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 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.

  • Layout of your property: North, south, east and west directions
  • Side, Front and Back Setbacks
  • Road names, road rights of way, easements, and utilities
  • 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 dome size, location and orientation for your dome.

Q: Have any of your clients ever been denied a building permit?

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, as of 2014 Ai has since learned that the Ai dome kit can be built in San Bernardino, Riverside and San Diego Counties. If planning on building in California, Ai will be happy to contact your building department. Ai will discuss Ai's building kit, and email generic plans. We will speak with them and find out that if you submit California Engineer Sealed Plans, California engineer sealed snow, seismic, wind & bracing calculations, a passing Title 24 Energy Report along with all other required paperwork can a building permit be issued.

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

A: Ai suggests 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?"

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

A: To obtain a Florida Building permit you will need engineer sealed building plans, Florida Energy Report (these items can be purchased through Ai); site map, electrical/plumbing/HVAC diagrams, window/exterior door product approval numbers, shutters or impact glass and other paperwork.  Please call your Building Department to obtain a complete list.  Please call Ai for current seal and energy report 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.

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. 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.

Q: Are there any counties in the United States that will not allow your dome to be built?

A: Yes, Dade, Broward, West Palm Beach, Orange and Seminole Counties in Florida may require product approval or "Site Specific Approval" 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 or can require "Site Specific Approval".

Q: Tell me what the engineer does in reviewing my plans.

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 stamps 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 involved, there may be an additional 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.

Q: Have you shipped domes into UBC building code areas?

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.

Q: What are the contents of your Building Plans?

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:

  • A foundation plan for a concrete slab on grade with dimensions and angles
  • Foundation detail plan
  • The floor plans with interior wall dimensions
  • Electrical fixture identification 
  • A full section plan
  • Elevation Views
  • A framing plan
  • Wood joists/edge beam dimensions
  • Construction Details
  • Cupola plans if requested
  • Link plans if requested

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. Your local electrician, plumber and HVAC subcontractor want to design their own diagrams.

Q: Do your Building Plans include the electrical, plumbing and HVAC layouts?

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.

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

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.

Q: If I wanted to modify your stock plans or give you a custom sketch, how do I do that?

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 the 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.

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 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.

Q: What is the cost to design metal framing in the Building Plans?

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.

Q: If I would like more than the two sets of Building Plans, what is the additional cost?

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.

Q: Your stock Building Plans come with a concrete slab if I wanted to change that to a raised wood floor or a basement or columns/platform is that possible and what is the cost?

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.


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