If you’re considering building a timber-framed house, don’t ask Janet Street-Porter to help. Apparently the outspoken journalist is not up to much on a construction site or, allegedly, keen on taking instruction from anyone who is. Lugubrious comic Bill Bailey is different. His building skills aren’t all that great either, but he will roll up his sleeves and keep the rest of the team chuckling while they work.

The above comes from the experience of Craig White, architect and chairman of the timber industry’s Wood for Gold London Olympics lobbying campaign. He was involved with the construction of the eco-home built with the “help” of celebrity labour, including Janet and Bill, at the Grand Designs Live show last month. The ground floor of the house used an engineered-wood-framed straw-bale walling system and the upper storey insulated structural plywood panels.

The building needed a few tweaks to make it marketable. But it looked good, was very energy efficient and survived thousands of people tramping through it at the show. Despite the cack-handed star builders, it was also put up in five days.

Primarily this was a bit of TV entertainment, but it did, said Mr White, highlight the potential of timber construction to produce quick-build, eco-friendly housing.

At TRADA’s In Touch with Timber 2012 Games-themed conference, he said that, while it hasn’t yet been chosen for a main arena, effectively promoted these properties should help win Olympics building projects for timber.

According to our special report this week, the same characteristics are already driving the wider UK timber frame sector. In 1998 it accounted for 8.4% of new housing; today that figure is 22% and rising.

Questions remain over the benefit of the timber frame surge to the broader timber industry. Some feel it could cut the trade out of the loop. Others say it presents an opportunity for diversification and helps create a generally more timber-friendly market place. But one thing is sure, if not even Janet Street-Porter can stand in its way, the momentum of UK timber frame looks pretty much unstoppable.