Farrell, who will chair the Building for Life scheme, praised the HBF for backing it, but said that it would require sustained effort.
He said: "This is a bridge-building exercise, and now we have to make sure that we keep the housebuilders with us."
Jon Rouse, CABE chief executive, said that the involvement of the HBF in the scheme was significant.
He said: "It's an important step that represents the maturing of the housebuilding market. Industry is now accepting that good design can add a premium to the value of property."
The three-year initiative, unveiled this week by housing minister Lord Falconer, will produce pilot schemes after an initial stage of developing best practice.
The current aim is to gather a set of exemplary projects on the internet. These will include schemes such as the Caspar estate in Leeds, where innovative design has pushed costs down and profit margins up.
CABE chairman Stuart Lipton said that Building for Life could represent a crusade against "boring boxes."