Focus on Mail Delivery Efficiency; Commercial Mailboxes & USPS Revised Procedures

May 1, 2012

Florence 4C MailboxesEffective April 5, 2012, the Postal Service™ revised the Postal Operations Manual regarding modes of delivery and delivery equipment concerning Commercial Mailboxes such as 4C Commercial Mailboxes and CBU Mailboxes. This article will cover the changes made to business delivery locations for builders, developers, and property owners who are in the process of considering STD-4C commercial mailboxes and CBU mailboxes for their property development.

UPDATE: 4C Pedestal Mailboxes have been discontinued as of November 30, 2020. The USPS Cluster Box Unit (CBU) Mailbox is now the standard for all multi-family mail delivery.

The revised USPS procedures apply to new mail delivery locations and were implemented so that future costs can be controlled whenever new mail delivery locations are added to the postal routes.

As the reason for the policy update is clearly stated in the postal operations manual, it is prudent for builders and developers to begin considering USPS efficiencies in their decision-making process for commercial mailboxes located on their property.

The USPS is making it clear that mail delivery efficiency is a major driver in their approval process for commercial mailboxes so planners can expedite the approval process by carefully considering the location of 4c commercial mailboxes and CBU mailboxes from the USPS’s perspective.

Builders and developers should note that for all new commercial mail delivery locations, Postal Service representatives are required to meet with developers and builders early in the process. This early meeting is designed to ensure the best choices for mail delivery are being made for the USPS and to ensure the mode of delivery conforms to Postal Service policies. It is in the builders’ and developers’ best interest to request this meeting early on in the design process so that plan revisions for 4C commercial mailboxes and CBU mailboxes can be minimized.

Builders and developers should understand that for all establishments and extensions, the Postal Service will consider three options for delivery service:

  1. Delivery to the Door
  2. Delivery to Curbline Boxes
  3. Or Delivery to Central Delivery Points or Receptacles

As the USPS is focused on expediency, the centralized delivery points and receptacles (such as the STD-4C commercial mailboxes and CBU mailboxes) are likely candidates for a quick approval. Expect that the USPS will consider the type and design of buildings as they make their delivery choices as a building type and design governs the delivery mode they direct to be implemented.

The new commercial mailboxes policies state specifically that central mail delivery service is “for all business office buildings, office complexes, and industrial or professional parks. This may include:

  • Call Windows
  • 4c Commercial Mailboxes
  • Horizontal Locked Mail Receptacles
  • Cluster Box Units (CBU Mailboxes)
  • Wall-Mounted Receptacles
  • Or Me­chanical Conveyors (Mechanical conveyors are only for high-rise and multiple-tenant buildings, and only if certain conditions are met; consult your postmaster for details)

If the office building for your commercial mailboxes contains an elevator and if the offices are open to receive mail on all normal service days (or if door slots are provided), builders and developers should be aware that mail delivery can be authorized to all floors of such office buildings. If however, there is no elevator, then builders and developers should note that the postmaster would authorize postal service delivery to the first floor to a centralized mail distribution location such as STD-4C commercial mailboxes.

When locating commercial mailboxes, builders and developers should be aware that exceptions by postmasters might be granted to single points on the first floor and, upon request, to the second floor if offices are also on that floor.

Again, in order to improve mail delivery efficiency, the USPS has specified that central delivery mail receptacles (including USPS STD-4C commercial mailboxes equipment and CBU mailboxes, delivery centers, and postal centers) must be identified by the same addresses as the business offices for which they serve as mail receptacles. However, the respective, conforming addresses should be displayed inside the boxes and visible only to the carrier and customer when accessing that commercial mailbox receptacle.

Builders and developers should note when installing commercial mailboxes that the USPS does not assign addresses. However, the USPS has stated that sequential ordering of any central­ized delivery equipment is subject to their approval. Again, the builder or developer can improve their chances of such approval by considering the Postal Service’s operational efficiency. Simply ask, “Will this address sequence make it efficient for the mail carrier to deliver the mail to this commercial mailbox?”

For security or privacy, those managing the office buildings may use another alphanumeric identification system on the outside of commercial mailboxes receptacles that is not part of, or used in, the mailing address.

Additionally, if the local postmaster grants an exception to centralized mail delivery, single-point delivery may be utilized for single delivery points, receptacles, or door slots. Read more about how USPS mandated centralized mail delivery in our article entitled, “Security & Economical Genius of Cluster Box Unit Mailboxes.”

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