prefab panels | AiDomes

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 $1,610 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.

The following contains info about Ai Building Kit Summary

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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