Newbie



  • Aloha,
    I’m stoked to learn about this movement. Can anyone here give me some examples about cost of building the shell of a family aircrete dome home (about 700 sq ft.) Including hiring a crew for the build. I want to do 5 connecting domes and a separate guest dome. I’ve never bought or built a home so other than learning that the one in thailand cost about 9k, I don’t know how much I’ll need to save. We are going to buy land on the big island. So excited to hopefully get started in a few years or so. Thank you!!!



  • @kimo Orchidland is a great spot, nice choice. Great advice! As long as I’m grandfathered in to those rules, I’d be ok with suddenly being told I can’t live in those structures as long as I didn’t have to tear the investment down. Thanks again! Appreciate it🤗


  • Major Contributor

    We are in upper orchidland, lower puna is just too far for the daily commute for us as I could be anywhere on the island for work. Closer to the saddle the better during the week..

    As per permitting, it can be scary thinking all it would take is one person to call the building dept and your screwed.. if your set on a dome get in a neighborhood with like minded people, let your potential neighbors know what you are doing and see how they feel. Try to get on a 1+ acre lot zoned ag, you are allowed to build playhouses and storage buildings under 600 sq ft without plumbing and electrical how ever you wish.. just can’t “live” in them. 1 acre and less your limited to 120 square feet.. these rules are subject to interpretation and change constantly lol



  • @kimo
    I really appreciate you taking the time to break all that down. It gives me a more realistic idea of what to expect. Also good to hear from your perspective about the permitting as that was a concern. I don’t think I could get a dome permitted so I’ll have to buy land somewhere with very lax rules. I know people have all kinds of crazy setups s in Seaview but like you said, maybe they are cracking down too.However, if I’m going to invest all that money, I want to be sure I never get in trouble with the county and have to tear down my home🤔

    Anyway, First step land, hopefully in Kalapana, then I can start taking steps to build something. After learning of these dome homes, I don’t know if I can bring myself to use wood as a frame for my home😬 ill go to a more remote area if I have to. Which subdivision are you in? Sounds like you bought at a good time compared to your neighbors!


  • Major Contributor

    @Emilee Facebook, actually haven’t been on there since 2016 or so! I can share the break down to an extent w you though... Our 2 acre lot was $29k, however the lot next to us just sold for $71k! This was totally undeveloped..

    We paid $4k to get a driveway put in, pad for house and catchment (including delivered aggregate).

    Catchment tank was $8k (4K gal poly) septic was $8500 and the only thing we did not completely diy.

    A 2kw solar setup was $5500, this is enough to run the basics plus a clothes washer on sunny days, barely enough to keep the fridge going this time of year..

    The rest went to the cheapest appliances and building and a very simple 400 square foot post and beam screen house, basically a pole barn with half walls all around. I have a total tally somewhere, still boggles my mind that it could cost that much but building materials are nuts expensive! I believe the cheapest roofing I could get came out to $3k! Plywood sub flooring is $90 a sheet, one 2x4x8 is $8...

    I have since built a a 8’ radius (208sq ft) and I have the cost estimated at $980 for just the dome and archways. This didn’t include any finishing, skylight, screening, doors or windows..

    Sounds like your estimate of 5k for 1000sq ft is pretty close if all goes well.. Please remember getting anything that is not a pre engineered kit home permitted in Hawaii is nearly impossible without a ton of time, a friend in the building dept, and an act of god lol. Building may be done by a home owner, but electrical and plumbing are required to be done by a contractor, only exceptions are if you are a hawaii licensed journeyman in that trade and doing your own (my case for both). At 1000sq ft there is no grey area about going unpermitted, and contrary to rumors many neighborhoods are fed up with illegal dwellings and reporting such activity.. there are pockets that are still friendly to this, mostly in lava zone 1 areas



  • @kimo Thanks for your input! So you are 100k in including the cost of your 2 acres, wow. I’m anticipating big bucks on things outside the shell for sure and would be so interested to hear more about your experience. I guess I’m hoping to get the dome up with windows and doors for under 30k. I’m going to apply for a workshop for sure. In an interview I read, Mr Gibran said the material for the shell only (about 1000sq ft) would cost $5,000... Would like to hear your thoughts there. Although I may need to hire folks to get the structure built since my partner has a full time job on mainland where we live and we have a little one. If you do Facebook, please friend me, I’d love to see your progress. Emilee Rutledge Picture of me and bearded man :)


  • Major Contributor

    @Emilee
    I have about $100k into 400sq ft and 2 acres (I’m lava zone 3 puna side of big island).. and it’s a screen house... between solar or grid hookup, water catchment and a form of solid waste disposal you will certainly have 15k spent even if your EXTREMELY thrifty.. Not trying to nay say.. just warning 30k won’t go far as you think.. Best of luck :) I would really like to see you succeed and show us all how it can be done better :)



  • @signalfire Thanks for that reply! Encouraging to hear I'd have lots of interest for the build. I did live in Hawaii for about a year and lava is a concern but I love it there so much. I'd like to buy land in Kalapana. Hoping to get a home up for under 30k. I'll definitely look more in to youtube. Mahalo!



  • Emilie, there's a LOT of videos now on YT including several workshop videos. Costs for supplies are mentioned and you can extrapolate a lot. They show you how to do it yourself, without having to hire a crew, just 'friends'. I think once word got out, you'd have volunteers galore who wanted to learn how it's done. Review the videos, then go on line and price everything out. They are the cheapest of building supplies. If you're not familiar with the Big Island, be careful. The cheap land is near the volcano, whole developments have been covered with lava, and the coqui's (tiny, incredibly loud frogs) are everywhere in the rain forest. In some ways, it's uninhabitable which is why land is cheap. Then there's the 200 inches of rain every year...