Senior executives at six of the country's biggest housebuilders have joined CABE's design champions initiative.

David Pretty and Stephen Stone, the chief executives of Barratt and Crest Nicholson respectively, are joined by Paul Pedley, executive deputy chairman of Redrow, Graeme McCallum, the operations director of Taylor Woodrow, James Wilson, David Wilson Homes' group development director, and Tony Pidgley, managing director of the Berkeley Group.

The six have promised to champion good design in their businesses in the year ahead.

Pedley has pledged to set up an Urban Design centre at Redrow's Northampton office, and Wilson says managers at David Wilson Homes will assess the designs of all the company's housing layouts.

CABE has challenged every publicly quoted volume housebuilder to follow by appointing a board-level design champion with responsibility for delivering design quality.

There is a recognition that good design can speed up sales rates

Richard Simmons, CABE

Its aim is to ensure design issues play a central role in business strategy and that the commercial and social benefits of good design are clearly communicated to project teams.

Richard Simmons, CABE chief executive, said: "There is a growing recognition in the industry that good design, allied to an understanding of the market, can speed up sales rates."