How to pay for a loft conversion

Inspiring interiors for a loft bedroom

Converting a loft is still one of the most popular forms of home improvement in London. Currently, the average cost of a loft conversion is about £35,000 to £40,000. Of course, this is a ballpark figure and how much it will cost depends on your house, what exactly you are having done and the types of materials you choose to use.

Adding a loft can add value to your property. According to Nationwide, adding a loft can add up to 22% to the value of your house. While adding a loft conversion may not just be about money, more space and convenience is important too, it will cost money to build. So, how do you finance a loft conversion on your home?

How paying for a Simply Loft conversion works?

Before we get into detail on what you can do to fund a loft conversation, let’s talk about how we do things here at Simply Loft.

We work on a fixed fee basis that is priced against a clear and agreed specification; therefore, we do not charge for hidden extras. You will only have to pay extra if you add a variation later that is additional to what was in the agreed specification. If you do choose to add a variation, we will cost and spec the work and give you a quote – which you are under no obligation to accept.

Once a specification and fixed fee have been agreed, the project is then split up into six staged payments. When each stage is completed satisfactorily, the payment for that stage is required. We would never ask you to pay the whole cost up front.

Re-mortgaging your house for a loft conversion

We have found that many clients opt to remortgage their home to release some funds for these types of improvements. For this you need to have equity in your home of at least the amount that you wish to borrow, plus a deposit. Amongst other things, this will mean that you’ll increase your borrowing and release some of the equity in your home, usually by extending the mortgage term or with increased monthly payments, or sometimes a combination of both. There are many other factors which can have an impact on your ability to remortgage, including your current credit rating and other financial circumstances, so it’s worth seeking expert advice before you go down this route.

Before you try to change your mortgage, be sure to check if there are any fees for early repayment of your balance from your existing provider. It’s also worth noting that remortgaging can sometimes be a more expensive way to borrow, as you are usually borrowing over a longer period of time.

Savings

If you have savings that can cover all or part of the cost it might be worth dipping into them as it can be one of the cheapest ways to pay for a loft conversion – as you will not be hit by interest charges as you would if you borrowed money. Guardian and personal finance journalist Donna Ferguson recommends using a rewards or cashback credit card for purchases and then pay off the balance in full out from your savings. You can also use a 0% on purchases credit card. Using a credit card will mean that you get consumer protection on purchases over £100.

Personal Loan

If your credit history is in good standing, another option could be taking out a personal, unsecured loan. While in some circumstances this can be a cheaper way of borrowing than remortgaging, you have to be able to afford the monthly payments on top of your mortgage and other financial commitments. Do be aware that those enticing low APR offers advertised are only really available to those with squeaky clean (A1) credit ratings, as they only have to be given to 51% of successful applicants. Other approved applicants can be offered much higher interest rates, which may mean there could be other, cheaper ways to borrow.

Simply Loft work on a clear fixed fee system so you always know what you are paying. If you want a hassle free loft conversion contact us today for a free site survey.

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2017 London Loft Conversion inspiration

If your New Year’s resolution is to expand your home with a loft conversion, then you have come to the right place. We have picked our top four loft conversions to help inspire you to improve, not move, in 2017.

Rotherhithe, London: Large rear dormer loft conversion and internal refurbishment


This sixth-floor apartment, near the Thames, in Rotherhithe, South East London, underwent a large rear dormer loft conversion and an extensive internal refurbishment. The project included the creation of two bedrooms, a beautiful roof terrace, ensuite bathroom, a second bathroom, new kitchen, hallway, stairs and living room. The owner of this stunning property has utilised clean lines and a simple colour palette to create a modern, calming living space.

Hackney London: Side and rear dormer loft conversion


This family home in Hackney, East London, has been transformed with a side and rear dormer loft conversion. This project saw the creation of one large master bedroom with a spacious ensuite bathroom. For this family, storage was paramount; shelves where built-in above the bed and doors were put up in the eaves to create storage for this busy family. The luxurious ensuite has a folding door, separate shower and bath. To keep the room light and airy, a skylight was installed into the nook.

Battersea, London: Rear and L-shaped mansard loft conversion


With a growing family to consider, our client located in Battersea, South West London, decided on a rear and L-shaped mansard loft conversion in their mid-terraced Victorian house. The loft conversion maximised the family’s living space and comprised of a new bedroom, bathroom and playroom for the children. Two skylights were installed in the playroom; flooding the space with light, whilst also keeping the family’s privacy. We also added two doors into the eaves for storage. The spacious bathroom features a bath shower combo.

Mortlake, London: Window Dormer Loft Conversion


Mortlake is a conservation area near Richmond, in South West London. The owners of this terraced house opted to have a two-window dormer loft conversion. This created a bedroom, ensuite shower room, dressing room and nook under the roofline, for the bed. The room spans the length of the house and has a window at one end and a skylight at the other. The owners of this home have maximised the space in the bedroom by using light calming colours and added a touch of elegance with period furniture.

If you are thinking of expanding your home in 2017, contact us today for a free site survey.

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Roof Terraces – London Loft Conversions

Private outside space in London is a rare and popular commodity. Many of the luxury developments popping up around the city are opting to build roof terraces that offer buyers great views as well as sought after privacy. However, you don’t need to be a millionaire to be able to have your own roof terrace; it could be possible, if your property allows it, to create your own as part of a loft conversion.

A roof terrace offers an all year round living space that can include an outside eating area, a garden and even a place to put a hot tub. Some of London’s more luxurious roof terraces even have a swimming pool or real life flamingos like The Kensington Roof Gardens, which also include a number of water features. So, when it comes to a roof terrace, the sky is the limit! Sorry for the pun.

While your budget may not stretch to swimming pools and flamingos, it might be possible to have your very own slice of roof terrace heaven in your London home. We have picked out two case studies to show you what can be achieved with a bit of clever design.

Biddulph Mansions, Maida Vale

 

london roof terraces

This loft conversion in west London proves you don’t need a house to have a loft conversion and a roof terrace. The brief for this apartment in a seven storey mansion block was to create two loft conversions, with a roof terrace connecting the two.

london roof terraces

Twin apex skylight doors with custom made steps gives the owners access to a beautiful decked roof terrace that offers views over the local area. This 12-week build also gave the property two additional bedrooms, a bathroom and a small study area.

Princes Riverside Road

 

london roof terraces

Located in Rotherhithe in Southwark, this loft conversion completely transformed a 6th storey apartment. The 14-week project also created two bedrooms, an ensuite bathroom and a second bathroom, as well as the roof terrace.

london roof terraces

Created in an outside space just off the bedroom, this roof terrace provides a private area for the owners to relax. The use of bi-folding doors brings the outside in and lets light flood the room. The reinforced glass light well embedded in the floor of the terrace also lets light penetrate into the kitchen below. The hallway, staircase, living room and kitchen were also extensively refurbished during this build.

london roof terraces

At Simply Loft, we offer a free initial site survey that can help us determine whether a roof terrace is possible. If the planned changes are possible from a structural point of view, you may have to apply for planning permission, especially if the roof terrace will overlook a neighbour’s property. If it does not overlook anyone’s house or garden then you may not need planning permission to carry out the works. Every borough has its own specific rules and we are equipped to help you through the entire planning process. If you would like a London Loft Conversion with a roof terrace then contact us today.

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Small Bathroom Inspiration for Loft Conversions

small bathroom inspiration for loft conversions

Adding an en-suite or an extra bathroom can, according to Movewithus, add up to 6 per cent to your property’s value. Bathrooms have become a desirable commodity and are becoming places of sanctuary and wellbeing; not just places to wash. Jiin Kim-Inoue, from Finchatton, a luxury interior design company based in London, told the Telegraph, “The bathroom is one of the most considered rooms. It equals the kitchen in its aspirations and is now a wellness sanctuary in which to de-stress and relax.”

Bathrooms are also reportedly getting bigger in size; however, you don’t need a vast five-star spa for your bathroom to be a ‘wellness sanctuary.’ We have some top tips on how to make the most of a small, cosy bathroom.

bathroom underfloor heating

Bathroom underfloor heating

Underfloor heating is one of the most efficient and effective forms of heating and it can help you maximise space in a small bathroom, as you don’t need to lose any wall space for radiators. It also feels lovely on your feet on those cold winter days.

Making the most of the awkward spaces

Lofts spaces are not always conventional, but you can make the most of those architecturally interesting areas if you choose to install a bathroom in a conversion. Nooks can be used to house a shower or install an inset bath. If the nook in the bathroom is too small for a shower or bath, it can often be used as storage space or for the loo.

bath shower combo

Bath shower combo

One way of saving space is with a bath shower combo. While a shower can usually be fitted above most baths, there are also baths that are specially designed to give ample space while showering. These are usually called P or L-shaped baths. P-shaped baths are rounded at the shower end with a curved shower screen. L-shaped baths work in a similar way but the shower end of the tub is square in shape, rather than curved.

Shower room

If you are not bothered about having a bath or have one in another part of the house, you can opt for the shower-only option. This may mean you can choose a larger walk in shower and, with the money you would have spent on the bath, you could maybe even go for a luxurious shower with multiple jets!

shower room

Wet rooms

According to Housetohome.com a wet room is essentially a shower room that does away with the shower screen and tray and has an open, fully tiled shower area. When creating a wet room in a loft conversion you need to think about water drainage and waterproofing. This kind of bathroom is ideal for small en-suites or cosy loft bathroom as you don’t have to worry too much about fitting around awkward spaces.

wet rooms

For more bathroom ideas click here.

Loft conversions are a great way to get more space out of your home. If you live in London and are thinking of undertaking a loft conversion, contact Simply Loft for a free site survey.

 

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How to have an eco-friendly loft?

eco friendly loft

From lowering our plastic consumption to becoming more energy efficient, it is becoming ever more important to have a light environmental impact. So if you’re thinking of embarking on a loft conversion and want to be mindful of its impact on the planet, read our guide on how to have an environmentally friendly loft.

What are the benefits of an eco-friendly Loft?

There are a number of benefits for having an eco-friendly loft, which goes beyond helping the environment. It can:

  • Help reduce your household energy bills
  • In some cases Improve your health
  • Reduce waste
  • Improve comfort within the home

Recycled and environmentally friendly materials

When undertaking a loft conversion, the use of sustainable or low environment impact products will not only make your loft eco-friendly but could also help your bank balance too.

Using timber for walls where possible is more environmentally sustainable than brick or concrete. Not only is wood a breathable material, which will help maintain comfortable air quality, it also acts as excellent insulation. Brick and concrete construction can lead to a loft conversion becoming humid and uncomfortable; also, these materials can be more expensive than wood. When choosing what type of timber you use, make sure it’s certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). This is an international certification, so whether you are sourcing your wood from the UK, Canada or Scandinavia, you can rest assured that if you see the FSC logo it has come from a sustainable source.

When it comes to the roof, the best option is to re-use the tiles you already have. If this is not possible, then consider using eco-friendly materials such as recycled shingles that are made out of rubber and wood fibre.

Humans have been using insulation made of organic substances since we first started to build permanent dwellings. Organic insulation is effective and can be made out a mix of numerous materials such as sheep’s wool, recycled newspaper, hemp or cork; straw bales can also be used. Most of this material has the added advantage of being non-toxic, a non-irritant and it can also be fire and rodent resistant.

Will having an eco-friendly loft bring my energy bills down?

If you use the right materials, you can usually reduce your energy bills. The cost of consuming energy is only going to go up, so anything that reduces your energy usage, now and into the future, is a worthwhile investment. The best way to reduce wasteful energy is by using highly effective insulation, triple glazing and intelligent ventilation. This helps to keep heat in while keeping air circulating.  Another simple way to keep your energy costs low is with energy-efficient lighting such as low-energy LED bulbs.

Being environmentally friendly does not have to end once the build is finished. When it comes to decorating, you can opt to use non-toxic or eco paints made with natural materials. If you are papering your walls then you can choose between wallpaper that is recycled, FSC approved or made out of natural materials such as vegetable fibre. If you wish to keep your furniture eco-friendly, you can opt for second-hand or up-cycled products.

Solar powered Velux windows

If you are installing Velux windows as part of your loft conversion, you can opt for passive house options that are controlled by solar power. Velux became the first to manufacture roof windows that are certified for Passive House building in cold climates. These windows consist of triple outer glazing and an additional inner double-glazing. They also feature solar powered shutters, which can be controlled by a touch-screen control pad.

If you want to expand your living space and undertake a loft conversion in London, contact Simply Loft for a free site survey.

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Keeping your loft conversion cool

cool loft conversions

During spells of warm weather, loft conversions can get hot and stuffy, and this summer has seen the mercury rise into the early 30s, especially in the South East. If you are thinking of getting a loft conversion in London, then you’ll need to bear in mind how to keep it cool through the summer months.

Ventilate your London Loft Conversion

It may seem obvious, but having windows helps to keep a room cool and well ventilated. Velux Windows or skylights are the most common and effective ways to let heat escape. It is also possible to have Smart Velux Windows, which will open and close automatically if the temperature gets too hot or if it begins to rain. Another way to pull in cool air is to have a vent on the facing wall.

Insulate your London Loft Conversion

While you may think insulation is all about keeping a building warm, it can also help to keep it cool as it deflects heat away and prevents heat build-up, especially if radiant barriers are used.   All of our Simply Loft conversions are insulated to building regulation standards.

Shield from direct sunlight

Ever wondered why hot countries have window shutters? They are there to help to keep the room cool. Blocking direct sunlight with blinds, shutters or curtains stops a room heating up too much. If you have skylights, you can buy specially made blinds or awnings that will block out heat but still let in light.

Roof tiles for a London loft conversion

Using light coloured roof tiles such as terracotta, instead of browns or greys can help to keep buildings cool, which is why you see them in hot countries such as Spain.  However, this may not be an option for many houses in the capital, due to planning restrictions.  Also many parts of London are in conservation areas meaning you may only be able to use one type of material.

Air conditioning

One option for keeping your attic conversion cool is air conditioning. This is not the cheapest option and needs specialist insulation, but if you want to keep your carbon footprint down, you can install solar powered air conditioning units.

Want more space in your home? We at Simply Loft can help. As a London based loft conversion company, who have project managed and successfully completed hundreds of attic conversions in and around Greater London, we are expertly placed to bring your London loft conversion dreams to life. Contact us today for a free site survey.

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Brexit and Home Improvement

London has seen a boom in home improvement in the least few years. While basements have been dominating the headlines, loft conversions have been a popular way for Londoners to increase the size of their homes without having to move. However, with the UK voting in favour of Brexit, what does this mean for the home improvement industry in London?

It’s still early days and though much has happened since the result was announced on 24th June, what will happen in the long term is anyone’s guess. However, a short term picture is beginning to emerge.

The number of home changing hands is expected to slump this summer. A survey by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) found that new buyer inquired declined ‘significantly’ during the month of July. However, demand was already beginning to fall even before the Brexit vote due to higher levels of Stamp Duty and stricter mortgage criteria.

This could mean that the trend to improve not move could gain further momentum. As moving will look even less appealing.

However all of the uncertainty means homeowners may delay plans to improve.  Rob Wood from London based loft conversion, extension and basement specialist Simply Construction Group says “to date the impact of Brexit on our business has been minimal.  We’ve had quite a few clients delay decisions by a couple of weeks since the referendum result but are now deciding to move forward as there doesn’t appear to be any short-term financial risk.”

As the nation comes to terms with the result of the EU referendum, which saw 52% vote for Brexit, and a new government in place, people are starting to get their confidence back despite the backdrop of uncertainty.

“We don’t know what will happen in the long term. That all depends on the deal we get and how the market reacts to it,” said Wood.

By investing in a loft conversion, you can create the space you need without having to deal with the stresses of moving. If you want to improve not move contact us on 0800 917 7571 or click here to fill out a Free site survey form.

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Space saving ideas for your loft conversion

One of the main motivations for undertaking a loft conversion is to have more space. Many Londoners, especially those with families, feel like they have outgrown their house, but the capital’s property market makes it difficult and expensive to move. If you do take the plunge and convert the loft, you want to be sure you are making the most of the space you will gain. As loft conversion specialists, we have compiled our top tips for space saving ideas for your London loft conversion.

Fitted furniture

Fitted furniture for loft conversions

Fill in those awkward spaces with fitted furniture. Fitted wardrobes like the one above can be utilised to keep your clothes, shoes and accessories organised – many fitted wardrobes are now equipped with clever storage solutions making it easier to keep track of all your stuff.

Storage ideas for loft conversions

With such difficult spaces, you may need to have some custom made furniture. In this loft conversion, the owner had the ingenious idea of setting a chest of draws into the eaves of the loft conversion roof, which maximises floor space.

Window seats

If you have space under a dormer window and don’t know what to do with it, you could build a window seat. A built-in window seat gives a bedroom a cosy touch and creates a natural lounging area that is ripe to be used as a reading nook or chill out space.

Custom fitted bathroom suites

Custom made bathroom suites are a great way to utilise the space you have regardless of how big or small your bathroom is. If you have an awkward space, you could use a nook to put in a shower.

Custom fitted bathroom suites for loft conversions

Putting a bath under a sloping ceiling can be an efficient way to use what otherwise would be dead space. The picture below shows what can be done when you use small spaces efficiently, the added skylight floods the area with natural light.

Custom fitted bathroom suites for loft conversions

Another way to save space if you have little square footage for a bathroom is to have a wet room like this.

Custom fitted bathroom suites for loft conversions

Built in shelving

Built in shelving for loft conversions

Loft spaces are far from conventional – many have unusual shapes with plenty of nooks and crannies. Using these awkward spaces for built-in shelves can be both a design statement as well as a storage area. In the image above, the owners of this loft conversion have installed cupboards as well as shelves and used the space for children’s books and family pictures. It is possible to make such shelves yourself if you have the necessary DIY skills or you can either employ a carpenter or ask our Simply Loft team to add this into your quotation from one of our in house joiners.

Built in shelving for loft conversions

Installing shelving into small recesses can offer much-needed storage. The loft above have taken advantage of a small recess above a bed that offers somewhere to put books, keepsakes and family pictures.

If you want to create a space saving loft conversion, don’t hesitate to contact us for a no obligation site survey. Either call us on 0800 917 7571 or contact us here.

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Interior inspiration for a loft bedroom

Your bedroom is the one room in the house that should completely reflect your taste and personal style. This room should be a sanctuary that allows you to rest, rejuvenate and introspect. For many, it’s the room you spend the most time in and having a bedroom you love can help with your well-being and sleep quality.

Make your bedroom into a retreat 

loft-bedroom-blog2

The fast pace of modern life can leave you yearning for somewhere to withdraw to – a quiet retreat where you can recharge and just have some good old-fashioned me time.

One of the most cost-effective ways to help make your room into a retreat is to declutter. Clutter and mess can cause stress; if you are having a loft conversion it’s a good excuse to have a thorough clean out.

Once you’ve decluttered your room, put the thing you’ve decided to keep in closed storage – like a cupboard, wardrobe, box or dresser. Loft bedrooms usually have nooks or crannies that can be used to create built-in storage or that space can be used for a chest of draws or decorative box.

Another simple thing you can do is make your bed in the morning. A made bed can be a calming sight especially after a stressful day and it’s also one less thing to do when you get home. When it comes to bedding, choose covers that you love and a material that gives off a luxury feeling. You don’t have to spend hundreds of pounds on expensive bedding to achieve this.

Have a reading nook or a relaxing area

loft-bedroom-blog3

If you have an unused corner in your bedroom or an awkward space, why not transform it into a reading nook or a relaxation area. Having a separate space from your bed for reading and relaxing can help give you better quality sleep.

To create a reading nook, firstly find a comfortable chair or bean bag. Make sure there is plenty of cushions and a blanket – the space needs to be cosy and warm. Ideally have light coming in from the window for day time reading and a lamp that emits a soft glow for after-dark.

Similar to a reading nook, you need to find some space in your room that you can use to relax in. If you have somewhere you can look out of a window and enjoy a good view even better. First, find a comfortable chair, day bed or use lots of large scatter cushions or beanbags. The idea is to have somewhere you can lie down that’s away from your bed. Again use a lamp that has a soft light, have a warm cosy blanket and use a soothing colour scheme. You could also choose to place a small side table nearby for resting drinks and snacks on.

Storage

Loft bedrooms usually have an unconventional layout and because of this space can be wasted. However, with a little imagination, you can transform those awkward nooks and crannies into productive storage spaces.

If your bedroom is in the eaves then you can use the low ceiling space as cupboards.

loft-bedroom-blog4

If the space you have is awkward, you can commission bespoke wardrobes and cupboards to make the most room available.

loft-bedroom-blog5

If you have a narrow nook in your room, try tucking furniture into this space.

loft-bedroom-blog6

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Improve not move: why London is in a Loft conversion frenzy

Loft Conversion Reading Nooks

London is currently in the grip of a home improvement frenzy and loft conversions are leading the trend.

In 2015, London Boroughs saw a 13 per cent surge in planning applications for major home improvements. This upsurge in applications matches the drop in the number of homes changing hands in the capital over the same period.

In some boroughs planning applications for loft conversions, side return and rear extensions or basements has gone up almost 40 per cent. The largest rise comes from Haringey in North London, with a 38 per cent leap in 2015. Following close behind is the Royal borough of Greenwich with a rise of 34.4 per cent. However, growth is not across the board. Kensington and Chelsea have seen a 12.6 per cent decline in applications. This is thought to be due to less demand by wealthy foreign buyers needing the extra space, as they only live there part time, or not wishing to deal with the inconvenience a major renovation will occur.

These figures are only the tip of the iceberg. Not all loft conversions or extensions need planning permission, it depends on how much you are adding to the house and where your home is located. For example, if you’re in a conservation area then planning permission will be needed.

Cost of moving

So why are so many Londoners improving and not moving? There are a variety of reasons with one of them being the cost of moving. The average price tag of a London property is now £530,368 (Land Registry House Price Index, February 2016), and the barrier at which the 4 per cent stamp duty kicks in is £500,000. This means a typical family house will generate a stamp duty bill of at least £20,000 and that does not include estate agents and solicitor’s fees.

Michael Holmes, editor-in-chief of Homebuilding and Renovating magazine, told the Evening Standard that “The cost of moving to the next tier up now often pays for an extension.”

“Rather than spend all that dead money, people are thinking they will create the best possible home for themselves and won’t have to go through all the upheaval of moving, such as taking the kids out of school.”

Another reason for Londoners not moving is that the rungs of the property ladder have been getting further apart. Many London families find they cannot afford to buy a bigger house in their preferred area and must look further afield. Some families are opting to stay put and improve their house rather than have longer commutes.

Improve not move

Improve not move has become a trend and this is reflected in the type of property shows which are now airing on television. Architect and TV presenter George Clarke, has recently hosted a show on Channel 4 called Ugly House to Lovely House, where home owners transform their ‘ugly houses’ into beautiful homes with architectural merit. Many of these renovations that feature on the show also include Loft Conversions.

Property duo, Phil and Kirsty, have also turned their attention to refurbishment for their 2015 show Love it or List it. Each episode takes a couple through the options of moving or renovation.

Loft Conversion in London

According to a survey done by the London Homebuilding & Renovating and Home Improvement Show in 2014, a loft conversion was the most popular form of home improvement. Normally you don’t need planning permission for loft conversions, unless you live in a conservation area or a flat. Planning requirements do change from borough to borough, so it’s best to check before you embark on any work. If you have hired a loft conversion company they will help you to navigate the planning process.

Many families opt for a loft conversion so they can accommodate a growing family. They can also create light, drama and value to your house and adding a loft conversion can add up to 20 per cent on the value of your home.

Loft conversions are not a one size fits all job, there are many different type of conversions that fit different houses and the individual needs of a family. Simply Loft can help you decide what is the right loft conversion for you and your family, and can take you through every step including the planning process, design and build.

For more information about a Simply Loft conversion in London contact us on 0800 917 7571 or email us at info@simplyloft.co.uk

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