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foundations for american ingenuity's

geodesic dome building kits

American Ingenuity domes can be built utilizing the same foundation choices as conventional housing. The standard foundation that comes with A.I.'s building plans is a concrete slab. If you would like any of the different foundation types listed below, contact us and we will quote you a price.

The foundation types that A.I. designs are:

  1. A monolithic concrete slab.  Click on Slab to learn more.
  2. Poured footing with a stem wall and then a poured slab on fill
  3. Poured footing with a stem wall and then a raised wood floor
  4. Basement   Click on Basements to learn more.
  5. Plings and a platform or columns and a platform.  Click on Pilings to learn more.

The type of foundation you build depends on which one is more advantageous for your area and what your building department requires.

If you have any question about your soil’s suitability, you would need to consult with someone locally possibly your building department or soil’s engineer. Our dome's foundation does not require anything more than 2000 lbs. per sq.ft. soil bearing capacity. Basically if you can build a regular house on your soil, you can certainly build a dome.

American Ingenuity's stock building plan pricing is for three sets of Building Plans that 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. If your building department requires plumbing, electrical and HVAC diagrams, call or email for a quote. Call us at 321-639-8777 Monday through Friday 9 to 5 eastern time.  Click on Plans to learn more. 

The following are some of our most asked foundation items:

  • A.I. can replace a concrete slab foundation with a raised wood floor and design the first floor joist. The cost depends on the complexity from $70-$100 for the residence dome. The garage dome would need a concrete slab.
  • The Foundation Building Plan sheet asks that you check with your building department as to how deep the footers should be for your climate.
  • All foundations are designed and laid out so a rebar comes up three feet into each of the riser wall seams. The riser seams are filled with concrete as the dome kit is assembled. Once the riser wall seams (horizontal and vertical) are filled with concrete the dome is secure to the slab. The riser wall aligns flush with the edge of the slab. When you fill in the riser panel's bottom seam area you fill the area along the side of the riser and the edge of the foundation. If your dome is built on a basement or pilings or columns, a rebar is designed to come up into each riser wall seam from the basement walls, pilings or columns.
  • You can prepare the foundation and later erect the dome.
  • The main thing unusual about our dome's foundation is its shape. It is made up of as many as 15 flat sides. The number of flat sides is reduced by the first floor entryways and dormers.
  • A.I.'s dome is lighter than most other buildings, it has less loading on the foundation footers.
  • Basement Plans are also available.
  • The multiple sided foundation of the A.I. dome is only slightly more difficult than a conventional house and should not affect the cost more than 10% at most 20%. If the home owner would mark the corners of the foundation itself, this removes that responsibility and fear from the contractor. You will find then find the foundation subcontractor will give you a better price. The tolerance on the foundation is very forgiving. You can be off 1-2" in any dimension without any significant consequences.
  • A.I. cannot provide Building Plans for wood foundations, connections to existing buildings or unusual designs that are beyond our knowledge.
  • How is the concrete slab insulated? As far as insulating the slab, it is the customer's choice. It is listed on the building plans as an option. If the earth is cold then using 2" thick EPS would be beneficial. Insulate the exterior of the slab by placing 3/4" EPS insulation on the inside of the forms using finishing nails. Insulation thicker than ¾” should be placed against the outside of the slab/foundation after the forms are removed. Use finishing nails to secure the EPS insulation to the form boards. This will allow the EPS to remain in place against the slab without being damaged when you remove the form boards.

I think I need to build

my foundation off the ground

First of all, how high off the ground does the first floor have to be? If you do not know this answer, you will need to call your building department and ask them.

If your dome has to be eight feet to ten feet off the ground:

  • Due to a wave of water not rising water, then the dome will need to be built on concrete columns and a concrete or wood platform. If you want enclosed rooms or a garage under the platform, then you can install break-a-way walls.
  • Due to rising water, then build the dome on an above ground basement or build concrete block columns under the corners of the platform.

If your dome has to be raised two to three feet, the best thing may be to bring in fill and construct the concrete slab onto the fill.

If your dome has to be raised two to three feet, build a stem wall:

  • Bring in fill dirt to fill within the stem wall and pour a concrete slab onto the fill and build a stem wall. (most economical and energy efficient)
  • install a wood floor that sets on piers and beams. You would have a crawl space. (This is more expensive.)

At the bottom of this page is a complete list of our frequently asked foundation questions and their answers.


American Ingenuity has stock basement plans available or we can design custom or modified basement plans for a reasonable cost. Fax (321-639-8778) or email your sketch to us and we will call you back with questions and give you a price quote. We can provide plans for most types of basement wall systems utilizing concrete or block including insulated concrete forms or precast basement wall panels.

Since we are a manufacturer of dome housing kits, we do not manufacture or build basement walls. You would need to contact a local subcontractor that does that kind of work.

The below ground basement can have the slab poured first with the exterior basement walls built on top of the slab or the footings can be poured separate with the exterior basement wall built on top of the footings and then the slab poured inside the basement wall. 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.

American Ingenuity has basement plans available that explain how the dome is attached to the basement, etc. for example rebars need to come out of the basement walls to connect into the seams between the dome's riser panels.

When the dome is built on a basement:

  • The first floor framing of the dome is typically built with wood 2x10’s which are supported by the concrete basement walls.
  • You can use wood, steel or manufactured trusses for the floor joists.
  • The EPS insulation of the riser panels rests on the wood floor. Concrete is placed along the top of the basement wall and extends up to join with the concrete of the riser panels.
  • At the corners of the basement wall, a column of concrete is formed that will extend up to the reinforced seams between the riser panels.
  • Rebars are anchored in the basement concrete wall corners and are positioned to extend up through this concrete column into the riser wall vertical seams.
  • When the concrete is in place the entire load of the dome bears on the concrete and not on the wood framing.


Have you checked with your local building department to see what they require your house be built on?

If you live near the ocean or water, the building department may require concrete pilings which are usually driven 10' to 15' down into the ground versus concrete columns that only go down about 3' into the ground.

When there is a potential for waves of water washing dirt out from under your house, the local building department usually requires pilings. If your property is within a few hundred feet of the ocean or gulf then it is the federal government that decides what foundation type your house will have.

If you have neighbors that are currently building, ask them what foundations they are utilizing.

Whether you use concrete pilings or concrete columns, American Ingenuity can design a wood platform for under the dome and a deck made out of plastic wood or pressure treated wood. Or we can design for a concrete platform.

Remember your building department will require the piling and platform plans and the dome plans to be engineer sealed. These seals can be purchased through American Ingenuity.


Slabs poured for Dome and Screen Dome Dome House on Slab Same Dome With Screen Dome



Pilings with oval Concrete Platform

for 40' Dome Home and 34' Screen Dome

40' A.I. Dome Home with Cupola Built in Mid 80's

Cupola's look different now...they are not so tall and have overhangs or eaves that extend out from the top panels.
Also these raised seams collect water. The seams should be

flat, rounded or accentuated seams; not raised.

Pilings with oval Concrete Platform

for 40' Dome Home and 34' Screen Dome


8" thick solid concrete
basement walls for 34' Dome

First Floor wood joists
set on top basement walls

34' Dome Home
on Poured Concrete basement wall

Back view of same dome. This side of the basement is bermed and has a French Drain installed Front view of same dome with basement entrance. Dome has cantilevered deck.

Interior View looking down into basement from the
second floor of the 45' Dome

Exterior View of the same 45' dome with basement

34' Dome Home on Basement


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