In the course of designing a community, be it homes, apartments or condos, it’s easy to get lost in the details. At first glance, centralized mailbox systems might seem low on the priority list. However, a well-planned mailbox system is integral to community design and keeping construction projects on time and on budget.

Developers must balance the needs of the tenants with the needs of the project when considering which cluster mailbox is most appropriate for their community. Here are just a few things to keep in mind in the search for the right mailbox system.

1.  Accessibility

mailbox accessibility

There are several federal laws that govern the design of apartment building mailboxes with the aim of ensuring that there is equality of accessibility, not just for your residents but also USPS workers.

The mailboxes must be designed so that mail carriers can quickly and easily deliver their customer’s packages. Today, this is mostly done through a centralized mail delivery system. 

Centralized mail delivery has become the norm for most new housing developments as required by the USPS. Having mail delivered in one place drastically reduces the amount of time mail carriers spend delivering packages and reduces the environmental impact of having a vehicle deliver to multiple physical addresses in a small area.  

A common location in your community for mail delivery also deters criminal actions such as theft and vandalism, along with offering an opportunity for architects and designers to incorporate the community mailbox structure within the common space design of the development.

Mailboxes do not have to simply be utilitarian: Make them something your residents will be proud of. For more ideas on how to incorporate apartment mailboxes into your overall design, check out Florence’s Architects Toolkit or Builder/Developer Toolkit

2. Space

In the age of one-day shipping, people are receiving more packages than ever before. As a result, manufacturers have been updating their designs to accommodate the larger volume of deliveries. 

The actual physical dimensions of each personal mailbox are large enough to accommodate small packages — this is a USPS design principle. Furthermore, the mailbox must be located so that USPS delivery is fast and efficient. This is why it is so important to contact local Post Office early in the process so you can gain approval of the location of the central mail center or clustered locations throughout your housing development  

It’s essential to choose the right cluster mailbox that can accommodate the number of packages and mail residents are expected to receive. Think about who’s living in your community; family, retiree and single-occupant housing developments all have their own distinctive needs that should be incorporated into the mail center design. Consideration of resident needs must be a top priority.

3. Cooperation

The needs of your residents should be taken into consideration at every level of community design. Consulting with the local USPS delivery operations official early in the process will help you select the type of mailbox that will satisfy the resident’s needs in your specific community. The USPS also wants to ensure residents are satisfied with the mailbox solution as well, whether it be free-standing pedestal cluster mailboxes and parcel lockers or a centralized mail center kiosk with wall-mounted mailboxes and other mailroom accessories.  

Studies have shown that a well-designed mailroom and mailbox system corresponds to a large increase in resident satisfaction. Mailrooms create a sense of connection in the community. 

Through proper planning and attention to circulation and aesthetics, designers and architects can provide a sense of place and community resulting in more meaningful housing.

4. Flexibility and Security

mailbox package security

The ability to receive packages, as well as mail, is more important than ever. Apartment mailboxes that provide ample shared parcel locker space recognize the growth in package delivery to homes and help to future-proof your project.

Resident’s safety and privacy should be a top consideration when choosing your mailbox system. The community’s mail center should be convenient and easy to use while also providing security of resident information. For instance, sequential numbering on mailbox doors provides privacy and security for residents by not tying the mailbox to their apartment or house number. 

5. Compliancy

A variety of federal laws and local codes govern the design and placement of mailboxes. Compliance with these regulations is absolutely necessary to avoid expensive delays in construction as well as fines and fees. Furthermore, many of these codes are integral to maintaining the happiness of residents as well as providing appropriate access to essential services.

To ensure that residents receive their mail and packages, your multi-unit mailboxes must meet the requirements set by the USPS specifications.

Following regulations set forth in legislation, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act as well as the standards set by the United States Postal Service, can seem a daunting task. Consulting with an expert mailbox provider, one who knows code requirements in detail, prior to construction will help ensure your mailbox project is compliant with all requisite regulations.   

6. Design Mindful

mailbox design options

Apartment building mailboxes have a reputation for being tacked on at the end of a project, almost as an afterthought. Your community’s mail system should be a direct reflection of your architectural design as well as the resident population it serves. 

Mailboxes can be wonderful accents in the community. Thoughtful planning is important to ensure these common use spaces are functional, convenient, compliant and attractive places for residents — after all, mail centers are spaces that residents visit and use nearly every day! There is a myriad of mailbox options to choose from to complement your project’s style and needs.  

7. Efficiency

There are numerous reasons a construction project can fall behind schedule — don’t let planning and selecting multi-unit mailboxes slow your project down. Florence’s authorized dealers can assist you in planning your mailbox installation every step of the way, freeing you up to focus on other aspects of your project. 

Florence has been in the business of designing and supplying USPS-approved centralized mailboxes and parcel lockers for more than 85 years and manufactures its mailboxes in the heart of the United States, in Manhattan, Kansas.   

For more information about Florence,  visit their website, browse through their catalog or contact a Florence dealer near you for project-specific assistance.