engineer sealed plans

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

Some areas in Arkansas, Indiana, Vermont, Texas, Tennessee, Missouri and other states do not have building departments, so the property owner only obtains a septic tank permit and well permit if needed.  In the cases where no Building Plans are submitted to a building department, the building plans (17-23 blueprints) are utilized to build the foundation, dome kit and finish the interior of the dome home.

Some building departments can require not just building plans be submitted but they want the plans sealed by an engineer licensed for that state.   States vary as to what code they adopt and enforce.  The codes can be 2015 International Building Code, 2012 International Building Code, 2009 International Building Code, California Building Code and 2014 Florida Building Code 6th Edition, etc. The Ai dome building plans comply with all these codes, but the building officials do not know this.  The seal confirms that the plans comply with that state’s code.  Engineer seals are specific to each floor plan and to each state. The engineer’s seal can be purchased through American Ingenuity.  The cost for a seal for any state for one dome on a slab is $600.

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

Besides the sealed plans, the building department can require the following be submitted for a building permit to be issued.  At no cost to you if you give Ai your properties tax ID number or site address, we call the building department and find out if building plans and ICC compliant Structural Calculations sealed by an engineer licensed for your state and their other required paperwork are submitted will they issue a permit on the Aidome?  Of course we know under plans examination a checklist can come back of items to be revised. Ai and the engineer make those changes at no cost, with the plans buyer resubmitting the revised sealed plans per the building department requests.

  1. An Energy Report be completed on the envelope of the home including the exterior door and window U factors.  Ai can complete the REScheck Energy Report for all states; however California, Washington and Florida have their own energy programs. The price for an Energy Report for one dome on a slab is $190.  These three states have their own programs so companies specializing in their completion are hired. Ai has the name of CA firm that has completed a California Title 24 Energy Report.   For Florida, Washington & California, Ai can provide the company you hire the wall dimensions, R value to be entered in the report for a $100 fee.
  2. ICC Compliant Structural Calculations:  Wonderful news Ai is now utilizing an engineering firm who can seal the  Aidome building plans for all 50 states (including Washington DC), US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and all Canadian Provinces other than Quebec.  In order for the plans to be sealed by an engineer licensed for your state, the plans buyer pays for ICC (International Code Compliant) structural calculations to be performed on their exact size dome, exact number of openings at their site’s precise design criteria (wind speed & exposure class (seismic zone & snow load if required). These calculations show that the Aidome prefab panel and building system meets the International Code Council requirements and any codes beyond ICC requirements enforced  by Florida, California and Illinois.   Ai has been told these  ICC calcs sealed by an engineer licensed for your state mean that the Aidome can be built through out Florida (including Miami Dade, Broward, Indian River County, etc.)  and California if land is zoned correctly, etc.  Please call for ICC Structural Calc pricing.
  3. In Florida and California all new construction requires Engineer Sealed Building Plans, engineer sealed ICC Compliant Structural Calculations, passing Energy Report and other docs.
  4. Elevation Certificate – if your property is in a Flood Zone you will be required to hire a surveyor to determine the height of your finished floor to get it above the water surge or mean high water mark.  This height is entered on your building plans and you give the Certificate to your building department.
  5. Site Map – this is completed by you or a local company.  It shows outline/dimensions of your property, setbacks, driveway, location of the dome, well, septic drain field (or city sewer or city water lines), location of other out buildings, etc.  Ask your building department what they want included on your site map.
  6. Electrical Diagram, Plumbing Diagram and HVAC Diagram.  Ai does not include these diagrams in the 17-23 blueprints because Ai has found the electrical, plumbing and HVAC subcontractors prefer to design their own diagrams based on how they are going to layout your electrical, plumbing and HVAC (heating & air conditioning ducts or ductless units).
  7. If your building department requires the following, please hire your local HVAC subcontractor to complete: Manual S (Equipment Sizing Certification); Manual D (Duct Design & Layout Drawing); or Manual J for the Rescheck Energy Report (Residential Heat Load Calculation).
  8. If no city sewer or water, obtain permit to install well and septic tank and drain field based on number of bedrooms in the plan.
  9. Building Permit Fees are paid to the county or city.  In Florida impact fees are also paid.

3rd Step – Check with your Building & Zoning Dept.    

About obtaining a building permit:  See below for our property checklist and zoning checklist which lists questions to ask to see if the round concrete Aidome can be built on the property you own or want to purchase:

Here is a pdf to read and print out for the  Property Checklist to build an Aidome

Here is a pdf to read and print out for the  Zoning Checklist to build an Aidome

  1. First call the building department that governs the property who will issue the building permit, show them our web site (photos of domes) and explain you are wanting to build a round concrete dome that has no shingles.  Can you obtain a building permit if you submit Building Plans and structural calculations sealed by an engineer licensed for your state?  If live in the Caribbean and not in USVI: will they accept a USVI engineer seal or a Florida seal (or do they require engineer licensed for your country) and their other required documents (energy report, site map, survey, electrical/plumbing/hvac diagrams, window and door specification sheets, etc.)?  Of course we understand during plans review a check list may come back of items to be revised. Ai and the engineer will make the changes at no cost with the buyer of the plans resubmitting the plans per the building department’s requests.
  2. Get all relevant questions answered that are in the property checklist document
  3. Second call the zoning department and give them the property’s tax ID number you are considering buying or own and ask the questions in the zoning checklist that are listed below.
  4. Once you have obtained approval from the building department (and if needed preapproval loan to build the concrete dome), then order the building plans. Once plans have been ordered, if there is a question as to if the dome can be build, if you provide Ai with the property address or tax ID number (for the property you own or are considering purchasing) and the name and telephone number of the building department which issues the building permit. Ai will contact the building department, email them sample set of dome building plans and find out if they will accept the prefab panel as is.  We will not start the design of your plans, until we have verified what is required to issue a permit on the Aidome.

If so the building plans, engineer seal and REScheck Energy Report can be purchased from Ai.  In Florida, California and Washington private companies complete the required Energy Report after Ai emails them wall dimensions and you provide specific exterior door and window info. During Plans Design Ai emails elevation views of each entryway and dormer showing the rough opening size area with recommended door and window sizes. 

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

BUYING LAND/PROPERTY CHECKLIST & ZONING CHECKLIST

FROM AMERICAN INGENUITY – AIDOMES

Here is a pdf to read and print out for the  Property Checklist to build an Aidome

Here is a pdf to read and print out for the  Zoning Checklist to build an Aidome

American Ingenuity (Ai) is happy that you are considering our Geodesic Dome Building Kit for your future home. You have made a big decision to build your dream home, and building with an alternative housing structure whose prefab panels come with 225 mph wind and F4 tornado warranty that saves 50% to 60% on heating and cooling over conventional house is a smart decision. Below please find information to determine when budgeting for your home, financing alternative housing, and most important buying land.  At the end of this document is a checklist for you to use when considering properties.

Please paste this link in your browser to read about the Planning Process:  http://aidomes.com/planning-process/

This document covers things to look for, and ask about when considering building a new home. You can build our dome kits on any type of terrain, or climate…on a standard slab, basement, and pilings or stem wall, etc. At the bottom is a checklist for your convenience.

DETERMINING NEW HOME BUDGET: Prior to purchasing your land or if you own property, first determine the overall budget you can afford for your new home, land and land development.  It is sometimes best to purchase a small piece of affordable land instead of large acreageWhen determining your budget don’t lose site of the fact that our kits are not complete homes (we sell just the prefab panels for shell). Although you dream about a 3,000 sq. ft. home (48′ kit) it may not be affordable.  A quick way to determine what size home you can afford is to look on real estate websites and do a search in the area you are looking to build in (keep in mind that those prices include agent fees). Look at recent builds (5 years or under not built within a subdivision), for the size home you want. As an example if a 1800 sq. ft. home (comparable to a 40′ diameter kit) is selling for $300,000 (after real estate agent fees) and you can afford only $200,000, you may not be able to afford to build that size home, and will need to downsize.

Then to get a rough estimate on the cost to build a home in the area of your choice please view this cost to build link on my website. We have listed there a website that can give you a clearer idea on cost to build in your desired area. When using that website, enter the parameters given by Ai (please note the estimate provided will be for a conventional home with a standard shingle roof not at Dome). We have a video on our website that will provide you a general idea of an Approximate Cost to Build a 40′ kit on a basement If you will need financing for your home please review our Financing section on my website and also read the Financing Booklet

 DO YOUR HOMEWORK:

Ai’s culture is to be open and honest with our clients, we are committed to assisting our clients through the many steps involved with building their dream home. One of the major steps is procuring land.

For clients looking for land or own land,

Since for many of our clients this is a first time experience there is a lot to ask about and know when you go looking for property. It is not as easy as seeing a listing on web based real estate sites or having the realtor show it to you. Do not assume that all properties being sold are buildable! It is the proverbial buyers beware!

Recently we have clients looking for land that have come across many roadblocks on the properties they like. With the housing market now going back to full swing many people are selling land that they purchased years ago. What has happened is that zoning and environmental requirements have changed. What may have previously been a buildable lot is no longer doable, or may not be desirable.

Below are a few important things to ask about and determine when looking at property.  Examples when available are also shown on next page.

 1. Is the land within a homeowner’s association? If so, are there architectural design restrictions, house size restrictions, garage requirements, limit on number of structures?

Ask to see HOA documents it is usually within the first few pages.

  • Ex: we had a client who purchased property, and planned to build a 48’ dome (average 2700 sq. ft) with a garage dome (800 sq. ft). Only to find out that the minimum house size required was 5,000 sq. ft. plus a garage, this was way out of their budget, they ended up having to sell the land and start the process all over again.
  • Ex: HOA requires house to have a cedar shingled roof.

2. When was the lot platted? What is it zoned? If the property was platted years ago, has the zoning requirements changed? Is the lot considered conforming or has it become a non-conforming lot? Non-conforming lots do not match current lot standards, and are usually grandfathered in so they can be built upon. They may have different set back requirements than conforming lots with the same type zoning, but generally require the same land percentage restrictions as current zoning (% of land that is buildable). You may find that although homes surrounding the lot are of a certain size, with new percentages your home would be much smaller than you desire. In addition there may be architectural restrictions, such as homes built need to follow a certain style as to roofs and exteriors.

  • Ex: Lot was zoned Agricultural/Residential (AR), it was platted in the 1980’s and is ¼ acre in size, homes surrounding the lot are larger homes (with over a 2,000 sq. ft. footprint). Current AR zoning is for 1 acre and above. The older lot fell under non-conforming, and the setbacks adjusted to the lot size. However, the AR zoning allows only 15% of the land be built upon. Based upon the size of the property the client could only have a home with a footprint of 1,550 sq. ft. This would not allow him to build a 45’ dome (footprint over 1489 sq. ft.) and a garage unless he builds a garage below his home.

 What are the required setbacks?  Will you be able to build the size home you and your family want and need (see above)   Ex: A lot that is 60’ wide and 100’ deep with 7.5’ side setbacks will limit you to a 40’ dome, with only two entryways (front and back of home).

  • Is the property in a high fire hazard area?  In some areas like California, where fires occur, building code requires water sprinklers inside the house.  This means a water source needs to be near to fill an onsite water tank.  Is there a city or county maintained road adjacent to the property which allows for fire truck turn-around? Check building code to find out the requirements when building in a fire hazard area.
  • Does the property use a septic system? If so what are the current setbacks from the septic field to house? To the well? To the water line? To the road? To your neighbor’s house, or well? To a body of water (i.e. lake, river, canal etc.)? This will determine the location of the system and where and if a home can be built on the lot.
    • Contact the Health or Environmental Department and have them review what the setbacks are for that property, and where the septic tank and drain field is for the properties adjacent to your property.
    • If they are close to your property line, ask what the set back is from the adjacent properties septic system and find out where a septic tank and drain field can be installed on your property.
    • Ask what size tank and drain field is required for the number of bedrooms or bathrooms you are planning on building. Find out if the soil will perk for the installation of a septic tank system (sometimes the health department has knowledge of perking in an area).
    • Ex: Here are two examples of property issues regarding septic setbacks:
      • Property platted in the 1980’s: houses on each side on lots equal in size to the lot for sale. Problem the county changed the setbacks on septic, the required setback from septic to house was 100’. (no exceptions from county), the lot was 103’ deep by 73’ wide. This lot is UNBUILDABLE!
      • Property platted in the 1960’s, houses on each side on lots equal to, larger or double lots. Property Is Lakefront. Lot is odd shaped approximately 100’x60’. Septic setback from lake is 75’ leaving only 25’ for septic tank, possibly less due to surrounding houses. This lot is iffy on buildability.

Wetlands? Are there wetlands on the property? If so, will you need to bring in fill to build? How much of area is buildable? Will you need to build upon a foundation other than slab?   Ex: Client has 40 acres of land much of which is wetlands. Of the 40 acres, he is only able to build upon less than one acre.   Ex: Clients land is on wetland, to build he needs to bring in fill that is three times the amount normally used in non-wetland properties.

Flood Zone: Is the property in a flood zone? What zone? And how will this affect you building your home?  Does the building department require a certain type foundation – elevated?

Soil: What type of soil does the property sit on? This will determine if the land will require special treatment or foundation. You can then determine if the added expense is within your budget, or if you will need to forgo on the property (If your foundation is other than a monolithic slab Ai needs to hire a local Florida engineer to calculate load and give Ai design details).  This requires a Soil Report, which contains foundation recommendations for that type soil.)  If there is no soil report, Ai designs the foundation for 1,500 psf soil which is a 6” thick slab and 20”x20” footers versus 4” slab and 16”x20” footer for 2,000 psf soil.

    • Ex: Client bought land that contained high quantities of clay, this required expensive soil preparation and foundation type. They ended up selling the lot and bought another on which to build.
    • Ex: Clients land is in an area that has a frost line – (can be 24”, 36”, 48”, or more). To keep the footers below the frost line depth a stem wall was required.  A stem wall can be built with concrete blocks, Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF’s), or poured concrete.  Although this was an added expense, the client proceeded with the project since he was in love with the location.
    • Ex: Client bought land along the Atlantic shoreline. This land requires that the home be built upon pilings. The cost of building on pilings is very expensive ($100,000 to $150,000); this project is on hold until client can afford the foundation.
  • Access to maintained road: Many building departments will not issue a building permit for property that does not a butt a county/city maintained road. Find out if the property has access to a county maintained road.  Their logic is that the road needs to be maintained so a fire truck or ambulance can get to your residence if needed.
  •  Sinkholes: This is something you want to avoid at all costs. If it is known that sinkholes are prevalent in the area (you can google sinkhole map and your area i.e. sinkholes Brevard County Florida), has there been a geologic survey done? If not how much will it cost to have one done prior to purchase.    Several years ago, a sinkhole opened up beneath a home in the Tampa Florida area. This occurred quickly, and a resident of the home lost his life. His body was never recovered. More recently, a sinkhole occurred in San Antonio TX, an off duty sheriff was killed when her car tumbled into the fast occurring sinkhole.

 Below is a more detailed question list for you to follow.

If the building site is already owned by you,  use the below information to determine what will be needed to build on your property.  If purchasing land, and the information is not on the real estate listing sheet American Ingenuity highly recommends that prior to purchasing property obtain answers to the following:

  1. If not known: Call the Tax Collectors office that governs the various properties you are considering purchasing, to determine if the land falls within county or city boundaries. Who is the taxing authority for the property? Properties sometimes can be governed by different tax entities even when located close to each other.  Find out what the property tax rate are per each sq. ft. or assessed value per thousand for a house, per location.   Obtain an example of their property tax bill to see what all is on it. Comparing property tax rates from one city to another city or one county to another county may save you a lot of money on your annual property tax bills.
  2. If not known: Call the zoning department to find out what the zoning for the property is. If zoned residential Ai can email them an elevation view showing the dome with cupola roof pitch in degrees.  Sometimes zoning can also want the roof to have a traditional roof form and appearance. If roof form is one of their requirements, explain the roof is concrete reinforced with galvanized steel mesh that gets primed and painted light tan, light blue, light green, etc. and verify that they will allow a dome be built. See checklist list below.
  3. If not known: Impact fees: As an example in Florida, because there is no state income tax, government agencies get revenue by assessing impact fees. They figure new construction, brings more cars on the road, greater need for fire trucks, schools, etc.  As a result, they assess impact fees based on the square footage of the house.  What are the impact fees on that piece of property?  Impact Fees can be $5,000 to $20,000. Due to the recession, some cities and counties are waiving some or all of the impact fees, if the fees are waived when will they be going back into effect.
  4. Check the deed for any architectural restrictions (want the house to have shingles or be brick, etc.) or minimum new size house square footage, etc.
  5. Call the building department and obtain a list of what is required to obtain a building permit;
    • Will they accept buildng plans sealed by an engineer licensed for your state?
    • Site plan? Survey?  Fire Sprinklers are required in California.
    • What date do you have to receive your Certificate of Occupancy (CO) before impact fees will be assessed?
    • If you purchase a property, which has already been developed, that has a mobile home that will be removed or older building that will be torn down, are you still assessed impact fees to build your new home or are you exempt?
  1. Any Building permit application fees?  Once you get a permit, how long is the permit good for, can you get extensions on your building permit?
  2. Can you get electric to your property or does a neighbor have to sign an easement so you can connect electric? What is the cost to access closest electric poles?  Contact the local electric company for information.
  3. If you do not have city water available to hook up, what does it cost to drill a well? What is the fee for city water hookup (if available)?  What is set back from well to septic system and to house?
  4. Driveway, how long will the driveway need to be, culvert size and how much fill and rock will be needed to make it drivable?
  5. Contact the Natural Resources department – for that city and county.
    • Endangered plant and animal listing –determine if there are any on the perspective properties.
    • Are there any running streams on the property? If so, what are the setbacks as to how close you can build to the stream and how close a septic can be to a stream?
    • Flood plan maps, and make sure your property is high and dry.
    • * If your property is in a Flood Plain, the finished floor elevation has to be stated on your building plans.
    • * Call F.E.M.A. or local government offices to find out what the finished floor height has to be. This height will determine how much fill has to be brought in and the type foundation that has to be built; slab, pilings, stem wall, above ground concrete columns, etc.
    • * Are there any wet lands on your property?You may not be allowed to build on wetlands.  If you are determined to build on that property, talk to local gov’t natural resource department who handles wetlands. Land mitigation may be available.
    • Perk Test for Septic System if city or county water not available. Assure the soil will perk for a septic system. See above about calling the Health Department.
    • Soil – For standard foundation, Ai requires the soil be compacted to 98% density for a minimum of 2,000 PSF of bearing pressure. Compaction can be less if slab is thicker and footer enlarged.
      • Does any fill need to be brought in before foundation is installed, if so what height will the fill need to be? (foundations usually have to be built so many inches above the crown of the nearest county or city maintained road)
      • What type of soil? Clay soil is the most difficult to build on as it absorbs water and expands.  In the foundation area, the clay soil may need to be removed and replaced with a mixture of gravel and soil. Your building department will know what you need to do if you have clay soil. If you are building on a basement or columns or pilings, Ai needs to hire a local engineer to calculate load & provide design details. The Engineer requires a Geotechnical Study (soil report) which recommends the type foundations which can be built on that type soil.  Usually the soil criteria is – Soil compacted to 98% density for a minimum of 2,000 pounds per sq. ft. (p.s.f.) of load bearing pressure.  If there is no soil report then we design the slab and footer for 1,500 psf soil.
    • Zoning department: to determine if there are restrictions; e.
      • Minimum home size requirement?
      • If garage is required – minimum size – attached, detached?
      • If homeowner associations – get name. Contact asso. for covenants & restrictions
      • Setbacks front, rear, sides. If corner lot can be another set back. (which will determine the maximum size home you can put upon the lot) (Health Department determines setbacks from septic or well.)
      • What percentage of property can be covered with structures?
      • Height restrictions?
      • Accessibility to the land…is there a county maintained road to the property?
      • Zoning on property requiring certain roof pitch and requiring traditional roof appearance?
      • Is property in Flood zone? Are there wetlands?
      • LAND AND ARCHITECTURAL RESTRICTIONS: Over the last seventy plus years, it has become common for developers to buy up large tracks of land, plat it out and resell the individual lots to perspective homeowners. By doing so, they created subdivisions. These subdivisions may, by additional entities of a Homeowners Associations/ Property Owners Associations or Planned Unit Developments. All of these entities may have restrictions on size, style and materials for homes to be built within the subdivision. Before you buy your land, view the MLS MLS listing will show if the property is within a subdivision, HOA, POA or PUD. If there is, ask to review the governing documents to see what restrictions may be in place. Documents for the above are registered in the state located. If the agent or landowner is unable to provide you with the document, contact the Clerk of Courts for the county where the property is located. They will have on file documents that pertain to the subdivision. These documents are generally free to review; there may be a small fee to get a copy.
      • SUBDIVISONS: You may find a property that although not governed by a homeowners association, property-owners association or Planned Unit Development (P.U.D.) may still be within a Subdivision. Subdivisions are land that has been plotted by a developer, and have legal documents that have been submitted to the state. These documents cover RESTRICTIONS AND COVENANTS pertaining to the subdivision and contain information on what can or cannot be built upon the property (type of structure, rooflines, materials etc.). It also may contain the minimum/maximum size home that you can erect on the property.  Review the document and look for above restrictions, also look to see if you will need to contact the developer or agent to get approval for your home. Keep in mind that if the subdivision is older this may not be possible.  If so, and there is no restriction on the style of home or materials to be used listed within the document (other than size), as long as you receive an okay from the building department there should be no issue with building one of our dome kits..
      • PLANNED UNIT DEVELOPMENT (PUD), is a type of building development and also a regulatory process. It may cover multiple Subdivisions. Meaning that there are covenants and bylaws regarding what can and cannot be built regarding size, style and materials. As a building development, it is a designed grouping of both varied and compatible land uses, such as housing, recreation, commercial centers, and industrial parks, all within one contained development or subdivision. Generally, there are building restrictions within a PUD although not as stringent as a HOA. As an example may require that all structures on property have the same style of architecture, so if a structure is Colonial in style any additional structures must also be in Colonial style. Documents will state if you need approval to build, if so get any approval in writing.
      • HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION In the United States, a homeowner association (or homeowners association) (HOA) is a corporation formed by a real estate developer for the purpose of marketing, managing, and selling of homes and lots in a residential subdivision. Elected board members govern HOA’s. Generally, there are building restrictions within a HOA, and HOA’s are usually the most restrictive. Within a HOA will be limitations on size, style and finishing materials. These restrictions may exceed the restrictions listed within the subdivision documents and PUD documents. Documents will state if you need approval to build. If granted approval, get it in writing so subsequent boards cannot reverse the approval.
      • PROPERTY OWNER ASSOCIATION: POA members may be residential homeowners, but they might also be property managers or business owners who contribute to the real estate industry. POAs do not necessarily have regulations the way HOAs do. Instead, their purpose is to support the local real estate industry and provide members with networking and education opportunities. Generally not part of building process in terms of what can be built.
      • Access to maintained road: Many building departments will not issue a building permit for property that does not a butt a county/city maintained road. Find out if the property has access to a county maintained road. Their logic is that the road needs to be maintained so a fire truck or ambulance can get to your residence if needed.

The zoning questions are not listed here.  Please print out the pdf above named Zoning Checklist to see the Zoning questions.   To print out the Property Checklist or can be called buying land checklist see the Property Checklist pdf at the top of this post. 

 

Engineer Sealed Dome Building Plans can be purchased from American Ingenuity.

45' dome on full basement by pond in summer time. The pictures in this grouping are for this dome.

45′ dome on full basement by pond in summer time.

Pictured above is 40′ dome on full basement in Missouri. 

Standard entryways, second floor balcony, cupola.

It is American Ingenuity’s philosophy that each customer pay for only what they need. Ai does not burden the price of the building kit with plan’s pricing, engineer seal cost or energy report cost. Building plans are purchased 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.  Commercial building plans and their engineer seal can cost 2-3 times the price of residential dome plans due to the complexity of the plan design.  To view sale pricing on the dome plans and the dome building kit, please click on Sale.  Dome Kit Assembly photos can be viewed at Kit Assembly.  Engineering statement can be viewed at Statement.  To view examples of stock floor plans for each diameter of dome, click on Tiny Domes and  Geodesic Dome Home Plans. Once on the page, scroll down to find the hyperlinks to click on.

Please ask for your buying land and zoning checklist document which can be used to determine if an Aidome can be built on the property you own or are considering purchasing: 

  1. First call the building department that governs the property who will issue the building permit, show them our web site (photos of domes) and explain you are wanting to build a round concrete dome that has no shingles.  Can you obtain a building permit if you submit Building Plans sealed by an engineer licensed for USVI or Florida (or do they require engineer licensed for your country) and their other required documents (site map, survey, electrical/plumbing/hvac diagrams, window and door specification sheets, etc.)?  Of course we understand during plans review a check list may come back of items to be revised. Ai and the engineer will make the changes at no cost with the buyer of the plans resubmitting the plans per the building department’s requests.
  2. Get all relevant questions answered that are in the buying land document
  3. Second call the zoning department and give them the property’s tax ID number you are considering buying or own and ask the questions in the zoning checklist which accompanies this buying land document.

What are building departments concerned with? They are concerned with strength and safety and 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.  They are also concerned with environmental issues and endangered plants and animals.  Ai can email you a document that lists the items to watch out for prior to purchasing land and the questions to ask if you already own your property.

Do some building departments require engineer sealed building plans to obtain a building permit? About 50% of Ai’s client’s building departments require engineer sealed building plans to issue a building permit.  Call your building department and find out what they require to issue a permit.  If they require engineer sealed plans, this means that a licensed engineer for your state will need to review American Ingenuity’s building plans to assure that they comply with your state’s building requirements. Ai has a list of engineers certified for all USA states who have sealed Ai plans.  Ai calls the engineer and obtains a seal cost which is included on your Plans Quote. When you agree with the Plans Quote and make payment in full for the plans and the engineer seal, Ai starts your plans design and emails the pdfs to the engineer for his review. He tells us of any changes, we make those changes, plot out your plans and mail them to the engineer for his stamp and signature.  He then mails them on to you. His signature and stamp means he takes responsibility for the dome design not your building department. 

Does all new construction in Florida and California require engineer sealed plans & energy report to obtain a building permit? Yes. 

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.

What is the standard foundation included with the stock plans? Concrete slab. For Ai to design a basement or concrete columns or stem wall or pilings, etc. an engineer fee is added to the Plans Quote to cover the cost for a structural engineer to calculate the load of the dome and the load of the two floors within the dome and give joist/edge beam size/spacing and foundation design to our CAD department to incorporate within the plans. Please call for engineer fee.

Florida Engineer Seal info:

  • A Florida engineer seal for 36′ or smaller dome built on a slab is $400. The seal cost for a 40′ – 48′ dome on a slab is $500.

Florida building departments also require a Florida Energy Report to be submitted at the same time the Florida sealed building plans are submitted.  This report is quite detailed and specific – Ai no longer completes this report but provides the dome info to the company completing the energy report for $100. Please call Ai at 321-639-8777 for specifics.

Building in California:  A California engineer seal for one dome (22′ – 48′) on a slab is $600. Plus California requires Energy Calculations. Ai. can put you in contact with a firm that performs the California Energy Calculations. 

The following building departments in California will allow the Ai dome to be built – California Counties of San Diego, San Bernardino, Trinity, Solona, Shasta and Riverside. The building department will accept CA engineer sealed plans, CA sealed structural calculations, CA sealed engineering statement that includes the following: “panel composition of the geodesic dome buildings is designed in accordance with and conforms to the intent of California Building Code that allows for alternative materials and methods of construction”.  If you are thinking of building near a large California city, the building department could require that the building kit be certified by the state of California. It is not cost effective for American Ingenuity to pay for this certification.  As a result if this is required, the Ai dome cannot be built.

At no cost to you, Ai can contact your building department –  show them our web site and email generic plans, engineering statement, sample of structural calculations.  When calling Ai will ask if California engineer sealed plans, California Energy Report, California sealed engineering statement and wind/seismic/snow/bracing calculations and all their other required paperwork and reports are submitted can a residential building permit be obtained on the Ai dome kit.  Ai is happy to talk to your building officials to answer their questions.

What does the engineer do? He reviews the American Ingenuity Dome Building Plans to assure that they comply with your state’s building codes. The engineer will let us know if anything needs to be changed. We make the changes to the plans and we send the revised plans to the engineer who then crimps them with his seal and signs his name to the structural sheets. This seal and his signature mean that he certifies that the plans comply with your state’s building codes. Either we or the engineer mails the signed plans to you. You take them along with the other required paperwork to your building department to obtain your building permit. Because each city and county within each state can have varying requirements, your city or county building department may request some changes to the sealed plans. Ai will work with your building department to make those changes at no cost to you. However if the engineer has to get reinvolved with design work, there may be an engineering fee. If your building department will not accept the changes via electronic sealed document and require the revised sheets to be printed or new sets of sealed plans submitted, the buyer will incur a plotting and shipping cost on the required blueprints.

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.

Can Building Departments be hard to work with? Not normally.  American Ingenuity is used to working with building departments and is happy to answer any and all of their questions. For example we had two clients in Palatka Florida who were going for building permits around the same time. Their building department approved their plans (with no changes) within a couple of weeks. Similar plans with similar information were submitted to counties south of us and the building officials wanted changes and took a couple of months to give the client a building permit. Ai never knows how each building official will interpret the Building Codes for their state.

Tell me about the strength of the Ai dome. The code design criteria requires that Ai show the American Ingenuity Dome Building can with stand wind, snow and seismic loading.  Our standard design will accommodate forces in excess of up to 225 mph winds, F4 tornado and 50 lbs. snow load.  Click on Strength to learn more.

To view pictures about the kit assembly, click on Dome Kit Assembly.

Our 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 30″ in diameter tree impact, four Florida hurricanes in 2004 and many other conditions since 1976. Click on Hurricane Recap to learn more.  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.  About half of our dome owners needed engineer sealed Building Plans to obtain a building permit and rather than adding the engineer seal cost to all plans it is more economical to have the plans sealed as needed. As the designer and manufacturer American Ingenuity 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.

Does the Ai Dome comply with the new  Florida Building Code? Yes, although we have been informed that Dade and Broward Counties in South Florida require product approval on the wall segments. Due to the cost and complexity of the tests, Ai has concluded it is not economical for us to pursue product approval. Ai has found that most all other Florida building departments will accept Florida engineer sealed plans, Florida Engineer Sealed Structural Calculations and Florida engineer sealed engineering statement that says “panel composition of the geodesic dome buildings is designed in accordance with and conforms to the intent of 2014 Florida Building Code 5th Edition, Residential and referenced provisions of the 2014 Florida Building Code, Building that allows for alternative materials and methods of construction.”

 

 AMERICAN INGENUITY’S AI’S PHILOSOPHY

One of the main reasons our company has been in business over 39 years and is very reputable, is that we try to treat all our customers the same. Our business philosophy and product is unique to the housing industry. We believe that each person should pay for only what they need. As a result, our dome kit’s pricing is usually one third to one half less than other housing kits.   To learn more click on Finished Cost.  To view sale pricing on our Tiny Home Kits, click on Tiny Concrete Kits. To view Ai’s current kit discount, click on discount.

  • Each person who wants to research our concrete dome building kit further can do so by printing out information from our web site or purchasing the Planning Kit with a DVD.  To view the DVD for free click on DVD.  To order literature, please call our office at 321-639-8777.  If we gave out a Planning Kit and video to 100-200 people a month, that cost would be paid by the Building Kit client.
  • Plus some of our clients do not need Engineer Sealed Building Plans or an Energy Report  in order to obtain a building permit. As a result the engineer seal and the energy report are separate costs.  To learn more click on Engineer Sealed Plans.

There is more than one reason why Ai has set up our business this way.

The first reason is: American Ingenuity has decided that our objective is to offer highly energy efficient homes at the lowest possible price. Ai operates like a “Cash and Carry Business”. To do this, Ai cannot burden the cost of our business with the expenses resulting from trying to collect bills from people who do not pay.

A second reason that Ai is like a “Cash and Carry Business” is that anyone can pick up their building kit at our Rockledge Florida Plant with the correct size semi-truck and straps.  Of course Ai will load the kit on a semi-truck of your choosing or Ai can coordinate the shipping. The trucks that transport the kits carry cargo insurance.

A third reason: it is more practical for a buyer to check the credibility and financial history of a business than vice a versa.

American Ingenuity is also looking for ways you as an individual can check our financial responsibility without incurring a cost. We have an excellent rating with Dunn & Bradstreet. They will provide that information to subscribers like lending institutions, businesses, etc. at no cost but they do charge individuals and nonsubscribers to access this information. Our Dunn & Bradstreet number is 07-727-8844, our rating is 2A1. Their number is 800-234-3867.