The invention relates to a system for laying and mechanically joining building panels, especially thin, hard, floating floors. Adjacent joint edges (3, 4) of two panels (1, 2) engage each other to provide a first mechanical connection locking the joint edges (3, 4) in a first direction (D1) perpendicular to the principal plane of the panels. In each joint, there is further provided a strip (6) which is integrated with one joint edge (3) and which projects behind the other joint edge (4). The strip (6) has an upwardly protruding locking element (8) engaging in a locking groove (14) in the rear side (16) of the other joint edge (4) to form a second mechanical connection locking the panels (1, 2) in a second direction (D2) parallel to the principal plane of the panels and at right angles to the joint. Both the first and the second mechanical connection allow mutual displacement of joined panels (1, 2) in the direction of the joint.