dome kit assembly | AiDomes

10th Step-Foundation, Kit Assembly.  Your Aidome building plans contain blueprints showing foundation type, dimensions and details for footers and  foundation rebar installation.  If you are located in the USA, after your plans are finished, two sets of building plans (either 18″ x24″ or 24″ x36″) will be shipped to you.

If Buyer lives outside the USA and the plans are not engineer sealed, there is no need for Buyer to pay shipping costs on the plans, Ai emails the finished plans pdfs for printing in your country.

Ai emails the finished pdfs to each Buyer so the pdfs can be emailed out to receive price quotes from subcontractors, or builder or the independent Kit Assembly Consultant.

Buyer can email the pdfs to Office Depot, or Staples, etc. and have extra sets of building plans printed locally.  These extra sets can be given out for bids on your foundation, dome assembly, exterior finishing and interior finishing.

Buyer accept bids for the foundation work and has the foundation installed. It is quite normal that the foundation does not get installed when planned due to weather, etc.   Accepting delivery of your dome kit is not dependent on your foundation being installed.  The dome kit can be stored on your site 2-3 months (in nonfreezing weather) waiting for the foundation to be installed.  Longer storage can be achieved by spraying another layer of paint on the EPS if needed.

After the foundation is installed, the kit assembly & temporary wooden rib system assembly begins.   There is a total of five rows of dome panels to be installed on to the temporary wooden supports. The first row of panels is installed directly onto the dome’s first floor. This floor is concrete if it is a concrete slab and wood if the dome is built on a basement.  All the prefab panels are numbered with numbers and letters to match the nomenclature blueprint in the Building Plans and the Assembly Manual that is shipped with each dome kit.   After a kit deposit and signed Order Forms are received, Ai can mail the manual to Buyer.

Once all the panels are installed with two layers of concrete in all the seams and on the entryways and dormers, link, cupola, etc., the dome is self-supporting and the temporary wooden rib system comes down.  There is no wood in the dome exterior walls to interrupt the insulation or to burn or to rot or for termites to eat.  Most of the wood can be used for interior framing, especially the knee wall around the second floor perimeter area.

In the dome there are two main sizes of triangle panels, named P or H.  Five P panels are installed together to make a Pentagon configuration.  Six H panels are installed together to make a Hexagon configuration. So when a panel calls for a P, your workers look in a stack of P panels and pull a P panel.  When the plan calls for an H, your workers look in the stack of H panels and pull a H panel.

The entryway and dormer panels are identified with specific numbers and letters and are installed in the row of panels shown on the blueprints. At specific locations around the perimeter of the dome, triangles and riser panels are left out to provide openings where the dome owner or their framer installs locally purchased exterior doors and windows. To structurally compensate for the triangle and riser panels being left out, these “structural awnings” – entryways, dormers or link or cupola are installed.

The Ai dome kit consists of all the triangular panels, four foot tall riser panels for the dome shell and panels for one entryway.  The exterior of each triangle or riser panel is 3/4″ concrete reinforced with fibers and galvanized steel mesh with a center of  7″  R28 noncombustible Expanded Polystyrene insulation (EPS) with interior 1/2″ Georgia Pacific DensArmor (moisture resistant/mold resistant gypsum drywall) adhered to each riser and triangle panel with drywall adhesive.

Your floor plan selection determines how many more entryways (standard, garage or high profile), window dormers, door dormers, cupola, link, etc. will be ordered. The link is used to connect two domes together.

The building kit does not include any doors or windows and does not contain any interior items (except for the interior shell drywall and insulation).  American Ingenuity believes that you should not pay shipping on items which can be purchased locally.

Building an American Ingenuity dome building kit can be a Do It Yourself project or a Kit Assembly Consultant can be hired to supervise your workers or your builder’s workers.  Please scroll down this page to learn 1) about this specialist; 2) materials/tools/equipment needed for kit assembly; 3) charts showing approximate assembly time and approx. costs by dome diameter size when hiring the consultant.

 

Third row panel being lifted into place.

Third row panel being lifted into place.

The dome kit can be assembled by owner builders or the home owner or the home owner’s builder can hire the independent Consultant to supervise their workers to assemble the dome kit to the stage of having all the panels placed with one layer of concrete in the seams and on all the entryways and dormers.  The consultants travel through out the USA and internationally.   When hiring a local builder, best to pay him cost plus versus an overall bid. 

Great news as of May 2017,  Ai knows of a licensed Florida Builder, Randy Dixon, who will travel to some USA areas with 2-3 men to assemble the kit on your prepared foundation. Then yourself or your local builder’s subcontractors can install the doors and windows, prime/paint the exterior and finish the interior with locally purchased materials.  If his crew does not travel to your area, he will travel as independent consultant.  If you are considering hiring Randy and his crew, it is best to pay them by the hour rather than have him bid the project where he will need to include in the bid a cushion. 

Ai knows of three other independent kit assembly Consultants, Kevin Killian (Florida), Steve Cooke (California) and Bob Bailey (South Dakota) who will travel to your site to supervise Aidome kit assembly as well.  

In Brevard County Florida, Builder Ray Vince with Pistolatun Inc. will bid the dome kit assembly and the finishing of the dome and complete the financing for those who qualify.   He also has land to sell in Palm Bay Florida plus knows of our property for sell in the County.  His info is 76 E. Merritt Island Cswy. #205, Merritt Island Fl 32952.  His phone number is 321-284-8116

In Texas, builder Don Simons with NewTech Builders, Inc. states he will bid the dome kit assembly and the finishing of the dome for Texas and surrounding states.  He has a superintendent who will travel to your site, interview subs and hire subs for the site clearing, driveway installation, foundation installation, dome kit assembly, electrical, framing, plumbing and finishing of the interior and exterior of the Aidome.  His number is 979-212-6000.

Within the building plans is a nomenclature sheet where each panel is identified with numbers or letters showing where each panel is installed.

If you have a deadline for your kit assembly or are assembling the large 45′ or 48′ dome, consider hiring the consultant to save  up to  2-3 weeks of labor costs.  Please scroll down to view charts listing estimated kit assembly times.  Click on Kit Assembly and Construction Overview to view other assembly photos.  Our finished cost per sq.ft. page discusses geodesic dome cost.  To view stock dome floor plans, click on Plans.

The Consultant will travel to your construction site and supervise your workers or subs or your contractor’s workers for the dome kit assembly with the first layer of concrete in the seams and a “scratch coat” on the entryways and dormers….and then he goes home.  FYI, he does not apply concrete….that is done by your concrete workers.  He supervises that the fiber concrete is mixed properly and installed properly.  The dome owner or their builder hires a finish stucco person, to apply and finish the second layer of concrete in the panels seams and on the entryways and dormers. Usually second layer of finished concrete can be applied in around one hour per seam for a flat seam or up to 1 1/2 hrs for a custom rounded seam.  Approximate number of seams in a three frequency dome (30′ – 48′) is 126 – number varies depending on number of entryways and dormers. A two frequency dome (15′-27′) has around 62 seams.   Prior to second layer of concrete, a bonding agent supplied by Ai is applied to the first layer of concrete that needs to set 30 minutes prior to the second layer of seam concrete being applied. The interior finishing is completed by you or by your contractor hiring local conventional subs (plumbers, electricians, drywall finishers, framers, etc.) to complete the interior finishing and the installation of your locally purchased doors and windows per your dome plans.

Prior to the availability of a Kit Assembly Consultant to supervise the dome kit assembly,  some of Ai’s dome owners had to hire a contractor who generally had never assembled a dome before.  As a result the contractor would tend to over charge because he did not know how long it would take or what problems would arise.  The Kit Assembly Consultant can provide you with references from previous American Ingenuity Domes he has assembled so you can assure yourself that your building kit will be assembled correctly and in a timely fashion. This Consultant works directly for you or your general contractor as an Independent Sub-Contractor.  The standard daily rate for the independent Kit Assembly Consultant/Specialist is $300.  If the Specialist is not paid mileage to drive to your site, he is reimbursed for a round trip airfare, round trip shuttle transport cost between his home & the airport & car rental cost for the time at the job site.  The dome owner arranges and pay for lodging with Wi-fi availabilty in vicinity of grocery store & restaurants.

The use of a consultant for one week can save up to two to three weeks on your shell assembly time and assures the kit is assembled accurately per the building plans.

The cost of materials to complete the assembly of the kit are not included in the labor estimates.  Many times rental costs are less for one month than daily or weekly rental costs.  As a result sometimes monthly rental is shown because it is cheaper. Equipment rental costs are from United Rentals.  

Estimates below are based on 2015-2016 construction data.  In 2017 there is a shortage of concrete workers which drives their pay up.  We will review the estimates in this post and update as data is collected.

The assembly time estimated below is based on a dome kit having one entryway, two dormers and no cupola built on a slab foundation.  

  • For each additional standard entryway: add one day for the consultant and 24 hours for the workers.
  • For a garage entryway two frequency: add 1 day for the consultant and 24 hours for the workers.
  • For each additional window dormer: add 2 hrs for the consultant and 12 hours for the workers.
  • For each additional door dormer: add 3 hrs for the consultant and 18 hours for the workers.
  • Cupola: takes three partial days because the concrete has to have time to cure during each process.  First partial day of 5 hrs: concrete beam around top opening is formed and poured.  Second partial day of 5 hrs: concrete corner columns are framed and poured.  Third partial day of 5 hrs: set top five panels, attach overhang panels & apply first coat of concrete in the seams.  During the rest of the partial days, workers can complete window dormers or door dormer installations.If the rib system has not been cut and prepared: add one day for the consultant and 8 hours for the workers.
  • If you want to speed up the kit assembly, consider renting a scissor lift for inside personnel movement (instead of using ladders and scaffolding) and renting a Straight boom lift – man lift or cherry picker- for outside personnel work (instead of ladders, planks and scaffolding).   A 19-foot electric scissor lift approx. rental is $350 to $500 per week, and $900 to $1,200 per month.  A 40′ straight boom lift approx rental is weekly $956 or monthly $1,915.
Labor & Equipment Estimates for AiDome Shell Assembly
Utilizing an Independent Kit Assembly Consultant

 Estimate For  22′ Dome Shell Assembly
With First Layer of Concrete in Seams & on entryways & Dormers

Consultant Days 14 $300/day $4,200
Worker Hours & Cost if $18/hr 328 $18/hr* $5,904
Worker Hours & Cost if $25/hr

Rental, Fork Lift (days)

328

1

$25/hr*

$405/day

if $25 hr -$8,200

$405

Rental Variable Reach Lull  two weeks  $1,169/wk $2,338
Rental, Scaffolding (days)$15- $50  14 $15/day $210
Rental, Mortar Mixer (days) 8 cu.ft. 14 $50/day $700

Approx Sub Total  For One Layer of Concrete in Seams & on 1 entryway & 2 dormers:  $13,757 – $16,053

*Worker Hourly Costs vary depending on your construction location. Plus travel costs or airline ticket for the Consultant. The Consultant is reimbursed for a round trip airfare, round trip shuttle transport cost between his home & the airport & car rental cost for the time at the job site.  The dome owner arranges and pay for lodging with Wi-fi availability in vicinity of grocery store & restaurants.

The dome owner or their builder hires finish stucco person(s), to apply and finish the second layer of concrete in the panels seams and on the entryways and dormers. Usually second layer of  seam concrete can be applied in 50 minutes per seam for a flat seam or up to 1 1/2 hrs for a custom seam.  Approximate number of seams in a three frequency dome (30′ – 48′) is 126 – number varies depending on number of entryways and dormers. A two frequency dome (15′ – 27′)  has around 62 seams.

 

 Estimate For 27’/30′ Dome Shell Assembly
With First Layer of Concrete in Seams & on Entryways & Dormers

Consultant Days 16 $300/day $4,800
Worker Hours & Cost if $18/hr 384 $18/hr* $6,912
Worker Hours & Cost if $25/hr

Rental, Fork Lift (days)

384

1

$25/hr*

$405/day

if $25 hr – $9,600

$405

Rental Variable Reach Lull two weeks  $1,169/wk $2,338
Rental, Scaffolding (days) $15-$50 15 $15/day $225
Rental, Mortar Mixer (days) 8 cu.ft. 15 $50/day $750

Approx Sub Total  For One Layer of Concrete in Seams & on 1 entryway & 2 dormers:  $15,430 – $18,118

Worker Hourly Costs vary depending on your construction location.  Plus travel costs or airline ticket for the Consultant, The consultant is reimbursed for a round trip airfare, round trip shuttle transport cost between his home & the airport & car rental cost for the time at the job site.  The dome owner arranges and pay for lodging with Wi-fi availability in vicinity of grocery store & restaurants.

The dome owner or their builder hires finish stucco person(s), to apply and finish the second layer of concrete in the panels seams and on the entryways and dormers. Usually second layer of  seam concrete can be applied in 50 minutes per seam for a flat seam or up to 1 1/2 hrs for a custom seam.  Approximate number of seams in a three frequency dome (30′ – 48′) is 126 – number varies depending on number of entryways and dormers. A two frequency dome (15′ – 27′)  has around 62 seams.

 

  Estimate For 34’/36′ Dome Shell Assembly
With First Layer of Concrete in Seams & on Entryways & Dormers

Consultant Days 17 $300/day $5,100
Worker Hours & Cost if $8/hr 408 $18/hr* $7,344
Worker Hours & Cost if $25/hr

Rental, Fork Lift (days)

408

1

$25/hr*

$405/day

if $25 hr – $10,200

$305

Rental Variable Reach Lull two weeks  $1,169/wk $2,338
Rental, Scaffolding (days) 17 $15/day $255
Rental, Mortar Mixer 8 cu.ft. month $620 $620

Approx Sub Total  For One Layer of Concrete in Seams & on 1 entryway & 2 dormers: $15,962 – $18,818

*Worker Hourly Costs vary depending on your construction location.  Plus travel costs or airline ticket for the Consultant. The Consultant/Specialist  is reimbursed for a round trip airfare, round trip shuttle transport cost between his home & the airport & car rental cost for the time at the job site.  The dome owner arranges and pay for lodging with Wi-fi availability in vicinity of grocery store & restaurants.

The dome owner or their builder hires finish stucco person(s), to apply and finish the second layer of concrete in the panels seams and on the entryways and dormers. Usually second layer of  seam concrete can be applied in 50 minutes per seam for a flat seam or up to 1 1/2 hrs for a custom seam.  Approximate number of seams in a three frequency dome (30′ – 48′) is 126 – number varies depending on number of entryways and dormers. A two frequency dome (15′ – 27′)  has around 62 seams.

 

Estimate For 40′ Dome Shell Assembly
With First Layer of Concrete in Seams & on Entryway & Dormers

Consultant Days 20 $300/day $6,000
Worker Hours & Cost if $18/hr 640 $18/hr* $11,520
Worker Hours & Cost if $25/hr

Rental, Fork Lift (days)

640

1

$25/hr*

$405/day

if $25 hr -$16,000

$405

Rental Variable Reach Lull month $2,346 $2,346
Rental, Scaffolding (days) 20 $15/day $300
Rental, Mortar Mixer  8 cu.ft. month $620 $620

Approx Sub Total  For One Layer of Concrete in Seams & on 1 entryway & 2 dormers: $21,191 – $25,671

*Worker Hourly Costs vary depending on your construction location
Plus travel costs or airline ticket for the Consultant
The Consultant/Specialist is reimbursed for a round trip airfare, round trip shuttle transport cost between his home & the airport & car rental cost for the time at the job site.  The dome owner arranges and pay for lodging with Wi-fi availability in vicinity of grocery store & restaurants.

The dome owner or their builder hires finish stucco person(s), to apply and finish the second layer of concrete in the panels seams and on the entryways and dormers. Usually second layer of  seam concrete can be applied in 50 minutes per seam for a flat seam or up to 1 1/2 hrs for a custom seam.  Approximate number of seams in a three frequency dome (30′ – 48′) is 126 – number varies depending on number of entryways and dormers. A two frequency dome (15′ – 27′)  has around 62 seams.

 

 Estimate For  45′ Dome Shell Assembly
With First Layer of Concrete in Seams & on Entryways & Dormers

Consultant Days 23 $300/day $6,900
Worker Hours & Cost if $8/hr 736 $18/hr* $6,720
Worker Hours & Cost if $25/hr

Rental, Fork Lift (days)

736

1

$25/hr*

$405/day

if $25 hr – $18,400

$405

Rental Variable Reach Lull month  $2,346 $2,346
Rental, Scaffolding (days) 23 $15/day $345
Rental, Mortar Mixer 8 cu.ft. month $620 $620

Approx Sub Total  For One Layer of Concrete in Seams & on 1 entryway & 2 dormers: $17,336 – $29,016

*Worker Hourly Costs vary depending on your construction location
Plus travel costs or airline ticket for the Consultant
The Consultant/Specialist is reimbursed for a round trip airfare, round trip shuttle transport cost between his home & the airport & car rental cost for the time at the job site.  The dome owner arranges and pay for lodging with Wi-fi availability in vicinity of grocery store & restaurants.

The dome owner or their builder hires finish stucco person(s), to apply and finish the second layer of concrete in the panels seams and on the entryways and dormers. Usually second layer of seam concrete can be applied in 50 minutes per seam for a flat seam or up to 1 1/2 hrs for a custom seam. Approximate number of seams in a three frequency dome (30′ – 48′) is 126 – number varies depending on number of entryways and dormers. A two frequency dome (15′ – 27′) has around 62 seams.

 

 Estimate For  48′ Dome Shell Assembly
With First Layer of Concrete in Seams & on Entryways & Dormers 

Consultant Days 26 $300/day $7,800
Worker Hours & Cost if $18/hr 832 $18/hr* $14,976
Worker Hours & Cost if $25/hr

Rental, Fork Lift (days)

832

1

$25/hr*

$405/day

if $25 hr- $20,800

$405

Rental Variable Reach Lull month  $2,346 $2,346
Rental, Scaffolding (days) 26 $15/day $390
Rental, Mortar Mixer 8 cu.ft. month $620 $620

Approx Sub Total  For One Layer of Concrete in Seams & on 1 entryway & 2 dormers: $26,537 – $32,361

*Worker Hourly Costs vary depending on your construction location
Plus travel costs or airline ticket for the Consultant
 The Consultant/Specialist is reimbursed for a round trip airfare, round trip shuttle transport cost between his home & the airport & car rental cost for the time at the job site.  The dome owner arranges and pay for lodging with Wi-fi availability in vicinity of grocery store & restaurants.

The dome owner or their builder hires finish stucco person(s), to apply and finish the second layer of concrete in the panels seams and on the entryways and dormers. Usually second layer of  seam concrete can be applied in 50 minutes per seam for a flat seam or up to 1 1/2 hrs for a custom seam.  Approximate number of seams in a three frequency dome (30′ – 48′) is 126 – number varies depending on number of entryways and dormers. A two frequency dome (15′ – 27′)  has around 62 seams.

 

To view info about the DVD that shows dome assembly, click on View.  To view the video free, click on DVD.

To unload the dome kit from the semi-truck, rent a fork lift and have 2-3 workers available.  Ai provides a document that describes the unloading process.

The dome owner provides three to five good concrete workers (depends on dome size).  Materials used in the shell construction are to be provided by the dome owner on site before the Kit Assembly process begins.  The bags of cement don’t have to all be delivered in advance but as soon as first needed during the assembly.

To view what items are included in the Dome Building Kit, click on Kit Contents.  To view what items are not included in the kit, click on Items Not Included.

Due to possible injury on a job site, have some form of insurance.

The following are items required at your job site:

Cement
  • Portland Cement in 94 pound bags (prefer Type III) (first number is the diameter of the dome/second number is bags of cement):  22′ – 30, 27′ – 40 (two frequency dome panels are larger so require less cement), 30′ – 70, 34′ – 79, 36′ – 83, 40′ – 90, 45′ – 100, 48′ – 106.  These bag numbers are based on the dome having two entryways, four window dormers, one door dormer and no cupola.
  • For each additional entryway add: 22′ – 3,  27′ – 3.5, 30′ – 4.0, 34′ – 4.5, 36′  – 4.5, 40′ – 5.0, 45′ – 5.0, 48′ – 5.5
  • For a cupola add: 30′ – 4, 34′ – 4.5, 36′ – 4.5, 40′ – 5.0, 45′ – 5.5, 48′ – 6.0.
  • For an additional door dormer on any size dome add 2.5 bags of cement.
Masonry or Stucco Sand
  • Sand in cubic yards; 27′ – 5, 30′ – 8, 34′ – 9, 36′ – 9, 40′- 10, 45′ – 11, 48′ – 12.  These computations are based on the dome having two entryways, four window dormers, one door dormer and no cupola.
  • For each additional entryway add cubic yards of sand: 22′ – 0.3, 27′ – 0.4, 30′ – 0.4, 34′ – 0.4, 36′ – 0.5, 40′ – 0.5, 45′ – 0.5, 48′ – 0.6.
  • For a cupola add cubic yards of sand: 30′ – 0.4, 34′ – 0.5, 36′ – 0.5, 40′ – 0.5, 45′ – 0.6, 48′ – 0.6.
  • For an additional door dormer on any size dome, add 0.3 cubic yards of sand.
Misc Items:
  • 2×4’s cut to length, holes drilled & ends painted for the temporary wooden rib system…can be purchased from Ai.
  • Water Source and water hoses
  • #3, #4 and #5 rebar (per the Building Plans)
  • Concrete Blocks; 8″x16″
  • Electric Power or Generator
  • Extension Ladder; 26′
  • Mortar Mixer – Do not use a cement mixer because it does not have spinning paddles.  Spinning Paddles are required to obtain a thorough mixing of the cement, sand, fibers and admixtures.
  • Lumber for Bracing the steel hubs, entryways and dormers
  • Wheelbarrows
  • Step Ladders
  • Two Saw Horses
  • Tarps to cover Cement and Sand
  • Ropes and chains
  • 5 gallon Buckets
  • Toilet facilities
  • Brushes to apply bonding agent
  • Soft Steel Tie Wire
  • Wire Cutters
  • Sponges to sponge finish final layer of concrete
  • Place to store boxed items out of the weather….C rings, pliers, cans of expanding foam, 1″ EPS Sheets, etc.

Additional Items Required:

  • Steel Hubs for Rib System (borrowed from Ai with a deposit placed)
  • Purchase bolts, nuts, washers to use with the hubs (purchased from Ai). During dome assembly most of these items are damaged; therefore they are not returned to Ai.
  • 2×4′ ribs for temporary wooden rib system – cut to length, holes drilled and ends painted. Can be purchased from Ai.
  • 9/16″ socket & ratchet and one 9/16″ wrench (use for bolts with HUBS)
  • Lifting Spikes set of 4 (purchased from Ai for $100). During panel lifting the spikes get damaged. If you have two domes, please order two sets of lifting spikes.
  • Panel Lifting Harness – custom make the harness from Ai sketch using four strands of 1/4″ chain 7 foot long & Quick Links.
  • Zinc or Galvanized Quick Links – To make the harness purchase Quick Links: 1 – 3/8″, 2 – 5/16″, 8 – 1/4″   2 – 3/8″, 4 – 5/16″.  During panel lifing the Quick Links are disconnected quite often so the threads become damaged.  Purchase additional Quick Links to have on hand for replacements….8 – 1/4″, 2 – 5/16″
  • Hoisting Mechanism; preferably rent 45′ Man Lift for dome on a slab or rent a 60′ Man Lift for dome built on basement.
How Long Will Shell Assembly Take with a Consultant?

Using three to five good concrete workers and depending upon the size dome, soil condition around the dome to allow movement and placement of the panels, type of hoisting mechanism and prevailing weather, shell assembly can take from 9-16 days if your dome kit includes two entryways, four dormers and no cupola and if dome on a slab. Once you know how many entryways and dormers are needed for your floor plan, Ai’s office can give you a more specific estimate on shell assembly time.  Click on Hoisting Mechanisms to learn more.

Typically it is cost effective to only have the Consultant stay for the assembly of the temporary wooden rib system, all panel placement including building options (entryways, dormers, link, cupola, etc.)  are assembled which includes the first coat of concrete in the seams and a “scratch coat” on the entryways and dormers.  Then your workers can:

  • apply the bonding agent and finish coat of concrete in the seams and on the building kit options. Remember to always water down all “old concrete” in the area you are working and all around the area working before applying bonding agent.
  • Follow Waterproofing document in the manual. The type of primer, tape and paint that is used, determines whether primer is applied before any areas are taped or patching compound applied prior or after priming.  Two coats of paint are applied. The following paints have been used by Ai dome owners:Behr’s top of the line exterior latex paint is Marque. Seabrook Texas dome owner loves this paint. He uses semi-gloss.  Marque has the most titanium.  – Home DepotBehr’s Premium Elastomeric Masonry, Stucco & Brick Paint –Home DepotAmes Research Labs: Maximum – Stretch, at participating ACE & True Value Stores (if using Ames see separate Ames doc because specific type sealants and primer need to be used with Ames Paint….TT3 sealant cannot be used)Sherwin Williams: Loxon XP Paint, Loxon Primer and ConditionerRichards Paint:  Rich Flex 245; use Rich Flex Alkali Resistant 100% Acrylic Masonry PrimerSeal Krete Paint (pigmented) –Home Depot
  • frame in and install the exterior doors and windows. (can be done earlier)
  • complete rough framing, electrical, plumbing
  • finish the interior shell wallboard with fiberglass adhesive  tape/joint compound. To blend the drywall seams to the DensArmor, skip trowel joint compound over the dome shell drywall.
  • prime then paint the dome shell interior gypsum
  • complete rest of construction phases.

As far as finishing the exterior seams with a second layer of fiber concrete, no need to pay to have the consultant on- site for this.  Best to hire a local finish stucco person by the hour with the conditions if he does timely work and good work, you will retain him.  If you are not satisfied with his work or speed, pay him for the time worked and replace him.  The second layer of concrete can take 20-30 minutes to apply per seam after the bonding agent is applied.  The bonding agent supplied by Ai needs to set 30 minutes before the second layer of concrete is applied. Approximate number of seams is 126…number varies depending on number of entryways and dormers.

Once your Building Plans have been ordered, American Ingenuity can estimate the number of days needed to assemble the shell.  Each floor plan varies as to the number of building kit options (components) needed to complete the shell kit; i.e. cupola, link, entryways, door dormers and window dormers.  Building Options take longer to install than triangles do.  To learn more about Building Options, click on Options.

You or your contractor hires local subcontractors to perform the typical jobs like forming and pouring the slab, plumbing, electrical, framing, drywall finishing, etc. Ai does not believe you should pay someone to come in from out of county or state to do work that your local subs can perform.  Click on Finished Cost, to learn about what it will cost to finish your dome home.  Click on Builders and Assemblers to learn more.

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

Contact Ai if you are interested in utilizing the Consultant/specialist…..321-639-8777…..9-5 Eastern Time.

If you are employing a contractor to assemble the kit, an experienced consultant on the construction site will make the assembly go faster and reduce costs.  The contractor provides the additional workers needed and the consultant directs them through the assembly of the kit.

If you choose to hire the Kit Assembly Consultant, the following labor estimates assume the following:

  • You have hired three to five good concrete workers depending on the size dome.
  • The slab/foundation and floor are completed.
  • A Hoisting Mechanism/Lifting Device/Boom Truck or Crane or Man Lift is on site to move the panels, to set the panels in place and lift buckets of concrete.
  • Additional equipment is on site, e.g.: wheelbarrows, ladders, scaffolding, mortar mixer, etc.
  • The first floor of the dome is not elevated above ground level.
  • The construction site is readily accessible for equipment and personnel.
  • Your local Laborer cost per hour is $15.  The labor cost per hour varies depending on your construction site location.  In California labor costs can be $25 to $30 an hour.

The following contains a photo gallery showing
the American Ingenuity’s Panelized Home Kit Assembly process.

(use arrows on right and left side of main picture to view other photos in the gallery.)

To view other pictures of panel assembly, go to  Construction Overview  and to Kaufman pics. To view the DVD for free, go to Free DVD.   To view engineering statement about American Ingenuity dome, go to Engineering.

An American Ingenuity geodesic dome panelized home kit is purchased in kit form. About 40% of Ai’s clients are owner builders while others hire a Contractor who hires the Kit Assembly Consultant.  The Component Panels, Building Plans and Assembly Manual come marked with panel nomenclature. If you do not want to manage the assemble of the dome kit, Ai knows of independent working consultants that travel around the country assembling the dome shell using your concrete workers or your contractor’s concrete workers. If you are on the east coast Ai knows of a Virginia builder who can be hired with his crew to construct an ICF basement and assemble the dome kit.  To view info on the independent Kit Assembly Consultant/Specialist, click on Consultant.

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 – 321-639-8777.  While you are on the phone, we will send you a test email and have you send your email to us.

First step after your foundation is in place is to install the first row of component panels, then assemble a temporary wooden rib system to install the rest of the panels on. Some form of lifting device is used to place the panels. By placing the component panels, locking the steel mesh from adjacent panels, concreting the seams and concreting the entryways, dormers, link, cupola, the structural framework, the exterior finish, the insulation and interior shell wall board are installed.

Once all the panels are in place, seam areas & entryways/dormers with two layers of fiber concrete,  the dome is self supporting & the wooden rib system is disassembled. Some of the wood from the rib system can be utilized for interior framing or for second floor perimeter knee wall.  There is no wood in or on the dome shell to rot, no wood to be eaten by termites, no wood to burn. No shingles to blow off in high winds.

The Consultant supervises the rib system assembly, panel placement and application of the first layer of concrete into the panel seams and onto the entryways and dormers. Fibers and liquid admixtures are shipped with each dome kit. In a mortar mixer fibers, liquid admixtures,Portland Cement, masonry sand and water are mixed to produce special mortar mix which is hand trowelled into the seam areas between panels and on to the entryway and dormer panels. 

Then either your workers or your builder’s workers complete the second layer of concrete in the seams & on the entryways and dormers. To learn more about selecting a builder, view Builders, Contractor & Determining Contractor Pricing.  For interior finishing complete yourself or hire local subcontractors to complete the plumbing, electrical, framing, window/door installation, wall board finishing, cabinetry, etc.

For waterproofing the concrete exterior, Ai dome owners recommend Ames Research Laboratories primer, tape and paint which can be purchased from ACE, True Value Hardware, Build-Rite Do It Center, etc/  Or call Ames at 888-345-0809 to purchase directly from them. For info on dealers in your area and their Super-Primer, Peel & Stick Contouring Tape and Maximum Stretch Paint click on  Ames.

The interior shell wall board is finished similar to conventional drywall. Or you can apply joint compound to the DensArmor Plus gypsum wallboard in what is sometimes called a skip trowel finish, apply primer and then paint. Or to cover any wall board imperfections and blend the wall board to the sanded joint compounded seams, mix a 50/50 batch of paint and dry powder joint compound.  Apply the mixture with a paint roller.

To view Ai’s new dome video, view on Dome Video.  The standard foundation for the Ai dome is an on grade concrete slab.  However the dome can be built on columns or pilings or a basement. Click on Foundation for more info. Call Ai for more foundation info, 321-639-8777.

To view assembly and finished pictures of a 45′ Ai dome built on a basement, view Stroupe Dome.  To view info about the rib system, click on Rib System.  To view a video showing panel assembly, click on Ulm 40′ Dome on Superior Wall Precast Concrete basement.

Electrical wiring is installed within interior framed walls, within some of the 1/2″ grooves between the interior shell wallboard and within grooves cut through the shell wallboard and EPS.  When wiring is inserted in the grooves, the grooves are filled with expanding foam and the area finished with tape and joint compound. Prime the DensArmor drywall and coat with 50/50 mixture of joint compound and paint. 

This advanced building system makes it easier to construct an American Ingenuity dome than a conventional house or a wooden dome.

  • No exterior walls to frame
  • No roof trusses to set
  • No sheathing, tarpaper, or shingles to apply
  • No soffits, exterior trim, insulation or siding to install.

A helpful book that gives you overall insight in building your own home is called The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Building Your Own Home by Dan Ramsey.  We also recommend that you visit your local library and research construction books which cover the concepts on building your own own.  A helpful web site is rsmeans.com.  It has construction manuals, construction estimating CD’s, etc.

Once you decide on your floor plan, use the info from the Kit Assembly Consultant to estimate number of days needed for that plans’ assembly.