Exercising the Right BIM Strategy for the Renovation

Exercising the Right BIM Strategy for the Renovation


With the help of BIM, collaborating designers and engineers can in short order make more informed and better coordinated decisions about to what extent a dysfunctional old building should be preserved, remedied or replaced.

Renovations are essentially the art of compromise. New space planning, lifestyles and work practices need to be fitted around existing load bearing structure and styles of a different era with elegance, efficiency and at minimal cost and inconvenience. In this article I will be discussing firstly the architectural issues of renovation and then how BIM facilitates the methods of documenting and dealing with these issues.

Reasons to Renovate

There are several reasons driving a decision to renovate old inadequate or dysfunctional buildings in preference to demolition and new construction. The following list gives the main reasons that come to mind but is by no means exhaustive:

  1. Preserving heritage buildings
  2. Modernising outdated buildings
  3. Upgrades to reduce energy costs
  4. Conserving resources through reuse
  5. Alterations with changed use
  6. Alterations with building extensions
  7. Alternative to new construction for lower building cost

While a renovation usually involves more than one of these motivations, it is important to understand which is the primary driver in order to adopt the right strategy for the renovation.

The preservation of historical or heritage buildings has become a strong priority around the world since the building booms of the 70’s and 80’s obliterated much of the old inner city building stock. This is frequently enforced through town planning conditions on redevelopment projects. It rarely leads to reduced building costs, and usually involves stringent conditions of approval, where very thorough and detailed documentation is required. These often include requirements to replicate the original building methods, fixings, and colour schemes in restoration work. Conversely new additions in many cases have to be distinctly differentiated to avoid confusion as to what is genuinely historic. New extensions also sometimes have to have reversible connections to the old, i.e. which do not mar the original building fabric if the new extension should eventually be removed. Figure 1 shows one such design solution. In this case the added awnings were not allowed to obstruct the view of the building above.

When an old building has no historical significance and no redeeming aesthetic qualities, but has a sound structure, a decision is sometimes made to renovate and modernise its appearance, usually in conjunction with changes to the internal functional planning. The assumption behind this decision is often that this is a cheaper alternative to new construction, but the need for continuous occupation could also be a major factor. Below Figures 1, 2 and 3 show various stages of one such house renovation.


Our increasing awareness of sustainability issues has for many years now been driving a wave of building renovations with the aim of upgrading to reduce energy costs and eliminate adverse health issues. This often involves a strong focus on increased insulation, resolving damp-proofing issues, providing adequate ventilation, replacing and improving building service runs, and replacing components found to be toxic.

Sustainability through recycling is increasingly becoming a strong motivation for renovations in order to limit the dependence on new building materials. However, reuse of building materials, while lowering the cost to the environment, will almost always lead to higher labour costs and need to be carefully evaluated as to the net benefit before going down this path.


The first and greatest challenge when undertaking a renovation is the unknown and hidden condition of the existing building. Over time all buildings deteriorate, and all old buildings can be expected to have deteriorating drainage, plumbing, and electrical service runs that need replacing. A cursory inspection would also easily reveal sagging or cracking structure, either due to inadequate bracing, or foundation movement. Such issues are fairly easy to predict and budget for in the renovation program.

However, a building that at first may appear sound will, once a renovation gets underway, almost inevitably reveal latent problems that are costly to rectify. Such hidden issues are often specific to particular climate zones and building vernaculars.

In Cold and Temperate Climate Zones some of the more common old building problems are:
Poor insulation, draughty windows and doors, incorrectly placed vapour barriers in walls and roofs causing ice build up in wall framing, inadequate ventilation or damp proofing giving rise to mould growth, spalling concrete beams and columns because of rusting reinforcement. Copied from Architectural Evangelist.

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Spot Dimensions Features

Spot Dimensions Features

There’s more to Spot Dimensions than meets the eye.

Within the Spot Dimension tool you can choose between spot elevations and spot coordinates. Spot Elevations will report the elevation of certain objects. Spot Coordinates will report the distance and direction of a point from an origin that you define (see Tools, Shared Coordinates… Specify Coordinates at a point)

While Spot Coordinates will report the coordinates of any model or drafting element it is not really clear in the help files that Spot Elevations will report the elevation of only certain parts of model elements. Here is the list of elevations that Spot Elevations will tag:

  • toposurfaces
  • roof eaves and ridges
  • stair steps and landings
  • window sills and door thresholds
  • tops of footings & beams
  • the sill and head of openings in a wall
  • any point within the area of (non-sloping) floors and ceilings
  • the height of a family’s model objects (provided they are visible in the view)
  • apparently ramps too but I haven’t figured this one yet
  • if you know of any more please add a comment

The visibility of Spot Elevations and Spot Coordinates can be controlled by the visibility of its host object or the visibility of the annotations themselves.

Taging the elevation of a horizontal surface won’t work in wireframe mode. Spot Elevations may be deleted when trying to modify some objects in certain ways.

Two interesting parameters in the properties dialog are Relative Base and Elevation Origin. If you go to the type properties and change the Elevation Origin to Relative you will notice that the Relative Base instance parameter is no longer greyed out. You can now report the elevation of a point relative to any level you’ve created.

One nice thing about all Spot Dimensions is that you can control the units format separately from the project’s units format by going to the type properties dialog so that their units display in decimal feet if you wish. It would be nice if levels had the same ability. Reference Spot Dimensions Features by David.

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Get out of the Silo: Enhance Collaboration and Leverage BIM

Get out of the Silo: Enhance Collaboration and Leverage BIM

What happens when you put five of the most active and in the know Revit users in the Seattle area together in one room? An engaging experience where leaders from multiple disciplines explore how each other’s Revit processes affects the other.

At the March SeaRUG (Seattle Revit User Group) meeting, a cross pollination of experts were brought together from architecture, structural, BIM coordination, construction and an owner, to discuss the use of Revit throughout all disciplines.

Revit design

Here are the various perspectives to keep in mind when using Revit on your next project:

ARCHITECT: How often is production staff removed from the actual discussion and vice versa? The project manager may not have his hands in the model or understand the tool to a point where his decisions are realistic.

CONTRACTOR: Consider level of design (LOD), at what point has the Architect provided adequate detail to establish relationships? When should the contractor or subcontractors take over and provide accurate up to date and product specific model information to finalize the built condition? Or should it be the contractor’s responsibility?

OWNER: Is the end user, or owner, utilizing Revit models? For the most part, the industry consensus is yes, but mostly for its quantitating abilities. The owner likely does not have the resources (or maybe it’s a small owner) to have a dedicated BIM technician.

SUBCONTRACTOR: Are we working efficiently with the tool? Is it saving us money? Are the models being faked, are they a true representation of the product?

BIM: How can BIM better utilized? Where does it fall short? How can we ensure expectations are followed through? It is directly copied from BRPH blog of Revit.

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Revit Furniture Design

Revit Furniture Design

It is no secret that I love Architecture and Design. What I do however love more, is to try and recreate or draw inspiration from: interesting rooms, buildings, and the like I see on this website. A few furniture pieces caught my eye, so I decided to make constructive use of my insomnia. 

These were the results:

Revit Furniture Design Revit Furniture Design Revit Furniture Design Revit Furniture Design Revit Furniture Design Revit Furniture Design

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Our Mission:To offer the best integration of Architecture and Engineering solutions thereby consistently being in focus of what the clients need. Our zeal to excel in the technology inputs and providing consistently credible output shall be the strong points of our services at all times.

Our Vision:To be a forerunner in our field with the drive to provide valuable services to the clients. To be part of the solutions through sustainable engineering and architectural designs that keep in mind the future. To be quality driven in our approach to cater to our clients with emphasis on balancing their needs and the environment.




Parthenon has stood the test of time surviving not just natural but man made devastation as well. A deep study of this wondrous monument would reveal ingenious elements of design attributing to the creative genius of its builders.


Undoubtedly one of the greatest architectural feats of its time is the magnificent structure of Parthenon. Dating back to the 5th century B.C. this fascinating monument stands on a limestone foundation. Initially constructed as a shrine to honor the Greek goddess ‘Athena’ and later serving as a church dedicated to the ‘Virgin Mary’ this structure has stood the test of time surviving not just natural but man made devastation as well.

Its unique architecture is characterized by its splendid and creatively crafted pillars that define the perimeter of the structure. These pillars were ingeniously crafted with a slight bulge at the bottom to provide more durability. Apart from supporting the weight of the roof these pillars also depict the authentic beauty of ancient Greek sculpturing. Also, the floor of the temple forming at the top of the steps was designed in a parabolic fashion to drain the water out during rains. 

parthenon big

Some creative illusions were also incorporated like a subtle bent on the top of the inner columns giving an impression that the columns are getting suppressed by the weight of the roof. 

It is because of these unique features this beautiful historic monument stands out as an engineering marvel of its time. Despite the fact that erosion through natural elements continues to have its effects and heavy bombardment in 1687 nearly collapsed the entire building, Parthenon displays its durable strength by still standing tall. 

large parthenon
The idea of construction of this amazing monument was conceived by ‘Pericles’ a very prominent and a compelling figure in the statesmanship of Athens. He hired ‘Iktinos’ and ‘Kallikrates’ the two most noted architects of their time for the design and construction of the building. The chief sculptor was ‘Pheidias’ who was assigned the task of decoration of the monument. 

A deep study of this wondrous monument would reveal ingenious elements of design attributing to the creative genius of its builders. It is truly a remarkable structure that was way ahead of its time. Even though most of the original structure has been destroyed, yet the remains distinctly foretell the authentic character of its glorious past. Reference architectural evangelist. For know more about it then contact us and click here to see our services.

Uses of BIM Building Modelling for General Contractors

Uses of BIM Building Modelling for General Contractors

Uses of BIM Building Modelling for General Contractors
Uses of BIM Building Modelling for General Contractors

Building information modelling (BIM) is a widely used collaboration process in the construction industry. BIM technologies are becoming unavoidable element in all areas of a construction process like bidding, pre-construction, construction and post construction. Nowadays, owners demand BIM services from everybody engaged in construction industry including architects, general contractors and engineering firms. However, general contractors and construction managers are struggling to get maximum output from BIM. Here the uses and advantages of BIM building modelling for general contractors and construction managers are narrated.

Traditional project delivery approach, traditional use of 2D Computer Aided Drafting (CAD) technology and the size of construction firms causes the fragmented nature of construction industry, which will lead to the lack of labour productivity. Design-Bid-Build, which is the traditional construction project delivery approach, fragments the responsibilities of participants during design and construction stages. That means, this approach restricts the opportunities of general contractor or the construction manager for a collaborative involvement during design phase of the project. Moreover, the common and traditional two dimensional CAD drawings cannot encourage a true collaborative approach.

The Building Information Modeling process includes virtual design and construction of the project. The traditional approach does not facilitate the involvement of general contractor or construction manager in the construction process until the completion of design phase. That is why itself it cannot promote the advantages of BIM. Therefore the better project deliveries to collaborate and to improve the use of BIM are construction management at Risk, Design/Build and Integrated Project deliveries (IPD). So, the general contractors can collaborate through BIM during the design phase and provide maximum input. It also maximizes the ability to influence the cost and schedule.

Use of BIM to General Contractors:


As a result of visualization general contractors get an idea about the final product. They can easily understand how the project will look like at the end.

3D coordination

As BIM helps collaboration of the construction team with engineer, architect and the owner at early stages of design phase, the efforts of general contractors and specialty contractors can be coordinated in advance of construction. It will result in reduced design errors and better understand ahead of time the work to be done.


Reduced field labor cost and time as well as increased accuracy in a good quality construction are the main advantages of prefabrication. Building Information Models include the specifications, finishes, sequences and the 3D visual for each component to provide this level accuracy. So, the contractors can generate details for the product in their fabrication software using the BIM.

Construction planning

The scheduling and sequencing of the model involved in the construction planning coordinate virtual construction in time and space. The schedule of the anticipated construction progress can be integrated to a virtual construction. This is the responsibility of general contractors to plan for coordination, shop drawings, approval, fabrication, transportation and installation. They have to ensure the lead time for the material is accounted. So, they can get enough time to install or assemble. General contractors are able to update this information on their models. They can achieve accurate building practices with the use of BIM technologies.

Cost estimation

Quantity take-off and pricing are the two main elements of cost estimation. An expert cost estimator is required to analyse the components of a material and how they get installed. We can extract the quantities from a Building Information Model to a cost database or an excel file. The quantity extraction from BIM model helps the general contractors to increase the productivity of estimators, especially in the collaborative work approach of construction and design team.

Record Model

At the end of a project the construction managers can provide the owner with a record Building Information Model, which contains the integration of the as-builts from the subcontractors.

To conclude, BIM initiates 3D coordination between sub-contractors and vendors during early design phase. As BIM is able to influence the cost, it can increase its impact on a project.  BIM enables the team to come up with ideas and provide solutions to the problems before they become high cost impacts to the project.

Benefits of BIM to General Contractors:

  • General Contractors can provide construct-ability, sequencing, value and engineering reports
  • Collaborative visualization of expectancy and needs of the project
  • Decreased MEP coordination time
  • Decreased RFIs
  • Avoidance of extra expenditure
  • Saving of time and labor at the site
  • Avoidance of schedule delays during construction
  • Positive final impression to the owner
  • Ability to help owner for maintenance and renovation

Even though six uses of BIM to general contractors are highlighted here, the most useful feature of BIM for general contractors is BIM 4D scheduling. Using BIM based 4D scheduling, the general contractors can understand the construction components and schedule progress clearly, which will enable to better construction planning and to avoid cost overruns. There are different BIM tools in BIM process that are offered to enable this approach. So the general contractors should have an idea about the tools to accomplish his demands in a particular project. Reference bim forum.

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BIM Information – How Sweet It Is

BIM Information – How Sweet It is

BIM services

For some, cake making can seem like a science experiment. Emulsify? Slake? Pour in a spring form pan? Huh?
If this is the case for you, then Building Information Modeling (BIM) might seem like science fiction. But BIM is not some futuristic technology. It is here, and in the hands of building owners, the “I” (information) in BIM is the icing on the cake.

BIM combines 5-D (cost) modeling, technology and software to not only design and construct buildings, but to operate those buildings years beyond the ribbon cutting. Long after the construction crews have gone, the model continues to provide extensive information to owners. In the past, this information was buried in numerous documents, virtually lost…like an old cheesecake recipe in a stack of stuff in the attic. Not anymore.

What BIM means to building owners is the opportunity to have a streamlined and consolidated repository of information accessible at the click of a mouse. Want to replace that light? Consult the model and you will get all the specs, plus warranty and replacement info. Need to make some upgrades? You will know exactly where to find the VAV box in the mechanical system. No need to look through multiple sets of documents. Chad Garcia is posted it in the stories.

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Computer Aided Design: A “Must Have” in Architectural Industry

Computer Aided Design: A “Must Have” in Architectural Industry

Fabrication model


Computer-aided design (CAD) is the use of computer technology for the design of objects, be it real or virtual. It is used to design curves and figures in 2D and 3D spaces. Though widely used in automotive, ship building and aerospace industries, it is extensively used and popular in the field of architectural industry. Today architecture design industry can not go one step without it. Here lies the importance of computer aided design services. Due to its enormous economic advantage, CAD is being considered a driving force in the architecture industry. CAD computer aided design and CAD design and drafting services have possibilities and overcome major challenges in the field of architecture. With the help of CAD design and drafting services, the world has created designs of buildings as beautiful as Sydney’s Opera House and as spectacular as the Buraj Al Dubai in UAE.

Due to the enormity of architectural sector, many categories have sprung out off the main category of CAD services. They are used to help meet almost every aspect of designing, drafting or planning need in an efficient way. CAD design services, CAD drafting services and CAD conversion services cater to the needs of architect designers. Computer aided cad design services provides an opportunity to create multi layered easily editable CAD designs. These designs can be customized whenever there is a need. The major advantage of using CAD design services is the creation of multi layered editable structure which saves much more information on the file than can be saved on the paper format. Besides, paper drawings are bulky, difficult to manage, share and store.

Due to its enormous economic advantage, CAD is being considered a driving force in the architecture industry. PhoenixEOS’s CAD design and drafting service is updated with Building Information modeling tool (Revit) which unifies all the processes of construction and facility operations in a single software environment removing possibilities of design conflicts and ensuring a well-coordinated design model.

PhoenixEOS’s team has ample experience and expertise in handling CAD related projects regarding paper to CAD conversions, CAD drafting and rendering. We have considered many as our partners in the recent past and successfully have completed more than 500 architectural projects spread over residential, commercial, industrial, institutional and other industries. PhoenixEOS’s CAD design and drafting services is updated with Building Information modeling (BIM) tool (Revit software) which unifies all the processes of construction and facility operations in a single software environment. With the help of 3D, it can show the entire building life cycle including the processes of construction and facility operation much before it is executed. PhoenixEOS’s suite of BIM solutions greatly improves productivity and efficiency by streamlining the process of creation, storage and communication of design critical information by way of intelligent 3D models.

PhoenixEOS offers and outsources BIM construction documentations services for your architectural projects. It also assists you to identify design conflicts and ensure a fully coordinated project design model that can reduce change orders and help you save time and money. Our CAD shop drawings are created with the purpose of streamlining the production and review process. To test us on the above just scan and send us your architectural drawings, a sample of your standards and finished set of drawings and email them to us. You are assured of receiving a set of professionally drafted shop drawings. Reference Computer Aided Design: A “Must Have” in Architectural Industry from Bluent.

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BIM design

Cape Dutch Architecture

Cape Dutch Architecture

“Cape Dutch architecture is a traditional Afrikaner architectural style found mostly in the Western Cape of South Africa. The style was prominent in the early days (17th century) of the Cape Colony, and the name derives from the fact that the initial settlers of the Cape were primarily Dutch. The style has roots in mediaeval Netherlands, Germany, France and Indonesia.

Houses in this style have a distinctive and recognisable design, with a prominent feature being the grand, ornately rounded gables, reminiscent of features in townhouses of Amsterdam built in the Dutch style. The houses are also usually H-shaped, with the front section of the house usually being flanked by two wings running perpendicular to it. Furthermore, walls are whitewashed, and the roofs are thatched.

Most Cape Dutch buildings in Cape Town have been lost to new developments – particularly to high-rises in the City Bowl during the 1960s. However, the Cape Dutch tradition can still be seen in many of the farmhouses of the Wine Route, and historical towns such as Stellenbosch, Swellendam, Tulbagh and Graaff-Reinet.

One characteristic feature of South African colonial architecture which has attracted the attention of many observers is the extensive use of gables. Earlier research has repeatedly sought to justify the term `Cape-Dutch’ solely by comparing the decorative form of these gables to those of Amsterdam. However, in the second half of the 18th century, the period in which, the entire development of the South African gable tradition occurs, gable architecture had gradually ceased to be built in Amsterdam. North of Amsterdam, along the river Zaan, however, gable design remained vigorous until the capture of the Cape. South African gables have many features in common with gables along the river Zaan, in spite of the different materials used.” Source Wikipedia

Note: All renderings have been done using Enscape

BIM design BIM design BIM design BIM design BIM design


Vernacular Architecture

Vernacular Architecture

Revit services

Vernacular architecture stems from the belief that architecture is a balanced combination of logical knowledge, divine inspiration and common sense. “Vernacular architecture is the architecture of the people, and by the people, but not for the people.”

“Vernacular architecture,” Paul Oliver defines in his book ‘Dwellings,’ “is the architecture of the people, and by the people, but not for the people.” Vernacular architecture, as the term, refers to the construction methodology that natives employ to build shelters using locally prevalent resources and conditions.

The building knowledge is developed by trial and error and handed down the generations through local traditions. Therefore, it has been contemptuously dismissed as being crude and coarse. But, a new school of architects have developed on it in the last few decades to come up with fascinating, and sometimes awe-evoking, alternate dwellings that are in harmony with the natural landscape and the human spirit.

Estimates suggest that at least 90 per cent of buildings are designed with no help of any professional architects and designers. Local designs evolve in compliance with the economic feasibility, topography and climate. Indigenous materials are employed to create distinctive residences that merge with the surrounding landscape. Even the interior spaces are decorated in a fashion that evokes Nature. With swelling populations, unstable ecology and economic worries hitting hard, numerous architects around the world are increasingly looking towards sustainable solutions. They attempt to blend modern architectural theories to vernacular building cultures and often come up with strikingly surprising innovations. The resultant is humane and ecologically sound buildings.

With growing interest in earth-friendly building construction techniques, architects are relearning various practical aspects of infusing modern technologies with bygone traditions and cultures. They are actively building upon the knowledge of our grandparents to build homes that would secure our children’s futures. The vernacular is the source of many interesting innovations in building. From mud huts to European styled colonial mansions, from bamboo sheds to massive high-rises, modern architects are constructing shelters, where indoor and outdoor living seamlessly combines to awaken the senses and bring the dwellers closer to their natural world.

Vernacular architecture widely varies from the spectacular Mayan Tikal and Machu Picchu temples to humble dwellings like the African tree-houses and the Native American log cabin. The igloos of the Inuit (Greenland), rondavels of South Africa, tin-and-thatch houses of Togo, yurts of Mongolia, and the Bedouin tents are other classic examples of vernacular dwellings. Interestingly, public utility buildings like granaries, fortifications and religious institutions are more frequent vernacular structures than residential homes.

Folk buildings are built according to the local demand-supply forces. If they are nomadic settlements, light-weight building materials like bamboo, palm fronds and leaves are used for easy relocation. More permanent dwellings would be made up of clay, thatch and cow dung, which are relatively sturdy and durable. Sometimes, climate could be the design factor. Houses in river basins, like the Amazon basin in South America or the rainforests in Africa, are built upon tree-tops or on raised platforms supported by bamboo beneath. In windy regions, the roofs are sloped in the ideal direction. Rainy areas have conical or sloping roofs while dry areas have perforations in their walls. Similarly, cold regions have less or no windows; while warm territories would have houses that are relatively open that facilitates ventilation. The ‘scoops’ atop houses in Pakistan’s Sind district are innovatively placed to channel wind from the roof into each building, thereby keeping summer temperatures to tolerable limits.

Vernacular architecture taps the design capacity of ordinary people to build buildings that are not only low-cost but also familiar to the native inhabitants. This is especially important in the Third World where people lack capital. Thus, their housing crisis could be resolved through their participation in the designing of their own community. Additionally, vernacular architecture proves immensely helpful at times of disaster. When the displaced people are given back homes akin to their vernacular traditions, they recover better from the traumatic experiences.

Numerous modern architects have intensively studied vernacular architecture and claim to have drawn a good deal of inspiration from it. They have found innovative ways of incorporating them into human dwellings that are “environmentally clean” and “spiritually healthy.” The New Gourna township near Luxor, designed by Egyptian architect Hassan Fathy in 1946, is the first recorded attempt are planning an entire town for the natives, in accordance with their local vernacular style. Today, there’s a renewed response to information and ecology. Architects are seeking new equations between buildings and the natural habitat.

Renowned architect, Eugene Tsui looks up to Nature as the basis of his designs. He has a compelling conviction that the strongest and most efficient structural forms known to mankind lie in Nature’s plan. He offers astonishingly original alternatives to the regular industrial (steel and concrete) construction that dominate today’s architectural landscape. He examines nature’s forms, structures and, materials in the scientific and architectural light, and presents an exciting glimpse of the world through his eyes. He brings alive the fascinating world of bird’s nests, termite towers, fish bubble homes, and snail shells which offer a hidden world of endless design possibilities and problem-solving ideas for our buildings. Tsui’s evolutionary architecture is vividly manifested in his architectural projects that may range from a residential remodel that features a dragonfly wings’ roof ventilation to a three-kilometer long city resembling a termite’s nest with crisscrossing steel cables that look like a spider web.

Vernacular architecture stems from the belief that architecture is a balanced combination of logical knowledge, divine inspiration and common sense. It should also be kept in mind that vernacular architecture can be overtly romanticized with a tendency to ignore the multiple inconveniences and discomforts. But, the challenge lies in finding befitting architectural solutions that advantageously blend empirical science with native traditions, in order to come up with an impeccable masterpiece. Modern architects have been successful, time and again, in building exquisite organic architectural designs that are inspired from the earthy vernacular traditions in architecture. Copied from architectural evangelist.

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