Foundations For American Ingenuity’s
Geodesic Dome Building Kits

American Ingenuity domes can be built utilizing the same foundation choices as conventional housing. To view a file that summarizes foundation types, click on Foundation Summary.

The foundation types that Ai designs are:

  1. A monolithic concrete slab
  2. Poured footing with a stem wall and then a poured slab on fill
  3. Poured footing with a stem wall and then a raised wood floor
  4. Basement – concrete block, ICF (Insulated Concrete Forms), poured on site or poured walls brought in
  5. Plings and a platform or columns and a platform

The type of foundation you build depends on which is more advantageous for your area and what your building department requires.

The standard foundation that comes with Ai’s building plans is a concrete slab. For Ai to design any other foundation other than concrete slab, a local engineer is hired to calculate the load of the dome and its interior floors to determine joist size and spacing and wall design.  Ai then incorporates his designs into your building plans.  Call our office at 321-639-8777 for engineer pricing.

If you have any question about your soil’s suitability, consult with someone locally possibly your building department or soil’s engineer. Our dome’s foundation does not require anything more than 2000 lbs. per sq.ft. soil bearing capacity. Basically if you can build a regular house on your soil, you can certainly build a dome.

Stock building plans sold by American Ingenuity utilize a concrete slab foundation. For stock plan pricing and plan information, click on Stock Plan Pricing, Building Options and Building Plans. For raised wood floor designs or other designs call or email for a quote.

American Ingenuity’s stock building plan pricing is for two sets of Building Plans that contain all blueprints typically provided with any type of housing and include floor plans, exterior elevations and dome shell section view, top view showing panel placement, floor joist framing plans, structural details, and locations of plumbing and electrical fixtures. Plumbing, electrical and HVAC diagrams are not provided.  Contact us at 321-639-8777 Monday through Friday 9 to 5 eastern time.

The following are some of our most asked foundation items:

  • Ai can replace a concrete slab foundation with a raised wood floor and design the first floor joist. 
  • The Foundation Building Plan sheet states footer depth and is determined by your type soil or if there is a frost line. Ai’s standard footer is 20″ tall by 16″ wide with 4″ concrete slab.  However if your soil does not test to 2,000 psf, Ai can design your footer larger with a thicker slab based on your soil report’s recommendations.
  • All foundations are designed and laid out with hook tie down rebar in the bottom riser horizontal seams, rebar into each of the riser wall seams and a rebar extends up in the front and back of each entryway riser panel, first floor door dormer and other areas.  The building plans are specific about rebar locations and size.  The riser seams are filled with concrete as the dome kit is assembled. Once the riser wall seams (horizontal and vertical) are filled with concrete the dome is secure to the slab. The riser panel placement is based on an radii dimension that is taken from the center of the floor to the inside surface of the riser panels. When the riser panel’s bottom seam areas are filled, the concrete continues along the side of the foundation. If your dome is built on a basement or pilings or columns, rebars are designed to come up into each riser wall seam from the basement walls, pilings or columns.
  • Ai’s dome is lighter than most other buildings; as a result it has less loading on the foundation.
  • Basement Plans are available. 
  • The multiple sided foundation of the Ai dome causes its cost to be 15% to 25% more than a conventional slab.
  • The concrete slab perimeter can be insulated if code allows.  For example in some areas in Florida perimeter insulation is not permitted due to termites.  

I think I need to build my foundation off the ground.

First of all, how high off the ground does the first floor have to be? If you do not know this answer, call your building department and ask them.

If your dome has to be eight feet to ten feet off the ground:

  • Due to a wave of water not rising water, then the dome can be built on concrete columns and a concrete patform. If you want enclosed rooms or a garage under the platform, then break-a-way walls can be installed.
  • Due to rising water, build the dome on an above ground basement or build concrete block columns under the corners of the platform.

If your dome has to be raised two to three feet, may be best to bring in fill, compact the fill and construct the concrete slab onto the fill.

If your dome has to be raised two to three feet, build a stem wall:

  • Bring in fill dirt to fill within the stem wall and pour a concrete slab onto the fill and build a stem wall. (most economical and energy efficient)
  • Install a wood floor that sets on piers and beams. You would have a crawl space. (This is more expensive.)


Fax or email your sketch to us and we will call with questions and a price quote. Ai can provide plans for most types of basement wall systems utilizing concrete or block including insulated concrete forms or precast basement wall panels. To complete the basement designs, a local engineer is hired to calculate the load of the dome and its interior floors to determine joist size and spacing and wall design.  Ai then incorporates his designs into your building plans.  Call our office at 321-639-8777 for engineer pricing.

Since we are a manufacturer of dome housing kits, Ai does not manufacture or build basement walls.  Contact a local basement wall subcontractor for construction estimates on the various types of basements to determine which type wall to have Ai design.

Full basements are the same size and shape as the dome first floor. The multiple sided foundation for the dome can cost 15% to 25% more to construct than a conventional slab.

The below ground basement can have the slab poured first with the exterior basement walls built on top of the slab or the footings can be poured separately with the exterior basement wall built on top of the footings and then the slab poured inside the basement wall. Basement walls are usually 8″ thick when made of poured concrete but will likely increase depending on the height of the basement wall and the height of the back fill.

When the dome is built on a basement, the first floor framing of the dome is typically built with wood 2×10’s which are hung on the side of the basement walls.


Have you checked with your local building department to see what they require your house be built on? If you live near the ocean or water, the building department may require concrete pilings which are usually driven 10′ to 15′ down into the ground versus concrete columns that only go down about 3′ into the ground. When there is a potential for waves of water washing dirt out from under your house, the local building department usually requires pilings. If your property is within a few hundred feet of the ocean or gulf then it is the federal government that decides what foundation type your house will have.

Whether you use concrete pilings or concrete columns, Ai can design a wood platform under the dome and a deck made out of composite materials, plastic wood or pressure treated wood with the assistance of a local engineer.  Call for engineer pricing. Or Ai can design for a concrete platform. Remember your building department will require the piling and platform plans and the dome plans to be engineer sealed. These seals can be purchased through Ai.


Slabs poured for Dome   Dome House on Slab Same Dome  


Pilings with oval Concrete Platform

for 40′ Dome Home


Concrete Dome House with Cupola Built in Mid 80’sCupola’s look different now…not so tall and there are now overhangs that extend out from the top panels.
Also these raised seams collect water. Install
flat or rounded seams; not raised.



8″ thick solid concrete
basement walls for 34′ Dome
First Floor wood joists
set on top basement walls


34′ Dome Home
on Poured Concrete basement wall

Back view of same dome Front view of same dome with basement entrance.


 Interior View looking down into basement from
second floor of 45′ Dome.

Exterior View of the same  basement
showing 45′ Dome House

34′ Dome Home on Basement