certification | AiDomes

Exterior solar Pineapple garage

Solar Hot Water Panel Mounted On Top of Standard Entryway on 34′ Dome.

 

Harlock solar

Solar Hot Water Panel Mounted On Top of Link

40′ American Ingenuity Dome Home On Right

Tell me about the Solar Hot Water Systems Manual talked about in the magazine Alternative Energy Retailer.

Solar energy veteran Tom Lane of ECS Solar Energy Systems recently published “Solar Hot Water Systems – Lessons Learned: 1977 to Today.” The 200 page manual outlines how the latest technology and valuable lessons learned from the past can help a new generation of solar contractors expand their businesses and satisfy their Customers.

Solar hot water topics covered in the book include: detailed system CAD drawings, an overview of different manufacturers’ components, drain back systems, closed-loop glycol systems, single- and double-pumped systems, open-loop systems, passive ICS and thermosyphon, system testing and monitoring, solar space heating, collector and storage sizing, roofing and flashing, and solar pool heating.

To learn more about “Solar Hot Water Systems – Lessons Learned: 1977 to Today” or to purchase a copy, visit www.ecs-solar.com or call 352-377-8866.

To view info about solar panels in general, check out Evergreen Solar Web site.  They are a non profit group with a mission to educate homeowners and businesses about the economic and environmental benefits of PV solar. Their primary objective is to influence a greater number of solar panel installations on homes, schools, and businesses across the US and the rest of the world at an accelerating pace.

To view the Alternative Energy Retailer magazine’s web site click on Retailer.

Q: How are Solar Hot Water Panels installed in the dome shell?

A: Solar Hot Water panels can be designed to set on top of the entryways or a link. Anchors are buried into the entryway concrete on site. Grooves are cut in the E.P.S. insulation to lay the pipes in and the water pipes are inserted through the entryway E.P.S. before the entryway is concreted. Some of our clients have solar hot water panels mounted on their dome link. The panel sits on the link and lies against the side of the dome. To hide the ends of the solar panel, fill in the ends with E.P.S. and stucco over the E.P.S. so it matches the dome.

The Florida Solar Energy Center seeks to provide the general public and professionals with accurate and current information about alternative energy use and production.

Contact the U.S. Dept of Energy for a Consumers Guide to Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. 

Solar Direct: click on solardirect.com/swh/swh.htm?ref=adwords to see more solar info.
Sharp triangle solar panels:   www.sharpusa.com/solar (Click on Products, Modules)

The following was taken directly from their web site:

  • Sharp is the #1 manufacturer of solar cells worldwide with nearly as much generating capacity as the next three largest manufacturers combined. Our residential solar systems give families the ability to generate their own electricity from the inexhaustible energy of the sun – with no harmful emissions. They’re cost-effective, quiet, attractive, safe, and reliable, with only minimal maintenance required over their long operational life. They’re the right choice for your home and the right choice for the environment. It’s no wonder why so many homeowners are making the move to Sharp Solar.
  • Your Sharp solar system is customized specifically for your needs. We manufacture a complete line of solar modules in a range of power output levels, as well as unique triangular modules that lend a beautiful, custom look to angled rooflines. Your independent Sharp Certified Installer will help you determine the ideal system based on your power needs, and design a rooftop configuration that provides clear, unobstructed access to the sun while ensuring a clean, stylish appearance.

To Research Tankless Hot Water On Demand Water Heaters visit Rinnai, Bosch, Takagi web sites

Klaus Kolb installed a Rinnai Continuum tankless (Troughflow) water heater in his American Ingenuity 40′ Dome Home. The specifications are Whole House Unit, Model REU 2424W-US; Min 19000 BTU, Max 180000 BTU; LP Gas.

Rinnai

http://www.rinnai.us/

The following info came directly from their web site:

  • With Rinnai Continuum and Integrity’s patented technology, you will have an endless supply of hot water 24 hours a day. Unique to the Rinnai tankless water heaters is the ability to utilize up to three water outlets simultaneously with a constant temperature of hot water. The Rinnai Continuum and Integrity supplies hot water at the rate of up to 8.5 gallons per minute continuously with no time constraints!

______________________

Bosch

The following info came directly from their web site:

  • Have you ever thought about going tankless? Save energy and space with the help of one of the nation’s leading producers of tankless gas water heaters. Our highly efficient Bosch AquaStar tankless water heaters are redefining how homeowners throughout the U.S. heat their water!

How could going tankless benefit you?

  • Constant comfort: Never run out of hot water
  • Low operating costs: Most energy efficient water heaters on the market
  • Advanced technology: Designed and built to last 20 years
  • Easy handling: Small, lightweight and hangs on wall

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Takagi: The following came from their web site.

  • Since there is no tank to fill, there is no end to your supply of hot water. Depending on the model, Takagi Tankless water heaters deliver between 200 gallons and 500 gallons of hot water every hour on demand. Tankless systems guarantee that an endless supply of water is available to residences, commercial spaces or anywhere a constant source of hot water is needed.
  • At just twenty inches high, and weighing only forty pounds, the T-K Jr. is the most compact unit in the Takagi line. Designed to produce endless hot water and radiant heating for smaller homes, The T-K Jr. uses the same innovative technology as the original Takagi units – only on an even smaller scale.

Solar Pool Filtration and Collector Pumps

Lorentz  – solar water pumps

The following information came directly from their web site:

  • We manufacture solar water pumps. Today´s featured product are our solar pool filtration and collector pumps. No more power bills for your customer. Power cuts? No Problem the pool is clean 5 years return of investment from saved power bills. Solar modules are warranted for 20 years and more.

 ______________________

U.S. Department of Energy – Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy -A Consumer’s Guide to Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

The following info came from their web site.

Solar water heaters—also called solar domestic hot water systems—can be a cost-effective to generate hot water for your home. They can be used in any climate, and the fuel they use—sunshine—is free.

How They Work

Solar water heating systems include storage tanks and solar collectors. There are two types of solar water heating systems: active, which have circulating pumps and controls, and passive, which don’t.

Most solar water heaters require a well-insulated storage tank. Solar storage tanks have an additional outlet and inlet connected to and from the collector. In two-tank systems, the solar water heater preheats water before it enters the conventional water heater. In one-tank systems, the back-up heater is combined with the solar storage in one tank.

Three types of solar collectors are used for residential applications:

  • Flat-plate collector – Glazed flat-plate collectors are insulated, weatherproofed boxes that contain a dark absorber plate under one or more glass or plastic (polymer) covers. Unglazed flat-plate collectors—typically used for solar pool heating—have a dark absorber plate, made of metal or polymer, without a cover or enclosure.
  • Integral collector-storage systems –  Also known as ICS or batch systems, they feature one or more black tanks or tubes in an insulated, glazed box. Cold water first passes through the solar collector, which preheats the water. The water then continues on to the conventional backup water heater, providing a reliable source of hot water. They should be installed only in mild-freeze climates because the outdoor pipes could freeze in severe, cold weather.
  • Evacuated-tube solar collectors – They feature parallel rows of transparent glass tubes. Each tube contains a glass outer tube and metal absorber tube attached to a fin. The fin’s coating absorbs solar energy but inhibits radiative heat loss. These collectors are used more frequently for U.S. commercial applications.

There are two types of active solar water heating systems:

  • Direct circulation systems:  Pumps circulate household water through the collectors and into the home. They work well in climates where it rarely freezes.
  • Indirect circulation systems:  Pumps circulate a non-freezing, heat transfer fluid through the collectors and a heat exchanger. This heats the water that then flows into the home. They are popular in climates prone to freezing temperatures.

Passive solar water heating systems are typically less expensive than active systems, but they’re usually not as efficient. However, passive systems can be more reliable and may last longer. There are two basic types of passive systems:

  • Integral collector-storage passive systems:  These work best in areas where temperatures rarely fall below freezing. They also work well in households with significant daytime and evening hot-water needs.
  • Thermosyphon systems: Water flows through the system when warm water rises as cooler water sinks. The collector must be installed below the storage tank so that warm water will rise into the tank. These systems are reliable, but contractors must pay careful attention to the roof design because of the heavy storage tank. They are usually more expensive than integral collector-storage passive systems.

Solar water heating systems almost always require a backup system for cloudy days and times of increased demand.Conventional storage water heaters usually provide backup and may already be part of the solar system package. A backup system may also be part of the solar collector, such as rooftop tanks with thermosyphon systems. Since an integral-collector storage system already stores hot water in addition to collecting solar heat, it may be packaged with a demand (tankless or instantaneous) water heater for backup.

Installing and Maintaining the System

The proper installation of solar water heaters depends on many factors. These factors include solar resource, climate, local building code requirements, and safety issues; therefore, it’s best to have a qualified, solar thermal systems contractor install your system.

After installation, properly maintaining your system will keep it running smoothly. Passive systems don’t require much maintenance. For active systems, discuss the maintenance requirements with your system provider, and consult the system’s owner’s manual. Plumbing and other conventional water heating components require the same maintenance as conventional systems. Glazing may need to be cleaned in dry climates where rainwater doesn’t provide a natural rinse.

Regular maintenance on simple systems can be as infrequent as every 3–5 years, preferably by a solar contractor. Systems with electrical components usually require a replacement part after or two after 10 years.

When screening potential contractors for installation and/or maintenance, ask the following questions:

  • Does your company have experience installing and maintaining solar water heating systems?
    Choose a company that has experience installing the type of system you want and servicing the applications you select.
  • How many years of experience does your company have with solar heating installation and maintenance?
    The more experience the better. Request a list of past customers who can provide references.
  • Is your company licensed or certified?
    Having a valid plumber’s and/or solar contractor’s license is required in some states. Contact your city and county for more information. Confirm licensing with your state’s contractor licensing board. The licensing board can also tell you about any complaints against state-licensed contractors.

Q:  Explain how to work with my building department.

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

When working with building departments, Ai recommends the following:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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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.