Friday, February 10, 2006

Why is floor screeding so expensive?

Jonathan asks

Why do people charge so much for floor screeding? I've got about 90m2 of 65mm screed over 60m Kingspan insulation — I am not fitting underfloor heating —and I thought the only quote I've got of £1350 seems quite high if, in theory 2 men can do the job in a day, then they are getting £800+ in labour!? I've had a couple of local plasterers come and look at the job and they didn't fancy it when they saw the big expanse and recounted various tales of problems with cracking and settling of levels! They said could you not just concrete it and then put on a finish with self-leveling screed!?

Mark reckons

My "time taken" tables suggest that 65mm screed takes around 25 mins per m2. This, in turn, suggests a labour rate of around £8-£10 per m2, on top of a materials price of £4.50 per m2. This would suggest your quote is close to the market rate.

Normally screeders work in a 2 and 1 gang so this 25 minutes figure includes a labourer to mix the screed on site. My latest benchmark house has a ground floor area of 55m2 and the screeding was done in 3 man-days, which is spot on 25mins per m2.

However, you do see people getting screeding done at apparently much faster rates. How come? Well one obvious issue is quality. A good screeder doesn't hurry - it's an art that not many people do well. Also, supplying readymixed screed can make savings - you would loose the labouring costs and get those 25 mins down to around 18 mins per m2 - but you would of course be adding to the materials cost.

The overall time taken is also affected by whether it is a large space or lots of small rooms. Large spaces are quicker to lay but, as your plasterers point out, they are not without their problems, esp. if you are laying underfloor heating in the screed. BS EN 1264 recommends that you limit the area to be screeded to 40m2, or 8m lengths in any one direction. If you exceed this, you should separate the floor into bays divided by some flexible expansion material. You can generally stop cracking by using mesh or adding fibres to the mix but on very large areas you may find that the screed has a tendency to lift up due to expansion.

64 Comments:

Blogger Pete said...

Floor screeding needn't be expensive. Buy the stuff readymixed and get a labour only groundworker with a good eye for levels and a strong labourer and it should only cost you £240 for the days labour. I've done two houses now and screeded them both with 75mm screed. Usually 9 tonnes does an average detached 900sq ft ground floor. Just make a staff for gauging down from the joists and the levels will be right. the last material cost about £50 per ton and the groundworker was called Martin!

10:38 pm  
Blogger ADHF said...

Just to make things clear....A decent screeder lays 100m2 of screed per day, without sacrificing quality.....If anyone would like a wager on this matter, and put their money where there mouth is; through ya money this way....Why do people post comments when they obviously just don't know?

If anyone laid a screed floor for me, and they measured down from the joists for the screed level, I would sack them!!! Surely a laser or water level would be rather a little more practical and do a finer job.

At 75mm depth screed, 1 tonne will average 6m2.

If anyone would like to discuss this further, then contact me on my site at HTTP://WWW.ADHF.CO.UK

5:05 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

well done that man obviously someone who knows what they are talking about. im a screeder myself and if i couldnt lay 100m2+ a day it wouldnt be worth my while, when these people actually spend all day on their knees and work their BxxxxxxS off then they might realise why we are worth the money.(pay peanuts get monkeys)!!!!!

10:41 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

use Glenalmond contracts they use supaflo screed and can do 1500m2 per day.

7:17 pm  
Blogger greystones prop sol said...

use Greystones Property Solutions, Sheffield. we use flowing screed and can lay 1000sq m per day, flat, level, no shrinks, cracks, clean and quick. e-mail puntoes@aol.com will travel.

7:10 pm  
Blogger chopsy said...

hi i was wondering i need my floor screeded do you reckon i would be able to do this myself i have no experience im an electrician or how much do you reckon it will cost to lay 100mm screed on top of insulation/ufh pipework in a room 4.7 by 7.4 metres Easy access for ready mix please give me your thoughts cheers

11:07 pm  
Anonymous Alan Brett said...

I cannot believe some of these comments.

I am a floor screeder for eight years and I haven't come across some of the suggestions I have seen here before in my life. God help any poor guy for taking their advice.

I work in a three man team and we lay up to 200m perfectly every day, six days a week. I have NEVER had a problem with any of my screeds.

If anyone wants screeding done, then feel free to email me on alan.brett@homecall.co.uk and let someone who knows what he is talking about and knows what he is doing sort it out for you.
You will find it will be cheaper that way than doing it twice

6:46 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regarding flowing screeds; the facts are that flowing screed does, infact, 'shrinks' and 'cracks'. Anything that contains water will shrink, then crack, as the water dries out...basic fundamentals but it has to be said. Excessive cracks can be avoided by good curing and strategic bay sizing.

Some companies are pushing flowing screeds, the only advantage over traditional screeding (Sand & cement) is the size of areas that can be done.... it is a cheap, quick job that has far more other problems than traditional flooring methods. The difference between a good traditional floor screeder and a flowing screed applicator is like the difference between a pro-boxer and an amateur...... Traditional screeding is a 'skilled trade' but flowing screed can be taught to a monkey, with wellies, in about five minutes.

I'd use ADH Floorings' screeding method over Greystones' anyday, as this is a 'house builders' website, and as 'a wild stab in the dark' I would guess that most house builders don't actually need 1,000m2 per day of screed......What makes me laugh is the fact that these flowing screed applicators don't ever mention that, though they can put down 1,000m2 per day, it can take 3 to 4 days to prepare 1,000m2 for flowing screed. Taking upto 5 days for 1,000m2....Many traditional gangs can do 1,000m2 a week.

11:45 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

use taylor bros flooring 3500 m laid in one day 3 men truflow and at a very cheap rate

9:39 pm  
Blogger info said...

We have traditional floor screed teams that lay between 250 - 300sm per day. The work is compliant with BS8204 Part 1 2003, the current British Standard for floor screed. All works are laid using a laser level from a master datum supplied by Main Contractot / Client. 100sm is our minimum charge for labour as we would expect a 1 & 1 gang to achieve this comfortably. When I was on the tools, 100sm was completed in 4 hours. Floor Screeding is for experienced contractors only and not the earlier comments above.

4:04 pm  
Anonymous bambam said...

well pete i wouldn't fancy a game of marbles round yours! and chopsy stick to what you know.

3:36 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

move with the times guys use freflowing punped screeds and save money. no mess, no cracking,drying times may be the same but hey you only need a thickness of 50mm and its twice as strong

7:59 pm  
Anonymous Aoife said...

Make sure to get an experienced floor screeder and get a good job done. If you are in the London/M25 area just get in touch.

1:55 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Being in the plasterer screeder trade for the past 20 years i would say the price is fair, also a good screeder can lay 100 sqm a day to bs. Having worked on jobs where they have used flow screed and such like i have found them to be no more leval than a sand cement screed( some times not as level) also you may be able to walk/ work on them within 1 or 2 days and a s/c screed after several days in the wrong enviroment a flow screed can take months befor being dry enough to lay a floor covering on.

10:59 pm  
Anonymous builder-bob said...

Depending on area size then using a flowing floor screed rather than a standard sand and cement screed could save you a fair bit of money. Especially if you're having warm water underfloor heating. Take a look at www.screed.it for more info, those are they guys that did my house, far quicker than sand and cement.

12:53 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a load of rubbish!! Flowing screed has no where near the strength of traditional screed. Flowing screed is 27N/mm at best where Traditional screed can easily exceed 35N/mm. Get your facts straight before posting comments...........Check Http://www.screeding.org for more info.

6:14 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

At a time when flow screed gangs are getting laid off by the drove aint it funny that there's lots of posts on here telling us how good flowing screed is and leaving contact details.............

6:21 pm  
Anonymous MGSCREEDING said...

hi i am a full time floor screeder. i can lay 150m2 a day depending on room layouts. my company is called MGSCREEDING. From my experience i would like to say to the person that being a full time floor screeder i go in to a house of 60m2 and out of that house the same day. A good plasterer for exsample will be in that house for one working week, there for i have to find five times as much work, wich can be a strugle at times. Screeding is also one of the most phisicaly demanding jobs in biulding, how long do you think i can be a full time screeder for. ive also priced up the price of flow screed and have found it to be almost twice the price as what i would charge for screed and regardless what people say drying time is a lot longer than screed and i dont mean dry anough to walk on i mean drying time to lay diffrent types of materials on top such as tiles for exsample. £4.50 to £5.00 per m2 is your going rate. you could get it cheeper but trust me it would end up costing you in the long run. Screed rates vary from £100 to £130 per meter cube (2.2 ton).

6:23 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have an outdoor concrete base 7.5x7.2m that is not very flat. who can recommend a self levelling screed that is suitable for exterior use?

9:03 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For readymix traditional screed or flowing screed in the Essex/Herts area contact me for a price, i am just offering the product not the application. And for what it's worth you guy's deserve every penny. E-mail John.Stanford@aggregate.com

12:52 pm  
Blogger screed sales said...

For readymix traditional screed with or without fibres in the hampshire, surrey, west sussex area, contact me for a price, i am only offering the product and not the application. E-mail paull.sneyd@hanson.biz

4:43 pm  
Anonymous Liam Knowles said...

I work as a heating engineer and have fitted a few different manufacturers under floor heating manufacturer’s products.

The advice the manufacturers I’ve worked with has been if you are installing under floor heating, you should avoid flow screeds as they can cause problems with pipes lifting off the insulation. So stick with a traditional screed.

11:50 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am going to screed the floor in my house at a depth of 75mm using traditional screed. This will be laid on 75mm Celotex with wet under floor heating. The area is about 100m2 I think I will need about 8m3, What do you guys think?
Ps never done it before but you`ve got to learn some how!!!

Thanks for the advice, Have laser so think this is the best way to level it

Ps sorry if the spelling is bad, not my strong point!!!

9:02 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As much as i admire your courage to give it a go, i gave it a go myself on a small area, and in all honesty it's very difficult and very time consuming. If i was you, i'd pay the £5-7 per m2 for a really good screeder to come and lay it for you? It will undoubtedly save you time and possibly money later on, when you come to try and lay a level floor covering.

Just to touch on a few other points left by others. Screed strength, well a flowing screed can have several different kinds of fibres added to improve the strength, and by using steel fibres then you are going to exceed the strength of a 4:1 traditional screed mix, but what you really need to work out is how strong do you need it to be? If it's just a domestic property, then what makes you think you need 35N/mm? Because you certainly don't need it to be anywhere near that strength.

Drying times, well if you're using underfloor heating then doesn't British Standards state you have to have a 50mm covering or more on top of the 16mm pipe? That means a minimum screed depth of 66mm? So not only have you got to wait 5 days or more for the screed to set, but then you have to wait 1 day per mm of screed for it to dry sufficiently for floor coverings to be laid?

With a flowing screed then you only need a minimum 30mm (if i remember correctly) screed on top of your 16mm pipe so a 46mm total depth. It will set in 24 hours which can save a massive amount of money on a commercial site where trades are waiting to get back on the site. And at 1mm per day drying time, then that's at least a couple of weeks quicker to dry. Plus you're able to force dry flowing screed which you can't do with traditional screed without getting cracks.

Avoiding flowing screeds with UFH (well i run a specialist heating company, and disagree with this strongly). If a warm water ufh pipe is used, then it should be clipped to rigid foam insulation either with pipe clips or clamp track. The insulation should be taped together and taped to perimeter insulation. Pipe clips should be used every 500mm and several at the bends of the pipe. It is impossible to get lifting of the pipe if this followed and a good quality insulation is used. The downside to a traditional screed is that you can not be 100% sure that the screed has completely encapsulated the pipe without leaving air pockets. These air pockets will act as insulation, preventing heat transfer to the screed and therefore to the room. With a flowing screed you know you're going to get complete coverage around the pipe as it goes in like water.

The pro's and con's are readily available given a quick google search, but there is a good guide on www.screed.it

If it's a small area then traditional screed is going to be massively cheaper, and you're probably not going to be bothered about setting/drying times.

If you only have 60mm of depth available and you want both warm water and ufh then you've got a choice of using flowing screed or battening out with wood to give the floor some strength and then screed with a traditional screed between these 'joisted' bays. If you're wanting to lay tiles though you'd then have to put down a ply board to give a base which is yet more depth, time and money.

If you have big areas, say over 150m2 then it might take 2 days rather than 1 to use a traditional screed, but again, that's not much of issue.

Once you hit 250m2 then flowing screed starts to become quite a bit cheaper, mainly because you're paying for one days labour rather than 2 or 3.

Other important points is the ability of the screed to transfer the heat from the underfloor heating pipes, to the room itself. In other words, how long is it taking for the room to reach the desired temperature once the ufh is switched on. There's several sites where you can see thermal images of the differences between flowing and traditional screed. Flowing allows the heat to transfer faster and more evenly.

I think both screeds have their place in the market, Mr Smith having a small extension doesn't need to pay 4 times as much for a screeded floor, but 'Construction Ltd' aren't going to want to wait 4 weeks for a traditional screed team to lay 2000m2 when a flowing team can do it in 1 or 2 days.

My company designs, supplies and installs underfloor heating, and we use both traditional and flowing screeds depending on the requirements. And with ufh becoming more and more popular in large domestic and commercial projects, so is the requirement for flowing screeds.

Hope that helps clear up some of the points and issues. I don't know a massive amount of screed, but i have picked things up along the way. My final point is, make sure you use a recommended installer of either product as it costs twice as much to put it right, as it costs to do it right the first time.

1:55 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

a screeder with ease layes 100m2 a day . it cost 4 times more to put a bad floor right.ask a tiler what floor he would like to tile on a £240.00 labour's or a proper screeder's
most of the cost of screeding is then material's , and in the midlands we get £5.00 to £5.50 m2

9:50 pm  
Anonymous jerry said...

Mark you may have got a job as an expert in the art of being a self builder but as far as screeding is concerned you have not got a clue. you should have talked to a screeder not read a book before posting a comment. I am a screeder in the bristol area and could complete this job in four hours or less with one labourer and ready mixed screed. If i was to charge £950 for said works i would be able to pay for the screed my labourer and still have more than enough to cover my mornings work. to many people take the piss with there prices. If anybody in the southwest wants a screed laid at a good rate email me on southwest.screeds@btinternet.com.

1:56 am  
OpenID mastsaf said...

I'm looking for a screeder or someone to level a concrete floor.

I've got about 85 sg mtrs to do. Garage / workshop.

located hemel hempstead 10 mins M1 or M25 or A41

new build but slab probably needs grinding or scabbling to level.
5 days rain over top of very wet delivery of ready mix, covered after but sheet was not available to cover 9 x 9 area.

could stretch to 50mm trad screed or pumped.


Start anytime. cash on completion.

mastsaf@aol.com with phone number for more details.

12:00 pm  
Blogger Shovel Monkey said...

I only recently 'learned' screeding after 10 years on a screed pump. 100m2 a day is the minimum target for a three man squad.
We are subbies to a company that laid lots of self levelling compounds, ranging from skims to 100mm deep. Always quicker than 'hands and knees' semi-dry laying, but hardly as accurate, especially on larger areas.
Many times there were cracking problems and the finished surface was unacceptable.
Very rarely did traditional screeding fail, and usually only because the levels given by the engineer were faulty, which was always denied. A water level is rarely wrond; never if it's set up properly..
Any job less than 100m2 is laid in a day. Prep work is another matter. On a new biuld..no problem. On top of ufh pipes and insulation even.
The price seems right.
Just my tuppence worth.

4:13 pm  
Blogger PaceIns said...

We are a floor screeding and drylining contractor and are constantly looking for a network of subvies throughout the UK, if anyone is interested in labour only work then please feel free to email me directly. brianmccoy@paceinstallations.co.uk

1:06 pm  
Blogger greystones prop sol said...

Brian from greystones Construction Ltd (formerly greystones property solutions) Not been on this site for a while but had plenty of work from it. When used with UFH, the benefits of flowing screed are numerous, look at www.gyvlon-floors.co.uk then then make up your own mind, if you want flowing screed give us a contact and we will do the job for you e-mail puntoes@aol.com

1:31 am  
Blogger LPM said...

Recent screed layers installed 90 ml of screed instead of the anticipated 65ml for underfoor heating. Will this inpair efficiency?

7:48 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i am looking for a decent floor screed
75mm 100sqm
needs pumping in will pay up to £12 per m
new build in romford area
email me if fancy it
d2molineaux@yahoo.co.uk

9:05 pm  
Anonymous Bigerc said...

I need 152 square metres screeded 65mm over wet UFH near Worthing in West Sussex. Any one want to give me a price?

8:33 pm  
Blogger info said...

looking at the comments made here it makes my blood boil flowing screed ie gyvlon , truflow, supaflo is the wise mans choice when using ove UHF not only does it give better covarage and thermal transfer properties it is cheaper whe doing larger areas, as for the cost of laying flowing screeds when you take into account the cost of machinery upwards of 35k for a decent transfer pump to do the task then you can start to see why screeding companys charge what they do, A typical cubic mtr of flowing floor screed comes it at about £160-£170 + VAT from the manafacturer dependent on how much you have, The manafacturer will charge a part load charge for anything under 5 cubic mtrs so theres another cost.
To work out how many cubic mtrs of screed yo need calculate your floor area x this by the depth you require and hey presto, so if we say 100m2 at 60mm gives you 6 cubic mtres
At £160 a cube this gives you £960 + Vat then 2 men with a screed transfer pump -total amount payable is £1500 plus vat its not a bad deal after all.
if you would like further information on flowing floor screed
then drop me a line on 01765690461
www.expressscreed.co.uk

kind regards
Nick

4:38 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I want to use pumped screed over "egg crate" system plates for UFH. So floor construction is Celotex then eggcrate then UFH then screed. Total dimension from top of Celotex to top of screed 50mm, so 32mm of screed above pipes 28mm of screed above high points of egg crate and 50mm of screed over low points of egg crate. Will this work? Total arae 440sqm

1:59 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re the above anyone want to give me a quote 01580713047

2:01 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you seen these guys? http://www.screeding.co.uk
Quality floor screed contractors.

4:52 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Taylor bros flooring by far the best company around very reliable used them a few times they do a great job THEY ALSO LAID 3000SQ MTRS IN ONE DAY looking for someone to screed your floors i highly recommend these guys for your job

7:55 pm  
Blogger firmy said...

for free advice and quotes call a screeder with over 20yrs exp 07899927089 or email paulfirminger@hotmail.co.uk

5:22 pm  
Anonymous NATIONWIDE SCREEDERS said...

SCREEDING is a very skilled job that is often undertaken by amatures that have no idea what they are doing eg. depths, levels, thickness over underfloor heating and insulation. 200m2 per day is easily achievable without comprimising quality.
For more info or quotations:
www.nationwidescreeders.com

8:27 pm  
Blogger cashandben said...

It makes me laugh how some people say floor screeding is expensive when they go and spend £20+ per m2 on flooring to sit on top of it, which in effect is only temporary.
Floor screed is permanent, do not attempt to do it yourself, always pay for a good reputable screeder, usually found by recommendation.
Believe me i have seen some bodge ups,if its not done right you will have trouble with doors,furniture etc.
I have been screeding for 27 years and pride myself on zero comebacks.
My motto is do it right, do it once.
I screed every floor as if it was my own home, simple as that, its easier to get a bad name in this trade than it is to get a good name.
I am based in wales but will travel. Geoff Farmer
cashandben@fsmail.net

12:26 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's the current rate for floor screed in London these days? I want to know the material cost and labour cost. I've already tried to call a few companies and I'm shocked that some want £130+VAT for a cubic meter of screed. This does not sound right, especially when I paid £100 a cubic meter for concrete.

8:22 am  
Blogger Bischell said...

Hi,

100-200 m2 per day is the range with
150m2 a day a good value for money.

Take caution to allow enough time for curing.

www.bischell.co.uk

12:43 pm  
Anonymous firmy said...

to the guy who's laying on the egg crate ufh ive just completed 9,000 sqm where the floor dephs were the same as yours we had to use tarmac pozament in our mix to garantee from cracking did the job if you need advice call paul on 07899927089

8:17 pm  
Blogger Kevin said...

Are there any good, competitive priced screeders in Kent on here?
How much do you charge per square metre at 50mm deep for traditional screeding?
Thanks

8:02 am  
Blogger michael said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

8:47 am  
Blogger michael said...

Hi, if anyone would like a quality floor screeder here. I can lay up to 170 meters a day in a 2 man gang I,m in the the Reading area please email me on michaelgibson1@hotmail.co.uk

8:53 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

gavin finn, systemslogisticslimited 07973538559 been screeding for 30 years. if you want your floor as flat at the planet call me

11:54 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All i can say is iv been a traditional screeder for fourteen years.if you are wanting a job done in Devon or somerset area give me a call on 07538275548 and I work on a three man gang and can lay up to 150-200meters per day depending on the area!

10:02 pm  
Blogger grayjk said...

gk sdreeding based in kent,pump or barrow work,neat ,tidy and most importantly flat and level every time and 100% reliable call 07840414552 email grayjk@ovi.com

10:46 pm  
Blogger michael said...

learnt alot from all those who being doing this screeding years . im only being in the game for 4 years . got me nvq in floor screeding but the people i work with dont really learn me that much so fustrating !

8:46 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am looking for a strong flowing screed. 40sm for the ground floor of a house with UFH and then the garage with UFH 32sm. Yes it needs to be able to take an average size car.
Looking for the job to be done around 8th Jan 15th Jan 2012
Please e-mail spec & quotes to Joe_Lac@hotmail.com.
P.s I am estimating a 55mm screed in the house and 75mm in the garage??

1:00 am  
Blogger sean said...

I,ve never heard of flowing screeds being used for a domestic garage as by nature a liquid screed finds its own level and you will almost certainly need a fall of around 30mm to act as a water bar . Any garage I've ever screeded has always been laid to a fall to prevent any liquid from ponding on the floor either from an internal spillage or from rainwater getting into your garage and causing damage. You can contact me on sean.whelan0@gmail.com

5:17 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i have been screeding for 5years

you supply the pre-mixed screed
and i labour on my self and lay

really good rates

laser used

only do weekends

floorscreed@aol.com

3:15 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi,grateful for any advice.
Have L-shaped hallway carpeted 6sq metres. Screed cracking in places.
Whats a good price, and to dry as we don't have rear access to gain entry to back of house.
I appreciate screeders will be queuing for such a big job. I tried a rated website,but no response. Thankyou.
Paul

1:36 pm  
Blogger gowshika said...

interesting blog. It would be great if you can provide more details about it. Thanks you


Property for Sale in Bristol

1:06 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I need to do a creed for a living room and dining room in the House in N15 3TB. 50sq m in total. Please contact me with your quotes by email delta2delta2000@yahoo.com. Thank you. Andrew

4:11 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

westwalesscreeding.co.uk say no more

3:36 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

WESTWALESSCREEDING.COM RATHER!

3:39 pm  
Anonymous plasterer surrey said...

plasterer surrey
RPS Plastering Service base in Sutton with works carried out with in the M25 and surrounding areas.
Advice from others more experienced than himself and enlisted the help of a neighbour who had previously witnessed a plumber connecting a them the competence necessary for achieving the job, seminars in Sociology at the University.

11:12 pm  
Anonymous Geoff Farmer said...

Liquid and traditional floor screeding......over 25 years experience

6:46 pm  
Anonymous West Wales Screeding said...

CLICK MY NAME ABOVE

6:59 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ffsolutions@hotmail.co.uk 07738279336 Sussex and sourounding areas
15 years laying can lay 300m2 daily, although flow screeds are quicker and I get the same money for both, I prefere traditional sand cement

7:25 pm  
Blogger Angela said...

Looking for Gyvlon screed for a new extension 48m2 for a House near Twickenham TW12. Please contact me with your quotes and/or contact details by email angela.larkin@gmail.com. Thank you. Angela

10:04 pm  

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