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Is it better for a business to buy or hire a mobile decontamination unit

Is it better for a business to buy or hire a decontamination unit?

Decontamination units are a legal requirement for contractors when working on licensed asbestos removal projects, this means you must have units on-site to comply with WorkSafe ACOP: Management and Removal of Asbestos.  Decon units are also a sizable investment for any business so depending on the companies size and their budget, the volume of projects a company has or aspires to have, project timelines, project delays as well as maintenance and upkeep will influence the decision to buy or hire units.


A mobile decontamination unit costs around $45 000 for a ‘Lightweight Twin Decon Unit’ and $995 per week to hire. That is the weekly cost for 1 unit, so it can impact how many projects a company can take on at any one time.

Number of projects

A company will outline this in their objectives but will also be influenced by their fleet or availability of funds. Buying units at the outset requires a big outlay to enable a business to take on multiple projects straight away, so hiring or a combination of both could be a more affordable option while a business is growing.

Project timelines and delays

Any type of construction project has the ability to run over, so if a business is relying on owned decontamination units, then any delay could have a knock-on effect on the next job as well as customer satisfaction. If a company is relying solely on owned units, then they won’t be able to move on or start anything until they have decontamination units available. Hiring offers a certain level of flexibility to ensure projects can start on time or just act as a good fallback option where there are unforeseen delays and prevent delays on your next project.

It is important to remember that all units require a clearance test at the end of each licensed asbestos removal project before it can be moved off-site or taken to be used on another project. The ‘Clearance Certificate’ should be placed in the clean end; otherwise, it cannot be legally used for another job. Any delays in doing this can cause further delays for projects if waiting on a specific unit.

Maintaining Decontamination Units

As with any mobile facility, there is regular servicing and testing that needs to take place and ensure the decontamination units remain in an optimum and safe condition for use. This includes:

All mobile decontamination units require regular servicing and testing to ensure the units remain in safe working order. This includes:

  • Testing the filters should be carried out every 6 months and should include dispersed oil particulate testing (DOP), and volumetric airflow testing on the HEPA filters
  • Annual gas safe testing of all appliances or equipment within the unit. This must be certified by professional gas fitters and in accordance with a manufacturer’s stipulations.
  • Electrics should have regular visual and detailed inspections by an experienced professional in line with regulations. Decontamination units on-site for prolonged periods of time that exceed 3 months will still require someone to go to site and carry out these inspections.

Records of all testing and maintenance need to be kept for a minimum of 5 years, and copies of the latest version should be kept with the unit for on-site inspection. 

Where a company owns mobile decontamination units, the responsibility falls solely to them to ensure they are serviced and tested regularly by experienced professionals, so they remain in safe working order for a company’s teams.

The final decision

So, whether a business decides to buy, hire, or a combination of both will ultimately come down to the company’s current circumstances and objectives. However, choosing a supplier or partner that can support the business in the desired direction will be important for continuity and customer satisfaction.

Beacon Safety offers high-quality mobile decontamination units to buy or hire. If you have any specific requirements for your project, please don’t hesitate to contact your local branch, where one of the team will be happy to help. We also manufacture our own modular decontamination showers, enabling us to deliver more bespoke solutions when required.