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Secured By Design Letterboxes: Wates Make Big Cost Savings

Monday, November 18th, 2013

Secured By Design Letterboxes: Wates Make Big Cost Savings

Secured By Design Letterboxes: Wates Make Big Cost Savings

 

Post Boxes UK, the nation’s leading independent manufacturer and supplier of pre-assembled letter box systems for apartments and student accommodation, is pleased to announce that it has recently won a handful of contracts from Wates to supply free standing Secured By Design letterboxes to a number of it’s affordable housing developments.

Big Contractor, Big Savings

Wates, one of the UK’s largest social housing contractors, approached Post Boxes UK with a brief to supply and deliver approximately 50 mail boxes over a number of it’s sites. The contractor was keen to make cost savings further to the Secured By Design officer’s comments regarding a particular type of letterbox. Wates recognised the letterbox put forward by the architectural liaison officer was somewhat over-engineered, especially as it was for internal use. Understandably, they were reluctant to pay over

Banks of letterboxes for housing developments and estates?

Tuesday, July 30th, 2013

Banks of letterboxes for housing developments and estates?

Banks of letterboxes for housing developments and estates?

 

With the Royal Mail seemingly forever looking at reducing costs without reducing their level of service, the future of mail delivery in the UK is as uncertain today as it has ever been. Add a dash of privatisation and who knows what could happen?!

The advantages of banks of letterboxes in communal entrance and lobby areas of apartment blocks is immediately apparent. The cost to the Royal Mail, and subsequently the sender and the receiver of the mail, is significantly reduced when the postman or post woman only spends 5 minutes delivering to a bank of letterboxes rather than 10 minutes by walking to each front door within the same block of flats.

Any business which could potentially reduce one of its significant costs by half would press for such measures. But the Royal Mail is understandably cautious on reducing a level of service which has been part and parcel (sorry!) of every day life for hundreds of years. (Since 1660 in one form or another).

To look at it another way, what if the Royal Mail already delivered mail to a central delivery point on each housing estate, on each road, and in each city in the country. Imagine the uproar if they announced that they would change from central residential mailboxes to deliver letters to each residents door, but that the cost of sending that piece of mail could cost the sender double?

And so, one would expect in time that new housing developments, as well as apartment, student accommodation and mixed-use schemes, will increasingly have central banks of letterboxes incorporated into their planning, rather than letter plates in each front door.

 

Multiple Benefits

The cost of mail delivery is the major benefit here. The cost savings are obvious.

But it is not just the Royal Mail and their customers who would benefit from such a proposal. Not having a letter plate in a front door has long been championed by the Police and crime prevention groups such as Secured By Design. The widely held belief is that a letter plate is the weak point on a front door. Would be thieves look through letter plates of potential target’s homes and then use a variety of techniques to carry out their crimes via the letter plate.

Removing the letter plate would seem to make sense then.

 

 

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Letter plate or post box? Which is the most secure?

 

 

There is also the potential of an increased sense of community. In an age when more of us are becoming less involved in the communities in which we live, a communal area which houses a bank of letterboxes for a new housing estate may be seen as a way of bring the local people together, a place to meet and chat, where residents could get up to date issues regarding their communities.

 

The downsides

There are however some obvious concerns with having centralised banks of letterboxes. The first is security of mail. The letterboxes must be secure. Whilst no letterbox infallible, there are plenty of secure letterboxes available on the market – take a look at our range of anti-theft letterboxes to see what we mean.

Access is another issue. The Royal Mail would prefer the boxes to be as close to a main road as possible not help minimise delivery costs. Residents would want the letterboxes to be easily accessible by both car and by walking.

And the good old British weather. Most of us take for granted the convenience of not having to venture outdoors in a force ten gale to collect our letters. So having to pop out to our letter box just to collect the odd utility bill would seem too much of an inconvenience.

 

 

What next?

The greater inconvenience however is that the Royal Mail is an inefficient service. As the costs of sending letters and parcels goes up, so do the number of complaints, whilst the levels of service go down. It is for this primary reason that the Government is looking to privatise the Royal Mail. However, Post Boxes UK also believes that communal banks of letterboxes for new build housing estates (as a minimum) may become the norm, and that this may even give rise to similar banks of mailboxes for existing housing developments.

 

 

 

Height of letter boxes and DDA (Disability Discrimination Act) compliance

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

Height of letter boxes and DDA (Disability Discrimination Act) compliance

 

When specifying letter boxes for a building project, a common concern is that of the height of the letter boxes in order to comply with the DDA (Disability Discrimination Act). Whilst there are no guidelines or official requirements set out for letter boxes, it could be considered that mailboxes in communal lobby areas are subject to the same access considerations as toilet and sanitary access for disabled users.

In accordance with the DDA, architects, designers and specifiers must address the needs of disabled users by providing reasonable access to public facilities and services. Accordingly, Post Boxes UK looks at the needs of disabled residents in relation to mailbox access.

The DDA and EN13724

As part of European Norm EN13724, it is suggested that the aperture of a mailbox be positioned between 600mm and 1800mm from finished floor level (FFL). This is not a legal requirement and Post Boxes UK has known clients specify banks of mailboxes which do go virtually to FFL.

However this is not practical for the majority residents; one might say it is unreasonable. So subsequently, EN13724 is a standard which is recommended and in a sense, reasonable. It therefore stands to reason that EN13724 adequately encompasses the requirements of the DDA.

 

Considering disabled residents

For the purposes of this exercise, and in terms of letterbox access, we have assumed that a disabled resident is one who uses a wheelchair. By doing so we have also assumed that the arms of the wheelchair are at a minimum height of 700mm FFL.

The following infographic shows a bank of 60 horizontal commercial mailboxes at a minimum height of 600mm FFL and a maximum height of 1800mm FFL. The yellow areas highlight approximate maximum common reaching zones for wheelchair users, whilst the green areas show approximate comfortable common reaching zones.

 

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What height should letter boxes be positioned for disabled and wheelchair residents?

 

This may be of particular interest to readers (it was to Post Boxes UK) – the bottom two rows of mailboxes are not necessarily the most accessible for disabled residents. As the bottom of the letterbox may be below the typical wheelchair height of 700mm (as a minimum), a disabled resident may have to manoeuvre themselves to reach down into the letterbox.

These bottom rows of post boxes have usually been reserved for the needs of disabled residents, and this is not unreasonable. However, it should be considered that a letterbox for a disabled user be between (approx.) 800mm and 1200mm FFL, may be more user-friendly.

With 800mm to 1200mm considered as the comfortable common reaching zone, going over 1200mm is not desirable. As with reaching down, by going to a height of over 1200mm, a wheelchair user may have to stretch to reach their mailbox. Circumstances may dictate that there is no other option, and there is a maximum common reaching zone of approx. 1200mm to 1400mm FFL.

Certainly, positioning commercial letterboxes over 1400mm FFL is not considering the needs of disabled residents, and is unreasonable.

 

Further information

For further information regarding DDA (Disabled Discrimination Act) compliance, please visit some of the following websites:

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1995/50/contents

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/3695/inclusive-mobility.pdf

http://www.bsia.co.uk/web_images/publications/form_173.pdf

 

Disclaimer
The above article is intended to demonstrate and highlight the needs of disabled and wheelchair users and does not constitute technical or professional advice. Post Boxes UK cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions within this document or for any damages sustained as a result of advice given herein.

Pantone Mailboxes from Postboxes UK

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

Pantone mailboxes from Postboxes UK

Pantone mailboxes from Postboxes UK

As you would expect from the nation’s leading manufacturer and supplier of banks of quality

Keyless Mailbox Systems: What you should know.

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

Keyless Mailbox Systems: What you should know.

Keyless Mailbox Systems: What you should know.

Over the past ten years, there has been a steady rise of keyless door entry systems incorporated into blocks of flats and apartments. Advances in technology has seen a variety of ingenious touchpads, keypads and key fob entry systems being used by developers to ensure the safety of residents and to keep apartment blocks secure.

 

keylessmailboxesdigilockpostboxesletterboxes

Keyless Mailboxes: Our model RV292 digilock postbox

Keyless door entry, keyless mailbox systems

It stands to reason then, that if the building we live in does not require a key to gain access to it, nor does access to the locked letterbox in the lobby area, which holds our mail. With less reliance on keys, there is a sense of being more secure in our world. That unauthorised access becomes more difficult to achieve.

To a certain extent this is true. Technological advances in our locking systems mean that opportunist attempts at unauthorised access or theft are significantly reduced. But this comes at a price. Such technology doesn’t come cheap. Whilst the initial cost of the technology is borne by the developer, the maintenance of these systems is the responsibility ultimately of the resident via the managing agent.

And as a resident, if you ever lose a key fob or card, or need a copy, then the cost can be expensive, and the choice of suppliers restrictive.

There is also a danger of becoming reliant on such systems, thinking that the technology behind it is fail-safe. The modern day criminal is as likely to be carrying a handheld device to circumnavigate a locking system as he/she is a set of screwdrivers or the traditional swag bag.

 

Different Types of Keyless Mailbox Systems

So what types of keyless mailbox systems are available? The two main types are push button lock post boxes, commonly known as digilock post boxes, and electronic access control / card reader mailboxes, which includes key fob systems and card readers similar to those found on hotel room doors.

Digilocks by nature have ten push buttons marked from 0 to 9, and a thumb turn to release the bolt once the correct code has been typed into the digilock. Typically vertical in nature, it is possible to retrospectively fit them to horizontal post boxes too, with a horizontal style digilock.

Whilst not recommended for external use, some clients have positioned them on external letterboxes. It’s is not necessarily the electronics which are susceptible to the elements, but the batteries in the digilocks which can corrode once wate comes into contact with them. Post Boxes UK can supply digilocks with a rubber gasket /seal which are IP54 rated, however, these locks are designed for damp environments sch as changing rooms rather than pure external environments.

The second type of keyless mailbox system available is an electronic access control / card reader type mailbox. These systems tend to be more sophisticated than the stand alone digilock systems. They are usually used in tandem with the door entry system specified for the building, thus allowing residents to use just one key fob or card to gain access to both the apartment block and their key fob mailbox.

 

Contact Post Boxes UK – Keyless Mailbox Systems

Post Boxes UK offers a range of keyless mailbox with digilocks and key fob mailboxes. In fact, most of our range of mailboxes and letter boxes can be fitted with at least a digilock and to a lesser extent an electronic access lock. Call us today on 0121 288 0838 to discuss your requirements, and we will advise mailbox keyless mailbox system will work best for you.