engineering | AiDomes

Please scroll down the page to read Ai Dome Engineering Statement.  Domes are three-dimensional structures using stable triangles approximating spheres to create multiple load carrying paths from point of load to point of support. The triangle is the only arrangement of structural members that is stable within itself without requiring additional connections at the intersection points to prevent warping of the geometry.  In other words, apply pressure to one edge of a triangle, and that force is evenly distributed to the other two sides, which then transmit pressure to adjacent triangles. That cascading distribution of pressure is how geodesic domes efficiently distribute stress along the entire structure, much like the shell of an egg. 

For over forty years, American Ingenuity’s dome design has proved itself by withstanding the following acts of nature: Hurricane Hurricane Irma’s 200 mph winds in British Virgin Islands.   Andrew’s 165-212 mph winds, a tornado that rolled up a steel horse trailer and slammed it against the Miami Fl dome, four hurricanes in 2004, Hurricane Katrina, 6.6 earthquake in 2006, sub-zero temperatures and heavy snow loads of the Northwest Territory of Canada, a 30″ in diameter 115 foot tall hickory tree impact, a lighting strike and many other conditions. To view recap of acts of Nature click on Disaster Resistant.

The American Ingenuity dome is designed to be as safe and fireproof as possible, the dome exterior is entirely noncombustible concrete. Fire resistant concrete exterior: to view info about American Ingenuity’s concrete dome versus the Monolithic Concrete Dome and to view a YouTube Video of fire going over Monolithic concrete dome, please click on Fire Resistant Concrete Exterior.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

40′ in diameter dome kit when finished has three bedrooms & two baths on two floors. Small third floor loft under cupola.  Garage dome on the left.

Engineering Statement for American Ingenuity Dome Building Kits.  Geodesic domes are “an extremely efficient use of materials resulting in a maximization of interior spaces while minimizing exterior surface area and therefore creating a materially and energy efficient structure.” However because the dome is not very common, building codes do not cover dome construction. However within all building codes is a section that allows for alternative materials and methods for residential home construction per section 104.11 which covers the American Ingenuity dome.  As a result an engineering statement can be submitted to your building department stating American Ingenuity’s component panels comply with section 104.11.

An engineering statement and your building plans can be sealed by an independent  Professional Engineer (PE) licensed for your state if required by your building department. The fee for the engineer seal on your building plans depends on the number of domes in your plans and the type foundation.  For example the engineer seal fee for one dome built on a monolithic slab is $600; one dome on a basement is $900. This fee is for all size domes.   (Just to clarify these engineer seal fees are low versus Ai utilizing an engineering firm or architectural firm whose fees can be $1,500 to $3,000 to seal a set of residential new home building plans)

American Ingenuity utilizes a Professional Engineer (P.E.) to seal its dome building plans when required by your building department.  The following two engineering statements are provided by Thomas Mixter, P.E., one of the two engineers that Ai utilizes to seal its building plans.  Mr. Mixter has a license to seal residential building plans for 47 USA states.

Engineering Statement One:

To Whom It May Concern:

This letter is submitted as an engineering statement in regards to the panel composition of the geodesic dome buildings manufactured by American Ingenuity, Inc., 8777 Holiday Springs Road, Rockledge Fl.

The panel composition of the geodesic dome buildings are certified by me as being designed in accordance with and conforms to the intent of the 2012 International Residential Building Code, California Building Code and Florida 2014 Building Code 5th Edition as allowed alternative materials and methods for residential construction per section R104.11. Georgia-Pacific’s DensArmor Plus High Performance Interior ½” Gypsum Wallboard/drywall used as the interior face of the panels which meets the thermal barrier requirements of R316.4 as shown by third party testing.

I certify that as the evaluating engineer, I am independent of the manufacturer, American Ingenuity, Inc.

Thomas Mixter

Engineering Statement Two. The above statement was revised for a California Building Department to produce the statement below.

To Whom It May Concern:

I have been designing geodesic style domes with various materials for 19 years.  I have designed domes fabricated with steel, wood, aluminum and concrete with spans up to 390 feet in diameter.  There has never been a failure on any completed dome that I have designed in the several thousand that I have stamped throughout the United States and in many foreign countries.

The geodesic dome by its very design is an extremely efficient use of materials resulting in a maximization of interior spaces while minimizing exterior surface area and therefore creating a materially and energy efficient structure. But this configuration is not very common and therefore not considered by most components of the building codes.

In my opinion the dome referenced above (American Ingenuity Dome for specific California site address) meets the intent of the minimum steel provisions of ACI 318-11 section 10.5 and CBC 104.11 for alternative materials and provides a comparable or higher level of quality, strength, effectiveness, fire resistance, durability and safety.  The inherent strength of the geodesic dome configuration creates a minimalistic combination of materials that is less than the more common building materials and configurations considered by the building codes.  This style of dome has been successfully installed in many locations throughout the United States.

Thomas Mixter PE Licensed for California & 46 other USA states

 

Below is a Photo Gallery showing various geodesic dome home interiors of finished American Ingenuity Concrete Homes. Domes are built on basements, columns and monolithic concrete slabs.  Ai has geodesic dome home plans for each of its eight dome home kits. The dome plans show high vaulted ceilings over living rooms and dining rooms.   To view stock floor plan layouts, please click on Flexible Design

(Click arrows left and right side to change picture)

This article covers Ai’s 48′ Dome Panel’s Load Test.

load test

48′ Dome Panel Load Test

load of almost four tons of sand & bags of Portland Cement on panel

The above photo shows the additional 40 bags of Portland cement that were set on top the sand loaded panel, bringing the total weight on the panel to almost four tons. The center deflection increased to less than 3/8 inch. The grand total deflection of less than 3/8 inch with almost four tons of weight was astonishing to us. Our panel withstood 170 lbs. per sq. ft. of load.

Q: Do you have an engineering statement about your dome panels that can be submitted to my building department?

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

In October 2000 Ai performed a load test on one of its 48′ triangular shaped prefab building kit panels. The test was performed on Ai’s largest panel using the standard 7″ thick E.P.S. insulation, ¾” thick concrete exterior reinforced with galvanized steel mesh and a fiber reinforced plaster on the interior. The strength of the component panel can best be determined by measuring the deflection of the panel as a load (weight) is applied in increments. The panel was placed horizontal. Its weight and the weight of everything placed on it was only supported along the outer edge of the panel. The loading of the panel was done by adding sand in 470 lb. increments. Plywood sides were attached to the panel edges so sand could be spread evenly, providing a uniform load.

The deflection was measured in the center and six other locations. At all measured points a steel ruler was attached to the panel extending high enough to be visible when the panel was fully loaded with sand. A surveyor’s transit allowed the engineer to measure the deflection.

After 3,783 lbs. of sand was dumped on the panel its center had deflected less than 1/16 inch. Three days later, the deflections had only increased to 3/32 inch. Our own amazement at the strength made us even braver; so we cut through the interior plaster on the bottom of the panel. Even then the deflection was less than 3/16 inch.

Ai had not expected this exceptional strength. We could not mound the sand any higher so we set a pallet of 40 cement bags on top of the sand thinking, “This could do the panel in.” That doubled the weight and the center deflection increased to less than 3/16 inch.

The grand total deflection of less than 3/8 inch with almost four tons of weight was astonishing to us.

A 120-mph wind will exert a pressure of 30 lbs. per sq. ft. on a vertical wall and a snow load exceeding 90 lbs. per sq. ft. is rare. Typically snow loads are 20 to 50lbs. per sq.ft.  American Ingenuity’s triangular shaped 48′ component panel withstood 170 lbs. per sq. ft.

load test 2

This picture was taken after Ai had loaded 3,783 lbs. of sand onto our 48′ dome panel. After the sand was dumped on the panel its center had deflected less than 1/16 inch. Three days later, the deflections had only increased to 3/32 inch. Our own amazement at the strength made us even braver; so we cut through the interior plaster on the bottom of the panel. Even then the deflection was less than 3/16 inch.

The men in the photo from left to right are:

  • Michael Busick, inventor of American Ingenuity’s building panel and building method
  • Luke Miorelli, mechanical engineer
  • An engineer who was an independent observer
  • Leo Cherbano, American Ingenuity’s plant manager

 I would like to completely bury the dome. Is this possible? 

  • Ai does not recommend this; however iIf you want your Ai dome completely covered with soil, let us know the depth and Ai will quote a fee to hire local engineer to calculate load of the soil, determine rebar spacing that will be installed on top of the finished dome, depth of concrete to be gunited on to the dome and what posts will be needed to support the weight of the soil and concrete on the dome.
  • A dome like an arch, increases its effectiveness as it is compressed so it will support partial earth berming or any snow load. We have fortified our reinforced concrete with space-age fibers and special admixtures, as well as galvanized steel. As the panels of the dome are assembled, the beveled seams between them are concreted, creating a network of interlocking arches of structural beams.
  • Our dome lends itself very well to earth berming because of the strength of the dome shape and the totally concrete exterior wall, with no materials to rot. Ai’s domes have been bermed with as much as 4 feet of backfill. However, if you earth berm your dome, install a drain system to draw water away from the foundation. Plans for this french drain system are included with our basement plans.
  • The Ai Dome could be bermed higher or even buried, but we do not recommend it because the additional expense of labor and extra concrete would probably not be worth the gain. A dome or a structure that is not buried would never have to withstand loads greater than 100 lbs. per sq.ft. If a structure is buried the earth could put loads in excess of 500 lbs. per sq.ft.  Ai does not design our standard dome for those extreme conditions that would normally never occur.  However the dome can designed to withstand these loads.
  • Four feet is the maximum height of back fill that can go back against the dome as currently designed. Back fill higher than this would cause more expense and complications than is likely to be worth while. Consider landscaping with plants to enhance the appearance that you want.

Komarnsky 2nd floor bedroom 0140

Colorado 34′ Dome Second Floor – bedroom & library

 

Komarnsky kit & 2nd floor 0135

Colorado 34′ Dome – second floor library w’ bedroom to right

(see picture above for the bedroom that is to the right of the library)

Library is above first floor kitchen

Typically dome building kits do not contain riser panels. American Ingenuity decided to supply four foot tall riser panels with its Building Kit. This means the first row of panels of the dome shell are rectangular shaped panels and triangle shaped panels complete the rest of the shell. This vertical wall allows for convenient placement of furniture around the perimeter of the first floor and gives more head room and useable square footage on the second floor.

What is the ceiling height under the second floor?

The four foot tall riser allows for a first floor ceiling height of 7’ 6” in the 22’ thru 34’ domes and an 8’ tall ceiling in the 36′ through 48′ domes.  To increase first floor ceiling height where a second floor is above, on site install a one foot tall or two foot tall perimeter wall to increase the height to 8’6″ or 10’.

How can I relate to the first floor and second floor square footages in your domes? 

You can relate to the room sizes within any of American Ingenuity’s stock plans by cutting out the ruler on each stock plan.  Use the to-scale ruler to measure the width and length of each room and compare those room sizes to the room sizes in your current home. You know whether you want your new home’s rooms larger or smaller than your current room sizes.

The square footage of living space shown with each stock floor plan indicates the square footage space available on the first floor, second floor and third floor loft (if available for that size dome). The square footage of each room is included along with to-scale furniture to help you visualize the size of the space, and does not include any closets or utility areas.

How much of the second floor has 6’ or taller ceilings?

The second floor square footage consists of all the usable floor space to the knee wall although part of this space will have reduced headroom, as shown by the ceiling height lines that are drawn on each plan. To determine the second floor square footage that is taller than 6′, cut out the to-scale ruler in the back of the Stock Floor Plan Booklet and measure between the 7′ and 6′ second floor height lines.

MAX SQUARE FOOTAGES:

Max refers to whether you maximize the second floor square footage by enclosing four fifths of the second floor and only having one fifth of the second floor left open; thus causing high vaulted ceilings over only one fifth of your first floor. Typically dome owners tend to leave one half of the second floor open thereby having high vaulted ceilings over half of their first floor rooms. On the Ai Stock Floor Plans, the Second Floor Square Footage includes the perimeter areas starting at five feet.

Dome Size
22′
27′
30′
34′
36′
40′
45′
48′
1st Floor
370
555
665
852
946
1,178
1,489
1,693
2nd Floor
NA
231
213
427
470
667
951
1,137
Loft
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
112
142
162
Max sq.ft.
370
786
878
1,278
1,418
1,957
2,582
2,992

How is the second floor square footage determined in the American Ingenuity domes?

  • On the Ai Building Plans, the second floor square footage includes the area starting at five feet. The Tax Assessor uses these numbers, so taxes will be less.
  • On the Ai Price List, the Second Floor Square Footage includes the area starting at five feet.
  • On the Ai Stock Floor Plans, the Second Floor Square Footage includes the areas starting at five feet.

Should I build any of the large American Ingenuity Domes and not install the second floor?  Yes, is entirely up to you whether the second floor is installed.

If I do not want to access the second floor using stairs, what do I use?  Install a chair rail on the stairs or install a winch powered lift or install an elevator. See Handicap Accessible for more info.  Click on Lifts/Chair Rails to learn more. 

Is there more usable square footage in your dome than a conventional house?

Yes, in a conventional house there is an attic which rarely gets used. To us it is just a space that holds hot or cold air which is waiting to leak into your house. In a dome you get to use the second floor space that would normally be an attic in a conventional house. So even if some square footage around the second floor perimeter cannot be used there is still more usable square footage in the American Ingenuity dome (due to the four foot tall riser panels) than a conventional house.

 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
 

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.

If you give us your property tax ID number or property address and your building department name  at no cost to you, American Ingenuity can call your building department, show them our web site, drop box generic plans to the official and ask them the following questions.  Is an Engineer’s seal required on the building plans?  Is an Energy Report required? If required the Engineer Seal and the Energy Report can be purchased from Ai.

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.”

 

45' dome second floor railing.

45′ dome second floor railing and doors to second floor bedrooms. No cupola.

 

First and second floor view in 15 year old dome.

First and second floor view in 15 year old  34 foot in diameter dome. Second floor has library and bedroom with closet. Cupola with windows installed on top of dome.

Typically dome building kits do not contain riser panels. American Ingenuity decided to supply four foot tall riser panels with its Building Kit. This means the first row of panels of the dome shell are rectangular shaped panels and triangle shaped panels complete the rest of the shell. This vertical wall allows for convenient placement of furniture around the perimeter of the first floor. 

When a first floor room is designed under a second floor NOT in a high vaulted ceiling area, what is the ceiling height?  The four foot tall riser allows for a first floor ceiling height of 7’ 6” in the 22’ thru 34’ domes and an 8’ tall ceiling in the 36′ through 48′ domes. 

How to have 8’6″ or 10′ ceiling heights in first floor rooms that have second floor above them. 

  1. The 22′ & 27′ dome riser panels can be increased from four feet tall to five feet; resulting in a first floor ceiling height of 8 ‘6″. 
  2. The 30′ – 48′ domes can have an extra two foot riser installed on top of the four foot tall risers; resulting in a first floor ceiling height of ten feet in rooms that are not designed in the high vaulted ceiling area.  The taller riser walls do not affect the second floor ceiling heights.

How can I relate to the first floor and second floor square footages in your domes? 

Cut out the to-scale ruler on the stock plan and use to measure the width and length of each room. Compare the plan room sizes to the room sizes in your current home. You know whether you want your new home’s rooms larger or smaller than your current room sizes.

To view stock plans for each of the ten size kits we manufacture, click on Stock Plans.  After reviewing the stock plans, if you do not find a plan matching your families desires just make changes on one that is closest to your needs, scan and email to us along with your telephone number and notes as to what changes are wanted.  After emailing, please call to assure we received your email…..emails go into cyberspace without us receiving them.  We will review, call if questions and complete a Plans Quote showing Ai’s sale pricing to convert your ideas into custom building plans.

The square footage of living space shown with each stock floor plan indicates the total space inside the dome. The square footage of each room is included to help you visualize the size of the space, and does not include any closets or utility areas.

How much of the second floor has 6’ or 7′ taller ceilings?

The second floor square footage consists of all the usable floor space to five feet of perimeter height. Around the perimeter of the second floor 5′, 6′ & 7′ height lines are drawn on each stock plan. To determine the second floor square footage that is taller than 6 or 7′, cut out the to-scale ruler located on the plan or in the back of the Stock Floor Plan Booklet and measure the area from the 6′ or 7′ height line towards the center of the dome.  To view pictures of the interior of the dome, please click on Interiors and then view the hyperlinks.  Also on the left hand side of each of our web site pages is a menu bar.  Scroll down the bar to find the section named Pictures. Below Pictures there are twelve menu items to review that have various interior pictures.

Sphere – Frequency and 5/8 dome info:

American Ingenuity has developed a dome that is approximately a one half sphere with the four foot tall riser wall.  All our building plans and manufacturing specifications are for 3/8 domes on a four foot riser.  So sorry we do not manufacture a 5/8 dome.

Can I order a taller riser than four feet?  Yes a five foot riser can be ordered on the 22′ and 27′ domes and an additional two foot riser can be ordered for the 30′ thru 48′ dome sizes.  The two foot riser is installed on top of the four foot riser. Please call our office for pricing, 321-639-8777. Monday thru Friday 9-5 eastern time.

Ai’s  30’, 34’, 36′, 40’, 45’ & 48’ Domes are 3 frequency, 3/8 sphere on a 4’ vertical riser. We find it more practical to use a vertical 4′ riser wall on all of our domes instead of 5/8″ sphere.

  • The 22’ & 27’ Domes are 2 frequency, ½ sphere on a 4’ vertical riser wall or a five foot tall riser panel.  The 22′ & 27′ domes have fewer panels than the three frequency domes so the panels in a 27’ weight more than the 30’ panels do.
  • The 30’, 34’, 36′, 40’, 45’ & 48’ Domes are 3 frequency, 3/8 sphere on a 4’ vertical riser. We find it more practical to use a vertical 4′ riser wall on all of our domes instead of 5/8″ sphere.  Our 30′ dome it turns out to be almost the same height as a 5/8.  Also the 4′ riser wall makes for a better shaped entryway and allows the dome to link with our other size domes.

Misc Info about Domes:

The dome, or partial sphere, is a geometric form that encloses the greatest amount of volume with the least amount of surface area. Historically, massive domes constructed of stones, brick or concrete were common in ancient Greece & Rome. In modern times, Buckminster Fuller was the first to formulate geodesic principles for constructing a spherical surface by triangular subdivision.

Manufactured dome home kits are constructed using a triangular network to form a spherical shape. This method provides for a free-span, self-supporting structure requiring no internal supports such as roof load bearing partition walls. This allows for maximum flexibility of floor plan design & utilization of interior space.

As an architectural form, the dome is one of the strongest structural forms devised and built by man. Domes that were built centuries ago enclose many of the great cathedrals of Europe. Domes are structurally superior to rectilinear enclosures. The partial sphere is an aerodynamic shape that is very stable in high winds & can withstand heavy snow loads. For these reasons, residential domes greatly exceed the structural requirements of the major building codes in the United States.

One of the most exciting architectural environments ever designed, a dome brings its best attributes to your home. It delivers a rewarding living experience filled with warmth, light & open space to those who accept the challenge to build & live in their own dome

MAX SQUARE FOOTAGES:

Max refers to whether you maximize the second floor square footage by enclosing four fifths of the second floor and only having one fifth of the second floor left open; thus causing high vaulted ceilings over parts of your first floor. Typically dome owners tend to leave one half of the second floor open thereby having high vaulted ceilings over half of their first floor rooms. Half opened areas would reduce the second floor & max square footages quoted below.

Dome Size
22′
27′
30′
34′
36′
40′
45′
48′
1st Floor
373
555
665
852
946
1,178
1,489
1,693
2nd Floor
NA
225
424
614
718
886
1,127
1,278
Loft
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
112
142
170
Max sq.ft.
373
780
1,089
1,466
1,644
2,176
2,758
3,141

How is the second floor square footage determined in the American Ingenuity domes?  On the Ai Building Plans, the second floor square footage includes all the area on the second floor to the perimeter areas that are five feet tall.

Should I build any of the large American Ingenuity Domes and not install the second floor?

Not normally, but if that is what you desire Ai can design your building plans with no second floor. 

Because of the spherical shape of the geodesic dome, a second floor is a natural in domes larger than 30′ in diameter.  Consider installing a guest bedroom, guest bath and storage on the second floor.

If I do not want to access the second floor using stairs, what do I use?

Install a chair rail on the stairs or install a winch powered lift or install an elevator. See info about Chair Lift below.

Is there more useable square footage in your dome than a conventional house?

Yes, In a conventional house there is an attic which rarely gets used. To us an attic is a space that holds hot or cold air waiting to pass into your home. In a dome the second floor space that would normally be an attic can be utilized. Around the second floor where the dome slopes to the floor, a 3′ to 4′ perimeter knee wall is built to hide this short space. In the knee wall doors can be installed to access the space for storage.  Behind the perimeter knee walls, AC ducts and wiring can be run.  Or in the knee wall air return grill with filter can be installed.  Desks, bed headboards, etc. can be placed against the knee wall.  Bedroom dressers, chests are installed along the interior walls of the rooms.

Info About Chair Lift, Wheelchair Lift, Elevator, etc.

This info is in response to making American Ingenuity domes handicapped accessible and accessing a possible second floor via a chair lift or elevator.  Our plans can be modified to accommodate wider doorways and larger bathrooms.

Since most Ai stock plans contain a second floor (and even a basement), accessibility to these levels may be achieved by installing one of the following:

  1. Stairway chair lift
  2. Wheelchair lift
  3. Elevator** see end of document
  4. Incline platform lift (needs staircase 42” or more wide when 90 degree angle that is basic on our stairways.)

The most economical route is a chair lift.  If you are able to climb the three stairs to the 1st platform) the starting cost to install a straight stair chair lift is around $3,000.00.  If you need to have the lift start at the base of the staircase (not 1st platform) it becomes a curved chairlift. These lifts are custom and depending on the company start at around $8,000.00. Your dome plans will fall into the modified category.  Ameriglide also offers an incline platform lift for structures that do not have room for a standard wheelchair lift and are unable to utilize a stairway lift.

For dome owner’s requiring wheelchair access, a wheelchair lift can be incorporated into your dome plan design.  Due to the size of the wheelchair lift and accessibility requirements’ this would be a custom plan design.  The cost of a wheelchair lift starts at around $11,000.00 (this would be with basic upgrades for safety such as a battery backup). They are also making a hybrid of chairlift/ wheelchair lift.  Keep in mind these things for when you design your home.

A third option to access multiple floors would be to install an elevator, as with a wheelchair lift, elevators require custom plans design.  The average starting cost for an elevator starts at over $16,000.00. Due to the size of home elevators, they may not be able to accommodate a wheelchair, requiring a larger more expensive unit.

Once you decide on the type of mechanism that would suit your needs, we can begin to either modify or create a custom plan for you.   Below are several companies that specialize in chair lifts in homes.  Several of these companies also offer wheelchair lifts, stair lifts and elevators. There are several companies on the internet and costs vary.  Please view the companies below or do a web search to find additional companies who provide these products.

 

COMPANY PHONE # WEBSITE STAIGHT 1 LANDING
Acorn Stairlifts** 888-211-1522 http://usa.acornstairlifts.com/ 3K TO 4,500 10K TO 13k
Ameriguide 1 (800) 987-6308 http://www.ameriglide.com $1950 +shipping and install Not available
summitt 866.378.6648 http://www.summitlifts.com/Stairlifts.htm 4500-5500 10k
Stannah Stairlifts

1 800 877 8247

 

http://www.stannahstairlifts.com/ Approx 4k Custom approx 8k to 10k
Residential Elevators

(800) 832-2004

http://www.residentialelevators.com/index.htm Varies by state i.e. Florida $16K
Inclinator- Elevators

800-343-9007

http://www.inclinator.com

 

Varies by state i.e. Florida $25K

If you need additional information on how we can make your dome home handicapped accessible please contact Glenda at Glendab.aidomes@gmail.com or call us at 321-639-8777 – Mon-Fri 9-5 pm eastern time.

How much do home elevators cost?

Home Elevator Price Quotation:  This is similar to asking, “how much do cars cost?” There is a pretty wide range, depending on a number of factors. Generally speaking, in most parts of North America, two-stop home elevators start in the range of $20,000 installed. Typical installations cost between $19,000 and $39,000.

So what are the factors that affect the price of a home elevator?

  1. The cab finishes – cab walls can be made of glass, wood paneling, veneer or melamine. In many cases, builders order cabs with unfinished mdf walls and build finished cab walls themselves. The cost of the various options varies dramatically.
  2. The drive system – hydraulic drive systems are normally slightly more expensive than in-line drive systems, also called counterweight systems.
  3. The jobsite location – if your house is in a remote location, you can expect to pay more to cover the cost of travel for the installation crew.
  4. The number of floors being serviced – elevators installed in residences can go from two stops to six. Each stop requires an interlock attached to the door and adjustments for leveling. The cost for an additional floor is usually $1000 to $1500.
  5. The length of travel required . Normally, home elevators can travel up to 50 feet. The cost associated with the length of travel is usually about $200 / foot.
  6. The number of cab entrances – some elevators are configured with entrances on more than one side of the elevator cab. Additional openings will add cost.
  7. The type of cab entrance – some residential elevators are available with two-speed sliding doors, much like a commercial elevator. This style of elevator entrance adds significant cost. Several thousand dollars is typical.
  8. The level of automation – powered gate operators and power swing door operators are popular options. These will also add expense for each entrance.
  9. Customization – if your plans include customization of your elevator to match fixture finishes or special sizes, you can expect to pay a small premium. Manufacturers make home elevators to order, so it is not always costly to order custom features.

What do Stair Chair Lifts Cost?

Whenever you feel that it is necessary to look into some sort of stair chair lift for the interior or exterior of your home or office, it is very important that you look into stair lift prices.

Prices for straight stair lifts range from $1000 to $4200 installed.  A $1000 stair lift will be an older lift that is perhaps 4-5 years old.  The $4200 stair lift is usually coming from dealers that have been winning by default in their geographically areas.  The $4200 price can also come from manufacturers that are direct selling stair lifts to end users.  One would think that a manufacturer would offer a lower price.  This is not the case for two major stair lift suppliers.  Simply put, their cost of acquiring a lead is substantial, perhaps $500 per inquiry.  And, they are paying their sales reps on a commission basis which ends up increasing the price to the end user.  If you receive an initial quote for a straight stair lift over $4000 beware of the vendor.  The only exception to this would be in state that has regulated stair lifts.  The government adds fees onto stair lift registration or licensing and may require an installer to have a particular license.

 

Suffering from limited mobility can take quite a toll on your spirit as an individual. Finding out that stair lift prices may be a bit too high for you to afford the installation of one can be even more devastating. When it comes time for you to compare stair lift prices, download some information from the internet and look hard for a local company that can offer a recycled or used stair lift or low priced new stair lift with a buy back option in the future.

By looking around online, you should be able to find cheap stair lifts. Finding a reputable dealer will allow you to browse around some of the different models as well as give you an idea about the variety of stair lift prices that are out there today.

What you need to know as you start to browse around through all of the various stair lift prices is that there are a few different options that you have available to you. If you find that having a brand new stair lift installed is just a bit too pricey for your budget, you can look into cheap stair lifts or refurbished stair lifts prices that you can afford. Many people who do not have the initial funding to purchase a stair lift and then have it installed will look into beating stair lift prices by looking into financing options.

Depending on the type of stair lift that you are looking to have installed, you might find that your stair lifts price will increase if you need a custom built stair lift for a curved stair lift. Looking into cheap portable air stair lift price options in curved stair lifts will help you to cut out some of the financial burden. Your stair lift representative should be able to work with you in order to find the right stair lift prices to help you get the piece of equipment that you need without completely draining your bank account.

Cheap stair lifts are always available to consumers, however it is extremely important that you know that you are getting a quality piece of equipment. All too often, people are roped into purchasing a discount stair lift only to find that they run into issues down the road whether it comes to installation or the piece running properly. While getting a deal on stair lift prices is always nice, it is imperative that you find a quality piece of equipment that will last you for years and years into the future.

 

 

 

This article contains Construction Cost Estimate Blank Form

Bob applying final layer of concrete in the seams.

Fiber concrete being applied in the seams between the prefabricated panels of a 22′ dome.

The following blank form is provided for you to fill out as you determine your material and labor costs for your dome kit assembly and finishing. Because labor costs and materials cost vary in the USA, Ai cannot estimate your costs. However the web site link below can be used to estimate finishing costs for your area.

Free Web Site To Calculate Finishing Costs For Your Area

To view information on a free web site where you can look up finishing costs for a conventional home in your state and area, click on Calculating Square Footage Costs. This article also includes  a Construction Cost Estimate Report from building-cost  for a 1200 sq.ft. home in Melbourne, Florida.

If you build an American Ingenuity dome using one of our stock plans, click on Plans & Kit Sale Prices to view regular and sale pricing on the building plans and the kit  w’ building options pricing or each stock plan.

The American Ingenuity dome kits can be assembled by owner builders.  If you choose to use the Kit Assembly Consultant to supervise the assembly of your dome kit, click on Kit Consultant/Specialist for approximately labor costs to assemble the dome shell kit. The rest of the categories are generally the same costs whether it is a dome or a conventional house. To learn about Kit Assembly & see pictures, view Assembly and Construction Overview.

The finished costs on American Ingenuity concrete domes depends so much on where you live and what labor costs are for your area. You can ask at your local hardware store or ask a local contractor what the finished price per square foot is running for a conventional house in the neighborhood you plan to build in. That is what it will cost to finish the domes (if you do no labor yourselves), because everything in the interior is the same whether it is a conventional box house or a round house: foundation, plumbing, electrical, second floor joists, framing, lighting fixtures, bath room fixtures, kitchen appliances, flooring, kitchen cabinets, windows and doors, etc. To learn more click on Finished Cost.

To View three charts listing pricing for items purchased from Ai
for three dome kits Ai recently shipped, click on Pricing Charts

Is the American Ingenuity (Ai) steel reinforced concrete geodesic dome kit  less expensive than the materials cost for the exterior walls and roof of a conventional house or wood dome or log cabin or monolithic concrete dome?   Yes.   American Ingenuity’s dome shell kit price (not the finished home cost) is about one third to one half less in cost than what the materials cost for the exterior walls and roof of a wood dome, gunited concrete dome or conventional house (exterior walls, roof trusses, plywood, tar paper, shingles, 3 1/2″ thick insulation, siding, soffits, gutters, drywall for exterior walls & the ceiling, etc.).

Ai thinks the only big bargain you will receive is its dome building kit, which costs about one third to one half less than other building kits or materials to build the exterior walls and roof of a conventional house, wooden dome or sprayed concrete dome. And with the American Ingenuity Dome you end up with more….super-energy efficiency, super-strength, noncombustible concrete exterior and  low exterior maintenance home.

To view floor plan layouts for each of American Ingenuity’s ten dome kit sizes, click on Stock Plans.   On each plan is a to-scale ruler. When you print out the plan, cut out the ruler and use it to measure length and width of rooms and compare those room dimensions to the rooms you currently live in. You know whether you want your kitchen, living room or bedroom to be larger or smaller than your current house or apartment.  This will help you figure out what size dome will fit your needs. The scale is 1/10″ equals one foot.

No question is too small,  please call our office at 321-639-8777.  Monday – Friday 9-5 eastern time. 

To view info about financing, please click on  Financing Booklet.

Domes are measured by feet in diameter. Refer to Specifications to see possible square footages by floor.

  • A 15′ and 18′ Tiny Kits are one bedroom one bath size.
  • A 22′ can be a one car garage or a one bedroom/one bath home.
  • A 27′ or 30′ can be a two car garage or a one bedroom/one bath home.
  • A 34′ is a two bedroom, two bath. (The 34′ was a little too small so Ai designed a 36′ dome.
  • A 36′ is a two bedroom, two bath.
  • A 40′ is a three bedroom, two bath.
  • A 45′ is a four bedroom, three bath.
  • A 48′ can be a four or five bedroom home with three to four baths.

Calculating Finished Cost

Please compare apples to apples when trying to calculate finished cost of an American Ingenuity dome.  A conventional house would need walls greater than 2×10 with exterior reinforced with rebar and super thick concrete and still not come close to the advantages of an American Ingenuity dome.  The Ai dome should cost about the same price per square foot to build as a conventional house but you receive more….greater energy efficiency, greater strength, noncombustible concrete exterior.  To view Ai dome advantages, click on Advantage Summary.

When you factor in the storm resistance and energy efficiency, a traditional home would need to have 11″ of insulation requiring over 10″ thick insulated walls (this is with our standard 7″ EPS R-28 value insulation) as well as additional roof strapping, rebar and concrete against storms, and still not be equal to one our structure’s insulation and strength. So please compare apples to apples! Our kit comes with all the interior shell 1/2″ gypsum drywall installed, all the R28 insulation installed and 80% of the finished roof….and no wood to interrupt the insulation to rot, burn or be eaten by termites.  No shingles to blow off in high winds. Exterior concrete is primed and painted.

Comparing Apples to Apples When Researching Types of Housing

Material cost is only half of the equation, labor costs often eat up a large chunk of a construction budget. American Ingenuity’s panelized system has proven to save our clients labor time, as well as a reduction in material waste and material costs. That is why when comparing geodesic companies, conventional construction, etc. it is important to compare apples to apples, not just kit cost. The process of stacking the American Ingenuity prefab panels, overlapping/locking the steel mesh of adjacent panels and filling the seams with special fiber concrete, produces the structural components of the home, the finished concrete surface, installs all the insulation and all the dome shell 1/2″ drywall. No need for material and labor costs to install exterior framing, plywood, tar paper, shingles or interior shell insulation and shell drywall.

Ai is committed to providing you with the best design, energy efficiency, and durability with our panelized system for geodesic concrete homes for an affordable price.

Q: What are the American Ingenuity triangular and rectangular shaped panels made from?

A: Center core of 7″ rigid, nontoxic Expanded Polystyrene R-28 Insulation (not Styrofoam), exterior is three quarter inch (¾”)  fiber concrete reinforced with galvanized steel mesh with interior of 1/2″ Georgia-Pacific DensArmor Plus High-Performance gypsum drywall (which is moisture resistant, mold resistant gypsum and noncombustible). The steel mesh extends out all sides of the prefab panels. When two panels are set side by side, the steel mesh overlaps the mesh of the adjacent panel and is locked with “C” rings. Special fiber concrete is mixed on site and hand troweled in the seam areas in two applications — bonding agent is applied between the two layers. The seam areas average 2″ thick concrete.

Ai wants the concrete that is mixed on site to have the same properties as the concrete we manufacture and apply to your prefab panels. As a result we ship the same  fibers, liquid admixtures and bonding agent with your kit and supply a concrete mix recipe in the building plans and in the Assembly Manual.

When you compare other companies dome kits, please consider the following items:

Q: Does the companies kit have a finished exterior, or do you need to finish with a vapor barrier and either shingles, siding or stucco?
A: Ai’s dome’s exterior is 3/4″ fiber concrete reinforced with galvanized steel mesh. Only the seams (about 3” deep by 5” wide) between the panels & the entryways & dormers are concreted on site. You do not concrete over the entire shell. After kit assembly the concrete gets primed and painted.

Q: Is the framing of the exterior walls wood or is the exterior of the kit wood, that eventually rots, or termites can eat, or can potentially burn?
A: Ai’s dome prefab panels contain no wood in them making the panels fire resistant. Our domes have survived forest fires. There is no wood in the dome exterior to rot or be eaten by termites. There is no roof or shingles to burn and no roofing to blow off in high winds.

Q:What maintenance is needed for the dome exterior?
A: The entire exterior of the Ai dome shell is covered with a continuous layer of concrete so there is nothing to rot, rust, shrink, warp, or be eaten by termites. Without shingles, gutters, or exterior trim to maintain. It only requires an occasional pressuring washing and painting.

Q: Does the kit contain insulation? What type, and what is the overall R-Value for energy efficiency?
A: Ai’s kit’s riser and triangle panels come with 7″ thick Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) insulation already installed producing an overall R-Value of 28. An option is available for 9″ insulation R-36 value. In addition, our exterior triangle and riser panels have no wood ribs interrupting the insulation resulting in continuous insulation. (Other companies suggest the use of spray foam insulation which is expensive to install, often covers wiring and piping making repairs difficult).

Q: Does the insulation recommended for the shell contain HBCD, TCPP, CFCs and formaldehyde?
A: The EPS insulation that Ai contains none of the above items. It is not Styrofoam. The EPS that Ai utilizes has a flame retardant added to it, therefore the EPS is noncombustible and is protected by the 1/2″ DensArmor drywall which is also non-combustible and provides the Code required 15 minute thermal barrier. EPS when exposed to flame does not produce toxic gases such as Cyanide.

Q: How is the interior of the dome shell finished? Do you have to buy, cut, nail or glue drywall that you have purchased to the interior of the dome shell? Or do you need to spray foam insulation over the entire shell? (Very labor intensive and expensive)
A: Ai’s kits triangle and riser panels come with ½” thick DensArmor (by Georgia Pacific), fiberglass mat on both sides with gypsum that is moisture resistant and mold resistant. During kit assembly rain will not harm the drywall. The drywall is adhered to the EPS with wallboard adhesive. There is no cutting and adhering of the drywall needed for the shell interior. There is no need to spray foam insulation, saving you labor costs, and less product waste. When the kit shell is assembled tape the joints and finish like traditional wallboard. (To blend the seam areas to the drywall, apply joint compound in a skip trowel effect.)

Q: Do their kits come with standard vertical riser panels before the triangle panels slope inward?
A: Ai’s kits come standard with 4′ tall prefab riser panels. This allows for first floor vertical space (8′ headroom on first floor) before the dome panels start to slope in giving you more useable headroom on the second floor. We also offer an option to increase the riser panel height giving you up to 10′ of headroom on the first floor (dependent upon dome diameter size).

Q: Do they offer in house building plan design? Are the plans fully executable, and permit worthy? Do they use a knowledgeable licensed engineer, for design calculations and engineer seal if needed? Can they produce an Energy Report if needed? Is an Assembly Manual provided?
A: Ai’s cad designer works to create a home layout that is unique, whether using existing floor plans or one that is designed to your specifications. Our plans are in full detail (13- 17 sheets), fully executable, and permit worthy. We work with engineers who are knowledgeable about geodesic structures to do specialized load bearing designs and seal our plans (if needed). Ai can provide energy reports if required for permit. Our assembly manual covers in detail the construction process of the dome (the manual is available to view once a kit deposit and order is made.)

Q: Finally, does the other companies back up their product against high winds Tornadoes and Hurricanes?
A: American Ingenuity offers a limited warranty up to a 225 mile an hour hurricane winds, or an F4 tornado, see details on our website.

I hope that when finished comparing our concrete dome home kit against other housing types, you will see that our product is superior, and more cost effective. We look forward to speaking with you, and working with you to provide you a home kit that is safe, secure and energy efficient.

 

 

Dome Size 30′ 34′ 40′ 45′ 48′
Item
Material Labor Material Labor Material Labor Material Labor Material Labor
  • Dome Kit w/ Options
  • Dome Kit Assembly
  • Concrete Slab/Foundation
  • Windows: qty. – cost
  • Exterior doors: qty. – cost
  • Insulation: already installed
  • Rough plumbing
  • Rough electrical
  • AC/Heat & Ducting
  • Interior Faming/Joists
  • Stairway
  • Drywall & finish for interior walls
  • Shell Interior finish**
  • Dome Shell Wall Board: already installed
  • Interior doors, trim, finish
  • Painting: int. & ext.
  • Cabinets & vanities
  • Plumbing fixtures
  • Electrical fixtures
  • Carpet & flooring
  • Kitchen appliances
Total
Total Material & LaborCost per sq. ft.

** Finishing seams with joint compound and tape and painting a textured paint (paint with sand or vermiculite mixed in it) onto the dome shell wallboard. Or apply joint compound in a skip trowel fashion over the drywall to blend seam areas to the drywall.

These categories do not include costs of land, engineering and permit fees, Florida impact fees, building plans, site preparation, utilities such as water, septic/sewer, electric, etc.

Earth Berming Or Burying The American Ingenuity Concrete Dome House

The Ai dome lends itself very well to earth berming because of the strength of the dome shape and the totally concrete exterior wall, with no materials to rot. Our domes have been bermed with as much as four feet of backfill. However, if you earth berm your dome, we recommend a drain system (French Drain) to draw water away from the foundation. Plans for this drain system are included with our basement plans.

Can your concrete house be bermed higher than four feet? The American Ingenuity Geodesic Dome could be bermed higher or even buried, but we do not recommend it because the additional expense of labor and extra concrete would probably not be worth the gain. A dome or a structure that is not buried would never have to withstand loads greater than 100 lbs. per sq.ft. If a structure is buried the earth could put loads in excess of 500 lbs. per sq.ft. and we do not design our standard dome for those extreme conditions that would not normally occur.

Four feet is the maximum height of back fill that can go back against the dome. Back fill higher than this would cause more expense and complications than is likely to be worth while. Consider landscaping with plants to enhance the appearance that you want.

I would like to completely bury the dome. Is this possible?

Yes. Ai will need to hire a local engineer to review your soil report and provide designs for our CAD department to incorporate in your plans.  Once the dome kit is assembled, then vertical and horizontal rebar is installed and the concrete is gunited onto the entire dome surface the number of inches recommended by the engineer.  To support the weight of the additional concrete on the dome, supports may need to be installed to support the dome exterior.  His fee is based on the size dome and the amount of fill that will cover your dome.

A dome like an arch, increases its effectiveness as it is compressed so it will support partial earth berming or any snow load. We have fortified our reinforced concrete with space-age fibers and special admixtures, as well as galvanized steel. As the panels of the dome are assembled, the beveled seams between them are concreted, creating a network of interlocking arches of structural beams.

When the dome is bermed, a French Drain is installed around the base of the dome. The steps are:

  • Cover any part of the basement wall that will be in touch with soil with a tar emulsion (designed for this purpose). This waterproof coat should extend down to (and if possible, under) the polyethylene vapor barrier.

  • If you wish, you may add additional waterproofing. Apply roofing felt over the tar emulsion, overlapping the edges 6″ and sealing the felt with more tar. Place the roofing paper over the outside of the vapor barrier to shed water. Then, give the whole wall one more coat of tar. This extra investment will provide a superior measure of protection against moisture. Please, don’t cut corners.

  • Place a perforated drainpipe (at least 3” in diameter. – 4” diameter. For long lengths), holes down, into the gravel bed. The pipe should be below the floor level and drop 1” for every 8’ of length. This discharges water into an area lower than the dome itself and allows quick drainage away from the building. Lay pipe in the gravel bed and cover gravel with two layers of roofing felt to prevent dirt from penetrating into the gravel.

  • Backfill the entire area.