New developments and buildings are built all the time, and when this happens, new mailboxes and mail delivery points are added. Around one million new mail delivery points and boxes are added each year, making them a major component in new developments.
Mailboxes are a vital part of any development, and a factor that can affect tenant turnover, customer safety, and the security of your mail. Here are five steps for providing the right mailboxes for your development when seeking USPS delivery.
Step One: Assess Your Space and Involve the USPS. Builders and developers must work with multiple parties when planning any new development, and this includes the USPS. Usually, developers will choose a centralized mail delivery system for a community or commercial complex, though curbside mailboxes, wall-mounted mailboxes, and door slots may work for smaller developments. Most often, new developments with multiple tenants use the centralized, 4C line of USPS-approved mailboxes. These mailboxes use horizontal customer compartments and parcel lockers, all contained within sturdy cabinets, and can mount side by side until all tenant needs are met.
Assessing your space and building plans will identify areas where mailboxes can be installed, and the USPS will help you determine the most convenient type of mail delivery and location.
Typically, mailboxes are installed in a central location such as a building lobby, beside a parking lot, in a kiosk, or in a community clubhouse. Sometimes, they’re installed near the front of a complex or community as well. Centralized mailboxes are good for indoor and outdoor use.
Step Two: Assess Your Tenants and Needs. With Step One, this next step will help you determine which mailbox type is the right one for your development.
Knowing how many, and which type of tenants your mailboxes will serve is important. Commercial tenants may require more parcel lockers or other means for package delivery than residential tenants, though package delivery continues to increase in recent years.
Knowing how many tenants will need mail delivery will help you determine how many customer compartments you need, and how many parcel lockers are required. The mobility of your tenants is also important to consider, as developments meant to serve senior citizens may need a shorter walk distance than others.
Security is also necessary to consider. Some developments, such as healthcare facilities, may need more secure locations for sensitive mail that may contain patient information.
Step Three: Choose Your Mailbox Setup and Check Requirements. Once you know which type of mailbox setup will work for your development, double-check the space and location requirements before your purchase and installation.
It’s important to follow the Americans With Disabilities Act when installing mailboxes, especially centralized ones. Allow three feet of space in front of each customer compartment, no matter where you install, and ensure the compartments themselves meet height requirements. All compartments must be between 28 and 67 inches from the floor, with at least one at or below 48 inches, and every parcel locker must be 15 inches from the floor height or above.
You’ll need at least one parcel locker per ten compartments with non-apartment installations, and at least one parcel locker per five compartments for new apartment developments.
Step Four: Install. This step will vary based on the type of mailboxes you’ve chosen.
Curbside mailboxes will need to go six to eight inches from the curb and stand between 41 and 45 inches high for easy access. Curbside mailboxes must go into a hole no deeper than two feet and ensure that address numbers are clear on the front or side of the mailbox.
Wall-mounted mailboxes must mount near a front door and be easy for the postal carrier to find and deliver to. These are the easiest mailbox types to install.
For door slots, cutting holes into doors is necessary before mounting. Ensure the bottom of every door slot is at least 30 inches from the floor.
Installation instructions vary for centralized, 4C mailboxes. Mounted 4C mailboxes and parcel lockers simply mount to the wall with the included hardware and are the simplest 4C mailbox to install.
Recessed 4C mailboxes will require an opening in a wall (either indoor or outdoor) before installation, so measuring carefully beforehand is a must. Once an opening is achieved, installation can take place for these mailboxes and parcel lockers. Some mailboxes for private delivery will also need a wall opening.
Freestanding mailboxes will need a slab of concrete before installation can take place, making them the most involved type of mailbox to install.
Step Five: Notify the USPS of Completion. This step won’t apply to every type of mailbox. If you’ve installed wall slots, curbside mailboxes, or wall-mounted models, your job is done, and you don’t have to notify the USPS.
If you’ve installed a centralized mailbox system, it will be of the 4C variety, as these are the only approved types for USPS delivery in new developments. These mailboxes have master locks only accessible by the USPS, and it is out of the realm of the property manager or owner to install this last lock.
When you notify the USPS of your new mailboxes, an employee will come out and complete the final step of installation, as well as ensure that your system meets USPS requirements. You should have already completed this step when choosing your mailbox.
Once the master lock is installed, your mailbox system is ready for delivery. Distribute the tenants’ keys to each tenant and keep any extras in a central location to distribute to new tenants.
Making Sure You Get It Right
If you have questions about how to choose and install the right mailbox type for your community or business development, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at National Mailboxes. We’re here to help you choose the right setup for your development, and to ensure safe and convenient mail delivery for years to come.