4 things to consider when purchasing a mobile containment unit
When it comes to mobile containment, there are many different options on the market. Each offers great benefits, some more than others; so how do you filter through and decide which containment unit is the best option for your facility? Paying attention to these 4 key factors will ensure you get the most out of your budget and make a smart purchasing decision for your facility.

1. Time
When working above-ceiling, we’re often required to move locations more than a few times to finish the job. In order to work efficiently, it’s important that your containment is able to move with you easily. Mobile containment in general is much quicker than building temporary containment around your work area, but which mobile containment units are the easiest to set-up and move?

Soft-sided units typically require at least two people to complete set-up in a reasonable amount of time. It can often take up to 10 minutes to completely set up the unit by setting up poles and attaching the fabric or plastic cover. When you’re ready to move, you must adjust the poles and fabric attachment and drag it to your next location which can take up to an additional 10 minutes. This can potentially add an additional 20-30 minutes to complete each job.

Hard-sided units are definitely much easier to move, as they require little to no set-up time and are able to move to each location with your ladder and tools stored inside. With the unit already in place, all you need to do is raise the top to the ceiling and begin working. Some units can require the use of additional tools to raise the top, while others can be more like the soft sided units, where you must raise each pole to the ceiling one at a time. The Solution™ is the only hard-sided unit on the market with that allows you to raise the top in one swift movement with the One-Step Lift and Lock Mechanism™.

Be sure to research the set-up mechanisms and times for each of these units before purchasing to ensure that your containment will make your job easier and not more difficult.

2. Effectiveness
Effectiveness is perhaps the most important thing to consider when purchasing a mobile containment unit. Keeping dust and debris from above the ceiling contained and out of sensitive areas is most likely the reason you are looking for mobile containment in the first place. If your unit is not capable of effectively trapping dust and debris, there may be no point in using one at all.

When working inside a soft-sided unit, dust and debris can attach to the sides and collect in the folds and crevices of the fabric. Although it collects any debris from above the ceiling, the fabric can be difficult to vacuum or wipe down and is very time-consuming to clean. Even the most cautious of workers will have a hard time containing all the dust inside the unit when collapsing it or moving it to the next location.

Hard-sided units have a much easier time maintaining high quality infection control because they are easier to clean. The hard sides allow for a quick vacuum or wipe down with disinfectants before moving to the next location. Be sure to pay attention for differences between hard-sided units as well. Most hard-sided units offer a smaller fabric attachment at the top, which is easily removed, washed and replaced, while others offer hard sided bellows that may trap dust and be time-consuming to clean. For more sensitive areas, some hard-sided units, including The Solution, offer a zippered top option which closes off the top of the unit to prevent dust from escaping out the top of the unit when in storage or transport.

Be sure to think about cleanliness and the effectiveness of the unit to ensure that you are purchasing something that will actually work.

3. Durability
Ensuring your unit is made of quality materials can ensure you will get more use out of the unit over multiple years. It will also help to eliminate any extra costs due to replacement parts and pieces over the lifetime of the unit.

Soft-soft sided units are much less durable than hard-sided units due to their fabric construction. Soft-sided units are very susceptible to rips and/or tears. Replacing the fabric cover will add to the overall cost of the unit if it needs to be replaced several times.

Since most hard-sided units are composed of sheet metal, they are much more durable and less susceptible to damage. Though in some units, the fabric surrounding the top of the unit could tear, it’s easier and less expensive to replace. Steel and structural aluminum construction makes hard-sided units, like The Solution, much more durable and long lasting.

Not only can replacing parts can add to the lifetime cost of the unit, you’ll have to take the unit out of commission while waiting for replacement parts to arrive. This downtime can add to the overall cost of ownership.

4. Convenience
In the field, we often hear maintenance personnel and contractors complaining about using a mobile containment unit because it makes their job more difficult. You shouldn’t be working harder for mobile containment; mobile containment unit should be working harder for you. When purchasing a mobile containment unit, ask yourself: is this unit going to make my job easier and faster? Look for features such as additional power outlets, storage, lighting and other added conveniences that can add to your productivity.

Soft-sided units have little room to create a storage area for small tools, laptops, or electrical power. Without these nearby, a facility worker using a soft-sided unit may have to constantly be going in and out of the unit, wasting time and creating more opportunities for the harmful contaminants to escape the unit. Another problem with soft-sided units is that most units require the additional purchase of a negative air machine. This external negative air machine must be dragged around on a separate cart from the main unit and cannot be turned on or off from inside the unit.

Hard-sided units normally offer more options. Most have a built-in shelf and storage unit with power outlets for you to be able to power, charge, or store tools nearby while working. Some hard-sided units, specifically The Solution, come standard with a built-in HEPA air filtration unit with a variable CFM switch. This allows you to turn the air-filtration system on/off, adjust fan speed, and ensure a negative pressure environment, all from inside the unit. These units also allow for ladders to remain set up during movement, as the unit does not need to be broken down when moving between locations. This allows you to keep your work area set-up, so you can spend more time working and less time moving.

Which Unit is Right for You?
Each type of unit has its pros and cons, some outweighing more than others depending on the needs of your facility. While soft-sided units may be less expensive up front, the overall cost can be more due to additional labor expenses and the replacement of parts and pieces. The time saved with a hard-sided unit with easy set-up, gives you more opportunity to work on the task at hand and allows you to be more productive. Make sure that you research these factors thoroughly before making a decision. The time spent looking at your options, will be worth the money saved by purchasing the right unit for your facility.

The Solution line of mobile containment units by PREVENT Life Safety are the fastest and easiest-to-use of any hard-sided mobile containment units on the market. Our proprietary One-Step Lift and Lock Mechanism make set-up and movement by one person quick and easy. Our units offer several options for added convenience, such as a built-in HEPA air-filtration, storage areas, retractable cord reel, multiple power outlets and much more.

For more information on The Solution line of mobile containment units, visit www.thesolutioncontainment.com or give us a call today at 800-822-8489!
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