owner builder | AiDomes

The American Ingenuity Dome Kits
are DIY Prefab Dome Homes for Owner Builders or for a Contractor

The prefab dome kit can be a Do It Yourself Project with the owner builder utilizing family and friends or hiring his own workers for kit assembly.  Or the home owner can hire a builder who hires the independent Kit Assembly Specialist who travels world-wide to supervise your kit assembly and the application of the first layer of fiber concrete into the panel seams and onto the entryways and dormers. Then either your workers or your builder’s workers complete the second layer of concrete in the seams & on the entryways and dormers. For interior finishing complete yourself or hire local subcontractors to complete the plumbing, electrical, framing, window/door installation, wall board finishing, kitchen cabinetry, bathroom fixtures, etc.  To view pictures of prefab concrete panel assembly, click on Dome Kit Assembly.

American Ingenuity’s (Ai’s)dome kit is affordable, strong and can be assembled by Do It Yourself individuals because the kit is engineered as a system of pre-finished prefabricated component panels. Each panel is cut at a computer-generated angle so that it fits flush with the adjacent panel. The edges are precisely beveled at the seams where steel and concrete will unite to complete the structure. All panel materials are noncombustible and contain no food source for mold growth.

Building an Ai dome from prefab concrete panels makes home construction easier than stick built construction and results in the dome exterior having a 225 mph wind and F4 tornado guarantee. The process of stacking the 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 the insulation and all the dome shell 1/2″ drywall.

This advanced building system makes it easier for an owner builder to construct an American Ingenuity dome than a conventional house or a wooden dome. No exterior walls, no roof trusses, no sheathing, tar paper, or shingles, no soffit, exterior trim, insulation or siding to install and no interior shell drywall to install.  During the dome kit assembly, owner builders or builders can email pictures of the kit assembly. At no cost to you, Ai will review the pictures and give feedback about rebar and cable installation, etc.  Due to large size of panels in 45′ and 48′ domes, considering hiring the consultant to assist in your assembly.

 

Nomenclature-top

Nomenclature Diagram for Downloading & Printing
Nomenclature Diagram
Nomenclature Diagram for Viewing in Browser
Nomenclature Diagram

The building plans contain blueprints for the installation of the foundation and installation and location for each panel. Within the plans is a nomenclature blueprint that shows lettering and numbering for each panel. An example of a nomenclature blueprint is above.

An Expanded Assembly Manual is now available with each dome kit order that explains step by step the panel assembly. (Once a deposit with signed order is received, the manual can be shipped). In the blueprints and Manual is the recipe for the concrete. Ai wants the concrete mixed on site to have the same properties as the concrete that is applied at our factory; as a result the same two liquid admixtures and fibers are shipped with each kit. In the manual is a list of tools and materials to have on site. To view a list, click on Materials and scroll down the page to view the list.

American Ingenuity’s prefabricated component panel consists of:

1.   7″ thick, rigid, nontoxic E.P.S. Insulation (not Styrofoam): The E.P.S. Ai utilizes is a closed cell with a 1 lb. per cubic foot density.  Seven inches of sturdy, rigid R-28 expanded polystyrene foam insulation forms the core of each component panel and is:

  •  Permanent
  • Chemically/thermally stable
  • Resistant to mildew and mold
  • Provides no nutritive value to animals/plants/microorganisms
  • Non-irritating to the skin
  • The insulation will not rot, shrink, absorb moisture, compact, or deteriorate due to age or the weather.
  • No CFC, no HBCD (hexabromocyclododecane), no TCPP (1-chloro-2-propyl) phosphate, no Chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) and no Formaldehyde

2.     Concrete: the concrete in your dome out performs other exteriors due to our specially developed formula. Because of this exceptional composition, it actually gains strength over the years. The special concrete formulation of fibers and admixtures improve concrete characteristics.

3.     Galvanized Steel: Galvanized steel wire mesh is encased in the concrete of each panel. As your dome is assembled the mesh of each panel overlaps and is locked to the mesh of  adjacent panels with C rings commonly called hog rings – resulting in your home being completely wrapped by steel mesh.

4.   Half inch (½” ) Georgia Pacific DensArmor Drywall: The DensArmor is not conventional sheet rock. Conventional sheet rock consists of conventional gypsum and paper backing. The paper backing can be a food source for mold growth. Sheet rock when it gets wet crumbles and molds. The DensArmor gypsum when it gets wet does not crumble due to fiberglass reinforced core. It has fiberglass backing on both sides. After the DensArmor dries out it goes back to its original firmness and consistency per the manufacturer.

Concrete Home
Dome Exterior Has No Wood To Burn or To Rot or For Termites To Eat
No Shingles or Roof to blow off in high winds

To support the panels during dome kit assembly, a temporary wooden rib system is installed. Once all the seams are concreted and the entryways and dormers are concreted, the dome is self supporting and the wooden rib system is removed. Most of the wood can be recycled as interior framing.

 

45' dome - assembly of third row of panels

45′ dome – assembly of third row of panels

In this view of dome kit being assembled a side view of a component panel can be seen. The panel exterior is 3/4″ concrete reinforced with galvanized steel mesh. After the mesh is overlapped and locked between panels, special fiber concrete mixed on site is hand troweled in the seam areas in two applications — bonding agent is applied between the two layers. The seam areas are about 3″ deep by 5″ wide with average of 2″ thick concrete.  In this picture you see the first scratch coat applied to the exterior of the entryway panels and first layer of concrete in some of the seams between the panels.

Steps for American Ingenuity Concrete Building Kit Assembly:

  • Foundation installed. Standard foundation is monolithic slab; however Ai can design basement plans, pilings or columns, stem wall, etc.
  • Depending on size dome two to five workers are needed. Some with concrete experience.
  • Installing the first row of panels which are the 4’ vertical riser panels, base panels of the entryways and any first floor door dormer base panels
  • Erecting a temporary wooden rib system to support the triangle and riser panels during assembly using your locally cut, drilled and painted 2×4’s bolted to steel hubs borrowed from Ai.
  • Placing the panel’s one row at time using a hoisting mechanism (man lift) on to the rib system.
  • overlapping steel mesh from adjacent panels, locking mesh with C rings and pliers and depressing the steel mesh in the seam
  • mixing concrete with mortar mixer following concrete recipe in the manual (Portland Cement Type III, masonry or stucco sand, fibers, liquid admixtures)
  • installing cables per blueprints
  • installing rebar around back of entryway panels, back of first floor door dormer panels, top of entryway panels & around first floor window dormer panels per building plans
  • form up and install beams or troughs around lip edge of entryway panels, first & second floor door dormer panels, channels in top of the entryways
  • Concreting the seams between the panels (5″ wide and 3″ deep) with two separate layers of concrete using a bonding agent between the layers; and watering down all cured concrete before applying bonding agent or new concrete. Seam areas average 2” thick concrete.
  • Concreting the entryways, window dormers, door dormers, cupola and link with two layers of concrete. Sponge float finish the final layer of concrete to blend seam concrete to the panel concrete.
  • Framing in the entryways and dormers and installing your locally purchased exterior doors and windows.
  • Removing the temporary wooden rib system. Return the steel hubs to receive a full deposit refund if returned during five month rental period and if all hubs are intact.
  • Wash efflorescence off concrete, prime, paint the exterior concrete per waterproofing instructions in Assembly Manual.

Onsite concrete is only applied in the seam areas between the panels and on the entryways, dormers (or possible link or cupola). Concrete is not applied over the pre-concreted component panels. The interior shell drywall can be finished similar to conventional sheet rock with adhesive fiberlass and joint compound. To blend the seams joint compound can be skip troweled over the drywall before priming and painting.

To learn more about Hoisting Mechanisms click on Hoisting. To learn more about entryways, dormers, etc. click on Building Options.

If I am not ready to assemble my dome immediately, can the kit be stored outside? Yes, however if you expect to have your kit outside for more than two to three months, request that the E.P.S. edges be painted. On site if you need longer than 2-3 months prior to assembly, then on site the EPS edges can be painted again. (some boxed items & wooden 2×4 ribs if ordered should be stored inside.) The dome kit should not sit outside in the winter as freezing can harm the drywall.   Please call us for details at 321-639-8777 – Monday – Friday 9-5 eastern time.

American Ingenuity – 8777 Holiday Springs Rd. – Rockledge, Florida 32955   email: GlendaB.Aidmes@gmail.com

The following information covers Tiny Home Kit reg & sale pricing w’ specs.  Ai has added two new tiny home sizes to its Tiny Home assortment – 15′ and 18′!   These Tiny Dome Home Kits are constructed using Ai’s superior prefabricated insulated concrete panel system.  Consider them for Special Hideaway, vacation cabin, mother’s home, guest house, hunting cabin, glambing, tiny home, micro home, cottages for resort, rental units for veterans or a starter home.  The Ai dome is much stronger, has noncombustible materials in its wall panels, fire resistant concrete exterior & more insulated than a framed house, concrete block house, log cabin, tent or yurt.  Also all the panel materials contain no food source for mold growth.

Additional dome kits can be added later and linked to the first dome built on your site.  If you believe you want to add on later, discuss with our design team and a link can be installed on the first dome where a second dome can be connected later.

Tiny Dome Home Kits when assembled and finished can result in 172 sq.ft. to 1,278 sq.ft.  The domes can be one story. Dome sizes are measured by feet in diameter with the 15′, 18′, and 22′ kits having a first floor with optional attic/loft.  The 27′, 30′ & 34′ can have a second floor installed if you so desire. The 27′  dome second floor panels are large enough for a window dormer to accept fire egress size window.  The 34′ second floor window dormer is too small to accept a fire egress window so door dormer panels are installed above a first floor standard entryway to accept a fire egress size casement window.  With a 2nd floor egress window installed this allows the 27′ & 34′ domes second floor to contain a bedroom; resulting in the 27’ & 34’ domes being two bedroom/two bath size homes. The 30′ dome second floor panels are not large enough for a window dormer so no bedroom can be designed – use the 30′ second floor for storage, office, craft area, additional bathroom, rec room.  To view stock plans for the 15′ and 18′ along with plans for the other Tiny Domes, click on Tiny Home Plans.

22-woods-demo

22′ Tiny Dome Home After Building Kit Assembled & Finished with locally purchased materials.

As far as Tiny Homes meeting minimum size house requirements – in some areas,  groups are petitioning their county or their city elected government officials to allow them to have Tiny Home Communities (called pocket neighborhoods) where the minimum house size can be below state code. The City of Rockledge, Florida agreed that a group whose face book page is called Rockledge Tiny House Community can purchase property and build Tiny Homes from 172 sq. ft up to 1000 sq ft. in their city.   Normally in Florida the minimum new house size requirement is 500 sq.ft. or 800 sq.ft. or 1,000 sq.ft.  So congratulations to the City of Rockledge Tiny House Group for its victory in changing minimum size house requirements in their city to as small as 172 sq.ft..

Please check local codes to see how Tiny Homes can be built for cottages in a resort or for rental units to rent out to migrant workers, veterans and individuals wanting to live in strong (225 mph & F4 tornado warranty), energy efficient houses whose exterior concrete is fire resistant.  To view comparison of concrete dome kit to log cabin, click on log cabin.  To view info on Ai dome and tree impact & snow load, click on Tree.   To view complete summary of advantages of Ai dome, click on Summary.

Tiny Dome Building Kit Contents:

  1. 15’ & 18’ Kits consist of all the triangle prefab panels and standard 4’ risers plus 2’ riser prefab component panels for the dome shell and panels for one entryway. The kit can be purchased with 7″ EPS, 1/2″ Drywall & exterior 3/4″ concrete reinforced with galvanized steel mesh/fibers.  And only the 15′ & 18′ kits can be purchased with 3 1/2″ EPS, no drywall and no reinforced concrete.  The larger kits cannot be purchased with only 3 1/2″ EPS because this size insulation makes the larger panels to flexible causing EPS breakage.
  2. 22’ & 27’ Kits  consists of all the triangle prefab panels and standard 4’ riser prefab component panels for the dome shell and panels for one entryway.  5 foot tall risers can be ordered instead of the standard four foot tall risers. Your floor plan selection determines how many more entryways and dormers are in your kit.
  3. 30’ & 34’ Kits consist of all the triangle prefab panels and standard 4’ risers prefab component panels for the dome shell and panels for one entryway. 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 9’6″.  Your floor plan selection determines how many more entryways and dormers are in your kit.

Each triangle and riser prefab component panel consists of exterior ¾” fiber concrete reinforced with galvanized steel mesh, center core of 7″ R-28 expanded polystyrene (EPS) insulation with interior special moisture resistant, mold resistant 1/2″ gypsum drywall from Georgia Pacific called DensArmor Plus. During kit assembly it can rain. Water does not harm this special DensArmor drywall. The 15′ & 18′ kits can be purchased with 3 1/2″ R14 EPS insulation and no drywall. 

The dome kit’s prefab concrete panels can be assembled by owner builders and is a true Do It Yourself kit. All the panels come marked with numbers and letters to match the building plans and the Assembly Manual. On site,  fiber concrete is troweled into seams between the panels and on the entryways or dormers. Seam concrete average thickness averages two inches. An Independent Kit Assembly Consultant can be hired to supervise your workers or your Builder’s workers during kit assembly.

15% Discount Tiny Dome Housing Kits*
If Deposit & Order Placed per Coupon

  •  To schedule your kit for manufacturing, Ai requires signed Order Form, Conditions of Sale (Warranty), Specialized Material Agreement and kit deposit (Check is made payable to American Ingenuity).
  • Accept delivery of your Kit per Coupon allowing Ai to select the week/day of shipment within the month agreed upon by Buyer & Ai to make 20% discount possible.
  • To acquire a building permit, building departments usually require engineer sealed building plans and an Energy Report. Stock or Custom plans take 2-10 weeks for delivery. Allow 4-8-12 weeks for kit manufacturing time.
  • Standard Building Kits contain all the triangular & riser panels to complete the dome shell and one entryway. Each floor plan varies as to the number of entryways, door dormers and windows dormers. Additional Entryways, Dormers, Risers are offered at current pricing.
  • This special incentive cannot be combined with other discounts or savings offers.

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Where doors & windows are located in the dome, structural awnings called entryways and dormers must be installed. The number of entryways and dormers are determined by your choice of floor plan. Entryway panels consist of 3½” EPS with no steel mesh or concrete. Steel mesh is purchased from Ai and attached on site with panels requiring on-site concreting. Dormers consist of 3 ½” EPS wrapped with steel mesh & require on site concreting. Call for Link pricing. Links can be purchased with 1/2″ DensArmor drywall. Links consist of precut 7” EPS. Steel mesh can be purchased from Ai. The link requires on-site mesh installation and concreting. American Ingenuity Domes are designed with flexibility, allowing you to create your own personal home and floor plan layout. Exterior doors & windows are purchased locally and installed onsite within the entryways and dormers using locally purchased materials. Solar tubes can be installed onsite within a panel. (Do not cut within 8” of a seam).

PAYMENT: Tiny Home Building Kit orders require a 30% deposit. The balance including USA shipping costs, in the form of a bank check, is due 21 days prior to shipment.  If kit to shipping to a Florida site, add Florida sales tax & your Florida’s county surtax. No credit card charges. *Pricing does not include shipping or building plans. If kits are exported, buyer pays freight forwarder directly for inland trucking costs and ocean shipping costs.

SHIPPING:  American Ingenuity can arrange shipping on 53’ step deck semi-trucks. Freight varies from $2.50 to $2.90 per mile ($800 minimum) per truck, from American Ingenuity plant in Rockledge, Florida. One truck can carry five 15’ kits; or two 18’ kits;  or two 22’ kits;  or one 22’ kit & one 27’ kit; or one 30′ kit; or one 34′ kit – each with 7” EPS insulation.

15′ & 18′ Kit:  If 3 ½” EPS and no drywall one truck can carry up to ten 15’ kits; or up to  four 18’ kits. 22’, 27′, 30′ and 34′ kits cannot be purchased with 3 ½” EPS.  The panels are too large in these larger kits to manufacture with thinner 3 1/2″ insulation. The 7″ insulation is required so the panel is not flexible during movement.

The 15’ kit and 18’ kit (each with one entryway, 7” EPS & one set of 2×4’s for temporary wooden rib system) can be picked up by the buyer if the following size truck, trailer and straps are used.

15′ kit: 

1/2 ton truck minimum (Ai recommends 3/4 ton truck )
13 ea.  2″ x 30′  straps Working Load Limit 3000 lbs.
Trailer specifications
7′ wide 20′ long minimum
tandem axle 3000 lbs. each axle
axles with brakes
bed height of 48″ max

18′ kit: 

1/2 ton truck minimum  (Ai recommends 3/4 ton truck )
13 ea.  2″ x 30′  straps Working Load Limit 3000 lbs.
Trailer specifications
7′ wide 22′ long trailer minimum
tandem axle 3000 lbs. each axle
axles with brakes
bed height of 36″ max

15′ & 18′ Kit:  If 3 ½” EPS and no drywall one truck can carry up to ten 15’ kits; or up to  four 18’ kits. 22’, 27′, 30′ and 34′ kits cannot be purchased with 3 ½” EPS.  The panels are too large in these larger kits to manufacture with thinner 3 1/2″ insulation. The 7″ insulation is required so the concrete panel is not flexible during movement.

For international shipping the following number is the number of 15′ and 18′ kits can fit in one 45′ high cube container.  To learn about importing, click on importing

Four 15′ kits with 7″ EPS, 1/2″ drywall, standard 4′ risers & 2′ risers & two sets of 2×4 ribs.
Eight 15′ kits with 3 1/2″ EPS, no drywall, standard 4′ risers & 2′ risers & two sets of 2×4 ribs.

Two 18′ kits with 7″ EPS, 1/2″ drywall, standard 4′ risers & 2′ risers & one set of 2×4 ribs.
Four 18′ kits with 3 1/2″ EPS, no drywall, standard 4′ risers & 2′ risers & one set of 2×4 ribs.

AVAILABILITY:  Depending on time of year allow 4 to 8 to 16 weeks after deposit with  Kit Order Form, Conditions of Sale with Material Order Agreement.

25% Discount —Residential Building Plans For Tiny Homes
When Plans Ordered per Coupon

To view samples of floor plan layouts, click on Stock Plans. If you do not see a stock plan to fit your desires, Ai can modify or customize a plan from your sketches and descriptions.  Each Set of Building Plans includes the floor plan layout(s) and consists of 13 – 17 blueprints depending on type of entryways and dormers in your kit.  To view sale pricing on all the stock plans and the dome building kit for each plan, click on Stock Plans & Kit Sale Prices.

Ai’s philosophy is that each Buyer 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.

Building Departments vary by state as to what they require to issue a new home building permit.  If you give Ai your parcel ID number & building department name, we will call and email info to them and find out what is required for them to issue a permit.  Will they require the building plans to be sealed and stamped by an engineer licensed for your state? Will they require an Energy Report?  If required these items can be purchased from American Ingenuity. To learn more about building permit, click on permit.

The standard foundation under Ai’s domes is a concrete slab. Other types of foundations; i.e. basements, stem wall, pilings, require the hiring of an engineer. Call for engineer pricing. Each buyer tells Ai the type foundation they want designed.  The foundation type is determined by property terrain, building department requirements and requirements from a soil report.

Plans may be purchased with a credit card, check or money order. Stock plans utilize a concrete slab foundation and are delivered within 2-4 weeks, Allow at least 5 modified plans and 8-10-12 weeks for custom plans.

SPECIFICATIONS

AREA AND VOLUME:   15’, 18’ & 22’ can have attic/loft. 27’, 30’ & 34’ can have second floor. 27’ & 34’ dome second floor can have bedroom because window dormer accepts fire egress window. 30’ dome panels are too small to have second floor window dormer; as a result 30’ second floor can be utilized for rec room, office, craft room, bathroom…not a bedroom.

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HEIGHTS:  Ai dome kits come with standard 4’ vertical riser panels before triangle geometry starts. 15’ & 18’ Kits come with standard 4’ risers & additional 2’ risers. 22’ & 27’ Kits come with standard 4’ risers or custom 5’ risers can be ordered w’ taller entryway & taller first floor door dormer base panels. 30′ & 34′ Kits come with standard 4′ risers. Ai cannot ship 5’ risers for the 30’ – 48’ dome kits because the five foot risers do not fit on the truck. For 30’ & 34′ kits custom 2’ risers can be installed above the standard 4’ risers with taller entryway base panels ordered

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WIDTHS:

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PANEL WEIGHTS:

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Two diagrams below represent geometry for 15’ & 18’ w’ 4’ risers & additional 2’ risers. 22’ & 27’ have 4’ risers or 5’ risers. 30’ & 34’ have 4’ risers or additional 2’ risers can be installed above the 4’ risers.

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INSULATION:                                                     3 1/2″ EPS                                               7″ EPS
THERMAL RESISTANCE:                                R-14                                                          R-28
THERMAL CONDUCTIVITY:                            K=0.0714 BTU/hr./sq.ft./F                      K=0.0357 BTU/hr./sq.ft./F

DOME GEOMETRY:  Frequency is the number of intersections from the center of one pentagon to the next.

  • 15’, 18’, 22’, 27’ domes are 2-frequency, 1/2 spheres. 15’ & 18’ are on 4′ vertical risers plus 2’ risers. 22’ & 27’ domes are on standard 4 ’ risers or custom 5’ risers.
  • 30′ & 34′ domes are 3-frequency, 3/8 spheres on a 4′ vertical riser.  30′ & 34′ domes can have additional 2′ riser installed above 4′ standard riser.

 

Conditions and costs may change requiring our prices to increase without prior notice.

AMERICAN INGENUITY, INC.
8777 Holiday Springs Road, Rockledge, Florida 32955-5805
PHONE: 321-639-8777
email: GlendaB.Aidomes@gmail.com

This article covers Dome Overview Glenda Giving Narrative
& Inside Edition TV segment that aired on the American Ingenuity concrete dome.

1st Video is on the 22ft Dome Kit.

 

2nd Video

Inside Edition Report on an American Ingenuity (Ai)concrete dome dome that went through a hurricane Andrew.
Excellent explanation on how concrete dome homes are perfect for
bad weather conditions like hurricanes and tornadoes.

Due to the dome’s prefabricated panel, the kit can be owner built or built by a contractor. Either the owner builder or the contractor can hire the Kit Assembly Consultant to supervise kit assembly.

 

The following covers Video Radio Interview of Glenda answering questions about the Ai dome.  To view photos of beautiful Oklahoma domes, click on tornado alley.  To view beautiful dome built in Connecticut, click on Owner Built dome. On the left hand side of our home page are fourteen menu items showing dome photos.

 

The following info covers various hoisting mechanisms (Lull,
Front end loader, self-built Gantry) to lift the American Ingenuity prefab panels into place

Another view of panel being installed in third row of panels.

Lull being used to place panel in third row of 34′ dome.  First  layer of fiber concrete being applied to exterior of entryway panels. 

Wooden rib system is temporary. Once all panels are placed with entryways/dormers framed in and two layers of concrete in the seams & on entryways and dormers, the dome is self supporting. The rib system is removed.

The panels are best placed using a Lull or Man Lift. The Man Lift is great to use because you can not only lift panels but workers can stand in the bucket with buckets of concrete to apply concrete in the seams.  If you use a  crane & are installing 45′ or 48′ dome, it needs to be capable of lifting 400-500 pounds, 25 feet up & 25 feet out.  A chain is put through the steel mesh at each of the three points and ties back on itself and is secured to lifting spikes.  Lifting spike is inserted between the concrete and the rigid EPS insulation.  Once the panel is in place, the chains are unhooked and the lifting spikes are removed. Continue using the same process to lift the other panels into place. 

22' panels assembled with back hoe

Front end loader utilized to lift 22′ dome kit panels into place. 

P1300026

Mr. Shalla built his own Steel Gantry System to lift his 48′ dome panels into place.
With his Gantry he is installing the panels with no workers. 

With a four-person work crew, use of a temporary wooden rib system & proper bracing of the panels, one row of panels of a 48’ dome can be placed in about a day of crane time.  In most cases, total crane rental time will vary from about 14 days for a smaller dome to approximately 26 days for a 48’ dome. This estimate is for a dome with one entryway, two dormers and no cupola that is built on a concrete slab utilizing the independent consultant.  This link, Rib, explains the temporary wooden rib system assembly method for the domes.

On this link, Kit Assembly Specialist, Ai gives a recap on the equipment needed to assemble the building kit and an estimate on the Specialist’s hours and worker hours to erect the kit.  The specialist is independent from American Ingenuity. He can supply dome assembly references for your review and calling.  To view the labor and equipment recaps, scroll down Consultant article to the yellow and blue boxes. 

For those owner builders who do not have a deadline for kit assembly, the prefab panels can be installed without hiring the consultant. The kit is assembled as a Do It Yourself (DIY) project following the Assembly Manual and the building plans.

These links, Kit AssemblyConstruction Overview and California Assembly Pics show assembly steps to erect the American Ingenuity dome building kit.

Monthly rentals on transverse lifts also called Boom Lifts, Horizontal Boom Fork Lifts, Roofing Lifts, Shooters are available from National Rental Chains like US Rentals, Hertz Equipment Rentals, United Rentals, etc.  The companies can be found in the telephone book.

Ai’s web site has over 150 pages of detailed information including an extensive frequently asked questions and their answers located on left hand side menu bar.  We look forward to answering your questions as you research which housing kit is best for you and your family.  Just to clarify, none of our staff is on commission….we are simply here to answer your questions as you analyze Ai’s dome housing kit which is the latest evolution in housing technology.

 PANEL LIFTING SPIKES

To make the lifting of the panels easier, four lifting spikes are purchased for $100 and shipped with your kit.   They are used to lift the triangular dome panels and the riser panels. 

The following information is in Ai’s Assembly Manual and includes sketches.

When preparing a panel for lifting, first bend the reinforcing wire mesh up almost in a vertical position to make the insertion of the lifting spikes easier.  Also having the mesh bent up will allow the panel to be placed without entanglement of the adjacent panel mesh. 

The lifting spikes are to be inserted at the midway locations along the panel’s edges. 

Push or hammered them into the EPS foam just under the concrete layer.  They should be parallel to the outer surface of the concrete. 

For safety reasons it is important that the lifting spikes are placed within 6″ of the center of the panel side. 

The spikes should be inserted so that the attached chain links can most easily to be threaded through the reinforcing wire mesh. 

Enlarge the opening in the reinforcing wire mesh so that the attached chain can go toward the center of the concrete side without obstruction.

Connected chains that will support 3 times the weight of the panel to the spike chain.  We recommend that you use a closed loop connector that can not release if there is no tension on the chain. 

Connect the 3 chains together so that the convergence point will be at a distance from the panel concrete surface equal to half the distance (length) of a panel side.  The chains should converge with about 90 degrees (square) between the two chains when viewed perpendicular.

Adjustments to the length of the 3 chains will allow you to tilt a panel to be better aligned with the location where it will be placed.

Some deviation in the spike placement and the convergence point height is allowable if you take in consideration how the forces are affected and follow all cautions listed below.

If the chains converge close to the panel the chains will be pulling more against each other and less in the direction intended for lifting the panel.  Reducing the convergence height to ¼ of the distance between spikes doubles the chain tension. 

Increasing the convergence height causes the panel to hang lower, reducing the height you can lift the panel.  Also when any chain is near perpendicular to the panel there is a serious risk of the spike being pulled out while lifting.  

CAUTION

Because there are numerous things that could allow the panel to fall while lifting.  In addition to the chains and their connection, a sudden jerk from the lifting device, slack in the lifting cable and human errors and other things can cause the panel to fall.

The only way to assure safety is to assume that the panel can fall at any time.  Anytime a panel is lifted Never allow anyone under the panel or within range of its possible impact.

Even after a panel is set in place and supported movement of other panels or supports could cause it to fall. 

Don’t consider a panel secure until it has been C-ringed and concreted on two sides to adjacent secure panels and all of the concrete had time to adequately harden.

Not being full time safety conscious could result in fatality consequences.

Once a panel has been placed into its position at the dome shell, the lifting spikes can easily be pulled out of the panel’s edge with a couple of strong outward jerks to the 3-link chain tail at the end of the lifting irons.


 

 

 

 The following covers ABC Radio Interview on a Texas ABC Station

Glenda Carlin-Busick, co-owner of American Ingenuity, was interviewed by Sandra Yancey, founder of eWomen Network.  The radio interview aired March 15, 2009 on Texas WBAP News/Talk 820, an ABC/Disney Company.

Click here to download/listen to this interview (mp3 format)

On the left hand side of our web site are over 14 menu times of photos for various concrete domes built in California, Pennsylvania, Missouri, Connecticut, Oklahoma, etc.   To view stock floor plan layouts for each of the ten dome sizes, from 172 sq.ft. to 2,992 sq.ft, click on Stock Plans and scroll down the page to find the hyperlinks to click on. 

The dome can be owner built or the home owner can hire a Contractor. The dome kit assembly can be a DIY project because all the panels are numbered and lettered to match the building plans and the Assembly Manual.   Either the owner builder or contractor can hire the independent kit assembly consultant to supervise the dome kit assembly.

Because a geodesic dome as a home is probably new to you, you may have several questions.   Feel free to call American Ingenuity at 321-639-8777.  Ai’s office is open Monday through Friday 9-5 Eastern time and closes in observance of New Years, Fourth of July, Memorial Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

To view a video Ai Dome Overview please click on Overview.  The American Ingenuity prefab concrete dome kit can be assembled by Owner Builders or hire a Contractor. Either the owner builder or the contractor can hire the independent Kit Assembly Consultant to supervise kit assembly.  To view special discount on the dome kit, click on Discount.

_____________________

Please view the following YouTube Videos of American Ingenuity domes:

a.    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wslB1TQ2nUE (Dome in Oregon)

b.    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5eYk2C0LL1k (Dome in New York)

c.    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1ehbwJXEgo (Interior of North Carolina dome)

d.    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dohe8repuDQ (Exterior of North Carolina dome)

 

This file explains about the Temporary Wooden Rib Support System which supports the American Ingenuity prefab panels until concrete is applied in the panel seams and on the entryways, dormers, link, cupola, etc.

Rib Support System

American Ingenuity’s Prefab Home Kits are erected using a system to temporarily hold the panels in place until the seam concrete, concrete on the entryways, dormers, cupola and link has cured and the entryways and dormers are framed in. The system is dismantled upon completion of the dome and the 2x4s are recycled as part of the interior framing. Shorter 2×4’s can be used to frame the second floor perimeter knee wall. Behind this knee wall, electrical, plumbing or ducting can be run or the space can be used for storage.

The dome prefab panels can be a Do It Yourself project or a builder can be hired.  Either the owner builder or the builder can hire the Kit Assembly Consultant to supervise the kit assembly.

The Rib System consists of using your own 2x4s, bolts/nuts/washers purchased from Ai and steel hubs on loan from America Ingenuity to assemble a free standing framework which matches the geometry of the dome.  Or Ai can cut, drill and paint the ribs and ship the 2×4’s on the truck with your building kit.

  • The rib system dictates exact panel placement.
  • As the building kit is being assembled upon the temporary wooden rib system, extra 2X4s or 2×6’s for larger domes are used to support the panels and the steel hubs.
  • The steel hub rental charge is a $800 deposit with the hubs being kept for five months. After that the rental fee is $20 per month. The bolts/nuts/washers are purchased from Ai and are not returned.  If the hubs are returned to us intact within the five month period, the complete deposit is returned. Thereafter, we subtract $20 for each additional month the hubs are kept and we subtract money for each hub that is missing and return the deposit difference to the client. The hubs are returned to Ai via UPS or common carrier at the client’s expense. Please box the hubs in a sufficient number of boxes to assure that the boxes are not too heavy for the trucking company employees to move around.  When boxes are too heavy or improperly taped, they rip open during transit with hubs lost along the way.  Please reinforce all interior sides of the boxes with extra cardboard to toughen the sides.
  • The Rib System is bolted together from your 2x4s (or 2×4’s purchased from Ai) and color-keyed hubs on loan from Ai.  The preferred method of assembly is called the “Bottom Up Method” where the riser legs are installed first.  Call or email us if you would like to receive a document describing the rib assembly.
  • The advantages of using the Rib System Option are:
    • With a Rib System in place, a crane can be used to set 1 row of panels in one day.
    • Since the Rib System reflects the dome geometry, a panel cannot be inadvertently positioned incorrectly.
    • The Rib System is utilized for all the different dome size assemblies.

Q: Can I purchase the 2×4’s for the rib system precut and the holes drilled in them?
A:
Yes. Due to fluctuating prices on the 2×4’s please call us for pricing. The pricing will be for the 2×4’s precut to the proper length with a predrilled hole. The 2×4’s that are used are lightweight wood, not pressure treated. We ship the precut, predrilled 2×4’s on the truck with your building kit. Remember these “supports” are temporary there is no wood in the shell to interrupt the insulation or to rot or for termites to eat.

Q: I would like to have the rib system assembled by the working consultant. Will the working consultant cut the 2×4’s to length, drill the holes and assemble the wood skeleton? A: He could.  But it would be most cost effective to purchase the precut ribs from American Ingenuity and have them shipped on your truck with your kit.  Or Ai can email the cutting specifications for them to be cut on site.  Click on Kit Assembly Consultant learn how he is best utilized.

Q: How many 2x4s are needed for the rib system? A:  The 15′, 18′ need 75 – 2×4’s.  22’ and 27’ need 75 – 2x4s eight feet long. The 30′, 34′, 36, 40′ require 135 – 2x4s eight feet long. The 45′ and 48′ require 135 – 2x4s ten feet long.

Q: Can I remove the temporary supports too soon?  A: Yes you can. The dome shell is not self supporting until all the panel seams are concreted with two layers of concrete and all the building options have been concreted and the entryways and dormers framed in.  The Assembly Manual that is shipped with each kit contains complete details.

Q: Why can the dome shell be self supporting with no need for interior load bearing walls to support it?

A: Manufactured geodesic dome home kits are constructed using a triangular network to form a spherical shape. The triangle shape is the strongest shape known to man and with the seam areas acting like steel beams.  (seam areas are about 3″x5″ with overlapped, locked steel mesh and onsite concrete applied. Concrete averages two inches thick). The geodesic dome construction method using triangles, 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 and utilization of interior space.  Suspension rods with top plate can be installed in the seams during kit assembly to support second floor areas.   If there are not second floor framed walls to hide the suspension rods, some rods may be visible.  During finishing the exposed rods can be covered with PVC or wood.

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 and can withstand heavy snow loads. For these reasons, residential domes greatly exceed the structural requirements of the major building codes in the United States.

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 and Rome. In modern times, Buckminster Fuller was the first to formulate geodesic principles for constructing a spherical surface by triangular subdivision.

Q: What methods are used to lift the panels?

A: The methods used for lifting the panels includes; Man lifts, Small cranes and Highlifts (all terrain scissors forklifts often used by roofers).

Monthly rentals on transverse lifts also called Boom Lifts, Horizontal Boom Fork Lifts, Roofing Lifts, Shooters are available from National Rental Chains like US Rentals, Hertz Equipment Rentals, United Rentals, etc. The companies can be found in the telephone book

Ai now has lifting spikes that can be borrowed for a $100 deposit.  It makes the attachment of the panels to the hoisting mechanism easier.

Tools and Materials needed to assemble the Rib System:

  • Set of steel scaffolding to reach at least the dome height plus three feet (the dome height can be estimated by taking one half of the diameter of the dome.)
  • 9/16” wrenches and ratchet
  • 46 hubs, 255 bolts, nuts, and washers (borrowed from American Ingenuity) (three frequency domes 30′ – 48′)
  • 15 diagonal braces: 2x4x8’ studs
  • Vertical support for under each hub.
  • Precut and color-coded wood ribs (2×4’s used are lightweight wood, not pressure treated).
    • The 40′, 45′, and 48′ rib system requires 135 – 2×4’s
    • The 22’ and 27’ need 75 – 2×4’s
    • If you do not want to buy the 2×4’s and cut them to length, color code them and drill the holes,  purchase them from American Ingenuity. Due to the fluctuating cost of 2×4’s pricing is determined at time of purchase.
  • Two pounds 12d or 16d common nails
  • 400 Galv. 2 ½” deck screws – if three freq dome
  • 60D Nails for top of Support boards
  • 3 – rolls soft steel Tie Wire

 

27′ Dome being assembled with rib system
34′ Dome being assembled on top of full basement
The rib system has been assembled using the steel hubs and 2×4’s.
The riser wall and one row of triangles has been installed onto the rib system.


Dome Consultant link from Video

How Does The American Ingenuity Geodesic Dome COMPARE TO THE MONOLITHIC DOME?

Are Aidomes as sturdy as Monolithic domes? Yes, our domes are as sturdy as Monolithic domes and Ai’s has a rigid noncombustible  concrete exterior vs Monolithic Dome has an outer membrane.   To view video of monolithic dome and a fire and info about Ai dome’s fire resistant concrete exterior, click on Ai Concrete Exterior.  The Aidome exterior comes with a 225 mph wind and EF4 Tornado Warranty.  One of Aidomes withstood the impact of a 30″ in diameter hickory tree impact with no damage.  An Aidome withstood Hurricane Andrew and a tornado at the same time with no structural damage – only a hairline crack and small piece of concrete broken when the tornado slammed a two wide steel horse trailer on the dome.  To view  strength info about Aidomes, click on Acts of Nature.   Why did Ai stop guniting concrete on to the exterior of its dome – too labor intensive and a waste of concrete.

The Ai dome exterior walls cost 1/3 to 1/2 less than a Monolithic dome exterior.  Although you have not asked, Aidomes are equally if not more energy efficient. Ai’s dome kit contains seven inch thick insulation which is comparable to eleven inches of fiberglass batting.

The assembly of the monolithic dome requires expensive concrete spraying equipment and is not a do-it-yourself project. The American Ingenuity Dome Kits were specifically designed for the owner builder. All of the panels are premarked with numbers and letters which are described in the Assembly Manual and on the Nomenclature Blueprint in the Building Plans.  Ai’s dome kits can be assembled using a mortar mixer, conventional cranes, man lift or hoisting mechanisms with no need to spray concrete over the entire dome surface. The Ai component panels already have 80% of the exterior prefinished concrete reinforced with galvanized steel mesh and fibers on the exterior. The Aidome kit requires less on site concrete work because it is only the seam areas between the component panels and the entryways and dormers which require concreting. The seam area between the panels is about 5” wide and 3” deep with the on site seam concrete application averaging two inches thick.  To view info about being an owner builder, click on DIY.

In 1976 American Ingenuity built its first geodesic dome utilizing reinforced concrete over expanded bead polystyrene (E.P.S.) insulation. Road mesh was hand tied onto propped up E.P.S. panels, the concrete was then gunited or pumped over the propped up E.P.S. insulation. Each time Ai built a dome this way, we knew there had to be a better way resulting in a prefabricated component panel being invented and receiving a patent.  Countless designs and manufacturing construction techniques were analyzed in the early years as Ai developed a new generation in dome housing. Ai has outgrown two previous models as we progressed to a five dome office and factory complex.

Spraying concrete on a structure causes a waste of labor and concrete. The concrete ends up being 2″ thick in one place and 3″ to 4″ thick in other places. The concrete on the Ai geodesic dome needs to be thick only in the seams and thin on the panels.  It is a waste of labor because it is difficult for the concrete finishers to finish the concrete as it is curing. Also a continuous sprayed concrete structure will cause the concrete to cure all at once.  Preconcreted panels allow for the panel concrete to cure prior to the seam concrete being applied.  For those homeowners who do not want to assemble the American Ingenuity dome kit themselves, the homeowner can hire a local builder who hires the independent kit assembly consultant to supervise the builder’s workers during the kit assembly.  To view our web site info about the Specialist/Consultant, please click on Specialist.

THERMAL MASS IN RELATION  TO MONOLITHIC DOMES

Generally speaking, in a home, thermal mass is the amount of stuff inside the house that retains heat. Although thermal mass accounts for the fact that some things have a greater “thermal capacity” to store heat than others, to understand its effect you can think of it as the total weight of everything contained in the house. With more thermal mass (heavy stuff) inside your house more heat will have to be added or removed to change the temperature. Expressed another way, if heat is not being added the temperature will be slower to change. Does Thermal Mass affect the energy efficiency of the house? NO.  As heat in the house is lost through walls, windows etc, the temperature drops.

The thermal mass releases (loans) heat into the house slowing down the temperature change. When the heating system turns on it must replace heat lost to the outside and it must also replace (pay back) the heat given off by the thermal mass. There is no long-term gain or loss; all of the heat given off by the thermal mass must be replaced. The amount of heat required to maintain the temperature inside a house is solely dependent on the amount of heat that escapes to the outside. All houses have walls, floors, and usually fixtures, appliances and stuff that will retain heat. A large amount of thermal mass can cause long on/off cycles of the heating system when shorter cycles would stir the air more frequently providing more comfort and uniform temperatures inside.

The recent generation of thermostats are a proven money saver by lowering the inside temperature (which lowers the heat loss to the outside) during those hours you are away at work, etc.  A large thermal mass makes it much harder to change the temperature; therefore reducing the savings.

Why is the Ai dome so energy efficient?  

Ai’s kit has standard 7″ thick EPS R28 insulation. The cost to build one of our kits runs about the same to build as a traditional home but our home has insulation comparable to 11” of fiberglass batting!  (using the 7″ EPS).  A traditional house would require 2×10 to come close to our dome….but it would have wood interrupting the insulation.  The thick insulation, reduced exterior surface area (30% less surface area than conventional shaped home) and uninterrupted insulation causes low cooling and low heating bills.

As far as functioning in cold, snowy environment, American Ingenuity domes have been built in such cold climates as Canada, at 7,500 feet elevation in Utah, 3,400 feet elevation in North Carolina, South Dakota, Minnesota, Montana, Wisconsin, Vermont, New York and all cold states in the USA except for New Hampshire, Rhode Island and North Dakota.  It is easier to heat an Ai dome that to cool one. To heat the furnace does not need to overcome heat generated from sunlight, clothes dryer, dish washer, body heat, light fixtures.

Below are examples of heating and cooling info on Aidomes.

  1. To view Glenda’s 1,075 sq. ft. dome home’s electric bill please view 34′ Dome Home Energy Recap   (total electric house with solar hot water panel – has actual copies of the electric bills).  I can cool my 1,075 sq.ft house for less than $27 a month in the hot Florida summer months.  (76 degrees when home and 79 degrees when not). As we discussed the Ai dome is even easier to heat than to cool.  To Heat you do not have to overcome sunlight, heat generated by the clothes dryer, dishwasher, computer, etc. This generated heat is utilized.
  2. Ai’s dome offices of 3,700 sq.ft. can be cooled for less than $85 a month (you can view actual electric bills at this link) in the hot Florida summer months to 74 degrees during the day Mon-Sat and 77 degrees at night and on Sunday.
  3. One of our domes built in South Carolina received the Energy Star  It has geothermal pipes.  Home Energy Partners certified his home used 61% less energy than in comparably-size housing.   The dome owner installed a geothermal cooling & heating system. To view pictures & info about his geothermal system, click on System.  Klaus’s total monthly average energy bill was $49. This includes the electricity and propane costs for his entire 1,600 sq.ft. – 40 ft. dome.
  4. Here is a quote from the Charles family about their PA 40 dome on full basement with Geothermal and radiant floor heating:  Mr. & Mrs. Charles: ““We live in the mountains of PA. The winters up here can be brutal. Our Ai Dome is a 40ft with Link on a 9″ thick livable basement. {Den, Office/Computer room, Kitchenette} The entire interior, to include the mechanical room, is heated and cooled by a Geothermal, Water furnace, Radiant floor system. Our zone controllers are set on 74 degrees winter and summer. Our sole power source, at present, is the grid. Our costs per month range from $99 to a high of $120. We were amazed that our cost now are less than when we lived in a 14 by 73 ft. mobile home while building the Dome. Our decision to build an American Ingenuity Dome home was the best decision we have ever made.”
  5. Jim Collar’s Utah Ai concrete dome buildings (45 linked to a 30’) operate off the grid by using photovoltaics’, masonry heater fireplace and passive solar water tubes. To learn more, click on  Off The Grid.
  6. Per Eric Brindley, “Our 2,600 sq.ft. 48’ dome located in Edgewater Florida is very efficient and strong. It has been hit by several hurricanes and tropical storms with no damage at all. My neighbor’s conventional house was severely damaged by the storms. I keep the house at 72 degrees in the summer and warmer in winter. My electric bill is around $100 a month with no water/sewer bill because I’m on well/septic.”
  7. If a person does not need to air condition their home, then if window dormers or windows within entryways are placed opposite each other cross ventilation can occur and cool the dome.  Our factory has three Ai domes which are not air conditioned.  In the heat of the Florida summers, you can walk in the domes and they are cooler than the outside air.  Floor fans circulate the air.  The super insulated dome is cooler inside with no air conditioning than a conventional house.
  8. Glenda owned a 34’ dome built at 3,400 feet elevation that could reach -8 degrees in the winter. Its south facing high profile entryway allowed sunlight to come in the dome.  When we wanted to carry wood and burn the fireplace, the fireplace and the sunlight from the entryway was enough to heat the dome.  At night we utilized a kerosene feed heater set at 68 degrees and the fire place for heat. During the winter we would use around 100 gallons of kerosene.
  9. Yes a fireplace can be installed in the dome.  Just let us know about where you want it located and our CAD department with use its 3D elevation view to locate the flue pipe’s exit from the dome.  It needs to be 8” from the center of a seam. On site a hole can be cut in the prefab panel.  Instructions on how to cut the hole are in the Assembly Manual.

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.