There was a rise in the number of new homes started in England in 2014, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has reported.

Despite a small decline in the third quarter, the year ended with a continued upward trend in the last quarter. The proportion of completed homes in 2014 was 8% above the 2013 figures, which in actual numbers represents just under 119,000 new homes. While an improvement, this is still below the government’s annual target of approximately 230,000 new homes to meet the housing demand in the UK.

There are concerns about the availability of a sufficiently skilled workforce to provide homes that meet low-energy requirements. BSRIA shares this concern and welcomes initiatives towards addressing these skill shortages.

“The requirements for new homes to comply with the Building Regulations are becoming increasingly complex,” said Saryu Vatal (pictured), BSRIA’s senior consultant in the sustainable construction group. “Some of the solutions are now challenging the ability of the industry to deliver the Zero Carbon Homes standard that is nearly upon us. The industry is faced with the significant challenge of meeting a large demand for housebuilding, while at the same time ensuring that the energy performance of homes is not compromised.”