There are many choices in the marketplace for protecting pumps and mechanical equipment. Regardless of whether it’s a small hydraulic pump or a large booster pump, there are all sorts of options available. Buyers can choose from modular buildings, modular enclosures, and packages where enclosure and pump are one unit and aren't easily separated. They are made with everything from heavy steel to fiberglass. Each option typically comes in all different sizes and shapes and have different ways of opening. We see the famous clam-shells, enclosures with hinged doors, removable doors, and even - if the customer did their homework - enclosures with removable roofs. Here's the thing, each of these has strengths and weaknesses. These myriad options were designed and manufactured to solve someone's problem. Which one solves the most problems? For the sake of brevity, let's just compare two for now. Permanent modular buildings and modular enclosures.
Manufacturers of these enclosures promote themselves as a long-term or permanent solution. Their pump buildings are built to last in various climates and situations. Some of the permanent pump house manufacturers also manufacture the pumps themselves. This should mean they're experts when it comes to their own equipment and may have an advantage over a manufacturer that doesn't also make pumps. Another selling point promoted for this solution is that they are pre-fabricated and come assembled. This eliminates the need to assemble on site. Envirosep, a pump and pump house manufacturer states their enclosures, "eliminate site coordination, and negate start-up irregularities." One other commonly promoted aspect of permanent modular enclosures is that they can be customized. AlliedModular is a manufacturer that offers many different doors, lights, climate control, and finish options. Some of the permanent enclosures are modular and these can be sized to fit the equipment easily.
Aluminum paneled enclosures are constructed from individual insulated panels that are quickly assembled on site and can be easily disassembled if needed. They are not considered to be a permanent structure and therefore there is no need for permits. Since they are made up of panels, each panel can easily be swapped out for a door or access panel. This allows for efficient and safe maintenance and repairs for the equipment. It also means that a single panel can be shipped in to replace a damaged one. Speaking of replacements, many modular enclosures have removable roofs so that the equipment inside can be replaced. The enclosures can be secured to concrete slabs or portable skids to allow for being transported from project site to project site. For aesthetics, they can be colored or even wrapped. Aluminum is very easy to work with and can be customized to meet nearly any specific size requirement. Of course there are many brands, sizes, and layouts of pump applications, and using a modular design makes it easy to size the enclosure specifically for the equipment's needs. Because it's so easy to work with, aluminum also allows for adding piping penetrations on site and fans, louvers, windows and more can be added. If pricing is helping in your decision between these two options, you may be pleased to learn that paneled enclosures are shipped flat in a box which significantly reduces freight costs and damage risks.
We now know what many pump house manufacturers promote as features of their enclosures. Unfortunately for them, if you look at some of those same aspects from a different angle they can be seen as negatives. Since the buildings are permanent structures, some need expensive and time consuming permits to allow for people to access them to perform weekly tasks and maintenance. Easy and fast maintenance is of the utmost importance with this expensive equipment. What a disaster you'd have if it were to fail or need replaced just because permits were taking too much time. Since the shelters are not meant to be taken apart, it stands to reason that the equipment inside is likely difficult to remove and replace if needed. Should the enclosure itself become damaged, it's possible you'd need to replace the entire thing rather than just the damaged area. Additionally, since they are built at the manufacturer's location, then shipped fully put together, shipping costs can be prohibitive. Shipping them pre-built also increases the probability that they will be damaged in transit.
Since they are shipped flat, these shelters must be assembled onsite. Skilled laborers will be able to complete the job quickly and it should only require two men. Here is a video of two of Safe-T-Cover's workers assembling an enclosure. Custom additions are available, but will cost extra, so that's a good thing to keep in mind. Unlike the myriad of styling options available from AlliedModular, you're limited to an aluminum enclosure that can be colored in any of these PAC-CLAD colors, or vinyl wrapped. Since Safe-T-Cover doesn't make pumps, the pump manufacturer must coordinate with us to create a package for the customer, or the customer must order the enclosure themselves. There is a possibility that this would increase costs as it adds a middle man in the process.
Which one solves more problems?
Pump manufacturers and customers want a simple streamlined enclosure that will provide easy access to their equipment while keeping them safe and ready to run when needed. They also want to keep the pumps cool in the summer months and warm in the winter months.