Rising costs in residential mail delivery in the latter part of the 20th century, led the United States Postal Service (USPS) to mandate centralized mail delivery utilizing Cluster Box Units for new suburban neighborhoods and community developments. A post-decision review revealed that the USPS decision to require cluster box unit mailboxes had actually cut costs by more than 56%.
Canada Adopts Cluster Box Mailboxes
Following the United States’ mandate, the neighboring nation to the north, Canada, soon followed suit with a requirement to not only use the cluster box units for centralized mail delivery in suburban developments but also in rural communities where mail delivery to individual mailboxes was prohibitively expensive to maintain.
In Canada, these cluster box units (also known as CBU cluster mailboxes or CBU mailboxes in the United States) were commonly called supermailboxes as well as community mail boxes or CMB’s. For Canadian residents, CMB’s are commonly placed with newspaper stands throughout the nation.
Cluster Box Units for New US Construction
In the United States, properties that utilize a single mailing address were already utilizing cluster mailboxes to provide centralized mail delivery to their tenants but the new mandate from the USPS required these same cluster box unit mailboxes to also be used in all new construction housing developments plus gated communities, townhomes, condominiums, and the like.
Convenience and Safety of Cluster Box Units
And the cluster box units simply work; logistically and economically. CBU cluster mailboxes are easy to install, keep mail safe and provide significant savings to the USPS. In fact, during the horrific hurricane Katrina that devastated New Orleans and other gulf cities, the Federal Emergency Management Agency quickly erected cluster mailbox units among the temporary housing developments so that residents had a simple and secure way to retrieve their mail.
In the U.S., a property with a single mailing address but with multiple mail recipients may utilize a USPS approved community mail station designated CBU, or Cluster Box Unit. CBUs are typically stand-alone units that have locked individual compartments for each tenant in an apartment building, a trailer or mobile home park (or, in commercial settings, an office center). Such installations of cluster box unit mailboxes were vital to victims of Katrina as it allowed them to retrieve federal funds that were mailed to them, as well as financial aid from other organizations or family members.
Today, many US residents actually prefer cluster box unit mailboxes to their former counterparts as the CBU mailboxes provide a strong sense of safety and security. Residents know their mail is securely protected from mail and identity thieves, and many comment that going to a centralized mail delivery center with cluster box unit mailboxes simply feels safer than walking alone to one’s private mailbox.
Cluster Box Units Include Parcel Lockers
Cluster box mailboxes also allow residents to receive packages securely through a secure parcel locker located in each cluster box unit. Additionally, builders and developers also prefer cluster mailboxes as the cost per unit installed is lower than individual mailboxes and the installation process is simple and straightforward.
Plus, in new housing developments the USPS allows the developer to decide the location of the cluster mailboxes (although it is always advisable to seek advice on the location as well as approval from one’s local postmaster).
The MailboxWorks, the nation’s leading provider of cluster box unit mailboxes, provides not only the widest selection of CBU cluster mailboxes but also expert guidance in selecting the appropriate cluster box units among the variety of sizes, colors, as well as accessories.
Written By Robert Urgo