modifications | AiDomes

Building Envelope

The following came from the EPA’s web site: 

http://energystar.gov/ia/new_homes/features/VEFraming1-17-01.pdf 

An effective building envelope is a key element for an energy –efficient home.  Value-engineered framing increases the thermal resistance of the building envelope without compromising structural integrity by eliminating unnecessary framing members.  This can result in up to 25 percent reduction in the amount of wood used.  With lumber prices high, optimizing the use of wood can significantly lower the framing cost and reduce the resource impact of new home construction. 

Wood loses or gains heat more quickly than insulation.  In frame construction, studs, joists and rafters are placed at regular intervals throughout the building envelope.  The cavities formed by these framing members are filled with insulation.  The unnecessary use of wood displaces insulation and degrades the thermal efficiency of the building envelope. 

Standard construction practice places framing members at 16 inches on center.  Most building codes allow this spacing to be increased to 24 inches by using deeper framing members (i.e. 2×6’s instead of 2×4’s).  This also reduces labor costs.  

The size and location of doors and windows has an impact on the thermal efficiency of the building envelope.  Figure 1 shows a window opening in standard framed wall.  The location of the window opening requires the installation of additional studs to support the frame.  By utilizing value-engineered framing and adjusting the location of the window opening as shown in Figure 2, unnecessary studs are eliminated. 

At exterior corners and the intersection of interior partitions and exterior walls, additional studs are required to support the drywall.  Figures 3 and 4 show how these studs create pockets that are difficult to insulate and air seal.  By making the modifications shown in Figures 5 and 6, these pockets are eliminated.  Using “drywall stops” can further increase the thermal efficiency at these locations. 

Look for Energy Star labeled homes to include value-engineered framing for improved thermal performance of the building envelope. 

Value-engineered framing can provide many benefits including:

  1. Improved Comfort:  By increasing wall insulation and eliminating air spaces, value-engineered framing increases the overall R-value and integrity of the building envelope.  This results in walls that are warmer in winter and cooler in summer.  This is important because approximately 40 percent of our physical comfort is due to the radiant heat exchange between our bodies and the surrounding interior surfaces.  Value-engineered framing reduces this radiant heat exchange, thus maintaining a more consistent level of comfort throughout a house.
  2. Reduced construction cost:  Value-engineered framing can reduce the amount of lumber and labor needed to construct a home.  This results in construction cost savings.
  3. Lower utility bills:  Value-engineered framing reduces the amount of heat and air that flows through the building envelope.  This results in lower utility bills, making homes less expensive to operate.
The exterior walls and roof of the American Ingenuity dome contain no wood to interrupt the insulation.  The seven inch thick blocks of Expanded Bead Polystyrene that Ai uses is comparable to eleven inches of fiberglass insulation. During the shell kit assembly, a temporary wooden rib system is used to support the component panels until the seams between the panels and all the entryways and dormers are concreted…then the rib system comes down.  There is no wood in the exterior walls and roof of the Ai dome to interrupt the insulation…no wood to burn…no wood to rot and no wood for termites to eat.  The exterior of the Ai dome is steel reinforced concrete that does not contain shingles.
So the Ai dome exterior is a tight envelope because it does not have wood interruping its insulation and the insulation is super-thick; as a result the Ai dome saves its clients 50% to 70% on their heating and cooling bills.  For example, American Ingenuity can cool its 3,700 sq.ft. office domes to 76 degrees during work times for less than $133 a month in the hot Florida summer months.

The following info answers some of American Ingenuity’s most commonly asked Dome Plans FAQ – frequently asked questions.

Bay window off dining room over looking deck.

Bay window off dining room over looking deck in 45′ dome dining room.

American Ingenuity (Ai) has a plans design department that can customize any floor plan to fit your lifestyle. The Oliver’s wanted a bay window to overlook their deck.   As a result an entryway was installed with this beautiful window.  To view plans sale pricing and kit sale pricing for each specific stock plan, click on Stock Plans & Kit Sale Pricing.   Please scroll down the page to find the chart.

Q: How do I view your stock floor plans for the prefab home dome kit?

A:  Click on Stock Plans to view stock plans for each of Ai’s ten size dome kits.  Once you are on the page scroll down to see the hyperlinks to click on. To view plans & pictures for Tiny Home, click on Tiny Domes.    If you do not see a stock plan to fit your lifestyle, Ai can modify or customize a plan or Ai can design a custom plan from your sketches and notes.  If you want stock plan layouts mailed, call Ai at  321-639-8777 for printing cost and mailing cost.

Q: How do we determine what size dome is best for my family?

A: First check the 10 Steps to Building Ai Dome and second review stock plans on our website to see how the area within a dome is utilized

  • To view info to assist in custom plan design, click on these four links: Getting Started, Floor Planner Guidelines, Revising Stock Plans and Things to Consider.
  • Then compare these sample floor plans with the rooms and square footages of houses you are familiar with by using the to-scale ruler in the back of the booklet or on the emailed plan.
  • Compare your finances and construction costs to avoid designing a project that is beyond a realistic budget. On our home page, download our Financing Booklet.  FYI, a smaller dome could be built first with a link where a second dome can be added later. 
  • Think about the future will you need to increase or downsize your home size?
  • If you had to move what size home would sell best?

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.

Q: What size dome do I build if I do not want a second floor?
A:
The 15′, 18′, 22′, 27′, 30′, 34, 36′ and 40′ domes would be suitable for homes with only a first floor. However any of the domes can be built without a second floor.

Because of the shape of the dome, a second floor is a natural. If you choose to construct a larger dome and include the second floor, you can install an elevator, chair rail on your stairs or a lift to access the second floor. Click on Rail Chairs to learn more.

You could design all your living space and master bedroom and bath on the first floor, and put a guest bedroom and bath on the second floor and use the second floor rooms for guests or for storage.

Q: Can the dome be made handicap accessible?
A: Yes. All of the dome floor plans can be modified to be handicap accessible. The cost to do this depends upon the complexity of the plan. Contact us for a price quote. Click on Accessible to learn more.

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Ai’s philosophy is that each person 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.

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Q: What items should I consider when planning to build an American Ingenuity geodesic dome?
A:
The building industry is not only behind the times, it moves slowly! We cannot stress enough the importance of starting your preparations early for all aspects of building. What you think may take two months can easily consume four or five months or more. To have any hope of beginning the actual construction on time you must at least double the time you think it will take to acquire blueprints, financing, building permits, contractors or subcontractors. Optimists should triple their expectations.

Once your land has been acquired, blueprints are usually the first step.

  • Some Building Departments require that blueprints be sealed or approved by one of their state architects or engineers prior to giving permits, which takes additional time. Click on Building Permit to learn more.
  • Mortgage lenders move slower than you may anticipate. Click on Financing Overview to lean more.
  • Remember to allow time to have the land cleared, prepped and ready for the foundation. All permits pertaining to electrical, telephone, water, septic tanks, sewer hookups, driveway and building….will take time. Click on Planning Process to learn more.
  • Also increased demand for American Ingenuity Dome Kits has forced us to assign shipping dates as much as 8-12 weeks in advance. If you intend to begin building in the summer start the process one to two years before. Other expectant homeowners will be clogging the system by spring, so if you are the early bird they will be waiting behind you instead of vice versa.

Q: How do I plan for expansion -building an additional dome at a future date?
A:
When designing your first dome, you can prepare for future expansion by placing an entryway or link at the location where you will later connect another dome. If we are providing you with customized plans, we can design them for the future expansion. When you order your first dome, we can provide instructions and materials that will make the connection easier.

Q: Can the domes have basements or be built upon stilts or pilings?
A:
Yes. To complete these designs, a local engineer is hired to calculate the load of the dome and its interior floors to determine joist size and spacing and wall/column/piling design.  Ai then incorporates his designs into your building plans.  Call for engineer pricing.  Any of our domes can be built upon a basement, stilts or pilings. You determine how many openings you want in the basement walls for garage doors or for windows and doors, and you determine if and how many of the basement sides you want bermed with dirt. Full basements are the same size and shape as the dome first floor. Click on Foundations to learn more.

Also what do you use for floor joists? Wood, steel, manufactured trusses, whatever you prefer. How thick of a basement wall is required for the domes? 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 can provide a design, which places the dome on concrete pilings. Sometimes Ai recommends an above ground basement with breakaway walls instead of pilings.

Bear in mind that building any structure upon pilings will increase the cost significantly and require you to climb a flight of stairs each time you go in the house. If in your location, it is a requirement then you have no other choice.

Q: Do you sell basement wall kits?
A:
No. Ai manufacturers dome housing kits. We do not manufacture or build basement walls. Although we do design the basement building plans using premade wall panels, ICFs or concrete blocks. You would need to contact a local subcontractor for basement construction costs and to find out what type basements are best built in your area.

Q: What is the standard foundation included with the stock plans?

A: Concrete slab. For Ai to design a basement or concrete columns or stem wall or pilings, etc. an engineer fee is added to your Plans Quote. This is 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. Call for engineer pricing.

Q: Can I have windows above doors in an entryway?
A:
Yes. By using high profile entryways in your building plans, you can include glass or standard windows over a door, set of doors, or bank of conventional windows. The glass above the doors or windows could be half-moon shaped or be stained glass, etc. Any room with a cathedral ceiling, such as a foyer or living room, can benefit from this striking architectural feature. Click on Window Sizes to learn more.

Q: Will l feel closed in, in the dome?
A:
No. In our domes you can install an abundant number of windows and doors. Your budget and your floor plan selection determine the number of doors or windows you will have. There can be up to five entryways on the first floor of the 30’ through 48’ domes and you can have up to five window dormers or door dormers on the second floor of the 27’ or 34’ through 48’ domes.  (No second floor window or door dormers are available in 22’ or 30’ domes.  If there is a first floor standard entryway, there can be a second floor door dormer above it.  Instead of installing a door, install a tall window (2’x5’) to let light in a room or to let light into a high vaulted ceiling area.

 Q: Do your Building Plans come with an Engineer’s seal?
A:
No. Although over 30 different engineers have reviewed our Building Plans, the plans do not come with an engineer’s seal for the following reasons.
 

Less than half of our dome owners need engineer sealed Building Plans to obtain a building permit and rather than adding the engineer cost to all plans or burden the price of the building kit, it is more economical to have the plans sealed as needed.

  •  As the designer and manufacturer, we 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.
  • 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.

Q: What format do I email floor plan drawings to you?
A:
jpeg format or bmp format (windows bit map). Alternatively, if you are using AutoCAD, we can accept the documents in dxf format or dwg format saved in 2013 or older program. Please include your name, telephone number and the best time(s) to contact you.  

Q: What programs can I use to read dxf format?
A:
You can read and edit the dxf files if you have AutoCAD program, any other computer aided drafting program, a photo editor program like adobe or paint shop. You can read the dxf files but not edit them using Microsoft word and power point. The web site http://www.deltacad.com has a computer aided drafting program that can be downloaded and used  free for 30 days.

You can use computer programs to draw your floor plans; although, we can use a hand drawn sketch that is faxed to us just as easily as a CAD drawing. We have to reenter all of your information into our system and we will likely agree upon some changes for your benefit.

Q: What is a cupola?
A:
A Cupola is “sort of like a hat with windows that sits on top of the dome”. When a person wants to have a third floor loft in the 40′ or larger domes, the cupola adds about 2′ of headroom to the top center of the dome. The top five pentagon panels rest upon 18″ tall concrete “legs”, that are built on site. Between the concrete “legs” framing is built to install rectangular windows that you purchase locally. See the floor planners in the Stock Floor Plan Booklet for loft heights and square footages.

The topside exterior of the five panels of the cupola and the underside exterior of the eave are prefinished, while the topside and edges of the eave are stuccoed onsite.

Cupolas are not necessary for ventilation and extra light. Domes do not need more light than conventional houses. If you build your dome without a cupola, we recommend installing a vent in an interior wall near the peak of your dome for ventilation. The electric fan vent has the added advantage of being easily controlled with a switch or timer.

The outline of the third floor loft matches that of the cupola. In wind areas, you do not want the cupola windows to be more than two feet tall. Also taller cupolas just look out of proportion on the dome.

For an observatory on top of the dome, you would not need a cupola. The top or any part of the dome will easily support the weight of people. All that would be needed would be a railing around the top and some way to access the top of the dome, i.e. sculptured concrete steps. Click on Building Options to learn more. 

Q: Why do the square footages on the Specifications Page differ from the square footages listed on the stock floor plans?
A:
On the Specifications Page the first floor and second floor square footage listed is the maximum amount of square footage possible. The first floor square footage is maxed out because only one entryway is considered. The second floor square feet (sq.ft.) listed is what is possible if you built in the second floor leaving only one fifth open to the first floor. The first floor ceiling height would then be 7 1/2′ in the 30’ and 34′ domes and 8′ tall in the larger domes.

The first floor square footages on the stock floor plans vary from the Specification Page because:

  • More than one entryway was designed in each of these plans. Every additional entryway on the first floor of the dome will reduce the first floor square footage.
  • In the stock floor plans, the second floor square footage varies from the Specifications Page because some stock plans have one third of the second floor left open while others can have up to half of the second floor left open. Providing you with a dramatic high-vaulted ceiling over your first floor living and dining rooms.
  • The second floor square footage on stock plans consists of all the illustrated second floor space to the knee wall. On site the second floor knee wall is built along the dome perimeter out 2×4’s and covered with drywall to a height of two to three feet. AC ducting and second floor suspension rods can be hidden behind the knee wall. Electrical outlets can be placed on the knee wall.

Residential Building Plan sets contain all the blueprints typically provided with any type of housing and include floor plans, exterior elevations, dome shell section view, top view showing panel nomenclature, floor joist framing plans, structural details, and locations for plumbing and electrical fixtures.  To view stock plans for each of our ten different size dome kits, click on Stock Plans.  If you do not see a plan to fit your lifestyle, Ai can modify its stock plans or design custom plans for a reasonable fee. 

If you do not have the time or do not want to assemble the dome shell kit, American Ingenuity knows of a Kit Assembly Consultant that will come to your site, and supervise your laborers or your contractor’s laborers and get the dome shell kit assembled with one layer of concrete in the seams and on the entryways and dormers.

Q: Prior to purchasing Residential Building Plans, what do I need to consider?

A: You need to assure you have answers to the following questions:

  1. Does the deed for your land have any restrictions on domes?
  2. Are you within 1-2 years of building?
  3. If there is a Home Owners Association governing your land, you will need to check with them and make sure you can build a dome.
  4. What is required from your building department to obtain a building permit?
  5. Do you have your financing secured?
  6. If the answers to the above questions are positive then you can fax or email us your modified sketch.

Click on Planning Process to learn more.

Q: If I purchase Building Plans for one size dome and later change my mind, can I get a refund?

A: No Ai cannot issue a refund.

Q: When should we purchase our dome building plans?

A: Ai recommends that our clients design their floor plan when they are one to two years from building their dome. If you design your plan before then, you may see model homes or get ideas from other plans that may cause you to want to change your original floor plan ideas.

Q: When can I move into my dome?

A: If you have to obtain a building permit before you can build, then you have to submit a set of Building Plans. If you do not have to obtain a building permit then you can move into the dome once the shell is weather tight. But typically the building department will not allow you to live in the dome until the interior and exterior are finished per the building plans.

Q What are the contents of your Residential Building Plans? A: Stock sets generally have 13-17 pages per each set. Building plans include the basic drawings for the dome that are needed when acquiring a building permit. They are composed on our computer aided drafting system as stock plans, or based on your individual requirements and design. Some of the pages are a 3-D elevation and a 3-D perspective view.

American Ingenuity’s Building Plans contain all of the typical drawings and details – usually 13-17 sheets. The blueprints included in your plans are based on the type of entryways, dormers and foundation that are designed in your plans. Some of the Blueprint names are:
• Cover Sheet
• Legend Sheet
• First Floor Plan
• Second Floor Plan
• Dome Panel Nomenclature
• Exterior Elevations
• 1st Floor Electrical Plan (shows location of electrical outlets, lighting fixtures, smoke detectors)
• 2nd Floor Electrical Plan (shows location of electrical outlets, lighting fixtures, smoke detectors)
• Foundation Plan
• Foundation Details
• 2nd Floor Framing Plan
• Typical Dome Section
• Standard Entryway Details
• High Profile Entryway Details
• 1st Floor Window Dormer & Door Dormer Details
• 2nd Floor Dormer Details
• Stair Details
• Cupola Blueprint if ordered
• Link Blueprint if ordered

These plans include all the structural drawings, show the placement of the electrical outlets, light fixtures, plumbing fixtures; however, they do not have the electrical, plumbing, HVAC layouts. We have found if the layouts are included, then the inspectors require the subcontractors to follow the diagrams when the subs like to design their own layouts.

Q: Do your Building Plans include the electrical, plumbing and HVAC diagrams?

A: No. Ai has found if these layouts are included, then the inspectors require the subcontractors to follow the diagrams when the subs like to design their own layouts based on their installation method. Ask you building department if these layouts are required for you to obtain a building permit. Ai will email finished floor plan layouts in pdf so your subcontractors can design the layouts.

Q: Why do you charge extra to modify your stock Building Plans?

A: If there is no change to load bearing walls, there will be no extra fee.  However quite often our clients send us sketches that require the load bearing walls to change. This change then affects the foundation sheet, the second floor framing sheet and other sheets.  Some of the footer locations in the concrete slab foundation are based upon the location of the first floor load bearing walls, which help support the second floor. Plus the dome riser panels set on a perimeter footer in the slab. Also parts of the second floor are suspended by rods into the dome shell. These rods are inserted and buried in the seam concrete during the shell assembly. So we need to design your floor plan per your sketch and then design the structural sheets that the slab subcontractor, shell assembler, framer, etc. need to follow. So yes you would pay us a fee for us to modify our stock plans per your sketch and produce sets of building plans.

Q: I understand that you can suspend parts of the second floor from the dome shell so we can have an open first floor plan. Is this true?

A: Yes, the second floor can be suspended from the dome shell and allow you to have as open a first floor as you desire. Keep in mind that it is more economical to use some of the first floor walls as supports. Long spans with floor joists will require more expensive materials to provide the strength for suspension rods that pass through the second floor.  The suspension rods and plates are purchased from American Ingenuity.

Q: How is the square footage determined in the Dome Plans?

A: Remember in a conventional house you have an attic that cannot normally be used. Because of the dome shape a second floor can be installed that is useable. So even if some square footage around the second floor perimeter cannot be used there is still more useable square footage in a dome than a conventional house with attic under truss roof.  Building Plans second floor square footage includes the area starting at five feet to the top of the dome. For example in 27′ dome the center of the 2nd floor is 9’1″ tall; the center of the second floor in 36′ dome 10 feet tall; the center of the second floor in 45′ dome is 13 feet 7 inches tall.  The second floor square footage is calculated from the top of the dome down to where the exterior dome walls slope to five feet.  Around the perimeter of the second floor at the five feet of height, bed headboard, or night stands, or desk or dresser can be placed.  The Tax Assessor uses these numbers, so your taxes will be less.

Click on Square Footage to learn more.

Q: I am concerned about having a second floor and using the stairs. What do you recommend?

A:  Ai can design a dome floor plan layout without a second floor.  Because of the spherical shape of the dome a second floor is a natural. To access the second and third floors instead of an elevator, install an electric winch powered lift in a 4’x4’ area or an elevator to get to the second floor, or you could use a stair railing chair. You could design all your living space and master bedroom and bath on the first floor, and design a guest bedroom and bath on the second floor and use the rooms for guests or for storage.  Click on Lifts and Elevators to learn more.

Q: I understand that very few of your clients ever sell their dome. As a result, the dome ends up becoming a retirement home, should I make it handicap accessible?

A: Yes. It is a easy modification to the plans to make the entire downstairs area wheelchair accessible, (32″ or 36″ doorways, handicap accessible shower stall, bathroom, etc.).

Q: How are two domes joined together and should I plan extensions onto my Entryways?

A: If you are planning a complex of domes, the plans are joined at entryways or door dormers to form a link. The link will vary in width according to the size of the domes’ entryways and can vary in length from 2 feet to 10 feet.

While many companies offer the alternatives of large links and room extensions to the dome, American Ingenuity feels they are not in your best interest. Among the reasons:

  • When floor space is increased using an extension or link, the exposed surface area is greater than for the square footage within a dome. This results in less energy efficiency and a higher cost per square foot.
  • Construction is more involved and time consuming
  • The overall scale, relationship between elements and proportion of the home are adversely affected.
  • The visual impact of the design is lessened.
  • Good chance of leaking where the extension long flat roof butts into the dome shell. The expansion and the contraction associated with temperature changes produces the flex or separation at the link. We have considered expansion joints but they are not trouble free either. We have concluded the adding of elastomeric patching compound with exterior paint where the link panels touch the dome panels is the best solution.  
  • Ai recommends simply moving up to the next larger size dome or arranging your space differently to increase the efficiency of your design. It will save time, energy and money.

Q: What do your building plan names mean?

A: The first two numbers are the dome diameter in feet, the next word is a Greek word (Omega, Alpha, Delta) and then we use two numbers (21, 22, etc) to complete the name.

Plans & Building Permit FAQ on the American Ingenuity concrete dome home.

40' dome dining room with kitchen.

40′ dome dining room with kitchen. Any of American Ingenuity’s stock floor plan layouts can be revised to show your personal room arrangement desires.

 

Q: What is your Residential Dome Building Plan regular pricing?

A: All stock and custom residential dome plans are discounted 25% off the following regular plans pricing.  To view a chart listing the 25% discounted pricing for each stock plan and the kit sale pricing specific to each plan, click on Stock Plans & Kit Sale Pricing.   Ai designs plans as a service so that each client receives the exact floor plan arrangement to fit their lifestyle.  Your order includes two sets of plans.  Plans for one dome are plotted on 18″x24″ “C” size paper. Plans for two dome complex or dome on a basement with a deck are plotted on 24″x36″ “D” size paper.  Ai emails your finished building plans pdfs to you so that additional sets of blueprints can be plotted locally.

Regular Pricing for Residential Dome Building Plans

Dome Diameter15' or 18' 22′ or 27′30′34′36'40'45'48'
Stock Plans$994$1,134$1,198$1,261$1,294$1,333$1,427$1,514
Custom Link PlansBased on link design. Call for pricing.
Garage Plans FromN/A$971 $1,016$1,062$1,077$1,204$1,276$1,333
Modified Plans From$1,165$1,365$1,410$1,501$1,544$1,578$1,652$1,771
Custom Plans From$1,310$1,510$1,585$1,801$1,919$2,033$2,252$2,371
Basement Plans FromN/AN/A$1,016$1,062$1,077$1,204$1,276$1,343

American Ingenuity’s Building Plans are new & improved and contain 13-22 blueprints depending on type of entryways, foundation, etc.  Building Plan sets contain all the blueprints typically provided with any type of housing and include floor plans, concrete slab foundation with radius & angles, foundation details, two exterior elevation blueprints (dome shell section view, top view showing panel placement), floor joist framing plans, structural details, locations of plumbing and electrical fixtures, interior wall dimensions and second floor wood joist & edge beam dimensions.  See below for  listing of possible sheets within the set of Building Plans.

Electrical Diagram, Plumbing Diagram and HVAC Diagram are not included—Ai has found the electrical, plumbing and HVAC subcontractors prefer to design their own diagrams.   Please call our offices for commercial dome plans pricing – 321-639-8777.

Ai’s philosophy is that each Buyerr pays 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.

Due to the complexity of the Florida Energy Gauge Report, Ai no longer completes the report, but provides the dome info the company needs to complete the report for $100.   all other states, except for California and Washington, can require a Rescheck enegy report. Ai an complete the REScheck Energy Report.  Call for pricing.

If your building department requires the following, please hire your local HVAC subcontractor to complete your Manual S (Equipment Sizing Certification); Manual D (Duct Design & Layout Drawing); or Manual J (Residential Heat Load Calculation) for the Florida Energy Report and the  REScheck Energy Report.

Q: What is the standard foundation included with the stock plans?

A: 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 an independent local 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 your plans. Please call for engineer pricing.

All of American Ingenuity’s stock plans are now on our web site.  To view the plans by dome diameter, click on Tiny Homes and  Larger Dome Stock Plans

Due to spam filters your email requests may not make it to American Ingenuity and our email replies may not make it back to you.  If you email Ai and do not receive a reply in one to two days, please call us.  While you are on the phone, we will send you a test email and have you send your email to us.

If you want stock plans mailed, call Ai at 321-639-8777 for printing cost and mailing cost.

Building plans may be purchased with Master Card, Visa, Discover, check or money order.  Shipping cost and plotting cost are not included in the Plans Pricing. Stock plans are shipped in 2 weeks. Allow at least 5 weeks for modified stock plans and 8 weeks for modified and custom plans.

If you do not have the time or do not want to assemble the dome shell kit, click on Kit Assembly Consultant to learn about this service. He will supervise your laborers or your contractor’s laborers to assemble the dome shell with the first layer of concrete in the seams and on the entryways and dormers.  To view photo gallery showing dome kit assembly, click on Kit Assembly.

Q: How do I know what my Building Department will require to issue a building permit on the American Ingenuity concrete dome building kit? Will your Building Plans comply with my areas building codes?

A: Ai has sold dome kits into 47 USA states and fourteen foreign areas. Our blueprints have been accepted by building departments, which use many different Building Codes including the 2009 & 2012 & 2015 International Residential Building Code, 2014 Florida Building Code 5th Edition, California Building Code and Universal Building Code.

At no cost to you, if you give Ai your construction site address or parcel ID number & your building department name, we will call and speak to your plan’s examiner. Ai will email him or her a drop box invitation which includes a description of the dome kit, history of Ai, sample of Ai’s building plans and sample of an engineering statement. Ai will call the official, explain the dome prefabricated panel, review specific pages on our web site & discuss the drop box info. Ai will ask if engineer sealed building plans and an energy report are required to issue a permit.

If required in your area, your dome building plans can be sealed/certified by a PE engineer licensed for your state. The cost for an engineer seal for one dome built on a concrete slab is $600, $900 for two domes each built on a concrete slab, basement plans seal add $300 per dome for all states other than Florida.

The cost for an Energy Report for states other than FL, WA & CA is $190 for one dome on a slab. Energy Reports for FL Washington and California are completed by your local FL, Wa or CA companies. Other paperwork such as a site map, exterior door & window spec sheets, etc. will probably be required prior to the issuance of the permit. Sometimes your building department will have a web site that lists the other paperwork that is required.

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.

Q: Explain how to work with my building department.

A: Keep in mind that building departments are concerned with strength and safety. Domes excel in these areas. Building departments and building codes are not concerned with appearance although a plan examiner may be unfamiliar with the aspects of dome construction.

If you are building in Florida, your building department will require engineer sealed Building Plans and a Florida Energy Report.   These items can be purchased through Ai.  To obtain a building permit in Florida, give us your exact window and exterior door sizes, frame type, double pane, U factor, SHGC number, etc.  When you submit the paperwork to obtain your permit, you will be required to give the actual model number and manufacturer, along with a Florida Product Approval spec sheet for each exterior door and window.

When working with building departments, Ai recommends the following:

  • Start by asking your building department a few questions such as: “What are the requirements for a residential building permit? Are there any additional requirements to build a geodesic dome? Is an Engineer’s seal required on the plans?
  • Building departments are unpredictable. No nationwide standard exists for what is required to receive a building permit and as such what is required in the building plans. Each individual building department adopts and implements their individual policies. Since each department will ask for different items, expect that your first visit may only garner a list of what is required as to the building plans and further documentation (e.g. deed, site map, survey, septic tank location, permits.)
  • Prior to purchasing property, call Ai and ask for our Buying Land document that lists items to check before land purchase. If you own your property or have narrowed your property searches down to two parcels, please provide Ai the property address or tax ID number and the name and telephone number of the building plans department and Ai will call the department and show them our web site. We will confirm that they will accept American Ingenuity’s prefabricated panel as is, and what additional information and requirements are needed for a permit (i.e. engineer seal, energy report). Each state, county and city building departments have specific requirements and requests.

Q: Can I purchase my Dome Building Plans for a lower cost than you publish?

A: To view the discounted plans pricing, click on Discount. Our business philosophy is to treat our clients equally. As a result we do not offer lower prices to one person and not another. Our building plans are very reasonable in price. As far as the building plans, if you went to a Florida engineer or architectural firm and asked them to design you building plans for a 2,000 sq.ft. house; they could charge $1.50 to $2.00 per sq.ft. So that would be $3,000 to $4,000 for a 2,000 sq.ft. house.  Currently the regular price for 40′ dome (2,000 sq.ft. house) is $1,333. Click on Sale to view current sale pricing on plans. Please scroll down the page to find the plans sale pricing.

Ai designs plans as a service to our clients so that each obtain the correct floor plan to fit your lifestyle.

Q: Prior to purchasing Building Plans, what do I need to consider?

A: You need to assure you have answers to the following questions:

  1. Does the deed for your land have any restrictions on domes?
  2. If there is a Home Owner’s Association governing your land, you will need to check with them and make sure you can build a dome as home owner associations restrict the size and shape of homes.
  3. What is required from your building department to obtain a building permit?
  4. Will you be building within one to two years?
  5. If your building site is in California, does your building department require the Building Kit be certified?  At no cost to you Ai will call your California building department to see what is required to obtain a building permit on the American Ingenuity dome.  Ai will show him or her our web site and email drop box invitation containing a set of generic dome building plans, example of engineering statement and structural calculations. Ai dome home kits can now be built in the California Counties of San Diego, San Bernardino, Trinity, Solona, Shasta and Riverside if all the building department requirements are followed. Ai domes have been built in the following California areas: Banning, Forest Ranch, Crestline, Borrego Springs, Lake Elsinore, Summerset, Herlong and Hanford. If you own property in another California location, Please call us at 321-639-8777 with the tax ID number, building department name and phone number and Ai will call the plans examiner.
  6. If you are building in Florida, be aware that the counties of Dade, Broward, Orange, Indian River and St Johns County may require product approval. It is not economical for Ai to go through this process; therefore the Ai dome may not be able to be built in these counties if they will not accept Florida engineer sealed structural calculations, building plans and engineering statement.  In Florida 2014 Building Code there is a section that allows for “Alternative materials and methods for residential home construction.”  As a result of this section 99% of the Florida Counties will issue a permit accepting Fl engineer sealed plans, Fl engineer sealed Equivalency Report, passing Fl Energy Report (and other required paperwork) and do not require product approval.   It makes no sense why some Florida counties require product approval and others don’t. For example one of Ai’s domes in Miami Dade County went thru Hurricane Andrew & a tornado at the same time with no structural damage, but yet Miami Dade Building Department requires product approval.  Marathon in the Florida Keys, south of Miami Dade,did not require product approval and issued a building permit on an Ai dome in 2014 under the required wind speed of 180 mph. This wind speed is greater than the required 175 mph wind speed for Miami Dade.  As of Jan 2014, Palm Beach County will allow the Ai dome to be built under “Site Specific Review” with the home owner paying for an inspector. Please call Ai for details……321-639-8777.
  7. At no cost to you, Ai will call your building department, speak to a plans examiner to see what is required to obtain a building permit on the American Ingenuity dome.  Ai will show him or her our web site and email drop box invitation containing a set of generic dome building plans, example of engineering statement and structural calculations.
  8. Do you have your financing secured?
  9. Are there minimum house square footage requirements or a garage requirement on your property?

If the answers to the above questions are positive then purchase building plans for your dome.

Q: Can my zoning department stop me from building a dome?

A: Yes. Zoning can ask for roof conformity where all the roofs look the same in that area.   Besides zoning ordinances controlling the use of the land, they determine setbacks from property lines, minimum size new home requirements and height limits and similar things. Deed restrictions and homeowner associations can limit the type structure that can be built.

Q: Where can I build a dome?

A: Almost any place. Although, there are a few exceptions, some developments or communities control the size, cost and appearance of the homes. Before you buy the land, ask if there are any Deed restrictions or Homeowner Associations or zoning, to learn more about this click on Planning Process. If there is a Homeowners Association, meet with the board and show them information about the dome. If they say you can build the dome, we recommend that you get a notarized statement from them stating this. Over time, members of the Board can change and the bylaws of the Association can change.

Besides assuring that your property has no deed restrictions or homeowners association regulating it, contact your building department and find out what they require to issue you a residential building permit. Building departments are basically concerned about safety and structure, not appearance.

To obtain a new house building permit in California and Florida, the building plans have to be sealed by a licensed engineer certified for that state.

In California, some building departments require building kits be certified that they comply with California’s building kit requirements. Due to the high cost of this certification, it is not economical for American Ingenuity to purchase the certification.  However some California building departments will issue a building permit when CA engineer sealed plans, California engineer sealed snow, seismic, wind & bracing calculations, CA Title 24 energy report, and other required paperwork is submitted.  Please Call Ai at 321-639-8777 and give us your building department name and phone number and we will inquire about their requirements.

Q: Do your Building Plans come with an Engineer Seal on them?

A: Ai’s 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 large tree impact and many other conditions since 1976.

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. Less than half of our dome owners needed engineer sealed Building Plans to obtain a building permit and rather than adding the cost to all plans it is more economical to have the plans sealed as needed. As the designer and manufacturer, we 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. 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.

Q: When should we purchase our dome building plans?

A: Plans are purchased 3 months to two years prior to dome construction.

Q: When can I move into my dome?

A: If a building permit is needed to build, generally the building departments will not let you move in until they issue a Certificate of Occupancy – meaning the home is finished per the blueprints.  If there is no building permit is required,  a person could stay in the dome once the shell is weather tight.

Viewing of American Ingenuity’s Stock Floor Plan Layouts

To view Building Plans sale pricing, click on Floor Plans – Basic Kits and scroll down the page to find pricing. 

How can I view American Ingenuity’s stock floor plans?

There are three ways:

  1. Call us to order the Planning Kit which contains a few of each size domes stock plans and a DVD.  Call our offices at 321-639-8777 Mon- Fri 10-4 pm Eastern Time.
  2. Or you can click on  Stock Plans  to view and print out  Stock Floor Plans for ten dome sizes  at no cost.
  3. Or purchase some of the stock plans in DXF format if you would like to manipulate and edit the stock plans to fit your desires.  To purchase the DXF files, please call our office at 321-639-8777.
DXF Floor Plan Design Files

Now Available

Would you like to design your own Dome Floor Plan?  If you know how to use a Computer Aided Drafting Program (CAD) and if you do not see a stock plan in American Ingenuity’s Stock Plans which fits your lifestyle, you can order CDs of American Ingenuity’s Stock Floor Plans in DXF format and design your own floor plan.

By purchasing the CD, you can modify an Ai stock plan or produce sketches that American Ingenuity can use to design your custom Building Plans.  For us to custom design your building plans, all we need is the floor plan layout from you – it does not need to be perfect – just close.  You can even write a description of what you are trying to achieve, etc.  During custom plan design you receive six proofs to tweak the layout.  Our geodesic dome geometry is quite specific where dormers and entryways can be installed.  The blank floor planners and elevation views for each dome size show where entryways and dormers can be installed.  Just want to clarify – two window dormers or two door dormers or two entryways CANNOT BE SIDE BY SIDE.  Our CAD department takes your layout and incorporates it within our building plans.  You can view the planners and elevation views at the end of each dome diameter’s stock plans.  To view them, click on Stock Plans and scroll down to find the dome diameter you are interested in.

When you purchase a CD of DXF files we include a bonus item…..a DXF file of a six inch in diameter Mini-Dome.  Not only will this model be fun to put together, but that it will also serve as a reliable reference for building a life-size dome.  Once the Mini-Dome is assembled, you can see the dome geometry consisting of Hexagon, Pentagon and Riser panels.  The Mini-Dome reflects the geometry of a 3-frequency, 3/8 sphere on a 4′ vertical riser.  The 15′, 18′ 22′ and 27′ utilize the 2- frequency geometry and the 60′ dome utilizes the 4-frequency geometry.

American Ingenuity designs the DXF files using the AUTOCAD program.  In order to manipulate or edit the DXF files you need the AUTOCAD program or a compatible drafting program.   If you do not have AUTOCAD, on the internet there is a free 30 day trial of Delta Cad which is compatible with AutoCAD. www.Deltacad.com.  Also you can read and edit the DXF files if you have a photo editor program like adobe or paint shop. And you can read the dxf files but not edit them using Microsoft word and power point. 

ORDER INFO 

Up to ten stock plans per each size dome are now available on CDs in DXF format.  Each CD contains the DXF files for up to ten of a particular dome diameter’s stock plans.  Each CD is $10 plus the mailing costs.   Or the files can be emailed.

To place your order, please call our office Monday – Friday 9-5 eastern time at 321-639-8777.  Let us know which CDs you want, along with your shipping info and your credit card info.

The following CDs by Dome Diameter(s) are available. The floor plans are for Residential Dome Home floor plans or basement plans or garage floor plans.  Up to ten stock plans will be included per dome diameter.  Please review the stock plans and let us know which ones (up to ten for each diameter) you want in dxf.  Also let us know the year of your AutoCad program so that the files will be saved in the correct format.

  1. 15′ & 18′ stock floor plans
  2. 22′ Stock floor plans
  3. up to ten – 27’ stock floor plans
  4. 30’ stock floor plans
  5. up to ten – 36’ stock floor plans
  6. up to ten – 40’ stock floor plans
  7. up to ten – 45’ stock floor plans
  8. up to ten – 48’ stock floor plans
  9.  22’, 27’, 30’, 34’ and 36’ garage stock floor plans
  10. 60’ Floor Planner and Furniture.  (No Stock Floor Plans are available; all 60’ plans are a Custom Design.  Once our Plans Coordinator sees your 60’ sketches, Ai will quote you a sale price for your 60’ Custom Plans.

Each CD of DXF files for American Ingenuity’s 15′ through 48’ diameter domes  includes:

  • First floor and second floor room arrangements with the second floor having headroom height lines.
  • Optional stock basement plans, if available for that particular stock plan.
  • An elevation view showing a cross sectional view of the dome revealing the center heights of each floor and a Pictorial/Elevation view which details many of the building options available for that diameter dome.
  • A Blank Floor Planner.
  • A furniture DXF file that you can use to cut and paste the furniture into the stock plan.
  • A bonus Mini-Dome DXF file.

By purchasing the CD, you can modify an Ai stock plan or produce sketches that American Ingenuity can use to design your custom Building Plans.

Origins and terminology of CAD

 per Wikipedia “The Free Encyclopedia”

CAD  originally meant Computer Aided Drafting because in the early days CAD was really a replacement for the traditional drafting board. Now, CAD usually means Computer Aided Design to reflect the fact that modern CAD tools do much more than just drafting.

CAD is sometimes translated as “computer-assisted”, “computer-aided drafting, or a similar phrase. Related acronyms are CADD, which stands for “computer-aided design and drafting”, CAID for Computer-aided Industrial Design and CADD for “computer-aided architectural design”. All these terms are essentially synonymous, but there are a few subtle differences in meaning and application. CAM  (Computer aided manufacturing) is often used in a similar way, or as a combination (CAD/CAM).

What stock plans are included in American Ingenuity’s Stock Floor Plan Booklet? The booklet contains stock plans for the 22’, 27’, 30’, 36’, 40’, 45’ and 48’ domes. The 60′ dome plans are all custom designed.

What do the building plans cost?   To view American Ingenuity’s Building Plans Pricing, click on PlansThis pricing does not include the cost for an engineer seal or the cost for energy audits, if required by your building departments.

Just to clarify, American Ingenuity never knows what each building department will require in order to give you a building permit.  About 50% of the building departments in the USA require engineer sealed plans….this means a seal from a licensed mechanical or structural engineer certified for your state is required on the plans.  Ai’s philosophy is that each client only pays for what they need, as a result you only pay for a seal if required by your building department.  To learn about engineer sealed plans, click on Sealed Plans.

What does the word From refer to?

Ai places the word From after “Modified Plans From,” “Custom Plans From,” and “Basement Plans From” so that you know the price quoted is the beginning price.  Ai never knows how complex your modified changes will be or how complex your custom sketches will be. Once Ai’s staff reviews your modifications or custom sketches, you will receive a Plan’s Price Quote stating what your plans will cost and how long the design will take.

The following contains info about Ai Building Kit Summary

Top five Cupola Panels installed after concrete beam and concrete legs poured. (top of cupola consists of the five top dome panels lifted up to set on concrete legs.)

Fourth row of Prefab Panels being assembled on 34′ dome.  45′ dome in back ground.

To view a photo gallery of photos showing the Dome Kit Assembly Process, view Dome Kit Assembly. The dome kit can be assembled by owner builders or hire a contractor. Either the home owner or the contractor can hire the independent kit assembly consultant to supervise the kit assembly.

The view sale pricing on American Ingenuity dome kits and building plans, view Sale.

Housing technology has changed very little since framing replaced the log cabin. Modifications that were made to improve a concrete home or future home also increased its cost. We applied some American Ingenuity to the geodesic dome home, designed an all new component building system utilizing advanced kit home construction technology and developed a home plan without increasing the kit home’s prices.

American Ingenuity’s concrete dome kit includes all the triangular and riser panels needed for the dome shell and one entryway. The first floor of the 30′ thru 48′ dome homes can have up to five entryways. The second floor of the 36′ thru 48′ can have up to five single window or door dormers. As a result each floor plan varies as to the number and location of entryways and dormers. Underneath the entryway or dormer “eye brow” you or your contractor builds a conventional 2×4 framed wall and installs your locally purchased windows and doors.

Because we do not know which stock floor plan you will select, Ai does not know the type or quantity of entryways or dormers that you will need. View  Building Options to learn more about entryways, dormers, link, cupola, etc. Once you determine the floor plan, Ai can provide the Building Kit with Option Pricing.

You can view and print out Ai’s stock plans for each of the ten dome kit sizes, by clicking on Stock Plans

Houses and garages are built from the Dome Building Kits. The dome homes are available in ten sizes from one bedroom/one bath to four or five bedroom/four baths. The garage domes are typically one car or two car. In the back of the Stock Floor Plan Booklet are garage dome plans. The dome homes are built on conventional concrete slabs or raised wood floors. If needed, the dome can be built on a basement or pilings and a platform. American Ingenuity does not manufacture a basement wall kit, but does design the basement plans.  To learn about possible foundations, view Foundations.

The regular pricing for the Dome Shell Kit which includes one entryway ranges from $21,300 to $55,915 depending on your square footage needs. View Pricing for a complete listing of kit sizes and regular pricing.

Wherever an “opening” is left for doors and windows, Ai does not ship triangles or riser panels. The entryway and dormer panels “eye brows” are therefore structural and are required to maintain the dome’s integrity. The 2×4 or 2×6 wall that is build under the entryways or dormers is built to frame in your locally purchased doors and windows..

The component panel for the 15′ thru 48′ domes includes seven inch thick R-28 insulation. On the exterior of the insulation is ¾” thick fiber concrete reinforced with galvanized steel mesh and on the interior of the insulation is 1/2″ Georgia-Pacific wall board. Onsite the kit is assembled one row at a time, by concreting the entryways, dormers, cupola, link and seams between the panels. Do not concrete over the entire dome. The concrete on the panels does not need to be thick because the seam concrete averages two inches.

Once all the panel seams and entryways, dormers, etc. are concreted, the temporary wooden rib system is removed. The dome shell is self supporting. No interior walls are needed to support the shell. However, normally there is a bedroom and bathroom on the first floor. So those interior walls are used to support part of the second floor. The exact locations of the suspension rods is noted on the shell geometry sheet in the Building Plans. The suspension rods and top and bottom plates can be purchased from American Ingenuity.  We use the AutoCAD program to design and calculate the load on the second floor. So just let us know if you will have an Aquarian, water bed, library, exercise room, etc. on the second floor and Ai can calculate the load accordingly. The average load calculated is 55 lbs. per square foot.

The component panels do not come with any paint on them. Ai does not add any color to the concrete. The concrete shell is painted after the entire kit is assembled. The paint should include a concrete primer and two coats of good quality exterior concrete paint. The dome can be painted any color, tan, green, blue, etc. preferably a light to medium color to reflect the sunlight. The dome exterior is repainted every four to six years depending upon your area’s pollution and UV light. If you rub your hand over the paint and get any “chalk” on your hand, that is when the dome should be repainted. As needed remove algae with a mixture of chlorine and water or pressure washing.

Ai’s dome building kit does not include doors and windows. There is such a variety and varying price points,Ai  leaves the selection of the doors and windows up to each client to purchase locally. The floor plan you select will determine how many entryways or dormers you will have. Within the entryways and dormers {eye brows}, your framing subcontractor installs a 2×4 or 2×6 wall to frame in what ever standard doors or windows that were purchased locally.

No interior items are included in the building kit other than the shell wall drywall. Ai believes you should not pay shipping on items you can purchase locally such as plumbing, electrical, framing, flooring, kitchen cabinets, bathroom fixtures, lighting fixtures, etc. To learn about the panel composition, view Component Panel.

Dome Finished Costs: The finished costs on the domes depends so much on where you live, what the labor costs are in your area and what price points you select for your windows, doors, cabinetry, flooring, lighting fixtures, etc. 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 approximately what it will cost to finish the domes (if you do no labor yourselves), because everything in the interior is standard whether it is a conventional house or dome home….plumbing, electrical, lighting fixtures, bathroom fixtures, flooring, kitchen cabinets, windows and doors, etc. are all the same. Basically you end up with a super-energy efficient, super-strong home for about the same price as a conventional house. To learn more, view Finished Cost.

Items in the Dome Shell Kit include: Triangular Panels, 4′ Riser Wall Panels, panels for one Entryway, Galvanized Steel Mesh, Concrete Fibers, Two Concrete Admixtures, Reinforcing galvanized cable, Concrete Bonding Agent, Connecting C-Rings, C-Ring Pliers and Assembly Manual. To learn more, view Kit Contents.  To learn what is not in the Dome Kit, view Items not included in the Kit

Depending upon your floor plan selection there will be various building options. The Options include: Additional Entryway Panels (standard, high profile, garage), Window Dormer Panels, Door Dormer Panels, Cupola Panels and Link Panels. view Building Options to learn more.