Lack of knowledge about building science cost Norway billions per year.

Moist and mold growth have for several decades been the largest problems on existing buildings in Norway. Not surprisingly, considering the country’s rough climate and large seasonal temperature variations. A high amount of old buildings also contributes to the problem. Old buildings tend to be poorly ventilated and not have adequately heating. Considering that 70% of Norwegian buildings are more than 40 years old [1] the widespread problem of moist damages should not surprise anyone.

More surprising however, is the extent of moisture problems in new buildings. It is expected that one out of two new buildings in Norway will experience problems with moisture and mold. Despite increased focus on these problems, damages still occur due to poor craftsmanship and lack of knowledge. The leading building research organization in Norway, Byggforsk, claims that lack of knowledge in the field of building physics is one of the biggest challenges in the Norwegian construction industry [2].

The cost of construction errors and defects on new buildings nationwide is about 2.3 billion dollars annually [3]. The number may not seem that big. In fact a study reveals that the 2 billion dollars is the same amount that the US spent on the war in Afghanistan, per week! [4] But if you take the size of the country into account the numbers become more frightening. 2.3 billion dollars equals to 10% of all investment costs in the Norwegian construction industry. Out of all registered defects 76% relates to moist and mold. That means that the cost of registered repairs due to moist problems every year is 7.6% the cost of all new buildings in Norway.

Lack of knowledge is said to be the number one reason for these types of damages. With such high annual costs of reparation it is safe to say that educating more people within the field of building physics and building science would be a good investment.

[1] Statistics Norway (2013)

[2] Mauren, A. (2005) Moist in buildings costs billions.

[3] SINTEF Byggforsk (2003) Construction errors results in major costs.

[4] Terkel, A. (2011) The War In Afghanistan: How Much Are You Paying?


One thought on “Lack of knowledge about building science cost Norway billions per year.

  1. Uh oh, not good! We often turn to our Scandinavian friends to be the exemplars of building science!

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