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Beacon UK Decontamination

Should a business hire or buy mobile decontamination units?

Decontamination units are a considerable investment for any business but an essential part of all licensed asbestos removal projects for contractors, that means you need to have them to carry out any work to complying with HSE guidelines.   Depending on the size of a business contributing factors such as budget, number of projects a business has or wants, project timelines and delays as well as maintenance and upkeep will impact the decision to buy or hire a decon unit in varying degrees.


Mobile decontamination units to buy start at around £15, 500 for a basic twin unit or £245 per week to hire, this is only for 1 unit so will impact how many projects a business can take on.

Number of projects

This will be outlined by the business objectives and decontamination shower availability within a fleet.  Buying straight away to take on multiple projects requires a big initial outlay so potentially hiring to start, or a combination of buying and hiring while a business grows or builds up funds could be a more affordable option. 

Project timelines and delays

In construction projects of any type timelines have a habit of running over, if a business is relying on owned units then any delays could impact on the next job and customer satisfaction especially if they are time sensitive.  Where there is a need to relying on owned units then this can restrict the ability to move on and start anything else.  Hiring provides a certain level of flexibility as a fresh unit can be booked and delivered ready for a project.  Where a business is relying on an owned decontamination unit, hiring is a good backup plan where there are unforeseen delays so not to impact the next job.

Also all units are subject to a clearance test at the end of each asbestos removal project and before it can’t be removed off site or used for another job until that is completed.  A ‘Clearance Certificate’ should be placed in the clean end on successful completion otherwise it can not be legally used for anything else.  This can further impact planned timelines for next projects if relying on specific units. 


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

  • 6 monthly filter testing which should include dispersed oil particulate testing (DOP), and volumetric airflow testing on the HEPA filters
  • Any gas appliances need to be serviced by experienced GAS Safe certified gas fitters and in accordance with manufacturer’s recommendations
  • Electrics require regular visual and detailed inspections by a competent person in accordance with IEE code of conduct and IEE guidance notes.  Full details available in the HSE guidelines on page 166.  Decontamination units on-site for prolonged periods of time which exceeds 3 months will still require someone to go to site and carry out these tests.

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. 

If a business owns the mobile decontamination units, then responsibility falls with them to ensure all of these areas are maintained to safe standards and by the competent individuals. 

Making the decision

Buy, hire or a combination will ultimately be down to a business’s circumstances and objectives, however picking a partner or supplier that can support you which ever direction you go will be essential for continuity and customer satisfaction.

Beacon International have a fleet of high quality mobile decontamination units which are available to buy or hire. If you can’t find what you need on our website please don’t hesitate to contact one of the team, we have an extensive range of stock products which we can offer.  We also manufacture our own modular decontamination showers, allowing us to deliver bespoke solutions if required.