owner builders | AiDomes

Charts are Examples of Ai Dome Kits Shipped

For examples we are listing charts for a 34′ dome building kit shipped to a Florida site, a 48′ kit shipped to a Florida site and a 40′ kit shipped to Trinidad.  

The following three charts list the pricing for each dome kit and items associated with that kit’s building plans.  Ai’s philosophy is that each Buyer pays for only what is needed for their dome kit and what is needed to obtain a building permit.  Ai does not burden the price of the building kit with the price of the building plans, engineer seal on the plans or Energy Reports.  Some building departments do not require that the plans be engineer sealed by an engineer licensed for your state and do not require an Energy Report;  therefore if not required those buyers only purchase the building plans and do not purchase a seal or energy report.

The finished price per sq. ft. a home can be built for is dependent upon house square footage size, finishings, state (location within the state), what building code is enforced, site preparation based on soil and whether the dome is built by a local Contractor/Builder or is Owner Built.  Every area varies on what the finished price per sq.ft. is because labor costs, site development costs and building code requirements vary by area.

The Dome Building Kit’s Special Prefabricated panels fit on one semi-truck when insulation is standard R28.  Ai believes you SHOULD NOT PAY for another semi-truck’s shipping cost to have exterior doors, windows, kitchen cabinets, bathroom fixtures, flooring, etc. delivered. These items are conventional items which can be locally purchased after competitively shopping prices at Home Depot, Lowes, eBay, Craig’s List, etc.

 

  • In Florida all new home construction requires Building Plans be sealed by an engineer licensed in Florida and an Energy Report.  For this above Florida Buyer their plans were $993; Florida Engineer seal for 34’ dome on slab was $600; Florida Energy Report was $190 for total of $1,783.  If your building department does not require a licensed engineer for your state to seal your plans & does not require an energy report, you do not purchase those items.
  • The total price for the 34′ Dome Kit & the Fl Engineer Sealed Plans and Energy Report was $34,887.
  • The estimated finished price for this Florida 34′ dome which includes the total price of $42,021 but not including the land cost, utility hook up costs, driveway installation or site preparation is $135,792.  To calculate the finished price take the number of square feet in the dome plan times the finished cost per sq.ft. for your area.  In this case in Central Florida building costs are around $123 a sq.ft.  Their floor plan has 1,104 sq.ft. resulting in the $135,792.  FYI the costs for the land, site preparation, driveway installation and utility hook ups WILL BE THE SAME whether it is a dome or a conventional house being built.
  • 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.

    To view the floor plan layout for the 34′ dome, click on these pdfs.

Online Viewing – Opens in Browser
34′ Dome Plans 1st Floor
34′ Dome Plans 2nd Floor

The total price of the 34′ Dome Kit to a Florida site including Parts List Items, 2×4’s for temporary wooden support system, shipping, sales tax, shipping and steel hub deposit was $42,021. 

The price can vary because:

1) your floor plan selection determines the type and number of entryways and dormers.  This dome had two entryways, one window dormer and one second floor door dormer resulting in Kit with Building Options pricing of $33,104.

2) the Buyer chose to purchase 135 precut, drilled & painted 2×4’s for the temporary wooden support system – price of $1,134.  If you choose to not purchase the 2×4’s and cut them on site then subtract $1,134 from the total above. (Once the kit is assembled, seams between the panels concreted and entryways and dormers concreted, the dome is self-supporting and the support system comes down.  There is no wood to interrupt the Aidome panels.

3) Their Parts List Items totaled $1,448.  Each floor plan varies as to how much of the second floor is installed. This determines the number of suspension rods, Simpson hangers for the second floor joists, etc. This buyer chose a floor plan design which had half of the second floor installed.  Therefore this Parts List total will be more if you have more of the second floor installed.  Once your plans are finished Ai will know the specific Parts List items required.  To view an article which describes the contents of Ai’s two page Order Form, click on Order Form Description.

4) This site was in Florida so state sales tax and surtax had to be paid of $2,141. If your kit is shipping out of Florida you will not pay sales tax or surtax.

5) The $1,610 deposit for the steel hubs is refunded when the hubs are returned per the rental agreement.

6) Shipping cost for one semi-truck was $800.  If your site is outside of Florida then the shipping cost is based on the number of miles from our Rockledge Fl factory to your site. Currently that cost is $2.70 a mile.  Please call with your zip code and we can estimate shipping costs for one semi-truck.

 

    • In Florida all new home construction requires Building Plans be sealed by an engineer licensed in Florida and an Energy Report.  This Florida Buyer’s plans were $1,313; Florida Engineer seal for 48’ dome plans on slab is $600; Florida Energy Report for one dome on a slab is $190 for total of $2,103.  If your building department does not require a licensed engineer for your state to seal your plans & does not require an energy report, you do not purchase those items.
    • The total for the 48′ Dome Kit and the Fl Engineer Sealed Plans and Energy Report was $59,786.
    • The estimated finished price for this Florida 48′ dome which includes the $69,246 but not including the land cost, utility hook up costs, driveway installation or site preparation is $232,064.  To calculate the finished price take the number of square feet in the dome plan times the finished cost per sq.ft. for your area.  In this case the building costs are around $112 a sq.ft.  Their floor plan has 2,072 sq.ft. resulting in the estimated $232,064.  FYI,  the costs for the land, site preparation, driveway installation and utility hook ups WILL BE THE SAME whether it is a dome or a conventional house being built.
    • 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.
    • To view the floor plan layout for the 48′ dome, click on these pdfs.
Online Viewing – Opens in Browser
48′ Dome Plans 1st Floor
48′ Dome Plans 2nd Floor

The total price of the 48′ Dome Kit to a Florida site including custom two foot additional risers, Parts List Items, 2×4’s for support system, shipping,  hub deposit and sales tax was $69,246.

This price can vary because:

1) your floor plan selection determines the type and number of entryways and dormers.  This dome had two standard entryways, one High Profile entryway, two first floor window dormers, two second floor window dormers and one second floor door dormer and custom two foot risers; resulting in Kit with Building Options pricing of $57,683.  If your 48′ floor plan includes fewer entryways and dormers then the kit cost will be less.  If your 48′ floor plan has a greater number of entryways and dormers then the kit cost will be more.

2) Their Parts List Items totaled $2,251.  Each floor plan varies as to how much of the second floor is installed. This determines the number of suspension rods, Simpson hangers for the second floor joists, etc. This buyer had most of his second floor installed. Therefore if the plan you select has less of the second floor installed, your Parts List total will be less.  Once your plans are finished Ai will know the specific Parts List items required.  To view an article which describes the contents of Ai’s two page Order Form, click on Order Form Description.

3) the buyer chose to have ten foot tall ceiling heights in the first floor rooms that had a second floor installed above them.   As a result this added $2,809 to his kit price.  If you choose to not purchase taller risers then costs for additional risers will not be included in your kit.

4) the Buyer chose to purchase 135 precut, drilled & painted 2×4’s for the temporary wooden support system – price of $1,134.  If you choose to not purchase the 2×4’s but cut them on site then subtract $1,134 from the total above.

5) This site was in Florida so state sales tax and surtax had to be paid of $3,664.  If your kit is shipping out of Florida  no sales tax or surtax will be paid.

6) The $1,610 deposit for the steel hubs is refunded when the hubs are returned per the rental agreement.

7) Shipping cost for one semi-truck to their Florida site was $800.  If your site is outside of Florida then the shipping cost is based on the number of miles from our Rockledge Fl factory to your site.  Currently shipping cost is $2.70 a mile.   Please call with your zip code and we can estimate shipping costs for one semi-truck.

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    • This Trinidad Buyer did not need an engineer seal on the building plans or an Energy Report to obtain a permit.  Therefore he purchased the building plans only.  His Plans were for a 40’ dome on a full basement. The dome and basement plans were $1,863.  If your building department requires a licensed engineer for your state to seal your plans & requires an energy report, then you purchase those items.  The seal cost for one dome on a slab is $600.  The seal for one dome on a basement is $900.  If stem wall is to be designed to get the footer below the frost line, add $200.  An Energy Report for one dome on a slab is $190; one dome on a basement $380.  If in California, hire a local company to complete California’s Title 24 Energy Report.  Ai will email them R value info and dimensions on the dome so they can complete the report. 
    • The total for the Dome Kit & the Building Plans was $44,108.  Total for all items was $50,505.  Shipping cost at the time was $4,531 for a total of $55,036.
    • The estimated finished price for this Trinidad 40′ dome on a full basement which includes the $55,505 but not including the land cost, utility hook up costs, driveway installation or site preparation is $285,200.  To calculate the finished price take the number of square feet in the dome plan & basement plan times the finished price per sq.ft. for your area.  In this case the building costs are around $100 a sq.ft.  Their floor plan includes 1,420 sq.ft in the dome and 1,161 sq.ft. in the basement for a total of 2,581 sq.ft. resulting in the estimated $258,100.  FYI, the costs for the land, site preparation, driveway installation and utility hook up costs WILL BE THE SAME whether it is a dome or a conventional house being built.
    • 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.
    • To view the floor plan layout for the Trinidad dome, click on these pdfs

Trinidad Dome: The total price of the 40′ Dome Kit including Parts List, Rental of telescoping forklift to load the container, 2×4’s for support system and purchase of the steel hubs for the support system was $50,505.   The buyer paid the shipping cost directly to the shipping company.  

This price can vary because:

1) your floor plan selection determines the type and number of entryways and dormers.  This dome had three standard entryways, two first floor window dormers, two second floor window dormers and one second floor door dormer; resulting in Kit with Building Options pricing of $42,245. If your floor plan includes fewer entryways and dormers then the kit cost will be less.

2) Their Parts List Items totaled $2,193.   Each floor plan varies as to how much of the second floor is installed. This determines the number of suspension rods, Simpson hangers for the second floor joists, etc. This buyer had most of his second floor installed. If less of your 40′ dome second floor is installed, your Parts List total will be less.  Once your plans are finished Ai will know the specific Parts List items required.  To view an article which describes the contents of Ai’s two page Order Form, click on Order Form Description.

3) The Buyer chose to purchase 135 precut, drilled & painted 2×4’s for the temporary wooden support system – price of $1,134.  If you choose to cut them on site then subtract $1,134 from the total above.

4) the buyer paid $800 rental costs for telescoping forklift for Ai to load the container.  If the kit is shipped within the USA, the $800 rental will not be paid because Ai can load a flat bed truck with our fork lift.

5) Because the kit was shipping out of the United States it would be too expensive for the international buyer to ship the hubs back to Ai for a refund; therefore the buyer purchased the hubs for $2,070.  USA buyers place a deposit of $1,610 for the steel hubs. The deposit is refunded when the hubs are returned per the rental agreement.

6)  The buyer paid the shipping costs directly to the vessel line.  If your site is outside of Florida then the shipping cost is based on the number of miles from our Rockledge Fl factory to your site.  Shipping costs outside of Florida range from $2.70 to $2.90 per  mile. Please call with your zip code and we can estimate shipping costs for one semi-truck

 

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.).

Calculating Finished Cost

The dome can be built and finished for about the same finished price per sq.ft. as a conventional house or business built in your neighborhood; however you receive more with the dome – greater energy efficiency, greater strength & fire resistant concrete exterior.  Each area of the country varies as to what construction workers and subcontractors charge per hour.   As a result check with a local builder to see what it costs per sq.ft. to build a moderately finished conventional house – Formica kitchen counter tops, no high end kitchens or high end bathrooms or high end flooring, etc. This is the approximate per sq.ft. finished cost the dome can be built for.

This means if it costs $110 a sq.ft to build a moderately finished conventional house in your neighborhood; then that is the approx. price per sq.ft. the dome can be built for.  For example if you built a three bedrooms/two bath size dome (40′ Theta 11 plan) with 1,521 sq.ft. for $110 a sq.ft. then the approx finished price is around $167,310.  This price includes the dome kit, kit assembly costs and labor and materials to finish the dome interior.  However it does not include 1) the price of the land; 2) driveway installation costs; 3) site development; 4) utilities – water, sewer or electric.  FYI, the costs for the land, site preparation, driveway and utility hooks will be the same whether it is a dome or a conventional house being built.

Because the American Ingenuity dome home is assembled from prefabricated panels, the kit can be assembled quicker; thus providing more savings over stick built houses, log cabins or pumped concrete domes.

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.   A conventional house would need 11″ of fiberglass batting 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 prefinished 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.

An Owner Builder or the dome owner’s builder can hire the independent  Kit Assembly Consultant to supervise their workers to get the dome kit assembled. Then conventional subcontractors frame in the doors and windows, prime & paint the dome exterior, complete the interior finishing – framing, electrical, plumbing, installing kitchen & bathroom fixtures & cabinets, drywall finishing, etc.

 

Materials Cost-Finished Cost

Total Materials Cost:  If you select standard items to finish the interior of your dome, the materials cost for your dome might be $50 or more per square foot. So the minimum materials cost (no labor costs) for a 40′ dome of 2,000 sq.ft. could be $100,000 (this includes the kit cost of $47,000).

Finished Cost of the house:  Finished price is more than the materials cost because it includes the labor costs plus the materials cost. So how does dome finishing costs compare to conventional house finishing costs?  If the finished price per square foot to build a conventional house in your area is $100 per square foot and you desire a 2,000 square foot house then the finished price for the conventional house would be about $200,000, if you do no labor yourself.  The finished price of the dome would be the same about $200,000 less the savings on the dome shell materials….. But you end up with more with the American Ingenuity dome. You receive a super-insulated, super-strong house whose exterior dome walls have 225 mph wind and F4 Tornado warranty. .To view summary of the advantages of Ai dome, please click on Summary.  To view info on cooling costs on 34′ dome home, please click on 1,075 sq.ft. home.

To view stock plan layouts for each size dome kit, click on Stock Plans.  To view the sale price of the building plans and dome kit, click on Plans & Kit Sale Pricing.  To view photos of finished pics of dome exteriors and interiors, click on Photos.  To view photos of Kit Assembly, click on Assembly.

Your interior materials cost varies depending on your selection of locally purchased interior items such as:

  • Formica kitchen counter tops versus granite
  • Oak kitchen cabinets versus cherry or mahogany
  • Vinyl flooring versus ceramic tile versus hard wood floors
  • Ceramic tile versus marble
  • Plastic shower stalls versus tiled showers
  • Plastic tubs versus Jacuzzi tubs
  • Jeld-wen windows versus Pella or Anderson windows
  • Standard light fixtures versus specialty
  • Standard kitchen appliances versus Thermador or Dacor appliances
  • Standard bathroom fixtures versus Aquaware or Boffi

A helpful web site is rsmeans.com It has construction manuals, construction estimating CD’s, etc.

Estimating Costs

The following information came from the book, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Building Your Own Home by Dan Ramsey.

Can you afford to build the house you want? In Chapter 9 it states:  I’ll help you get a comprehensive estimate of your construction costs. For now, though, let’s make a rough estimate.  First, understand that whatever house you build will probably cost as much or more than that of your neighbors — unless you plan to do it all yourself. Based on this fact, let’s look at your neighbor’s houses.

As mentioned in Chapter 1, the typical house built today is about 2,300 square feet in size, and sells for around $225,000 depending on where you live. The actual price in your area may be half of that or 10 times that amount.

So, how can you get a good rule-of-thumb for your area? Of course, you can talk with contractors who will throw out numbers like $100 or $200 per square foot. That’s a wide range. What does it include? House only? House and land? Landscaping, too?

It’s smarter for you to get your own local building costs. Here’s how. Talk with a local real estate agent about new construction. It’s best if you can compare apples to apples, so ask about new homes and lots in the area you want to build. The agent should be able to tell you the lot cost, the asking price, and the square foot size of a few comparable homes. You can figure things from there.

You now have a base from which to guesstimate the approximate cost of your new house. Then you can factor in the following:

  • If you want a nicer view lot, add to the land costs.
  • If you will be your own general contractor, reduce the total by 10 to 20 percent.
  • If you will be a subcontractor, reduce the total by the sub’s fees.
  • If you want to enhance the design, tack on the additional costs or get a square-footage cost for better quality homes.

    American Ingenuity (Ai) – 8777 Holiday Springs Rd – Rockledge, Florida 32955

    321-639-8777 –  Mon-Fri 9-5 Eastern Time – GlendaB.Aidomes@gmail.com 

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.

This article covers Ai’s Dome History.

Busicks 8' doors Office DogsMichael & Glenda Busick w’ families’ pets

Brief history of American Ingenuity Domes

The founder of American Ingenuity (Ai) was Michael Busick, an engineer, who was born and raised in North Little Rock, Arkansas graduating from University of Arkansas.  Ai began in 1974 as an electronics manufacturing firm located in Miami, Florida. Its products at that time included a slow acting lamp dimmer and solid state voltage regulator for motorcycles.

In 1976 American Ingenuity moved to Melbourne, Florida. After two years of design research, the first American Ingenuity dome was built in 1976 to house Michael’s electronics business.

Q: Why did Mr. Busick decide on the dome shape for his dome?  What are the advantages of domes?
A: 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.

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

During the past decade the home buying public has experienced a substantial increase in the cost of construction, the cost of energy and the cost of borrowing. As a result, there has been increased interest in the use of technology to help address these concerns. In the last decade, many people have discovered that the dome home design offers a viable solution.

As a residential building concept, geodesic dome home construction translates into a highly comfortable and livable home that has a maximum of floor area enclosed by a minimum of materials. These features combine superior strength and cost-effectiveness in a single structure. In short, the building concept of a dome home expands the range of simple and economic housing options.

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

As an architectural form, the dome is one of the strongest structural forms devised and built by man. Domes that were built centuries ago enclose many of the great cathedrals of Europe. Domes are structurally superior to rectilinear enclosures. The partial sphere is an aerodynamic shape that is very stable in high winds 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.

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

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During the design of the first American Ingenuity, Michael employed the talents of the Director of the Florida Solar Energy Center, Engineering students and an architectural professor from the University of Miami to design the very first expanded  polystyrene (E.P.S.) and concrete geodesic dome.  This professor had done preliminary designs for a concrete and steel dome, but he had never constructed a concrete and steel  dome.  The dome went by the name of  “Key Dome”.  American Ingenuity built the first E.P.S., steel and concrete dome.

Ai’s first dome, which was 50′ in diameter, became the office/model of American Ingenuity and by American Ingenuity’s current standards was a primitive design. The dome was constructed by:

  • Erecting and propping up the E.P.S. panels
  • Stretching steel mesh over the E.P.S.
  • Spraying concrete over the entire exterior
  • Troweling the concrete smooth
  • Applying the interior shell finish of plaster to the E.P.S.

This first American Ingenuity dome had no riser walls, no preformed entryways , no  dormers and was not an owner/builder design.

Busick’s dome was located next to US Highway 1 in Melbourne, Florida. People would stop in and ask him to build them domes like his. Thus started his dome business.

In the early years, American Ingenuity was happy to sell one building kit a year. Kits were shipped in the early years into North Carolina and Texas; however, Florida remained the primary location for building.  With each one built, Michael gained valuable information to provide improvements for the next.  Every time a dome was built using the above method, Michael knew there had to be a better way….which resulted in the invention of Ai’s prefabricated component panel.

Ai has sold over 800 dome kits in 47 U.S.A. States and fourteen foreign areas.

In 1980, American Ingenuity was incorporated in the state of Florida.

By 1983, a major improvement in the building method was developed by Michael which provided for the prefabrication of building panels. In 1983 American Ingenuity manufactured and built its first dome (a 48′ in diameter dome) utilizing its prefabricated sandwich panel.  To learn more about the component panel composition click on Panel Composition.

After this concept had been tested and implemented, Busick applied for and received a U.S. patent. This improved building system was labeled “Generation II”. It resulted in a dome design which reduced the time and cost of construction as well as improved the quality of the finished dome.

Also in 1983 Michael married Glenda who besides assisting in the day to day operations of the company, played a major roll in the financial backing for the research and development of the American Ingenuity dome concept. She handled the purchasing and selling of integrated memory chips to office equipment companies through out the United States to fund the component panel’s design.  Glenda was born and raised in Missouri. Even though she graduated with a Biology Degree from Southwest Missouri State, she loves dome sales and coordinating dome building floor plan design with the dome buyer, engineers and American Ingenuity’s Computer Aided Drafting Department.

Construction for American Ingenuity’s second model home (40′ and 30′ garage) began in 1984 using the prefabricated panels.  Sheet rock was adhered to the inside of the polystyrene insulation. But during the building kit assembly the sheet rock naturally got wet. Because the sheet rock would crumble and mold when wet, American Ingenuity decided to stop shipping the prefabricated panels with conventional sheet rock. Back then after the dome kit was assembled, the dome owner or subcontractor would either adhere sheet rock or trowel plaster or stucco directly to the polystyrene insulation….a labor intensive and expensive project.

Also during this time, Michael designed the first geodesic dome second floor door dormer which opened onto the top of a standard entryway to produce a second floor balcony. Another first of its kind.

The energy rating for American Ingenuity’s second model home, as determined by the Florida Model Energy Code calculations, was the lowest known with a rating of -14. 

To learn more about efficiency click on Energy FAQ.  To view info on South Carolina dome that earned EPA’s Energy Star click on Energy Star.

The Model Dome in Melbourne Florida was completed in 1985 and a few months later was entered in the 1986 Aurora Awards competition. In May of 1986, Ai. was notified that the American Ingenuity Model had won the award for the Most Energy Efficient Residences as judged by the Southeast Builders Conference, a division of the National Home Builders Association. In August of that same year, the model also won the Grand Award for all energy efficient categories…beating out a passive solar home designed for one of Florida’s utility companies, Florida Power and Light.

In 1986 a United States patent was granted for the prefabricated component panel consisting of polystyrene and galvanized steel reinforced concrete. 

After receiving the patent and winning of the Aurora Awards, articles were written about the American Ingenuity Dome in such newspapers as Florida Today and the Orlando Sentinel, in the magazines Progressive Builder, Florida Trend and was a feature cover story in the March 1987 issue of Popular Science.

As a result American Ingenuity’s factory needed to be expanded to keep up with the demand for its dome building kits. Additions to Ai’s first 48′ factory dome were a 45′ dome in 1986 and a 60′ dome in 1991.

Ai broke ground for its new dome offices (45′ and 34′) in 1993. The office domes won the Southeast Builders Conference 1994 Aurora Merit Award for Energy Efficiency for a Commercial Project.

In 1998, Michael designed the 22′ and 27′ garage domes using 2 frequency geometry. This geometry differs from American Ingenuity’s residential domes in that the 22′ and 27′ domes utilize fewer but larger panels. By having larger panels Ai can create a wider opening that is needed for a garage door. Previously a 34’ dome was needed to pull two cars in side by side. Now Ai’s clients can have a two-car garage in a 27’ dome, which is more cost effective. The 22’ dome provides an economical one car garage. Either of these can be connected to another dome or built independently from the house.

Typically, American Ingenuity’s clients were owner builders but around 2000, Ai had individuals inquire about wanting a working consultant to supervise their concrete workers or their contractor’s workers during the dome kit assembly. American Ingenuity can now connect clients with independent consultants who will travel to their job site. The consultant supervises the assembly of the dome kit which makes the assembly go faster and reduces costs.  Click on Kit Assembly Consultant to learn more.

In 2003, the staff at American Ingenuity researched materials to cover the interior of the rigid expanded polystyrene insulation. Ai’s staff settled on Georgia Pacific’s 1/4″ Dens-Deck roofing board which was adhered to the E.P.S. with cement and perlite. The Dens-Deck employs fiberglass mat facing instead of paper on both sides of the board. The core is silicon treated gypsum providing excellent moisture resistance, fire resistance and adhesion properties. It won’t harbor spores that create sick homes. Dens-Deck roof board is a patented nonstructural glass mat-faced, noncombustible, water-resistant, treated gypsum core panel. It is water resistant, so if your kit is rained on during construction, it will not be damaged. When allowed to dry out, the gypsum will return to its original state. Due to code changes in November 2013, the wallboard has been upgraded to Georgia Pacific’s 1/2″ DensArmor Plus gypsum. Same moisture resistant/mold resistant gypsum as Dens-Deck just thicker and is adhered to the EPS with wallboard adhesive.

Not only has American Ingenuity’s building kits improved, but American Ingenuity’s building plans have progressed from simple hand drawings to detailed computer designed blueprints. Ai’s once nonexistent Assembly Manual has grown to over 100 informative pages. Ai was the first to offer utility dome kits. American Ingenuity has progressed from a prototype structure to a home that has received a design competition award, three energy awards and numerous articles in national magazines and other media.  To view layouts for each size dome, click on Stock Plans.

In 2015 American Ingenuity designed 15′ and 18′ dome kits for the Tiny Home Market for those wanting to have a smaller home foot print.

Ai’s goal in 1976 was to develop a simplified building kit which when assembled produced an affordable, super-strong, super – energy efficient home.  American Ingenuity’s goals now are: 1) to continue that goal; 2) provide prefab home kits for forward thinking home owners who are willing to think outside the box;  and 3) offer independent kit assembly specialists to supervise the dome kit assembly.