Building sector fears fallout from fungus-forming facade panels

Panels containing magnesium could cause damage costing over a billion kroner

The engineering publication Ingeniøren is calling it one of the biggest building scandals in decades. Hundreds of buildings in Denmark have had panels containing magnesium (MgO panels) mounted on their facades as a wind barrier, but it has since emerged that the panels absorb moisture and could have caused damage amounting to over a billion kroner.

It was assumed that the MgO panels would reduce the risk of fungus, which was a known problem with conventional plasterboard solutions, but they in fact absorb even more moisture.

Product of choice
The building industry has not yet calculated the full extent of the problem, but MgO panels were the wind blocker of choice from 2010 until the problem first came to light at the end of 2014. As much as 100,000 sqm of panels were sold each month.

The panels have been used for all types of buildings, from residential houses and flats to schools and nursery buildings.

Henrik Garver, the head of the engineering association Foreningen af Rådgivende Ingeniører (FRI), emphasised the implications of the problem.

“I can’t think of a building scandal of this magnitude before,” he said.

“There’s no doubt there are big consequences in all of the buildings affected. Corrosion can destroy a whole building.”