prefabricated | AiDomes

The following info covers Becoming a Dealer: 

DealerBuilder Program:  American Ingenuity no longer offers a Dealer/Builder Program because all kits are discounted to everyone at the same discount.  There is no longer a wholesale price where the Dealer/builder could purchase the kit at lower price than what is published on our web site and then resale the kit.  Everyone can purchase the Ai dome kit at the same discounted price.   As a result Ai cannot restrict where builders can build models.

Because the panels are prefabricated and contain all the insulation, interior drywall and 80% of the finished concrete roof all ready installed, the kit can be assembled by the dome owner utilizing family and friends. All the panels come marked with numbers and letters to match the building plans and the Assembly Manual.

The dome kit assembly can be a Do It Yourself project or the dome owner can hire a builder to complete all phases of the dome kit construction.  Either the owner builder or the builder can hire the independent Kit Assembly Consultant to supervise the kit assembly. The plumbing, electrical, framing, drywall finishing, kitchen cabinet installation, etc. are completed by either the owner builder or subcontractors.  Ai would love to answer any questions you have about kit assembly. Please call us at 321-639-8777 Monday – Friday 9-t eastern time.

 

 

compare american ingenuity’s

dome building kit

to other housing kits

American Ingenuity hopes that you will research other housing kits. When you research other kit contents and other kit pricing, we believe that you will find that Ai’s kit provides more but its price is about one half less.

Why can American Ingenuity’s building kit provide more than other kits? It is far more practical to build a dome with concrete than wood and applying concrete and wall board to blocks of rigid seven inch thick expanded bead polystyrene (E.P.S.) insulation produces a panel that provides the structure, most of the exterior finish, the insulation and the interior shell finish.

Why is the American Ingenuity building kit about one half less in price than other housing kits? The Ai building kit is such a good price mainly because of the component panel design and its materials. The component panel consists of all the R-28 insulation, most of the exterior steel reinforced concrete finish and all the interior shell wall board. In conventional houses you will likely have to purchase roof trusses, plywood, roofing, exterior walls, siding, insulation, and ceiling/exterior wall drywall plus pay for the installation of the trusses, exterior walls, insulation, roofing, siding and wall board.

The following are other reasons why Ai’s kits have a better price than other housing kits.

  • Ai’s business philosophy of each person paying for only what they need results in a lower kit price as American Ingenuity does not have an 800 number, its literature prices are based on their printing costs, only its clients who need an engineering seal pay for one, etc.
  • Ai maintains a lower advertising cost and concentrates more on improving the design than pushing sales.
  • None of our staff is on commission.
  • Due to lower labor costs in Florida, Ai can manufacture in Florida and ship to almost any other location cheaper than it would cost to manufacture there.

What is the advantage of building a house from concrete instead of wood? Building a conventional house out of wood is difficult enough to get all the wood pieces to fit.  It is especially difficult to get all the wood pieces to fit for a geodesic dome due to the angles and dimension changes.

That is why the founder of American Ingenuity, Michael Busick, knew there had to be a better way to build a geodesic dome than with wood. He took the time to invent our component panel and receive a patent on it. Because of his choice of building materials, seven inch thick blocks of E.P.S. insulation, concrete, steel mesh and wall board, American Ingenuity has found its kit to be very forgiving. The E.P.S. insulation can be cut with a knife so some of the insulation can be removed easily if need be. During shipment if some of the insulation is broken, it can be glued back on with expanding foam or pieces of scrap foam can be used to fill the hole. Concrete can fill and cover whatever you need it to.

Can I assemble the panels myself? Ai’s kit was designed for do-it-yourselfers. So not only does American Ingenuity’s clients save money on the building kit they can also save money on the assembly of the panels by erecting the panels themselves. About 40% of our clients assembly their kit, many with no construction experience. The Component Panels, Building Plans and Assembly Manual come marked with numbers and letters. If you do not have the time or do not want to assemble the building kit, you can hire a local contractor to select and coordinate the subs for the typical jobs such as foundation, plumbing, electrical, framing, heating/air conditioning, installation of your locally purchased doors/windows, etc. For the shell assembly, you or your contractor/builder can hire a consultant who will supervise your laborers or  your builder’s subs and get the dome shell kit erected and then the Consultant goes home. To learn more about this service click on Kit Assembly Consultant.

If you hire all the work out, the finished price per square foot on the dome will be about the same as a conventional house in your area. Mainly because all the doors, windows, plumbing, electrical, flooring, kitchen cabinets, kitchen appliances, bathroom fixtures, lighting fixtures, etc. are the same as is needed for a conventional house….but you end up with so much more. The American Ingenuity Dome provides super-energy efficiency, super-strength, no wood in the shell for termites to eat or to burn, no shingles to replace, etc.

ADVANTAGES OF THE AMERICAN INGENUITY DOME HOME

  • Superior Structural Strength and Integrity.
  • Energy Efficiency unmatched in homes costing 40% more.
  • Low Exterior Maintenance, all concrete.
  • A design that will not age with time. It will not become antiquated.
  • Fire resistant exterior.
  • Easier for a homeowner to build than conventional construction.
  • Low environmental impact. Less wood in construction. Less energy to maintain.

DOME COMPANIES TO RESEARCH

Concrete Domes:

  • American Ingenuity Domes: www.aidomes.com prefabricated component panels
  • Monolithic Domes www.monolithic.com http://www.monolithic.com/plan_design/mdconst/index.html
    • Inflate a fabric airform
    • Spray three inches of polyurethane foam insulation on the underside of the airform
    • Attach steel reinforcing rebar to the foam using horizontal and vertical steel rebar
    • Spray three inches of shotcrete concrete onto the interior surface of the dome covering the rebar

Fiberglass Dome

Wood domes with shingles:

Dome with steel tube frame and canvas cover:

Building an American Ingenuity dome building kit can be a Do It Yourself project or a Kit Assembly Consultant can be hired to supervise your workers or your builder’s workers.  Please scroll down this page to learn 1) about this specialist; 2) materials/tools/equipment needed for kit assembly; 3) charts showing approximate assembly time and approx. costs by dome diameter size when hiring the consultant.

 

Third row panel being lifted into place.

Third row panel being lifted into place.

The dome kit can be assembled by owner builders or the home owner or the home owner’s builder can hire the independent Consultant to supervise their workers to assemble the dome kit to the stage of having all the panels placed with one layer of concrete in the seams and on all the entryways and dormers.  The consultants travel through out the USA and internationally.   When hiring a local builder, best to pay him cost plus versus an overall bid. 

Great news as of May 2017,  Ai knows of a licensed Florida Builder, Randy Dixon, who will travel to some USA areas with 2-3 men to assemble the kit on your prepared foundation. Then yourself or your local builder’s subcontractors can install the doors and windows, prime/paint the exterior and finish the interior with locally purchased materials.  If his crew does not travel to your area, he will travel as independent consultant.  If you are considering hiring Randy and his crew, it is best to pay them by the hour rather than have him bid the project where he will need to include in the bid a cushion. 

Ai knows of three other independent kit assembly Consultants, Kevin Killian (Florida), Steve Cooke (California) and Bob Bailey (South Dakota) who will travel to your site to supervise Aidome kit assembly as well.  

In Brevard County Florida, Builder Ray Vince with Pistolatun Inc. will bid the dome kit assembly and the finishing of the dome and complete the financing for those who qualify.   He also has land to sell in Palm Bay Florida plus knows of our property for sell in the County.  His info is 76 E. Merritt Island Cswy. #205, Merritt Island Fl 32952.  His phone number is 321-284-8116

In Texas, builder Don Simons with NewTech Builders, Inc. states he will bid the dome kit assembly and the finishing of the dome for Texas and surrounding states.  He has a superintendent who will travel to your site, interview subs and hire subs for the site clearing, driveway installation, foundation installation, dome kit assembly, electrical, framing, plumbing and finishing of the interior and exterior of the Aidome.  His number is 979-212-6000.

Within the building plans is a nomenclature sheet where each panel is identified with numbers or letters showing where each panel is installed.

If you have a deadline for your kit assembly or are assembling the large 45′ or 48′ dome, consider hiring the consultant to save  up to  2-3 weeks of labor costs.  Please scroll down to view charts listing estimated kit assembly times.  Click on Kit Assembly and Construction Overview to view other assembly photos.  Our finished cost per sq.ft. page discusses geodesic dome cost.  To view stock dome floor plans, click on Plans.

The Consultant will travel to your construction site and supervise your workers or subs or your contractor’s workers for the dome kit assembly with the first layer of concrete in the seams and a “scratch coat” on the entryways and dormers….and then he goes home.  FYI, he does not apply concrete….that is done by your concrete workers.  He supervises that the fiber concrete is mixed properly and installed properly.  The dome owner or their builder hires a finish stucco person, to apply and finish the second layer of concrete in the panels seams and on the entryways and dormers. Usually second layer of finished concrete can be applied in around one hour per seam for a flat seam or up to 1 1/2 hrs for a custom rounded seam.  Approximate number of seams in a three frequency dome (30′ – 48′) is 126 – number varies depending on number of entryways and dormers. A two frequency dome (15′-27′) has around 62 seams.   Prior to second layer of concrete, a bonding agent supplied by Ai is applied to the first layer of concrete that needs to set 30 minutes prior to the second layer of seam concrete being applied. The interior finishing is completed by you or by your contractor hiring local conventional subs (plumbers, electricians, drywall finishers, framers, etc.) to complete the interior finishing and the installation of your locally purchased doors and windows per your dome plans.

Prior to the availability of a Kit Assembly Consultant to supervise the dome kit assembly,  some of Ai’s dome owners had to hire a contractor who generally had never assembled a dome before.  As a result the contractor would tend to over charge because he did not know how long it would take or what problems would arise.  The Kit Assembly Consultant can provide you with references from previous American Ingenuity Domes he has assembled so you can assure yourself that your building kit will be assembled correctly and in a timely fashion. This Consultant works directly for you or your general contractor as an Independent Sub-Contractor.  The standard daily rate for the independent Kit Assembly Consultant/Specialist is $300.  If the Specialist is not paid mileage to drive to your site, he is reimbursed for a round trip airfare, round trip shuttle transport cost between his home & the airport & car rental cost for the time at the job site.  The dome owner arranges and pay for lodging with Wi-fi availabilty in vicinity of grocery store & restaurants.

The use of a consultant for one week can save up to two to three weeks on your shell assembly time and assures the kit is assembled accurately per the building plans.

The cost of materials to complete the assembly of the kit are not included in the labor estimates.  Many times rental costs are less for one month than daily or weekly rental costs.  As a result sometimes monthly rental is shown because it is cheaper. Equipment rental costs are from United Rentals.  

Estimates below are based on 2015-2016 construction data.  In 2017 there is a shortage of concrete workers which drives their pay up.  We will review the estimates in this post and update as data is collected.

The assembly time estimated below is based on a dome kit having one entryway, two dormers and no cupola built on a slab foundation.  

  • For each additional standard entryway: add one day for the consultant and 24 hours for the workers.
  • For a garage entryway two frequency: add 1 day for the consultant and 24 hours for the workers.
  • For each additional window dormer: add 2 hrs for the consultant and 12 hours for the workers.
  • For each additional door dormer: add 3 hrs for the consultant and 18 hours for the workers.
  • Cupola: takes three partial days because the concrete has to have time to cure during each process.  First partial day of 5 hrs: concrete beam around top opening is formed and poured.  Second partial day of 5 hrs: concrete corner columns are framed and poured.  Third partial day of 5 hrs: set top five panels, attach overhang panels & apply first coat of concrete in the seams.  During the rest of the partial days, workers can complete window dormers or door dormer installations.If the rib system has not been cut and prepared: add one day for the consultant and 8 hours for the workers.
  • If you want to speed up the kit assembly, consider renting a scissor lift for inside personnel movement (instead of using ladders and scaffolding) and renting a Straight boom lift – man lift or cherry picker- for outside personnel work (instead of ladders, planks and scaffolding).   A 19-foot electric scissor lift approx. rental is $350 to $500 per week, and $900 to $1,200 per month.  A 40′ straight boom lift approx rental is weekly $956 or monthly $1,915.
Labor & Equipment Estimates for AiDome Shell Assembly
Utilizing an Independent Kit Assembly Consultant

 Estimate For  22′ Dome Shell Assembly
With First Layer of Concrete in Seams & on entryways & Dormers

Consultant Days 14 $300/day $4,200
Worker Hours & Cost if $18/hr 328 $18/hr* $5,904
Worker Hours & Cost if $25/hr

Rental, Fork Lift (days)

328

1

$25/hr*

$405/day

if $25 hr -$8,200

$405

Rental Variable Reach Lull  two weeks  $1,169/wk $2,338
Rental, Scaffolding (days)$15- $50  14 $15/day $210
Rental, Mortar Mixer (days) 8 cu.ft. 14 $50/day $700

Approx Sub Total  For One Layer of Concrete in Seams & on 1 entryway & 2 dormers:  $13,757 – $16,053

*Worker Hourly Costs vary depending on your construction location. Plus travel costs or airline ticket for the Consultant. The Consultant is reimbursed for a round trip airfare, round trip shuttle transport cost between his home & the airport & car rental cost for the time at the job site.  The dome owner arranges and pay for lodging with Wi-fi availability in vicinity of grocery store & restaurants.

The dome owner or their builder hires finish stucco person(s), to apply and finish the second layer of concrete in the panels seams and on the entryways and dormers. Usually second layer of  seam concrete can be applied in 50 minutes per seam for a flat seam or up to 1 1/2 hrs for a custom seam.  Approximate number of seams in a three frequency dome (30′ – 48′) is 126 – number varies depending on number of entryways and dormers. A two frequency dome (15′ – 27′)  has around 62 seams.

 

 Estimate For 27’/30′ Dome Shell Assembly
With First Layer of Concrete in Seams & on Entryways & Dormers

Consultant Days 16 $300/day $4,800
Worker Hours & Cost if $18/hr 384 $18/hr* $6,912
Worker Hours & Cost if $25/hr

Rental, Fork Lift (days)

384

1

$25/hr*

$405/day

if $25 hr – $9,600

$405

Rental Variable Reach Lull two weeks  $1,169/wk $2,338
Rental, Scaffolding (days) $15-$50 15 $15/day $225
Rental, Mortar Mixer (days) 8 cu.ft. 15 $50/day $750

Approx Sub Total  For One Layer of Concrete in Seams & on 1 entryway & 2 dormers:  $15,430 – $18,118

Worker Hourly Costs vary depending on your construction location.  Plus travel costs or airline ticket for the Consultant, The consultant is reimbursed for a round trip airfare, round trip shuttle transport cost between his home & the airport & car rental cost for the time at the job site.  The dome owner arranges and pay for lodging with Wi-fi availability in vicinity of grocery store & restaurants.

The dome owner or their builder hires finish stucco person(s), to apply and finish the second layer of concrete in the panels seams and on the entryways and dormers. Usually second layer of  seam concrete can be applied in 50 minutes per seam for a flat seam or up to 1 1/2 hrs for a custom seam.  Approximate number of seams in a three frequency dome (30′ – 48′) is 126 – number varies depending on number of entryways and dormers. A two frequency dome (15′ – 27′)  has around 62 seams.

 

  Estimate For 34’/36′ Dome Shell Assembly
With First Layer of Concrete in Seams & on Entryways & Dormers

Consultant Days 17 $300/day $5,100
Worker Hours & Cost if $8/hr 408 $18/hr* $7,344
Worker Hours & Cost if $25/hr

Rental, Fork Lift (days)

408

1

$25/hr*

$405/day

if $25 hr – $10,200

$305

Rental Variable Reach Lull two weeks  $1,169/wk $2,338
Rental, Scaffolding (days) 17 $15/day $255
Rental, Mortar Mixer 8 cu.ft. month $620 $620

Approx Sub Total  For One Layer of Concrete in Seams & on 1 entryway & 2 dormers: $15,962 – $18,818

*Worker Hourly Costs vary depending on your construction location.  Plus travel costs or airline ticket for the Consultant. The Consultant/Specialist  is reimbursed for a round trip airfare, round trip shuttle transport cost between his home & the airport & car rental cost for the time at the job site.  The dome owner arranges and pay for lodging with Wi-fi availability in vicinity of grocery store & restaurants.

The dome owner or their builder hires finish stucco person(s), to apply and finish the second layer of concrete in the panels seams and on the entryways and dormers. Usually second layer of  seam concrete can be applied in 50 minutes per seam for a flat seam or up to 1 1/2 hrs for a custom seam.  Approximate number of seams in a three frequency dome (30′ – 48′) is 126 – number varies depending on number of entryways and dormers. A two frequency dome (15′ – 27′)  has around 62 seams.

 

Estimate For 40′ Dome Shell Assembly
With First Layer of Concrete in Seams & on Entryway & Dormers

Consultant Days 20 $300/day $6,000
Worker Hours & Cost if $18/hr 640 $18/hr* $11,520
Worker Hours & Cost if $25/hr

Rental, Fork Lift (days)

640

1

$25/hr*

$405/day

if $25 hr -$16,000

$405

Rental Variable Reach Lull month $2,346 $2,346
Rental, Scaffolding (days) 20 $15/day $300
Rental, Mortar Mixer  8 cu.ft. month $620 $620

Approx Sub Total  For One Layer of Concrete in Seams & on 1 entryway & 2 dormers: $21,191 – $25,671

*Worker Hourly Costs vary depending on your construction location
Plus travel costs or airline ticket for the Consultant
The Consultant/Specialist is reimbursed for a round trip airfare, round trip shuttle transport cost between his home & the airport & car rental cost for the time at the job site.  The dome owner arranges and pay for lodging with Wi-fi availability in vicinity of grocery store & restaurants.

The dome owner or their builder hires finish stucco person(s), to apply and finish the second layer of concrete in the panels seams and on the entryways and dormers. Usually second layer of  seam concrete can be applied in 50 minutes per seam for a flat seam or up to 1 1/2 hrs for a custom seam.  Approximate number of seams in a three frequency dome (30′ – 48′) is 126 – number varies depending on number of entryways and dormers. A two frequency dome (15′ – 27′)  has around 62 seams.

 

 Estimate For  45′ Dome Shell Assembly
With First Layer of Concrete in Seams & on Entryways & Dormers

Consultant Days 23 $300/day $6,900
Worker Hours & Cost if $8/hr 736 $18/hr* $6,720
Worker Hours & Cost if $25/hr

Rental, Fork Lift (days)

736

1

$25/hr*

$405/day

if $25 hr – $18,400

$405

Rental Variable Reach Lull month  $2,346 $2,346
Rental, Scaffolding (days) 23 $15/day $345
Rental, Mortar Mixer 8 cu.ft. month $620 $620

Approx Sub Total  For One Layer of Concrete in Seams & on 1 entryway & 2 dormers: $17,336 – $29,016

*Worker Hourly Costs vary depending on your construction location
Plus travel costs or airline ticket for the Consultant
The Consultant/Specialist is reimbursed for a round trip airfare, round trip shuttle transport cost between his home & the airport & car rental cost for the time at the job site.  The dome owner arranges and pay for lodging with Wi-fi availability in vicinity of grocery store & restaurants.

The dome owner or their builder hires finish stucco person(s), to apply and finish the second layer of concrete in the panels seams and on the entryways and dormers. Usually second layer of seam concrete can be applied in 50 minutes per seam for a flat seam or up to 1 1/2 hrs for a custom seam. Approximate number of seams in a three frequency dome (30′ – 48′) is 126 – number varies depending on number of entryways and dormers. A two frequency dome (15′ – 27′) has around 62 seams.

 

 Estimate For  48′ Dome Shell Assembly
With First Layer of Concrete in Seams & on Entryways & Dormers 

Consultant Days 26 $300/day $7,800
Worker Hours & Cost if $18/hr 832 $18/hr* $14,976
Worker Hours & Cost if $25/hr

Rental, Fork Lift (days)

832

1

$25/hr*

$405/day

if $25 hr- $20,800

$405

Rental Variable Reach Lull month  $2,346 $2,346
Rental, Scaffolding (days) 26 $15/day $390
Rental, Mortar Mixer 8 cu.ft. month $620 $620

Approx Sub Total  For One Layer of Concrete in Seams & on 1 entryway & 2 dormers: $26,537 – $32,361

*Worker Hourly Costs vary depending on your construction location
Plus travel costs or airline ticket for the Consultant
 The Consultant/Specialist is reimbursed for a round trip airfare, round trip shuttle transport cost between his home & the airport & car rental cost for the time at the job site.  The dome owner arranges and pay for lodging with Wi-fi availability in vicinity of grocery store & restaurants.

The dome owner or their builder hires finish stucco person(s), to apply and finish the second layer of concrete in the panels seams and on the entryways and dormers. Usually second layer of  seam concrete can be applied in 50 minutes per seam for a flat seam or up to 1 1/2 hrs for a custom seam.  Approximate number of seams in a three frequency dome (30′ – 48′) is 126 – number varies depending on number of entryways and dormers. A two frequency dome (15′ – 27′)  has around 62 seams.

 

To view info about the DVD that shows dome assembly, click on View.  To view the video free, click on DVD.

To unload the dome kit from the semi-truck, rent a fork lift and have 2-3 workers available.  Ai provides a document that describes the unloading process.

The dome owner provides three to five good concrete workers (depends on dome size).  Materials used in the shell construction are to be provided by the dome owner on site before the Kit Assembly process begins.  The bags of cement don’t have to all be delivered in advance but as soon as first needed during the assembly.

To view what items are included in the Dome Building Kit, click on Kit Contents.  To view what items are not included in the kit, click on Items Not Included.

Due to possible injury on a job site, have some form of insurance.

The following are items required at your job site:

Cement
  • Portland Cement in 94 pound bags (prefer Type III) (first number is the diameter of the dome/second number is bags of cement):  22′ – 30, 27′ – 40 (two frequency dome panels are larger so require less cement), 30′ – 70, 34′ – 79, 36′ – 83, 40′ – 90, 45′ – 100, 48′ – 106.  These bag numbers are based on the dome having two entryways, four window dormers, one door dormer and no cupola.
  • For each additional entryway add: 22′ – 3,  27′ – 3.5, 30′ – 4.0, 34′ – 4.5, 36′  – 4.5, 40′ – 5.0, 45′ – 5.0, 48′ – 5.5
  • For a cupola add: 30′ – 4, 34′ – 4.5, 36′ – 4.5, 40′ – 5.0, 45′ – 5.5, 48′ – 6.0.
  • For an additional door dormer on any size dome add 2.5 bags of cement.
Masonry or Stucco Sand
  • Sand in cubic yards; 27′ – 5, 30′ – 8, 34′ – 9, 36′ – 9, 40′- 10, 45′ – 11, 48′ – 12.  These computations are based on the dome having two entryways, four window dormers, one door dormer and no cupola.
  • For each additional entryway add cubic yards of sand: 22′ – 0.3, 27′ – 0.4, 30′ – 0.4, 34′ – 0.4, 36′ – 0.5, 40′ – 0.5, 45′ – 0.5, 48′ – 0.6.
  • For a cupola add cubic yards of sand: 30′ – 0.4, 34′ – 0.5, 36′ – 0.5, 40′ – 0.5, 45′ – 0.6, 48′ – 0.6.
  • For an additional door dormer on any size dome, add 0.3 cubic yards of sand.
Misc Items:
  • 2×4’s cut to length, holes drilled & ends painted for the temporary wooden rib system…can be purchased from Ai.
  • Water Source and water hoses
  • #3, #4 and #5 rebar (per the Building Plans)
  • Concrete Blocks; 8″x16″
  • Electric Power or Generator
  • Extension Ladder; 26′
  • Mortar Mixer – Do not use a cement mixer because it does not have spinning paddles.  Spinning Paddles are required to obtain a thorough mixing of the cement, sand, fibers and admixtures.
  • Lumber for Bracing the steel hubs, entryways and dormers
  • Wheelbarrows
  • Step Ladders
  • Two Saw Horses
  • Tarps to cover Cement and Sand
  • Ropes and chains
  • 5 gallon Buckets
  • Toilet facilities
  • Brushes to apply bonding agent
  • Soft Steel Tie Wire
  • Wire Cutters
  • Sponges to sponge finish final layer of concrete
  • Place to store boxed items out of the weather….C rings, pliers, cans of expanding foam, 1″ EPS Sheets, etc.

Additional Items Required:

  • Steel Hubs for Rib System (borrowed from Ai with a deposit placed)
  • Purchase bolts, nuts, washers to use with the hubs (purchased from Ai). During dome assembly most of these items are damaged; therefore they are not returned to Ai.
  • 2×4′ ribs for temporary wooden rib system – cut to length, holes drilled and ends painted. Can be purchased from Ai.
  • 9/16″ socket & ratchet and one 9/16″ wrench (use for bolts with HUBS)
  • Lifting Spikes set of 4 (purchased from Ai for $100). During panel lifting the spikes get damaged. If you have two domes, please order two sets of lifting spikes.
  • Panel Lifting Harness – custom make the harness from Ai sketch using four strands of 1/4″ chain 7 foot long & Quick Links.
  • Zinc or Galvanized Quick Links – To make the harness purchase Quick Links: 1 – 3/8″, 2 – 5/16″, 8 – 1/4″   2 – 3/8″, 4 – 5/16″.  During panel lifing the Quick Links are disconnected quite often so the threads become damaged.  Purchase additional Quick Links to have on hand for replacements….8 – 1/4″, 2 – 5/16″
  • Hoisting Mechanism; preferably rent 45′ Man Lift for dome on a slab or rent a 60′ Man Lift for dome built on basement.
How Long Will Shell Assembly Take with a Consultant?

Using three to five good concrete workers and depending upon the size dome, soil condition around the dome to allow movement and placement of the panels, type of hoisting mechanism and prevailing weather, shell assembly can take from 9-16 days if your dome kit includes two entryways, four dormers and no cupola and if dome on a slab. Once you know how many entryways and dormers are needed for your floor plan, Ai’s office can give you a more specific estimate on shell assembly time.  Click on Hoisting Mechanisms to learn more.

Typically it is cost effective to only have the Consultant stay for the assembly of the temporary wooden rib system, all panel placement including building options (entryways, dormers, link, cupola, etc.)  are assembled which includes the first coat of concrete in the seams and a “scratch coat” on the entryways and dormers.  Then your workers can:

  • apply the bonding agent and finish coat of concrete in the seams and on the building kit options. Remember to always water down all “old concrete” in the area you are working and all around the area working before applying bonding agent.
  • Follow Waterproofing document in the manual. The type of primer, tape and paint that is used, determines whether primer is applied before any areas are taped or patching compound applied prior or after priming.  Two coats of paint are applied. The following paints have been used by Ai dome owners:Behr’s top of the line exterior latex paint is Marque. Seabrook Texas dome owner loves this paint. He uses semi-gloss.  Marque has the most titanium.  – Home DepotBehr’s Premium Elastomeric Masonry, Stucco & Brick Paint –Home DepotAmes Research Labs: Maximum – Stretch, at participating ACE & True Value Stores (if using Ames see separate Ames doc because specific type sealants and primer need to be used with Ames Paint….TT3 sealant cannot be used)Sherwin Williams: Loxon XP Paint, Loxon Primer and ConditionerRichards Paint:  Rich Flex 245; use Rich Flex Alkali Resistant 100% Acrylic Masonry PrimerSeal Krete Paint (pigmented) –Home Depot
  • frame in and install the exterior doors and windows. (can be done earlier)
  • complete rough framing, electrical, plumbing
  • finish the interior shell wallboard with fiberglass adhesive  tape/joint compound. To blend the drywall seams to the DensArmor, skip trowel joint compound over the dome shell drywall.
  • prime then paint the dome shell interior gypsum
  • complete rest of construction phases.

As far as finishing the exterior seams with a second layer of fiber concrete, no need to pay to have the consultant on- site for this.  Best to hire a local finish stucco person by the hour with the conditions if he does timely work and good work, you will retain him.  If you are not satisfied with his work or speed, pay him for the time worked and replace him.  The second layer of concrete can take 20-30 minutes to apply per seam after the bonding agent is applied.  The bonding agent supplied by Ai needs to set 30 minutes before the second layer of concrete is applied. Approximate number of seams is 126…number varies depending on number of entryways and dormers.

Once your Building Plans have been ordered, American Ingenuity can estimate the number of days needed to assemble the shell.  Each floor plan varies as to the number of building kit options (components) needed to complete the shell kit; i.e. cupola, link, entryways, door dormers and window dormers.  Building Options take longer to install than triangles do.  To learn more about Building Options, click on Options.

You or your contractor hires local subcontractors to perform the typical jobs like forming and pouring the slab, plumbing, electrical, framing, drywall finishing, etc. Ai does not believe you should pay someone to come in from out of county or state to do work that your local subs can perform.  Click on Finished Cost, to learn about what it will cost to finish your dome home.  Click on Builders and Assemblers to learn more.

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

Contact Ai if you are interested in utilizing the Consultant/specialist…..321-639-8777…..9-5 Eastern Time.

If you are employing a contractor to assemble the kit, an experienced consultant on the construction site will make the assembly go faster and reduce costs.  The contractor provides the additional workers needed and the consultant directs them through the assembly of the kit.

If you choose to hire the Kit Assembly Consultant, the following labor estimates assume the following:

  • You have hired three to five good concrete workers depending on the size dome.
  • The slab/foundation and floor are completed.
  • A Hoisting Mechanism/Lifting Device/Boom Truck or Crane or Man Lift is on site to move the panels, to set the panels in place and lift buckets of concrete.
  • Additional equipment is on site, e.g.: wheelbarrows, ladders, scaffolding, mortar mixer, etc.
  • The first floor of the dome is not elevated above ground level.
  • The construction site is readily accessible for equipment and personnel.
  • Your local Laborer cost per hour is $15.  The labor cost per hour varies depending on your construction site location.  In California labor costs can be $25 to $30 an hour.

This article covers Ai History – American Ingenuity History.

Exterior Office lots of green

American Ingenuity Office Domes (34′ on left – 45′ dome on right -3,700 sq.ft.) Built in 1993.

Exterior factory domes P4250122

American Ingenuity’s factory is housed in three domes.  48′ dome on right built in 1983, 45′ dome in middle built in 1986 and 60′ dome on the left built in 1991.   The 48′ dome was the first Ai dome built with the prefabricated panel.

     Exterior factory dome 60 P4250117

American Ingenuity 60′ Factory Dome built in 1991.

To view the American Ingenuity History, view History.

American Ingenuity began in 1974 as an electronics manufacturing firm located in Miami, Florida.  Its products included a slow acting lamp dimmer and solid state voltage regulator for motorcycles.

The company moved to Melbourne, Florida in 1976.  After two years of design research, the first American Ingenuity dome was built in 1976 to house Busick’s electronics business.   Founder Michael Busick employed the talents of the Director of the Florida Solar Energy Center, University engineering students and an architectural professor to design the very first expanded polystyrene (E.P.S.) and concrete geodesic dome.  This first dome became the office/model of American Ingenuity and by American Ingenuity’s current standards was a primitive design.  The dome was constructed by erecting the polystyrene (E.P.S.) panels, stretching steel mesh over the E.P.S., spraying concrete over the entire exterior and then plastering the inside of the E.P.S. This 50′ dome had no riser walls or preformed entryways or dormers.

Busick’s dome was located next to US Highway 1 in Melbourne.  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.  The earliest states where kits were shipped were North Carolina and Texas; however, Florida remained the primary location for building.  With each one built, Busick gained valuable information to provide improvements for the next.

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

By 1983, a major improvement in the building method had been developed by Busick which provided for the prefabrication of building panels.  In 1983 American Ingenuity manufactured and built its first dome utilizing the prefabricated sandwich panel.  After this concept had been tested and implemented, Busick applied for 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 Busick 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.

Construction for American Ingenuity’s second model home was begun in 1984 using the prefabricated panels.  This time sheet rock was adhered to the inside of the polystyrene.  But during the assembly of the building kit, the sheet rock naturally got wet.  Because the sheet rock would crumble and mold, American Ingenuity decided to not ship the prefabricated panels with sheet rock.  So when the dome kit was assembled, the client would either adhere sheet rock or trowel plaster or stucco to the polystyrene insulation….a labor intensive project.

The energy rating for this second model home, as determined by the Florida Model Energy Code, was the lowest known with a rating of -14.   Also Busick designed the first second floor door dormer which opened onto the top of a standard entryway to produce a second floor balcony on a geodesic dome.  Another first of its kind.

The Model Dome in Melbourne Florida was completed in 1985 and a few months later 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 polystyrene and concrete dome panels.

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

Additions to our 1983 48′ factory dome were a 45′ dome in 1986 and a 60′ dome in 1991.

Ai broke ground for its new dome offices which consisted of a 45′ dome connected to a 34′ dome in 1993.   The office domes won the Southeast Builders Conference 1994 Aurora Merit Award for Energy Efficiency for a Commercial Project.

In 1998, Michael Busick 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 A.I. 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 Ais 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 using 3½” E.P.S. insulation.  Either of these can be connected to another dome or built independently from the house.

Generally American Ingenuity’s clients are owner builders but around 2000, Ai had individuals inquire about wanting a working consultant to supervise their or their contractor’s laborers and get the dome shell kit assembled.  American Ingenuity can now connect clients with the consultant 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.

In 2003, the staff at American Ingenuity researched materials to cover the interior of the polystyrene.  Ai’s staff settled on Georgia Pacific’s 1/4″ Dens-Deck roof board which is adhered to the E.P.S. with cement and perlite mixture.  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 gets rained on during construction, the wallboard will not be damaged. The gypsum once dried out, will return to its original state. During non-freezing temperatures, the dome kit can be stored on your site 2-3 months waiting on your foundation installation.  Due to code changes in November 2013, the wallboard has been upgraded to Georgia Pacific’s 1/2″ DensArmor Plus gypsum wallboard. Same moisture resistant/mold resistant gypsum as Dens-Deck just thicker.

Not only has Ai’s building kits improved, but American Ingenuity’s building plans have progressed from simple hand drawings to detailed computer designed blueprints.  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.

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.