How to Secure a Building Permit for Your DIY Aircrete Dome Home

75 Ways to Use Aircrete: 

The Magical Building


Planning to construct a DIY Aircrete Dome Home but feeling overwhelmed by building codes and permits? We've got you covered! In this blog post, we layout the process so you can get started on the right path.

Understanding Building Codes and Aircrete Structures

Securing a building permit when utilizing alternative building materials like Aircrete can pose significant challenges. Primarily, these materials are not yet addressed or recognized in local or national building codes, leaving permit-granting authorities in unfamiliar territory. 

It can be a complex process to demonstrate the safety, durability, and compliance of these materials, as they are not traditional and well-known like wood, steel, or concrete. Furthermore, structural engineers and architects may hesitate to sign off on plans using alternative materials due to a lack of familiarity or proven track record.

Domegaia's Contribution to Simplifying the Process

Fortunately, Domegaia has done much of the leg work needed to streamline the permit-pulling process. We have even partnered with an engineering firm that can approve the Domegaia Dome Designs and building methods. In this article, we will cover the important topics and research you must consider to help you along the way.

Is a Building Permit Necessary for an Aircrete Dome?

Whether you already own land or are looking for land, this is one of the most important questions to ask. In the USA and worldwide, there are still many places where you can build using alternative building materials and not require a permit. Lucky for you if you are located in one of these free zones, for the rest of us, this article has important information on navigating your local rules, codes, and building permit requirements

Essential Steps: Researching Building Permit Requirements

Before you do anything, the best place to start is with some research on your own and compile information that will help you decide your best strategy to proceed.

Building Department Categories

Every building department is different, but there are two main categories they will fall into.

1. You only need designs stamped by a certified structural engineer

2. There are other requirements.

The Magic Question to Ask Your Local Building Department

Your first step to figuring out what category your building department is in is to contact them and ask the following golden question: 

"I want to build a home using Aircrete, an alternative building material. If I provide you with professionally designed plans stamped by a structural engineer, will you give me a building permit?”

At this point, it’s important to listen, don’t provide too much information, and rather listen to what they have to say.

Interpreting Their Response

If they say a simple “yes”, then you can clarify that the only requirement for a building permit is a structural engineer approval. If you can, get this in writing and have them clarify any other rules or requirements.

If the answer is no, don’t give up. You have a few options. You may want to call back another day and talk with a different person. You may find one building department employee more sympathetic to alternative building materials than others.

Additional Factors to Consider

There are a few other research items that are worth looking into simultaneously, so you have a holistic picture of the hoops you will need to jump through.

Inspection Process

How will they want to conduct inspections? In many cases, you can document with photos and videos your process so they can ensure you are building per your design.


Each county has different types of property zoning and different zoning rules. Zoning can determine how you can use the land and dictate things like the number of buildings you can have, minimum square footage of a building, max size a building can be before needing a permit (in many countries, small buildings do not require permits), rules about accessory dwelling units, and much more.

Water and Septic Considerations (if needed)

Almost all counties in the USA require permits for wells and septics, and there are rules about how close they can be to each other and property lines. You want to make sure you have a place for both. You will likely need soil tests and a site plan to get these permits.

Other Potential Requirements

You will want to find out if there are any other requirements.

Effective Communication with Your Building Department

Tips for a Productive Relationship

1. Consider them your friend. They are there to ensure the health and safety of the residents in their district. 

2. Education is key. They likely won’t understand what you want to do, so educating and providing them with high-quality materials will be very helpful.

3. Don’t take no for an answer. Be persistent if you have to, this can go a long way.

The Vital Role of Engineering

Most building departments will want the stamp and approval of a structural engineer on the design that you want to build. This stamp says that the engineering firm is assuming the liability of the structure and ensuring that it is safe.

Domegaia's Engineering Efforts

At Domegaia, we have spent much time getting our Aircrere building system refined to the point that we can now get engineer approval. This is a big step forward for the aircrete building movement because it will open the door to many more projects, and hopefully, you can take advantage of this if you need a permit for your own building project.

Considerations for Evaluating Non-standard Building Designs

Engineers factor in two main considerations when they evaluate a non-standard building design.

1. Does it have the structural integrity to withstand various extreme elements? The three main factors are Wind, Snowload, and seismic activity.

2. What is most likely to be approved by a building department? Based on their experience of working with many building departments, they will do their best to have the final design include things that the building department will want to see. Often these are things that don’t increase the cost or complexity of the building but make it easier for your building department to understand and approve.

Starting the Design Process

To get started, you can work with your own custom design or use pre-engineered designs from Domegaia. The engineering will be more expensive with your own custom designs, and you may need to employ an architect.

Advantages of Using Domegaia's Standard Designs

Because Domegaia has refined the building system and is creating standardized designs, this reduces your design and engineering expense.

Checking Compatibility with Your Seismic Zone

To see if our standard designs will work for you, the main thing you will need to check is what seismic zone your property is in. You can use this website to enter your address. Select Risk Category II and select the Seismic box. Then click View Results and then Summary. Your Seismic Design Category will be A-D. If you are in A or B, then our standard designs will work. If you are in C-D, we may need to make some modifications to get the Engineer's approval.

Starting the Design Process

If you are interested in learning more, contact us, follow us on social media and join our mailing list to stay up-to-date with our progress on this topic.

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