|Plans & Building Permit|
Most Frequently Asked QuestionsQ: What is your Building Plan regular pricing?
A: All stock and custom plans are discounted 40% off the following regular plans pricing. To view a chart listing the 40% discounted pricing, click on Plans Discount. Just to clarify, American Ingenuity does not make a profit on Building Plans. Ai designs plans as a service so that each client receives the exact floor plan arrangement to fit their lifestyle. Your order includes two sets of plans. Plans for one dome are plotted on 18"x24" "C" size paper. Plans for two dome complex are plotted on 24"x36" "D" size paper. If you order additional sets of plans when your first sets are plotted: additional sets on "C" paper are $35 each. Additional sets on "D" size paper are $45. However if you order additonal sets of plans after initial plotting, extra CAD work is needed so the cost is $54 for each "C" size set and $78 for each "D" size set.
Regular Pricing for Building Plans (2 large sets)
New & Improved Building Plans. 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 placement, floor joist framing plans, structural details, and locations of plumbing and electrical fixtures.
Some of Ai's stock plans are on our web site in PDF format. To view and print out the plans, click on Plans PDF. In the Planning Kit is a 60 page Stock Floor Plan Booklet that contains stock plans for the 22' thru 48' domes. All 60' dome plans are custom. If you do not see a plan that fits your lifestyle we can modify our stock plans or we design custom plans for a reasonable fee. To order the Planning Kit/Stock Floor Plan Booklet click on Online Store. Stock plans pdfs can be emailed to you at no cost. Call our office at 321-639-8777 or email us at
Building plans may be purchased with Master Card, Visa, Discover, check, money order or via Intuit Payment Method. At no cost to you, you can use the Intuit Payment Method to transfer money from your checking account directly into American Ingenuity's checking account. Plans are shipped free of charge within the continental USA via post office priority mail. 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 and get the shell assembled.
A: Ai has sold dome building kits into 47 USA states and thirteen foreign areas. Our blueprints have been accepted by building departments which use many different Building Codes including the Universal Building Code, the Standard Building Code and the B.O.C.A. Code. Ai's personal service may include communication with your area building officials to assure the acceptance of your blueprints for issuance of a permit. If required in your area, blueprints can be certified by a registered engineering firm. 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, basement plans seal is add $200 per dome for all states other than Florida or California.
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.
If you are building in Florida, your building department will require engineer sealed Building Plans and a Florida Energy Report. These items can be purchased through Ai. To obtain a building permit in Florida, you will need to give us your exact window and exterior door sizes, frame type, double or single pane, U factor, SHGC number, etc. When you submit the paperwork to obtain your permit, you will be required to give the actual model number and manufacturer, along with a Florida Product Approval spec sheet for each exterior door and window.
When working with building departments, Ai recommends the following:
A: To view the discounted pricing click on Plans Discount. Our business philosophy is to treat our clients equally. As a result we do not offer lower prices to one person and not another. 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 plans for a 40' dome (2,000 sq.ft. house) are discounted to $475. Engineers and architectural firms have to make a profit because that is their only business. However Ai's design department is not a profit center for us. Ai designs plans as a service to our clients so that you obtain the correct floor plan to fit your lifestyle.
A: You need to assure you have answers to the following questions:
A: No. Zoning pertains to whether a residential, commercial or industrial building can be constructed on any given piece of property. Besides zoning ordinances controlling the use of the land, they determine setbacks from property lines, size and height limits and similar things, but we have never heard of a zoning restriction on domes. Deed restrictions and homeowner associations can limit the type structure that can be built.
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. To learn more about this click on Planning Process. 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 get a notarized statement from them stating this. Over time, members of the Board can change and the by laws 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. Building departments are basically concerned about safety and structure, not appearance.
To obtain a new house building permit in California and Florida, the building plans have to be sealed by a licensed engineer certified for that state. The CA seal cost is $600 to $1,000 for one dome built on a concrete slab. A Florida engineer seal for one dome 22’ through 36' built on a concrete slab is $400. 40-48' dome built on a concrete slab is $500.
In California, some building departments require building kits be certified that they comply with California's building kit requirements. Due to the high cost of this certification, it is not economical for American Ingenuity to purchase the certification. However some California building departments will issue a building permi when CA engineer sealed plans, CA energy report, Ai Assembly Manual is on site for inspector review and other required paperwork is submitted. Please Call Ai at 321-639-8777 and give us your building department name and phone number and we will inquire about their requirements.
A: Ai's dome design has proved itself by withstanding hurricane Andrew's 200 mph winds, sub zero temperatures and heavy snow loads of Canada and the Northwest Territory, a large tree 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 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.
A: No. We design Building Plans as a service to our customers as a result there is no profit margin on the Building Plans. We cannot transfer the money spent on one set of completed plans to another.
A: Ai recommends that our clients design their floor plan when they are about one to two years from building. 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.
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 and you have received a Certificate of Occupancy.
Q: Does a site plan come with the Building Plans?
A: No. As far as the site plan, it is not included in the Building Plans and is usually designed from a survey. To locate a company that can design a site plan, ask for references from your building department. Some items like locating trees and elevations are best done by a local person or company.
Meantime, gather the following information to give to the site plan designers.
Once you have your building site plan, you can place cut out copies of floor plans on it to select the best dome size, location and orientation for your dome.
A: Ai has never heard of a set of plans being needed for preapproval. Sometimes we have provided our clients a document that shows the floor plan with the driveway, etc. marked.
A: Yes. For the first time in 2006 one of our California clients could not obtain a building permit, because the building officials wanted our dome building kit certified that its design complied with the State of California's building kit regulations. However, Ai has since learned that the Ai dome kit can be built in San Bernadino County.
A: We suggest you 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 Architect’s or Engineer’s seal required on the plans?"
A: To obtain a Florida Building permit you will need engineer sealed building plans and a Florida Energy Report (these items can be purchased through Ai). Please call Ai for current pricing.Q: What will the engineer seal cost for California, Florida, North Carolina and other states?
A: For California: we can only quote you the cost of the building plans because the price of the seal comes from a California licensed Engineer. California building departments are extremely difficult to deal with and that makes it also difficult for any engineer to provide a fixed cost when they don't know exactly what the building department will require. A rough estimate for engineering to get through a typical California building department is $600 to $1,500 for both domes in the same project.
The Florida engineer seal cost for one small dome is $400. A 60’ dome's engineer seal ranges from $800 to $1,000.
Some of our domes have been constructed in North Carolina that needed engineer sealed plans. A North Carolina engineer seal for a single dome on a slab is $600.
For other state's engineer seal costs, please call us.
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. Engineers that have never sealed a set of Ai building plans tend to charge more because they would have to start from scratch and research everything about our dome before they could seal the plans.
A: Yes, Dade, Broward, West Palm Beach, Orange and Seminole Counties in Florida and some counties in California. For information about California and Florida, please contact our office Monday thru Friday 9 to 5 eastern time 321-639-8777.
Even though our building complies with the new 2010 Florida Building Code and one of Ai's domes survived Hurricane Andrew with no structural damage, Ai has been informed that Dade and Broward Counties and some other Florida counties require product approval testing. Due to the cost and complexity of the tests, Ai has concluded it is not economical for us to have these tests performed.
A: The engineer reviews the Building Plans to assure that they comply with your state's building codes. They will let us know if anything needs to be changed. Ai makes the changes at no cost to you and sends the revised plans to the engineer who then stampsl them with his seal and signs his name. This seal and his signature mean that he certifies that the plans comply with your state's building codes. Your sealed plans are then mailed on to you. You take them to your building department. Because each city, county within a state can have varying requirements, your city or county building department may request some changes. Ai will work with your building department to make those changes at no cost to you. But if the engineer has to get reenrolled, he may charge.
Just to clarify, engineer's have to pass a test in each state they are registered. Plus each year they pay an annual fee to each state to stay registered and attend and pass continuing education classes.
A: Yes, Ai has shipped domes into the Universal Building Code (UBC) territory before. If the UBC will not let you have any floor area (except bedrooms) that has less than 7' of head room, then the knee wall would have to be moved inward to put that unallowed space out of the room.
A: Stock sets generally have 10-14 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. The Plans include:
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 diagram, plumbing diagram or HVAC layout.
A: No. We have found if these layouts are included, then the inspectors require the subcontractors to follow the diagrams when usually the subs like to do their own layouts. Ask you building department if these layouts are required for you to obtain a building permit. If they are required, your subcontractors can be hired to design your layouts.
A: Quite often our clients send us sketches....we need to convert those sketches to actual building plans for the following reasons. 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 person, 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.
A: Ai draws the plans using AutoCAD program. You do not need to use that program or any program to draw your plans. See the blank floor planners in the back of the Stock Floor Plan Booklet or Ai can email the planners to you. Remember you can fax (321-639-8778) the drawings to us or you can email them if they are in jpeg format or bmp format (windows bit map) or if you are using AutoCAD we can accept the documents in dxf format or dwg format.
You can take tthe planners and paste copies of rooms that you do like or sketch your room arrangements. If you should sketch in something that is either not practical or not cost effective we will let you know.
Email or fax the sketch to us. Include your name, telephone number and best time(s) to contact you. We will call you back with questions and give you a price quote to convert your ideas into custom plans. When you want us to design your plans, return the Plans Order Form signed along with payment for the Building Plans, engineer seal and energy report, etc.. During the custom plan design, Ai sends you two rough drafts which you can change. We then take the final draft and design all the structural pages.
On the internet, there is a free 30 day trial of Delta Cad which is compatible with AutoCAD program that we use. You can order DXF files for each dome diameter. Click on DXF to learn more. 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.
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 occasionally use 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 can be purchased from Ai.
A: Call for pricing. The cost of metal framing is slightly higher than wood. You should only use metal framing if your subcontractor has worked with it before. Metal Framing is not more fire proof. In a fire metal will deform quicker than wood.
A: If your Building Plans are for one dome then you would need additional sets that are "C" size. If your Building Plans were for two or more domes, then you would need "D" size plans. Please call our office at 321-639-8777 for additional plans pricing.
A: Yes Ai can design custom foundations. To change our design from a concrete slab to any of the other foundations described, Ai hires a local engineer to calculate the load of the dome and the load of the first and second floors on the basement walls, columns, etc. The engineer then gives us designs as to the size and spacing of the columns, joists, etc. Our CAD department then implements his designs. Normally architects or engineers can charge $100 to $150 an hour for design work, the Florida structural engineer that Ai utilizies is retired and only charges Ai $50 an hour. His typical fee to design a basement under the dome or columns under the dome, etc. is $300. This fee is separate from the engineer seal cost. Please call our office for pricing.
A: Yes Ai can modify the stock plans or design custom plans from your sketches. Included in the Planning Kit is the Stock Floor Plan Booklet. In the booklet is a Floor Planner Kit so you can experiment with different floor plans as you modify a Stock Plan or develop a Custom Plan. Sample elevations of each size dome enable you to visualize your home in three, not just two, dimensions.
Make copies of the floor planners for the size domes) you wish to build & then you can make as many variations & design changes as you wish.
Scaled furniture symbols & ruler may be used with either the Floor Planner Kit or any of the Stock Plans, since everything is the same scale. You can use the ruler to measure the width & length of each room to compare the size to the size home you currently live in. Be sure when placing tall furniture on the second floor to note the ceiling height.
VERSATILITY: American Ingenuity's Stock Plans have been developed over many years & have proven themselves to be comfortable, economical & adaptable. Within this selection you will find plans that will accommodate almost any lifestyle, decorating taste, size of family, budget, and building site. You may find just the right floor plan for your new home in the stock plans. The building kits for Stock Plans are priced including the options as shown on the Stock Floor Plan Price List. Additional options will create a Modified Stock Plan.
SIZE & SCALE: The first two number of the floor plan name reflect the diameter of the dome For example, 45 Delta 21 is a 45' diameter dome. All the floor plans are drawn to the same scale, 1/10 inch = 1 foot. The furniture symbols & ruler contained in the Floor Planner Kit are also drawn to this scale & may be used with any of the Stock Plans. Compare these to the measurements of your own furniture & make symbols for those pieces not represented, like your antique hutch or your son's aquarium.
SQUARE FOOTAGE: The square footage of living space shown with each floor plan indicates the total space inside the dome. The square footage of each room is included to help you visualize the size of the space, & does not include any closets or utility areas. The second floor square footage consists of all the usable floor space to the knee wall although part of this space will have reduced headroom, as shown by the ceiling height lines.
BUILDING CODES: Our blueprints have been accepted by building departments which use many different Building Codes including the Universal Building Code, the Standard Building Code & the B.O.C.A. Code. Our personal service may include communication with your area building officials to assure the acceptance of your blueprints for issuance of a permit. If required in your area, blueprints can be certified by a registered engineering firm. Professional fees will vary state by state.
MINOR CHANGES: Most building departments will allow you to make simple non-structural changes to Stock Plans by noting them on the blueprints. This might include such minor changes as:
MODIFIED STOCK PLANS: Modifying a Stock Plan that is close to your dream dome allows you to adapt a plan to 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:
We will be happy to quote a price for blueprints & a building kit for your Modified Stock Plan once we review your sketches or Floor Planner
CUSTOM PLANS: If you are seeking more than what is reflected in the Stock Floor Plan Booklet, then perhaps you will want to go a step further to a Custom Plan. It will encompass all your thoughts for your dream dome & will be drawn by our technician especially for you, yet at a reasonable cost. Using our state-of-the-art computer aided drafting system, our CAD technician will translate your concept into a set of blueprints.
1. We will work form any combination of ideas as you express them:
2. The cost of the blueprints for your Custom Plan, as well as the cost of the building kit, can be ascertained after review of your concept. You can mail your sketch or fax it to 321-639-8778. Please include your complete name, phone numbers and best time to contact you. Please call our office at 321-639-8777 and assure we received your fax. After Ai reviews your sketch, we will call you with questions and then email a Plans Quote. For us to start the plans design, we take payment in full for the building plans. Then you receive rough drafts via email or fax or mail. You review the drafts and make any changes and return them to us. Once you approve the final draft, then we take that and complete the structural pages of the blueprints.
3. Design Factors: All plans may be built on your choice of foundation including: Concrete slab, raised, stem wall or pier foundation, full or partial basement. Just to clarify, we can design for a concrete stem wall with a wood floor, but we cannot provide you a design that uses wood as a foundation material.
4. When planning the location of entryways, door dormers, balconies & window dormers please note their specific locations.
5. When planning room sizes for your second floor, remember that the headroom decreases as it approaches the knee wall. The floor planners have perimeter second floor height lines and have a to-scale ruler that can be used to calculate the area of the second floor between 7' or greater height lines.
For example our 48' dome has an interior radius of 24'. That radius is from the center of the sphere to all of the geodesic corners measured on the inside. Ai uses the most standard geodesic dome geometry of a three frequency icosahedrons for our 30' through 48' size domes. The 22' and 27' are two frequency and the 60' dome is four frequency.
For laying out the floor plan designs, you only need to work in two dimensional form and the pages in our floor plan booklet will give you everything you need, including ceiling heights on the second floor. Ai can provide you AutoCAD format for the floor plans, but it will not contain any three dimensional drawings.
A: Yes. Since every building site is different, Garage & Basement Plans are priced separately from Stock Plans. We have included several Stock Plans for garages which may be linked to any dome where indicated or may be built separately. Click on Dome Garages to learn more.
A: Ai's largest size dome is 60’ in diameter with an interior height of 26’. It has 2,552 sq.ft. on the first floor, if you max out the second floor, the second floor can have 1,910. If you purchase the cupola and install a third floor loft there can be a loft area of 620 sq.ft. for a total of 5,180 sq.ft. If you need a larger dome than this, contact Monolithic Dome in Italy Texas.
We do not have any 60' stock plans. All the plans for the 60' are custom. The 60' custom plans start at $3,500. Once we see your sketch or ideas we can quote you a price to design your custom set of Building Plans.
A: Some of our stock plans have stock basement plans designed with them. Ai can design custom basments from your sketches. The walls can be designed using concrete block, Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF) or poured concrete walls. 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.
A: Remember in a conventional house you have an attic that cannot be used for useable rooms. 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 an attic.
A: Because of the 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 or a rail chair can be used to access the second floor. 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.
A: Yes. It is a easy modification to the plans to make the entire downstairs area wheelchair accessible, (32" doorways minimum, handicap accessible shower stall, etc.).
Any of the small domes could be built without a second floor. It would not be cost effective to build a dome and not install and use the second floor rooms. Because of the natural shape of the dome, a second floor is a natural. Your contractor would install an electric winch powered lift or elevator or stair rail chair. This way you can easily access the second floor rooms.
A: If you are planning a complex of domes, the domes 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:
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.
A: Ai uses Greek words (Omega, Alpha, Delta) and numbers (21, 22, etc) along with the dome diameter to name our plans. Ai now has additional stock plans not on our web site and not in our Stock Floor Plan Booklet. Those plans are labelled with numbers. Please call our office at 321-639-8777 or email and let us know what diameter dome you are interested in and we will email you the new stock plans.