Linkedin – IHBC & more HE digital networking

Linkedin010415Did you know that the social network Linkedin has an IHBC group with over 4700 members, and you can find our job adverts and news updates there for free? Or that there are additional heritage and conservation groups which you can also join and contribute to topical debates?

To reflect changes the English Heritage group on Linkedin has been changed to Historic England, which is an open group to which anyone can contribute.

To join the IHBC Linkedin group simply visit the Linkedin group page and send a request to join.

IHBC Linkedin group page

Historic England group page 

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NT’s forward plan: includes NT helping LA’s manage parks

The National Trust (NT) has launched a new natural environment strategy, ‘Playing our part – What does the nation need from the National Trust in the 21 century?’ which aims to show how through partnership it will manage its own assets and work with others in ways that can also benefit the historic environment. 

Local authorities who have responsibility for managing historic parks or gardens will be interested in the news that the strategy includes news of opportunities for partnership working, as page 21 of the review states:

  • ‘We will help find innovative new ways to manage local parks and heritage. If the old way is broken, we will play a part in finding the new way.
  • We will explore and give support to local authorities, charities and communities in how to manage local heritage and green space, drawing on our own experience of the day-to-day maintenance of green spaces and heritage ‘

The National Trust (NT) writes:
We’ve launched an ambitious plan to nurse the natural environment back to health and reverse the alarming decline in wildlife. Our strategy for the next decade will also see us invest in looking after the nation’s heritage.

Climate change now poses the single biggest threat to the places we look after, bringing new, damaging threats to a natural environment already under pressure. It also poses a growing conservation challenge for the houses and gardens in our care.  The countryside had been damaged by decades of unsustainable land management, which has seen intensive farming and now climate change undermine the long-term health of the land. Sixty per cent of species have declined in the UK over the last 50 years, habitats have been destroyed and over-worked soils have been washed out to sea.

We’ll develop new, innovative ways of managing land on a large scale, which are good for farmers, the economy and the environment. We’ll work with partners to help look after some of the country’s most important landscapes, reconnecting habitats and bringing back their natural beauty.  The next decade will mark a new chapter in our history, which will see us increasingly join forces with other charities, government, business and local communities to improve the quality of the land and attract wildlife back to our fields, woods and river banks.  Playing our part in mitigating climate change will also be a priority and we’ll cut our energy usage by 20 per cent by 2020 and source 50 per cent of that from renewable sources on our land. We’ll also explore what role we could play in helping to safeguard the future of public green spaces.

We’ll spend more than ever on looking after our historic houses and collections, clearing the backlog of repairs. We’ll also look at ways to help local communities look after the heritage that’s important to them, playing a leading role in the annual Heritage Open Days event.  As people’s tastes change and expectations grow, we’ll work harder to give our visitors experiences that are emotionally rewarding, intellectually stimulating and inspire them to support our cause. We’ll invest in major changes at our most visited houses to transform how we tell the story of why they matter.  To help members make the most of their membership, most properties will be moving to being open 364 days a year. Members and supporters will get more personalised information from us about events and activities and will be able to get enhanced information on our digital channels.

‘The protection of our natural environment and historic places over the past 100 years has been core to the work of the Trust but it has never been just about looking after our own places,’ says Helen Ghosh, our Director General. ‘This is a long-term commitment, for the benefit of generations to come.  Our strategy will see us working more collaboratively with a range of partners – we will support where we can and lead where we should,’ adds our Chairman Tim Parker. ‘The National Trust has always responded to the challenges of the time. I believe our founders would be proud of our ambitions and the part we plan to play.’

Download the strategy

View the LocalGov article on park management

View the NT press release

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Scotland’s Historic Environment Audit (SHEA) 2014 out

Scotland’s Historic Environment Audit (SHEA) for 2015 has been published this month, underlining the clear importance of the historic environment to education, wellbeing and the economy. 

Historic Scotland writes:
Scotland’s historic environment continues to make a valuable contribution to the nation’s wellbeing, cultural identity, education and economy according to the 2014 Scottish Historic Environment Audit (SHEA).

The SHEA report compiled by Historic Scotland provides both a broad overview and detailed insight into the country’s historic environment as well as outlining the direct and indirect economic benefits, investment levels and current condition of Scotland’s historic monuments and listed buildings. The report is structured around the strategic priorities of Scotland’s first strategy for the historic environment: Our Place in Time.

The audit is an ongoing project – last published in 2012 – which draws upon current data and research to provide facts and figures, which provide a health check for the nation’s heritage sector.

The report has been published in advance of the coming together of Historic Scotland and The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS) later this year to form a new, lead heritage body, Historic Environment Scotland (HES).

The audit builds on the information provided in previous SHEA reports compiled in 2010 and 2012.

The 2014 key findings include:

  • Historic Scotland invested  £133million in the historic environment between 2002 and 2013 which assisted repairs worth over a total of £580million – benefiting communities across Scotland
  • The historic environment is a major employer providing 2.5% of Scotland’s total employment and supporting around 60,000 jobs (including part time and seasonal employment)
  • The sector contributes over £2.3 Billion annually to Scotland’s economy –  2.6% of the country’s Gross Value Added (GVA)
  • Around 14 million tourists visited historic attractions in 2012, representing almost a third (29 per cent) of recorded visits to Scottish attractions
  • Scotland’s international reputation for tourism and heritage remains strong with the Nations Brand Index  (2012) placing the country 12th  out of 50 countries for historic buildings and monuments and 13th  for tourism
  • Investment from other bodies such as the Heritage Lottery Fund, National Trust for Scotland, local authorities and the third sector continues to be considerable. However private investment is the largest source of funding –accounting for the majority (61%) of spend on the historic environment
  • Educational interest in our heritage and historic environment continues to be strong with around 1 in 5 (19 per cent) of all school visits in 2012 involving a visit to a historic site, with over 105,000 learners accessing Historic Scotland properties under the free educational visit scheme in 2013/14

Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Europe and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop said: ‘The contribution which the historic environment makes to Scotland’s economy, society, education and identity is clear from this report.  2015 is a significant year for Scotland’s heritage sector with the establishment of a new body, Historic Environment Scotland (HES), which will work with partners to deliver Scotland’s first strategy for the historic environment, Our Place in Time.  As this valuable audit illustrates, Scotland’s heritage sector operates across a diverse and multi layered landscape, which delivers a host of tangible benefits. These range from bringing historic properties in communities up and down the country back into re-use, through to the continued appeal of our internationally known heritage attractions which provide a shop window for the many millions of people who visit our country each year. I am sure that with the establishment of HES, those with a shared passion and commitment for Scotland’s heritage will be well placed to come together to continue to make a significant contribution to its present, whilst looking ahead to its future.’

Read the news release

View the audit for 2014

New documents which have been released since the previous SHEA include:

IHBC NewsBlogs on other ‘heritage counts’ style publications providing data about the value of the historic environment

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New Big Lottery Fund Strategic Framework: 2pp!

The Big Lottery has set out its proposed Strategic Framework in a document just launched, while many may be surprised to see that the documents setting out the new six year framework is only two pages long.


Dawn Austwick, Chief Executive of the Big Lottery Fund writes:
‘We can boil it down even further – in a nutshell it’s: People in the Lead’. From this everything else flows: we want to start with what people bring to the table, not what they don’t have; and from the belief that people and communities are best placed to solve their problems, take advantage of opportunities, and rise to challenges. Our job is to support them in doing so.’


View information on the framework and how it applies across your area


View the Chief Executive of the Big Lottery Fund blog entry 


IHBC newsblog on funding

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UK wide implications of the sharing economy

The online accommodation sharing portal ‘Airbnb’ has welcomed new proposals that allow London residents to join the rest of the UK in opening up their homes for visitors for up to 90 days a year without first applying for planning permission (previously advertising your home on such a site may have attracted fines under the Greater London Council (General Powers) Act 1973). 

Airbnb writes:
The new law makes the UK a leader in the sharing economy, adding London to the growing list of cities across the world implementing progressive laws that embrace home sharing, including Paris and Amsterdam

View the full Airbnb press release

View the DCLG news release on the changes to legislation in London 

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Compulsory Purchase Order use increased

New research by Bond Dickinson LLP shows that the use of Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPO’s) has increased, growing by two thirds in 2014.

The research looks at the uses of CPO’s across England, successes in application, examples of their use in different sectors and reasons for the failure of certain CPO’s.

View the report

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APPG for Excellence in the BE sets out flood resilience needs

The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Excellence in the Built Environment (BE) has reported on the need for greater political attention to be paid to flood resilience measures such as sustainable urban drainage systems. 

The Construction Industry Council (CIC) writes:
An incoming government needs to appoint a Cabinet champion to protect against flooding and drought, says an All Party Parliamentary Group, in a report published today (23 March).

In its report, Living with water, The Commission of Inquiry of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Excellence in the Built Environment says ‘that despite the increasing challenges, flood resilience and water management still remains a Cinderella issue at the highest political level, though it’s importance is no less than that of transport and power and it should have the same political priority as the development of High Speed 2.’

The group is calling for a Cabinet champion to set in train a longer term vision for delivering a coordinated and sustainable long term flood and water management strategy to protect homes and infrastructure against the increased flooding whilst at the same time protecting against increased water scarcity caused by drought.

Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Excellence in the Built Environment, Oliver Colvile, Conservative MP for Plymouth, Sutton & Devonport said: ‘Increased urbanisation and climate change is likely to increase the risk of flooding and our entire national infrastructure including water supply and our drainage network is under threat, which poses both societal and economic disruption. Failure to take the issue of comprehensive water management much more seriously will have severe economic impacts on UK plc.’

The Environment Agency says that 5.2 million homes are currently at risk of flooding, which is one in six. The 36-page report says, ‘We need a fundamental change in how we view flood management, from flood defence where we protect ourselves, to one of resilience, living with and making space for water.’  It says that building Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) – which mimic nature including ponds and shales – should be a key part of the strategy and also provide other community benefits such as enriching the environment. And it says the Government is mistaken in its U-turn which means it will now not implement Schedule 3 of the Flood and Water Management Act 2010.  The Act sets out a plan for the adoption and maintenance of SuDS through council-run SUDs Approval Bodies.

Tony Burton, Chair of the Construction Industry Council and a member of the APPG Commission of Inquiry said: ‘We have what is described as the most disconnected water management system in the world. Too many organisations have responsibility for aspects of water and drainage and they are under no obligation to co-operate even where it is essential to deliver resilience. We find it particularly disappointing that there will no longer be a requirement for setting up SuDS Approval Bodies which would have drawn up standards.’

The APPG for Excellence in the Built Environment is supported by the CIC.

Key recommendations include:

  • Strong leadership: Government needs to foster clear leadership on water issues and appoint a Cabinet champion to set in train a longer term vision for delivering a co-ordinated long term flood and water management strategy and it must ring-fence funding to do so.
  • Strategic land review: This new water champion should instigate a review of land use policy, placing water and climate change alongside a range of other emerging priorities for a multi-functional landscape.
  • More cash for maintenance: There needs to be even stronger emphasis on maintenance funding to ensure that existing flood protection assets are sustained.
  • Retrofitting for resilience: Government should undertake an investment programme to retrofit towns and cities to make them more resilient, as an additional aspect of their flood defence spending.
  • Better design standards: Everywhere in this country is in a water catchment so we need to reduce water runoff from every building, whether new or existing – helped with new Building Regulations for designing for flood resistance and resilience.
  • Using insurance to incentivise resilience: The insurance industry needs to give thought to how it can incentivise improving flood resilience of properties, rather than simply reinstating structures to inadequate pre-flooding standards.
  • Using Flood Re insurance to promote resilience:  The Flood Re scheme due to be introduced in the summer should be used to drive a step change in households’ protection and resilience and we recommend those measures set out by the Sub-Committee on Adaptation to make this happen should be adopted.
  • A bigger role for professionals in the built environment: Promote greater co-ordination of professionals through a new Construction Industry Council grouping which could act as a sounding board through which to channel flooding policy.

As a result of this U-turn Government now needs to resolve as quickly as possible more detailed proposals for:

  • SuDS maintenance – We suggest that those homes and businesses ‘connected’ to SuDS could be charged directly for the maintenance like a charge from a water company. The charge could be on local authority rates and what is currently paid to water companies for surface water should be gradually removed as SuDS are installed, unless it is the water companies which provide the SuDS service.
  • Reducing loading on public sewers – removing the automatic right to connect rainwater discharge to the public sewers as originally specified under the FWMA 2010. Many of these public sewers, which were built in Victorian times, and are overloaded,
  •  SuDs for all developments – ensuring that the limit of ‘fewer than 10 houses’ for SuDS to be included is changed back to two (to avoid a profusion of planning applications for nine houses). As SuDS have been demonstrated through Defra’s own research to be cheaper, particularly where integrated within the scheme from its original master planning, the reason for the threshold as ‘keeping the regulatory burden on smaller companies at a reasonable level’ is erroneous.
  • Resolving adoption of SuDS – defining a clear procedure and any associated costs for the adoption of sites under the proposed planning-based system, as the lack of such a process has historically been the greatest limitation to the uptake of SuDS.  

View the news release

View the Living with Water report

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Battersea to receive government funding following fire

The Grade II* listed Battersea Arts Centre is to receive £1 million from government funding to assist with the costs of repair and restoration work following the fire to the grand hall.

HM Treasury writes:
The Battersea Arts Centre will receive £1 million funding from Government to help the Centre continue with important redevelopment work, the Culture Secretary Sajid Javid announced today.

Earlier this month a blaze broke out in the Grade II-listed venue and destroyed most of the Grand Hall. Work was already underway prior to the fire to restore the building.  Government, through Arts Council England, has already contributed £4.69 million to this redevelopment project.

Culture Secretary Sajid Javid, said:  I was terribly sad to hear about the fire at the Arts Centre but was deeply relieved that no one was hurt. I have visited the centre to see the damage and met the very dedicated team of staff who have launched an impressive fundraising campaign and are doing everything to carry on as far as possible.  The Arts Centre are having to divert all their available resources into dealing with the aftermath and so I am pleased to be able to confirm that Government will provide £1 million towards the ongoing redevelopment work to help get this important south London venue back on track.

Chancellor George Osborne said: People across London and beyond were sad to hear about the recent fire at the Battersea Arts Centre.

Through Arts Council funding the Government has already contributed more than £4.5 million to support the redevelopment of this important centre.  And we are today making an additional £1 million contribution to help restore the centre to its former glory so that it can continue its great work in showcasing arts and culture to 100,000 people each year.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander said:  I am delighted that we are providing £1 million to support the restoration of the Battersea Arts Centre.  This is a building of cultural importance so it is right that the Government is contributing to its restoration and doing what it can to get this venue back up and running so that it can continue its important work.

View the news release

Find out more about the Battersea Arts Centre

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Celebrate your local ACV + Community Pubs Month this April

DCLG are offering the opportunity to obtain a free certificate for any listed asset of community value (ACV), and real ale campaign group CAMRA are promoting a month of celebrations for ‘community pubs month’ this April. 

Find out how to get a free certificate for any ACV

View a list of all public houses which have been designated as ACV on the CAMRA website

View the Community Pubs Month website

IHBC newblogs on ACVs

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New chair of NHMF & HLF boards announced

The Culture Secretary has announced that the Chair of the Board for NHMF and the HLF is Sir Peter Luff.

DCMS writes:
Culture Secretary announces appointment by the Prime Minister of Sir Peter Luff as Chair of the Board that runs both the NHMF and the HLF.

Culture Secretary Sajid Javid announces the appointment by the Prime Minister of Sir Peter Luff as the new Chair of the Board that runs both the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Heritage Lottery Fund. Sir Peter is appointed for a term of 3 years from 30 March 2015 to 29 March 2018.

Sir Peter Luff has been MP for Mid-Worcestershire, and previously for Worcester, since 1992 and is standing down at the 2015 General Election. Since 2013, he has been Commons Co-Chair of the Speaker’s Advisory Committee on the 800th anniversary Magna Carta and the 750th anniversary of the de Montfort Parliament.

He was Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology from 2010-2012, was Chair of two House of Commons Select Committees (Agriculture 1997-2000, and Business Innovation and Skills 2005-2010), and was knighted in 2014 for political and public service.

The new Chair will lead the Board of Trustees that runs both NHMF and the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). Its role is to steer the policy and direction of the 2 Funds and take decisions on grant applications. NHMF, the nation’s grant-in-aid fund of last resort for heritage, and was set up in 1980, to save the most outstanding parts of our national heritage, in memory of those who have given their lives for the United Kingdom. In 1994, the NHMF and its Trustees took on the role of distributing the heritage share of Lottery money for good causes, which it now operates through the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

View the news release

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Reminder: IHBC’s 2015 Norwich School: Early bird ends 17 April!


Booking is now open for the conservation professional’s key annual training programme: the IHBC’s Annual and Day School, this year in Norwich in June and exploring ‘Cultural Connections: Conserving the diversity of place’, with early bird booking rates to end on 17 April. 

To book and to find all the supporting background you need, please go to

Day School speakers and sessions include:

  • Sir Laurie Magnus, Historic England Chair
  • Kate Clarke, Cadw Chief Executive
  • Dr Sharman Kadish on Jewish heritage
  • Darren Barker, on traditional skills
  • Michael Morrison, on ‘foreign fields’
  • Dave Chetwyn, on community connections

Annual School on-site study options include:

  • ‘The binding agent – sensitive streetscape design and traffic management’
  • The changing culture and place of local government
  • Eclecticism and Originality – ten remarkable Edwardian buildings
  • Modernism at the University of East Anglia
  • Religious Reverence – The Medieval places of Worship
  • Norman Nobility – The architecture of Conquest and occupation
  • Doing different – Non-conformist Norwich
  • The River Wensum Past & Present
  • Norfolk and the Brecks – Conflicts of Interest
  • The Merchants of Lynn and the Hanseatic League
  • Rosary Cemetery
  • Medieval Merchants – The medieval buildings of trade

For the Gus Astley Student Award see:

For links to and feedback reports from previous Annual Schools see the
IHBC website

For sponsorship and delegate pack opportunities contact Fiona Newton at:

For the School website and to book see:

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IHBC welcomes Jane Kennedy as new Historic Royal Palaces trustee

The IHBC has welcomed the announcement from the government’s Culture Secretary Sajid Javid of the appointment of architect and IHBC member Jane Kennedy as one of 2 new trustees to Historic Royal Palaces.

The government writes:
Jane Kennedy and Professor Sir David Cannadine have been appointed Trustees at Historic Royal Palaces for 3 years beginning 19/05/2015.

Jane Kennedy is an architect with 35 years’ experience in the care and development of historic buildings and has played a key role in securing the future of some of the finest historic buildings in the country.

Professor Sir David Cannadine is a distinguished academic with an international reputation, having written pioneering and influential works of history on many subjects, including on the British monarchy.

read more….

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COTAC to renew as a ‘CIO’: New members welcome!

There a has been a warm welcome from across the conservation and development sectors to the news that the UK’s key conservation link body, COTAC, is to recast itself as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) under the new title of the ‘Council on Training in Architectural Conservation’ – still to be known as COTAC.

Under the new arrangements, agreed at a recent general meeting, COTAC remains as a membership body supported by members that range from English Heritage to the National Churches Trust.

Of course COTAC continues to offer a warm welcome to new members seeking to support the organisation’s aims and objectives.

Supporting the new arrangements, Lady Tina Feilden, COTAC’s Patron and wife of the late conservation architect Sir Bernard Feilden, said: ‘It has been my great pleasure to have been a Patron of COTAC over the last 5 years, and to watch how it has developed and influenced many over that time.’

‘In the current period of considerable change, it is gratifying that a greater understanding of the need to retain, protect and sensitively utilise our stock of traditionally constructed buildings has continued to grow. Proudly, COTAC has frequently been at the forefront of related initiatives. Whether this is informing standard setting, developing knowledge, or enabling the connection of broken and new links across the built heritage sector, COTAC has excelled.’

‘The work of the regenerated ‘Council’ represents so closely the ideas and teaching of my late husband, Sir Bernard Feilden, that I know he would have readily endorsed its aims. I continue to happily support its work in his name and, as Patron, I wish it every success for the future’.

David Mitchell, Director of Conservation, Historic Scotland said: ‘COTAC has long been recognised by the National Heritage Agencies in the UK and beyond, and we have always enjoyed a close working partnership. I am pleased to see that COTAC has reflected on it’s role and is implementing changes to ensure it remains relevant and key to conservation and training into the future’

COTAC Chair, Ingval Maxwell, said: ‘The new operational structure of a CIO will allow COTAC to be more flexible and inclusive in its operations, and so able to shape and react to the rapidly changing work environment we, and our members, see today. At the same time we will be able to keep a eye on continuing the legacy of our many previous successes, from our standard setting developmental role in vocational training, to the hosting of the pre-eminent on-line learning tool for specialists seeking conservation accreditation – our website. Through our successful annual conference series we have, once again, also marked out our role in generating cutting edge conservation practice and debate’. 

COTAC’s CIO pending initiatives include:

  • Developing the site as an online tool that offers a recognised route to member accreditation
  • Developing BIM4C (Building Information Modelling for Conservation) as a tool fit for purpose in historic building care, management and change
  • Maintaining its annual conferences as the ‘go-to’ event for members of lead professional bodies to explore current and future building conservation trends and directions
  • Developing a sustainable income stream through growing its membership and support network, and through key project developments

COTAC Membership
COTAC plans to include both organisation and individual membership, on three levels:

  • Partner Members
  • Ordinary Members
  • Network Members

COTAC: Background and future
Established in 1959 as the ‘Conference on Training in Architectural Conservation’ COTAC’s founding principle was its recognition of the need for specialists to properly specify and oversee work involved in repairing and conserving historic buildings and churches. This ground breaking approach in the mid 20th century occurred when training in modernism, concrete and brutalism prevailed, and the knowledge of traditional building technologies was fast disappearing.

Over the years COTAC has always worked hard at lifting standards, developing training qualifications and building networks across the sector. This has involved national agencies, professional bodies, educational establishments and training interests. Today, COTAC can boast a unique legacy of success that was summarized in its 50th Anniversary publication ‘Half a Century On’.

COTAC’s 21st century role is no less critical. New technologies, including aspirations to low carbon retrofit, demanded energy efficiencies and emerging digital innovations, can too easily obscure the need for a core understanding of traditional materials and how to approach historic structures with a finely honed set of skills. In its new structure, as the ‘Council on Training in Architectural Conservation’, COTAC’s priority objectives include:

  • Setting, maintaining and promoting standards for conservation education and training
  • Developing, producing and promoting education and training materials
  • Collaborating with other organisations, voluntary bodies and agencies with interests in conservation, with a view to influencing and promoting relevant issues
  • Maintaining and developing the Council’s digital resources to ensure their relevance for the sector and the public
  • Promoting courses at all levels in conservation of the historic environment which are relevant and in accordance with recognised criteria
  • Publishing relevant material
  • Arranging seminars, conferences and participating in exhibitions relating to relevant heritage issues
  • Resources permitting, providing bursaries and other support for relevant studies and course attendance.

To download ‘Half a Century On’ see COTAC’s web-based resources at including

Any queries on membership may be directed via COTAC’s web page

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