subcontractors

Heating & Air Conditioning an Ai dome.  Ai dome winner of Energy Star Award.

snow Kolb beautiful

American Ingenuity 40′ dome home linked to 27′ garage earned Energy Star rating.

Typical AC Ductwork Design:  The following info pertains to the chart below:

An air handler is the inside unit that forces cool air into the house. An air handler needs to have a plenum if installing two or more intakes.  A Plenum is a foam box made of special materials that are flame retardant designed for connecting ductwork at the bottom or top of the air handler also for splitting ductwork.  Cut a hole in the plenum to accept ductwork.  It could be done for an air intake grate or exhaust vents.  When installing an air intake in the second floor (Intake is where you put your Air Filter.  It is easier to put the air intake grate in a second floor knee wall.  Knee walls are usually large enough to support multiple duct work.  The grate size will be determined by the size air filter you want to install. Intake ductworks are about 10 to 12 inches large. Exhaust ductworks are usually 6 inches. (Exhaust is where the air comes out of vents in your walls, ceilings and even floors).  Ductwork can be run in interior walls or drop ceilings between floor joists and in knee walls.  If running ductwork in interior framed walls, the walls may need to be wider than normal to support the ductwork.  It is recommended that you install two Intakes one in the upper floor of your house and one in the lower floor of your home. The upper Intake will remove humidity and hot air and dust from the upper floors. The closer you have the Intake to a room, the cooler that room will be. The lower intake is doing the same job as the upper intake removing dust, moisture and hot air. Air needs to exit out of each room, your HVAC subcontractor may have you put a grill above a door or have a space below your door for air to exit rooms.   Mini-split ductless heat pumps can be installed in the dome.

 

AC 2

 

Where are the AC and Heating Ducts installed in the dome? The ducts can be run in the interior walls, second floor joists, and behind the second floor perimeter knee wall.  Above is a HVAC diagram showing typical way system works.  Contact your local HVAC subcontractor for specific needs and air flow to rooms in your dome home.  Or ductless AC/heating units are available.

Ai does not specify which heating and cooling units to use within its domes because the needs vary by regions of the country. Heating and cooling systems that are practical or common in your area can be used in the dome. We have had clients use radiant heat in the floor. We have also had clients’ incorporate large spans of glass to let in the passive heat; usually this is not practical, as the dome is so energy efficient. The large amount of glass just lets in hot or cold air. Our clients have had great success with solar hot water heaters.

For a system that is best for your area, consult a local air-conditioning contractor. All types of systems will work but it would be important to consider what type of fuel is readily available, what type of units can be serviced locally and your own preferences. However, keep in mind that because of the superb energy efficiency of the dome, you can reduce the required size of your air-conditioning and heating system by about one third. Also the cost of heating and air conditioning will also be about half that of typical houses in your area and therefore the savings provided by super efficient units will be less. It is economical to select efficient systems but not very expensive systems.

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

A: Yes due to the tightness of the dome, water vapor from cooking, showering, doing laundry, breathing, etc. needs to be removed from the dome. Electric exhaust vents are installed in a vertical wall near the top of the dome, in top center of the dome, in bathrooms, in laundry room and above stove/microwave to exhaust water vapor.  In interior walls, use galvanized metal ducting that extends down the interior wall, through the floor joist and vents out under an entryway or door dormer framed wall or a hole can be cut in the concrete panel. Instructions in the Dome Kit Assembly Manual.  A heat recovery ventilator or energy recovery ventilator will probably need to be installed to remove excess water vapor. To view our web site info on heat recovery ventilators, click on HRV.

Can the smaller American Ingenuity domes be cooled or heated without central air conditioning or furnaces? Yes. The smaller sized American Ingenuity domes have such small heating and air-conditioning demands; it could be practical for you to use only a window air-conditioner and a space heater.  Please check your local building code, some building departments require a permanent heat source to be installed which does not allow a wood stove or fireplace as the permanent source.

What air conditioner size do you recommend for your domes?

34’ Dome: 1 ½ Ton

40’ Dome: 2 Ton

45’ Dome: 2 ½ Ton

48’ Dome: 3 Ton

Tell me about a ground water heat pump. A ground water (or water-to-air) heat pump is extremely efficient as it uses the constant moderate temperature of underground water to both heat and cool, instead of using outside air, it uses water from a well or underground loop to transfer heat through a concentric copper coil located inside your home. Besides being more efficient than air-to-air unit, it can produce heat when the outside temperature is below freezing.  Mini-split ductless heat pumps are available. Ask your local HVAC subcontractor what units he prefers.

Can Ai’s Domes be cooled without an air conditioner? Yes. Because the Ai dome is so super insulated, our clients who do not prefer air conditioning, have found the interior of the dome to be cooler than a conventional house.

  • Of course you would want to install windows and doors opposite of each other so that air will flow through the dome.
  • In the hot summer months, you may want to install a window AC to cool some areas and draw out moisture.
  • Standing fans can be used to move the air.
  • Install awnings out from the dormers and entryways to keep the sun from beaming into the dome.
  • To help maintain a cooler interior temperature you may want to consider installing underground cooling pipes which will bring air into the dome that has been cooled by the earth. To learn more about this read about Energy Efficiency under advantages.
  • Plus you can install pipes in the slab to run cold water through. A 45’ dome needs about 2 ½” in diameter cooling pipes that are buried 5’ deep and go out about 20’. You angle the tubes where condensation can be pumped out.

Does the HVAC diagram come with the Building Plans? No. The installation and routing of the heating and cooling ducts, electrical wiring and plumbing pipes can best be determined on site by the person making the installation. Ai has 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.

Do American Ingenuity’s building plans meet the new building codes requiring air exchangers? We are not sure what your code requires, if there is a minimal air exchange from the outside to inside, that requirement would best be fulfilled with an air to air heat exchanger sometimes called a heat recovery unit or energy recovery ventilator. These ventilation systems bring in fresh air and minimize the loss of heating and air conditioning. Please check with your local HVAC subcontractor.

What types of Ducts does your company recommend? Collapsible plastic inner and outer liners have insulating material between the inner and outer liners and a spiral wire that holds them round. Because the dome is all one cooled or heated space (no attic), the ducting does not need to be insulated. Sometimes building departments require insulated ducts.

How do you move hot air from the second floor to the first floor? In a vertical wall near the top of the dome install a bathroom exhaust fan that can be turned on to move hot air to the first floor. Use dryer ducting for the exhaust fan ducting. It extends down the interior wall, through the floor joist and vents out on the first floor. See above description describing possible  HVAC ductwork diagram.

How can I calculate the BTU requirements for Ai Domes? You can calculate the approximate amount of heat required for the different size Ai domes by:

  • Determine the difference in temperature from outside to inside. Say inside is 70 outside is -30, T= 100
  • Look up the Exterior surface of the dome you want to calculate (on back side of Price list) 40’ dome =2,645
  • On the bottom of same Specifications sheet get the K value for the insulation. 9″ K=0.0278
  • Multiply all of these numbers together. 100 x 2,645 x 0.0278 = 7,351 is the BTU’s required to make up what escapes through the dome surface.
  • Do the same thing with the windows. T= same, Add up the areas. For a double pane use K=0.3 or what ever the mfg. specifies.
  • Do the same thing with the floor and its insulation.
  • Add the three BTU values together and that is the approx. heat loss.

Heat & Cool Smartly: Save Energy, Save Money

Replacing old cooling and heating equipment with more efficient, ENERGY STAR qualified equipment is one way to save energy and money. However, your home’s heating and cooling equipment is part of a larger system. Heating and cooling your home smartly can include properly maintaining your existing equipment, using a programmable thermostat, finding and sealing air leaks, tightening up your ducts, and more. To view governments Energy Star web site, click on Energy Star.

Repair or Replace?
Changing out old cooling and heating equipment with ENERGY STAR qualified models can cut your annual energy costs by 20 percent.  Learn more about each cooling and heating product from links in the left column.

Finding the right contractor: 10 tips

10 Tips for Hiring a Heating and Cooling Contractor

1. Study up – Find out about license and insurance requirements for contractors in your state. And before you call a contractor, know the model of your current system and its maintenance history. Also make note of any uncomfortable rooms. This will help potential contractors better understand your heating needs.

2. Ask for referrals – Ask friends, neighbors, and co-workers for contractor referrals. You can also contact local trade organizations for names of members in your area.

3. Call references – Ask contractors for customer references and call them. Ask about the contractor’s installation or service performance, and if the job was completed on time and within budget.

4. Find special offers – A heating and cooling system is one of the largest purchases you’ll make as a homeowner. Keep your costs down by checking around for available rebates on energy-efficient ENERGY STAR qualified heating and cooling equipment. Begin your search at www.energystar.gov.

5. Look for ENERGY STAR – ENERGY STAR qualified products meet strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and offer significant long-term energy savings. Contractors should be able to show you calculations of savings for ENERGY STAR heating and cooling equipment.

6. Expect a home evaluation – The contractor should spend significant time inspecting your current system and home to assess your needs. A bigger system isn’t always better; a contractor should size the heating and cooling system based on the size of your house, level of insulation, and windows. A good contractor will inspect your duct system (if applicable) for air leaks and insulation and measure airflow to make sure it meets manufacturers specifications.

7. Get written, itemized estimates – When comparing contractors’ proposals (bids), be sure to compare cost, energy efficiency and warranties. A lowest price may not be the best deal if it’s not the most efficient because your energy costs will be higher.

8. Get it in ink – Sign a written proposal with a contractor before work gets started. It’ll protect you by specifying project costs, model numbers, job schedule and warranty information.

9. Pass it on – Tell friends and family about ENERGY STAR. Almost one-quarter of households knowingly purchased at least one qualified product last year, and 71% of those consumers say they would recommend ENERGY STAR to a friend. Spread the word, and we can all make a big difference.

10. Get the ENERGY STAR Guide – For complete information on keeping your home comfortable year-round, get the ENERGY STAR   1-888-STAR-YES (1-888-782-7937).

Maintain your Equipment: A Checklist
Just as a tune-up for your car can improve your gas mileage, a yearly tune-up of your heating and cooling system can improve efficiency and comfort.

Use a Programmable Thermostat
Use an ENERGY STAR qualified model to adjust the temperature of your home when you are home or away. With proper use of the four pre-programmed temperature settings, you can save about $100 each year in energy costs.

Duct Sealing
It’s common to find gaps between duct joints, whether a home is new or old. Seal and insulate ducts that are exposed in areas such as your attic or crawlspace to improve your system’s efficiency and your own comfort.

Seal Air Leaks and Add Insulation (Home Sealing)
Air leaks in your home and a poorly insulated attic can lead to significant home comfort problems and high energy bills. By properly sealing those air leaks and adding insulation, you can improve comfort and cut your energy bills by up to 10 percent.

Consider a More Efficient Ceiling Fan
Upgrade to a more energy-efficient ceiling fan. ENERGY STAR qualified models are up to 50% more energy-efficient than conventional fans, with the most potential energy savings coming from those that include lighting. In the winter, set your fan to turn in the clockwise direction to help efficiently distribute warm air throughout your room.

Help Protect the Environment
Individual actions at home can add up to a lot of pollution prevention. If just one in ten households bought ENERGY STAR heating and cooling products, the change would keep over 17 billion pounds of pollution out of the air.

How Sound Resistant Is The American Ingenuity Dome?

The dome exterior deflects noise easily.  Due to the seven inch thick EPS insulation, there is exterior noise reduction from coming into the dome. The only way Ai can describe the noise reduction in its dome is by an example. An Ai dome has Interstate 95 freeway in its back yard. I-95 traffic creates substantial noise. When in the dome you can barely hear the traffic.  The sound like wind flows easily over the dome.

Before the interior walls and second floor are installed within the American Ingenuity Dome, sound will reflect back toward the center. After the second floor and the interior walls are installed, this characteristic is eliminated. Sounds inside the dome are absorbed by the rigid polystyrene insulation.  To reduce sound from carrying from floor to floor, insulate the second floor interior walls and floor joists if needed with Suppress sound engineered drywall. (see below)

To reduce the sound of music from carrying from the basement up into the dome, you can install a sound proof basement ceiling or install a drop ceiling in the basement, etc. Whatever you could do in a conventional basement to stop sound from going up into a house, you can do in the dome.

During Hurricane Charley in 2004 one of American Ingenuity’s dome clients (who owns a 40’ and a 27’ dome in Port Charlotte) reported the following: “We were in the direct path of Hurricane Charley coming on land in Florida. We had winds greater than 145 mph and our dome had no problem….one window got a crack from debris…. most of Port Charlotte was destroyed and all three area hospital’s roofs were blown off. ‘It was like being in a silent movie because when I was in the dome looking out I could see debris blowing about but I could hardly hear anything.'”

During Hurricane Ike in 2008 another of Ai dome owners, Mr. & Mrs. Evans (who own a 48′ and a 34′ domes in Seabrook, Texas) experienced not being able to hear the hurricane winds also.  Vickie stated, “Our domes had no damage although we had significant tree damage on our one acre lot.  We slept through Hurricane Ike and only the next day realized how violent the hurricane had been.  Whole communities two miles away in the Galveston Bay area  were destroyed.  Our neighbors could not believe that we slept through the storm….they told us that they had been up all night due to the violent winds and noise. We did not have to replace or repair our roof. YEA!  Many of our neighbors have spent the last several months replacing their roofs.   Because of the aerodynamic shape of the dome, its steel reinforced concrete construction and its thick insulation, the hurricane sounds were not absorbed through the walls of the dome and our domes had no damage.  We are really glad that we built our domes back in 1991.”

Sound Reduction Drywall

The following info came from Supress’s web site:
http://www.supressproducts.com/products/

Supress Sound-Engineered™ Drywall

Supress Sound-Engineered Drywall is the answer to unwanted sound and noise in residential and commercial structures. Architects as well as professional builders specify Supress in their multi-family projects to provide that extra level of quality in their floor/ceiling assemblies and common/demising/party walls that today’s buyer’s demand. Owners of luxury residences throughout the US have used Supress to provide sound absorption in their home theaters, music rooms, children’s rooms and play areas, Commercial operators use Supress in their hotels and motels, recording studios, conference rooms, offices and in factory/warehouse areas.

  • Next-generation, high-performance sound and vibration absorption in a thin panel construction (1/2” and up)
  • Safe, non-metallic construction: Does not interfere with cellular reception, wireless network, SmartHome™, or Home Theater wireless (RF) operation and equipment links
  • Low labor cost: Score, “snap”, and install
  • No special tools or equipment required for installation
  • Water-based materials for interior use
  • Non-load-bearing
  • Fire-rated (ASTM E 119)
  • Lab (ASTM E 90-04) and field performance-tested

Remodeling and Upgrades/Home Theater

Supress Sound-Engineered Drywall can be added directly to the existing standard drywall on one side or on both sides of the wall assembly and to the existing ceiling–no demolition needed! No need to remove even the paint from the walls. (Of course, the walls need to be in average or reasonable condition before starting.) An existing room in your home, office or even a whole structure, for example, being converted from apartments to condos, can be easily upgraded. Commercial operators can even Supress existing noisy hotel and motel room walls and ceilings with a single layer applied directly. A truly cost-effective choice for cost-conscious owners and operators.

New Construction

New, sophisticated building codes require architects to create, and builders to produce, structures with exceptional strength and fire-resistance. Unfortunately, these very safe practices result in buildings that are also very efficient at transmitting unwanted noise and sound energy throughout, just like a network. Multi-family buildings are the most prone to these sound complaints due to the close proximity of neighbors, living adjacent, above and below.

Home theaters and living rooms with media centers are also great contributors to unwanted noise.

Building near a busy roadway or an airport? Supress has the answer: Use Supress, instead of regular drywall, in a single, easy-to-install layer on the interior surface of the wall facing the noise source. Want extra luxury performance? Use the next greater thickness of Supress.

Professional Installation

Builders, contractors and their subcontractors like Supress Sound-Engineered Drywall because it installs and finishes just like regular drywall, allowing them to keep their labor costs in line in today’s competitive market. And because Supress installs and finishes just like regular drywall, crews do not need to have extensive supervision and training to fit and install Supress in a production environment on the job site. Crews can also use their same familiar tools, saving project time and money.

How to Order Supress Sound-Engineered Drywall

Supress™ Sound-Engineered Drywall in 4’ x 8’ panels:

Product/Application

• 1/2” SED1248–Remodel/Upgrade from Apartment to Condo specs
• 5/8” SED5848–New Construction/Remodel/Commercial Upgrade
• 3/4” SED3448–Home Theater/Conference Rooms/Medical Facility (HIPAA)/Music Rehearsal Areas
• 1 ” SED4448–Professional Recording Studio/Digital Theater/Concert Hall

Supress™ Sound-Engineered Drywall is also available in 4’ x 9’ , 4’ x 10’ and 4’ x 12’ panel sizes.

*Supress panels are factory-fabricated, composed of a proprietary core encased in heavy natural-finish face paper on each side. The face paper is folded around the long edges to reinforce and protect the core, and the ends are square-cut and finished smooth. Long edges of panels are tapered, allowing joints to be reinforced and concealed with standard joint compound and tape.

How to Install Supress Sound-Engineered Drywall

Supress Sound-Engineered Drywall panels can be cut with a standard utility knife, eliminating the need for special tools, techniques and the installation headaches often associated with other acoustical panels. Supress can also be easily cut with standard commercial drywall routers and saws.

  1. Measure the space and cut the panel to size, minimizing the gaps between panels and with other surfaces. Due to the aggressive nature of air- and structure-borne sound, Supress recommends that any and every gap between the panels and any cut-outs or penetrations for electrical outlets, pipes, fire sprinkler nozzles, etc. be sealed with Supress Acoustical Sealant.
  2. After cutting, just place the Supress panel.
  3. After placing the panel in the correct position, use standard drywall screws, of the appropriate length for the material and job, to attach the panel.

It’s that easy.

Additional Supress Sound-Engineered Products:

  • Supress Sound-Engineered™ Shear Panel
  • Supress Sound-Engineered™ Subfloor
  • Supress Sound-Engineered™ Underlayment
  • Supress Sound-Engineered™ Channel

Miscellaneous Supress information:

  • Use Supress Acoustical Sealant at panel edges and around any cut-outs for electrical boxes, pipes, sprinklers, etc.
  • For commercial construction, Supress further enhances the acoustical performance of metal stud assemblies beyond those of traditional wood studs.
  • Supress installs easily in standard wall assemblies both in renovation/remodels and in new construction.
  • Only Supress provides STC 50 performance in a 1/2″ thick panel. For higher levels of performance, up to STC 75+, specify Supress in 5/8″, 3/4″ home theater or 1″ professional recording studio versions.
  • One layer of Supress Sound-Engineered Drywall has the acoustical performance of up to 8 layers of standard drywall.

The Company, Quiet Solution, also manufactures Sound Proofing Solutions

The company, Quiet Solution, manufactures cost effective wall, ceiling, floor, and window soundproofing solutions. To learn more about their products go to their site www.quietsolutions.com

About Quiet Solution:

Headquartered in Silicon Valley California, Quiet Solution develops and manufactures advanced materials for construction and other industries. Their patent-pending products perform better than old technologies, with less weight, less bulk, less material and labor cost. Quiet Solution sells its construction panels exclusively through authorized distributors.

Quiet Solution Introduces Quietrock 525 Soundproof Drywall with Score and Snap

QuietRock 525:

  • installs and finishes like standard drywall and requires no special tools or equipment.
  • weighs about the same as standard drywall and provides superior sound isolation at a lower total installed cost than other methods.
  • has STC values of up to 72, QuietRock 525 provides acoustic mitigation equivalent to eight layers of standard drywall, making it ideal for multifamily, home and commercial construction.
  • The patent-pending CPG composite technology in QuietRock QR-525 uses advanced viscoelastic polymers, ceramics and gypsum (CPG) in a constrained three-layer fabrication.

The American Ingenuity Dome and sound reduction from exterior hurricane wind sounds.

48' dome showing door dormer above standard entryway with sweeping stairs on right.

48′ dome showing door dormer above standard entryway with sweeping stairs on right.

Even with large areas of walls full of glass,

outside noise stays outside due to aerodynamic dome shape.

How sound resistant is the American Ingenuity Concrete Dome?  The dome exterior deflects noise easily.  Due to the aerodynamic shape and seven inch thick EPS insulation, there is exterior noise reduction from coming into the dome. The only way Ai can describe the noise reduction in its dome is by an example. An Ai dome has Interstate 95 freeway in its back yard. I-95 traffic creates substantial noise. When in the dome you can barely hear the traffic. The sound like wind flows easily over the dome.

Before the interior walls and second floor are installed within the American Ingenuity Dome, sound will reflect back toward the center. After the second floor and the interior walls are installed, this characteristic is eliminated. Sounds inside the dome are absorbed by the rigid polystyrene insulation.  To reduce sound from carrying from floor to floor, insulate the second floor interior walls and floor joists if needed with Suppress sound engineered drywall. (see below)

To reduce the sound of music from carrying from the basement up into the dome, you can install a sound proof basement ceiling or install a drop ceiling in the basement, etc. Whatever you could do in a conventional basement to stop sound from going up into a house, you can do in the dome.

During Hurricane Charley in 2004 one of American Ingenuity’s dome clients (who owns a 40’ and a 27’ dome in path of Charley) reported the following: “We were in the direct path of Hurricane Charley coming on land in Florida. We had winds greater than 145 mph and our dome had no problem….one window got a crack from debris…. most of Port Charlotte was destroyed and all three area hospital’s roofs were blown off. ‘It was like being in a silent movie because when I was in the dome looking out I could see debris blowing about but I could hardly hear anything.'”

During Hurricane Ike in 2008 another of Ai dome owners, Mr. & Mrs. Evans (who own a 48′ and a 34′ domes in Seabrook, Texas) experienced not being able to hear the hurricane winds also.  Vickie stated, “Our domes had no damage although we had significant tree damage on our one acre lot.  We slept through Hurricane Ike and only the next day realized how violent the hurricane had been.  Whole communities two miles away in the Galveston Bay area  were destroyed.  Our neighbors could not believe that we slept through the storm….they told us that they had been up all night due to the violent winds and noise. We did not have to replace or repair our roof. YEA!  Many of our neighbors have spent the last several months replacing their roofs.   Because of the aerodynamic shape of the dome, its steel reinforced concrete construction and its thick insulation, the hurricane sounds were not absorbed through the walls of the dome and our domes had no damage.  We are really glad that we built our domes back in 1991.”

Remodeling and Upgrades/Home Theater

Supress Sound-Engineered Drywall can be added directly to the existing standard drywall on one side or on both sides of the wall assembly and to the existing ceiling–no demolition needed! No need to remove even the paint from the walls. (Of course, the walls need to be in average or reasonable condition before starting.) An existing room in your home, office or even a whole structure, for example, being converted from apartments to condos, can be easily upgraded. Commercial operators can even Supress existing noisy hotel and motel room walls and ceilings with a single layer applied directly. A truly cost-effective choice for cost-conscious owners and operators.

New Construction

New, sophisticated building codes require architects to create, and builders to produce, structures with exceptional strength and fire-resistance. Unfortunately, these very safe practices result in buildings that are also very efficient at transmitting unwanted noise and sound energy throughout, just like a network. Multi-family buildings are the most prone to these sound complaints due to the close proximity of neighbors, living adjacent, above and below.

Home theaters and living rooms with media centers are also great contributors to unwanted noise.

Building near a busy roadway or an airport? Supress has the answer: Use Supress, instead of regular drywall, in a single, easy-to-install layer on the interior surface of the wall facing the noise source. Want extra luxury performance? Use the next greater thickness of Supress.

Professional Installation

Builders, contractors and their subcontractors like Supress Sound-Engineered Drywall because it installs and finishes just like regular drywall, allowing them to keep their labor costs in line in today’s competitive market. And because Supress installs and finishes just like regular drywall, crews do not need to have extensive supervision and training to fit and install Supress in a production environment on the job site. Crews can also use their same familiar tools, saving project time and money.

How to Order Supress Sound-Engineered Drywall

Supress™ Sound-Engineered Drywall in 4’ x 8’ panels:

Product/Application

• 1/2” SED1248–Remodel/Upgrade from Apartment to Condo specs
• 5/8” SED5848–New Construction/Remodel/Commercial Upgrade
• 3/4” SED3448–Home Theater/Conference Rooms/Medical Facility (HIPAA)/Music Rehearsal Areas
• 1 ” SED4448–Professional Recording Studio/Digital Theater/Concert Hall

Supress™ Sound-Engineered Drywall is also available in 4’ x 9’ , 4’ x 10’ and 4’ x 12’ panel sizes.

*Supress panels are factory-fabricated, composed of a proprietary core encased in heavy natural-finish face paper on each side. The face paper is folded around the long edges to reinforce and protect the core, and the ends are square-cut and finished smooth. Long edges of panels are tapered, allowing joints to be reinforced and concealed with standard joint compound and tape.

How to Install Supress Sound-Engineered Drywall

Supress Sound-Engineered Drywall panels can be cut with a standard utility knife, eliminating the need for special tools, techniques and the installation headaches often associated with other acoustical panels. Supress can also be easily cut with standard commercial drywall routers and saws.

  1. Measure the space and cut the panel to size, minimizing the gaps between panels and with other surfaces. Due to the aggressive nature of air- and structure-borne sound, Supress recommends that any and every gap between the panels and any cut-outs or penetrations for electrical outlets, pipes, fire sprinkler nozzles, etc. be sealed with Supress Acoustical Sealant.
  2. After cutting, just place the Supress panel.
  3. After placing the panel in the correct position, use standard drywall screws, of the appropriate length for the material and job, to attach the panel.

It’s that easy.

Additional Supress Sound-Engineered Products:

  • Supress Sound-Engineered™ Shear Panel
  • Supress Sound-Engineered™ Subfloor
  • Supress Sound-Engineered™ Underlayment
  • Supress Sound-Engineered™ Channel

Miscellaneous Supress information:

  • Use Supress Acoustical Sealant at panel edges and around any cut-outs for electrical boxes, pipes, sprinklers, etc.
  • For commercial construction, Supress further enhances the acoustical performance of metal stud assemblies beyond those of traditional wood studs.
  • Supress installs easily in standard wall assemblies both in renovation/remodels and in new construction.
  • Only Supress provides STC 50 performance in a 1/2″ thick panel. For higher levels of performance, up to STC 75+, specify Supress in 5/8″, 3/4″ home theater or 1″ professional recording studio versions.
  • One layer of Supress Sound-Engineered Drywall has the acoustical performance of up to 8 layers of standard drywall.

The Company, Quiet Solution, also manufactures Sound Proofing Solutions

The company, Quiet Solution, manufactures cost effective wall, ceiling, floor, and window soundproofing solutions. To learn more about their products go to their site www.quietsolutions.com   Headquartered in Silicon Valley California, Quiet Solution develops and manufactures advanced materials for construction and other industries. Their patent-pending products perform better than old technologies, with less weight, less bulk, less material and labor cost. Quiet Solution sells its construction panels exclusively through authorized distributors.

Quiet Solution Introduces Quietrock 525 Soundproof Drywall with Score and Snap

QuietRock 525:

  • installs and finishes like standard drywall and requires no special tools or equipment.
  • weighs about the same as standard drywall and provides superior sound isolation at a lower total installed cost than other methods.
  • has STC values of up to 72, QuietRock 525 provides acoustic mitigation equivalent to eight layers of standard drywall, making it ideal for multifamily, home and commercial construction.
  • The patent-pending CPG composite technology in QuietRock QR-525 uses advanced viscoelastic polymers, ceramics and gypsum (CPG) in a constrained three-layer fabrication.

 

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.

The following info answers some of American Ingenuity’s most commonly asked Dome Plans FAQ – frequently asked questions.

Bay window off dining room over looking deck.

Bay window off dining room over looking deck in 45′ dome dining room.

American Ingenuity (Ai) has a plans design department that can customize any floor plan to fit your lifestyle. The Oliver’s wanted a bay window to overlook their deck.   As a result an entryway was installed with this beautiful window.  To view plans sale pricing and kit sale pricing for each specific stock plan, click on Stock Plans & Kit Sale Pricing.   Please scroll down the page to find the chart.

Q: How do I view your stock floor plans for the prefab home dome kit?

A:  Click on Stock Plans to view stock plans for each of Ai’s ten size dome kits.  Once you are on the page scroll down to see the hyperlinks to click on. To view plans & pictures for Tiny Home, click on Tiny Domes.    If you do not see a stock plan to fit your lifestyle, Ai can modify or customize a plan or Ai can design a custom plan from your sketches and notes.  If you want stock plan layouts mailed, call Ai at  321-639-8777 for printing cost and mailing cost.

Q: How do we determine what size dome is best for my family?

A: First check the 10 Steps to Building Ai Dome and second review stock plans on our website to see how the area within a dome is utilized

  • To view info to assist in custom plan design, click on these four links: Getting Started, Floor Planner Guidelines, Revising Stock Plans and Things to Consider.
  • Then compare these sample floor plans with the rooms and square footages of houses you are familiar with by using the to-scale ruler in the back of the booklet or on the emailed plan.
  • Compare your finances and construction costs to avoid designing a project that is beyond a realistic budget. On our home page, download our Financing Booklet.  FYI, a smaller dome could be built first with a link where a second dome can be added later. 
  • Think about the future will you need to increase or downsize your home size?
  • If you had to move what size home would sell best?

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.

Q: What size dome do I build if I do not want a second floor?
A:
The 15′, 18′, 22′, 27′, 30′, 34, 36′ and 40′ domes would be suitable for homes with only a first floor. However any of the domes can be built without a second floor.

Because of the shape of the dome, a second floor is a natural. If you choose to construct a larger dome and include the second floor, you can install an elevator, chair rail on your stairs or a lift to access the second floor. Click on Rail Chairs to learn more.

You could design all your living space and master bedroom and bath on the first floor, and put a guest bedroom and bath on the second floor and use the second floor rooms for guests or for storage.

Q: Can the dome be made handicap accessible?
A: Yes. All of the dome floor plans can be modified to be handicap accessible. The cost to do this depends upon the complexity of the plan. Contact us for a price quote. Click on Accessible to learn more.

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Ai’s philosophy is that each person pays 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.

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Q: What items should I consider when planning to build an American Ingenuity geodesic dome?
A:
The building industry is not only behind the times, it moves slowly! We cannot stress enough the importance of starting your preparations early for all aspects of building. What you think may take two months can easily consume four or five months or more. To have any hope of beginning the actual construction on time you must at least double the time you think it will take to acquire blueprints, financing, building permits, contractors or subcontractors. Optimists should triple their expectations.

Once your land has been acquired, blueprints are usually the first step.

  • Some Building Departments require that blueprints be sealed or approved by one of their state architects or engineers prior to giving permits, which takes additional time. Click on Building Permit to learn more.
  • Mortgage lenders move slower than you may anticipate. Click on Financing Overview to lean more.
  • Remember to allow time to have the land cleared, prepped and ready for the foundation. All permits pertaining to electrical, telephone, water, septic tanks, sewer hookups, driveway and building….will take time. Click on Planning Process to learn more.
  • Also increased demand for American Ingenuity Dome Kits has forced us to assign shipping dates as much as 8-12 weeks in advance. If you intend to begin building in the summer start the process one to two years before. Other expectant homeowners will be clogging the system by spring, so if you are the early bird they will be waiting behind you instead of vice versa.

Q: How do I plan for expansion -building an additional dome at a future date?
A:
When designing your first dome, you can prepare for future expansion by placing an entryway or link at the location where you will later connect another dome. If we are providing you with customized plans, we can design them for the future expansion. When you order your first dome, we can provide instructions and materials that will make the connection easier.

Q: Can the domes have basements or be built upon stilts or pilings?
A:
Yes. To complete these designs, a local engineer is hired to calculate the load of the dome and its interior floors to determine joist size and spacing and wall/column/piling design.  Ai then incorporates his designs into your building plans.  Call for engineer pricing.  Any of our domes can be built upon a basement, stilts or pilings. You determine how many openings you want in the basement walls for garage doors or for windows and doors, and you determine if and how many of the basement sides you want bermed with dirt. Full basements are the same size and shape as the dome first floor. Click on Foundations to learn more.

Also what do you use for floor joists? Wood, steel, manufactured trusses, whatever you prefer. How thick of a basement wall is required for the domes? Basement walls are usually 8″ thick when made of poured concrete but will likely increase depending on the height of the basement wall and the height of the backfill.

Ai can provide a design, which places the dome on concrete pilings. Sometimes Ai recommends an above ground basement with breakaway walls instead of pilings.

Bear in mind that building any structure upon pilings will increase the cost significantly and require you to climb a flight of stairs each time you go in the house. If in your location, it is a requirement then you have no other choice.

Q: Do you sell basement wall kits?
A:
No. Ai manufacturers dome housing kits. We do not manufacture or build basement walls. Although we do design the basement building plans using premade wall panels, ICFs or concrete blocks. You would need to contact a local subcontractor for basement construction costs and to find out what type basements are best built in your area.

Q: What is the standard foundation included with the stock plans?

A: Concrete slab. For Ai to design a basement or concrete columns or stem wall or pilings, etc. an engineer fee is added to your Plans Quote. This is to cover the cost for an engineer to review your Geotechnical Soil Report, 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 info for our CAD department to incorporate within the plans. Please call for engineer pricing.

Q: Can I have windows above doors in an entryway?
A:
Yes. By using high profile entryways in your building plans, you can include glass or standard windows over a door, set of doors, or bank of conventional windows. The glass above the doors or windows could be half-moon shaped or be stained glass, etc. Any room with a cathedral ceiling, such as a foyer or living room, can benefit from this striking architectural feature. Click on Window Sizes to learn more.

Q: Will l feel closed in, in the dome?
A:
No. In our domes you can install an abundant number of windows and doors. Your budget and your floor plan selection determine the number of doors or windows you will have. There can be up to five entryways on the first floor of the 30’ through 48’ domes and you can have up to five window dormers or door dormers on the second floor of the 27’ or 34’ through 48’ domes.  (No second floor window or door dormers are available in 22’ or 30’ domes.  If there is a first floor standard entryway, there can be a second floor door dormer above it.  Instead of installing a door, install a tall window (2’x5’) to let light in a room or to let light into a high vaulted ceiling area.

 Q: Do your Building Plans come with an Engineer’s seal?
A:
No. Although over 30 different engineers have reviewed our Building Plans, the plans do not come with an engineer’s seal for the following reasons.
 

Less than half of our dome owners need engineer sealed Building Plans to obtain a building permit and rather than adding the engineer cost to all plans or burden the price of the building kit, it is more economical to have the plans sealed as needed.

  •  As the designer and manufacturer, we 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.
  • 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.

Q: What format do I email floor plan drawings to you?
A:
jpeg format or bmp format (windows bit map). Alternatively, if you are using AutoCAD, we can accept the documents in dxf format or dwg format saved in 2013 or older program. Please include your name, telephone number and the best time(s) to contact you.  

Q: What programs can I use to read dxf format?
A:
You can read and edit the dxf files if you have AutoCAD program, any other computer aided drafting program, a photo editor program like adobe or paint shop. You can read the dxf files but not edit them using Microsoft word and power point. The web site http://www.deltacad.com has a computer aided drafting program that can be downloaded and used  free for 30 days.

You can use computer programs to draw your floor plans; although, we can use a hand drawn sketch that is faxed to us just as easily as a CAD drawing. We have to reenter all of your information into our system and we will likely agree upon some changes for your benefit.

Q: What is a cupola?
A:
A Cupola is “sort of like a hat with windows that sits on top of the dome”. When a person wants to have a third floor loft in the 40′ or larger domes, the cupola adds about 2′ of headroom to the top center of the dome. The top five pentagon panels rest upon 18″ tall concrete “legs”, that are built on site. Between the concrete “legs” framing is built to install rectangular windows that you purchase locally. See the floor planners in the Stock Floor Plan Booklet for loft heights and square footages.

The topside exterior of the five panels of the cupola and the underside exterior of the eave are prefinished, while the topside and edges of the eave are stuccoed onsite.

Cupolas are not necessary for ventilation and extra light. Domes do not need more light than conventional houses. If you build your dome with or without a cupola, we recommend installing a vent in the top center of the dome and in all bathrooms, on stove and cloths dryer. The electric fan vent has the added advantage of being easily controlled with a switch or timer or humidistat.

The outline of the third floor loft matches that of the cupola. Bear in mind the 225 mph warrant does not apply to a cupola.

For an observatory on top of the dome, you would not need a cupola. The top or any part of the dome will easily support the weight of people. All that would be needed would be a railing around the top and some way to access the top of the dome, i.e. sculptured concrete steps. Click on Building Options to learn more. 

Q: Why do the square footages on the Specifications Page differ from the square footages listed on the stock floor plans?
A:
On the Specifications Page the first floor and second floor square footage listed is the maximum amount of square footage possible. The first floor square footage is maxed out because only one entryway is considered. The second floor square feet (sq.ft.) listed is what is possible if you built in the second floor leaving only one fifth open to the first floor. The first floor ceiling height would then be 7 1/2′ in the 30’ and 34′ domes and 8′ tall in the larger domes.

The first floor square footages on the stock floor plans vary from the Specification Page because:

  • More than one entryway was designed in each of these plans. Every additional entryway on the first floor of the dome will reduce the first floor square footage.
  • In the stock floor plans, the second floor square footage varies from the Specifications Page because some stock plans have one third of the second floor left open while others can have up to half of the second floor left open. Providing you with a dramatic high-vaulted ceiling over your first floor living and dining rooms.
  • The second floor square footage on stock plans consists of all the illustrated second floor space to the knee wall. On site the second floor knee wall is built along the dome perimeter out 2×4’s and covered with drywall to a height of two to three feet. AC ducting and second floor suspension rods can be hidden behind the knee wall. Electrical outlets can be placed on the knee wall.

Residential Building Plan sets contain all the blueprints typically provided with any type of housing and include floor plans, exterior elevations, dome shell section view, top view showing panel nomenclature, floor joist framing plans, structural details, and locations for plumbing and electrical fixtures.  To view stock plans for each of our ten different size dome kits, click on Stock Plans.  If you do not see a plan to fit your lifestyle, Ai can modify its stock plans or design custom plans for a reasonable fee. 

If you do not have the time or do not want to assemble the dome shell kit, American Ingenuity knows of a Kit Assembly Consultant that will come to your site, and supervise your laborers or your contractor’s laborers and get the dome shell kit assembled with one layer of concrete in the seams and on the entryways and dormers.

Q: Prior to purchasing Residential Building Plans, what do I need to consider?

A: You need to assure you have answers to the following questions:

  1. Does the deed for your land have any restrictions on domes?
  2. Are you within 1-2 years of building?
  3. 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.
  4. What is required from your building department to obtain a building permit?
  5. Do you have your financing secured?
  6. If the answers to the above questions are positive then you can fax or email us your modified sketch.

Click on Planning Process to learn more.

Q: If I purchase Building Plans for one size dome and later change my mind, can I get a refund?

A: No Ai cannot issue a refund.

Q: When should we purchase our dome building plans?

A: Ai recommends that our clients design their floor plan when they are one to two years from building their dome. If you design your plan before then, you may see model homes or get ideas from other plans that may cause you to want to change your original floor plan ideas.

Q: When can I move into my dome?

A: If you have to obtain a building permit before you can build, then you have to submit a set of Building Plans. If you do not have to obtain a building permit then you can move into the dome once the shell is weather tight. But typically the building department will not allow you to live in the dome until the interior and exterior are finished per the building plans.

Q What are the contents of your Residential Building Plans? A: Stock sets generally have 13-17 pages per each set. Building plans include the basic drawings for the dome that are needed when acquiring a building permit. They are composed on our computer aided drafting system as stock plans, or based on your individual requirements and design. Some of the pages are a 3-D elevation and a 3-D perspective view.

American Ingenuity’s Building Plans contain all of the typical drawings and details – usually 13-17 sheets. The blueprints included in your plans are based on the type of entryways, dormers and foundation that are designed in your plans. Some of the Blueprint names are:
• Cover Sheet
• Legend Sheet
• First Floor Plan
• Second Floor Plan
• Dome Panel Nomenclature
• Exterior Elevations
• 1st Floor Electrical Plan (shows location of electrical outlets, lighting fixtures, smoke detectors)
• 2nd Floor Electrical Plan (shows location of electrical outlets, lighting fixtures, smoke detectors)
• Foundation Plan
• Foundation Details
• 2nd Floor Framing Plan
• Typical Dome Section
• Standard Entryway Details
• High Profile Entryway Details
• 1st Floor Window Dormer & Door Dormer Details
• 2nd Floor Dormer Details
• Stair Details
• Cupola Blueprint if ordered
• Link Blueprint if ordered

These 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: Do your Building Plans include the electrical, plumbing and HVAC diagrams?

A: No. Ai has found if these layouts are included, then the inspectors require the subcontractors to follow the diagrams when the subs like to design their own layouts based on their installation method. Ask you building department if these layouts are required for you to obtain a building permit. Ai will email finished floor plan layouts in pdf so your subcontractors can design the layouts.

Q: Why do you charge extra to modify your stock Building Plans?

A: If there is no change to load bearing walls, there will be no extra fee.  However quite often our clients send us sketches that require the load bearing walls to change. This change then affects the foundation sheet, the second floor framing sheet and other sheets.  Some of the footer locations in the concrete slab foundation are based upon the location of the first floor load bearing walls, which help support the second floor. Plus the dome riser panels set on a perimeter footer in the slab. Also parts of the second floor are suspended by rods into the dome shell. These rods are inserted and buried in the seam concrete during the shell assembly. So we need to design your floor plan per your sketch and then design the structural sheets that the slab subcontractor, shell assembler, framer, etc. need to follow. So yes you would pay us a fee for us to modify our stock plans per your sketch and produce sets of building plans.

Q: I understand that you can suspend parts of the second floor from the dome shell so we can have an open first floor plan. Is this true?

A: Yes, the second floor can be suspended from the dome shell and allow you to have as open a first floor as you desire. Keep in mind that it is more economical to use some of the first floor walls as supports. Long spans with floor joists will require more expensive materials to provide the strength for suspension rods that pass through the second floor.  The suspension rods and plates are purchased from American Ingenuity.

Q: How is the square footage determined in the Dome Plans?

A: Remember in a conventional house you have an attic that cannot normally be used. Because of the dome shape a second floor can be installed that is useable. So even if some square footage around the second floor perimeter cannot be used there is still more useable square footage in a dome than a conventional house with attic under truss roof.  Building Plans second floor square footage includes the area starting at five feet to the top of the dome. For example in 27′ dome the center of the 2nd floor is 9’1″ tall; the center of the second floor in 36′ dome 10 feet tall; the center of the second floor in 45′ dome is 13 feet 7 inches tall.  The second floor square footage is calculated from the top of the dome down to where the exterior dome walls slope to five feet.  Around the perimeter of the second floor at the five feet of height, bed headboard, or night stands, or desk or dresser can be placed.  The Tax Assessor uses these numbers, so your taxes will be less.

Click on Square Footage to learn more.

Q: I am concerned about having a second floor and using the stairs. What do you recommend?

A:  Ai can design a dome floor plan layout without a second floor.  Because of the spherical shape of the dome a second floor is a natural. To access the second and third floors instead of an elevator, install an electric winch powered lift in a 4’x4’ area or an elevator to get to the second floor, or you could use a stair railing chair. You could design all your living space and master bedroom and bath on the first floor, and design a guest bedroom and bath on the second floor and use the rooms for guests or for storage.  Click on Lifts and Elevators to learn more.

Q: I understand that very few of your clients ever sell their dome. As a result, the dome ends up becoming a retirement home, should I make it handicap accessible?

A: Yes. It is a easy modification to the plans to make the entire downstairs area wheelchair accessible, (32″ or 36″ doorways, handicap accessible shower stall, bathroom, etc.).

Q: How are two domes joined together and should I plan extensions onto my Entryways?

A: If you are planning a complex of domes, the plans are joined at entryways or door dormers to form a link. The link will vary in width according to the size of the domes’ entryways and can vary in length from 2 feet to 10 feet.

While many companies offer the alternatives of large links and room extensions to the dome, American Ingenuity feels they are not in your best interest. Among the reasons:

  • When floor space is increased using an extension or link, the exposed surface area is greater than for the square footage within a dome. This results in less energy efficiency and a higher cost per square foot.
  • Construction is more involved and time consuming
  • The overall scale, relationship between elements and proportion of the home are adversely affected.
  • The visual impact of the design is lessened.
  • Good chance of leaking where the extension long flat roof butts into the dome shell. The expansion and the contraction associated with temperature changes produces the flex or separation at the link. We have considered expansion joints but they are not trouble free either. We have concluded the adding of elastomeric patching compound with exterior paint where the link panels touch the dome panels is the best solution.  
  • Ai recommends simply moving up to the next larger size dome or arranging your space differently to increase the efficiency of your design. It will save time, energy and money.

Q: What do your building plan names mean?

A: The first two numbers are the dome diameter in feet, the next word is a Greek word (Omega, Alpha, Delta) and then we use two numbers (21, 22, etc) to complete the name.

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 but there can be requirements for the house to have shingles or bricks; therefore the concrete dome could not be built.  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 assure the size dome you want to build will fit or not. Please click on 3rd Step and scroll down the page to find the pdf for the buying land document with zoning checklist which lists zoning items at the end.

Building Departments do not generally deal with appearance. They are usually concerned about strength and code compliance.  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 Irma and 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?

  1. Call the building department and obtain a list of what is required to obtain a building permit; is an Engineer Seal required on the building plans and an energy report?
    1. If building out of Florida, each building department determines if the dome building plans have to be sealed by an engineer licensed for that state and whether an Energy Report is required. The engineer seal and the energy report can be purchased when the building plans are purchased. The engineer seal cost is much lower than what engineering firms or architectural firms charge. A Florida seal for one dome on a slab is $600.   Ai can complete a Rescheck Energy Report for one dome on a slab for $190.
      If building in Florida,  all new home construction requires a Florida licensed engineer’s seal on the plans, Florida engineer sealed structural calculations and a special Florida Energy Report.  The sealed plans and the sealed calculations can be purchased from Ai.  Most Florida Counties will accept Florida Engineer sealed building plans and Florida sealed structural calculations completed on the exact size dome, exact number & type of openings at your properties exact wind speed and exposure class and their other required documents; i.e. Energy Report, window and door specification sheets showing Florida Product Approval on each, etc. to issue a permit.

      1. Good News!   As  of April 2018 Ai has been told by Florida’s Manufactured (Modular) Buildings Program with Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulations that our prefabricated panel DOES NOT NEED PRODUCT APPROVAL BECAUSE ALL THE MATERIALS IT IS MANUFACTURED FROM ARE EXPOSED AND OPEN FOR VIEWING BY THE BUILDING OFFICIALS and is subject to permitting by the local jurisdiction and are not required to bear insignia (Florida Product Approval).
        1.  Open construction per 2017 Florida Statutes Section 553.36 (4) states:  “Open construction” means any building, building component, assembly, or system manufactured in such a manner that all portions can be readily inspected at the building site without disassembly thereof, damage thereto, or destruction thereof.  All materials the panel is manufactured from are exposed:  galvanized steel mesh extends out all sides of the exterior concrete, center core of 7″ expanded polystyrene insulation is exposed and 1/2″ Georgia Pacific DensArmor drywall is exposed!
          1. Once you know your zoning will allow the concrete dome to be built, give Ai the name and contact info of the building official you have spoken with and we will call and explain this info. 
        2. Permitting by local jurisdiction per 2017 Florida Statutes Section 553.37 (6) which states: Manufactured buildings which have been issued and bear the insignia of approval pursuant to this part upon manufacture or first sale shall not require an additional approval or insignia by a local government which which they are subsequently sold or installed.  Buildings or structures that meet the definition of “open construction” are subject to permitting by the local jurisdiction and are not required to bear insignia.
      2. For example an Ai dome received a building permit in  2014 in Marathon, Florida (part of the Keys) which is south of  Dade County and in a higher wind speed, 180 mph, than Dade County without needing product approval.

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.   Please call the building department that governs the property 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?

Q:  Explain how to work with my building department.

A: Keep in mind that building departments are concerned with strength and safety. American Ingenuity 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 – BUT ZONING DEPARTMENTS, DEEDS, HOME OWNER ASSOCIATIONS CAN BE CONCERNED WITH APPEARANCE!  See below for a link to review and print out Ai’s buying land and zoning checklist which lists questions you need to ask the building department that governs the property and issues the permit and the zoning department to assure the concrete dome with no shingles can be built.

When working with building departments, Ai recommends the following:

  • Start by asking your building department a few questions such as: “What are the requirements for a residential building permit? Are there any additional requirements to build a geodesic dome? Is an  Engineer’s seal required on the plans?”  If a seal is required it can be purchased through Ai. The cost is $600 for one dome built on a concrete slab for all states.  Two domes each built on a concrete slab is $900.  Call for basement, stem wall, pilings and elevated platform engineer seal fees.
  • Building departments are unpredictable. No nationwide standard exists for what is required to receive a building permit and as such what is required in the building plans. Each individual building department adopts and implements their individual policies. Since each department will ask for different items, expect that your first visit may only garner a list of what is required as to the building plans and further documentation (e.g. deed, survey, septic tank location if no city sewer, permits.)
  • ICC Compliant Structural Calculations:  Wonderful news Ai is now utilizing an engineering firm who can seal the  Aidome building plans for all 50 states (including Washington DC), US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and all Canadian Provinces other than Quebec.  In order for the plans to be sealed by an engineer licensed for your state or area, the plans buyer pays for ICC (International Code Compliant) structural calculations to be performed on their exact size dome, exact number of openings at their site’s precise design criteria (wind speed & exposure class (seismic zone & snow load if required). These calculations show that the Aidome prefab panel and building system meets the International Code Council requirements and any codes beyond ICC requirements enforced  by Florida, California and Illinois.   Ai has been told these  ICC calcs sealed by an engineer licensed for your state mean that the Aidome can be built through out Florida (including Miami Dade, Broward, Indian River County, etc.)  and California if land is zoned correctly, etc.  Please call for ICC Structural Calc pricing.

Q: How do I know what my building department will require in order to give issue a building permit?

A: Ask your building department to provide a list of what is required to obtain a residential building permit. And call Ai and supply your properties tax ID number & Ai will call your building department to see what is required to issue a permit on the Aidome.

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

A:  FYI as of February 2018 their is no longer an engineering statement because now buyers purchase International Code Compliant structural calculations when their building plans need to be engineer sealed.

Q: Will my American Ingenuity dome be acceptable to my building department?
A: Use the buying land document with zoning checklist to assure the dome kit can be built on the property you own or are considering purchasing: 

1)  Building plans which are site specific designed for the properties wind, snow, seismic loads & sealed by an engineer licensed for your state can be submitted.

2) ICC compliant structural calculations sealed by an engineer licensed for your state?  The ICC calcs are performed on your exact size dome, exact number of openings and your properties precise design criteria (wind speed, exposure class, snow load if applicable and seismic zone if applicable).  ICC Calculations sealed by an engineer licensed for your state show that the Aidome prefab panel and building system complies with International Code Council requirements and any state’s requirements which have their own building code: ie. Florida, California and Illinois.

3) Passing Title 24 Energy Report or Rescheck Energy Report, Site Plan, Survey, Soil Report and their other required paperwork.

Building plans for American Ingenuity domes comply with all building codes worldwide including the 2016 & 2015 International Residential Building Code, 2012 International Residential Building Code, 2009 International Residential Building Code.  If required, your plans can be sealed by a registered engineer licensed for your state. Please call Ai’s office for pricing…..321-639-8777.

About obtaining a building permit:  Please click on buying land/zoning checklist to find a document which lists questions to ask to see if the round concrete Aidome can be built on the property you own or want to purchase,

  1. First call the building department that governs the property who will issue the building permit, show them our web site (photos of domes) and explain you are wanting to build a round concrete dome that has no shingles.  Can you obtain a building permit if you submit Building Plans sealed by an engineer licensed for your state?  If live in the Caribbean and not in USVI: will they accept a USVI engineer seal or a Florida seal (or do they require engineer licensed for your country) and their other required documents (site map, survey, electrical/plumbing/hvac diagrams, window and door specification sheets, etc.)?  Of course we understand during plans review a check list may come back of items to be revised. Ai and the engineer will make the changes at no cost with the buyer of the plans resubmitting the plans per the building department’s requests.
  2. Get all relevant questions answered that are in the buying land document
  3. Second call the zoning department and give them the property’s tax ID number you are considering buying or own and ask the questions in the zoning checklist that are listed above.
  4. Prior to ordering building plans, provide Ai will the names, phone number and what you learned from the building department and zoning department when you called along with the tax id number of the property you plan on building on.

Q: Will your Building Plans comply with my area’s building codes?

A: Ai has sold dome building kits into 47 USA states and fifteen foreign areas. Ai’s blueprints have been accepted by building departments which use many different Building Codes including the Universal Building Code, 2015 International Residential Building Code,  Florida 2014 6th Edition Residential Building Code and California Residential Building Code.

Q: Do your Building Plans come with an Engineer Seal on them?

A: No there is no engineer seal on the plans. It is Ai’s philosophy is that each client pays for only what they need.  About 50% of Ai’s client’s building departments require engineer sealed building plans to issue a building permit. As a result only those clients that need an engineer seal pay for a seal. Ai does not burden the price of the building plans or the building kit with the costs for engineer seals, engineer load calculations or energy reports or any other paperwork required by your building department.

Ai’s dome design has proved itself by withstanding hurricane Andrew’s 212 mph winds, sub zero temperatures and heavy snow loads of Canada, a 30″ in diameter hickory tree impact, a double wide horse trailer impact and many other conditions since 1976.

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.

  • Less than half of our dome owners needed engineer sealed Building Plans to obtain a building permit and rather than adding the cost to all plans or the building kit it is more economical for the customer to have the plans sealed as required by their building department.
  • As the designer and manufacturer we 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.
  • 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.

 What process do engineers or architects have to go through to be registered in each state and how do they maintain their certification year to year?

A: Engineer’s  pass a test in each state they are registered. Plus each year they pay an annual fee to each state to maintain their registrations.

Q: In Florida what is commonly required to obtain a building permit?

A: To obtain a Florida Residential Building permit and engineer licensed for Florida seals the building plans and engineer sealed ICC structural calculations are required. These items can be purchased through Ai.

  • The Building Plans are purchased through American Ingenuity.
  • Please call our office, 321-639-8777

Q: Can I find my own engineer to seal my Building Plans?

A: Yes, you could try to find some other structural engineer to seal the plans, but they will probably charge you this much or more. They tend to charge more because they have not sealed our dome plans before. Therefore, they would have to start from scratch and research everything about the Aidome.

Q: Does a site plan come with the Building Plans?

A: No it is not included in the Building Plans and is usually designed from a survey. It is best to hire a local firm to complete your site plan.

Begin by drawing a building site plan (plot plan) to the same scale as the Stock Plans and Floor Planner Kit (1/10 inch = 1 foot). A handy scale ruler is included in the back of the Stock Floor Plan Booklet on tan colored paper. Show everything that will affect your dome on your property:

  • North, south, east and west setbacks
  • Driveway, adjacent roads, rights of way, easements
  • Utilities: well, septic and septic drainfield
  • Views
  • Prevailing winds
  • Trees, ponds and existing structures
  • Once you have your building site plan, you can place cut out copies of floor plans on it to select the best size, location and orientation for your dome. If you are designing a dome complex, you will find it simple to combine the cut outs since they are all the same scale.

 

Q: What do the American Ingenuity Dome Building Plans contain?

A: Building plans include the basic drawings for the dome that are needed when acquiring a building permit. They are composed on our computer aided drafting system as stock plans, or custom plans based on your individual requirements and design. Some of the pages are a 3-D elevation and a 3-D perspective view. These plans include all the structural drawings, floor plan layouts, applicable entryway/window dormer/door dormer details, show the placement of the electrical outlets, light fixtures, plumbing fixtures; however, they do not have the electrical, plumbing, HVAC layouts. Ai has 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.  A set of building plans can contain from 17-23 different blueprint sheets depending on the type foundation.

45' dome front entrance in spring.

45′ dome on full basement sold in Missouri.  Front entrance in spring.

American Ingenuity dome owners lover their domes, with very few domes ever going on the resale market.  As a result there is no resale value on the Ai dome.  However if our clients ever think they might sell their dome, Ai recommends they build at least a 40′ (3 bedroom, two bathroom size). Plus 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
  • energy efficiency and strength factors are advertised

When Glenda has an open house quite often she has someone who wants to buy her domes. Why we think this occurs so often is that once the dome is built the buyer can see it, touch it, feel it and look at the low energy bills. The perspective buyer does not have to select a floor plan, buy land, obtain a building permit, obtain construction financing & permanent financing, install a foundation, find and coordinate subcontractors, etc. To put it bluntly they do not have to go through all the construction phases to get a house built.

Until recently there has been little information available regarding the resale value of the American Ingenuity domes. No one wanted to sell.

In the summer of 2005, an Ai dome owner was moving out of state so he had to reluctantly sell his special dome. His 40’ geodesic dome home linked to a 27’ two car garage was sold in Upstate South Carolina, near the intersection of I-85 and I-26, within a 30 mile radius of the metropolitan Greenville/Spartanburg, SC area.

The dome had 1,382 sq.ft. of living space, while the garage and attic added 680 sq.ft of space. The sale netted $189,000, not including the value of the land.

Applying the local construction cost for typical, new residential dwellings and for garage structures, a new conventional residence with the same square footage would have cost $167,000 to build.  The dome sold for approximately 13 percent above the current conventional residential construction costs yet it was 5 years old. In addition, the dome sold in four months and there were other potential buyers disappointed that they arrived too late.

Because of no resale values, lenders require 25% to 35% cash down payment based on the finished price of the house.  Therefore before purchasing building plans, determine your budget and talk to lenders about financing down payments. Best to build the smallest size home possible because construction costs usually exceed expectations. Please click on18 page  Financing Booklet to view ins & outs of financing.

The following came from our Buying Land document. Please contact us to receive the entire document plus our Dome Too Large document prior to purchasing property or determining your dome size.

American Ingenuity (Ai) is happy that you are considering our Geodesic Dome Building Kit for your future home. You have made a big decision to build your dream home, and building with an alternative housing structure that comes with 225 mph wind and F4 tornado warranty that saves 50% to 60% on heating and cooling over conventional house is a smart decision.   Below is info on determining budget, financing and buying land document which can be emailed.

Please click on Planning Process to view planning steps.

DETERMINING NEW HOME BUDGET: Prior to purchasing your land or if you own property, first determine the overall budget you can afford for your new home, land and land development. It is sometimes best to purchase a small piece of affordable land instead of large acreage. This way you keep your land cost down so you have more cash money available for your mortgage cash down payment or more cash to build if you are an owner/builder. To keep your construction costs down, best to build as small a dome as possible; therefore you are on your property living in a super-strong, super-energy efficient dome home saving money on your heating & cooling costs to add on a second dome later. For example a 40’ dome (3 bedroom, two bath) can have 1,800 sq.ft. A 36’ dome (2 or 3 bedroom, two bath) can have 1,400 to 1,600 sq.ft. If your finished cost per square foot for your area is $105, then building the smaller 36’ dome automatically saves you $20,000 to $40,000 in construction costs. A 27’ dome (two bedroom/two bath) can have 800 sq.ft. Building a 27’ dome vs a 36’ dome automatically saves you $60,000 to $80,000 in construction costs. For an approximate cost to build in the area you are considering please contact Ai at 321-639-8777.

FINANCING GENERAL CASH DOWN PAYMENT AMOUNTS: If you will be financing, determine the amount of cash down payment needed. Loans for alternative housing such as a geodesic dome are often harder to come by, and lenders generally require between 25% and 35% cash down. On an approximate $200,000 build for the structure and land development, this could mean a cash down payment of between $50,000 and $70,000. Keep in mind lenders may or may not take under consideration your equity in your land, when lending for the structure and land development. Therefore, if needing a loan to build it is wise not to invest all your liquid assets into the purchase of the property because a large cash down payment will be required on the home loan. Feel free to call us at 321-639-8777 for a friendly chat to clarify these items.

American Ingenuity tries to look out after each perspective client to assure that they are not “blindsided” or shocked about some property issue that could stop them from building their dream dome. The following is a web site that can be used to locate property by state and region without using a real estate agent: http://www.landwatch.com/Land_For_Sale

If building site already owned, initially use the buying land doc to determine what will be needed to build on your property. If purchasing land, American Ingenuity highly recommends that prior to purchasing property obtain answers to the questions in the buying land document.  Call and have us email the buying land doc and checklist.  321-639-8777 Monday – Friday 9-5 eastern time.

 

 Fannie Mae Guidelines for

Estimating Market Value of Non-Traditional Housing

The following information came directly from the FANNIE MAE SELLING GUIDE: SECTION 404.01 – CONFORMITY TO NEIGHBORHOOD

In the appraisal and underwriting process, special consideration must be given to properties that represent special or unique housing for the subject neighborhood. Non-traditional types of housing-such as earth houses, geodesic domes, log houses, etc.-are eligible for delivery to us, provided the appraiser has adequate information to develop a reliable estimate of market value.

It is not necessary for one or more of the comparable sales to be of the same design and appeal as the property that is being appraised (although appraisal accuracy is enhanced by using comparable sales that are the most similar to the subject property). On a case-by-case basis, both the appraiser and the underwriter must independently determine whether there is sufficient information available to develop a reliable estimate of market value.

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

Plans & Building Permit FAQ on the American Ingenuity concrete dome home.

40' dome dining room with kitchen.

40′ dome dining room with kitchen. Any of American Ingenuity’s stock floor plan layouts can be revised to show your personal room arrangement desires.

 

Q: What is your Residential Dome Building Plan regular pricing?

A: All stock and custom residential dome plans are discounted 25% off the following regular plans pricing.  To view a chart listing the 25% discounted pricing for each stock plan and the kit sale pricing specific to each plan, click on Stock Plans & Kit Sale Pricing.   Ai designs plans as a service so that each client receives the exact floor plan arrangement to fit their lifestyle.   Plans for one dome are designed to be plotted on 18″x24″ “C” size paper. Plans for two dome complex or dome on a basement with a deck are plotted on 24″x 36″ “D” size paper.  Ai emails your finished building plans pdfs to you so that additional sets of blueprints can be plotted locally.

Regular Pricing for Residential Dome Building Plans

Dome Diameter15' or 18' 22′ or 27′30′34′36'40'45'48'
Stock Plans$994$1,134$1,198$1,261$1,294$1,333$1,427$1,514
Custom Link PlansBased on link design. Call for pricing.
Garage Plans FromN/A$971 $1,016$1,062$1,077$1,204$1,276$1,333
Modified Plans From$1,165$1,365$1,410$1,501$1,544$1,578$1,652$1,771
Custom Plans From$1,310$1,510$1,585$1,801$1,919$2,033$2,252$2,371
Basement Plans FromN/AN/A$1,016$1,062$1,077$1,204$1,276$1,343

American Ingenuity’s Building Plans are new & improved and contain 17-23 blueprints depending on type of entryways, foundation, etc.  Building Plan sets contain all the blueprints typically provided with any type of housing and include floor plans, concrete slab foundation with radius & angles, foundation details, two exterior elevation blueprints (dome shell section view, top view showing panel placement), floor joist framing plans, structural details, locations of plumbing and electrical fixtures, interior wall dimensions and second floor wood joist & edge beam dimensions.  See below for  listing of possible sheets within the set of Building Plans.

Electrical Diagram, Plumbing Diagram and HVAC Diagram are not included—Ai has found the electrical, plumbing and HVAC subcontractors prefer to design their own diagrams.   Please call our offices for commercial dome plans pricing – 321-639-8777.

Ai’s philosophy is that each Buyer pays 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.

Due to the complexity of the Florida Energy Gauge Report, Ai no longer completes the report, but provides the dome info the company needs to complete the report for $100.   All other states, except for California and Washington, can require a Rescheck enegy report. Ai can complete the REScheck Energy Report.  Call for pricing.

If your building department requires the following, please hire your local HVAC subcontractor to complete your Manual S (Equipment Sizing Certification); Manual D (Duct Design & Layout Drawing); or Manual J (Residential Heat Load Calculation) for the Florida Energy Report and the  REScheck Energy Report.

If your building department requires engineer sealed building plans the engineering firm who will seal your plans requires two items:

  1. A Geotechnical Soil Report in order for the foundation to be designed with the specific type footer required for your soil type and pressure.
  2. ICC (International Code Compliant) structural calculations be performed on your exact size dome, exact number of openings at your site’s precise design criteria (wind speed & exposure class (seismic zone & snow load if required). These calculations show if any additional rebar, etc. are needed in your shell. If needed the engineer and Ai make the changes to your plans.  This report is run using the Risa Program to show that the Adidome and its building system meets the International Code Council requirements and any codes beyond ICC requirements enforced  by Florida, California and Illinois.   Ai has been told these  ICC calcs sealed by an engineer licensed for your state mean that the Aidome can be built through out Florida (including Miami Dade, Broward, Indian River County, etc.)  and California if land is zoned correctly, etc.  Please call for ICC Structural Calcs pricing.

Q: What is the standard foundation included with the stock plans?

A: Concrete slab. For Ai to design a basement or concrete columns or stem wall or pilings, or elevated platform, etc.; the engineer requires a Geotechnical Soil Report and an engineer fee is added to the Plans Quote to cover the cost for an independent engineer to be hired 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 your plans. Please call for engineer pricing.

All of American Ingenuity’s stock plans are now on our web site.  To view the plans by dome diameter, click on Tiny Homes and  Larger Dome Stock Plans

Due to spam filters your email requests may not make it to American Ingenuity and our email replies may not make it back to you.  If you email Ai and do not receive a reply in one to two days, please call us.  While you are on the phone, we will send you a test email to assure you receive it. 

If you want stock floor plan layouts mailed, call Ai at 321-639-8777 for printing cost and mailing cost.

Building plans may be purchased with Master Card, Visa, Discover, check or money order.  Shipping cost and plotting cost are not included in the Plans Pricing.  Stock plans are shipped in 2 weeks. Allow at least 5 weeks for modified stock plans and 8 weeks for modified and custom plans.

If you do not have the time or do not want to assemble the dome shell kit, click on Kit Assembly Consultant to learn about this service. He will supervise your laborers or your contractor’s laborers to assemble the dome shell with the first layer of concrete in the seams and on the entryways and dormers.  To view photo gallery showing dome kit assembly, click on Kit Assembly.

Q: How do I know what my Building Department will require to issue a building permit on the American Ingenuity concrete dome building kit? Will your Building Plans comply with my areas building codes?

A: Ai has sold dome kits into 47 USA states and fifteen foreign areas. Our blueprints have been accepted by building departments, which use many different Building Codes including the 2009 & 2012 & 2015 International Residential Building Code, 2014 Florida Building Code 6th Edition, California Building Code and Universal Building Code.

At no cost to you, if you give Ai your construction site address or parcel ID number & your building department name, we will call and speak to your plan’s examiner. Ai will email him or her a drop box invitation which includes a sample set of plans. Ai will call the official, explain the dome prefabricated panel, review specific pages on our web site & discuss the drop box info.  Ai will ask if engineer sealed building plans, engineer sealed ICC Structural Calculations and an energy report are required to issue a permit.

If required in your area, your dome building plans can be sealed/certified by a PE engineer licensed for your state. The cost for an engineer seal for one dome built on a concrete slab is $600, $900 for two domes each built on a concrete slab. For the engineer to seal your plans, he requires a soil report and ICC structural calculations be performed on your exact size dome, exact number of openings and your site’s design criteria (wind speed, exposure class, seismic zone, snow load).   Call for seal pricing for basement plans, elevated platforms, stem wall, crawl space, etc. 

The cost for an Energy Report for states other than FL, WA & CA is $190 for one dome on a slab. Energy Reports for Florida, Washington and California are completed by your local FL, Wa or CA companies. Other paperwork such as a site map, exterior door & window spec sheets, etc. will probably be required prior to the issuance of the permit. Sometimes your building department will have a web site that lists the other paperwork that is required.

 

Q: Explain how to work with my building department.

A: Keep in mind that building departments are concerned with strength and safety. Domes excel in these areas. Building departments and building codes are not concerned with appearance although a plan examiner may be unfamiliar with the aspects of dome construction.

  • Prior to purchasing property, call Ai and ask for our Buying Land document that lists items to check before land purchase. If you own your property or have narrowed your property searches down to one parcel, please provide Ai the property address or tax ID number and the name and telephone number of the building plans department and Ai will call the department and show them our web site. We will confirm that they will accept American Ingenuity’s prefabricated panel as is, and what additional information and requirements are needed for a permit (i.e. engineer seal with engineer sealed ICC structural calculations, energy report). Each state, county and city building departments have specific requirements and requests.

Q: What is the sale pricing on your building plans?

A: To view the discounted plans pricing, click on Discount. Our building plans are very reasonable in price. As far as the building plans, if you went to a Florida engineer or architectural firm and asked them to design you building plans for a 2,000 sq.ft. house; they could charge $1.50 to $2.00 per sq.ft. So that would be $3,000 to $4,000 for a 2,000 sq.ft. house.  Currently the regular price for 40′ dome (2,000 sq.ft. house) is $1,333. Click on Sale to view current sale pricing on plans. Please scroll down the page to find the plans sale pricing.

Ai designs plans as a service to our clients so that each obtain the correct floor plan to fit your lifestyle.

Q: Prior to purchasing Building Plans, what do I need to consider?

A: Assure you have answers to the following questions and to all the questions on the buying land with zoning checklist you received from Ai:

  1. Does the deed for your land have any restrictions on domes or minimum new size house requirements?
  2. If there is a Home Owner’s Association governing your land, if so obtain a copy of the covenants and make sure a dome can be built.
  3. What is required from your building department to obtain a building permit?    Wonderful news Ai is now utilizing an engineering firm who can seal the  Aidome building plans for all 50 states (including Washington DC), US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and all Canadian Provinces other than Quebec.  In order for the plans to be sealed by an engineer licensed for your state or area, the plans buyer pays for ICC (International Code Compliant) structural calculations to be performed on their exact size dome, exact number of openings at their site’s precise design criteria (wind speed & exposure class (seismic zone & snow load if required). These calculations show that the Aidome prefab panel and building system meets the International Code Council requirements and any codes beyond ICC requirements enforced  by Florida, California and Illinois.   Ai has been told these  ICC calcs sealed by an engineer licensed for your state mean that the Aidome can be built through out Florida (including Miami Dade, Broward, Indian River County, etc.)  and California if land is zoned correctly, etc.  Please call for ICC Structural Calcs pricing.
  4. Do you have your financing secured?
  5. Are there minimum house square footage requirements or a garage requirement on your property?

Q: Can my zoning department stop me from building a dome?

A: Yes. Zoning can ask for roof conformity where all the roofs look the same in that area.   Besides zoning ordinances controlling the use of the land, they determine setbacks from property lines, minimum size new home requirements and height limits and similar things. Deed restrictions and homeowner associations can limit the type structure that can be built.

Q: Where can I build a dome?

A: Almost any place. Although, there are a few exceptions, some developments or communities control the size, cost and appearance of the homes. Before you buy the land, ask if there are any Deed restrictions or Homeowner Associations or zoning which will not allow the dome to be built. Ask Ai to email their latest buying land document with zoning checklist which contains an important list of questions to be asked about the property.   If there is a Homeowners Association, meet with the board and show them information about the dome. If they say you can build the dome, we recommend that you obtain a notarized statement from them stating this. Over time, members of the Board can change and the bylaws of the Association can change.

Besides assuring that your property has no deed restrictions or homeowners association regulating it, contact your building department and find out what they require to issue you a residential building permit.  To obtain a new house building permit in California and Florida, engineer sealed building plans and engineer sealed ICC Structural Calculations are submitted along with other required paperwork.

 

Q: When should we purchase our dome building plans?

A: Plans are purchased 3 months to two years prior to dome construction.

Q: When can I move into my dome?

A: If a building permit is needed to build, generally the building departments will not let you move in until they issue a Certificate of Occupancy – meaning the home is finished per the blueprints.  If there is no building permit is required,  a person could stay in the dome once the shell is weather tight.

This web site page contains info on American Ingenuity’s Stock, Modified, Custom Plans

utilized to build an Energy Efficient, Super-Strong concrete dome home.

Interior kitchen Kaufman 1543

If your family does not find a stock floor plan to fit your lifestyle,

the American Ingenuity Design Team can design a custom plan

based on your sketches and notes. 

Above is a kitchen that was custom designed in a 45′ dome.

Besides manufacturing geodesic dome building kits, American Ingenuity (Ai) designs residential or commercial building plans that are used to obtain a building permit.  To view stock floor plan layouts for ten different size domes from one bedroom/one bath to four bedroom/three bath home, please click on Tiny Homes and  Larger Dome Stock PlansOnce you are on the page, scroll down to find the plan’s hyperlinks to click on. If you do not see a stock plan that fits your needs, Ai has flexible plans which can be modified or customized to fit your life style.

Currently all stock, modified and custom building plans are discounted. To view plan’s pricing, click on Plans Discount and scroll down the page to view the Plan’s Regular and Sale Pricing.

This file contains several pages of information, so please scroll down this page to view the info.

 AMERICAN INGENUITY’S PHILOSOPHY:

One of the reasons American Ingenuity has been in business since 1976 and is very reputable, is that we try hard to treat all our customers the same and produce a quality dome home kit. Our business philosophy and product is unique to the housing industry. Ai believes that each person should pay for only what they need. As a result, Ai’s dome kit’s pricing is usually one third to one-half less than other housing kits. Click on Tiny Home Kit Prices and Larger Dome Kit Sale Pricing to learn more.

 What causes American Ingenuity’s dome building kit to be so reasonable in price?

  • Each client pays for their Building Plans, engineer seal, structural calculations, energy report instead of Ai burdening the price of these increasing the price of the Building Kit.
  • None of Ai’s staff is on commission.
  • Unique panel contents allows for reduced manufacturing waste.
  • About 50% of Ai’s clients do not need engineer sealed building plans or structural calculations or an Energy Report in order to obtain a building permit. As a result these items are purchased separately from Ai.
  • Each person who wants to research American Ingenuity’s building kit further can do so by purchasing the Planning Kit which includes DVD.  If Ai gave out a Planning Kit and DVD to 100 – 200 people a month, that cost would be paid by the Building Kit buyer.  If you want samples of stock plans, mailed to you call Ai at 321-639-8777 for printing costs and mailing costs.
  • To view the DVD for free click on DVD.  To view free info, click on Free Info. To view photo gallery showing dome kit assembly, please click on Kit Assembly.

Why do I need entryways and dormers to install windows and doors? At specific locations around the perimeter of the dome, triangles and riser panels can be left out to provide openings where you or your framer installs your locally purchased doors and windows. To compensate for the triangle and riser panels being left out, these “structural awnings” – entryways, dormers, cupola and link  have to be installed.  The following diagram identifies possible locations of entryways and dormers.

American Ingenuity Domes designed with flexibility, allows you to create your own personal home. Standard size doors & windows are purchased locally and installed onsite within the entryways and dormers using locally purchased materials. * For additional light, max out the second floor window dormers & door dormers. Install a tall window instead of a door within a door dormer. Or a solar tube can be installed onsite within a panel. (Do not cut within 8” of a seam).

3domes

 

At no cost to you and with no obligation to us, Ai can call your building department:  show them our web site, discuss the Ai panel design and inquire what is required to issue a building permit. For us to do this, please give us your property address or property tax ID number, building department name and phone number.

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 included in American Ingenuity’s Residential Dome Building Plans? American Ingenuity’s Building Plans are new and improved. The building plans consist of two sets of blueprints that include the basic drawings for the dome that are needed when acquiring a building permit with dome built on concrete slab. Or Ai will design custom foundations; i.e. basement, columns with concrete platform, pilings, stem wall, etc.

Plus Ai emails your building plans pdfs to you so that you can have additional sets plotted locally. The plans are composed using the AUTOCAD program on our computer aided drafting system as stock plans, or Ai can modify a stock plan or design a custom plan from your sketches for a reasonable fee.

Our Building Plans contain all of the typical drawings and details. Which blueprints are included in your plans is based on the type of entryways, dormers and foundation that are designed in your plans. Some of the Blueprint names are:

  • Cover Sheet
    • Legend Sheet
    • First Floor Plan
    • Second Floor Plan
    • Dome Panel Nomenclature
    • Exterior Elevations
    • 1st Floor Electrical Plan (shows location of electrical outlets, lighting fixtures, ceiling fans, smoke detectors)
    • 2nd Floor Electrical Plan  (shows location of electrical outlets, lighting fixtures, ceiling fans, smoke detectors)
    • Foundation Plan
    • Foundation Details
    • 2nd Floor Framing Plan
    • Typical Dome Section
    • Standard Entryway Details
    • High Profile Entryway Details
    • 1st Floor Window Dormer & Door Dormer Details
    • 2nd Floor Dormer Details
    • Stair Details

Q: What is the standard foundation included with the stock plans?

A: 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 pricing.

Some of the pages in the Building Plans are a 3-D elevation and a 3-D perspective view. The floor plan sheets have interior walls dimensioned.  The concrete slab foundation plan has dimensions and angles.  The wood joist/edge beams are dimensioned. These 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 usually the subs like to design their own layouts.

 How do I view American Ingenuity’s Residential stock floor plans? There are three ways:

  • Or click on PDF and view and print out Ai’s Stock Floor Plans for each size dome at no cost.
    • If you want the stock plans mailed, call Ai (321-639-8777) for printing costs and mailing costs.
    • Or purchase the stock plan layout for some of the plans in DXF format if you would like to manipulate and edit the stock plans to fit your desires.

What diameter domes do you have stock plans for: 15′, 18′ 22′, 27’, 30’, 34′, 36′, 40’, 45’ and 48’ domes. After the listing of 48′ dome plans is a listing of the garage dome plans for the 22’, 27,’ 30’, and 34’. 

What do Ai’s Building Plans cost? To view Plans Pricing, click on Discount & then scroll down the page to see the chart for regular and sale pricing on plans. Just to clarify, because 50% of our clients building departments do not require an engineer seal or Energy Report to obtain a building permit, Ai;s Plans pricing does not include the cost for an engineer seal or the cost for Energy Report. Click on Plans FAQ to learn more. Please call our office at 321-639-8777 for current engineer seal and Energy Report pricing.

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

  • Does your land’s deed have any restrictions for alternative housing or domes?
  • Inquire whether there is a Home Owners’ Association governing your land, if there is check with them and make sure a dome can be built.
  • You can ask your building department, “What are the requirements for a residential building permit? Are there any additional requirements to build a geodesic dome? Is an Architect’s or Engineer’s seal required on the plans?”
  • Is your financing secured?

To learn more click on Planning Process.

Can Ai modify any of the stock plans?  To view info to assist in custom plan design, click on these four links: Getting Started, Floor Planner Guidelines, Revising Stock Plans and Things to Consider.  

Yes. Modifying a stock plan that is close to your dream dome allows you to adapt one of our stock plans to meet your needs. While it does incur a charge, it is much less than the expenditure of custom design work. Any of the Stock Plans may be modified to provide for such structural changes as:

  • Building a Mirror image.
  • Rearranging rooms, moving walls, or adding closets.
  • If the stair location is the same on both floors – combining the first floor from one plan with the second floor of another.
  • Adding or subtracting entryways, door and window dormers, or balconies.
  • Adding bathrooms.
  • Fortifying a floor structure to accommodate special furnishings such as a waterbed, hot tub, or weight room.

What is the easiest way to determine room dimensions based on square footage?

Once you narrow down your floor plan selection to one or two plans, the CAD department will review the layout and add a to-scale ruler and to-scale furniture around the perimeter.  This way when the plan is printed out the ruler, furniture and plan are the same scale. Cut out the ruler and measure length and width of rooms to see if the room sizes fit your needs.  If not make a list of changes or mark of the plan to show desired changes and email the list and changes to Contact Us. Please include your phone number.  Due to spam filters Ai may not receive your email, if you email and do not receive a reply in one to two days, please call us at 321-639-8777.

On each stock plan, Ai designs a to scale ruler.  Cut this ruler out and use it to measure the length and width of the rooms. Compare the dome room sizes to the room sizes in your current home. You know whether you want the rooms larger or smaller than the current home you are in now. The room sizes will determine what size dome will fit your needs. The scale is 1/10″ equals one foot. To learn more click on Square Footages

Can American Ingenuity provide custom design building plans based on my sketches? 

Yes. What Ai has found works best is for you to sketch out your ideas on a stock plan or on the floor planner pages located after the stock plans in each dome diameter grouping in our web site file, Geodesic Dome Home Plans. Email the sketch and your notes by clicking on Contact Us  or fax them to us at 321-639-8778.  After your email or fax, please call our office at 321-639-8777 to assure that Ai received your email or fax and that all your pages were legible.  Please include your name, address, telephone number and best time(s) to contact you. 

One of our CAD staff will:  

  • review your sketch
  • possibly call you with questions
  • email your plan’s price quote to you

Once we receive payment in full for the Building Plans, engineer seal, energy report, etc and receive acceptance of the Plans Quote, Ai schedules your plans for production. 

How long does it take to receive the stock plans?

It can take about two to four weeks depending on the time of the year. Ai does not keep the stock plans printed out for a couple of reasons:  

  1. Ai is constantly making improvements to the building plans. So before we print out a stock plan, we review the plan and make all the improvements.
  2. Blueprints change color over time…Ai wants your prints to be fresh and bright.

How long does it take to receive modified or custom designed plans?

Stock plans are delivered in 2 to 4 weeks.  Allow at least 5 weeks for modified plans and 10 weeks for custom plans.  Once we start the design of your plans, Ai will email  up to six proofs that you review and make changes on and email them back to us. After you approve the final draft, Ai designs your structural blue prints and completes your building plans.  

How do I send my drawings or sketches & descriptions to American Ingenuity?

You can email them if they are in the following format: 

  • pdf
  • or if you are using AutoCAD we can accept the documents in dxf format or dwg format. Please save the file in CAD 2013 or older version.

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