requirements | AiDomes

The following article covers Strength & Inside Edition FAQ.

Exterior garage pineapple

Above is the 22′ dome linked to 34′ dome that were under construction when Inside Edition Visited

These Domes Went Through Hurricane Jeanne and Frances with no damage.

While the roof was blown off the house across the street

 

Q: When the reporter from Inside Edition visited, what dome advantage did they zero in on?

A: The theme of the segment revolved around the super strength of American Ingenuity’s prefab concrete domes and how the Ai domes withstand hurricane forces. The reporter and two man camera crew first went to Miami, Florida and interviewed the owners of an American Ingenuity dome that survived a direct hit from hurricane Andrew. Views of the Menendezes’ beautiful interior were shown but the inspiring stories of the horse trailer and tornado slamming the dome got edited.  To view the Inside Edition video, view Inside Edition. Once you are on the page, scroll down and click on the second video which is the Inside Edition video.

They then drove up to our corporate offices. The segment went on to show our five dome complex including the  component panels being made in the factory.

The next stop was to view our domes under construction in Melbourne, Florida, a 34′ dome linked to a 22′ garage. Also of interest was the interior metal framing and metal floor joists.

The program director had previously asked us for a way to illustrate the domes’ ability to withstand hurricane force winds. Short of calling up a 200 mph wind and filming the real thing, the next best option is a computer finite analysis. The computer simulated a force equal to 230 mph winds. Our dome stood rock solid. In fact, to see the movement in the dome, the deflection had to be magnified 50 times. A square structure was also modeled but it collapsed with 150 mph winds.

A completed dome home was the next stop. After videoing the house and the dog dome, the reporter, Stephen Gendel, asked for an egg. While on screen he took his best shot at squeezing it to death. They departed shortly thereafter knowing that they had a good story and I can tell you with certainty, they were impressed.

About a week after the program aired we got a call from the New York office. They specifically called to tell us that they had received a flood of calls from people trying to get in touch with us. For viewers to call us directly they had to figure out the city and area code on their own. One lady reported that the long distance information operator knew our number by heart.

Q: Does American Ingenuity have an engineering statement about your dome panels that can be submitted to my building department?

A:  Yes, to view the statement click on Engineering.

Q: What wind loads will the dome withstand?
A:
Because the structure of our dome is steel reinforced concrete it is incredibly strong and easily enhanced to accommodate unusual requirements. The standard design will accommodate up to 225 mph. winds and category 4 tornadoes.  To view information summarizing Ai dome and hurricanes, view Hurricane Recap.

Two of American Ingenuity’s domes in Hawaii went through a 6.6 earthquake in 2006 and suffered no structural damage. To learn more about the earthquake, view ABC News Link and on MSNBC News Link.

The Ai dome design has proved itself by withstanding Hurricane Andrew’s 165 – 200 mph winds, a tornado that rolled up a steel horse trailer and slammed it against the Menendez dome, four hurricanes in 2004, 6.6 earthquake in 2006, sub-zero temperatures and heavy snow loads of the Northwest Territory of Canada, a 30″ in diameter 115 foot tall hickory tree impact, a lighting strike and many other conditions since 1976.

More about steel horse trailer impact: American Ingenuity warranties their concrete domes against 225 mph winds and F4 tornadoes. Since our dome kit manufacturing business started, Ai has sold 800 kits into 47 states and thirteen foreign areas. Since then Ai has not had any of our clients domes have any damage due to hurricanes or tornadoes except for one dome during Hurricane Andrew. During Andrew a tornado slammed a two wide metal horse trailer against  a 45’ American Ingenuity Dome.  A riser wall of the dome ended up with a hairline crack and a missing chunk of concrete. The dome owner caulked the crack and mixed up fiber concrete and filled area where the concrete was broken and painted over the area.

More about the tree impact: There was no damage to the Brack’s 48′ dome after winds in excess of 75 mph hit North Carolina in July of 1996. The real test came when a 115′ high, 30″ in diameter hickory tree was blown over and fell on their dome. The impact broke a 10″ diameter branch. The tree slid off and landed on a deck post driving it and it’s 16″ square concrete footer 6″ further into the ground. The insurance agent who inspected the damage to the deck conveyed his amazement about the dome’s strength with this comment, “If that had been a frame house the tree would have ended up in the basement!”

More about the lightning strike: American Ingenuity’s 45′ office dome withstood another one of nature’s most powerful forces, a LIGHTNING STRIKE. The lightning hit the outer edge of an entryway and the only damage it did to the dome was to knock off a handful of concrete at the point of impact! A couple of our computers have not been the same since, but the cost to repair the dome did not exceed $30 in materials and labor.

More about heavy snow loads: In 1995 Howard and Mary Carroll visited Robens and Tom Napolitan’s dome.  Robens was enthusiastic, but Tom was not. Tom explained to the Carroll’s, “its all HER idea, I didn’t want a dome.” Mary Carroll phoned the Napolitans in 1996.  Mrs. Carroll said you couldn’t keep Tom quiet this time.  He had nothing but wonderful things to say about the dome and had completely turned around about the wonders of living in an American Ingenuity dome…..ROOFS HAD COLLAPSED in their area under several feet of snow, but NOT HIS DOME! Tom’s turnaround sold Mary and her husband on an Ai dome.

Q: Have you performed a load test on your panel?  To view the load test file, view Load Test.
A:
Yes, in October 2000 Ai performed a load test on one of its 48′ dome building kit’s component panels. The test was performed on our largest house panel using the standard 7″ thick E.P.S. insulation, 3/4″ thick concrete exterior reinforced with steel mesh and fiber reinforced plaster on the interior. The strength of the component panel can be best be determined by measuring the deflection of the panel as a load (weight) is applied in increments. The panel was placed horizontally. Its weight and the weight of everything placed on it was only supported along the outer edge of the panel. The loading of the panel was done by adding sand in 470 lb. increments. Plywood sides were attached to the panel edges so the sand could be spread evenly, providing a uniform load.

The deflection was measured in the center and six other locations. At all the measured points a steel ruler was attached to the panel extending high enough to be visible when the panel was fully loaded with the sand. A surveyor’s transit allowed us to measure the deflection.

After 3,783 lbs. of sand was dumped on the panel its center had deflected less than 1/16 inch. Three days later the deflections had only increased to 3/32 inch. Our own amazement at the strength made us even more brave; so we cut through the interior plaster on the bottom of the panel. Even then the deflection was less than 3/16 inch.

We had not expected this exceptional strength. We could not mound the sand any higher so we set a pallet of 40 cement bags on top of the sand thinking, “This could do the panel in.” That doubled the weight on the panel and the center deflection increased to less than 3/8 inch. The grand total deflection of less than 3/8 inch with almost four tons of weight was astonishing to us.

A 120-mph wind will exert a pressure of 30 lbs. per sq.ft. on a vertical wall and a snow load exceeding 50 lbs. per sq.ft. is rare. Our panel withstood 170 lbs. per sq.ft.

Q: The prefabricated panel concrete is not that thick, why is American Ingenuity’s dome so strong?
A:
The panel concrete does not need to be thick because the strength comes from the triangle shape and the steel reinforced concreted seams which are about 5″ wide and 3″ deep averaging two thick concrete. Engineers tell us the seams act like steel beams and transfer any stress all over the dome instead of containing the stress in one spot.

 

Dome on basement with ramp.

Dome on basement with wheel chair ramp. Three standard entryways one screened in.

Yes, most of our building plans can be made handicap accessible with either 32″ or 36″ doorways, correct wheelchair turn radius, ramps, rail chairs or interior lifts, etc. For Ai to quote a price to design the floor plan handicap accessible, give us the size dome and floor plan name you are considering. To email info, please click on Contact Us. Or fax your plan needs to us at 321-639-8778.  If you fax or email your plan changes, please call our office at 321-639-8777 and assure that we received all your email or faxed pages and that they were legible.

To clarify, if you fax or email American Ingenuity and you have not heard from us in two to three business days, please call our office at 321-639-8777 and confirm that we received your fax or email.

We handle all the floor plan designs via telephone, fax and or email.

Because of the shape of the dome, a second floor is a natural. It is most cost effective to utilize the second floor for a guest room or storage.  However, any of our domes can be built without a second floor.

 

In a conventional house there is an attic which rarely gets used. To us it is just a space that holds hot or cold air which is waiting to leak into your house. In a dome the second floor space is useable versus being an unused attic space.

 

On the second floor of our domes even though you cannot stand all the way to the perimeter, there is ample useable square footage. To visualize the second floor useable space use the to-scale ruler in the back of the Stock Floor Plan Booklet (which is in the Planning Kit). Each mark is one foot. Cut out this ruler and use it to measure the second floor square footage that is six foot or higher from the dome shell. Note on the floor plans we have drawn in five foot, six foot and seven foot height lines around the second floor perimeter.


For example if you want to see how many feet on the second floor has six foot or higher ceilings, put the end of the ruler at the six foot height line on one side of the second floor and measure across the second floor to the other six foot height line and you will see how many useable feet is between the two six foot height lines.

 

If you choose a floor plan which maxs out the second floor and only leaves one fifth of the first floor open to the dome shell, you can have the following second floor useable square footages: 27′-225 sq.ft.; 30′ – 424 sq.ft.; 34′ – 614 sq.ft.; 40′ – 886 sq.ft.; 45′ – 1,127 sq.ft.; 48′ – 1,278 sq.ft. Generally most of our clients want only one half of the second floor installed. Therefore there are high vaulted ceilings over one half of the first floor, generally over the living room and dining room.

 

If you do not want to access the second floor by walking up the stairs, you could install a rail chair or a lift instead of an elevator. Your contractor would install an electric winch powered lift versus an elevator.


This way you can easily access the second floor rooms.

 

For information on rail chairs click on http://www.4-stair-lifts.com/?source=adwords

 

For information on lifts click on www.jazzy-electric-wheelchairs.com/vertical-platform-lifts.htm

 

The following information came from Jazzy Electric’s web site.

This vertical platform Lift is an interior or exterior lift that can be used for lifting persons with physical disabilities from the ground up-to the main floor of their home or outside lifting up to the porch or the steps. Lift can also be used in commercial applications such as restaurants or office buildings. The lift is designed to meet U.S. and Canadian safety standards and can easily be adapted to various situations.

 

Versatility is a key to this lift. Can be used to stop at 3 different heights. Can lift from 14″ up to 144″. Designed for easy installation. Smaller units 52″ and down can be installed in 30 minutes.

 

The lift described sells for around $3,500.

 

This Lift is smooth and provides quiet performance. Dependable and Versatile Unit is Perfect for Residential or Commercial Application. All lifts can be configured to meet the AME A 17.1 or A 18.1 depending on the options selected. This lift also meets ADA requirements in most states.

 

Listed below are some of the features of this versatile lift:

    • Weight capacity of 550 pounds
  • Unit uses standard 110v/15a wall outlet.
  • Straight though platform is 54″ long x 34″ wide
  • Keyed call send stations available
  • Keyed Emergency stop to control use of lift
  • Soft Touch Control Pads designed for easy operation.
  • Direct Drive Worm-Gear
  • Maintenance Free Operation
  • Standard Metal Platform has a diamond grill that allows for full visibility under the platform

45' dome kitchen side view.

45′ dome kitchen side view

45' dome Kitchen area with high profile entryway in back ground

Different view of above kitchen in 45′ dome. High profile entryway in back ground.

Q: How are electrical wiring and plumbing pipes installed in the dome shell?

A: The electrical and plumbing will be contained in the interior frame walls in the same manner as conventional housing. Plumbing pipes typically are installed in the foundation and come up out of the foundation into the first floor interior framed walls. During foundation installation, conduit or pipe can be installed in the footer or slab to bring in natural gas, or wiring.  Or during kit assembly install conduit or pipe between two panels before the seam is concreted.

Grooves are cut in the 1/2″ DensArmor & EPS for electrical wiring with router, circular saw, chainsaw, etc. To install electrical wiring, electrical boxes, conduit to run wiring in, or plumbing pipes in the dome shell: cut through the wall board and E.P.S. insulation slightly larger than is needed, insert the box or conduit or pipe and fill in the opening with spray expanding foam. The spray foam will harden in about one half hour, holding the box or conduit or pipes secure. Use fiberglass tape and joint compound to finish the areas. Those seams and the other interior shell seams are finished with typical joint compound and fiberglass joint tape.  To blend the taped areas to the DensArmor, apply joint compound to the DensArmor in what is sometimes called a skip trowel finish, apply primer and then paint.   Or glue molding over the interior seam areas between the panels.   The Kit Assembly Manual contains a document covering drywall finishing. Or ask for Drywall Finishing doc to be emailed.  Call Ai 321-639-8777 Monday – Friday 9-5 eastern time.

During kit assembly always align the interior drywall/wallboard of one panel to next panel’s drywall versus aligning the exterior EPS of the two panels. This way less joint compound is needed to fill the interior seams. 

Bring the wiring to the second floor through the first floor framing, or through the second floor joists or use the area behind second floor perimeter knee wall areas for wiring and ducts.

Q: How are heavier light fixtures or ceiling fans hung from the dome shell?

A: Install threaded rods in the concrete seams as the dome shell is assembled. The threaded rod extends into the interior of the dome shell and is used to hang the light fixture or ceiling fan. To install the electrical wiring to the light fixture or fan cut a groove through the shell wallboard and the E.P.S. insulation, insert the wire and fill the groove with spray expanding foam, then joint compound and tape to finish.  Or see document in the Assembly Manual for how to install a light fixture or ceiling fan after the panels are assembled.

Q: How are plumbing vent pipes installed in the dome shell?

A: A hole can be cut in the prefab panels, just do not cut within 8″ of the center of a seam.  Some exhaust pipes can be routed sideways through the interior framing and can sometimes be joined together before they exit the dome. Where the vent pipe is to exit through the dome shell,  cut a hole through the panel concrete in the appropriate location, extend the pipe through, concrete back up against the pipe, caulk and paint. The plumbing vent pipes are sealed to panel concrete dome with caulk, e.g. urethane or butyl rubber. A plumbing boot like the type used on shingled houses is not used.  Assembly Manual has info on cutting hole in the panel.  Or ask & we will email doc.

Q: Does Ai’s building plans contain the electrical, plumbing, HVAC diagrams?

A: American Ingenuity’s building plans include all the structural drawings, show the placement of the electrical outlets, light fixtures, plumbing fixtures; however, they do not have the electrical, plumbing, HVAC layouts. We have found if the layouts are included, then the inspectors require the subcontractors to follow the diagrams when the subs like to design their own layouts.

Q: If I use an Ai Dome for a commercial building, how do I install water sprinklers?
A:
Any of the dome sizes can be used for commercial purposes. Being commercial will have to comply with possible commercial requirements like running the electrical in conduit, installing water sprinklers, etc. If so the water sprinklers can be designed within the interior walls or grooves can be cut in the EPS to insert the conduit or sprinkler pipes then spray foam is applied to fill the grooves. Some building departments may require screws be installed thru the wallboard into the EPS with expanding foam.

Q: Are electric vents necessary at the peak of the dome as well as in the bathrooms to prevent moisture buildup?

A: Yes. The electric exhaust vents are installed in a vertical wall near the top of the dome, in top center of the dome, in bathrooms and above stove/microwave to exhaust water vapor (from laundry, cooking, showering, etc.)  In interior walls, use galvanized metal ducting that extends down the interior wall, through the floor joist and vents out under an entryway.  And install a heat recovery ventilator or energy recovery ventilator to remove moisture.  The Dome Kit Assembly Manual contains documents that cover vent installation.  To view our web site file that covers HRC, click on Heat Recovery Ventilator.

 

8.15 best footer wire ready to pour Kaufman picture assembly 088

Concrete Slab – Standard for Ai Dome

45′ dome home linked to 34′ dome garage formed up slab being poured

Poured slab for 34' dome linked to 45' dome.

Poured slab for 34′ dome linked to 45′ dome.

American Ingenuity’s stock building plans include drawings for a concrete slab foundation. Plans for raised wood floors or basements or pilings with platforms are available.  For a complete summary of the foundations that can be utilized with the American Ingenuity dome, click on Foundation Summary.

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’x20″ and slab was increased to 6″.

Ai can design a concrete stem wall to support the dome and a wood first floor.  We can replace a concrete slab with raised wood floor and design the first floor joist. The cost depends on the complexity, please call our office for pricing.  The garage dome would need a concrete slab.

How is the concrete slab insulated? As far as insulating the slab, it is the customer’s choice with some building departments not allowing the slab perimeter to be insulated. For example in Florida due to termites most areas will not allow perimeter insulation.. The insulating of the slab is listed on the building plans as an option. If the earth is cold then using 2″ thick E.P.S. would be beneficial.

Q: Are there any special requirements for the foundation?
A:
The only thing unusual about Ai’s dome foundation is its shape. The multiple sided foundation is made up of flat sides to match the riser panels. Because Ai’s dome is lighter than most other buildings, it has less loading on the foundation. Reinforcing rebars connect the riser walls, entryway and first floor door dormer base panels to the foundation at the vertical seams.

Q: Will the foundation for the dome cost more to build than a conventional shaped foundation?
A:
Probably. The multiple sided foundation for our dome is only slightly more difficult than a conventional house and should not affect the cost more than 15% at most 25%. If you would mark the corners of the foundation, this will help remove a lot of the fear from the subcontractor. You will find that they will give you a better price.

Q: How deep will the footings be?
A:
Ai’s standard footing for monolithic slab is 20″ tall by 16″ wide with 4″ concrete slab.  If there is a frost line, the footing depth is determined by the building department.   Also if your soil does not compact to 2,000 lbs per psf then your footer and slab thickness will be enlarged.

Q: How many yards of concrete is needed for the foundation and how many bags of cement will be needed to concrete the seams?
A:
The number of bags of Portland cement needed to finish the shell varies depending on the number of entryways and dormers and whether you have a cupola or a link. The following is a Portland Cement bag estimate to concrete the seams.

Dome Size Foundation Concrete (Yds.) Portland Cement For Seams (bags)
22′
9
30-40
27′
10
40-45
30′
11.54
50-55
34′
14.31
60-65
40′
19.00
70-75
45′
23.29
80-85
48′
26.26
90-100

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.

For Mortgage Financing contact:

Per Jennie Lyn Steeg with Regions Mortgage is able to loan on the Aidomes through its Smart Solutions portfolio.  Jennie wrote Ai:  “We are able to provide end-loan financing to your client through our niche portfolio – Smart Solutions.   I am happy to assist any of your clients.”

Regions Mortgage has offices in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.   Below is Ms. Steeg’s info.

Jennie Lyn Steeg
Regions Mortgage – NMLS #0676223
Mortgage Loan Originator.  10245 Centurion Parkway N. Suite #300
Jacksonville Fl 32258
Phone:  904-564-3303; Cell  904-228-4004  Email: jennielyn.steeg@regions.com

+++++++++++++++++++++++

Construction Loan is given to the Builder.  Builder owns the lot, builds the dome and then sells the finished dome and the lot to the home owner.

Michael Maxwell, Head of Originations
Builder Finance
55 E 58th St. Sixth Floor
NY, NY 10022
Phone:  212-466-3753.  Mobile 646-620-4665.    Email: mmaxwell@builderfinance.com

+++++++++++++++++++++++++

Oscar Sanchez 
Academy MGT Corporation
Phone: 305-603-9181.   305-325-5400    Email: Oscar.Sanchez@academymortgage.com

++++++++++++++++++++++++++

David Buffington, Mortgage Loan Officer  
BB&T
605 North Orlando Avenue
Orlando Fl 32789
Office 407-691-2150. Mobile 407-256-0015    Email: dbuffington@babandt.com

++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Jay Zerquera VP 
FBC Mortgage
189 South Orange Ave, Suite 970, Orlando Fl 32801
Apply online:  www.teamjandj.com
Cell: 407-509-1846.  Phone: 407-377-0286  Email: JZerquera@fbchomeloans.com

+++++++++++++++++++++++++

Your local Wells Fargo Bank and explain that their Tukwila, WA  branch and their branch in  their Sioux Falls, SD have issued financing for Aidome building kits and see if they are interested in reviewing your info for a loan.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++

 A Construction Loan was issued by AG South Farm Credit, ACA in Laurens, SC  for Ai dome home to be built in the area because the dome buyer had rural ag land. Their number is 864-984-3379.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Construction/Renovation/Purchase/Refinance Options are available through:
Sovann Kang, Branch Manager  – nmls #275454
Umpqua Bank Home Lending
Mobile: 253-376-0991
Web site: umpquabank.com/skang
Email: sovannkang@umpquabank.com

+++++++++++++++++++++++

In Lake Placid Florida – Highlands County – Wauchula State Bank at (863) 773-4151 approved a construction loan and permanent financing for an Aidome customer.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Ai has learned about LightStream’s Anything Loan, a division of SunTrust Bank.  Not sure if they can assist you or not.   LightStream’s Anything Loan is a virtually paperless loan that will let you finance or refinance almost anything.  These loans are very customer friendly with these included features:

Fixed-interest rates range from 1.99% to 9.99%* APR with AutoPay
Loan amounts range from $5,000 to $100,000
No fees, down payment requirements or prepayment penalties
Apply online and receive a response within minutes during business hours
Unsecured, with no liens or collateral requirements for AnythingLoan. (Applicants that do not qualify for the AnythingLoan may qualify for our Secured Loan products).

Financing Alternatives: 

  1. take out an equity line on property you own
  2. obtain a personal loan from family or friends (offering them a higher interest rate than banks, etc. are offering on money markets certificates, etc.)

************************************************

Q: What is the resale value of American Ingenuity domes?

A: American Ingenuity knows of only a few of our dome owners who have sold their dome; which is a compliment in itself. Therefore, we have no resale statistics on our dome, but we have heard of other domes being sold at a profit well above their initial building cost.

Ai can offer some insight that would apply:

  1. Geodesic domes being unusual, they will not appeal to everyone and it will likely take longer to find a buyer.
  2. Energy costs are certainly increasing and therefore a very energy efficient home will increase in value as energy costs increase.
  3. A conventional home will show its age as styles change while a new coat of paint on our dome will still look ahead of its time.
  4. Ai sales of dome kits has constantly increased through the years and a quality dome that is completed would have the distinct sales advantage of showing the finished product.
  5. The resale value of a dome or any other home, is improved when it:
    • matches the neighborhood in size and value
    • exhibits quality construction
    • is landscaped well
    • offers advantages over other homes.

Also, with the increasing popularity of domes and rising energy costs, the market for an exceptionally energy efficient, super strong, low maintenance home should be excellent. A large percentage of the home buyers cannot visualize a dome & do not want to be involved in the floor plan design & construction of their home. As a result a finished dome that can be touched and felt is a big plus to them. If you are thinking of resale, build at least a 40’ in diameter dome, have it built with quality workmanship & keep your utility bills.

Q: Will it be difficult to get a loan to build my dome?
A:
Conventional mortgage lenders tend to be ultra conservative when considering a dome. Mortgage brokers, small local banks, local credit unions or indirect sources for financing may be more flexible and quicker for you. Refinancing other property or acquiring loans from other sources may be easier while avoiding the restrictions and requirements of conventional construction loans. Another popular option is the pay-as-you-go method. Combined with partial financing, this can get you into your new dome.

Why are lenders conservative about loaning on domes? Very few dome owners ever sell their domes. So there is no dome resale value. Lenders determine how much they will loan based on what houses in that neighborhood sell for. The lender can usually get within three to four per cent of the value of a conventional house. But because we do not have resale statistics on domes they do not know what the resale price is. The lender has to be concerned with the worst case scenario. If the homeowner does not pay their mortgage, they will have to resale the dome. So they are reluctant to loan as much money on a dome project. Typically they want 25% to 35% down based on the finished price of the dome. However Sovann Kang can issue permanent financing with 10% or less cash down payment for those who qualify. 

The following information was written by Michael Darling.  There is good news; there are more lenders who will lend on domes than on other “unique properties. There is bad news – it is still more difficult to get a loan for a dome home than for traditional construction. And there is good reason for hope for improvement in the near future.

Four Scenarios for Financing a Dome Home

Leaving aside for the moment the differences between construction, purchase and refinance there are four scenarios to focus on when it comes to financing a dome home. Three of the four are based on an appraisal from a licensed appraiser (it can be really helpful to have a more experienced appraiser – more on appraisals below).

  • There are three or more comparable properties (comps) of similar design and construction style (dome) with recent sales history in the neighborhood.
  • There is at least one comparable property of similar design and construction style with recent sales history in the area and others in the area but without recent sales history.
  • There are zero comparable properties of similar design and construction style in the neighborhood.

1. Three or More Comps

I have never failed to find a loan for a dome with three or more comps. Many residential mortgage lenders will be able to do this loan much the same as a traditional loan on a traditional home design. There are lenders who flat out reject domes no matter what, but for the lenders who will consider domes, a property with multiple comparisons should be “lendable”. Even with multiple comps, some lenders who will accept domes may only offer a loan with constraints on the size of loan, the loan to value ratio or other underwriting restrictions. (Full doc only, owner occupied only, one unit only, etc.)

2. At Least One Comp and Other Domes in the Market Area

There are a few residential mortgage lenders who will evaluate this situation and may make a loan. Here is where it can really help to have an experienced appraiser who knows the market because the ability of the appraiser to establish a market value and address the uniqueness of the subject property will be vital to an underwriter. Most lenders who will accept domes in this situation will only offer a loan with constraints on the size of loan, the loan to value ratio or other underwriting requirements. (Full doc only, owner occupied only, one unit only, etc.)

3. No Comps and No Domes in the Market Area

I have found traditional residential mortgage lenders in a few states who will evaluate a dome home with no dome comps on a case by case basis. A lender that would accept a dome in this case will almost certainly include constraints on the size of loan, the loan to value ratio and other underwriting requirements. (Full doc only, owner occupied only, one unit only, etc.)

There are local commercial banks who may offer a residential mortgage loan on a dome home with no dome comps. And there are “hard money” lenders who will evaluate any investment opportunity and who may make loans on dome homes- but compared to a traditional mortgage the fees and rates will likely be higher, the terms shorter and the conditions less advantageous.

If the property has an established or demonstrable commercial use it is possible to do a commercial loan with terms and conditions similar to a residential mortgage. The commercial lenders I work with have no restrictions on domes specifically nor will they be concerned about comps with similar construction styles. They will be looking for an appraisal that demonstrates the commercial value of the property. Bed & Breakfast Inn, multi-family rental, retail business, and other exclusive or mixed commercial uses would all be possibilities. (A home office or a business run from home would not generally be enough to demonstrate commercial value.)

There is a fourth scenario that bears mentioning- the dome home that is appraised as a traditional frame construction home using traditional frame construction comps. Though I am certain that loans have been done this way, there are numerous problems with this scenario. First and worst is that intentionally misrepresenting information in a mortgage application is illegal. Also, many applications have gotten far along in the underwriting process before an underwriter reviews the appraisal and sees a photo of the subject property and rejects the file because that lender does not accept domes. This creates wasted expense and frustration for all parties. It is a way to attempt to get a mortgage on a dome home- it’s just not a good one.

Appraisal

Lenders should be thought of as investors who invest in a loan. And each has their own investment criteria. Most investors want to know they can sell their investment at some point in time- and in the mortgage lending world this means that most lenders underwrite with similar standards and criteria so that a loan can be sold. While the general challenge for financing domes is the shortage of lenders or loan programs, I have access to several loan programs that will accept unique properties if the appraisal includes sufficient market analysis to establish a market valuation for the property. So the specific challenge is typically the appraisal.  Great News – If your lender would like to utilize an appraiser who has appraised an Ai dome for a loan and who has visited an American Ingenuity 15 year old finished dome, please call Ai for appraiser’s info. 321-639-8777 Monday – Friday 9-5 Eastern time

In addition to the usual appraisal analysis, the dome appraisal must:

  • Establish a market value independent of construction type;
  • Demonstrate that the home’s uniqueness is accepted in the market, and;
  • Address the uniqueness of the dome in the context of local area housing types and marketability.

This means that the underwriter must be able to predict, using the appraisal, what the marketability of a house would be in the event the lender ends up having to possess and sell the property. The difficulty with most dome houses is the lack of comparable sales – “comps” – in order to demonstrate the market value. Comps need to be similar enough to the subject property that using them to establish a market valuation is reasonable. Even very similar comps will be adjusted for minor differences, but the hard part with domes is that they are typically very different in appearance and therefore the predicted marketability can vary considerably from traditional construction. In other words, it’s hard to say “a traditional frame house with 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms sold for $X in x days and so a 4/2 dome would sell for $Y in y days.”

The best comparable properties will be other domes. If there are no domes for comps, it may be possible to use other unique styles to establish the marketability of unique homes. And if there are other domes and unique houses in the immediate area even if they have not recently sold, adding information about them in the appraisal (quantity, distance from subject, specific architectural style that makes it unique, as well as basic information about the house) will help support that unique styles are acceptable in the area.

 

 


Zoning pertains to whether a residential, commercial or industrial building can be constructed on a property. Besides zoning ordinances controlling the use of the land, they determine setbacks from property lines, minimum required home size and height limits and similar things, Ai has never heard of a zoning restriction on domes.  Health Departments determine set backs from a well and septic tank/drain field.  In Florida that set back can be 50 feet to 100 feet.  It is best to complete a site plan on the particular property you are interested in building on which shows the set backs, driveway location, home location, etc. so it can be determined what buildable area is left on the property to build your home.

Building Departments do not generally deal with appearance. They are usually concerned about strength and code compliance – except for Florida where product approval can be enforced in some areas. Deed restrictions, zoning and homeowner associations can limit the type structure which can be built on a property.  American Ingenuity’s (Ai’s) dome design has proved itself by withstanding hurricane Andrew’s 200 mph winds, four hurricanes in 2004, sub zero temperatures and heavy snow loads of Canada and the Northwest Territory, a large tree impact and many other conditions over a 40 year period.

Do all Florida Counties allow the Ai dome to be built?  Even though the Ai dome building complies with the Florida’s 2014 Building Code 5th Edition and one of Ai’s domes survived Hurricane Andrew and a tornado at the same time with no structural damage, we have learned that Dade, Broward, Orange, Indian River and St John Counties in Florida require product approval. Due to the cost and complexity of the tests, Ai has not paid for the testing.  Ai has learned that most Florida building departments will issue a dome building permit if Florida Engineer Sealed Plans are submitted along with Florida engineer sealed Equivalency Report which includes structural calculations performed on Ai’s largest size dome (48’) at worst case Florida Conditions which are 180 mph wind speed, Wind Exposure Class D with five max first floor entryway openings.  The report states that American Ingenuity’s prefab panel and building system complies with Florida Building Codes section 104.11 allowing for Alternative Materials and Methods for home construction.  This sealed report is provided with the sealed plans at no additional cost.

 At no cost to you, our office can call the building department who governs the property you are considering purchasing to see what is required for them to issue a building permit.  For us to do please provide the tax ID number, main street adjacent to the property and the city or county name who governs the property.  Ai will call the plans examiner and describe the dome building kit, email pdfs on the building plans, and ask if engineer sealed building plans, sealed Equivalency Report and passing Energy Report along with their other required paperwork is submitted, can the Ai dome be built in that area?

Sometimes in California if the dome is being built near a large city, the building department might require the building kit to be certified by the State of California.  Ai has not pursued this certification due to its cost.  However, as of 2014 Ai has since learned that the Ai dome kit can be built in specific areas…please call for our latest list.   If planning on building in California, Ai will be happy to contact your building department. Ai will discuss Ai’s building kit, and email generic plans. We will speak with them and find out if you submit California Engineer Sealed Plans, California engineer sealed seismic, wind structural calculations, a passing Title 24 Energy Report along with all other required paperwork whether a building permit can be issued on the Ai dome.

If you do not have the time or do not want to assemble the dome shell kit, click on Kit Assembly Specialist to learn about this service. The Specialist will supervise your or your contractor’s laborers to complete the shell assembly.

Prior to purchasing Building Plans you need to assure you have answers to the following questions:

  1. Does the deed for your land have any restrictions on domes?
  2. If there is a Home Owners’ Association governing your land, you will need to check with them and make sure you can build a dome.
  3. Do you have your financing secured?
  Answers to Our Most Frequently  
Asked Financing Questions

Q: Do you know of anyone interested in financing an American Ingenuity Dome?

For Mortgage Financing contact:

Per Jennie Lyn Steeg with Regions Mortgage is able to loan on the Aidomes through its Smart Solutions portfolio.  Jennie wrote Ai:  “We are able to provide end-loan financing to your client through our niche portfolio – Smart Solutions.   I am happy to assist any of your clients.”

Regions Mortgage has offices in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.   Below is Ms. Steeg’s info.

Jennie Lyn Steeg
Regions Mortgage – NMLS #0676223
Mortgage Loan Originator.  10245 Centurion Parkway N. Suite #300
Jacksonville Fl 32258
Phone:  904-564-3303; Cell  904-228-4004  Email: jennielyn.steeg@regions.com

+++++++++++++++++++++++

Construction Loan is given to the Builder.  Builder owns the lot, builds the dome and then sells the finished dome and the lot to the home owner.

Michael Maxwell, Head of Originations
Builder Finance
55 E 58th St. Sixth Floor
NY, NY 10022
Phone:  212-466-3753.  Mobile 646-620-4665.    Email: mmaxwell@builderfinance.com

+++++++++++++++++++++++++

Oscar Sanchez 
Academy MGT Corporation
Phone: 305-603-9181.   305-325-5400    Email: Oscar.Sanchez@academymortgage.com

++++++++++++++++++++++++++

David Buffington, Mortgage Loan Officer  
BB&T
605 North Orlando Avenue
Orlando Fl 32789
Office 407-691-2150. Mobile 407-256-0015    Email: dbuffington@babandt.com

++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Jay Zerquera VP 
FBC Mortgage
189 South Orange Ave, Suite 970, Orlando Fl 32801
Apply online:  www.teamjandj.com
Cell: 407-509-1846.  Phone: 407-377-0286  Email: JZerquera@fbchomeloans.com

++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Your local Wells Fargo Bank and explain that their Tukwila, WA  branch and their branch in  their Sioux Falls, SD have issued financing for Aidome building kits and see if they are interested in reviewing your info for a loan.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

A Construction Loan was issued by AG South Farm Credit, ACA in Laurens, SC  for Ai dome home to be built in the area because the dome buyer had rural ag land. Their number is 864-984-3379.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Construction/Renovation/Purchase/Refinance Options are available through:
Sovann Kang, Branch Manager  – nmls #275454
Umpqua Bank Home Lending
Mobile: 253-376-0991
Web site: umpquabank.com/skang
Email: sovannkang@umpquabank.com

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

 

In Lake Placid Florida – Highlands County – Wauchula State Bank at (863) 773-4151 approved a construction loan and permanent financing for an Aidome customer.

 +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Ai has learned about LightStream’s Anything Loan, a division of SunTrust Bank.  Not sure if they can assist you or not.   LightStream’s Anything Loan is a virtually paperless loan that will let you finance or refinance almost anything.  These loans are very customer friendly with these included features:

Fixed-interest rates range from 1.99% to 9.99%* APR with AutoPay
Loan amounts range from $5,000 to $100,000
No fees, down payment requirements or prepayment penalties
Apply online and receive a response within minutes during business hours
Unsecured, with no liens or collateral requirements for AnythingLoan. (Applicants that do not qualify for the AnythingLoan may qualify for our Secured Loan products).

Financing Alternatives: 

  1. take out an equity line on property you own
  2. obtain a personal loan from family or friends (offering them a higher interest rate than banks, etc. are offering on money markets certificates, etc.)
***********************************************************************************

Q: What is the resale value of American Ingenuity domes?
A:
Ai knows of only a few of our dome owners who have sold their dome; which is a compliment in itself. Therefore, we have no resale statistics on our dome, but we have heard of other domes being sold at a profit well above their initial building cost. We can offer some insight that would apply.

  1. Geodesic domes being unusual, they will not appeal to everyone and it will likely take longer to find a buyer.
  2. Energy costs are certainly increasing and therefore a very energy efficient home will increase in value as energy costs increase.
  3. A conventional home will show its age as styles change while a new coat of paint on our dome will still look ahead of its time.
  4. Our sales of dome kits has constantly increased through the years and a quality dome that is completed would have the distinct sales advantage of showing the finished product.
  5. The resale value of a dome or any other home, is improved when it:  a) matches the neighborhood in size and value; b) exhibits quality construction; c) is landscaped well; d) offers advantages over other homes.

Also, with the increasing popularity of domes and rising energy costs, the market for an exceptionally energy efficient, super strong, low maintenance home should be excellent. A large percentage of the home buyers cannot visualize a dome & do not want to be involved in the floor plan design & construction of their home. As a result a finished dome that can be touched and felt is a big plus to them. If you are thinking of resale, build at least a 40’ in diameter dome, have it built with quality workmanship & keep your utility bills.

Q: Will it be difficult to get a loan to build my dome?
A:
Yes, conventional mortgage lenders tend to be ultra conservative when considering a dome. Mortgage brokers or indirect sources for financing may be more flexible and quicker for you. Refinancing other property or acquiring loans from other sources may be easier while avoiding the restrictions and requirements of conventional construction loans. Another popular option is the pay-as-you-go method. Combined with partial financing, this can get you into your new dome. For a helpful, in depth look at financing, click on this page Financing Your Dome.

Why do lenders not like domes? Lenders determine how much they will loan based on what houses in that neighborhood sell for. The lender can usually get within three to four per cent of the value of a conventional house. But because we do not have resale statistics on domes they do not know what the resale price is. The lender has to be concerned with the worst case scenario.  Typically they want 20% to 30% down based on the finished price of the dome.  However Sovann Kang can issue permanent financing with 10% or less cash down payment for those who qualify.

 Click on Lenders to find a list of lenders that will consider loaning on the Ai dome.

The following information was written by Michael Darling.  There is good news; there are more lenders who will lend on domes than on other “unique properties. There is bad news – it is still more difficult to get a loan for a dome home than for traditional construction. And there is good reason for hope for improvement in the near future.
Four Scenarios for Financing a Dome Home

Leaving aside for the moment the differences between construction, purchase and refinance there are three scenarios to focus on when it comes to financing a dome home. All three are based on an appraisal from a licensed appraiser (it can be really helpful to have a more experienced appraiser – more on appraisals below).

  • There are three or more comparable properties (comps) of similar design and construction style (dome) with recent sales history in the neighborhood.
  • There is at least one comparable property of similar design and construction style with recent sales history in the area and others in the area but without recent sales history.
  • There are zero comparable properties of similar design and construction style in the neighborhood.

1. Three or More Comps

I have never failed to find a loan for a dome with three or more comps. Many residential mortgage lenders will be able to do this loan much the same as a traditional loan on a traditional home design. There are lenders who flat out reject domes no matter what, but for the lenders who will consider domes, a property with multiple comparisons should be “lendable”. Even with multiple comps, some lenders who will accept domes may only offer a loan with constraints on the size of loan, the loan to value ratio or other underwriting restrictions. (Full doc only, owner occupied only, one unit only, etc.)

2. At Least One Comp and Other Domes in the Market Area

There are a few residential mortgage lenders who will evaluate this situation and may make a loan. Here is where it can really help to have an experienced appraiser who knows the market because the ability of the appraiser to establish a market value and address the uniqueness of the subject property will be vital to an underwriter. Most lenders who will accept domes in this situation will only offer a loan with constraints on the size of loan, the loan to value ratio or other underwriting requirements. (Full doc only, owner occupied only, one unit only, etc.)

3. No Comps and No Domes in the Market Area

I have found traditional residential mortgage lenders in a few states who will evaluate a dome home with no dome comps on a case by case basis. A lender that would accept a dome in this case will almost certainly include constraints on the size of loan, the loan to value ratio and other underwriting requirements. (Full doc only, owner occupied only, one unit only, etc.)

There are local commercial banks who may offer a residential mortgage loan on a dome home with no dome comps. And there are “hard money” lenders who will evaluate any investment opportunity and who may make loans on dome homes- but compared to a traditional mortgage the fees and rates will likely be higher, the terms shorter and the conditions less advantageous.

If the property has an established or demonstrable commercial use it is possible to do a commercial loan with terms and conditions similar to a residential mortgage. The commercial lenders I work with have no restrictions on domes specifically nor will they be concerned about comps with similar construction styles. They will be looking for an appraisal that demonstrates the commercial value of the property. Bed & Breakfast Inn, multi-family rental, retail business, and other exclusive or mixed commercial uses would all be possibilities. (A home office or a business run from home would not generally be enough to demonstrate commercial value.)

There is a fourth scenario that bears mentioning- the dome home that is appraised as a traditional frame construction home using traditional frame construction comps. Though I am certain that loans have been done this way, there are numerous problems with this scenario. First and worst is that intentionally misrepresenting information in a mortgage application is illegal. Also, many applications have gotten far along in the underwriting process before an underwriter reviews the appraisal and sees a photo of the subject property and rejects the file because that lender does not accept domes. This creates wasted expense and frustration for all parties. It is a way to attempt to get a mortgage on a dome home- it’s just not a good one.

Appraisal

Lenders should be thought of as investors who invest in a loan. And each has their own investment criteria. Most investors want to know they can sell their investment at some point in time- and in the mortgage lending world this means that most lenders underwrite with similar standards and criteria so that a loan can be sold. While the general challenge for financing domes is the shortage of lenders or loan programs, I have access to several loan programs that will accept unique properties if the appraisal includes sufficient market analysis to establish a market valuation for the property. So the specific challenge is typically the appraisal. I can help find an experienced appraiser that will be able to complete the kind of appraisal required.

In addition to the usual appraisal analysis, the dome appraisal must:

  • Establish a market value independent of construction type;
  • Demonstrate that the home’s uniqueness is accepted in the market, and;
  • Address the uniqueness of the dome in the context of local area housing types and marketability.

This means that the underwriter must be able to predict, using the appraisal, what the marketability of a house would be in the event the lender ends up having to possess and sell the property. The difficulty with most dome houses is the lack of comparable sales – “comps” – in order to demonstrate the market value. Comps need to be similar enough to the subject property that using them to establish a market valuation is reasonable. Even very similar comps will be adjusted for minor differences, but the hard part with domes is that they are typically very different in appearance and therefore the predicted marketability can vary considerably from traditional construction. In other words, it’s hard to say “a traditional frame house with 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms sold for $X in x days and so a 4/2 dome would sell for $Y in y days.”

The best comparable properties will be other domes. If there are no domes for comps, it may be possible to use other unique styles to establish the marketability of unique homes. And if there are other domes and unique houses in the immediate area even if they have not recently sold, adding information about them in the appraisal (quantity, distance from subject, specific architectural style that makes it unique, as well as basic information about the house) will help support that unique styles are acceptable in the area.

 


 

Engineer Sealed Dome Building Plans can be purchased from American Ingenuity.

45' dome on full basement by pond in summer time. The pictures in this grouping are for this dome.

45′ dome on full basement by pond in summer time.

Pictured above is 40′ dome on full basement in Missouri. 

Standard entryways, second floor balcony, cupola.

It is American Ingenuity’s philosophy that each customer pay for only what they need. Ai does not burden the price of the building kit with plan’s pricing, engineer seal cost or energy report cost. Building plans are purchased three months to 1 1/2 years prior to kit shipment.  About 50% of the building departments require engineer sealed plans and an energy report to issue a permit. As a result each customer pays for their plans separately from the building kit and pays for a seal and energy report only if their building department requires them.  Commercial building plans and their engineer seal can cost 2-3 times the price of residential dome plans due to the complexity of the plan design.  To view sale pricing on the dome plans and the dome building kit, please click on Sale.  Dome Kit Assembly photos can be viewed at Kit Assembly.  Engineering statement can be viewed at Statement.  To view examples of stock floor plans for each diameter of dome, click on Tiny Domes and  Geodesic Dome Home Plans. Once on the page, scroll down to find the hyperlinks to click on.

If you give us your property tax ID number or property address and your building department name  at no cost to you, American Ingenuity can call your building department, show them our web site, drop box generic plans to the official and ask them the following questions.  Is an Engineer’s seal required on the building plans?  Is an Energy Report required? If required the Engineer Seal and the Energy Report can be purchased from Ai.

What are building departments concerned with? They are concerned with strength and safety and domes excel in these areas. Building departments and building codes are not concerned with appearance; although a plans examiner may be unfamiliar with the aspects of dome construction.  They are also concerned with environmental issues and endangered plants and animals.  Ai can email you a document that lists the items to watch out for prior to purchasing land and the questions to ask if you already own your property.

Do some building departments require engineer sealed building plans to obtain a building permit? About 50% of Ai’s client’s building departments require engineer sealed building plans to issue a building permit.  Call your building department and find out what they require to issue a permit.  If they require engineer sealed plans, this means that a licensed engineer for your state will need to review American Ingenuity’s building plans to assure that they comply with your state’s building requirements. Ai has a list of engineers certified for all USA states who have sealed Ai plans.  Ai calls the engineer and obtains a seal cost which is included on your Plans Quote. When you agree with the Plans Quote and make payment in full for the plans and the engineer seal, Ai starts your plans design and emails the pdfs to the engineer for his review. He tells us of any changes, we make those changes, plot out your plans and mail them to the engineer for his stamp and signature.  He then mails them on to you. His signature and stamp means he takes responsibility for the dome design not your building department. 

Does all new construction in Florida and California require engineer sealed plans & energy report to obtain a building permit? Yes. 

Q: Does American Ingenuity have an engineering statement about your prefabricated dome panels that can be submitted to my building department?

A:  Yes, to view the statement click on Engineering.

What is the standard foundation included with the stock plans? Concrete slab. For Ai to design a basement or concrete columns or stem wall or pilings, etc. an engineer fee is added to the Plans Quote to cover the cost for a structural engineer to calculate the load of the dome and the load of the two floors within the dome and give joist/edge beam size/spacing and foundation design to our CAD department to incorporate within the plans. Please call for engineer fee.

Florida Engineer Seal info:

  • A Florida engineer seal for 36′ or smaller dome built on a slab is $400. The seal cost for a 40′ – 48′ dome on a slab is $500.

Florida building departments also require a Florida Energy Report to be submitted at the same time the Florida sealed building plans are submitted.  This report is quite detailed and specific – Ai no longer completes this report but provides the dome info to the company completing the energy report for $100. Please call Ai at 321-639-8777 for specifics.

Building in California:  A California engineer seal for one dome (22′ – 48′) on a slab is $600. Plus California requires Energy Calculations. Ai. can put you in contact with a firm that performs the California Energy Calculations. 

The following building departments in California will allow the Ai dome to be built – California Counties of San Diego, San Bernardino, Trinity, Solona, Shasta and Riverside. The building department will accept CA engineer sealed plans, CA sealed structural calculations, CA sealed engineering statement that includes the following: “panel composition of the geodesic dome buildings is designed in accordance with and conforms to the intent of California Building Code that allows for alternative materials and methods of construction”.  If you are thinking of building near a large California city, the building department could require that the building kit be certified by the state of California. It is not cost effective for American Ingenuity to pay for this certification.  As a result if this is required, the Ai dome cannot be built.

At no cost to you, Ai can contact your building department –  show them our web site and email generic plans, engineering statement, sample of structural calculations.  When calling Ai will ask if California engineer sealed plans, California Energy Report, California sealed engineering statement and wind/seismic/snow/bracing calculations and all their other required paperwork and reports are submitted can a residential building permit be obtained on the Ai dome kit.  Ai is happy to talk to your building officials to answer their questions.

What does the engineer do? He reviews the American Ingenuity Dome Building Plans to assure that they comply with your state’s building codes. The engineer will let us know if anything needs to be changed. We make the changes to the plans and we send the revised plans to the engineer who then crimps them with his seal and signs his name to the structural sheets. This seal and his signature mean that he certifies that the plans comply with your state’s building codes. Either we or the engineer mails the signed plans to you. You take them along with the other required paperwork to your building department to obtain your building permit. Because each city and county within each state can have varying requirements, your city or county building department may request some changes to the sealed plans. Ai will work with your building department to make those changes at no cost to you. However if the engineer has to get reinvolved with design work, there may be an engineering fee. If your building department will not accept the changes via electronic sealed document and require the revised sheets to be printed or new sets of sealed plans submitted, the buyer will incur a plotting and shipping cost on the required blueprints.

When an engineer seals a set of plans he is taking responsibility for the structural design for a single dome in the location intended and the seal would not apply to other projects.

Can Building Departments be hard to work with? Not normally.  American Ingenuity is used to working with building departments and is happy to answer any and all of their questions. For example we had two clients in Palatka Florida who were going for building permits around the same time. Their building department approved their plans (with no changes) within a couple of weeks. Similar plans with similar information were submitted to counties south of us and the building officials wanted changes and took a couple of months to give the client a building permit. Ai never knows how each building official will interpret the Building Codes for their state.

Tell me about the strength of the Ai dome. The code design criteria requires that Ai show the American Ingenuity Dome Building can with stand wind, snow and seismic loading.  Our standard design will accommodate forces in excess of up to 225 mph winds, F4 tornado and 50 lbs. snow load.  Click on Strength to learn more.

To view pictures about the kit assembly, click on Dome Kit Assembly.

Our dome design has proved itself by withstanding hurricane Andrew’s 200 mph winds, sub-zero temperatures and heavy snow loads of Canada and the Northwest Territory, a 30″ in diameter tree impact, four Florida hurricanes in 2004 and many other conditions since 1976. Click on Hurricane Recap to learn more.  Although our Building Plans have been reviewed by over 30 different engineers, the plans do not come with an engineer’s seal for the following reasons.  About half of our dome owners needed engineer sealed Building Plans to obtain a building permit and rather than adding the engineer seal cost to all plans it is more economical to have the plans sealed as needed. As the designer and manufacturer American Ingenuity would not hesitate to guarantee the structural integrity of our dome and we do just that with our guarantee. Each state only accepts a seal from an engineer who is registered in that state which prevents us from applying any seal that would be universally accepted.

Does the Ai Dome comply with the new  Florida Building Code? Yes, although we have been informed that Dade and Broward Counties in South Florida require product approval on the wall segments. Due to the cost and complexity of the tests, Ai has concluded it is not economical for us to pursue product approval. Ai has found that most all other Florida building departments will accept Florida engineer sealed plans, Florida Engineer Sealed Structural Calculations and Florida engineer sealed engineering statement that says “panel composition of the geodesic dome buildings is designed in accordance with and conforms to the intent of 2014 Florida Building Code 5th Edition, Residential and referenced provisions of the 2014 Florida Building Code, Building that allows for alternative materials and methods of construction.”

 

To view information about the Ai Dome and Handicap Accessibility, please click on ADA.