismic and wind structural calculations, a passing Title 24 Energy Report along with all other required paperwork whether a building permit can be issued on the Ai dome.

American Ingenuity’s dome and building plans comply with the new 5th Edition 2014 Florida Building Code Residential.  However, Ai has been informed that Dade, Broward, Orange, Indian River and St Johns in Florida require product approval.   As a result the American Ingenuity dome kit cannot be built in these counties.  Prior to purchasing property in these areas, call Ai and give us your property tax ID number and we will call the building department, show them our web site, email generic plans and ask if you submit engineer sealed building plans, engineer sealed letter stating the Ai panel meets the intent of Florida Building Code 104.11 for Alternative, Materials and Methods of construction, passing Energy Report, Florida Engineer Sealed Structural Calculations and other required paperwork can you obtain a building permit on the Ai dome.

Q: Have you shipped domes into UBC building code areas?

A: Yes, we have shipped domes into the Universal Building Code (UBC) territory before. If the UBC will not let you have any floor area (except bedrooms) that has less than seven feet of head room, then the second floor perimeter knee wall would be moved inward to put that unallowed space out of the room.

Q: Will your Building Plans comply with my area’s building codes?

A: Ai has sold dome building kits into 47 USA states and fifteen foreign areas. Ai’s blueprints have been accepted by building departments which use many different Building Codes including the Universal Building Code, 2015 International Residential Building Code,  Florida 2014 5th Edition Residential Building Code and California Residential Building Code.

Q: Do your Building Plans come with an Engineer Seal on them?

A: No there is no engineer seal on the plans. It is Ai’s philosophy is that each client pays for only what they need.  About 60% of Ai’s client’s building departments require engineer sealed building plans to issue a building permit. As a result only those clients that need an engineer seal pay for a seal. Ai does not burden the price of the building plans or the building kit with the costs for engineer seals, engineer load calculations or energy reports or any other paperwork required by your building department.

Ai’s dome design has proved itself by withstanding hurricane Andrew’s 212 mph winds, sub zero temperatures and heavy snow loads of Canada, a 30″ in diameter hickory tree impact, a double wide horse trailer impact and many other conditions since 1976.

Although our Building Plans have been reviewed by over 30 different engineers, the plans do not come with an engineer’s seal for the following reasons.

  • Less than half of our dome owners needed engineer sealed Building Plans to obtain a building permit and rather than adding the cost to all plans or the building kit it is more economical for the customer to have the plans sealed as required by their building department.
  • As the designer and manufacturer we would not hesitate to guarantee the structural integrity of our dome and we do just that with our guarantee.
  • Each state only accepts a seal from an engineer who is registered in that state which prevents us from applying any seal that would be universally accepted.
  • When an engineer seals a set of plans he is taking responsibility for the structural design for a single dome in the location intended and the seal would not apply to other projects.

Q: Please explain what the engineer does in reviewing my plans.

A: The engineer reviews the Building Plans to assure that they comply with your state’s building codes. He will let us know if anything needs to be changed.

  • Ai will make the changes at no cost to you and send the revised plans to the engineer who then crimps them with his seal and signs his name.
  • This seal and his signature means that he certifies that the plans comply with your state’s building codes.
  • Then either the engineer or we ship the signed plans to you. You take them to your building department.
  • Because each city, county within a state can have varying requirements, your city or county building department may request some changes.
  • Ai will work with your building department to make the changes; however if extensive changes, call Ai for revision costs. If the engineer has to get reinvolved, there may be an additional engineering fee.

Q: What process do engineers or architects have to go through to be registered in each state and how do they maintain their certification year to year?

A: Engineer’s have to pay for and pass a test in each state they are registered. Plus each year they pay an annual fee to each state to maintain their registrations.

Q: In Florida what is commonly required to obtain a building permit?

A: To obtain a Florida Residential Building permit engineer sealed building plans and Florida Energy Report are required. These items can be purchased through Ai.

  • The Building Plans are purchased through American Ingenuity.
  • Please call our office, 321-639-8777 for the cost of the Florida Energy Report.
  • Ai utilizes an engineer outside our office to seal the building plans which is a separate fee. The Florida engineer seal cost for one 36′ or smaller dome is $400; for two smaller domes the cost is $500, For a 40′ to 48′ dome the seal cost is $500.  Two larger 40′-48′ domes is $600. 

Q: What will the engineer seal cost for California and other states?

A: For California: we can only quote the cost of the building plans because the price of the seal comes from a California licensed Engineer. California building departments are extremely difficult to deal with and that makes it also difficult for any engineer to provide a fixed cost when they don’t know exactly what the building department will require. A rough estimate for engineering to get through a typical California building department is $600 – $1,000 for a dome built on a concrete slab. 

The seal cost for one dome built on a concrete slab for all states other than Florida or California is $600. If it is a two dome plan the seal is $900.  Basement plans seal is $300.  Ai’s standard foundation is a monolithic slab.  Any other foundation requires Ai to hire a local engineer to calculate the load of the dome, the two floors within the dome and give Ai design foundation details that are incorporated within your custom building plans.  The custom foundation is designed based your soil report recommendations and the loads determined by the engineer.

Besides assuring that your property has no deed restrictions or homeowners association regulating it, contact your building department and find out what they require to issue you a residential building permit.

Building departments are basically concerned about safety and structure, not appearance.

In California, some building departments require building kits be certified that they comply with California’s building kit requirements. Due to the high cost of this certification, it is not economical for American Ingenuity to purchase the certification.  In 2014 Ai has learned that the counties of San Diego, San Bernardino, Trinity, Solona, Shasta and Riverside have given preliminary approval and allow the Ai dome kit to be built if CA sealed plans are submitted along with CA sealed wind, snow and seismic structural calculations, passing Title 24 Energy Report and other required paperwork and reports with appropriate fees paid.   

Q: Can I find my own engineer to seal my Building Plans?

A: Yes, you could try to find some other structural engineer to seal the plans, but they will probably charge you this much or more. They tend to charge more because they have not sealed our dome plans before. Therefore, they would have to start from scratch and research everything about the Aidome.

Q: Does a site plan come with the Building Plans?

A: No it is not included in the Building Plans and is usually designed from a survey. It is best to hire a local firm to complete your site plan.

Begin by drawing a building site plan (plot plan) to the same scale as the Stock Plans and Floor Planner Kit (1/10 inch = 1 foot). A handy scale ruler is included in the back of the Stock Floor Plan Booklet on tan colored paper. Show everything that will affect your dome on your property:

  • North, south, east and west setbacks
  • Driveway, adjacent roads, rights of way, easements
  • Utilities: well, septic and septic drainfield
  • Views
  • Prevailing winds
  • Trees, ponds and existing structures
  • Once you have your building site plan, you can place cut out copies of floor plans on it to select the best size, location and orientation for your dome. If you are designing a dome complex, you will find it simple to combine the cut outs since they are all the same scale.

Q: Have any of your clients ever been denied a building permit?

A: Yes. In 2006 American Ingenuity had its first client denied a building permit who wanted to build his dome in Redding California. The building department required that the Ai dome building kit be certified that it complied with the State of California’s building kit regulations. Due to the cost and complexity of the tests, Ai concluded it was not economical for us pay for this test. If the California building department will accept a California registered engineer’s assertion that our buildings pass this test, this documentation can be provided at a reasonable fee.

Ai has had three clients assemble dome kits in California without the building kit needing to be certified. These areas were remote rural areas. If you would be building within a city limits, please check with your building department to see if the actual building kit needs to be certified before you purchase the building plans. 

San Diego, Trinity, Solona, Riverside and Shasta will accept engineer sealed plans with structural calculations and do not require the dome kit to be certified.

 

Q: What do the American Ingenuity Dome Building Plans contain?

A: Building plans include the basic drawings for the dome that are needed when acquiring a building permit. They are composed on our computer aided drafting system as stock plans, or custom plans based on your individual requirements and design. Some of the pages are a 3-D elevation and a 3-D perspective view. These plans include all the structural drawings, floor plan layouts, show the placement of the electrical outlets, light fixtures, plumbing fixtures; however, they do not have the electrical, plumbing, HVAC layouts. Ai has found if the layouts are included, then the inspectors require the subcontractors to follow the diagrams when the subs like to design their own layouts.  A set of building plans can contain from 15-23 different blueprint sheets depending on the type foundation.