Thursday, September 8, 2011

Meeting with Monolithic Domes

Wednesday afternoon we meet with the designers at Monolithic Domes to discuss where the process is now, what we need to do to advance the process and what kind of a time line we might expect in a best case scenario. They were very helpful and explained where we are now. Below is a checklist that esplains what all needs to be done before starting the actual construction of a monolithic dome:
  • Land Acquisition – If you don’t have land, the easiest way to find it is through a real estate agency, land broker, developer, or lending institution operating in the area you wish to live.
  • Feasibility Study – It’s a detailed report including a floor plan with elevations, notes and basic cost estimates. We go back and forth until our design and your desires match.
  • Constructions Drawings – These are the drawings necessary for contractors to construct the Monolithic Dome and required subsystems (plumbing, electrical, etc.) as required by the local building authority.
  • Obtain Financing – Set an early budget. Once you have completed pre-approval and are approved for a loan, begin searching for the best interest rate.
  • Building permits, special fees and licenses, insurance – In some areas, these are easy to get and construction requires no or few inspections. In other areas, construction can require specific inspections and approval, soil conditions verified, lab tests arranged, Stamped Engineering, etc.
  • Property Corners – Should be marked and building location staked.
  • Roads – An all-weather road needs to handle heavy, concrete trucks, especially to pump location.
  • Sanitary Facilities – There needs to be a sanitary facility onsite for workers.
  • Site Preparation – It needs to be completed, including leveling and/or pad build-up. Fill, if needed, should be brought in and packed. Generally, the best form of fill is granular fill (sand or gravel).
  • Adequate Drainage – It should be provided and able to handle a major storm.
  • Special Embeds – These should be on site with locations designated, if needed.
  • Water Provided – Water is needed to clean tools and mix concrete. If it is not available at the site, you must arrange for it to be hauled in by truck or tank fitted with a pump.
  • Power – Construction power per Proposal must be onsite and turned on.
  • Refuse Disposal – Refuse disposal arrangements should be made.
  • Additional Grading – After the dome is finished, additional grading may be needed for driveways and/or landscaping.
We have the land already and the Feasibility Study has been completed. We should authorize the Construction Drawings near the start of next week. There were a few tweaks we saw during the meeting so we have one more cycle to give final approval of the concept. It should take about a month to complete the drawings. So if we start on them by mid September we should have them completed by mid October. A little bit later since we have set up a meeting with the city engineer to discuss the project and getting things like an address and utilities to the site on October 12th. I'd like to have the drawings in hand by my birthday on October 25.

Once we have completed the drawings the Monolithic Dome Institute will begin the process of fabricating the Airform (the big balloon that inflates). They estimate 6 weeks to complete the airform. During this 6 week period there will be site work being done on the land to get the foundation poured and all the utilities in place. That means that we would hope for a St. Nick's Day present on have the Airform onsite and ready to inflate and create the dome by Dec. 6th.

The process of creating the dome will take a few weeks, so if we are lucky we will have a completed dome in place for Christmas Day!

While the drawings are being made we are looking for general contractors here in College Station to do the interior construction and secure the various permits and such for us. We talked to one today and will be talking to a few others in the next week.

This will definitely be a grand adventure. Hopefully I can post pictures of the proposed dome next week once we get the final design from the company.

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