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 This page provides info about American Ingenuity domes built on pilings and platform.

 

8.18 Exterior pilings2 Mowery platform-edited2

40′ dome built in 1990 on concrete platform on concrete block columns.

This concrete dome survived Hurricane Andrew’ 160 mph winds with no damage.

 

40' dome built on pylons extending 12' above ground. This dome survived Hurricane Katrina.

40′ dome built in 1992 on wood pylons extending 12′ above ground.

This dome survived Hurricane Katrina with no damage.

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Photo of Elevated Aidome in Marathon Florida – Fl Keys that went through 

Hurricane Irma’s 74 mph winds with no damage

The standard foundation that comes with American Ingenuity’s building plans is a concrete slab. For Ai to design any other foundation other than concrete slab, a local Florida licensed engineer is hired.  He requires a soil’s report where the soil engineer recommends what type foundation is to be built for your specific type soil. The local PE engineer uses the soil report data to give Ai details for your foundation design.  He calculates the load of the dome and its interior floors to determine joist size and spacing and wall design.  Ai then incorporates the engineer’s designs into your building plans.  Call our office at 321-639-8777 for engineer pricing.

The dome’s standard footing size is 20″ tall by 16″ wide with slab 4″. Foundation should be built on undisturbed native soil or fill – with soil compacted to 98% density for a minimum of 2,000 psf of bearing pressure. If your bearing capacity is less, then the engineer can increase your footer size and slab thickness. For example the soil for a dome being built in California was 1,500 psf. Its footer was increased to  20″x 20″ and slab was increased to 6″.

Have you checked with your local building department to see what they require your house be built on? If you live near the ocean or body of water, the building department may require concrete or wood pilings which could be driven 10′ to 15′ or more down into the ground versus concrete columns on a footer.

When there is a potential for waves of water washing dirt out from under your house, the local building department usually  requires pilings. If your property is within a few hundred feet of the ocean or gulf then it is the federal government that decides what foundation type your house will have. If you have neighbors that are currently building, ask them what foundations they are utilizing.

Whether you use concrete pilings or concrete columns, Ai can design a wood platform under the dome, wood deck, wood stairs with deck and stairs made out of plastic wood or pressure treated wood. Or Ai can design a concrete platform with concrete stairs. Your building department will require the piling and platform plans and the dome plans to be engineer sealed by an engineer licensed for your state. These seals can be purchased through Ai.

Once you know which types of stilts and platform are acceptable by your building department and soil’s engineer, the next step is to ask the Building Department and or your friends, neighbors, relatives that have built on stilts and a platform for contractor
references.  Contact two or three of these stilts/platform contractors and obtain pricing quotes for a platform the square footage of the dome home you are planning….1,178 sq.ft. for 40′, 916 sq.ft. for 36′, 1,489 sq.ft. for a 45′ dome….adding in whatever deck and patio area that you want.

We think the prices will shock you!  That is why you are shopping types of stilts and platforms and different size domes so you can get an idea of construction costs.  To keep your costs down, we recommend that you build as small a dome as you can because stilts and platform costs can range from $30,000 to $60,000 to $100,000 and that pricing does not include the costs for the dome kit, materials to finish the dome or any labor to assemble the dome kit and finish its interior.  While you are at it, ask the contractors what the approximate cost per sq.ft. is to finish a conventional house in the neighborhood where you are thinking of building.  Once you have this number then you can really decide what size dome you can afford to finish. The dome size will ultimately determine the size of your platform.

If you need to obtain financing, the lender will require 25% to 35% down based on the finished price of your stilts/platform and the dome.  So if you build a 36′ dome (about 1,664 sq.ft.) and the price per sq.ft. to build is $100 and your foundation costs are $60,000 then your finished cost is $226,000.  The lender will want $56,000 to $79,000 down.  They will accept some equity you have in the land, but they will want a lot of cash to be included in the down payment.  Is this down payment within your budget?

We hope we are not bursting your bubble….but over the 39 years that American Ingenuity has been in existence, we have found it better to be up front on the “big picture”; so that our clients do not purchase building plans for too large a size dome and then later not be able to afford to finish their dream home.  To us the single biggest bargain our clients receive is the American Ingenuity Dome building kit…which is usually one third to one half less in cost than the materials cost for the walls and roof of a conventional house or wooden dome or gunited concrete dome…..but this does not mean that all the finishing costs will be one half less.  The kitchen cabinets, doors, windows, plumber, electrician, stilts, platform, etc. all cost the same whether it is a box house or a dome.  So it is best to build the smallest dome you can and even consider not installing the second floor till later.  That way you can afford to finish your dome, live on your  property and save month to month on your heating and cooling costs and have a tornado and hurricane proof house.

As far as selecting a contractor for your dome, we recommend that you get quotes from several builders to compare construction costs….all the time explaining to them that they need to quote based on hiring the Kit Assembly Consultant to supervise their workers to get the shell assembled.  The Consultant can give you an agreement showing the number of days needed for assembly with the first layer of concrete in the seams.  This way the contractor does not need to be worried about estimating the assembly costs and making mistakes during the assembly just because he has never assembled and Ai dome kit before.  Once the dome is erected, and a scratch coat of concrete is in all the seams and on all the entryways and dormers, the Consultant can leave and the contractor’s subs can finish the interior and even finish the last coat of stucco in the seams and on the entryways and dormers. To view info about Consultant, please click on Specialist/Consultant.

Various Questions American Ingenuity receives: 

  1. My property is in a flood zone, what height is the finished fill and finished floor height to be?  If you are in a flood zone, then FEMA requires your finished floor height to be at a certain height. Contact your local Natural Resources government department and ask them for the FEMA phone number and what info you have to provide the County when you submit for your building permit.
  2. I might have wetlands on my property, what do I do to build?  Contact your government office for who to contact to see where the wetlands are and determine how much of the property is buildable.  Find out the set backs on your property to see what size of property is left to build on.  If you need to install septic tank and drain field and well then there are  setbacks from those as well.  Ultimately you end up with a site map showing your driveway, set backs, septic, well or city water & sewer line, etc.
  3. I think I need to build my foundation off the ground.   First of all, how high off the ground does the first floor have to be? If you do not know this answer, you will need to  call your building department and ask them.

Possible Solutions

  • If your dome has to be eight feet to ten feet off the ground Due to a wave of water, not rising water then the dome will have to be built on concrete columns and a concrete or wood platform
  • If you want enclosed rooms or a garage under the platform, then you can install break-a-way basement walls. Build concrete block columns under the corners of the platform.
  • If your dome has to be raised two to three feet, the best thing may be to bring in fill and construct the concrete slab onto the fill.
  • If your dome has to be raised two to three feet build a stem wall: bring in fill to fill within the stem wall and pour a concrete slab onto of the fill (most economical and energy efficient)  install a wood floor that sets on piers and beams. You would have a crawl space. (more expensive)

Q: In my area I have to deal with the possibility of a wave surge, can I build my dome on “break away basement walls”?
A: Yes. If you have to design with the possibility of a wave surge, you may be able to enclose the first floor pilings with breakaway walls. Breakaway walls are nonstructural walls that will break-a-way in the event of a wave surge. Pilings (columns) would support the structure and the breakaway walls could be installed between the pilings to enclose the ground floor. The purpose is to enclose the ground floor but preserve the house if a wave tears down the walls.

Q: In my area I have to build on pilings and a platform. Can the dome be built on pilings and still maintain its structural integrity?
A: Yes, building our dome upon pilings does not effect the dome’s structural integrity. We can design the pilings and the  platform, but you will need an engineer licensed for your state to seal the Piling Blueprints. For example, the Building Plans  Cost for the pilings and concrete platform for a 45′ dome could be more than $2,000…..this pricing does not include the building plans for the 45 dome home itself.  We know of a Florida engineer who charges from $1,000 to $2,000 to seal the pilings and platform plan.

If you built the dome on the ground using a concrete slab, the standard dome building plans contain the slab foundation.  As a result you are paying for the building plans and the engineer’s fee to seal the plans for your state.  All the costs associated with elevating any house onto pilings is considerable more and worth considering other options.

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

                          

                                                            CONCRETE PILINGS AND CONCRETE PLATFORM

piling20mowery0061

piling220mowery0062 piling320mowery0063
            This Ai Dome Home with a Cupola was built in mid 80’s. The Cupola’s look is different now; it is
             not so tall and it has overhangs that extend out from the top panels. These raised seams collect
                    water. Only have flat, rounded or accentuated seams on your dome; not raised seams.
piling420mowery0064
                        Pilings with oval Concrete Platform for 40′ Dome Home
 

The following info covers American Ingenuity’s Garage Domes which have R28 insulation. The 27′, 34′, 36′, 40′, 45′ & 48′ domes can be designed as a garage on the first floor with a second floor studio above.  If the entire second floor is built within a 27′, 34′ or 36′ or 40′ dome, the second floor could be designed for a studio apartment with one bedroom, one bath & kitchenette.  Due to the load of the second floor there could be a post in the center of the first floor if microlam beams are not designed to carry the second floor load.  The 40′, 45′ & 48′ dome’s second floor is large enough to have two bedrooms and one full bath with kitchenette.  

(Click arrows left/right in main picture)

American Ingenuity’s 22’ & 27’ domes were specifically designed for garages. The 22′ is a one car garage dome with 9′ wide garage door.  The 27′ is a two medium car garage with 16′ wide garage door.  27′ dome can have a second floor for a one bedroom, one bath studio apartment. These garage domes are two-frequency icosahedron geometry whereas the domes (30′, 34′, 36′, 40′, 45′ & 48′) are three-frequency icosahedron geometry. The two frequency geometry differs from our other domes in that the 22′ & 27′ utilize fewer but larger panels.    For Ai to assure that the vehicle(s) you desire to park in your garage dome will fit, please give us your vehicle length, width, height and hood height.  At no cost to you, our design team will provide a plan proof  showing the vehicle sizes and whether they will fit or not.

Due to the size of the 22′ – 40′ domes three risers can be removed instead of two in order to have a wider entryway.  Due to the large size of the 45′ & 48′ dome only two risers can be removed for an entryway.  Because the 22′ & 27′ have fewer but larger panels than the three frequency domes, their risers are wider resulting in the 22′ dome  accepting a 9′ wide garage door. The 27′ dome can have a 16′ wide garage door.  Previously a 34’ dome was needed to pull two small to medium cars in side by side. Now there can be a two-car garage in a 27’ dome, which is more cost effective.  Either of these garage domes can be connected to another dome via a link that is one riser panel wide or the garage dome can be built independently from the house dome.

Garage Entryways take the place of three riser panels whereas standard and high profile entryways replace two risers. The 45′ & 48′ dome cannot have garage entryways due to their large size.

The 22′ and 27′ Garage Entryway panels are larger in size than the other dome entryways and are not preconcreted. The 22′ and 27′ entryway panels consist of 3 1/2″ EPS as the rigid form with no steel mesh or concrete applied.  The dome buyer can purchase galvanized steel mesh from Ai and at no cost Ai will affix the mesh to the 22′ or 27′ garage entryway panels.  On site fiber concrete is mixed and hand troweled to all sides of the entryway panels after their installation.

An Ai dome building kit includes all the panels for the dome shell and includes the panels for one entryway.  Each floor plan varies as to the number of entryways and dormers.  As a result the kit pricing only reflects the type and number of entryways and dormers that you chose to have in your floor plan.  The following Plan’s Price does not include an engineer seal, structural calculations or energy report.  If those items are required by your building department they can be purchased from Ai for a reasonable fee.

To view Discount on the building plans and the kit with one entryway, please click on Sale.  To view stock plans for these Garage Kits and stock floor plan layouts for dome homes for each of the ten dome kit sizes, click on Stock Plans. To view Sale Pricing on the Building Plans and the Dome Kit for each plan, click on Plans and Kit Sale Pricing.

Stock Dome Plan Name

Second floor can be built in 27′, 30′, 34′, 36′, 40′, 45′ & 48′

Building Options Plans Price without sale discount Kit with Option Price without sale discount R28 insulation

 

22 Gamma 1 Garage
1 Entryway, one 1st Floor Door Dormer
$1,134  $21,665
27 Gamma 1 Garage
1 Entryway, one 1st Floor Door Dormer
$1,134  $28,409
30 Gamma 1 Garage
1 Entryway, one 1st Floor Door Dormer
 $1,198  $31,739
34 Gamma 1 Garage
2 Entryways, three 2nd Floor Window Dormers
 $1,261  $38,506
36 Garage w’ studio
1 Entryway, one 1st Floor Door Dormer, 5 WD
$1,294  $41,989
40 Garage w’ 1 Bedroom
1 G type Entry, 1 Standard Entry, 1 DD, 4 WD
 $1,333  $48,471
45 Garage – approx. plan
1 G type Entry, 1 DD, 3 WD
 $1,427  $55,828
48 Garage – approx. plan
1 G type Entry, 1DD,  3WD
 $1,514  $61,556

Garage Domes w’ Second Floor Studio Apartments

Garage Dome Stock Floor Plans

GARAGE DOME, 22’: has 370 sq.ft. on the first floor and is designed for a one-car garage. A 9’ wide x 7′ tall garage door can fit in the garage entryway. There can be a loft area for storage. Due to small size of the second floor panels, the loft area cannot have any window or door dormers.  A link connected to a 22′ dome is about 5.5 feet to 6 feet wide with a standard length of five feet.

Garage Dome, 27’: has 555 sq.ft. on the first floor sq.ft. and is designed for a two medium car garage. It can have a 16’ wide garage door in the garage entryway. The second floor center height is 8′ 4″ sloping down to five feet to equal 231 sq.ft. on the second floor.  The second floor can have  window dormers but no door dormers. The second floor can have fire egress window; therefore the second floor can have a bedroom.  A link connected to a 27′ dome is about 6.75 feet wide with a standard length of five feet.

Garage Dome, 30’: has 638 sq.ft. on the first floor and is designed for two small cars with the cars pulling in one at a time and each car parking on a diagonal. The 30’ garage door is 12’ wide. The second floor center height is 7’4″ sloping down to five feet to equal 213 sq.ft. on the second floor.  Due to small size of dome’s second floor panels the second floor cannot have window or door dormers.  Therefore no bedroom can be designed on the 30′ second floor.

Garage Dome, 34’: has 846 sq.ft. on the first floor and is designed for a two-car garage with the garage door being 14’ wide. The second floor center height is 9’5″ sloping down to five feet of head room to equal 427 sq.ft. on the second floor.  The second floor can have window dormers & door dormers.  If balcony desired the door size is 2′ x 6′ tall with this door being custom cut on site.  The second floor can have a bedroom and bath.  For fire egress second floor window to fit a second floor door dormer has to be installed above a standard entryway. Instead of installing a door a fire egress size casement window is installed.

Garage Dome, 36′: has 940 sq.ft. on first floor and is designed for a two-car garage with the garage door being 14′ wide. The second floor center height is 10′ 4″ sloping down to five feet to equal 470 sq.ft. on the second floor.  The second floor can have window dormers & door dormers. If balcony desired the door size is 2’x6’8″ and is custom ordered. The second floor can have fire egress size window & is large enough to have a bedroom with bath.

Garage Dome, 40′: has 1,160 sq.ft. on the first floor and can be designed for a three to four car garage depending on the vehicle sizes. It would require two garage doors, each could be 16′ wide. Each set of two cars would share one garage door. The second floor center height is 10’4″ sloping down to five feet to equal 667 sq.ft. on the second floor.  The second floor can have fire egress windows and door dormers above standard entryways.  The second floor is large enough to contain two bedrooms and one bath.

Garage Dome, 45′: has 1,489 sq.ft. on the first floor and can be designed for a three to four car garage depending on the vehicle sizes and entryway locations.  It would require two garage doors, each 13′ wide.  The second floor center height is 13’7″ sloping down to five feet to equal 951 sq.ft. if the second floor is maxed out.  The second floor can have fire egress windows and door dormers above standard entryways.  The second floor is large enough to contain three bedrooms and one bath.

Garage Dome, 48′:   has 1,693 sq.ft. on the first floor and can be designed for a three to four car garage depending on the vehicle sizes and entryway locations.  It would require two garage doors, each 14′ wide.  The second floor center height is 14’10” sloping down to five feet to equal 1,137 sq.ft. if the second floor is maxed out.  The second floor can have fire egress windows and door dormers above standard entryways.  The second floor is large enough to contain three bedrooms and one bath.

Q: What is the tallest and widest garage door you can have and in what size dome?
A:
Current designs allow for a 16′ wide 9′ tall garage door in a 40′ dome with a 4′ risers with additional 2′ risers.  A 27′ dome because it is two frequency can have 16′ wide garage door 7′ tall with a four foot riser.

Q: Can the 45′ and 48′ domes be designed for a garage dome?
A:
Yes.The standard entryway in the 45′ with 4′ risers can have a 13′ wide x 7′ tall garage door for a two car garage. The cars would go in and out of the garage one at a time. In a 48′ dome there can be a 14′ wide garage door in a standard entryway and the cars come and go two at a time.  Due to the large size of the domes for structural integrity three risers cannot be removed ONLY two.    If the 45′ or 48′ dome are built with two foot additional risers the garage door for a 45′ can be 13′ x 9′ or 15′ x 7′.  The Garage door for the 48′ dome can be 14′ x 9′ or 16′ x 7′.

Q: What is the cost to build a garage dome?
A:
The cost to build a dome garage would be about the same as the cost of a garage for a conventional house. Whatever it costs per square foot in your neighborhood to build a conventional garage that will be the approximate cost to build the dome garage.  The construction cost will increase if a bedroom and bath is installed on the second floor above the garage.

Q: Are garage plans priced separately from the other plans?
A:
Yes since every building site is different, Garage & Basement Plans are priced separately from the dome home plans. Ai has Stock Plans for garages which may be linked to any dome where indicated or may be built separately. Or Ai can design custom garage plans.