You are here: - Domes from American Ingenuity, Inc.

Buying Land Print E-mail



American Ingenuity tries to look out after each perspective client to assure they do not get 'blind sided" or shocked about some issue that could stop them from building their dream dome.  Prior to purchasing land, Ai highly recommends:

  1. Call the government agency over the different pieces of land you are considering buying and ask whether you will be taxed by both the city and the county or is it just one taxing authority.  If there is only one taxing authority who is it?  Each piece of land could be governed by a different entity.  You want to know what your property tax rate will be per each sq.ft. of your house, etc.  Obtain an example of their property tax bill to see what is on it.   Comparing property tax rates from one city to another city or one county to another county may save you a lot of money on your annual property tax bills.
  2. As far as Engineer Sealed Building Plans and Energy Report: It is Ai's philosophy that each customer pay for only what they need. Ai does not burden the price of the building kit with plan's pricing, engineer seal cost or energy report cost. Building plans are purchased 1-1 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.  All new construction in Florida and California requires a PE Engineer licensed for that state to seal the building plans and a passing Energy Report. (the engineer seals and the Florida Energy Report can be purchased thru Ai with the California Title 24 energy report being purchased from a CA company.)  
  • As far as Florida Counties: If you purchase land in the Ocala, Florida area, several Ai domes have been built the building department knows about the Ai dome.  However if you are considering land in any other area, at no charge to you, Ai will contact the building department that governs your property, show the building official our web site, sample building plans in pdf format and ask them if a building permit can be issued if Florida PE Engineer sealed plans, passing energy report, sealed engineering statement and all their required paperwork is submitted. Even though the Ai dome went through Hurricane Andrew and a tornado at the same time and had no structural damage, some Florida counties (Dade, Broward, West Palm, Orange) require the dome kit to have Florida Product Approval.   As a result the Ai dome kit cannot be built in these counties unless the home owner meets with the building officials and asks for an exception by explaining the following:
  • Explain about the Ai dome going thru Hurricane Andrew and a tornado at the same time with no structural damage.
  • Because the Ai dome can currently be built in all Florida Counties (including Marathon in the Florida Keys except for Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, Orange) by the submittal of Florida Engineer sealed plans and Florida engineer sealed statement, explain you do not understand why their county cannot accept this engineering instead of product approval to issue a residential building permit? Florida Code specifically states that alternative materials and methods can be used for home construction. The sealed statement says:  The panel composition of the geodesic dome buildings are certified by a licensed Florida PE Engineer as “being designed in accordance with and conforms to the intent of the 2010 Florida Building Code, Building that allows alternative materials and methods for construction.  Georgia-Pacific’s DensArmor Plus High Performance Interior 1/2” Gypsum Wallboard is used as the interior face of the panels which meets the thermal barrier requirements of R316.4 as shown by third party testing.”   This engineer sealed statement will be made out to that specific county and building official’s name.
  •  As far as California Counties: in 2014 the counties of San Diego, San Bernardino and Riverside have given preliminary approval that the Ai dome can be built if CA licensed PE engineer plans, passing Title 24 Energy Report, CA licensed engineering statement, CA licensed engineer sealed engineering calcs and bracing calcs are submitted along with their other required paperwork and reports.  If you are considering building in any other California county, give us your property address and at no charge to you, Ai will contact the building department that governs your property, show the building official our web site, sample building plans in pdf format and ask them if a building permit can be issued if Florida PE Engineer sealed plans, passing energy report, sealed engineering statement and all their required paperwork is submitted.

 Call the building department that will be issuing the building permit and get a list of what is required to obtain a building permit

  1. Site plan?  Survey?
    1. Impact fees: If building in Florida, because there is no state income tax, government agencies get revenue by assessing impact fees.  They figure new construction, brings more cars on the road, greater need for fire trucks, schools, etc.  so they assess impact fees based on the square footage of the house.  What are the impact fees on that piece of property?  Due to the recession, some cities and counties are waiving some or all of the impact fees, if the fees are waived when will they be going back into effect?   What date do you have to receive your Certificate of Occupancy (CO) before impact fees will be assessed?
      1. If you purchase land with a mobile home that will get moved or older building that will be torn down, are you still assessed impact fees to build your new home or are you exempt?
    2. Any Building permit application fees?  Once you get a permit, how long is the permit good for, can you get extensions on your building permit?
    3. What are the set back requirements?
    4. If building in Florida, what is the wind borne speed for that area? If you are in 110 mph zone then you do not need impact resistant glass in your windows or shutters...if you are in 120 mph or greater wind zone, impact resistant glass and or shutters are required.
    5. Ask if there is a minimum house square footage requirement.  Plus ask if a garage is required.  If so is there a minimum sq.ft. garage requirement?
  2. Find out who knows about the endangered plant and animal listing for that city and county?  Find out if any endangered species are on your perspective properties?
  3. Are there any running streams on the property? If so, what are the setbacks as to how close you can build to the stream?
  4. Find out who has the flood plan maps, and make sure your property is high and dry.  Are there any wet lands on your property?
  5. Does any fill have to be brought before you can put in your foundation, if so what height will the fill need to be? (foundations usually have to be built so many inches above the crown of the nearest street)
  6. What type soil? Clay soil is the most difficult to build on as it absorbs water and expands.  Generally in the foundation area the clay soil may need to be removed and replaced with a mixture of gravel and soil. Your building department will know what you need to do if you have clay soil. If you are building on a basement and you  have clay soil and your building department requires engineer sealed plans, the engineer may require you to hire a Soils Engineer to obtain a Geotechnical Study before the engineer can design and seal your basement wall plans.
  7. Can you get electric to your property or does a neighbor have to sign an easement so you can get electric?
  8. If you do not have city sewer, will your soil perk for the septic tank drain field?
  9. If you do not have city water, what does it cost to drill a well?
  10. If you have to put in a driveway, how long will the driveway be and how much fill and rock has to be brought in to make it drivable?
  11. If you are considering building a smaller dome first and renting out the smaller dome after you add on a larger dome, please assure the land you purchase will allow a rental unit on your property.

 LAND AND ARCHITECTURAL RESTRICTIONS: Over the last seventy plus years, it has become common for developers to buy up large tracks of land, plat it out and resell the individual lots to perspective homeowners. By doing so they have created subdivisions.These subdivisions may or may not be governed by additional entities of a Homeowners Associations/ Property Owners Associations or Planned Unit Developments. All of these entities may have restrictions on size, style and materials for homes to be built within the subdivision.

Before you buy your land, view the MLS listing. MLS listing will show if the property is within a subdivision, HOA, POA or PUD. If there is, ask to review the governing documents to see what restrictions may be in place.Documents for the above are registered in the state located. If the agent or landowner is unable to provide you with the document, contact the Clerk of Courts for the county where the property is located. They will have on file documents that pertain to the subdivision.  These documents are generally free to review; there may be a small fee to get a copy.

  1. SUBDIVISONS: You may find a property that although not governed by a homeowners association, property-owners association or Planned Unit Development (P.U.D.) may still be within a Subdivision. Subdivisions are land that has been plotted by a developer, and have legal documents that have been submitted to the state. These documents cover RESTRICTIONS AND COVENANTS pertaining to the subdivision and contain information on what can or cannot be built upon the property (type of structure, rooflines, materials etc.).  It also may contain the minimum/maximum size home that you can erect on the property. Review the document and look for above restrictions, also look to see if you will need to contact the developer or agent to get approval for your home. Keep in mind that if the subdivision is older this may not be possible.  If so, and there is no restriction on the style of home or materials to be used listed within the document (other than size), as long as you receive an okay from the building department there should be no issue with building one of our dome kits..
  2. PLANNED UNIT DEVELOPMENT (PUD), is a type of building development and also a regulatory process. It may cover multiple Subdivisions . Meaning that there are covenants and bylaws regarding what can and cannot be built regarding size, style and materials. As a building development, it is a designed grouping of both varied and compatible land uses, such as housing, recreation, commercial centers, and industrial parks, all within one contained development or subdivision. Generally, there are building restrictions within a PUD although not as stringent as a HOA. As an example may require that all structures on property have the same style of architecture, so if a structure is Colonial in style any additional structures must also be in Colonial style.   Documents will state if you need approval to build, if so get any approval in writing.
  3. HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION In the United States, a homeowner association (or homeowners association) (HOA) is a corporation formed by a real estate developer for the purpose of marketing, managing, and selling of homes and lots in a residential subdivision. HOA’s are governed by elected board members. Generally, there are building restrictions within a HOA, and HOA’s are usually the most restrictive. Within a HOA will be limitations on size, style and finishing materials. These restrictions may exceed the restrictions listed within the subdivision documents and PUD documents. Documents will state if you need approval to build. If granted approval, get it in writing so subsequent boards cannot reverse the approval.
  4. PROPERTY OWNER ASSOCIATION: POA members may be residential homeowners, but they might also be property managers or business owners who contribute to the real estate industry. POAs do not necessarily have regulations the way HOAs do. Instead, their purpose is to support the local real estate industry and provide members with networking and education opportunities. Separate from a PUD or HOA, generally is not part of a subdivision, PUD or HOA. Not part of building process in terms of what can be built.

Click on the following to learn about foundations:



Main Menu