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Engineer Sealed Plans Print E-mail

Ai Dome Building Plans

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 building plans?
  • Is my property in a Wind-Borne Debris Region? (Usually a Florida question)
  • What is the design wind speed for my location? (Usually a Florida question)

What are building departments concerned with? They are concerned with strength and safety and domes excel in these areas. Building departments and building codes are not concerned with appearance; although a plans examiner may be unfamiliar with the aspects of dome construction. As needed, American Ingenuity will answer your building officials' questions.

Do some building departments require engineer sealed building plans to obtain a building permit? Yes. This means that a licensed engineer for your state has to review American Ingenuity's building plans to assure that they comply with your state's building requirements. Once the engineer reviews the plans and no changes are needed, he or she applies his engineering stamp and his signature to the plans. This means he takes responsibility for the design not the building department. If there are needed changes, the engineer usually faxes A.I. notes and sketches that we need to incorporate into the plans.

Does all new construction in Florida and California require engineer sealed plans to obtain a building permit? Yes. For example as of 2010, a Florida engineer seal on plans for a 40' dome is about $400; a second dome's seal is $300. An attached screen dome seal is $50. A 60’ dome seal is $800 to $1,000. Plus in Florida a Florida Energy Audit/Wind Calcs is required. American Ingenuity can provide the Energy Calculations for around $100.

A California engineer seal for one dome is $1,500 to $3,000 depending on the size dome and the county you will build in. Plus California requires Energy Calculations. Ai. can put you in contact with a firm that can perform the California Energy Calculations.  If you are thinking of building near a large California city, their building departments usually require that the building kit be certified by the state of California. It is not cost effective for American Ingenuity to pay for this certification.  As a result if this is required, you will not be able to build the Ai dome. 

What does the engineer do? He reviews the American Ingenuity Dome Building Plans to assure that they comply with your state's building codes. The engineer will let us know if anything needs to be changed. We make the changes to the plans and we send the revised plans to the engineer who then crimps them with his seal and signs his name to the structural sheets. This seal and his signature mean that he certifies that the plans comply with your state's building codes. Either we or the engineer mails the signed plans to you. You take them to your building department to obtain your building permit. Because each city and county within each state can have varying requirements, your city or county building department may request some changes to the sealed plans. We will work with your building department to make those changes at a minimal cost to you. But if the engineer has to get reinvolved, he may charge some fees.

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

Can Building Departments be hard to work with? Yes, some building departments can be a pain. But American Ingenuity and the engineers we use are used to working with building departments. For example we had two clients in Palatka Florida who were going for building permits around the same time. Their building department approved their plans (with no changes) within a couple of weeks. Similar plans with similar information were submitted to counties south of us and the building officials wanted changes and took a couple of months to give the client a building permit. We never know how each building official will interpret the Building Codes for their state.

Tell me about the strength of the Ai dome. The code design criteria requires that Ai show the American Ingenuity Dome Building can with stand wind, snow and seismic loading.  Our standard design will accommodate forces in excess of 250 mph winds, 90 lb. snow loads and #9 earthquakes.   If that is not enough, just tell us what you need.  Click on Strength to learn more.

Our dome design has proved itself by withstanding hurricane Andrew's 200 mph winds, sub-zero temperatures and heavy snow loads of Canada and the Northwest Territory, a 30" in diamter tree impact, four Florida hurricanes in 2004 and many other conditions since 1976. Click on Hurricane Recap to learn more.  Although our Building Plans have been reviewed by over 30 different engineers, the plans do not come with an engineer’s seal for the following reasons.

Less than half of our dome owners needed engineer sealed Building Plans to obtain a building permit and rather than adding the engineer seal cost to all plans it is more economical to have the plans sealed as needed. As the designer and manufacturer American Ingenuity would not hesitate to guarantee the structural integrity of our dome and we do just that with our guarantee. Each state only accepts a seal from an engineer who is registered in that state which prevents us from applying any seal that would be universally accepted.

Does the Ai Dome comply with the new 2002 Florida Building Code? Yes, although we have been informed that Dade and Broward Counties in South Florida require additional testing to verify that the wall segments are capable of withstanding missile impact. Due to the cost and complexity of the tests, we have concluded it is not economical for us to perform this test. If the building departments will accept a Florida registered engineer’s assertion that our buildings pass this test, this documentation can be provided at a reasonable fee.

What percentage of Ai's clients need engineer sealed plans? About 50%. It is our philosophy that our clients pay for only what they need; therefore, those who need an engineer seal in order to obtain a building permit pay separately for the seal.  As a result, we do not add the costs for engineer seals into our Building Plan or Building Kit pricing.


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