ICF basement | AiDomes

This document lists things to consider prior to selecting stock plan and prior to designing a modified or custom floor plan.  To review American Ingenuity’s stock plans in order to get a feel for how rooms are arranged in a dome, please view our Geodesic Dome Home Plans web site file. On this file are all the stock plans for each size dome.

AFFORDABLE:
While determining the scope and size of your project be sure it is not only livable but also affordable. All of your efforts and dreams will be for naught if you design a house that you can not afford to build. To learn about finished cost per square foot, click on Finished Cost.

If you will need financing to build your dome, please view our Financing Your Dome booklet which will help determine your budget, explain the financing steps and prepare you to visit the lenders.

SIZE OF THE HOME:
Domes are sized by their diameter but you will probably use the available square footage for a comparison and size determination. Knowing the size of your current or previous homes will allow you to compare them with a dome home. The number of bedrooms and other rooms needed will also guide you to the correct size. If you are designing a dream home for the future, cost doesn’t matter. But if this home is to become a reality it must be affordable. Many of our dome owners have started with a smaller dome & added another dome later or converted it into a garage after they built their larger dome home.

PROPERTY:
You will need to make considerations for the characteristics of your property early in the planning process. If you own your property or are buying property, please call Ai (321-639-8777) and request our Buying Land Checklist. Prior to purchasing property or if you own your property, if you give Ai the parcel ID number and building department name, at no cost to you Ai will call the building department, email generic plans, engineering statement, structural calcs, etc. and find out what is required for a building permit to be issued on Ai’s prefabricated home dome kit.

You will develop the design of your home and its surrounding outdoor area at the same time. Your dome home will be more satisfying when it is incorporated into the site and united with it. Think of such things as:

• Where is the best view? Where do the windows need to be?
• Where should the entrances be located?
• Does the property have a slope? What is the best way to take advantage of it?
• What are the building setbacks from the property lines? What is the widest you can make your home?
• Are there zoning requirements like minimum square footages, height limitations and garage requirements?
• Where will the driveway and utilities be located?

FOUNDATION DESIGNS:
Domes are built on the typical foundations used with conventional houses:
• Ai standard Plans are a concrete slab & footings. If poured at the same time is the least expensive and easiest to construct foundation type.
• Raised concrete slab on a block stem wall is used when the ground is not level or the frost level is deep.
• Raised wood floor with a crawl space is common when a concrete slab is not acceptable.
• Full or partial basements utilizing concrete block or poured concrete walls or ICF.
• Pilings are the most expensive foundation but may be required in coastal regions or when the soil is not suitable.

GARAGES:
If you are planning to have enclosed parking there are two usual choices: a separate dome or a basement garage. A garage dome can be unattached or linked to the home. All but the 22’ garage dome offers additional space with a second floor. Placing the garage in the same dome as the house makes it difficult to design a floor plan around the garage space.

BASEMENTS:
Basements can be completely below ground level, partially exposed, exposed on one side, or be completely above ground. Keep in mind when the basement is above ground level, doorways will require either a deck or a landing and stairway. If the entrance to your home is not at ground level you and your guests will always climb a flight of stairs to enter the house.

With a full basement the exterior walls will align with the shape of the dome and complete the structure down to the foundation. A partial basement can be of any size and shape by utilizing a separate foundation to support the dome.

Basement walls are made the same as in conventional houses. Ai can design basements built from concrete block, ICF foam blocks and solid poured concrete walls.

We have included a few Stock Plans with basements to show you how they may be utilized; although, they are not interchangeable. Each floor plan has load bearing walls in different locations; therefore, adding a basement will require individual basement plans designed to support the walls and floors above.

BASEMENT GARAGES:
A basement can best be utilized for a garage when the land is sloped allowing the garage and entrance doors to be at ground level. If the ground does not have a sufficient slope you and your guests will always climb a flight of stairs to enter the house.

LINKS:
If you are planning to link domes together, you can join the domes at entryways or door dormers. Notice the examples utilized with each size dome. The link will vary in width according to the size of the dome and can vary in length from 2 feet to 10 feet.

EXTENSIONS:
While many dome companies offer the alternatives of room extensions to the dome, American Ingenuity feels they are not in your best interest. The exposed surface area and the materials required to gain floor space in an extension are much greater than that of the dome. The result is a less energy efficient dome and a higher cost per square foot. Also the construction is more involved and the visual impact of the dome design is lessened.

We recommend simply moving up to the next larger size dome or arranging your space differently to increase the efficiency of your design. This will save you time, energy and money.

American Ingenuity.  8777 Holiday Springs Rd. Rockledge Florida 32955

321-639-8777 Monday – Friday 9-5 Eastern Time

American Ingenuity can design custom or modified basement plans for a reasonable fee. The Ai prefabricated panelized home kit can be built on a basement.

  • 34' dome on full basement utilizing 34' Zeta 21 plan.

(Click dots to change picture or use left and right arrows in picture)

To view floor plans by dome size, some of which have a basement designed, click on Stock Plans. If you do not see a stock plan to fit your lifestyle, Ai can modify or customize a plan based on your notes or sketches.  Please email your sketch or notes by clicking on Contact Us. The Plans Coordinator will review your sketches and contact you to clarify your needs and email a Plans Quote.  During the basement plans design, Ai will email a basement questionnaire.  When you want Ai to start the design of your plans, pay in full for your plans and agree to the Plans Quote.

Your building department will have recommendations whether your property should have a soil report completed or not.  If the soil contents or load bearing pressure is debatable, hire a Geotechnical Company to complete a soil report with recommendations. Soil reports can cost from $300 up.

To complete the basement designs, American Ingenuity hires a local engineer.  If your soil is clay he requires a soil report and the soils engineer’s recommendations.  The engineer calculates the load of the dome and its interior floors to determine joist size and spacing and wall design.  Ai then incorporates his designs into your building plans.  Please call our office at 321-639-8777 for engineer pricing.

Ai can provide plans for most types of basement wall systems from poured on site concrete walls or concrete block walls or insulated concrete forms (ICF) or precast basement wall panels.

Soil, soil, soil.  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″x20″ and slab was increased to 6″.  In some instances the footer may need to be an augured footing three feet down to hit cap rock.  In other instances your footings may need to rest on wood pilings driven 40’ into the ground in order to get to solid soil.  Ai does not determine the type foundation you need for your dome.  You tell us what type footing and basement you desire based on your soil report.  Generally a foundation cannot be built on clay and  basement walls cannot be back filled with clay.

Since we are a manufacturer of dome housing kits, we do not manufacture or build basement walls, please contact your local basement subcontractors for basement construction costs.  .

Full basements are the same size and shape as the dome first floor. The multiple sided foundation for the Ai dome can cost 15% to 25% more than a rectangle basement. If you mark the corners of the foundation itself this removes the responsibility from the contractor.

The below ground basement can have the slab poured first with the exterior basement walls built on top of the slab or the footings can be poured separate with the exterior basement wall built on top of the footings and then the slab poured inside the basement wall. Basement walls are usually 8″ thick when made of poured concrete but will likely increase depending on the height of the basement wall and the height of the back fill.

The plans show  rebars coming out of the basement walls to connect into the seams between the dome prefab riser panels and into the front and back of each entryway base panel and each first floor door dormer base panel, etc.  Vertical rebars come out of the footings thru the buttress walls into the dome panels. Buttress walls support the entryway and first floor door dormer panels.  The horizontal rebars in the buttress walls connect the buttress wall to the basement walls.   After the basement is poured while the concrete is still malleable, insert in the top of the basement walls per the foundation plan the tie down hook rebars that go into the horizontal riser seams.

When the dome is built on a basement, the first floor framing of the dome is typically built with wood 2×10’s which are hung on the inside of the concrete basement walls.

Should I build a second dome for a garage or build a basement under the dome to use for my garage?  The main determining factor on which kind of garage is built is whether your land is flat or sloped and your budget.

If your land is flat, we recommend a dome garage or conventional garage because building a dome on an above ground basement  causes the access of the dome via basement stairs or exterior stairs.  Ai can design a lift if sufficient room in the basement or a rail chair on the stairs to access the dome from the basement.

If your land is sloped and the dome is built on a basement, parts of the first floor of the dome can be accessed at ground level or a few steps from ground level. Then building your dome on a basement is the better choice.  When this is done, some parts of the basement will be open so cars can be driven into the basement.  Other parts will be back filled with dirt so you can walk out the first floor of the dome to access your land.

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

Ai DOMES BUILT ON BASEMENTS

8″ thick solid concrete basement walls for 34′ Dome
 
34′ Dome Home on poured concrete basement walls
Back view of the above 34′ dome; this  side of the basement is bermed with dirt and French drain installed
Front view of the same dome with basement entrance.
Photo looking down into basement from second floor of 45′ Dome
Basement under 45′ Dome House
34′ Dome Home on basement

 

Q: Does American Ingenuity modify or design custom basement plans?
A:
Yes, Ai can design custom or modified basement plans for a reasonable cost. Fax or email your sketch to us and we will call back with questions and complete a Plans Quote with fees for Ai to design your dome building plans and basement building plans.

Q: Can Ai design basement plans using concrete block, poured walls or insulated concrete forms?
A:
Yes, we can provide plans for most types of basement wall systems utilizing poured on site concrete or blocks or insulated concrete forms or precast basement wall panels.

Q: What materials can be used to build the basement walls?
A:
A company named Superior Walls supplies precast insulated concrete wall panels. Their number is 800-452-9255 or go to their web site www.superiorwalls.com

The following came directly from their site: The Superior Walls system consists of wall panels built with steel-reinforced concrete studs, 1″ rigid Dow® insulation, a reinforced top and bottom bond (footer) beams, along with a concrete facing approximately 2″ thick. The bond beams and concrete facing are cast in one continuous pour. Studs are connected by encapsulating vertical rebars and galvanized hooks and pins which protrude from the top, bottom, and back of each stud. Pressure-treated furring strips are pre-attached to the inner face of each stud. This provides the base for the owner/builder to finish the basement without having to add any additional studding. Holes are cast into each stud to accommodate wiring and small-diameter plumbing. The top bond beam is perforated to allow for bolting of the pressure-treated sill plates.

INSTALLATIONThe SUPERIOR WALLS System:  The panels are set on a bed of compacted stone which serves as a bearing layer as well as a drainage control system under the foundation. Once in place, the panels are bolted together at the top and bottom and sealed with a gun-applied adhesive-sealant. The owner/builder or builder then pours the floor slab inside the wall system.

Foam Blocks filled with Concrete are referred to as ICF for Insulated Concrete Forms. These blocks are easy to use and provide insulation. Their high cost is offset by labor savings in the assembly. Some of the many manufacturers are listed below. Call and ask them for the nearest supplier to you.  One of the engineers utilized by Ai to engineer seal its building plans, prefers ARXX ICF wall to building a basement wall with concrete blocks.  The ARXX ICF panel is 16″ by 4′ long which makes for quicker basement wall construction.

Reward Wall System, 800-468-6344, www.rewardwalls.com

Poly Steel, Albuquerque NM, 800-977-3676, www.polysteel.com

Insul Deck, Florence KY, 800-475-6720, www.insul-deck.org

Arxx, Alexandria Bay NY, 315-482-5253, www.arxx.net

Q: How is the below ground basement built and how is the dome attached to the basement walls?
A:
The below ground basement can have the slab poured first with the exterior basement walls built on top of the slab or the footings can be poured separate with the exterior basement wall built on top of the footings and then the slab poured inside the basement wall. Basement walls are usually 8″ thick when made of poured concrete but will likely increase depending on the height of the basement wall and the height of the backfill.

Ai has basement plans available that explain how the dome is attached to the basement, etc. for example rebars need to come out of the basement wall to connect into the seams between the dome riser panels and into the front and back of each entryway base panel and each first floor door dormer base panel.  Vertical rebars come out of the footings thru the buttress walls into the dome panels. Buttress walls support the entryway and first floor door dormers.  The horizontal rebars in the buttress walls connect the buttress wall to the basement walls.  After the basement is poured while the concrete is still malleable, insert in the top of the basement walls per the foundation plan the tie down hook rebars that go into the bottom horizontal riser seams.

When the dome is built on a basement, the first floor framing of the dome is typically built with wood 2×10’s, hung on the side of the basement walls and are supported by any interior basement walls or designed posts. The riser panels rests on the basement wall.  When the riser panels bottom seam is concreted, the concrete continues down the side of the basement wall six inches.

Q: How thick are the basement walls?
A:
Basement walls are usually 8″ thick when made of poured concrete but will likely increase depending on the height of the basement wall and the height of the back fill.

Q: If I build my dome on a basement, will I need to install a French drain?
A:
Yes. Included in the basement building plans will be a French drain sheet. The steps to install the French drain are:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Place a perforated drainpipe (at least 3” in diameter to 4” in 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.
  4. Backfill the entire area.