Why we chose Oregon Domes, Inc.
We did a month or so of research ahead of time when we thought about Domes. First we had to decide on either a dome or a log cabin, but the log cabin kits we could afford did not have the wonderful prow or skylights we wanted. Domes could be equipped with skylights and have a large cathedral-style ceiling in the living room with a lower cost, not to mention 500-1000 square feet extra because of the structure of the dome itself.
So from whom to buy this decidedly niche-Civil Engineering Firm 1 & 1/2et-bound shelter? Many websites, many books in Borders. Finally, we narrowed it down to three companies and put up some change for plans books (about $12/per usually).
1. Natural Spaces Domes
2. Timberline Geodesics
3. Oregon Domes, Inc.
Natural Spaces sounded great! They have an informative website and a downloadable PDF catalogue, which was quite detailed. Their plan book seemed pretty good, but there were no real plans on which we were set. They were all pretty "extension" crazy. They use a hub and strut system if I'm not mistaken.
Timberline Geodesics looked rustic and homey. Again their site was quite informative. Their plan book was ok, but like NS, we weren't set on a plan. Too many extensions. Timberline also uses a hub & strut system, though it may be different from NS's.
Oregon Dome, Inc's site is a bit sparse. Sections are somewhat repetitive. OD uses a panelized system consisting of triangles that form hexagons and then join. When I called them up to chat, the people were friendly, engaging, and...I trusted them.
This changed everything. I went back and made a point to call both of the other companies. I tried to get the representatives to be as engaging, but I couldn't.
So now we're working with Oregon Dome, Inc. to build our Dome. Once we finalize on a plan and do all the preliminary work including putting in the foundation and basement, they will send a crew out to erect the dome. The cost of the plans is put towards the purchase of a kit. The crew is free. They do it in one weekend. Nice.