building permit | AiDomes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Plans & Building Permit

Building Permit

Planning Process

Engineer Sealed Plans

State Energy Reports

Homeowner Associations


Buying Land

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

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

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

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

Hummingbird in dome front yard.

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


18.17 second floor door & window P2260008

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

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

General Planning Timeline

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. Building Plan Items:

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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


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


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

Planning Overview:

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

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

Items to be aware of:

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

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

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

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


Plans & Building Permit FAQ on the American Ingenuity concrete dome home.

40' dome dining room with kitchen.

40′ dome dining room with kitchen. Any of American Ingenuity’s stock floor plan layouts can be revised to show your personal room arrangement desires.


Q: What is your Residential Dome Building Plan regular pricing?

A: All stock and custom residential dome plans are discounted 25% off the following regular plans pricing.  To view a chart listing the 25% discounted pricing for each stock plan and the kit sale pricing specific to each plan, click on Stock Plans & Kit Sale Pricing.   Ai designs plans as a service so that each client receives the exact floor plan arrangement to fit their lifestyle.  Your order includes two sets of plans.  Plans for one dome are plotted on 18″x24″ “C” size paper. Plans for two dome complex or dome on a basement with a deck are plotted on 24″x36″ “D” size paper.  Ai emails your finished building plans pdfs to you so that additional sets of blueprints can be plotted locally.

Regular Pricing for Residential Dome Building Plans

Dome Diameter15' or 18' 22′ or 27′30′34′36'40'45'48'
Stock Plans$994$1,134$1,198$1,261$1,294$1,333$1,427$1,514
Custom Link PlansBased on link design. Call for pricing.
Garage Plans FromN/A$971 $1,016$1,062$1,077$1,204$1,276$1,333
Modified Plans From$1,165$1,365$1,410$1,501$1,544$1,578$1,652$1,771
Custom Plans From$1,310$1,510$1,585$1,801$1,919$2,033$2,252$2,371
Basement Plans FromN/AN/A$1,016$1,062$1,077$1,204$1,276$1,343

American Ingenuity’s Building Plans are new & improved and contain 13-22 blueprints depending on type of entryways, foundation, etc.  Building Plan sets contain all the blueprints typically provided with any type of housing and include floor plans, concrete slab foundation with radius & angles, foundation details, two exterior elevation blueprints (dome shell section view, top view showing panel placement), floor joist framing plans, structural details, locations of plumbing and electrical fixtures, interior wall dimensions and second floor wood joist & edge beam dimensions.  See below for  listing of possible sheets within the set of Building Plans.

Electrical Diagram, Plumbing Diagram and HVAC Diagram are not included—Ai has found the electrical, plumbing and HVAC subcontractors prefer to design their own diagrams.   Please call our offices for commercial dome plans pricing – 321-639-8777.

Ai’s philosophy is that each Buyerr pays 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 three 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. As a result, each customer pays for their plans separately from the building kit and pays for a seal and energy report only if their building department requires them.

Due to the complexity of the Florida Energy Gauge Report, Ai no longer completes the report, but provides the dome info the company needs to complete the report for $100.   all other states, except for California and Washington, can require a Rescheck enegy report. Ai an complete the REScheck Energy Report.  Call for pricing.

If your building department requires the following, please hire your local HVAC subcontractor to complete your Manual S (Equipment Sizing Certification); Manual D (Duct Design & Layout Drawing); or Manual J (Residential Heat Load Calculation) for the Florida Energy Report and the  REScheck Energy Report.

Q: What is the standard foundation included with the stock plans?

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 an independent local 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 for engineer pricing.

All of American Ingenuity’s stock plans are now on our web site.  To view the plans by dome diameter, click on Tiny Homes and  Larger Dome Stock Plans

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.

If you want stock plans mailed, call Ai at 321-639-8777 for printing cost and mailing cost.

Building plans may be purchased with Master Card, Visa, Discover, check or money order.  Shipping cost and plotting cost are not included in the Plans Pricing. Stock plans are shipped in 2 weeks. Allow at least 5 weeks for modified stock plans and 8 weeks for modified and custom plans.

If you do not have the time or do not want to assemble the dome shell kit, click on Kit Assembly Consultant to learn about this service. He will supervise your laborers or your contractor’s laborers to assemble the dome shell with the first layer of concrete in the seams and on the entryways and dormers.  To view photo gallery showing dome kit assembly, click on Kit Assembly.

Q: How do I know what my Building Department will require to issue a building permit on the American Ingenuity concrete dome building kit? Will your Building Plans comply with my areas building codes?

A: Ai has sold dome kits into 47 USA states and fourteen foreign areas. Our blueprints have been accepted by building departments, which use many different Building Codes including the 2009 & 2012 & 2015 International Residential Building Code, 2014 Florida Building Code 5th Edition, California Building Code and Universal Building Code.

At no cost to you, if you give Ai your construction site address or parcel ID number & your building department name, we will call and speak to your plan’s examiner. Ai will email him or her a drop box invitation which includes a description of the dome kit, history of Ai, sample of Ai’s building plans and sample of an engineering statement. Ai will call the official, explain the dome prefabricated panel, review specific pages on our web site & discuss the drop box info. Ai will ask if engineer sealed building plans and an energy report are required to issue a permit.

If required in your area, your dome building plans can be sealed/certified by a PE engineer licensed for your state. The cost for an engineer seal for one dome built on a concrete slab is $600, $900 for two domes each built on a concrete slab, basement plans seal add $300 per dome for all states other than Florida.

The cost for an Energy Report for states other than FL, WA & CA is $190 for one dome on a slab. Energy Reports for FL Washington and California are completed by your local FL, Wa or CA companies. Other paperwork such as a site map, exterior door & window spec sheets, etc. will probably be required prior to the issuance of the permit. Sometimes your building department will have a web site that lists the other paperwork that is required.

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

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

Q: Explain how to work with my building department.

A: Keep in mind that building departments are concerned with strength and safety. Domes excel in these areas. Building departments and building codes are not concerned with appearance although a plan examiner may be unfamiliar with the aspects of dome construction.

If you are building in Florida, your building department will require engineer sealed Building Plans and a Florida Energy Report.   These items can be purchased through Ai.  To obtain a building permit in Florida, give us your exact window and exterior door sizes, frame type, double pane, U factor, SHGC number, etc.  When you submit the paperwork to obtain your permit, you will be required to give the actual model number and manufacturer, along with a Florida Product Approval spec sheet for each exterior door and window.

When working with building departments, Ai recommends the following:

  • Start by asking your building department a few questions such as: “What are the requirements for a residential building permit? Are there any additional requirements to build a geodesic dome? Is an Engineer’s seal required on the plans?
  • Building departments are unpredictable. No nationwide standard exists for what is required to receive a building permit and as such what is required in the building plans. Each individual building department adopts and implements their individual policies. Since each department will ask for different items, expect that your first visit may only garner a list of what is required as to the building plans and further documentation (e.g. deed, site map, survey, septic tank location, permits.)
  • Prior to purchasing property, call Ai and ask for our Buying Land document that lists items to check before land purchase. If you own your property or have narrowed your property searches down to two parcels, please provide Ai the property address or tax ID number and the name and telephone number of the building plans department and Ai will call the department and show them our web site. We will confirm that they will accept American Ingenuity’s prefabricated panel as is, and what additional information and requirements are needed for a permit (i.e. engineer seal, energy report). Each state, county and city building departments have specific requirements and requests.

Q: Can I purchase my Dome Building Plans for a lower cost than you publish?

A: To view the discounted plans pricing, click on Discount. Our business philosophy is to treat our clients equally. As a result we do not offer lower prices to one person and not another. Our building plans are very reasonable in price. As far as the building plans, if you went to a Florida engineer or architectural firm and asked them to design you building plans for a 2,000 sq.ft. house; they could charge $1.50 to $2.00 per sq.ft. So that would be $3,000 to $4,000 for a 2,000 sq.ft. house.  Currently the regular price for 40′ dome (2,000 sq.ft. house) is $1,333. Click on Sale to view current sale pricing on plans. Please scroll down the page to find the plans sale pricing.

Ai designs plans as a service to our clients so that each obtain the correct floor plan to fit your lifestyle.

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

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

  1. Does the deed for your land have any restrictions on domes?
  2. If there is a Home Owner’s Association governing your land, you will need to check with them and make sure you can build a dome as home owner associations restrict the size and shape of homes.
  3. What is required from your building department to obtain a building permit?
  4. Will you be building within one to two years?
  5. If your building site is in California, does your building department require the Building Kit be certified?  At no cost to you Ai will call your California building department to see what is required to obtain a building permit on the American Ingenuity dome.  Ai will show him or her our web site and email drop box invitation containing a set of generic dome building plans, example of engineering statement and structural calculations. Ai dome home kits can now be built in the California Counties of San Diego, San Bernardino, Trinity, Solona, Shasta and Riverside if all the building department requirements are followed. Ai domes have been built in the following California areas: Banning, Forest Ranch, Crestline, Borrego Springs, Lake Elsinore, Summerset, Herlong and Hanford. If you own property in another California location, Please call us at 321-639-8777 with the tax ID number, building department name and phone number and Ai will call the plans examiner.
  6. If you are building in Florida, be aware that the counties of Dade, Broward, Orange, Indian River and St Johns County may require product approval. It is not economical for Ai to go through this process; therefore the Ai dome may not be able to be built in these counties if they will not accept Florida engineer sealed structural calculations, building plans and engineering statement.  In Florida 2014 Building Code there is a section that allows for “Alternative materials and methods for residential home construction.”  As a result of this section 99% of the Florida Counties will issue a permit accepting Fl engineer sealed plans, Fl engineer sealed Equivalency Report, passing Fl Energy Report (and other required paperwork) and do not require product approval.   It makes no sense why some Florida counties require product approval and others don’t. For example one of Ai’s domes in Miami Dade County went thru Hurricane Andrew & a tornado at the same time with no structural damage, but yet Miami Dade Building Department requires product approval.  Marathon in the Florida Keys, south of Miami Dade,did not require product approval and issued a building permit on an Ai dome in 2014 under the required wind speed of 180 mph. This wind speed is greater than the required 175 mph wind speed for Miami Dade.  As of Jan 2014, Palm Beach County will allow the Ai dome to be built under “Site Specific Review” with the home owner paying for an inspector. Please call Ai for details……321-639-8777.
  7. At no cost to you, Ai will call your building department, speak to a plans examiner to see what is required to obtain a building permit on the American Ingenuity dome.  Ai will show him or her our web site and email drop box invitation containing a set of generic dome building plans, example of engineering statement and structural calculations.
  8. Do you have your financing secured?
  9. Are there minimum house square footage requirements or a garage requirement on your property?

If the answers to the above questions are positive then purchase building plans for your dome.

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

A: Yes. Zoning can ask for roof conformity where all the roofs look the same in that area.   Besides zoning ordinances controlling the use of the land, they determine setbacks from property lines, minimum size new home requirements and height limits and similar things. Deed restrictions and homeowner associations can limit the type structure that can be built.

Q: Where can I build a dome?

A: Almost any place. Although, there are a few exceptions, some developments or communities control the size, cost and appearance of the homes. Before you buy the land, ask if there are any Deed restrictions or Homeowner Associations or zoning, to learn more about this click on Planning Process. If there is a Homeowners Association, meet with the board and show them information about the dome. If they say you can build the dome, we recommend that you get a notarized statement from them stating this. Over time, members of the Board can change and the bylaws of the Association can change.

Besides assuring that your property has no deed restrictions or homeowners association regulating it, contact your building department and find out what they require to issue you a residential building permit. Building departments are basically concerned about safety and structure, not appearance.

To obtain a new house building permit in California and Florida, the building plans have to be sealed by a licensed engineer certified for that state.

In California, some building departments require building kits be certified that they comply with California’s building kit requirements. Due to the high cost of this certification, it is not economical for American Ingenuity to purchase the certification.  However some California building departments will issue a building permit when CA engineer sealed plans, California engineer sealed snow, seismic, wind & bracing calculations, CA Title 24 energy report, and other required paperwork is submitted.  Please Call Ai at 321-639-8777 and give us your building department name and phone number and we will inquire about their requirements.

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

A: Ai’s dome design has proved itself by withstanding hurricane Andrew’s 200 mph winds, sub zero temperatures and heavy snow loads of Canada and the Northwest Territory, a large tree impact and many other conditions since 1976.

Although our Building Plans have been reviewed by over 30 different engineers the plans do not come with an engineer’s seal for the following reasons. Less than half of our dome owners needed engineer sealed Building Plans to obtain a building permit and rather than adding the cost to all plans it is more economical to have the plans sealed as needed. As the designer and manufacturer, we would not hesitate to guarantee the structural integrity of our dome and we do just that with our guarantee. Each state only accepts a seal from an engineer who is registered in that state which prevents us from applying any seal that would be universally accepted. When an engineer seals a set of plans he is taking responsibility for the structural design for a single dome in the location intended and the seal would not apply to other projects.

Q: When should we purchase our dome building plans?

A: Plans are purchased 3 months to two years prior to dome construction.

Q: When can I move into my dome?

A: If a building permit is needed to build, generally the building departments will not let you move in until they issue a Certificate of Occupancy – meaning the home is finished per the blueprints.  If there is no building permit is required,  a person could stay in the dome once the shell is weather tight.