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.

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