The design of mailrooms is an important piece of the design of multifamily buildings. Mailrooms must comply with the Americans with Disability Act (ADA), the Fair Housing Act, ANSI 117.1, the Postal Operations Manual, the United States Postal Service 4C guidelines and be approved by your local Postal Manager. In most jurisdictions the mailroom must also comply with the International Building Code and local amendments. This veritable Venn Diagram of intersecting regulations is really interesting for code gurus like us but can be quite a hassle for the facility developer without the right advisor.
Important things to remember:
The strictest dimensional requirements of ADA, ANSI and USPS 4C must all be met which means that the smaller of the 2 reach ranges at both the top and the bottom must be followed. Many people are surprised to find that Postal workers have their very own reach range!
Some USPS reqs to consider:
1. “At least one customer compartment shall be positioned less than 48” from the finished floor.”
2. “No parcel locker compartment (interior bottom shelf) shall be positioned less than 15” from the finished floor.”
3. “No patron lock shall be located more than 67” above the finished floor.”
4. “No customer compartment (interior bottom shelf) shall be positioned less than 28” from the finished floor.”
5. “The USPS Arrow lock shall be located between 36” and 48” above the finished floor.”
6. “There must be at least one parcel locker for every ten patron mailboxes in installations of 10 or more patron mailboxes.There is no requirement for parcel lockers in installations of less than 10 patron mailboxes, but one or more parcel lockers are recommended.”
Important Accessibility Requirements:
Operable parts must be between 15″ and 48″ on the surface of the boxes.
Bottom of Box surface must be between 24″ and 46″ per the obstructed reach range rule because the back of the box is over 10″ deep.
When you consider that technically any mailbox in an elevator serviced building should be accessible (All units being at least Type B) this can create a fairly narrow band of space creating a demand for large linear swaths of boxes. One strategy we have worked with Post Office managers in the past is to have an extra set of compartments that give us a buffer of boxes to reassign boxes from an inaccessible location to the accessible extra boxes. This strategy is in keeping with the FHA rules of allowing an apartment operator to adapt their operations to comply with the accessible needs of their tenants.
Bottom line: You can avoid being backed into a corner with an undersized mailroom or worse one that the USPS won’t approve by using an experienced Multi-family Architect on your design team.