advantageous | AiDomes

For those of you wanting to compare the Aidome Building Kit vs Deltec Home Kit, please take time to read and analyze info listed below.  Please compare kit costs and contents of each kit.  Instead of building a home from a Deltec wood kit,  consider building an Ai prefabricated concrete home dome kit.  To warm up the exterior & interior of the American Ingenuity (Ai) concrete dome; 1) paint the dome exterior light green or light tan.  2) install rock or wood on the framed walls under dormers & entryways and on the riser panels. 3) Install wood decks off the first floor entryways.  4) Install trellis with vines to conceal the fire resistant concrete. On the interior adhere oak to the dome shell drywall and install wood flooring, wood cabinetry.

We understand that it is important to compare various companies when it comes to designing and building your home, and that you may want to compare our concrete kit to Deltec homes.

Ai would like to do a comparison between both of our companies, so you can determine which home would be best for you. We want to offer you a comparison showing that Aidome building kits will offer you more for your money, be more energy efficient, offer better defense from the elements and have lower maintenance costs over time.

Please be aware that both AiDomes and Deltec do not install a foundation. That work is completed by a local foundation subcontractor near you. In Ai’s building plans are foundation pdfs detailing foundation dimensions.

Please note in the information below we are simply pointing out the differences in our products.  Deltec makes a fine product, but we at Ai feel we have superior home product.

Let us start with the kit:

DELTEC HOMES AMERICAN INGENUITY (AiDomes)
Standard Shell Kit Standard Shell kit
Wood Frame home, w/shingled roof

No mention of insulation, or drywall for home’s exterior walls

Does not include exterior

siding and shingles

Exterior Concrete reinforced with galvanized steel mesh & fibers;

7” thick R-28 Value expanded polystyrene insulation

throughout the exterior walls & roof of the home;

½” Georgia Pacific DensArmor – moisture resistant/mold resistant Gypsum Drywall

 

·         2” x 6” x 8’ wall panels

·         Double 2” x 10” headers in all wall panels

·         5/8” CDX plywood sheathing

·         Complete half scissor truss roof system

·         Typar House Wrap

·         Pre-cut roof sheathing & Typar surround

·         Fascia / pre-cut soffit materials

·         1’-9” overhang (3′-9” shown)

·         9 Upper level steel floor support pole (two story)

·         Web-tec floor system for upper level (two story)

·         Compression ring and tension collar

 

Each wall & roof prefab panel consists of a

·         Outer covering of ¾” concrete reinforced w’ galvanized steel mesh & fibers

·         7” thick EPS insulation

(w/a R-28 value)

·         ½” interior DensArmor drywall

by Georgia Pacific (meets 2014 building code)

·        Galvanized Steel Cables are included with the kit (for standard riser panel height design)

 

*Rods & Z plates for second floor are at a nominal charge per plan

 

The Deltec kit: As you can see their system is wood frame, it requires that the house exterior be finished with some sort of siding, and the roof shingled. Per their website, there is no mention of the inclusion of insulation, or drywall for the shell and attic area (there is mentioned as one of the top upgrades (i.e. additional cost) some sort of energy barrier for north & south facing areas of the home, not throughout the home).  Being wood, the wood exterior is subject to fire, rot and termites. 

With an Ai dome Kit:  When assembled, the prefabricated panels produce all the structural components, the concrete roof, all the insulation and all the interior drywall for the dome shell’s exterior walls and roof.  In addition, the dome shell carries a 225 mph wind and F4 tornado guarantee.  Ai’s panelized system does not contain wood or steel framing (ribs) to interrupt our standard R28 insulation. There is no exterior wood to burn or rot or for termites to eat.  As an added bonus, there is no roof to blow off in high winds, and has a noncombustible fire resistant concrete exterior.  (Pressure Treated wood is used to frame the walls under the entryways and dormers to accept your locally purchased doors and windows.  During Kit Assembly a temporary wooden rib system is installed to support the panels. However once the seam areas between the panels and the entryways and dormers are concreted, the Aidome is self-supporting and the rib system is removed.)

  • Although all homes require exterior maintenance, an Ai dome (when erected), simply requires painting – there are no shingles to replace. Whereas a traditional home, as well as the Deltec kit would require repair and/or  replacement of the roof, as well as maintenance/repair and/or replacement of the siding.
  • In regards to the cost to build, both Deltec and Ai are kits, they are not complete houses, they are the shell of the structure,  this is done by local contractors (Ai knows of an  Independent Kit Consultant to assist your contractors with shell assembly).

Please give us a call so we can provide information and answer questions for you – 321-639-8777 Mon – Fri 9-5 eastern time.

Please scroll down the page to read Ai Dome Engineering Statement.  Domes are three-dimensional structures using stable triangles approximating spheres to create multiple load carrying paths from point of load to point of support. The triangle is the only arrangement of structural members that is stable within itself without requiring additional connections at the intersection points to prevent warping of the geometry.  In other words, apply pressure to one edge of a triangle, and that force is evenly distributed to the other two sides, which then transmit pressure to adjacent triangles. That cascading distribution of pressure is how geodesic domes efficiently distribute stress along the entire structure, much like the shell of an egg. 

For over forty years, American Ingenuity’s dome design has proved itself by withstanding the following acts of nature with no structural damage: Hurricane Andrew’s 165-212 mph winds, a tornado that rolled up a steel horse trailer and slammed it against the Miami Fl dome, four hurricanes in 2004, Hurricane Katrina, 6.6 earthquake in 2006, sub-zero temperatures and heavy snow loads of the Northwest Territory of Canada, a 30″ in diameter 115 foot tall hickory tree impact, a lighting strike and many other conditions. To view recap of acts of Nature click on Disaster Resistant.

The American Ingenuity dome is designed to be as safe and fireproof as possible, the dome exterior is entirely noncombustible concrete. Fire resistant concrete exterior: to view info about American Ingenuity’s concrete dome versus the Monolithic Concrete Dome and to view a YouTube Video of fire going over Monolithic concrete dome, please click on Fire Resistant Concrete Exterior.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

40′ in diameter dome kit when finished has three bedrooms & two baths on two floors. Small third floor loft under cupola.  Garage dome on the left.

Engineering Statement for American Ingenuity Dome Building Kits.  Geodesic domes are “an extremely efficient use of materials resulting in a maximization of interior spaces while minimizing exterior surface area and therefore creating a materially and energy efficient structure.” However because the dome is not very common, building codes do not cover dome construction. However within all building codes is a section that allows for alternative materials and methods for residential home construction per section 104.11 which covers the American Ingenuity dome.  As a result an engineering statement can be submitted to your building department stating American Ingenuity’s component panels comply with section 104.11.

An engineering statement and your building plans can be sealed by an independent  Professional Engineer (PE) licensed for your state if required by your building department. The fee for the engineer seal on your building plans depends on the number of domes in your plans and the type foundation.  For example the engineer seal fee for one dome built on a monolithic slab is $600; one dome on a basement is $900. This fee is for all size domes.   (Just to clarify these engineer seal fees are low versus Ai utilizing an engineering firm or architectural firm whose fees can be $1,500 to $3,000 to seal a set of residential new home building plans)

American Ingenuity utilizes a Professional Engineer (P.E.) to seal its dome building plans when required by your building department.  The following two engineering statements are provided by Thomas Mixter, P.E., one of the two engineers that Ai utilizes to seal its building plans.  Mr. Mixter has a license to seal residential building plans for 47 USA states.

Engineering Statement One:

To Whom It May Concern:

This letter is submitted as an engineering statement in regards to the panel composition of the geodesic dome buildings manufactured by American Ingenuity, Inc., 8777 Holiday Springs Road, Rockledge Fl.

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 2012 International Residential Building Code, California Building Code and Florida 2014 Building Code 5th Edition as allowed alternative materials and methods for residential construction per section R104.11. Georgia-Pacific’s DensArmor Plus High Performance Interior ½” Gypsum Wallboard/drywall used as the interior face of the panels which meets the thermal barrier requirements of R316.4 as shown by third party testing.

I certify that as the evaluating engineer, I am independent of the manufacturer, American Ingenuity, Inc.

Thomas Mixter

Engineering Statement Two. The above statement was revised for a California Building Department to produce the statement below.

To Whom It May Concern:

I have been designing geodesic style domes with various materials for 19 years.  I have designed domes fabricated with steel, wood, aluminum and concrete with spans up to 390 feet in diameter.  There has never been a failure on any completed dome that I have designed in the several thousand that I have stamped throughout the United States and in many foreign countries.

The geodesic dome by its very design is an extremely efficient use of materials resulting in a maximization of interior spaces while minimizing exterior surface area and therefore creating a materially and energy efficient structure. But this configuration is not very common and therefore not considered by most components of the building codes.

In my opinion the dome referenced above (American Ingenuity Dome for specific California site address) meets the intent of the minimum steel provisions of ACI 318-11 section 10.5 and CBC 104.11 for alternative materials and provides a comparable or higher level of quality, strength, effectiveness, fire resistance, durability and safety.  The inherent strength of the geodesic dome configuration creates a minimalistic combination of materials that is less than the more common building materials and configurations considered by the building codes.  This style of dome has been successfully installed in many locations throughout the United States.

Thomas Mixter PE Licensed for California & 46 other USA states

 

 Ventilation Systems

The following came from their web site:  

http://energystar.gov/ia/new_homes/features/SupplyVent1-17-01.pdf 

The air within homes can become stale from moisture, odors, and pollutants that penetrate the home or are generated internally by human activity and out gassing from building materials and furnishings.  A constant supply of fresh, outdoor air can provide greater assurance of good indoor air quality and improved comfort. 

In most homes, ventilation is provided accidentally when air leaks through the building envelope.  Accidental ventilation is unreliable because it is dependent on a pressure difference between indoor and outdoor spaces caused by temperature or wind variations.  Too much fresh air often enters a house during cold weather, causing uncomfortable drafts and high heating bills.  Not enough fresh air may enter during mild weather which can lead to poor indoor air quality. 

Air leakage through the building envelope accounts for between 25 percent and 40 percent of the energy used for heating and cooling in a typical residence.  Many new homes are being air sealed to reduce this energy use.  Where tighter construction reduces air leakage and accidental ventilation, active ventilation systems may be needed to provide fresh air. 

Figure 1 shows how supply ventilation works in a small home.  Outdoor air enters through a single intake and is distributed through ducts to the living room and bedrooms.  Stale air is removed by leakage throughout the building and through exhaust fans located in the kitchen and bathrooms.  The supply air intake should be located away from sources of pollution, odor or dust—such as the ground, garages, driveways and plumbing or dryer vents.  Supply systems can be turned off when homes are not occupied. 

Fresh outdoor air is provided continuously regardless of weather conditions.  Indoor air quality is improved where fresh outdoor air, low in pollutants, mixes with indoor air, which has become stale from human activity.  Fresh air is provided to the living spaces within a house through properly sized and located vents without causing uncomfortable drafts.  Filters and dehumidifiers can be added to the system near the intake to further remove pollutants and provide humidity control needed in hot, humid climates.  Thus, they can be used safely with all types of heating and cooling equipment. 

Supply ventilation creates positive indoor pressure.  This is advantageous in moderate and hot climates because positive pressure avoids pulling hot, humid air into wall cavities where condensation problems can occur.  In cold climates, positive pressure can possibly lead to moisture problems if hot, moist air is forced into wall cavities where condensation is likely to occur.  In addition, supply ventilation systems avoid “back drafting” combustion gases from appliances and fireplaces into homes.  

Resources for this article: 

The Consumer Guide to Home Energy Savings (Wilson and Morrill), available from the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy at 510-549-9914

Moisture Control in Homes fact sheet available from the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Clearinghouse (EREC), POBox 3048, Merrifield, VA 22116, (1-800-363-3732)

Foundations for Ai Domes can be built utilizing the same foundation choices as conventional housing. The standard foundation that comes with Ai’s building plans is a concrete slab; however Ai can design basements, stem walls, pilings, concrete block columns with assistance of local engineer.

Poured slab for 34' dome linked to 45' dome.

Concrete slabs poured for 45′ dome linked to 34′ dome

8.18 rebar in footing Kaufman picture assembly 051

Forms in place, footers being poured.  45′ dome.

8.19 rebar in finished slab Kaufman picture assembly 095

Finishing slab for 45′ Dome.

8.20 rebars in finished slab Kaufman picture assembly 096

Finishing slab for 45′ dome.
Vertical Rebars at corners to extend between two risers
or where riser meets entryway or door dormer base panel

 

Stroupe basment wall

Concrete Block Basement Wall for 45′ dome.
Ai can design poured on site basement walls,
Superior Wall Concrete Poured Walls
or Insulated Concrete Form (ICF) basement walls.

American Ingenuity domes can be built utilizing the same foundation choices as conventional housing.

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 concrete basement walls or poured concrete walls brought in and assembled on site.
  5. Pilings and a platform or columns and a platform.  Or pilings under columns with grade level concrete beam tying pilings together with platform.

The type of foundation that is built for your new home depends on which is more advantageous for your area, what your building department requires and if your foundation is other than concrete slab – what your soil’s report recommends.

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.  He requires a soil’s report where the soil engineer recommending what type foundation be built for that type soil. The local Florida license PE engineer uses the soil report data to give Ai details for your foundation design.  He calculates the load of the dome and its interior floors to determine joist size and spacing and wall design.  Ai then incorporates the engineer’s designs into your building plans.  Call our office at 321-639-8777 for engineer pricing.

The dome’s standard footing size is 20″ tall by 16″ wide with slab 4″. Foundation should be built on undisturbed native soil or fill – with soil compacted to 98% density for a minimum of 2,000 psf of bearing pressure. If your bearing capacity is less, then the engineer can increase your footer size and slab thickness. For example the soil for a dome being built in California was 1,500 psf. Its footer was increased to  20’x20″ and slab was increased to 6″.

For stock plan pricing and plan information, view Stock Plan Pricing, and Building Plans. For sale pricing on the building plans, click on Sale and scroll down the page to see the plans sale pricing.  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 because Ai has found that the sub-contractors performing those functions know how they want to layout your electrical, plumbing and HVAC and should be the ones completing these diagrams. 

Feel Free to call Ai with your questions. 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 cost depends on the complexity.
  • 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.
  • The multiple sided foundation of the Ai dome causes its cost to be 15% to 25% more than a conventional slab.
  • Ai. cannot provide Building Plans for wood foundations or unusual designs that are beyond our knowledge.
  • 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 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.)

At the bottom of this page is a complete list of our frequently asked foundation questions and their answers.

BASEMENTS

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 subcontractor that does that kind of work.

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 backfill.

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 supported by the concrete basement walls. You can use wood, steel or manufactured trusses for the floor joists. The EPS insulation of the riser panels rests on the wood floor. Concrete is placed between the basement wall and extends up to join with the concrete of the panels. At the corners of the basement wall a column of concrete is formed that will extend up to the reinforced seams between the riser panels. Rebars are anchored in the basement concrete wall corners and are positioned to extend up through this concrete column into the riser wall vertical seams. When the concrete is in place the entire load of the dome bears on the concrete and not on the wood framing.

PILINGS AND PLATFORM

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. If you have neighbors that are currently building, ask them what foundations they are utilizing.

Whether you use concrete pilings or concrete columns, Ai can design a wood platform for under the dome and a deck made out of 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 us.

CONCRETE SLAB

Slabs poured for Dome   Dome House on Slab Same Dome  


CONCRETE PILINGS AND CONCRETE PLATFORM

Pilings with oval Concrete Platform

for 40′ Dome Home

 

Ai Concrete Dome Home with Cupola Built in Mid 80’s. Cupolas look different now…not so tall with overhang panels extending out from the top panels.
Ai does not recommend raised seams, install flat or rounded seams.

DOMES BUILT ON BASEMENTS

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

 

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

For Mortgage Financing contact:

Personal loan approval for individuals in all USA states for those with credit score of 701 or better.  If your credit score is not 701, you can be recommended for the Credit Restoration Services. Lenders use this system for a true FICO Credit Scores.

Personal Loans are available through:
Ray Vince and Staff
at Pistolatum Inc.
76 E. Merritt Island Causeway #205
Merritt Island, Fl 32952
Phone:  321-284-8116  Email: pistolatuminc@gmail.com

To get started for preapproval, please click on this link and complete the info.  When completing the form enter code AI777 (Capital A and Capital i )

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Per Jennie Lyn Steeg with Regions Mortgage is able to loan on the Aidomes through its Smart Solutions portfolio.  Jennie wrote Ai:  “We are able to provide end-loan financing to your client through our niche portfolio – Smart Solutions.   I am happy to assist any of your clients.”

Regions Mortgage has offices in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.  Below is Ms. Steeg’s info.

Jennie Lyn Steeg
Regions Mortgage – NMLS #0676223
Mortgage Loan Originator.  10245 Centurion Parkway N. Suite #300
Jacksonville Fl 32258
Phone:  904-564-3303; Cell  904-228-4004  Email: jennielyn.steeg@regions.com

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Construction Loan is given to the Builder.  Builder owns the lot, builds the dome and then sells the finished dome and the lot to the home owner.

Michael Maxwell, Head of Originations
Builder Finance
55 E 58th St. Sixth Floor
NY, NY 10022
Phone:  212-466-3753.  Mobile 646-620-4665.    Email: mmaxwell@builderfinance.com

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Oscar Sanchez 
Academy MGT Corporation
Phone: 305-603-9181.   305-325-5400    Email: Oscar.Sanchez@academymortgage.com

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David Buffington, Mortgage Loan Officer  
BB&T
605 North Orlando Avenue
Orlando Fl 32789
Office 407-691-2150. Mobile 407-256-0015    Email: dbuffington@babandt.com

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Jay Zerquera VP 
FBC Mortgage
189 South Orange Ave, Suite 970, Orlando Fl 32801
Apply online:  www.teamjandj.com
Cell: 407-509-1846.  Phone: 407-377-0286  Email: JZerquera@fbchomeloans.com

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Your local Wells Fargo Bank and explain that their Tukwila, WA  branch and their branch in  their Sioux Falls, SD have issued financing for Aidome building kits and see if they are interested in reviewing your info for a loan.

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A Construction Loan was issued by AG South Farm Credit, ACA in Laurens, SC  for Ai dome home to be built in the area because the dome buyer had rural ag land. Their number is 864-984-3379.

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Construction/Renovation/Purchase/Refinance Options are available through:
Sovann Kang, Branch Manager  – nmls #275454
Umpqua Bank Home Lending
Mobile: 253-376-0991
Web site: umpquabank.com/skang
Email: sovannkang@umpquabank.com

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In Lake Placid Florida – Highlands County – Wauchula State Bank at (863) 773-4151 approved a construction loan and permanent financing for an Aidome customer.

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Ai has learned about LightStream’s Anything Loan, a division of SunTrust Bank.  Not sure if they can assist you or not.   LightStream’s Anything Loan is a virtually paperless loan that will let you finance or refinance almost anything.  These loans are very customer friendly with these included features:

Fixed-interest rates range from 1.99% to 9.99%* APR with AutoPay
Loan amounts range from $5,000 to $100,000
No fees, down payment requirements or prepayment penalties
Apply online and receive a response within minutes during business hours
Unsecured, with no liens or collateral requirements for AnythingLoan. (Applicants that do not qualify for the AnythingLoan may qualify for our Secured Loan products).

Financing Alternatives: 

  1. take out an equity line on property you own
  2. obtain a personal loan from family or friends (offering them a higher interest rate than banks, etc. are offering on money markets certificates, etc.)

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The following information was written by Michael Darling.

Dear dome home owners, buyers and builders:

Because I have seen designs for dome homes that are superior to other construction and design styles, and I’m always willing to go above and beyond when there is a reason. I have been researching the mortgage lending sources for dome homes. There is good news; there are more lenders who will lend on domes than on other “unique properties. There is bad news – it is still more difficult to get a loan for a dome home than for traditional construction. And there is good reason for hope for improvement in the near future.

I contacted every lender I could find, though I do not claim to have spoken with every lender in the USA. And while I would not claim to have done an exhaustive study, I am confident that I have as complete a picture as anyone of which lenders will finance domes and under what circumstances. I will continue to research the subject and will send updates from time to time. If you provide me with your specific mortgage objective, I will notify you when I find a loan that matches.

Three Scenarios for Financing a Dome Home

Leaving aside for the moment the differences between construction, purchase and refinance there are three scenarios to focus on when it comes to financing a dome home. All three are based on an appraisal from a licensed appraiser (it can be really helpful to have a more experienced appraiser – more on appraisals below).

  • There are three or more comparable properties (comps) of similar design and construction style (dome) with recent sales history in the neighborhood.
  • There is at least one comparable property of similar design and construction style with recent sales history in the area and others in the area but without recent sales history.
  • There are zero comparable properties of similar design and construction style in the neighborhood.

1. Three or More Comps

I have never failed to find a loan for a dome with three or more comps. Many residential mortgage lenders will be able to do this loan much the same as a traditional loan on a traditional home design. There are lenders who flat out reject domes no matter what, but for the lenders who will consider domes, a property with multiple comparisons should be “lendable”. Even with multiple comps, some lenders who will accept domes may only offer a loan with constraints on the size of loan, the loan to value ratio or other underwriting restrictions. (Full doc only, owner occupied only, one unit only, etc.)

2. At Least One Comp and Other Domes in the Market Area

There are a few residential mortgage lenders who will evaluate this situation and may make a loan. Here is where it can really help to have an experienced appraiser who knows the market because the ability of the appraiser to establish a market value and address the uniqueness of the subject property will be vital to an underwriter. Most lenders who will accept domes in this situation will only offer a loan with constraints on the size of loan, the loan to value ratio or other underwriting requirements. (Full doc only, owner occupied only, one unit only, etc.)

3. No Comps and No Domes in the Market Area

I have found traditional residential mortgage lenders in a few states who will evaluate a dome home with no dome comps on a case by case basis. A lender that would accept a dome in this case will almost certainly include constraints on the size of loan, the loan to value ratio and other underwriting requirements. (Full doc only, owner occupied only, one unit only, etc.)

There are local commercial banks who may offer a residential mortgage loan on a dome home with no dome comps. And there are “hard money” lenders who will evaluate any investment opportunity and who may make loans on dome homes- but compared to a traditional mortgage the fees and rates will likely be higher, the terms shorter and the conditions less advantageous.

If the property has an established or demonstrable commercial use it is possible to do a commercial loan with terms and conditions similar to a residential mortgage. The commercial lenders I work with have no restrictions on domes specifically nor will they be concerned about comps with similar construction styles. They will be looking for an appraisal that demonstrates the commercial value of the property. Bed & Breakfast Inn, multi-family rental, retail business, and other exclusive or mixed commercial uses would all be possibilities. (A home office or a business run from home would not generally be enough to demonstrate commercial value.)

There is a fourth scenario that bears mentioning- the dome home that is appraised as a traditional frame construction home using traditional frame construction comps. Though I am certain that loans have been done this way, there are numerous problems with this scenario. First and worst is that intentionally misrepresenting information in a mortgage application is illegal. Also, many applications have gotten far along in the underwriting process before an underwriter reviews the appraisal and sees a photo of the subject property and rejects the file because that lender does not accept domes. This creates wasted expense and frustration for all parties. It is a way to attempt to get a mortgage on a dome home- it’s just not a good one.

Appraisal

If your lender would like to utilize an appraiser who has appraised an Ai dome for a loan and who has visited an American Ingenuity 15 year old finished dome, please call Ai for appraiser’s info. Lenders should be thought of as investors who invest in a loan. And each has their own investment criteria. Most investors want to know they can sell their investment at some point in time- and in the mortgage lending world this means that most lenders underwrite with similar standards and criteria so that a loan can be sold. While the general challenge for financing domes is the shortage of lenders or loan programs, I have access to several loan programs that will accept unique properties if the appraisal includes sufficient market analysis to establish a market valuation for the property. So the specific challenge is typically the appraisal.

In addition to the usual appraisal analysis, the dome appraisal must:

  • Establish a market value independent of construction type;
  • Demonstrate that the home’s uniqueness is accepted in the market, and;
  • Address the uniqueness of the dome in the context of local area housing types and marketability.

This means that the underwriter must be able to predict, using the appraisal, what the marketability of a house would be in the event the lender ends up having to possess and sell the property. The difficulty with most dome houses is the lack of comparable sales – “comps” – in order to demonstrate the market value. Comps need to be similar enough to the subject property that using them to establish a market valuation is reasonable. Even very similar comps will be adjusted for minor differences, but the hard part with domes is that they are typically very different in appearance and therefore the predicted marketability can vary considerably from traditional construction. In other words, it’s hard to say “a traditional frame house with 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms sold for $X in x days and so a 4/2 dome would sell for $Y in y days.”

The best comparable properties will be other domes. If there are no domes for comps, it may be possible to use other unique styles to establish the marketability of unique homes. And if there are other domes and unique houses in the immediate area even if they have not recently sold, adding information about them in the appraisal (quantity, distance from subject, specific architectural style that makes it unique, as well as basic information about the house) will help support that unique styles are acceptable in the area.

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To view other alternatives than using a lender;

like family financing, equity loans on property, etc. read our financing booklet.

To view it on line, please click on Financing Booklet.

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Shipping Information: American Ingenuity Dome Building Kits
Are Shipped Via Semi-Truck

Click on the photo to enlarge it:

Image Image
Four men loading truck with 45′ kit. Factory domes in background.    48′ Dome Panels strapped down ready for shipment.

semi - truck DSCN1643

The above photo illustrates 45′ Dome kit being strapped down prior to shipment to dome owner’s property.

All Panels Are Marked With Numbers and Letters to Match The Building Plan Nomenclature Blueprint

16.09 unloading truck Kaufman picture assembly 105

Semi-Truck Being Unloaded At Dome Owner’s Site 

Can be unloaded with all terrain fork lift or man lift following Ai’s Truck Unloading Instructions

16.15 un loading truckKaufman picture assembly 121

Another View of 45′ Dome Kit Being Unloaded From Semi-Truck

Q: As far as shipping costs: Why did a California dome kit buyer pay $6,450 for one truck’s shipping cost,  an Australian dome kit buyer pay over $18,000 to have container shipped for his 34’ kit and a Washington dome kit buyer pay $9,000 for one truck’s shipping cost?

A: Simply put, it is because the Buyer could not build a home or buy any house that has the energy efficiency, strength and noncombustible concrete exterior that the American Ingenuity dome home has. The Ai dome is more energy efficient than a conventional house, because of its thick insulation (comparable to 11″ of fiberglass batting), the reduced exterior surface area and because the exterior walls contain no wood to interrupt the insulation. The dome is stronger than a box shaped house (225 mph wind and F4 tornado) due to its aerodynamic shape, steel reinforced concrete exterior and triangle panel shape. Plus there is no roof to replace every 11-12 years. The exterior of the dome is fire resistant concrete.  To view Ai dome advantages summary, click on Summary.

Q: I understand the Dome Building Kits are shipped on semi-trucks. What is the shipping cost in Florida and outside of Florida?
A:
Ai’s manufacturing costs here in Florida are well below the national average, which offsets any long distance shipping expenses. We can actually manufacture a kit here in Florida and ship it to the western states and northern states cheaper than we could manufacture there.  For example due to higher labor costs, if we manufactured out west or up north  we would need to increase the kit pricing 40%. So this means a 34′ kit whose approx. sale price is $26,000 would sell for $36,400 an increase of $10,400.

Having our manufacturing plant located in Florida is advantageous for shipping since more is shipped in than out of the state, leaving many trucks headed out empty.

Ai utilizes these independent trucking agencies. We contract to have these trucks carry your building kits outside Florida for approximately $2.70 to $2.90 per mile per semi-truck from our plant in Rockledge, Florida. Shipping within Florida is a minimum of $800. If your Florida building site is south of our factory, the truckers charge more because they have to drive south before they can drive north to leave Florida.  These trucking costs are less than we could do with our own trucks because if we used our own trucks, they would have to deliver the kit and return to Ai’s factory empty.

Per mile shipping costs and minimum shipping costs can vary due to fuel costs, fuel surcharges and travel distances.

If you are an International Client, your freight forwarder coordinates your container shipping. Click on Exporting to learn more. There is an extra fee of $800 per container because Ai has to rent a telescopic forklift boom to load each container.

Even though we have arranged the shipping, the truck carrying your kit does not belong to American Ingenuity, and the driver does not work for us. The driver is an independent driver, contracted for the delivery. Ai has found these drivers to be considerate, understanding and fair people. They are accustomed to transporting valuable merchandise and delivering it in the best possible condition.

Q: How many building kits with your standard R28 insulation fit on one semi truck?
A:
Five 15’s or two 18’s or one 30′, or one 34′, or one 36′, or one 40′, or one 45′ or one 48′ can fit on one semi-truck for delivery. Two 22’s can fit on one truck.  One 22′ & one 27′ can fit on one truck.  If you max out the number of entryways, purchase a link and the thicker insulation, your 45′ or 48′ building kit will require two trucks for delivery.

The 15′ & 18′ kits can be purchased with thinner 3 1/2″ R14 EPS insulation NOT R28 7″ EPS insulation and no 1/2″ dyrwall.  If so the thinner insulation allows for up to ten 15′ dome kits to fit on one truck and up to four 18′ dome kits on one truck.

The 15’ kit and 18’ kit  can be picked up by the buyer if the following size truck, trailer and straps are used.  (each with one entryway, 7” EPS & one set of 2×4’s for temporary wooden rib system)

15′ kit: 

1/2 ton truck minimum (Ai recommends 3/4 ton truck )
13 ea.  2″ x 30′  straps Working Load Limit 3000 lbs.
Trailer specifications
7′ wide 20′ long minimum
tandem axle 3000 lbs. each axle
axles with brakes
bed height of 48″ max

18′ kit: 

1/2 ton truck minimum  (Ai recommends 3/4 ton truck )
13 ea.  2″ x 30′  straps Working Load Limit 3000 lbs.
Trailer specifications
7′ wide 22′ long trailer minimum
tandem axle 3000 lbs. each axle
axles with brakes
bed height of 36″ max

For information on dome kits shipping to international areas in containers or flat racks, click on importing.

Q: Is there insurance to cover the load in case of a problem?
A:
Yes. Each shipping company has cargo insurance.

Q: How do I communicate with the driver and his dispatcher?

A: Ai gives you the name and phone number of the driver.

Q: How does the truck driver get directions to my construction site?

A: You fax or email directions to us describing how to get to your site from the nearest major interstates. Ai gives those directions along with your phone numbers to the driver.

Q: How is the shipping cost paid?

A: The trucking companies require that American Ingenuity pay them directly.  One to 3 months prior to your shipment date, Ai will contact the trucking companies for quotes and negotiate the lowest price possible.  21 days prior to the shipment date, mail a bank check to Ai which includes the balance due on your dome kit and the shipping cost.

 Q: How large will this truck be and how big a turn around area will it need?

A: The semi-truck will be about 70′ long and 8 1/2 feet wide. Consider where the semi can turn around. Semis need a large turning radius. The truck will need about 13 ½’ of clearance overhead.  Ai’s Plant uses a 35′ wide loading area (varies depending on type of forklift and terrain).  When one tiny home kit is shipped, the truck length may be shorter.

Plan sufficient room on both sides of the trailer for the forklift to approach it at a 90 degree angle, lift the load, back straight out until the lifted load completely clears the load on the trailer, then back and turn 90 degrees before proceeding toward the stacking area.

Q: What if my road is curvy or too steep and the semi- truck cannot go up the road?

A: You might have to off load the truck and stack the panels in an open area and use the fork lift or bob cat to take the panels up the curvy, steep road. Some of our clients have carried the panels up their narrow roads on a trailer or in the back of a pick up. If you will be obstructing traffic, have someone available with a flag to caution and direct approaching traffic. Coordinating with law enforcement may be needed in high traffic locations.

If you will be off loading onto a common area and not unloading at your construction site, the truck driver may have to stay longer than the normal three hour unloading time. If so the truck driver will need to be compensated $50 an hour for any time over the three hour unloading time. Let our shipping department know if you need additional time and they will work the additional cost out with the trucking company’s dispatcher.

Q: What damage can occur to the building kit during shipment?

A: The panels may have a small amount of damage from loading or transport. The straps that secure the panels to the truck may make indentations in the E.P.S. edges, which can easily be filled with expanding foam. Even it the panel gets cracked it will not have any structural significance. The crack can either be sealed after the dome is completed or in extreme cases, a layer of stucco applied. Any damage to the EPS can be repaired with the expanding foam provided with your kit. In general, a panel would have to fall off the truck for any appreciable damage to occur.

Q: What is the approximate shipping weight of the Building Kit?

A: 27’-13,000 LBS, 30’-15,000 LBS, 34’ 17,000 LBS, 40’-20,000 LBS, 45’- 22,000 LBS, 48’= 24,000 LBS. The building kits are not really heavy loads. Due to the 7″ thick Expanded Bead Polystyrene insulation, the load is a bulky one.


Even though American Ingenuity has arranged shipping and loaded the truck, the truck carrying your building kit does not belong to Ai and the driver does not work for us.

HAVE A FORKLIFT AND CREW READY TO UNLOAD

Forklift Requirement:

1. All-terrain type unless the entire operation will be on a paved surface.

2. 2,000 to 3,000 pound lift capacity.

3. 48″ long forks are required to unload the 48’ and 45’ kit.

The longer and wider forks will minimize indentations of the panels.

4. Experienced person to drive the forklift .

5. Two additional able-bodied people are needed to assist and to lift non-concreted panels and items from truck.

Try to avoid renting huge, high capacity fork lifts because they are heavy, bulky, and hard to maneuver in limited space.

If the forklift is unable to lift an entire stack of panels it will have to first reach and remove the top half which is apx. 8 ft. above ground level.

48” long and 12” wide strips of ¾” plywood connected to the tops of the forks will also minimize indentations on the panels.

An experienced forklift driver will save you potential damage and unloading time. See Time To Unload below.

Assistance is needed to place the foam blocks on the ground under each stack, remove components that have to be lifted by hand, guide the driver whose view is obstructed by the stack of panels, etc.

The truck driver is not required to direct or unload the ruck.

PLAN THE UNLOADING SITE

1. Long before the kit is due to arrive, select the best place to park the semi truck and select a place to store the kit.

2. Make sure there is plenty of room on both sides of the Semi-Truck for the forklift to maneuver.

3. Overhead clearance of 13 ft.

STORAGE SITE

1. Choose a site close to the dome foundation.

2. Need an area approx. the size of 3 semi truck beds (8 ½ x 50’) to accommodate the panels in partial stacks.

The Semi Truck is 8 ½’ wide & 70’ long requiring a large turning radius.Plan for the truck to have room to turn around or back up to the primary road. If not paved, the surface must be fairly level and compacted, so the truck and forklift will not get stuck.Our plant uses a 35’ wide loading area (varies depending on type of forklift and terrain).

If necessary you could have the truck park as close as possible to the construction site and use the forklift to later carry the stacks of panels the rest of the way to the site.

If you will be obstructing traffic have someone available with a flag to caution and direct approaching traffic. Coordinating with law enforcement may be needed in high traffic locations.

TIME TO UNLOAD

· 3 Hours unloading is included in your truck charge.

· Time over 3 hours will result in an additional $50 per hour.

Loading the truck takes longer. Ai must precisely load the panels to fit in a limited area. Additional time is required to arrange the panels in each stack to line up with the tie down straps and withstand the forces when they are tightened.

PANEL ARRANGEMENT ON THE TRUCK

The concreted panels are grouped together on the truck according to type.

The triangular panels must be supported on the corners while they are being shipped therefore they are setting on foam block spacers and not pallets.

Stacks of smaller, lightweight panels may be secured for shipping with either wire or C-rings.

Cut these panels loose from each other using a diagonal wire cutter, before removing them from the truck.

E & F (Entryway)-panels my lay directly on the truck bed without spacers. With a helper, manually slide a set of 2 E panels aside toward the forks of the forklift, pick them up carefully at the edge and place a foam spacer under them. Now you are able to place the forks under the panel, lift and transport them.

Pentagon Panels labeled “P”, Hexagon Panels “H”, Riser Panels “R” and Entryway Panels “E, F, G”.

See Panel Identification in the Assembly manual.

 

All panels are shipped with the pre-finished concrete side up.

LIFTING PANELS OFF THE TRUCK

BEST OPTION:

Fast and efficient, an entire stack of panels is removed at once. Three people can unload the truck within 3 hours. One drives the fork lift, 2 people, acting as eyes, guide the fork lift driver, who’s view is obstructed by the load.

Unload panels alternately from both sides of the trailer, to keep the load on the truck balanced.

Other methods are less desirable as upper panels are 10-12 feet above the ground, weight 290lbs each.

To avoid breaking off the E.P.S. corners, do not lift heavy panels by their corners, rather lift the panels by holding the EPS at least 12” back from the corners

  • Place the first unloaded stack onto two, 2’ long pieces of 4×4. After the first stack has been unloaded you will be able to place the remaining stacks on the foam spacers which are approx. 3 ½”.
  • Look for spacers of 3½” EPS insulation provided at bottom and middle of H & P stack to accommodate the blades of the forklift. Save them to be used later in the construction process for filling in gaps, or for small repairs.
  • Place the foam spacers on the ground and put the panels on top.

BUILDING KIT INVENTORY

Your kit and components have been checked for quality and quantity three times by experienced employees before the truck left the plant.

Only in extremely rare cases has a part actually been missing.

It would be very time consuming to inventory all the items as the truck is being unloaded. Although you could check off many of the large, boxes, buckets, etc.

Obtain the Building Kit Inventory list from the truck driver.

Within a week of receiving your kit, complete a thorough inventory and assure that you have received all the items on the inventory sheet.

Kit items are listed in categories: Pre-finished Panels, EPS, Insulation Panels, Boxes (numbered consecutively), 5 gallon Buckets, and Bulk Items.

Please check and double check quantities if you think there is a discrepancy.

PANEL STORAGE & TOLERANCE

IN FREEZING CONDITIONS

If the wallboard has absorbed water and exposed to freezing temperatures while it is still damp the fiberglass on the interior surface may delaminate. In extreme cases the core of the board may disintegrate.

If these conditions occur the board can be repaired with joint compound or wallboard sealer. Contact us for assistance.

Some of the liquids will be damaged if they are allowed to freeze. Even the liquids that are not damaged may burst their container, therefore we recommend storing them inside.

Internal wallboard on dome panels is weather resistant. It can be stored outside for a limited period of time (apx. 2- 3 months) without significant damage.

In severe weather and for longer storage, we recommend covering the panels with tarps.

Water or freezing conditions does not affect EPS foam. But can affect the wallboard.

EPS Surfaces that are not covered or painted will very slowly erode if exposed to sunlight (ultraviolet light). The edges of the panels that have exposed EPS are painted at Ai Factory.  If your kit is going to be stored more than 3 months, additional paint will need to be applied on site to protect the EPS.

Items shipped in cardboard boxes, precut 2×4’s and items likely to be stolen should be stored inside.

Typical damage may include: 

  • Concrete corners cracked or EPS edges indented due to the straps.
  • Cracks in some of the thinner concrete, scratch coat, are non-structural and can be sealed later.
  • Damage to the EPS during shipping or construction can be easily repaired with expanding foam provided with your kit.
  • Ai has not had a panel fall off a truck although panels have dropped 10 ft. or more during construction and have been successfully repaired and used.
  • Panels will have some insignificant damage from loading, transporting and unloading.
Dome Graph

Regular Pricing with Descriptions
To view Building Kit & Building Plans Sale Pricing, click on Sale
Basic Kit Prices Concrete Geodesic Dome Home Kits

Exterior stone front w wood deck240 ft dome on basement

To Learn How To Receive a 15% Discount*

(a savings of $2,412 to $9,017)

Off the 22′ – 48′ Kits w’ One Entryway Pricing listed below, click on Save 15%

Kit Pricing includes  Exterior 3/4″ Fiber Concrete Reinforced w’ Galvanized Steel Mesh, 

7″- R-28 Insulation & 1/2″ DensArmor Plus Gypsum Drywall

The following pricing does not include a discount.
Please click on Sale to see discount.

To view regular and sale pricing on new 15′ & 18′ Tiny Home Kits, click on Tiny Dome

The 15′ – 48′ American Ingenuity Dome Building Kit consists of all the triangular and 4′ riser component panels for the dome shell and panels for one entryway.(The 15′ & 18′ kits also come with additional 2′ risers).  On the exterior of each 15′- 48′ triangle & riser panel is 3/4″ fiber concrete reinforced with galvanized steel mesh, interior has 7″ – R28 Expanded Polystyrene Insulation with 1/2″ Georgia Pacific DensArmor Plus gypsum drywall adhered to the insulation with wallboard adhesive. On site fiber concrete is hand trowelled into the seam areas averaging two inches thick.  Engineers tell us the seam areas act like steel beams.  To view pictures of panels, click on Building Kit Contents

Due to the small size of the 15′ & 18′ tiny homes to obtain vertical space around the dome perimeter to install a shower & other items, the kits come with standard four foot risers and additional two foot risers. The 15′ and 18′ domes can be purchased with 3 1/2″ R14 EPS NOT 7″ R28 EPS and no interior 1/2″ drywall.

Your floor plan selection determines how many additional entryways, door dormers, window dormers that will be shipped with your Kit. To view floor planners, elevation views and stock plans for each size dome, please click on Dome Home Plans.  To view pics, info and Tiny Home Plans, click on Tiny Domes.

To keep building kit pricing low, it is American Ingenuity’s philosophy that each buyer pay for only what they need. Ai does not burden the price of the building kit with plan’s pricing, engineer seal cost or energy report cost. Building plans are purchased 3 months to 1 1/2 years prior to kit shipment.  About 50% of the building departments require engineer sealed plans and an energy report to issue a permit. And some even request engineer sealed structural calculations.  As a result each buyer pays for their plans separately from the building kit and pays for a seal and energy report only if their building department requires them. This can be confusing, so please call our office at 321-639-8777 Monday thru Friday eastern time and we can clarify.  

To learn about American Ingenuity’s 15′, 18′, 22′, 27′, 30′ & 34′ domes utilized as small one bedroom/one bath domes to two bedroom/two bath homes, view Tiny Homes.   To view a page that includes pictures of Kit Assembly, view Dome Kit Assembly.

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.

To learn about Ai’s Residential Dome Building Plans Sale, click on  Plans Discount and scroll down the page to see the Plans Chart.

Due to spam filters your email requests may not make it to American Ingenuity and our email replies may not make it back to you.  If you email Ai and do not receive a reply in one to two days, please call us.  While you are on the phone, we will send you a test email and have you send your email to us.

An entryway is a structural item (an awning/eyebrow) that extends out from the dome.  Under this entryway your locally purchased doors and windows are installed.  Each of Ai’s stock floor plans vary in the number and location of entryways and dormers (places for single windows or single doors to be installed).   Building Options is the general term that we apply to entryways, dormers, cupola, taller risers and link.  Building Options  for the 27′ – 48′ domes can add $2,000 to $4,000 on to the price of the basic building kit.  Once your plans are finished, Ai can complete an Order Form/Parts List that lists the items that come with the kit at no additional cost and lists additional items that can be purchased from Ai. For example each customer can purchase from Ai: suspension rods/top plate/bottom plate, additional cans of expanding foam, metal foam dispensing gun, cans of cleaner, bonding agent, fibers, admixtures, Simpson hangers, 1/2″ galvanized steel mesh for exterior framed walls, 2×4’s cut/drilled/painted for your temporary wooden rib system,etc.

Please scroll down this page to see the pricing of the individual Building Options. 

Ai’s stock plans show the location of the entryways, dormers, etc.  If a stock plan does not fit your lifestyle, Ai can modify a stock plan or design a custom plan from your sketches.  Some of the stock floor plans can be viewed and printed out by going to this link Stock Floor Plans.  Please scroll down the page to find the blue hyperlinks to click on.  If you want the stock plans mailed, call for printing and mailing costs.

To view the file that lists the Stock Plans pricing and the appropriate Building Kit with Building Options pricing for some of the stock plans, click on Stock Plan and Stock Kit Prices. Please be aware the pricing does not include any current discounts.  To view the Kit Discount, click on Kit Sale.  Please scroll down the sale page to view the Plans Sale Chart.

To view a file that covers the max square footage by floor in each size dome, please click on Specifications.

Entryways are available as standard, high profile and garage.  The 30′ thru 48′ dome standard & high profile entryways consist of 3 1/2″ E.P.S. with steel mesh attached & concrete on the underside.  22′ & 27′ Garage entryways are 3 1//2″ EPS with no steel mesh. Concrete is applied on site. Second floor window dormers are not available in 15′, 18′, 22′ and 30′ domes.  Second floor door dormers are not available in the 15′, 18′, 22′, 27′, or 30′.

Two domes can be connected by a link. Link panels consist of 7″ or 3 1/2″ thick E.P.S. Steel mesh can be purchased from Ai.  On site, links are custom cut & fitted to the assembled dome kits. On site you or your builder attaches the steel mesh and applies the concrete. Wallboard can be adhered to the link EPS panels at Ai’s plant.  Call for Link pricing.

15′ & 18′ are purchased with standard 4′ riser and additional 2′ risers. 22′ & 27′ domes can be purchased with custom five foot tall risers instead of a four foot risers.   The 30′-48′ domes can have a custom 2′ riser installed above the four foot standard riser.  Call Ai to learn more.  321-639-8777.

To learn more click on:

For garage domes, Ai recommends the 22′, 27′, 30′, 34′ and 36′.   To view Ai’s file on garage domes, click on Garage Domes The dome kit’s standard insulation is noncombustible 7″ R-28 rigid expanded polystyrene (EPS).

Why do I need entryways and dormers to install windows and doors? At specific locations around the perimeter of the dome, triangles and riser panels can be left out to provide openings where you or your framer installs your locally purchased doors and windows using locally purchased materials. To compensate for the triangle and riser panels being left out, these “structural awnings” – entryways, dormers, cupola and link have to be installed.    * For additional light, max out the second floor window dormers & door dormers. Install a tall window instead of a door within a door dormer. Or a solar tube can be installed onsite within a panel. (Do not cut within 8” of a seam).
3domes

*Because the 27′ dome is a two frequency dome, its panels are about the size of 40′ panels; as a result its cupola panels are the pricing of the 40′ cupola. 

Payment for Building Kits:

American Ingenuity kits are not stocked and are manufactured on a custom order basis and are considered a Specialized Order, made exclusively for the customer requesting it.  These Specialized Orders require a 30% or 40% deposit (depends on dome size), signed Order Form, Conditions of Sale and Specialized Material Agreement. Once Ai receives these items, materials will be purchased and manufacturing started to meet your shipment date. If you cancel your order after signing the Specialized Agreement the 30% or 40% deposit is nonrefundable and your rights to the kit(s) are forfeited.  The balance, in the form of a cashier’s check is due 21 days prior to shipment. Florida residents, add sales tax plus your counties’ surtax.  No Credit Card Charges. If the building kit is shipped out of Florida, no Florida sales tax or surtax is charged.

The Building Kit Order Form lists the following:

  • Building Kit regular and sale pricing
  • Building Kit Option pricing (entryways, window dormers, door dormers, and cupola, etc.)  To learn more click on Building Options.
  • Misc Parts that can be purchased from Ai. For example, Buyer can purchase: suspension rods/top plate/bottom plate, additional cans of expanding foam, metal foam dispensing gun, cans of cleaner, bonding agent, fibers, admixtures, Simpson hangers, 1/4″ or 1/2″ galvanized steel mesh for exterior framed walls, 2×4’s cut/drilled/painted for your temporary wooden rib system,etc.
  • To learn more click on Items not included in the Kit.
  • Deposit on Steel Hubs of $800 for five months rental with a rent of $20 a month thereafter.  Once hubs are shipped back, Ai refunds your deposit less any rental costs or costs for missing hubs.  To assemble the kits use a temporary wooden rib system to support the panels during assembly. Hubs/bolts/nuts/washers are assembled to your wooden ribs into a geodesic skeleton.  To learn more click on Rib. Once all the seams between the panels are concreted, the entryways and dormers are concreted, etc. the rib system comes down. There is no wood in or on the shell to rot or for termites to eat or to burn. 
  • To make assembly of the temporary wooden rib system easier, purchase the 2×4 ribs precut, holes drilled and ends painted from Ai.  Due to the fluctuation on 2×4 wood pricing, call us at 321-639-8777 for current pricing.
  • Purchase bolts, nuts/washers from Ai.
  • Purchase of Panel Lifting Spikes $100.  To learn more click on FAQ Assembly.
  • If the Building Kit will be built in Florida, a Florida sales tax and that particular counties surtax will be listed.
  • Deposit amounts placed and deposit amounts due. 
  • Discount off the kit with one entryway pricing.
  • Expiration dates on discount and pricing.
  • Shipping cost.

All payments are made in USdollars.

Delivery and Availability:

Once Ai receives your 30% or 40% deposit based on your Building Kit with option’s pricing and signed Building Kit Order Form, Conditions of Sale and Specialized Material Agreement, American Ingenuity schedules your kit for manufacturing.  Manufacturing time varies depending on the time of the year.  Can be four weeks to eight weeks or eight to sixteen weeks for manufacturing time. Please call our office at 321-639-8777 for current manufacturing lead time.

Shipping:

One 53 foot long step deck semi-truck can carry five 15′, two 18′ or one 30′, one 36′, one 40′, one 45′, one 48′ kit (with 7″ EPS), one 27′ and one 22′, or two 22′ kits. A 60′ kit requires two semi-trucks. Thicker 9″ insulation will cause the a 45′ and a 48′ kit to require two trucks each for delivery.   American Ingenuity can coordinate the USA shipping.  International clients coordinate their own shipping using a freight forwarder. To learn about importing American Ingenuity’s dome kit, please click on Importing.

The 15′ & 18′ kits can be ordered with 3 1/2″ eps instead of the standard 7″ EPS insulation and no 1/2″ drywall. With less thick insulation up to ten 15′ kits can fit on one truck and four 18′ kits can fit on one truck.

The number of kits one truck can carry can change if the building kit contains four or five entryways, a link and thicker insulation. For example a 48′ kit with 9″ EPS cannot fit on one semi-truck.  Entryways and a link take up more space than triangular and riser panels.  Once we know your floor plan selection, Ai can be specific about how many truck(s) your order will take.  Due to the large size triangles of a 48′ dome, the H panels will not fit on the semi-truck.  American Ingenuity cuts the EPS/wallboard tips off the H panels so that the remaining H panel will fit on the truck.  On site during assembly, the tips are reattached with expanding foam supplied with the kit at no cost.

Each International client hires a freight forwarder to coordinate their container’s shipping and pays their shipping and custom fees directly to the freight forwarder.  American Ingenuity works with your selected freight forwarder to coordinate your shipment.

Ai’s manufacturing costs in Florida are well below the national average, which offsets any long distance shipping expenses. Ai can actually manufacture a kit here in Florida and ship it to Washington state cheaper than we could manufacture it there. Having our manufacturing plant located in Florida is advantageous for shipping since more is shipped in than out of the state, leaving many trucks headed out empty.

Ai utilizes independent trucking agencies. American Ingenuity contracts to have these trucks carry your building kit outside Florida for approximately $2.50 to $2.90 per mile per truck from Ai’s plant in Rockledge, Florida. Shipping within Florida is a minimum of $800. If your Florida building site is south of our factory, the truckers charge more because they have to drive south before they can drive north to leave Florida.  These trucking costs are less than Ai could do with our own trucks because if we used our own trucks, they would have to deliver the kit and return to our factory empty.  Shipping costs are paid to American Ingenuity 21 days prior to the scheduled shipment date with a bank check.

Per mile shipping costs can vary due to fuel costs and travel distances. Click on Shipping to learn more.

American Ingenuity’s Philosophy:

One of the main reasons American Ingenuity is very reputable is that we really try to treat all our customers the same. Our business philosophy and product is unique to the housing industry. Ai believes that each client should pay for only what they need.

  • Each person who wants to research our building kit further can do so by purchasing the Planning Kit with DVD or purchase the DVD separately.
  • None of Ai’s staff is on commission.
  • About 50% of Ai’s clients do not need engineer sealed building plans or an Energy Report in order to obtain a building permit. As a result the engineer seal and the energy report are separate costs.

As a result of the above philosophy, the American Ingenuity dome shell kit costs about one third to one half less than the shell materials cost for a conventional house or wooden dome or sprayed concrete dome and you receive more…..greater energy efficiency and greater strength.

 Dome Building Kit:

Ai’s Dome Kit consists of all the triangular and riser component panels for the dome shell and panels for one entryway. Each component panel has 7″ thick rigid, nontoxic R-28 expanded polystyrene insulation (which is comparable to 11″ of fiberglass batting); a steel reinforced concrete exterior surface and interior shell wall board. All triangular and riser panels now include Georgia Pacific 1/2″ DensArmor High Performance gypsum drywall adhered to the interior surface of the insulation with drywall adhesive.  To learn more about what is included in the Building Kit, click on Kit Contents.  The 15′ and 18′ domes can be purchased without drywall and 3 1/2″ EPS or 7″ EPS with drywall.

Due to the thick R28 insulation, the 7″ EPS American Ingenuity Dome will save you 50% to 60% on your heating and cooling expenses versus a conventional house. To learn more about the advantages of the Ai Dome view the files listed under the menu item, Advantages, located at the top of our Home Page.  These Advantages are Energy Efficiency, Strength and Low Exterior Maintenance.

American Ingenuity’s dome building kits do not include doors and windows or any interior items except for the shell insulation and shell drywall. Ai does not believe you should pay the shipping cost for an additional truck to receive doors, windows, interior items, kitchen cabinets, bathroom fixtures, etc. because these items can be sourced and competitively priced locally. The floor plan you select will determine how many entryways or dormers your dome home will have. Within the entryways and dormers {eye brows – structural awnings}, you or your framing subcontractor installs a vertical wall to frame in your locally purchased exterior doors and windows.  To learn more about what is not included in the Building Kit click on Items Not Included.

If your Dome Building Kit is shipped outside of Florida, Florida sales tax or the Florida surtax does not apply.   
 
**The Kit and Option Pricing does not include the costs for the Building Plans, Engineer Fee to design basement/columns/stem wall, etc, Engineer Seal on the building plans (if needed), Energy Report (needed in Florida & California & other states), 2×4’s for the temporary wooden rib system (can be purchased locally and cut/drilled/painted by the buyer or purchased from Ai), Hub Deposit, Lifting Spike Purchase ($100), additional items on the Parts List, Shipping or Fork Lift rental to unload the truck at your site.
***********************************************
Residential Dome Plans
are 25% off the pricing listed below

To view Plan’s Sale Pricing, click on Plans Discount

Dome Diameter

22′ or 27′

30′

34′

36′

40′

45′

48′

Stock Plans

$1,134

$1,198

$1,261

$1,294

$1,333

$1,427

$1,514

Garage Plans From $971 $1,016 $1,062 $1,077 $1,204 $1,276 $1,343

Modified Plans From

$1,365

$1,410

$1,501

$1,544

$1,578

$1,652

$1,771

Custom Plans From

$1,510

$1,585

$1,801

$1,919

$2,033

$2,252

$2,371

Basement Plans From

$971

$1,016

$1,062

$1,077

$1,204

$1,276

$1,343

 

American Ingenuity’s Residential Dome Building Plans are new and improved. Plans include interior wall dimensions and wood joist/edge beam dimensions. To view stock floor plans for each diameter dome, please click on Dome Home Plans and scroll down the page for the pdf hyperlinks.

American Ingenuity’s Building Plans contain all of the typical drawings and details – usually 13- 17 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

Some building departments require the building plans to be engineer sealed by a licensed engineer for your state and an Energy Report to issue a building permit.  If needed the seal and energy report can be purchased from Ai.  The standard foundation under the dome is a concrete slab. For Ai to design a basement or concrete columns or stem wall or pilings, etc. an engineer fee is added to the Plans Quote to cover the cost for a structural engineer to calculate the load of the dome and the load of the two floors within the dome and give joist/edge beam size/spacing and foundation design to our CAD department to incorporate within your plans.  Please call Ai office at 321-639-8777 for engineer fee.

RESIDENTIAL DOME BUILDING PLAN SETS contain all blueprints typically provided with any type of housing and include floor plans, exterior elevations, dome shell section view, top view showing panel placement, floor joist framing plans, structural details, and locations of plumbing and electrical fixtures. The Plans do not include the plumbing, electrical or HVAC diagrams because Ai has found that the subs like to draw their own diagrams. 

Stock, Modified or Custom Plans & Delivery Time: Some of  Ai’s stock plans are on this web site. To receive others via email at no cost, call us at 321-639-8777. If you want the stock plans mailed, call for printing and mailing costs.  In the Planning Kit is a 60 page Stock Floor Plan Booklet that contains some of the stock plans printed out for the 22′ thru 48′ domes. Ai does not keep stock plans printed out. So from the point Ai receives your Building Plan order to the point we mail your stock building plans (with concrete foundation) can be two to four weeks.  Allow at least five weeks for modified plans and ten – twelve weeks for custom plans. If you do not see a plan that fits your lifestyle we can modify our stock plans or Ai can design custom plans for a the same discount as stock plans. To learn more about this service, click on Stock, Modified, Custom.

How the plan design process works:

If you do not see a stock plan that fits your needs, what Ai has found works best is for you to sketch out your ideas on a stock plan, on blank floor planners that can be emailed to you or on the blue floor planner pages located in the back of the stock floor plan booklet.  Then email the sketches to us or fax them to us at 321-639-8778. After you fax, please call our office at 321-639-8777 and confirm Ai received your fax….correct number of pages, pages legible, etc. Ai does not make in-office appointments to discuss floor plans. Please include your name, address, telephone number and best time(s) to contact you. The plans supervisor will review your sketch, call you with questions and email you a price quote. Once Ai receives a signed Plans Quote and payment in full for the Building Plans, Engineer Seal/Energy Report  if required by your building department, Ai schedules your building plans for production.

Ai will fax or email you three rough drafts that you review and make changes on and email or fax back to us. After you approve the final draft, CAD designs your structural blue prints and completes your plans.

Engineer seal:

About half the states in America and all new construction in Florida and California require engineer sealed building plans and an Energy Report to obtain a building permit. The seal and the energy report can be purchased through American Ingenuity. In Florida a 36′ or smaller dome seal is $400; 40′, 45, and 48′ seal is $500. The Florida Energy Report for one dome is $190. 

If your building department requires an engineer seal and you want to build on a basement then this means your basement plans will need to be engineer sealed as well as your dome plans.  Please call us for plans and seal pricing. Ai utilizes an engineer who has seals for 47 states. His fee to seal one dome on a concrete slab is $600; two domes is $900.  If you build the dome on a basement, his fee to seal the basement plans is $200.

American Ingenuity’s dome exceeds any state’s building codes. But the building departments do not know this so they require a licensed engineer certified for your state to review our Building Plans and affix his seal and signature to the structural sheets. His seal and signature means that Ai’s Building Plans comply with your state’s building codes. To learn more click on Engineer Seal.

Dome Building Plans Payment:

Building plans may be purchased with Master Card, Visa, Discover, Check, or Money Order.   Plans pricing does not include shipping cost.   All payments are to be made in USdollars. Ai does not accept American Express cards. 

Commercial Building Plans: American Ingenuity does not have stock commercial plans.  Plans pricing quoted above and elsewhere on American Ingenuity’s web site are for residential homes.  Domes can be utilized for commercial purposes; however the plans are much more complicated to design due to commercial code. Commercial plans will cost two to three times the price of residential dome plans. Once Ai sees your floor plan layout, calls your building department to find out what design criteria they require and calls the engineer that will seal your building plans, Ai can complete a Plans Quote.

Commercial Dome Buildings: Ai’s dome building kits are ideal for a church. However obtaining a building permit on a commercial structure, especially a church where people gather is not easy. The building departments tend to be more stringent on commercial buildings. For example, they will require you to hire a licensed builder and licensed subcontractors to finish a commercial structure.  The building department will require an interior sprinkler system.  Typically commercial structures cost double the price per square foot to build than a home.

12′ UTILITY DOME or GEOPOD Info

No metal to rust, no wood to rot or be eaten by termites.  R-8 EPS insulation, 12′ diameter, 9’4″ high in the center with 110 sq.ft.  The geometry is a one half sphere of a two frequency icosahedron on a 40″ riser wall.  The web site file with photos & other info is GeoPod.

  • Utility Dome Kit with one entryway $750, with two entryways $790.
  • Uses: Great for Camping out on your property or for a permanent Hunting Shelter.    Endless storage possibilities–  take care of lawn equipment,  pool & sports gear, and  all those cumbersome items that collect & clog up your garage. Could also be used to store tools during construction of your dome home.  Make  gardening or fix-it jobs easier with a potting shed or work shop.  Build a backyard dome playhouse with your children.   Paint your outdoor camping or get-a-way dome, camouflage colors and blend right in with nature and the environment.
  • Domes may be linked by using an optional 2nd entryway.  There are no extra link panels, just the entryway panels.
  • 2″ thick EPS panels (R-8) are precut to proper computer generated angles, but are not concreted since it is more cost effective for you to concrete the entire dome at one time.
  • Kit includes:  2″ EPS insulation panels consisting of 37 precut triangular, 9 precut 40″ riser panels & precut entryway, fibers, slab plans and assembly instructions.
  • Assembly: Assemble  EPS panels by rows, propping up the panels, attaching panels to your prepared foundation & to each other panel with pins & foam adhesive.  Install your own vents to suit. Install your 6’x6’door, windows under the entryway.  Conceal any electrical wiring for outlets or lighting in the panels.  Coat the entire exterior with a thin 1/4″ layer of fiber reinforced concrete, then prime and paint the dome with two coats of good quality exterior concrete paint.
  • Finish the interior with joint compound, plaster or stucco.
  • Shipped via NIShippers on a pallet anywhere in USA for around $270 to $600.

This page gives info about foundation excavation, types of foundations American Ingenuity design team can design and foundation resource.
For information on foundations used for the American Ingenuity Domes click on Foundation Summary, Concrete SlabPilings, Basements  and  Raised Wood Floor.  American Ingenuity Domes can be built utilizing the same foundation choices as conventional housing.
The foundation types that Ai designs are a) a monolithic concrete slab; b) poured footing with a stem wall and then a poured slab on fill;  c) poured footing with a stem wall and then a raised wood floor; d) basement and; e) pilings and a platform. The type of foundation that is built for your new home will depend on which is more advantageous for your area and what you soil’s report requires.
For American Ingenuity to design any foundation other than our standard monolithic concrete slab, we must hire a local engineer.  The engineer wants to view your soil report.  In the soil report a soil’s engineer will analyze your soil tests and recommend the type foundation that should be built.  The engineer uses this data to provide Ai information & details to be included in your foundation design.
About soil compaction:  Generally the soil under the foundation is compacted to 98% density for a minimum of 2000 pounds per square foot of bearing pressure.  Clean, compacted fill with no subsurface vegetation or voids.  If your soil cannot compact to 2,000 psf, then the footer will be designer larger and the slab might be 6′ thick instead of 4″ thick if acceptable by your building department.
Misc. Foundation Info

The following information came from the book, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Building Your Own Home, second edition by Dan Ramsey. Any sentences that are in italics were added by American Ingenuity.

Excavating for the Foundation:

Houses require foundations. Why? Foundations support and stabilize the walls and roof. That’s a pretty important job! Excavation is the removal of soil to make room for the building’s foundation. So before excavating, let’s learn about foundations.

The foundation itself needs a foundation. Most houses are so heavy that the foundation must be widened at the base to keep it from sinking into the ground. (An American Ingenuity Dome shell weights less than a conventional house shell due to the thin concrete on its panels.) The wide part of a foundation is called the footing. Its size depends on the kind of soil under it. Most footings are designed to carry 1,000 pounds per square foot. A two-story house will have a wider foundation footing than a single-story house. Typically, the footing is twice as wide as the wall. That is, the footing for an 8-inch foundation walls is usually 16 inches wide. However, don’t go by this; go by your house’s foundation plan.

The foundation wall can be just 1 foot tall or it can be, with support, 10 feet tall or more. Or it can be shorter on one side and taller on another. It just needs to be level on top where the floor will be installed, which I’ll tell you about in the next chapter.

How tall and wide is the foundation for your home? Refer to the foundation plans approved by your building department. It will include the foundation’s layout, dimensions, size, elevation and height.

A slab foundation is a solid floor set directly on the soil. Most modern garage floors are concrete slabs with a continuous wall foundation around the perimeter.

A pier foundation is a series of concrete piers and footings that support the structure. If made of pressure-treated wood, it’s called a pole or post foundation.

It’s important to know the type and size of the foundation now because it tells you what soil needs to be removed or excavated for the foundation. It’s best not to remove any more compacted soil than necessary when excavating for a foundation. The more the earth has been disturbed, the more difficult it is to ensure that the foundation won’t move in the future.

Valuable resources as you excavate for and install your home’s foundation include the following:

  • Local building department
  • Building material suppliers
  • Excavation contractors
  • Transit-mix concrete suppliers
  • Foundation contractors
  • Backhoe and loader operators
  • Construction engineers
  • Concrete block manufacturers and suppliers
  • Construction tool rental yards
  • Alternative foundation sources (treated lumber, stone)
  • The many websites, books, videos, and magazines listed in Appendix B

If you want to know even more about foundations, check bookstores or www.MulliganBooks.com for a copy of my book Builder’s Guide to Foundations and Floor Framing (see Appendix B). It includes lots of illustrations, tables, and in-depth information on all types of residential and light commercial foundations.

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.)

BASEMENTS

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.

PILINGS AND PLATFORM

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.

CONCRETE SLAB

Slabs poured for Dome   Dome House on Slab Same Dome  


CONCRETE PILINGS AND CONCRETE PLATFORM

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.

 

DOMES BUILT ON BASEMENTS

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

The following info gives a construction overview of the American Ingenuity Panelized Dome Kit

finishing seams

Workers sponge finishing final second layer in the seams between the panels.
Sponging produces a “sponge sand finish” which blends the seam fiber concrete to the prefabricated panel fiber concrete.
45′ dome home on the left linked to 34′ garage dome.

To view assembly pictures of 45′ dome home & 34′ dome garage, view Dome Kit Assembly.

Q: Do you 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.

The American Ingenuity geodesic dome shell kit is designed with unique and practical materials. Ai developed simplified, effective construction techniques, invented a component panel and created a home which offers the ultimate in energy efficiency, strength and practicality. Ai has been in business, with the same owners, since 1976 and has domes in 47 states and thirteen foreign areas.

Whatever size floor plan you seek, whether for a modest starter home or a grand estate, American Ingenuity domes are flexible enough to adapt to your conditions.  The dome kit can be a Do It Yourself project with panels assembled by owner builders or the home owner can hire a contractor who hires the independent kit assembly consultant. To view info about DIY, click on owner builder.

To view stock plans for each diameter dome, click on Stock Plans Pdf.  If you do not see a stock plan to fit your lifestyle, Ai can design modified or customized plans per your sketches and descriptions.

American Ingenuity’s new DVD is $7 includes mailing costs.  To order please call our office at 321-639-8777 – Mon – Fri 9-5 eastern time.  To view at no cost, click on Free DVD.

Building plans include the basic drawings for the dome that are needed when you acquire a building permit. The plans 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, show the placement of the electrical outlets, light fixtures, plumbing fixtures; however, they do not have the electrical, plumbing, HVAC layouts. We have found if the layouts are included, then the inspectors require the subcontractors to follow the diagrams when usually the subs like to do their own layouts.

Where can I see one of your finished domes? Ai has facilities in Florida where it manufactures the kits. Ai has sold domes into 47 USA states and thirteen foreign areas. We would like to have model homes throughout the country but it is not economically possible. If we had models throughout the country, Ai would need to triple the price of its building kit.  There are over 800 American Ingenuity Domes throughout the country.  We are thankful a few dome owners allow us to give out their name and number after we have answered the callers basic questions.   To learn more view Visit our Dome Offices.

Exterior community pic dome on stilts in woods

Dome Built on Basement w’ perimeter deck

Only a few of our dome owners allow us to give out their name and telephone number.  Ai promises the dome owner that we will not take advantage of their courtesy and we will only give out their name to those who are serious and knowledgeable of the information on our web site. That way the dome owner is not answering basic questions that we can answer or is answered on our web site. After Ai answers your basic questions, we will review our dome referral listing for the dome owner closest to you who allows us to give out their name & phone number.  Ai has also promised to not give out the dome owner’s address to assure that they will not have surprise visitors.

Dome Finished Costs:

The finished costs on the domes depends so much on where you live, what the labor costs are in your area and what price points you select for your windows, doors, cabinetry, flooring, bathroom fixtures, kitchen appliances, lighting fixtures, etc. You can ask at your local hardware store or ask a local contractor what the finished price per square foot is running for a conventional house. That is approximately what it will cost to finish the domes (if you do no labor yourselves), because everything in the interior is standard whether it is a conventional house or a dome house….plumbing, electrical, lighting fixtures, bathroom fixtures, flooring, kitchen cabinets, windows and doors, etc. are the same. Basically you end up with a super-energy efficient, super-strong home for about the same price as a conventional house. To learn more view Ai Dome versus Stick Built.

About 40% of our clients assembly their kit while others hire a Builder who hires the independent kit assembly Consultant.  The Component Panels and Building Plans  come marked with panel nomenclature. If you do not want to manage the assemble of the dome kit, Ai knows of independent working consultants which travel around the country assembling the dome shell using your concrete workers or your contractor’s concrete workers. To view a list of possible Builders, click on builders.

Using three to five good concrete workers and depending upon the size dome and type of hoisting mechanism used, shell assembly of  22′ – 48′ domes to the stage of having one layer of concrete in the seams and on the building options (Kit with one entryways and two dormers) can take from 14 to 26 days. To learn more about hiring the Specialist view Kit Assembly Specialist/Consultant.

You or your contractor hires local conventional subcontractors to perform the conventional jobs like forming and pouring the slab, plumbing, electrical, framing, etc. Ai believes you should not pay some one to come in from out of state to do work that your local subs can perform.

Prior to the Kit Assembly Consultant supervising the dome kit assembly, our clients had to hire a contractor who generally had never assembled an American Ingenuity Dome before.  As a result the contractor would need to over-charge because he did not know how long it would take or what problems would arise.  The Kit Assembly Consultant works directly for you as an independent subcontractor and can provide you with references for previous Ai domes built.  Using this consultant will assure that the temporary wooden rib system and your building kit is assembled correctly and in a timely fashion.  You or your builder hires concrete workers who mix the concrete to the special recipe and trowel the concrete into the panel seams and onto the entryways and dormers.  The Consultant/Specialist does not apply concrete, he is there to supervise the job site workers.

Hiring the consultant for one week can save you two to three weeks or more of shell assembly time.

The consultant works for around $295 a day plus travel costs, motel, and car rental costs while at the job site. These costs include travel from his home base to the job site and a return to his home base at the completion of the job.

If you are interested in utilizing the Consultant, please call our office at 321-639-8777.

Contact your local Home Builder’s Association for the names of contractors and subcontractors in your area. American Ingenuity maintains a list of dome owners, contractors or subcontractors who have assembled Ai dome shell kits. To view this list view Builders & Assemblers.

A helpful web site is rsmeans.com They provide construction manuals, construction estimating CD’s, etc.

The following is a quick overview of Ai’s panelized kit contents and our building process to give you an idea of what is is required in building an American Ingenuity dome prior to the purchase of your personal dome. When you purchase a dome shell kit from us, the full “Assembly Manual” is included and is much more extensive and precise.

The American Ingenuity dome building kit includes one entryway and all the panels to assemble the dome shell. The triangular and riser panels are preconcreted, insulated and have wall board. The dome shell kit package includes: Triangular Panels, four foot tall Riser Wall Panels, Entryway Panels, Galvanized Steel Mesh, Concrete Fibers, Two Concrete Admixtures, Reinforcing Tension Wire, Concrete Bonding Agent, Connecting C-Rings, C-Ring Pliers, Cans of Expanding Foam, Metal Dispensing Gun for the expanding foam and the Assembly Manual. To learn more about the Kit Contents view Contents. To learn what is not included in the Kit view Not Included.

The interior wall board on the riser and triangle panels consists of Georgia Pacific 1/2″ DensArmor Plus Gypsum Wallboard adhered to the E.P.S. with wallboard adhesive. It employs fiberglass mat facing instead of paper on both sides of the board. The core is silicon treated gypsum providing excellent moisture resistance, fire resistance and adhesion properties.  It won’t harbor spores that create sick homes. To learn more about this board view Panel Composition.and scroll down the page to the wallboard section or go to Georgia Pacific’s web site DensArmor and click on the its product specs.

For freedom and flexibility of design, you can select additional building kit options which are determined by your choice of floor plan. The options include: additional Entryway Panels (garage, high profile, or standard), Window Dormer Panels (first floor and or second floor), Door Dormer Panels (first floor and or second floor), Cupola Panels, Link Panels and R-36 Insulation. Within the entryways and dormers, on site a 2×4 or 2×6 PT wall is built and your locally purchased doors and windows are installed. To learn more about the Building Options view Options.

No interior items are included in the kit except for the interior shell wall board. Ai believes you should not pay shipping on items you can purchase locally such as; plumbing, electrical, framing, flooring, kitchen cabinets, bathroom fixtures, stairs, fireplaces, windows, doors, etc.

The basic building process consists of 1) placing the preconcreted insulated panels, entryway, door dormer and window dormer panels onto a temporary wooden rib system; 2) overlapping and locking the steel mesh with “C” rings and 3) concreting the seams and options. There is no need to concrete over the entire dome exterior. Only the panel seams and the building kit options are concreted on site. Prior to installing entryway, door dormer and window dormer panels, review your plans for any stud that needs to extend thru the EPS and for any anchoring hardware that needs to be installed; i.e. J bolts (top plate in door dormer & entryway framed wall), power studs (into sill plates), bolts,nuts, washers (into base entryway panels).  The entryway, door dormer and window dormer panels are installed in the row of panels that they are in and receive a first layer of concrete when you apply the first layer of concrete in the seams.  Prior to applying the scratch coat of concrete, the anchoring hardware or stud that extends thru the eps of the entryway or door dormer has to be installed. The next row of panels cannot be installed until the concrete on the entryways, dormers and seams has passed the scratch test.

The temporary wooden rib system and its bracing cannot be removed until 1) all panels (entryways, dormers, risers, triangles, link, cupola) are installed with two layers of concrete; 2) all framing is installed within the entryways and dormers and concrete has cured for two weeks.

Prior to priming and painting the concrete, tap on all seams to see if any sound hollow or the concrete shifts or vibrates.  If this occurs then this concrete needs to be removed and new fiber concrete installed in that seam.  Also  allow the concrete to be rained on for one month to remove efflorescence. Examples of Paint which Aidome owners have had success with are:  

  • Behr’s top of the line exterior latex paint is Marque. Seabrook Texas dome owner loves this paint. He uses semi-gloss. Marque has the most titanium.  – Home Depot
  • Ames Research Labs: Maximum – Stretch, at participating ACE & True Value Stores 
  • Sherwin Williams: Loxon XP Paint, Loxon Primer and Conditioner
  • Richards Paint: Rich Flex 245; use Rich Flex Alkali Resistant 100% Acrylic Masonry Primer
  • Behr’s Premium Elastomeric Masonry, Stucco & Brick Paint –Home Depot
  • Seal Krete Paint (pigmented) –Home Depot

Once your kit is assembled, install framing and electrical.  Then the wall board on the interior of the dome shell is ready to be finished similar to the method drywall board seams are finished. To accommodate some electrical wiring, grooves are cut through the wallboard and the EPS to allow for the insertion of electrical wiring.  Grooves can be cut where baseboard will be installed to hide the grooves.   To blend the taped electrical areas to the DensArmor finish, skip trowel joint compound over the DensArmor drywall. Call Ai at 321-639-8777 for further info.

A Brief Description of Ai’s Building Options and other items

Standard and High Profile Entryway panels for the 30-48 domes, utilize 3 1/2″ E.P.S. wrapped in steel mesh, are preconcreted on the underside surface and have a precast trough on the outer edge. You place rebar into the trough, fill the trough with concrete and concrete the outside surface and apply a second layer of concrete to the underside. The openings under the entryways are framed in on the site to fit your choice of locally purchased standard windows and doors.

G Type Entryways for the 15′, 18′, 22′ and 27′ domes, utilize 3 1/2″ EPS, but are not wrapped in steel mesh or concreted. You can purchase the steel mesh from Ai and at no cost to you Ai will install the mesh on the garage entryway panels.

Window and door dormer panels consist of 3 1/2″ E.P.S. wrapped with steel mesh ready for on site stucco. The openings under the dormers are framed in on site to fit your choice of standard windows and doors that you purchased locally.

To learn which domes come with which building options; i.e. second floor single opening window dormers or door dormers, standard entryways versus high profile entryways versus garage entryways, please view Building Options or call us or email us.

Link: Link panels consist of E.P.S. insulation and are not concreted or wrapped with steel mesh. Link panels are custom fit to the dome panels on site.  Link prices vary depending upon the width and length of the link and whether you order the link panels with wallboard.

Domes are connected together with a Link made of the same materials as the dome panels; E.P.S. insulation. The Link connects to the adjacent domes in the same locations as an entryway or sometimes a door dormer. The thickness of the EPS in a Link is usually 7″ when it takes the place of an Entryway and 3 1/2″ when it connects like a door dormer. The width of the links depends on the size of domes and whether they are connected like an entryway or door dormer. The length of the Link varies from 2 ft. to 10 ft. Because the riser wall is a standard 4’ high, all domes will match each other despite a difference in diameters.  Steel mesh can be purchased from Ai and on site the mesh is attached and then the link panels are concreted.

Cupola: Is the “cap like” item that can be installed on the top of the dome.  Ai does not recommend a cupola due to the cost of installation and need to purchase five windows.  The windows allow for hot or cold air to come in the dome, thus increasing your heating and AC costs.

Its purpose is to give additional headroom for a third floor loft in the 40′ or larger domes. The topside exterior of the five panels of the cupola and the underside exterior of the overhang (eave) are prefinished steel reinforced concrete, while the topside & edges of the eave are stuccoed onsite.

The top five insulated panels of the dome make up the cupola top with our overhang panels added on site. We recommend that you build the cupola only if you want a third floor loft. The cupola is a way to add height to the top center of the dome and another way to have opening windows. With the installation of a cupola, there is enough headroom in the 40′ and larger domes to have a third floor loft.

Hot air and moisture will rise to the top of the dome. If you build your dome without a cupola, we recommend installing a vent at the peak of your dome in within an interior second floor wall for ventilation. The electric fan vent has the added advantage of being easily controlled with a switch or timer. You can purchase vents used in sailboats that are quiet. The vent fan is installed in an interior wall near the top of the dome to exhaust the moisture and or hot air. The ducting for the vent fan runs through the interior walls and if need be in the floor joist to exit under a first floor entryway. That way there is no hole in the top of the dome to protect from leaking. Or you can install a Heat Recovery Ventilator  in colder climates.

Does a copula change the structural integrity of the geodesic dome? In hurricane areas you would want to have shutters over the cupola windows. The cupola does not weaken the rest of the dome, but the cupola is more vulnerable to wind loads because it sticks up at the top. In high winds the overhang panels could come off; although in 30 years the eaves or overhang panels have never come off any of the Ai domes. Because the overhang panels are nonstructural if they did come off, they would simply be replaced after the storm.

Interior Framing: The interior framing of the dome is built much like conventional housing and can be either wood or metal. Some of the second floor can be hung from the dome concreted seams by suspension rods allowing for very “open” first floor plan designs. The American Ingenuity dome is capable of supporting a large amount of weight, including the 2nd floor, from the concrete dome shell. This weight is suspended by threaded steel rods which anchor into the concrete seams and extend vertically down into the dome. 3,000 lbs. can be supported by a 5/8″ threaded rod suspended in one of the concrete seams. To learn more view Interior Finishing and Framing.

Suspension Rods: The location of the suspension rods is determined by your floor plan selection. The Building Plans will show the suspension rod’s positioning. The suspension rod with nut sets on a 3″x 7″ steel plate, which is embedded in the concrete seam. The seam is reinforced with #4 rebar & two layers of galvanized steel mesh. The second floor can support at least 40 pounds per square foot, the same as other houses. We can easily design for a more demanding second floor load such as for waterbeds, whirlpool tubs, spas, libraries, etc.

Electrical and Plumbing: Almost all of the electrical and plumbing will be contained in the interior frame walls and installed in the same manner as conventional housing. To install electrical wiring in the exterior dome walls: simply cut a groove in the E.P.S insulation and wall board, insert the wire, use spray foam in a can to fill the groove and finish the wall like you would do conventional sheet rock with joint compound and tape. To install electrical boxes, conduit or plumbing pipes: cut the E.P.S. insulation and wall board slightly larger than needed, insert the box or pipe and fill in the opening with spray expanding foam. The spray foam will harden in about half an hour, holding the box or pipe secure. To learn more view Electrical and Plumbing.

AC/Heating Ducts: We leave the AC ducting diagram to your subcontractor, but generally the ducts run through interior walls, in the second floor joists and or behind the second floor knee wall. The vents are either in the interior walls or in the floor of the second floor. To learn more view AC/Heating and Fireplaces.

Click on picture below for a full size view

Foundation with Road Mesh and 6 mil Vapor Barrier
Pouring the Foundation

 

Foundations: Your dome can be built on your choice of foundation including: concrete slab, raised wood floor, stem wall or pier foundation, full or partial basement, stilts or pilings. To learn view Foundations.

Because of the reduced surface area of a dome and its thin shell construction, our domes weigh less than the average house, but are remarkably stronger. American Ingenuity domes are considerably lighter than a concrete block house. A finished 27′ dome shell weights about 25,000 lbs.; a finished 48′ in diameter dome weights about 42,000 lbs.  Besides the weight of the dome, the load of your first floor and second floor will be calculated with load bearing walls designed into your foundation to support this load.

Prior to ordering building plans, determine your soil type and what type footing & foundation you need. Will it be normal footings under a concrete slab or will there need to be augured footings down to cap rock or wood pilings driven 40’ into the ground prior to the footing installation, etc.?  To determine what type footing you need, you may need to hire a Soil’s Engineer and have a soil bore test.  The soil under the footing and slab has to be compacted to 98% density for a minimum of 2,000 psf of bearing pressure. You cannot build on clay and you cannot back fill your basement walls with clay.  Basically if you can build a regular house on your soil, you can certainly build a dome.

If three to five feet of fill needs to be brought in to reach the correct finished floor height, your foundation may need to be a stem wall with concrete slab or wood floor.  If your property is in a flood zone, the building plans have to show the finished floor height. Contact your government department that handles Fema or flood zone info to find out if your property is in a flood zone.  If you are in a flood zone, you will need to submit to Ai a letter stating the government official name that gave you the height and their phone number.  Ai does not determine this height.  If your home is not built at the correct finish floor height and you are in a flood zone, you will not be able to obtain insurance.  And without insurance you cannot obtain a mortgage.

What is unusual about the foundation is the shape and rebars are designed to come out of the foundation and are concreted into the dome riser wall seams, into the front and back of entryway and first floor door dormer base panels and certain places under first floor window dormers.  There are rebar hooks installed in the perimeter footing to come up under the horizontal riser wall seams. Check your entryway, door dormer and window dormer, link, cupola plans for anchoring hardware, etc.  Always use a vapor barrier with your slab of 6 mil. plastic sheeting and 6″ x 6″ steel mesh or fibers.

Truck Departing with Kit
Rib System Being Assembled

Shipping: The above photo shows a building kit loaded onto a semi truck ready for shipment to the client. The domes behind the truck are two of our factory domes, a 48′ and a 45′ with the 60′ dome not pictured. For more info view Shipping.

Support Systems: Ai recommends the installation of a temporary wooden rib system to support the panels during the kit assembly. The rib system is illustrated by the photo on the right. The rib system consists of your own 2×4’s (cut and drilled to our specs), bolts/nuts/washers purchased from Ai and steel hubs on loan from American Ingenuity to erect a free standing geodesic framework. A deposit is placed on the hubs and is refunded to you when you mail or UPS the hubs back to Ai. The bolts/nuts/washers are not returned to Ai.  Ai can purchase the 2×4’s, cut, drill and paint them and ship them on the truck with your dome kit.  Pricing varies depending upon the 2×4 cost.  Please call our office, 321-639-8777 Monday through Friday 9-5 eastern time for pricing.

During Assembly additional supports are used to brace the steel hubs, to brace panels, to brace both sides of the riser panels and to brace the entryway and door dormer panels.  The “Rib System” dictates the exact panel placement. For more info view Rib.

Once all the seams and building options have been concreted with two layers of concrete, openings framed in with concrete curing two weeks, the “Rib System” is removed and recycled into the interior framing or second floor knee wall framing and the hubs returned to us.

5.10 Construction Sabin two rows assembled

Panel Assembly: The panel assembly process begins positioning of the four foot high riser panels on the floor and then assembling the rib system. Apply expanding foam under the riser panels to seal them to your foundation. Plumb the risers and fill any gaps between them with E.P.S. insulation wedges or expanding foam.

Then overlap the steel mesh from adjoining riser panels, lock the mesh with C-rings every 2″, apply the first layer of special formulated concrete following the concrete guidelines for watering down all the premade concrete around where you are working.  Do not get concrete on the panel’s flat bonding ledges or the sloping bonding ledges…only partially cover the steel mesh.  Your first layer of concrete is thrown through the steel mesh and fills the seam area behind the mesh. Two different tension cables are inserted on the locked mesh in two locations.

Once you apply one layer of concrete into the seams and onto the entryways, dormers, cupola, link, etc., you or your workers come down the dome from the top and apply a second layer into each of the seams using a bonding agent between the coats of concrete and on the flat bonding ledges and the sloping bonding ledges. (bonding agent comes with your Ai dome kit). The new concrete must be kept moist to allow for the concrete hydration. The Assembly Manual that is shipped with each kit gives specific guidelines for concrete application and mixing.

Panel Concrete: The panel concrete is a special formulation containing synthetic fibers and liquid admixtures. Ai ships these same fibers and admixtures with your building kit. These ingredients improve the concrete’s characteristics, create super toughness, extend durability, make concrete impervious to water, give higher tensile and compressive strength, provide elasticity for expansion, improve freeze protection.

The concrete in your dome out performs other exteriors because of its specially developed formula. Because of its exceptional composition, it actually gains strength over the years. Locally, you purchase bags of Portland Cement (type 1 or 111) and sand (masonry or stucco sand) and add in the fibers and admixtures per the recipe in the Assembly Manual. The concrete is mixed with a mortar mixer NOT a cement mixer.  Do not use a cement mixer because it does not have paddles.  Paddles are required to get a thorough mixing of the cement, sand, fibers and admixtures.

2.51 seam area lifting panel Kaufman picture assembly 209

Hoisting Mechanisms: The typical method for lifting the panels is by a man lift or crane or transverse forklift. Monthly rentals on man lifts, transverse lifts also called Boom Lifts, Horizontal Boom Fork Lifts, Roofing Lifts, Shooters are available from National Rental Chains.

If you want to speed up the kit assembly, considering renting a scissor lift for inside personnel movement (instead of using ladders and scaffolding) and a Straight boom lift – man lift or cherry picker- for outside personnel work (instead of ladders, planks and scaffolding).   

Rolling Scaffold
Rolling Scaffold

 

These photos illustrate the use of planks on the exterior for filling and finishing seams and concreting the options. You install the panels and trowel concrete into the seams. The first layer of concrete fills the seams up to the steel mesh. After all the seams are half filled with concrete, then a second layer of cement is troweled into the seams after bonding agent is applied.  Seam concreting is done one row of panels at a time.

Most of fourth row of panels installed.

Most of fourth row of panels installed.

Seam Finish: The concreted seams are usually finished in one of two styles:

Start at the top of the dome and work down. This will allow you to practice on easier seams and ones that are less visible and any spills will not be on finished work. The concrete seams are usually finished in 1 of 2 styles:

1. Flat: The quickest, highlights the geometry, the least cost and least labor intensive. The concrete fills the seam up to the edges of the prefinished concrete of each panel and is troweled to a flat surface between those panel edges. When complete there will be two concrete edges along each seam where the panel concrete meets the concrete that fills the seam. The edges of the concrete panels can be used to screed the flat surface making this the quickest method of finish, the lowest cost with the least labor.

2. Rounded: requires the most skill to be consistent but like the flat seam it can be completed with two coats. The concrete is mounded in the seams and shaped to create a rounded transition between adjacent panels. This method should be used when a rounded appearance is desired.

 

Interior Scaffold
Beginning Framing

Additional supports under the steel hubs are required to hold the weight until all the seams and options are concreted and framing is installed in the entryways and dormers. Then the extra supports and temporary wooden rib system are removed. The dome shell is self supporting. Interior walls and second floor joists are conventionally built.   

Interior Showing a Suspension Rod

The left photo illustrates a conventional interior wall covered with drywall.  The photo on the right illustrates how the opening under the entryway was 2×4 framed and insulated with E.P.S.(waiting for plywood sheathing & either 1/4’x1/4″ or  1/2″ x 1/2″ steel mesh & stucco to be applied).  Above the standard entryway is a door dormer.

Past Ai clients have found it difficult and expensive to purchase steel mesh locally; as a result the steel mesh used to frame in the entryways and dormers can be purchased from Ai and added to your Parts List.  A Parts List is a page within American Ingenuity’s official Dome Building Kit Order Form…that lists the items that come with the Ai kit at no cost and lists items you can purchase from us….for example the suspension rods and top and bottom plates that help support the second floor, extra cans of expanding foam (20 ozs), steel mesh, Simpson joist hangers, additional Admixture A and B, additional C -rings, C- ring pliers, additional bonding agent, 1″ EPS in 4’x8′ sheets, 2×4’s cut, drilled and painted for the temporary wooden rib system, etc.

Ai’s building kits come with the interior wall board (Georgia Pacific 1/2″ DensArmor Plus gypsum wallboard that is moisture resistant and mold resistant) already adhered to the triangles and riser panels with drywall adhesive. On site apply joint compound and tape to finish the seams between the wall board. On site the wall board is primed with two coats of primer.

In summary, there is now no need to plaster or apply dry wall board to the shell interior because the triangular and riser panels come with 1/2″ DensArmor Plus drywall.

 
Concrete Finish Being Textured
Complete and Ready for Cleaning Prior to Painting

 

An owner/builder is finishing her concreted seams with a sponge. The seam sponge finish matches the panel texture.
A finished dome prior to painting. This is a 34′ dome home connected to a 22′ dome one car garage.

 

Unpainted Concrete Dome
Paint Being Applied

 

A 40′ dome before painting.
Apply concrete primer and two coats of paint.  Ai dome owners prefer Ames Research Laboratories primer & paint. 

 

The Finished Product!
Some finished Concrete Domes

 

The above dome is a 34′ in diameter built on a full basement. Behind the deck railing is a standard entryway that was framed in on site to accept a door and window. This dome was painted a blue grey; however, you can paint your dome any color tan or moss green, etc.
Another finished American Ingenuity dome. The dome on the left has a standard entryway framed in to accept six small windows. The wall under the second floor dormer contains two small windows. And the cupola on top was framed in to accept five opening windows.

 

Dome with two standard entryways on basement

Dome with two standard entryways on basement

45' dome on full basement

45′ dome on full basement

27' exterior side view with 40' dome

27′ dome garage linked to 40′ dome home.

  pic_schoon4linkdoorgar0288-250

40′ dome home linked to 34 garage dome.

 

45' dome living room.

45′ dome living room

Painting the American Ingenuity Dome:

The component panels do not come with any paint on them.  Ai. does not add any color to the concrete.  On site you concrete the seams so if we painted the panels or added color to the concrete it would not match your painted seam concrete.  The concrete shell is painted with two coats of good quality exterior concrete paint after the entire kit is assembled.

  • Stain is not used because stain will not seal the concrete.
  • The painting of the dome includes a concrete primer and two coats of good quality exterior concrete paint.
  • The dome can be painted any color, tan, green, blue, etc. preferably a light to medium color to reflect the sunlight.

Around 1948 Latex paints became the first water-based alternative to oil-based paints.  Many improvements have been made but perhaps the most significant is the introduction of Acrylic Resins.  Paint of 100% Acrylic is more resistant to ultraviolet rays, retains its color longer, is less prone to chalking, retains its elasticity, is more alkaline resistant and can be cleaned up with water.

It is not difficult to paint the dome….there are no soffits or gutters to have to deal with.  You know when to repaint the dome when you rub your hand on the paint and it chalks.  Best to roll the paint on to get a good mill thickness.

Typically the American Ingenuity dome is repainted every 4-5 -6 years, it depends on your personal preference.

  • Clean the dome prior to painting killing algae with bleach/water mixture or oxygen bleach and water and then pressure washing.
  • The sides of the dome can be painted using an extension ladder and paint roller on a pole.
  • Yes you can walk on any of the domes.  If you do not have a cupola, install an eye bolt in the top of the dome to tie a rope through to attach to harness.
  • To paint the top of the dome stand on the dome with the rope tied to your harness.
  • To access the top of the dome either climb out a cupola window or put an extension ladder to the top of a second floor dormer and then walk onto the top of the dome.

Ai dome owners recommend the following primer and paints:    (In the Dome Kit Assembly Manual is a section on waterproofing the dome.)

  • Ames Research Labs: Maximum – Stretch, at participating ACE & True Value Stores (if using Ames see separate Ames doc because specific type sealants and primer need to be used….NOT TT3)
  • Sherwin Williams: Loxon XP Paint, Loxon Primer and Conditioner
  • Richards Paint: Rich Flex 245; use Rich Flex Alkali Resistant 100% Acrylic Masonry Primer
  • Behr’s Premium Elastomeric Masonry, Stucco & Brick Paint –Home Depot
  • Seal Krete Paint (pigmented) –Home Depot

Exhaust fans and energy recovery ventilator or heat recovery ventilator are installed in the dome to exhaust water vapor from showering, laundry, cooking, etc.

Specialty paints like epoxy are unable to stretch and the epoxy paint can “in some areas” crack and allow water to pass through.  Also any paint that would have a high gloss would highlight flaws in the seam finish.  A paint that would withstand UV light or last longer would be advantageous but keep in mind that it is much easier to paint a dome than a conventional house.