Timber Heading: FAQs

What is a timber heading?

A timber Heading is a traditional horizontal technique where timber sets are used to support a tunnel construction. The tunnel is manually excavated, and supported by the timber sets, enabling the installation of sewer pipes where access is limited, and standard methods of sewer connection can’t be employed. This method hasn’t really changed in decades and is a specialised skill.

When is timber heading used?

This method of trenchless sewer connection dates back centuries, but it is very much still relevant today – it’s regularly used in London and in other large city centres, where space constraints, busy roads, and dense development make laying sewers in trenches very difficult, or sometimes impossible in terms of logistics. Timber heading can also be used for reasons such as maintaining access services in a tunnel or connecting to an existing utility system.

Timber heading is a useful technique for housing developers or homeowners who want to connect their new sewerage or storm water pipes to existing services, this is because using timber heading would prevent the disruption of traffic and pedestrian walkways whilst underground construction is being carried out. As well as reducing disruption, it can often be more economical than other methods which would require road closure charges etc.

Why might I need a timber heading service?

A timber heading would usually be used when open cut excavation isn’t a possibility and Directional Boring (HDD) or Auger Boring are not a suitable option.

What experience does PDS have with timber heading?

Timber heading is a specialist service and should only be carried out by experienced professionals like Premier Drainage Solutions. We offer a timber heading service alongside our other sewer connection and drainage services.

We can carry out timber heading works across Essex, Hertfordshire, Suffolk, Kent and beyond, working with Thames Water, Anglian Water and Southern Water as an approved contractor.

PDS can help you from start to finish, identifying where your nearest sewer is, liaising with your local public water authority to organise your sewer connection, and doing the physical connection itself on your behalf as a registered contractor.

Example of timber heading in use

At Premier Drainage Services we are experienced with timber heading projects. A fantastic example is our work with a client who wanted to connect to the public sewer within the highway in central London. As the carriageway was a designated Red Route, a standard approach would have meant incurring a very high cost in lane closures and Transport For London rental scheme daily charges. With this in mind, we decided to propose a timber heading, which actually worked out more economical than open-cut trenching when the extra costs of road closures were compared. Using a timber heading, our work was carried out from the site boundary, by tunnelling out to the main public sewer within the highway, keeping all traffic flowing as normal.

Not only did we ensure minimum cost and disruption to the client with this solution, but we also received excellent feedback thanking us for our services and efficiency. You can read the full case study about our how we carried out the work for Thames Water here.

The importance of using sewer connection specialists

When it comes to drainage and sewage connections, it’s important to ensure you are using specialists who know what they are doing. Only approved contractors are allowed to make connections to the main drains and public sewer networks. We also follow all the latest legislation, to ensure you meet all legal requirements and prevent you from incurring any issues with environmental pollution.

Why choose Premier Drainage Solutions?

This is a specialist service and should only be carried out by experienced professionals like Premier Drainage Solutions. We have over 40 years’ experience in the industry and believe in early contractor involvement, helping you save the maximum amount of time and money on your sewer connection project. We offer free advice on the best sewer connection method and help take care of all the compliance paperwork, including: 

  • Section 106 applications: Permission from the sewer provider to connect to the public sewer
  • Section 50 applications. Highways permission to place new apparatus in the highway (when installing lateral pipes from the development boundary to public sewer in the highway).

Get in touch

If you’d like help with a project, or need a solution to any drainage problem, we’re happy to help and can set up a free site visit to get more details about your needs. Contact us on 01268 950050, or email: [email protected]

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