Review the display guidelines for WEFTEC booths as outlined by WEF and McCormick Place. Services may be ordered through the exhibitor dashboard (booth assignment and login required).

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Animals

Live animals are prohibited within the Convention Center, with the exception of  animal(s) which serve as a guide or service function as defined by ADA (Americans with Disabilities).

Special Request for Animal Use Consideration must be made in writing to the Event Services Department of the Convention Center, by Contracting Party by September 3, 2021. An exhibitor wishing to display live animals as an integral part of an exhibit must furnish the Convention Center with Show Management’s written approval before any waivers can be made.

All approved live animal displays must be located at least 150 feet from any food and/or beverage service. Waiver of this prohibition may depend on type, size, and number of animals, their containment method; handler/trainer supervision, required insurance certificates, etc.

Contact show management about a live animal display

Assigned Space & Activities

Adequate Space

All exhibitors must rent adequate space to accommodate their planned product display and shall arrange the displays so as to utilize only the booth area contracted for, to recognize the rights of other exhibitors and show visitors, and to conform to the overall pattern developed by the Show Management. No exhibit may interfere with the use of other exhibits, impede access to other exhibits, or impede the free use of the aisles between exhibits.

Exhibition Space & Exhibitor Functions

Exhibitors must confine their activities on the grounds of the exhibition facility to the space for which they have contracted; this includes booth personnel, the distribution of printed materials and the placement of signs. WEF policy prohibits functions being scheduled during WEFTEC Exhibition hours, Monday, October 18 - Tuesday, October 19 between 8:30am and 5:30pm, and Wednesday, October 20 between 8:30am - 3:30pm.

Product displays are prohibited in hotel suites and locations other than the Exhibitor's rented space in the exhibit hall. Any violation of this requirement will result in the termination of the existing contract for exhibit space. If the Exhibitor has a function in an official WEF hotel, signs for that function may be placed in the public space of that hotel only. No Exhibitor signs may be placed in any other official WEF hotel for any other reason.

No soliciting of attendees is permitted in the aisles or in other exhibitors’ booths.

Aisle space shall not be used for exhibit purposes, display signs, solicitation, or distribution of promotional material. Exhibits, signs and displays are also prohibited in any of the common public spaces on the premises of the meeting facilities or in the guest rooms, lobbies or hallways of the hotels. WEF also prohibits non-approved publications and/or advertising in any of the common public spaces on the premises of the meeting facilities or in the guest rooms, lobbies or hallways of the hotels.

Equipment Demonstrations

The Exhibitor is solely liable for the operation of all displays and its supplied materials and agrees to indemnify and hold WEF, its officers, directors, volunteers, employees, guests, invitees, and agents harmless from any and all claims of liability arising out of Exhibitor's exhibit, demonstrations and the like. Exhibitor warrants that it has all necessary rights and licenses to all content displayed at their exhibit. In the event of a claim of infringement based on intellectual property presented by Exhibitor, Exhibitor agrees to assume full liability for such a claim.

Displays and demonstrations deemed unsafe to attendees will be prohibited. Exhibitors are required to notify show management of proposed interactive demonstrations for review and approval.

Giveaways, Contests, Drawings

Federal, state and local laws heavily regulate drawings, lotteries, and/or contests that have prize giveaways. The laws of each state and location vary widely. Each Exhibitor is solely responsible to ensure that all giveaways, contests, drawings, etc. conducted as part of its exhibit comply with all federal, state and local laws. The Exhibitor agrees that it is solely responsible and liable for any government action or legal claims, fees, penalties or charges brought relating to the Exhibitor’s promotional giveaway activities.

Presentations, Sound, and Entertainment

Sound presentations, slides or movies will be permitted if tuned to conversational levels that do not interfere with other exhibitor activities. Exhibits also may not use lighting effects which interfere with other exhibits.

Balloons & Drones

Balloons, Radio‐Operated Air Devices, and Drones

  • Helium-filled balloons are allowed in the Convention Center only as part of a display, and must be securely fastened to the booth.
  • To prevent escape to the ceiling, helium‐filled balloons and similar objects must be secured. If balloons do escape to the ceiling, a removal fee will be charged--exhibitors are strictly responsible for any removal charges.
  • Balloons may not be given out within the Convention Center.
  • Compressed gas cylinders used to inflate balloons must be properly secured to prevent toppling, and must be removed from within the Convention Center during all event hours.
  • Mylar balloons are prohibited due to their effect on the fire detection systems.
  • Radio‐operated blimps and similar devices are not permitted.
  • Exhibitors are not permitted to use a drone within the Complex.

Booth Height & Line of Sight

Inline Booths - Maximum Display Height is 8'

Note: Inline Booths are also referred to as Standard or Corner

Inline booths are typically 10' or 15' deep and can be between 10' - 40' wide. They may have one or two corners, or no corners. Inline booths are set with 8' drape across the width of the backwall and 3' side rail on each side of the booth.

  • The maximum height of 8' (2.44m) is allowed only in the rear 5' of the booth
  • The maximum height allowed in the front 5' of the booth is 4' (1.22m)
  • Only freestanding signage is permitted; no hanging signs or other materials requiring the use of ceiling rigging are approved
  • Display materials should be arranged in such a manner so as not to obstruct neighboring booths' line-of-sight
  • Graphics and signage must display forward to the aisle (perpendicular from neighboring booths)
  • Download the IAEE Guidelines for Booth Types - a graphical representation of inline and extended display inline booths is included in the guidelines

Perimeter Booths - Maximum Display Height is 12'

Perimeter booths are inline booths against a wall.

  • The maximum height of 12' (3.66m) is allowed only in the rear 5' of the booth
  • The maximum height allowed in the front 5' of the booth is 4' (1.22m)
  • Only freestanding signage is permitted; no hanging signs or other materials requiring the use of ceiling rigging are approved
  • Display materials should be arranged in such a manner so as not to obstruct neighboring booths' line-of-sight
  • Graphics and signage must display forward to the aisle (perpendicular from neighboring booths)
  • Download the IAEE Guidelines for Booth Types - a graphical representation of perimeter booths is included in the guidelines

Island Booths - Maximum Display Height is 18'

  • The maximum height of 18' may be used through the entire booth space
  • The maximum height of 18' includes both freestanding display items and hanging signs at the top of the sign
  • Electrical/lighting truss or other support truss may be higher than the 18' maximum height, but may not exceed the booth's floor dimensions, and may not display any logo or other design elements, and may not be solid or opaque
  • Contact Show Management to have your booth design and graphic sign/hanging sign layout reviewed by Sept 3

Shared Island Booths—Maximum Display Height is 18'.

  • Shared Islands will be set with 8' of drape between the two shared spaces
  • The maximum height of 18' may be used through the entire booth space
  • The maximum height of 18' includes both freestanding display items and hanging signs at the top of the sign
  • Graphics within a Shared Island booth must be set back 5' from the established shared drape line
  • Any signage or graphics facing the drape and closer than 5’ will be moved or removed at the Exhibitor’s expense
  • Electrical/lighting truss or other support truss may be higher than the 18' maximum height, but may not exceed the booth's floor dimensions, and may not display any logo or other design elements
  • Contact Show Management to have your booth design and graphic sign/hanging sign layout reviewed by Sept 3

Additional Line of Sight Guidelines

Exhibitors displaying equipment, vehicles, etc. must follow the booth type line-of-sight rules: approved equipment in inline and corner spaces must be 5' back from the aisle; approved equipment in island booths must allow for a minimum of 2' from the aisle to absorb traffic.

All exhibit display elements, including opening doors, moving display parts, hanging signs, etc. must always be entirely within the confines of the cubic content of the booth space and may not overhang or rotate into the aisle at any time.

Notification of Vehicles, Equipment and Multi-Level Booths

If you plan to include a vehicle or equipment as part of your display, if your equipment or vehicle exceeds your booth height limit or the floor load capacity, or if you plan to have a multi-level/covered booth, you must submit the information regarding the vehicle, equipment, or multi-level booth for approval.

Submit Booth approval request

Pipe & Drape

Exhibitors whose booths are set with pipe and drape (Inline, Perimeter and Shared Island) are permitted to use the pipe only to hang items comparable to the existing drape such as similar drape or a banner. No other use of either the pipe or drape is permitted.

  • Only S-hooks may be used to hang exhibitor materials from the pipe
  • The use of zip ties or any other hanging hardware is prohibited
  • Items hung from the pipe as part of the exhibitor's display must be solely visible within the contracted exhibitor's space and may not interfere with any other exhibitor's contracted space

Cameras & Filming

Only the Exhibitor may grant permission to have his/her exhibit and/or product photographed or videotaped. Exhibitor grants to WEF an exclusive, royalty-free, non-revocable license to WEF to use the photographs, videos, or other likenesses taken by employees or agents of WEF at WEFTEC in any and all media of any and all nature, now or hereafter developed, including but not limited to print and electronic media, in and for all languages, for WEF’s educational and promotional purposes throughout the entire World.

The only videotaping or electronic recording of any exhibit or equipment in the WEFTEC exhibit halls which may take place is by the Exhibitor recording his/her own exhibit or equipment. Any exhibitor taking photographs or videotape of another's exhibit or product without permission must relinquish the film or digital media upon request; the film or digital media will be disposed of one year after being relinquished. Exhibitors shall comply with the WEFTEC Camera Policy for Media.

WEFTEC Camera Policy

Covered & Multi-Level Booths

MultiLevel Booths or Ceilings (including tents)

  • All multi-level and booths covered with a ceiling must be pre-approved by show management and the Convention Center
  • Review all requirements below prior to submitting booth approvals
  • Requests for approval must include complete renderings with dimensions, showing all views, along with all information required by McCormick Place

Submit the Booth Design Approval Request no later than September 3, 2021. Submissions must include renderings or diagrams of your design with width and height dimensions of all major structures and signage.

Submit Booth approval request 

Double-decker booths or booths with ceilings (including tents) were previously required to be equipped with fire safety devices. However, the Fire Safety Department and major show contractors have worked with CFD to develop specific codes for the trade show environment that would offer a safe and cost-effective alternative to sprinklers. These specific requirements apply to all exhibits that have a ceiling or second story.

Booths fall into one of the five following booth formats:

  • Format 1: Exhibits with two stories under 225 square feet
  • Format 2: Exhibits with two stories at or over 225 square feet
  • Format 3: Exhibits with ceilings under 225 square feet
  • Format 4: Exhibits with ceilings at or over 225 square feet
  • Format 5: Multiple-level exhibits, which require automatic sprinklers or any of the above exhibits with installed automatic sprinklers. Separate fire code items apply.

For booth formats 1–4, you will need to comply with the fire code items marked yes on the following table:

For exhibits using automatic sprinklers, the amount and type of sprinkler coverage needed depends on the booth specifications. If automatic sprinklers are preferred, or are required, contact our Fire Safety Office to discuss your options.

Fire Code Items for Multiple Level Booths

  • Maximum Dimensions: To avoid the sprinkler requirement, your exhibit must be less than or equal to 2 levels high (maximum 30-foot elevation) or 5,000 square feet of enclosed area.
  • Second Level: Second levels must remain open and uncovered. If they are covered, sprinkler protection will be required. Booths with a third level or more must also have special sprinkler coverage.
  • Staircases: Staircases between levels must be in compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act and meet the following requirements:
    • Minimum of 3 feet in width
    • Provide a handrail on at least one side
    • Provide handrails a maximum of 1-1/2 inches in circumference and turned into walls
    • Not be spiral or winding
    • If the top deck is designed to hold over 10 people, or exceeds 1,200 square feet in area, a second staircase is required which must be remote from the main staircase and meet the same construction requirements.
  • Smoke Detectors: All areas under the second level or ceiling, including closets, need to be equipped with a UL approved (or similarly approved), battery-operated smoke detector. If this space is enclosed after hours, the smoke detector must be audible outside the enclosed area.
  • Fire Extinguishers: A UL-approved (or similarly approved) 2-1/2 pound ABC-type fire extinguisher must be posted in a clearly visible and readily accessible area for each 500 square-foot enclosure.
  • Posted Certificate of Fire Retardancy: A certificate verifying the fire retardancy of your booth construction materials must be posted in a conspicuous place within the exhibit.
  • Certified Approval: After the booth has been designed, the blueprints must be approved and stamped by a licensed professional structural engineer. These blueprints should include dimensions and an isometric rendering. This approval applies to all booth formats outlined previously.
  • Fire Safety Review: Send stamped blueprints for review with the Fire Safety Division and by the Chicago Fire Department, Fire Prevention Bureau at least 60 days before the show opens to allow sufficient time for any needed corrections. Be sure that plans show dimensions and an isometric rendering of your exhibit. In addition, all areas requiring sprinkler protection must be highlighted. If plans are not provided on time, it may cause delays or disapproval of your booth to occur during the pre-show fire inspection.
  • Fire Guards: Once a multiple level booth or a booth with a ceiling is built and completed, and whenever the exhibit or show is closed for business, special fire watch coverage is required. Use of individuals designated as fire guards is subject to prior approval by the McCormick Place Assistant Director of Fire Safety.
  • Americans with Disabilities Act: All exhibits must comply with the ADA. For information on compliance, contact the McCormick Place Assistant Director of Fire Safety.

Submit Booth approval request 

Entertainment

All music and entertainment should be in good taste and not include content that is sexually explicit or verbally offensive. Show Management shall make final decisions on the acceptability of questionable booth activities.

Equipment & Floor Load Capacity

Exceeding Booth Height Limitations

Exhibitions Management may approve requests to display equipment exceeding booth height limits under the following conditions:

  • Equipment exceeding the booth height must be in its standard commercial form, and not altered for exhibit display, or elevated with the use of display pedestals (equipment placed on display pedestals to be at eye level must remain within the height limit).
  • Exhibitor must receive approval from the Exhibitions Manager to display equipment exceeding booth height requirements. This request should be sent by September 3, 2021.
  • Equipment exceeding the booth height cannot have any displayed logos above the booth height limit.
  • No additional logos, signage, etc., may be placed on top of or otherwise affixed above the height limit.
  • Equipment must meet all guidelines outlined by McCormick Place.
  • If there is a possibility this equipment will exceed the floor load, thefloor load exception request must be received by show management no later than September 3, 2021.

Submit your Booth Design Approval Request below to request approval. You must include renderings or diagrams of your design with width and height dimensions of all major structures and signage.

Submit Booth approval request

Exceeding Floor Load

The floor load for both Hall A (South) and Hall B (North) is 400#/sf.

For equipment planned for display in an exhibitor's booth which exceeds the stated weight limits, the exhibitor must supply detailed plans of original equipment and weight load on all points, in accordance with the Center requirements, as well as plans showing proposed method of weight redistribution. A licensed structural engineer must certify plans.

Exhibitor Personal Consumption Policy

McCormick Place allows exhibitors to bring food and beverage items into the facility for personal consumption either individually or collectively as described below:

  • An exhibitor may bring an individual serving of food and beverage with them onto the premises. This will allow for an individual to consume food from an outside vendor on McCormick Place property. An example might be as follows:
    • An individual departs the facility and returns with a sandwich, a slice of pizza, or carryout, and consumes it on McCormick Place property.
  • An exhibitor may bring the equivalent of an individual serving for each of their employees onto the premises to serve to those employees. This will allow an organization to feed members of their staff without forcing each individual to bring their own food. Examples might include the following:
    • An exhibitor orders pizzas and beverages and feeds their staff
    • An exhibitor ships a cooler and several cases of soda with their display to provide beverages to their personnel
    • An exhibitor sends a runner out and has them pick-up a certain number of lunches to provide to their staff.

Any exhibitor or exhibitor employee who chooses to bring food onto the premises must adhere to the following additional requirements.

  • Any exhibitor who brings food and beverage onto the premises will be responsible for the clean-up of any resulting garbage or left-over food.
  • This policy is limited to exhibitors and their employees. Exhibitors are not allowed to bring food into the facility to serve to attendees beyond that which is currently permissible in the facility sampling policy.
  • Exhibitors, Official Service Contractor or Event Organizer are not allowed to authorize any outside caterer or restaurateur to set up cooking, assembly, or serving areas on McCormick Place property.
  • Food and beverage companies are not allowed to sell or solicit sales on McCormick Place property.
  • Deliveries by outside food and beverage companies are not allowed inside the facility,on the exhibit floor, or at back of house areas.
  • Exhibitors and their employees are not allowed to bring alcoholic beverages onto the premises at any time for personal or attendee consumption.

Fire & Safety Regulations

Booth Staging

In addition to equipment and furniture placed within a booth space, Exhibitors can stage the following items:

  • Boxed or loose product, materials or literature
  • Fiber cases used to ship pop‐up displays
  • Personal items such as luggage, purses, briefcases or coats

The following restrictions must be observed when staging these additional items:

  • The amount of product, materials or literature that may be staged within a booth space must not exceed a one‐day supply
  • Items may be placed either in a display case, on a counter, on a shelving unit, in a closet, on a table, under a table or stacked neatly within the booth space
  • Items that are placed under a table must not protrude outside the table dimensions
  • Items that are stacked must not create a tripping hazard or hamper easy movement within the booth space
  • Items may not be placed on or within six inches of floor ports, electrical wiring or cabling.
  • Items may not be placed behind drape within the booth
  • Pallets, empty crates, cartons and boxes may not be stored in the booth space.
  • Staging will not be allowed behind the back wall of the booth and behind the drape within the booth

Fire Safety personnel will patrol the exhibit area. If anyone is in violation, a written notice will be given to the Exhibitor.

Fire Retardancy

Booth construction and decoration materials must be fire retardant. It is suggested that a certificate of retardancy be available at the show to prevent the need for possible on‐ site testing of the material. Fabrics must pass the NFPA‐701 Code, and all other construction and decoration materials must pass the NFPA‐703 Code as well as the UL‐ 1975 test.

General guidelines for material fire retardancy include:

  • Backdrops, tents, canopies, dust and table covers, drapes and similar fabrics: these fabrics can often be made fire retardant by a dry cleaner that can issue a certificate of fire retardancy. Suppliers and/or display manufacturers can also provide a certificate included with the materials.
  • Corrugated cardboard/display boxes: these materials can best be made fire retardant at a factory.
  • Wood and wood by‐products: if wood materials are not sufficiently fire retardant, a certified fire-retardant specialist using pressure impregnation or similar impregnation method must treat them.
  • Polyurethane foam, plastic and similar products need to be treated as well.

Prohibited Materials

The following items are fire-hazardous and prohibited in McCormick Place:

  • All flammable compressed gases, such as propane and butane
  • Explosives and live ammunition
  • Untreated Christmas trees, cut evergreens or similar trees
  • Fireplace logs and similar materials
  • Charcoal
  • Untreatem mulch, Hay Straw, Bamboo and Spanish Moss

McCormick Place Fire & Safety Regulations

 

Flooring

Booth flooring is required. Exhibitors may order carpet from Freeman, have carpet or alternative-type flooring provided by a third-party, or provide their own flooring.

Stick-on flooring is prohibited. Exhibitors may not use adhesive to adhere items to the center floor.

Exhibitors providing their own flooring must cover the full square footage of the booth.

Fog/Smoke Machines

The level of fog/smoke used as part of an event may set off the fire alarm system. To eliminate this fire safety issue, McCormick Place restricts usage of fog/smoke machines to water based chemicals. The Fire Safety Department must obtain advance approval. A copy of the MSDS covering the machine along with an outline of where it will be used and a schedule including rehearsal and show times must be given to your Event Manager for review.

Show Management must separately approve the use of fog/smoke machines.

Submit request to use a fog/smoke machine in your booth

Hanging Signs & Display Items

Only Freeman is authorized to rig within the facility. Exhibitors requiring hanging of signs, lights, etc., must submit a structural integrity form to Freeman. All ceiling rigging must conform to Show Management rules and regulations and facility limitations.

Island Booths

The maximum height for hanging signs in Island Booths is 18 feet (5.4864 meters) at the top of the sign. Hanging Signs and Graphics for Island Booths must be directly over contracted exhibit space only and, if rotating, may not rotate into the aisles at any time.

Shared Island Booths

The maximum height for hanging a sign is 18 feet (5.4864 meters) at the top of the sign. Hanging Signs and Graphics for Shared Island Booths must be set back 5 feet (1.52 meters) from the shared drape line. 

IAEE Regulations

NOTE: Inline/Corner/Standard and Perimeters booths may not hang signs.

Shipping Hanging Signs

Overhead hanging signs are to be sent in separate containers directly to advance warehouse using the Hanging Sign Labels. This container MUST arrive by the October 5th warehouse shipping deadline. If these procedures are not followed‚ Freeman cannot guarantee the hanging of your sign or advance pricing.

Approved Labor

All overhead hanging and rigging must be assembled, installed, and removed by Freeman. Please refer to the Freeman Terms and Conditions found in the Exhibitor Service Manual.

  • Set up instructions must be provided for signs needing assembly.
  • Hanging anchor points must be pre-fabricated and ready for use.
  • Electrical signs must be in working order and in accordance with the National Electrical Code.
  • Electrical Service requirements must be ordered in advance using the Electrical Service Order Form
  • If any hang point supports are over 250 lbs., notify Freeman immediately for special authorization.

Height variances will not be issued.

McCormick Place Hanging Item Policies

Hanging items are defined as any materials, including but not limited to, signs and machinery, which are hung from or attached to ceilings, exhibit structures or building supports. All requests for hanging items other than signs must be reviewed and approved by Show Management. For items weighing 500 lbs. or more, drawings must be reviewed, signed and stamped by a licensed structural engineer to certify structural integrity and safety. The responsibility to hang an item is shared by your general service contractor and the utility provider.

  • These rules and regulations provide absolute limits which cannot be exceeded under any circumstances or conditions.
  • Fire Retardant regulations apply to hanging items. Refer questions regarding fire retardancy to the Fire Safety Manager at (312) 791‐6079.
  • No hanging items are to be hung from any electrical fixtures, raceways, water, gas, air, fire protection, communications lines, piping, supports or hangers.
  • All electrical and neon items must conform to City of Chicago Electrical Codes.
  • The use of MIS, Octonorm or similar components systems for hanging signs is not permitted in McCormick Place.

Lighting & Sound

Booth Lighting

Exhibitors should adhere to the following guidelines when determining booth lighting:

  • No lighting, fixtures or overhead lighting are allowed outside the boundaries of the exhibit space.
  • Lighting including gobos should be directed to the inner confines of the booth space. Lighting cannot project onto other exhibits or show aisles.
  • Lighting which is potentially harmful, such as lasers or ultraviolet lighting, is prohibited.
  • Lighting that flashes, rotates, pulsates or has other specialized effects is prohibited.
  • Lighting simulating UV lights must be masked with smoked plexiglass or masked with drape so that the lights do not disturb neighboring exhibitors.

Sound in Booths

Public address systems are not permitted. The noise level from any demonstration or sound system should be kept to a minimum and should not interfere with others. Any speakers must be directed into the middle of the exhibitor’s booth space. The Water Environment Federation reserves the right to determine at what point sound constitutes interference with others and must be discontinued.

Personnel & Representatives

Exhibit booths must be attended and maintained by at least one exhibitor or exhibitor representative at all times during show hours. All representatives of the exhibitor must be registered and receive a badge to be admitted to the exhibit hall and participate in the vendor’s booth.

Booth representatives and exhibitor’s officers, agents, and employees may not wear clothing that WEF deems excessively scanty or revealing, or otherwise inappropriate or not in keeping with the character of the Exhibition. Prohibited apparel includes, but is not limited to, bathing suits, lingerie, excessively short skirts or shorts and/or other attire WEF deems scanty or revealing.

Selling in the Exhibition

The on-site sale and/or delivery of goods is not permitted. Any violation of this requirement will result in the termination of the existing contract for exhibit space without refund.

Vehicle Displays

Vehicle Notification Required

Show Management must be advised of all vehicles that will be displayed (regardless of whether they have previously displayed at WEFTEC) by August 27, 2021

The following information must be included:

  • Vehicle type
  • Dimension (L/W/H)
  • Weight
  • Whether the vehicle is in its normal commercial form, or has been modified for display (and if, so, how)
  • Whether attendees will be invited/anticipated to enter the vehicle

Submit your vehicle display approval request below to notify Show Management.

SUBMIT VEHICLE DISPLAY approval request

All vehicles must move in on Wednesday, October 13.

Exhibitors should confirm orders and their vehicle move-in date with Freeman to ensure a smooth delivery of the vehicle.

Vehicle Display Requirements

  • Any vehicle or other apparatus that has a fuel tank and is part of a display, is required to be equipped with a locking (or taped) gas cap and can contain no more than 1/8 tank of fuel.
  • Once the vehicle has been positioned, it cannot be moved during show hours, without prior approval by the Fire Safety Manager or Designee.
  • Battery cables must be disconnected once the vehicle is positioned. The engine cannot be operated during show hours.
  • Refueling must be done off property.