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forecast of atlantic seasonal hurricane activity

To view past hurricane information and to view hurricane forecasts go to the Department of Atmospheric Science’s web site at http://hurricane.atmos.colostate.edu/Forecasts/

To view the hurricane information for each year, select the year you want to see.

 This page provides info about American Ingenuity domes built on pilings and platform.

 

8.18 Exterior pilings2 Mowery platform-edited2

40′ dome built in 1990 on concrete platform on concrete block columns.

This concrete dome survived Hurricane Andrew’ 160 mph winds with no damage.

 

40' dome built on pylons extending 12' above ground. This dome survived Hurricane Katrina.

40′ dome built in 1992 on wood pylons extending 12′ above ground.

This dome survived Hurricane Katrina with no damage.

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Photo of Elevated Aidome in Marathon Florida – Fl Keys that went through 

Hurricane Irma’s 74 mph winds with no damage

The standard foundation that comes with American Ingenuity’s building plans is a concrete slab. For Ai to design any other foundation other than concrete slab, a local Florida licensed engineer is hired.  He requires a soil’s report where the soil engineer recommends what type foundation is to be built for your specific type soil. The local PE engineer uses the soil report data to give Ai details for your foundation design.  He calculates the load of the dome and its interior floors to determine joist size and spacing and wall design.  Ai then incorporates the engineer’s designs into your building plans.  Call our office at 321-639-8777 for engineer pricing.

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

Have you checked with your local building department to see what they require your house be built on? If you live near the ocean or body of water, the building department may require concrete or wood pilings which could be driven 10′ to 15′ or more down into the ground versus concrete columns on a footer.

When there is a potential for waves of water washing dirt out from under your house, the local building department usually  requires pilings. If your property is within a few hundred feet of the ocean or gulf then it is the federal government that decides what foundation type your house will have. If you have neighbors that are currently building, ask them what foundations they are utilizing.

Whether you use concrete pilings or concrete columns, Ai can design a wood platform under the dome, wood deck, wood stairs with deck and stairs made out of plastic wood or pressure treated wood. Or Ai can design a concrete platform with concrete stairs. Your building department will require the piling and platform plans and the dome plans to be engineer sealed by an engineer licensed for your state. These seals can be purchased through Ai.

Once you know which types of stilts and platform are acceptable by your building department and soil’s engineer, the next step is to ask the Building Department and or your friends, neighbors, relatives that have built on stilts and a platform for contractor
references.  Contact two or three of these stilts/platform contractors and obtain pricing quotes for a platform the square footage of the dome home you are planning….1,178 sq.ft. for 40′, 916 sq.ft. for 36′, 1,489 sq.ft. for a 45′ dome….adding in whatever deck and patio area that you want.

We think the prices will shock you!  That is why you are shopping types of stilts and platforms and different size domes so you can get an idea of construction costs.  To keep your costs down, we recommend that you build as small a dome as you can because stilts and platform costs can range from $30,000 to $60,000 to $100,000 and that pricing does not include the costs for the dome kit, materials to finish the dome or any labor to assemble the dome kit and finish its interior.  While you are at it, ask the contractors what the approximate cost per sq.ft. is to finish a conventional house in the neighborhood where you are thinking of building.  Once you have this number then you can really decide what size dome you can afford to finish. The dome size will ultimately determine the size of your platform.

If you need to obtain financing, the lender will require 25% to 35% down based on the finished price of your stilts/platform and the dome.  So if you build a 36′ dome (about 1,664 sq.ft.) and the price per sq.ft. to build is $100 and your foundation costs are $60,000 then your finished cost is $226,000.  The lender will want $56,000 to $79,000 down.  They will accept some equity you have in the land, but they will want a lot of cash to be included in the down payment.  Is this down payment within your budget?

We hope we are not bursting your bubble….but over the 39 years that American Ingenuity has been in existence, we have found it better to be up front on the “big picture”; so that our clients do not purchase building plans for too large a size dome and then later not be able to afford to finish their dream home.  To us the single biggest bargain our clients receive is the American Ingenuity Dome building kit…which is usually one third to one half less in cost than the materials cost for the walls and roof of a conventional house or wooden dome or gunited concrete dome…..but this does not mean that all the finishing costs will be one half less.  The kitchen cabinets, doors, windows, plumber, electrician, stilts, platform, etc. all cost the same whether it is a box house or a dome.  So it is best to build the smallest dome you can and even consider not installing the second floor till later.  That way you can afford to finish your dome, live on your  property and save month to month on your heating and cooling costs and have a tornado and hurricane proof house.

As far as selecting a contractor for your dome, we recommend that you get quotes from several builders to compare construction costs….all the time explaining to them that they need to quote based on hiring the Kit Assembly Consultant to supervise their workers to get the shell assembled.  The Consultant can give you an agreement showing the number of days needed for assembly with the first layer of concrete in the seams.  This way the contractor does not need to be worried about estimating the assembly costs and making mistakes during the assembly just because he has never assembled and Ai dome kit before.  Once the dome is erected, and a scratch coat of concrete is in all the seams and on all the entryways and dormers, the Consultant can leave and the contractor’s subs can finish the interior and even finish the last coat of stucco in the seams and on the entryways and dormers. To view info about Consultant, please click on Specialist/Consultant.

Various Questions American Ingenuity receives: 

  1. My property is in a flood zone, what height is the finished fill and finished floor height to be?  If you are in a flood zone, then FEMA requires your finished floor height to be at a certain height. Contact your local Natural Resources government department and ask them for the FEMA phone number and what info you have to provide the County when you submit for your building permit.
  2. I might have wetlands on my property, what do I do to build?  Contact your government office for who to contact to see where the wetlands are and determine how much of the property is buildable.  Find out the set backs on your property to see what size of property is left to build on.  If you need to install septic tank and drain field and well then there are  setbacks from those as well.  Ultimately you end up with a site map showing your driveway, set backs, septic, well or city water & sewer line, etc.
  3. I think I need to build my foundation off the ground.   First of all, how high off the ground does the first floor have to be? If you do not know this answer, you will need to  call your building department and ask them.

Possible Solutions

  • If your dome has to be eight feet to ten feet off the ground Due to a wave of water, not rising water then the dome will have to be built on concrete columns and a concrete or wood platform
  • If you want enclosed rooms or a garage under the platform, then you can install break-a-way basement walls. Build concrete block columns under the corners of the platform.
  • If your dome has to be raised two to three feet, the best thing may be to bring in fill and construct the concrete slab onto the fill.
  • If your dome has to be raised two to three feet build a stem wall: bring in fill to fill within the stem wall and pour a concrete slab onto of the fill (most economical and energy efficient)  install a wood floor that sets on piers and beams. You would have a crawl space. (more expensive)

Q: In my area I have to deal with the possibility of a wave surge, can I build my dome on “break away basement walls”?
A: Yes. If you have to design with the possibility of a wave surge, you may be able to enclose the first floor pilings with breakaway walls. Breakaway walls are nonstructural walls that will break-a-way in the event of a wave surge. Pilings (columns) would support the structure and the breakaway walls could be installed between the pilings to enclose the ground floor. The purpose is to enclose the ground floor but preserve the house if a wave tears down the walls.

Q: In my area I have to build on pilings and a platform. Can the dome be built on pilings and still maintain its structural integrity?
A: Yes, building our dome upon pilings does not effect the dome’s structural integrity. We can design the pilings and the  platform, but you will need an engineer licensed for your state to seal the Piling Blueprints. For example, the Building Plans  Cost for the pilings and concrete platform for a 45′ dome could be more than $2,000…..this pricing does not include the building plans for the 45 dome home itself.  We know of a Florida engineer who charges from $1,000 to $2,000 to seal the pilings and platform plan.

If you built the dome on the ground using a concrete slab, the standard dome building plans contain the slab foundation.  As a result you are paying for the building plans and the engineer’s fee to seal the plans for your state.  All the costs associated with elevating any house onto pilings is considerable more and worth considering other options.

For a complete summary of all types of foundations that can be used with the American Ingenuity Dome, click on this link
Foundation Summary.

                          

                                                            CONCRETE PILINGS AND CONCRETE PLATFORM

piling20mowery0061

piling220mowery0062 piling320mowery0063
            This Ai Dome Home with a Cupola was built in mid 80’s. The Cupola’s look is different now; it is
             not so tall and it has overhangs that extend out from the top panels. These raised seams collect
                    water. Only have flat, rounded or accentuated seams on your dome; not raised seams.
piling420mowery0064
                        Pilings with oval Concrete Platform for 40′ Dome Home
 

Ai’s Florida Office Domes are open for viewing by appointment only. Please call 321-639-8777.

Exterior office 34 with 45' with screen domeAmerican Ingenuity’s 24 year old Florida Dome Offices

American Ingenuity looks forward to having you visit our 3,700 sq.ft. dome offices which consist of a 45′ dome linked to a 34′ dome. The office domes are not a model home, but set up as offices. You can easily see how spacious and livable the domes are. Tours are by appointment only after 1pm. To schedule a week day tour, please call Ai’s office at 321-639-8777 – 9-5 eastern time.  To view utility bills for the offices, showing we can cool them for less than $80 a month in the hot Florida Summer Months, click on Utility Bills.

To view the floor plan layouts for our Office Domes, please click on the pdfs below. 

PDF for Downloading & Printing

Online Viewing – Opens in Browser

By appointment only, one Saturday a month the office domes can be toured along. Please scroll down this page to find the once a month Saturday tour info, dates and directions to our offices.  To reserve a spot in our once a month Saturday Tour, please call Ai’s office at 321-639-8777.   Ai’s offices are located in Rockledge Florida about 1 hour east of Orlando and about 40 minutes south of Cape Canaveral. See below for directions. To email us please click on Email. 

The Ai office is closed when the following holidays are observed: New Years Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. During the week between Christmas and New Years, Ai has reduced office hours. 

To view sample floor plans for each size dome from one bedroom/one bath to two bedroom/two bath to three bedroom/two bath to four bedroom/three bath dome homes, click on dome home plans.  To view Plans & Kit Sale Pricing for each stock plan, please view Plans & Kit Sale Prices.   To view 3D models of a few floor plans, click on 3D

Financing is the single biggest block to owning a dome home. Lenders tend to want 10% to 25% to 35% down based on the finished price of the dome home. Lenders might accept equity you have in your land towards this down payment. Each client researches and coordinates their own financing. To view info about financing, please click on Financing. To read about the cost to finish the dome, click on Finished Cost.

The Tours consist of the following:

A staff person will walk you through American Ingenuity’s office domes pointing out significant features and answering your questions.  On hand for viewing are a component panel, panel wall section, model dome kit, energy awards, pictures and set of building plans.

  1. A staff person will answer your assembly and construction questions. To view files on Construction and Assembly, please view the top menu items under Assembly/Construction and Construction Assistance. To view pictures on the dome kit assembly, please click on Kit Assembly. Click on Construction Overview to get a general feel for the construction phases. Click on Planning Process to see the steps involved in building a dome home. To view an engineering statement about Ai Component Panel and Building Codes, click on Engineering.
  2. Due to liability reasons, our insurance company will not allow visitors in our factory. To see a list of possible insurers on domes, click on Insurance Companies.
  3. Sorry we do not set up in office appointments to discuss floor plans. All floor plan designs are done via phone, emails and or faxes.  Ask us to email other stock plans that are not on our web site for the size home you are interested in – one bedroom/one bath, two bedroom/two bath, three bedroom/2 bath, four bedroom/3 bath.  Let us know if you want your master suite on the first floor or second floor. Call us at 321-639-8777 – our office is open Monday – Friday 9-5 eastern time.  If you email and do not receive a reply within one to two days, please call us because due to tight spam filters we may not have received your email.
  4. Click on Stock Plans to view over stock plans for each size dome. If you do not see a stock plan to fit your lifestyle, the plans can be modified or customized per your descriptions and sketches. Please call us at 321-639-8777 Mon-Fri 9-5 eastern time. We would love to answer your questions.
  5. Some of Ai’s stock floor plans are now available in DXF format. Click on DXF and scroll down to bottom of page to view info. 

The following is a description of the plans design process:

  • If you do not find a stock plan to fit your lifestyle, sketch out your ideas on a stock plan or on the planner pages located on our web site.
  • Email them to us by clicking on Email   Please include your name, phone number(s), time zone and best time to contact you.  When you email, call and make sure we received your attachments
  • When you want to discuss your floor plan questions, please call us. If you give us your property address, at no cost to you Ai will contact your building department and ask what is required to obtain a building permit…..besides building plans do they need an engineer seal on the building plans?  Do they require an Energy Report?
  • After we receive your plans sketch, our Plans Coordinator will complete a Plans Quote which will be emailed to you.  
  • For us to schedule your plans for design, either email your acceptance of the Plans Quote or return the Plans Quote signed and include payment in full for the Building Plans.
  • Once we start the design of your plans, Ai will email or fax three – six rough drafts that you review, make changes and return to us.
  • After you approve the final draft, Ai designs your structural blue prints, completes your plans and ships the plotted plans via priority mail (if you are a USA client).
  • If your plans require an engineer seal, structural calculations or site specific local Florida product approval, a quote is obtained from the engineers before the design work starts.  The seal cost is included in your Plans Quote.  If your seal is for any state other than Florida, Ai emails your finished plans pdfs to the engineer. He plots the plans and Fedex’s them to you. The plotting cost and mailing cost is listed on your Plans Quote.
  • Your plans can consist of 14 to 17 to 22 blueprints. The number of sheets depends on the number of domes in your plans & complexity of design.  Blueprints for one dome on a slab are plotted on 18″ x24″ paper or C size paper.  Two domes are plotted on 24″x 36″ paper or D size paper.
  • Once Ai starts the design process, it takes about two to three weeks for modified plans and about four – eight weeks for custom plans. Delivery Time depends on the number of plans orders in queue prior to Ai receiving your order.
Once a Month Saturday Tour of Ai’s Office Domes
By Appointment Only 
Start at 11 am; ends around 2:30 pm

Once a month Saturday tours consist of touring our 24 year old office domes (45′ linked to a 34′).  To reserve your spot in the once a month Saturday tour, please call 1-321-639-8777.  Dates for the upcoming Saturday tours are:  December 16, 2017; January 27; February 24; March 24 and April 28, 2018.  

The once a month Saturday tour starts at Ai’s dome offices at 11 am and lasts until around 1:30. Please eat before; there is no lunch break during the tour. You are welcome to bring food to snack on during the tour. The Saturday tour consists of the following:

  1. A Question and Answer period covering the main points of the American Ingenuity Dome Building Kit.
  2. Sorry we do not set up “in office appointments” to discuss floor plans. All floor plan designs are done via phone calls & emails. See above for clarification.  Call us at 321-639-8777 – our office is open Monday – Friday 9-5 eastern time.  If you email and do not receive a reply within one to two days, please call us because due to tight spam filters we may not have received your email.
  3. Due to liability reasons, our insurance company will not allow visitors in our factory.
  4. To find out the latest on Florida road construction or closed roads go onto the Florida Department of Transportation’s web site www.dot.state.fl.us or dial 511 for Travelers Info.  

The following are directions to Ai’s dome offices.  Please do not use your GPS as it will take you a round about way to our offices: Please be aware that police rigidly enforce speed limits in the Viera/Murrell/ US 1 Hwy area.

Here are the best directions coming from Martin Andersen Beach Line Expressway (SR-528 used to be called Bee Line Expressway or Beach Line Expressway) to I-95 south.

SOUTHBOUND ON Interstate I-95 (Exit Numbers now match mile marker numbers)

  • Take Exit #195 and make a left at the light onto Stadium Parkway (if you turn right at the light the name of the road changes to Fiske)
  • Travel 1.6 miles to Viera Blvd.
  • Turn left onto Viera Blvd.
  • Stay on Viera Blvd. for 2.4 miles (you will go through the stop light at Murrell Road).  
  • Turn Left onto Holiday Springs Rd.
  • American Ingenuity’s Office Domes are around the curve on the right.

NORTHBOUND on Interstate I-95 (Exit Numbers now match mile marker numbers)

  • Take Exit number 191 (Not US Route 192). Turn right onto Wickham Rd. and go 2 blocks.
  • Turn Left onto Murrell Rd. and go North 2.5 miles.
  • Right onto Viera Blvd. and go East 1.4 miles.
  • Turn Left onto Holiday Springs Rd.
  • Office is around the curve on the right.

US Hwy 1 HEADING SOUTH

  • Go 7 miles south of Cocoa Florida.
  • Go 2 ½ miles past the traffic light at Barnes Blvd. Turn right onto Viera Blvd.
  • Go two blocks west and turn right onto Holiday Springs Road.
  • Domes are around the curve on the right

Distance from

Barton Blvd. to Viera Blvd. is 6.5 miles.

Eyster (last Rockledge traffic light) to Viera Blvd. is 5 miles.

Gus Hipp (no traffic light) to Viera Blvd. is 3 miles.

Barnes (I-95 exit-traffic light) to Viera Blvd. is 2.5 miles.

Peddlers’ Village (shopping strip on the left) north of Viera Blvd. is 1 mile.

US Hwy 1 HEADING NORTH:

  • Go 8 miles north of Melbourne and 4 miles past Pineda Causeway. (SR 404)
  • At Viera Blvd. (traffic light) turn left, and go two blocks west.
  • Turn right onto Holiday Springs Road.
  • Office Domes are around the curve on the right.
  • Enter in the front doors of the larger building

Distance from:

Lake Washington Rd. (traffic light) to Viera Blvd. is 8.5 miles.

Parkway Dr. (traffic light) to Viera Blvd. is about 8 miles.

Post Road (last Melbourne traffic light) to Viera Blvd. is about 7 miles.

Pineda Causeway (State Road 404 & I-95 exit) to Viera Blvd. is 4 miles.

Suntree Blvd. (Suntree traffic light) to Viera Blvd is 2.5 miles.

Florida Memorial Gardens (cemetery) to Viera Blvd. is 1 mile.

Approx Miles / Time from:

Kennedy Space Center – 35 mi./ ¾ hrs.

Orlando (south side) – 70 mi./ 1 ¼ hrs.

West Palm Beach Airport- 133 miles

Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood Airport 177 miles

Miami – 190 mi./ 3 ½ hrs.

Tampa – 140 mi./ 3 plus hrs.

Jacksonville – 180 mi./ 3 hrs.