Shipping Information: American Ingenuity Dome Building Kits
Are Shipped Via Semi-Truck

Click on the photo to enlarge it:

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Four men loading truck with 45′ kit. Factory domes in background.    48′ Dome Panels strapped down ready for shipment.

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The above photo illustrates 45′ Dome kit being strapped down prior to shipment to dome owner’s property.

All Panels Are Marked With Numbers and Letters to Match The Building Plan Nomenclature Blueprint

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Semi-Truck Being Unloaded At Dome Owner’s Site 

Can be unloaded with all terrain fork lift or man lift following Ai’s Truck Unloading Instructions

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Another View of 45′ Dome Kit Being Unloaded From Semi-Truck

Q: As far as shipping costs: Why did a California dome kit buyer pay $6,450 for one truck’s shipping cost,  an Australian dome kit buyer pay over $18,000 to have container shipped for his 34’ kit and a Washington dome kit buyer pay $9,000 for one truck’s shipping cost?

A: Simply put, it is because the Buyer could not build a home or buy any house that has the energy efficiency, strength and noncombustible concrete exterior that the American Ingenuity dome home has. The Ai dome is more energy efficient than a conventional house, because of its thick insulation (comparable to 11″ of fiberglass batting), the reduced exterior surface area and because the exterior walls contain no wood to interrupt the insulation. The dome is stronger than a box shaped house (225 mph wind and F4 tornado) due to its aerodynamic shape, steel reinforced concrete exterior and triangle panel shape. Plus there is no roof to replace every 11-12 years. The exterior of the dome is fire resistant concrete.  To view Ai dome advantages summary, click on Summary.

Q: I understand the Dome Building Kits are shipped on semi-trucks. What is the shipping cost in Florida and outside of Florida?
Ai’s manufacturing costs here in Florida are well below the national average, which offsets any long distance shipping expenses. We can actually manufacture a kit here in Florida and ship it to the western states and northern states cheaper than we could manufacture there.  For example due to higher labor costs, if we manufactured out west or up north  we would need to increase the kit pricing 40%. So this means a 34′ kit whose approx. sale price is $26,000 would sell for $36,400 an increase of $10,400.

Having our manufacturing plant located in Florida is advantageous for shipping since more is shipped in than out of the state, leaving many trucks headed out empty.

Ai utilizes these independent trucking agencies. We contract to have these trucks carry your building kits outside Florida for approximately $2.70 to $2.90 per mile per semi-truck from our plant in Rockledge, Florida. Shipping within Florida is a minimum of $800. If your Florida building site is south of our factory, the truckers charge more because they have to drive south before they can drive north to leave Florida.  These trucking costs are less than we could do with our own trucks because if we used our own trucks, they would have to deliver the kit and return to Ai’s factory empty.

Per mile shipping costs and minimum shipping costs can vary due to fuel costs, fuel surcharges and travel distances.

If you are an International Client, your freight forwarder coordinates your container shipping. Click on Exporting to learn more. There is an extra fee of $800 per container because Ai has to rent a telescopic forklift boom to load each container.

Even though we have arranged the shipping, the truck carrying your kit does not belong to American Ingenuity, and the driver does not work for us. The driver is an independent driver, contracted for the delivery. Ai has found these drivers to be considerate, understanding and fair people. They are accustomed to transporting valuable merchandise and delivering it in the best possible condition.

Q: How many building kits with your standard R28 insulation fit on one semi truck?
Five 15’s or two 18’s or one 30′, or one 34′, or one 36′, or one 40′, or one 45′ or one 48′ can fit on one semi-truck for delivery. Two 22’s can fit on one truck.  One 22′ & one 27′ can fit on one truck.  If you max out the number of entryways, purchase a link and the thicker insulation, your 45′ or 48′ building kit will require two trucks for delivery.

The 15′ & 18′ kits can be purchased with thinner 3 1/2″ R14 EPS insulation NOT R28 7″ EPS insulation and no 1/2″ dyrwall.  If so the thinner insulation allows for up to ten 15′ dome kits to fit on one truck and up to four 18′ dome kits on one truck.

The 15’ kit and 18’ kit  can be picked up by the buyer if the following size truck, trailer and straps are used.  (each with one entryway, 7” EPS & one set of 2×4’s for temporary wooden rib system)

15′ kit: 

1/2 ton truck minimum (Ai recommends 3/4 ton truck )
13 ea.  2″ x 30′  straps Working Load Limit 3000 lbs.
Trailer specifications
7′ wide 20′ long minimum
tandem axle 3000 lbs. each axle
axles with brakes
bed height of 48″ max

18′ kit: 

1/2 ton truck minimum  (Ai recommends 3/4 ton truck )
13 ea.  2″ x 30′  straps Working Load Limit 3000 lbs.
Trailer specifications
7′ wide 22′ long trailer minimum
tandem axle 3000 lbs. each axle
axles with brakes
bed height of 36″ max

For information on dome kits shipping to international areas in containers or flat racks, click on importing.

Q: Is there insurance to cover the load in case of a problem?
Yes. Each shipping company has cargo insurance.

Q: How do I communicate with the driver and his dispatcher?

A: Ai gives you the name and phone number of the driver.

Q: How does the truck driver get directions to my construction site?

A: You fax or email directions to us describing how to get to your site from the nearest major interstates. Ai gives those directions along with your phone numbers to the driver.

Q: How is the shipping cost paid?

A: The trucking companies require that American Ingenuity pay them directly.  One to 3 months prior to your shipment date, Ai will contact the trucking companies for quotes and negotiate the lowest price possible.  21 days prior to the shipment date, mail a bank check to Ai which includes the balance due on your dome kit and the shipping cost.

 Q: How large will this truck be and how big a turn around area will it need?

A: The semi-truck will be about 70′ long and 8 1/2 feet wide. Consider where the semi can turn around. Semis need a large turning radius. The truck will need about 13 ½’ of clearance overhead.  Ai’s Plant uses a 35′ wide loading area (varies depending on type of forklift and terrain).  When one tiny home kit is shipped, the truck length may be shorter.

Plan sufficient room on both sides of the trailer for the forklift to approach it at a 90 degree angle, lift the load, back straight out until the lifted load completely clears the load on the trailer, then back and turn 90 degrees before proceeding toward the stacking area.

Q: What if my road is curvy or too steep and the semi- truck cannot go up the road?

A: You might have to off load the truck and stack the panels in an open area and use the fork lift or bob cat to take the panels up the curvy, steep road. Some of our clients have carried the panels up their narrow roads on a trailer or in the back of a pick up. If you will be obstructing traffic, have someone available with a flag to caution and direct approaching traffic. Coordinating with law enforcement may be needed in high traffic locations.

If you will be off loading onto a common area and not unloading at your construction site, the truck driver may have to stay longer than the normal three hour unloading time. If so the truck driver will need to be compensated $50 an hour for any time over the three hour unloading time. Let our shipping department know if you need additional time and they will work the additional cost out with the trucking company’s dispatcher.

Q: What damage can occur to the building kit during shipment?

A: The panels may have a small amount of damage from loading or transport. The straps that secure the panels to the truck may make indentations in the E.P.S. edges, which can easily be filled with expanding foam. Even it the panel gets cracked it will not have any structural significance. The crack can either be sealed after the dome is completed or in extreme cases, a layer of stucco applied. Any damage to the EPS can be repaired with the expanding foam provided with your kit. In general, a panel would have to fall off the truck for any appreciable damage to occur.

Q: What is the approximate shipping weight of the Building Kit?

A: 27’-13,000 LBS, 30’-15,000 LBS, 34’ 17,000 LBS, 40’-20,000 LBS, 45’- 22,000 LBS, 48’= 24,000 LBS. The building kits are not really heavy loads. Due to the 7″ thick Expanded Bead Polystyrene insulation, the load is a bulky one.

Even though American Ingenuity has arranged shipping and loaded the truck, the truck carrying your building kit does not belong to Ai and the driver does not work for us.


Forklift Requirement:

1. All-terrain type unless the entire operation will be on a paved surface.

2. 2,000 to 3,000 pound lift capacity.

3. 48″ long forks are required to unload the 48’ and 45’ kit.

The longer and wider forks will minimize indentations of the panels.

4. Experienced person to drive the forklift .

5. Two additional able-bodied people are needed to assist and to lift non-concreted panels and items from truck.

Try to avoid renting huge, high capacity fork lifts because they are heavy, bulky, and hard to maneuver in limited space.

If the forklift is unable to lift an entire stack of panels it will have to first reach and remove the top half which is apx. 8 ft. above ground level.

48” long and 12” wide strips of ¾” plywood connected to the tops of the forks will also minimize indentations on the panels.

An experienced forklift driver will save you potential damage and unloading time. See Time To Unload below.

Assistance is needed to place the foam blocks on the ground under each stack, remove components that have to be lifted by hand, guide the driver whose view is obstructed by the stack of panels, etc.

The truck driver is not required to direct or unload the ruck.


1. Long before the kit is due to arrive, select the best place to park the semi truck and select a place to store the kit.

2. Make sure there is plenty of room on both sides of the Semi-Truck for the forklift to maneuver.

3. Overhead clearance of 13 ft.


1. Choose a site close to the dome foundation.

2. Need an area approx. the size of 3 semi truck beds (8 ½ x 50’) to accommodate the panels in partial stacks.

The Semi Truck is 8 ½’ wide & 70’ long requiring a large turning radius.Plan for the truck to have room to turn around or back up to the primary road. If not paved, the surface must be fairly level and compacted, so the truck and forklift will not get stuck.Our plant uses a 35’ wide loading area (varies depending on type of forklift and terrain).

If necessary you could have the truck park as close as possible to the construction site and use the forklift to later carry the stacks of panels the rest of the way to the site.

If you will be obstructing traffic have someone available with a flag to caution and direct approaching traffic. Coordinating with law enforcement may be needed in high traffic locations.


· 3 Hours unloading is included in your truck charge.

· Time over 3 hours will result in an additional $50 per hour.

Loading the truck takes longer. Ai must precisely load the panels to fit in a limited area. Additional time is required to arrange the panels in each stack to line up with the tie down straps and withstand the forces when they are tightened.


The concreted panels are grouped together on the truck according to type.

The triangular panels must be supported on the corners while they are being shipped therefore they are setting on foam block spacers and not pallets.

Stacks of smaller, lightweight panels may be secured for shipping with either wire or C-rings.

Cut these panels loose from each other using a diagonal wire cutter, before removing them from the truck.

E & F (Entryway)-panels my lay directly on the truck bed without spacers. With a helper, manually slide a set of 2 E panels aside toward the forks of the forklift, pick them up carefully at the edge and place a foam spacer under them. Now you are able to place the forks under the panel, lift and transport them.

Pentagon Panels labeled “P”, Hexagon Panels “H”, Riser Panels “R” and Entryway Panels “E, F, G”.

See Panel Identification in the Assembly manual.


All panels are shipped with the pre-finished concrete side up.



Fast and efficient, an entire stack of panels is removed at once. Three people can unload the truck within 3 hours. One drives the fork lift, 2 people, acting as eyes, guide the fork lift driver, who’s view is obstructed by the load.

Unload panels alternately from both sides of the trailer, to keep the load on the truck balanced.

Other methods are less desirable as upper panels are 10-12 feet above the ground, weight 290lbs each.

To avoid breaking off the E.P.S. corners, do not lift heavy panels by their corners, rather lift the panels by holding the EPS at least 12” back from the corners

  • Place the first unloaded stack onto two, 2’ long pieces of 4×4. After the first stack has been unloaded you will be able to place the remaining stacks on the foam spacers which are approx. 3 ½”.
  • Look for spacers of 3½” EPS insulation provided at bottom and middle of H & P stack to accommodate the blades of the forklift. Save them to be used later in the construction process for filling in gaps, or for small repairs.
  • Place the foam spacers on the ground and put the panels on top.


Your kit and components have been checked for quality and quantity three times by experienced employees before the truck left the plant.

Only in extremely rare cases has a part actually been missing.

It would be very time consuming to inventory all the items as the truck is being unloaded. Although you could check off many of the large, boxes, buckets, etc.

Obtain the Building Kit Inventory list from the truck driver.

Within a week of receiving your kit, complete a thorough inventory and assure that you have received all the items on the inventory sheet.

Kit items are listed in categories: Pre-finished Panels, EPS, Insulation Panels, Boxes (numbered consecutively), 5 gallon Buckets, and Bulk Items.

Please check and double check quantities if you think there is a discrepancy.



If the wallboard has absorbed water and exposed to freezing temperatures while it is still damp the fiberglass on the interior surface may delaminate. In extreme cases the core of the board may disintegrate.

If these conditions occur the board can be repaired with joint compound or wallboard sealer. Contact us for assistance.

Some of the liquids will be damaged if they are allowed to freeze. Even the liquids that are not damaged may burst their container, therefore we recommend storing them inside.

Internal wallboard on dome panels is weather resistant. It can be stored outside for a limited period of time (apx. 2- 3 months) without significant damage.

In severe weather and for longer storage, we recommend covering the panels with tarps.

Water or freezing conditions does not affect EPS foam. But can affect the wallboard.

EPS Surfaces that are not covered or painted will very slowly erode if exposed to sunlight (ultraviolet light). The edges of the panels that have exposed EPS are painted at Ai Factory.  If your kit is going to be stored more than 3 months, additional paint will need to be applied on site to protect the EPS.

Items shipped in cardboard boxes, precut 2×4’s and items likely to be stolen should be stored inside.

Typical damage may include: 

  • Concrete corners cracked or EPS edges indented due to the straps.
  • Cracks in some of the thinner concrete, scratch coat, are non-structural and can be sealed later.
  • Damage to the EPS during shipping or construction can be easily repaired with expanding foam provided with your kit.
  • Ai has not had a panel fall off a truck although panels have dropped 10 ft. or more during construction and have been successfully repaired and used.
  • Panels will have some insignificant damage from loading, transporting and unloading.