Condominium SecurityAutomated Parcel Lockers for Multi-Tenant Residential Applications

Up to a Million Parcels a Day Have to End Up Somewhere

According to the Pitney Bowes Index, parcel volumes flowing out from e-Com-merce companies and into the hands of eagerly awaiting consumers will rise be-tween 17%-28% each year from 2017 to 2021. That is a lot of parcels! To put it into perspective, Canada Post delivered 1 million parcels per day, including week-ends, from mid-November through the 2017 holiday season. That, according to Deloitte, is due to consumers spending 51% of their gift budget on the Internet. In the US the numbers are much more staggering at 850 million packages de-livered in 2017.

Those parcels have to land somewhere. In multi-tenant residential applications, if there is not currently a logistics and cost problem dealing with the incoming parcel traffic, then the forecasted growth by Pitney Bowes may pose a challenge sooner rather than later.

In a building with concierge and/or se-curity services, not only do parcels take up lots of room and cause clutter, they take up a lot of costly administration time recording the parcel’s arrival, storing the parcel, and notifying the resident to come pick it up – hopefully on the first notice.

The temporary possession of the parcel by a building’s staff also opens up a case for liability. Additionally, some build-ings report that a lot of food perishables like groceries are being delivered which require refrigeration.

In non-concierge buildings the parcel problem is even worse. Similar to multi-resident open air developments, parcels can and do go missing. Most online re-tailers ship their goods in well-branded boxes which is a lure to thieves scoping out a home’s porch, or the unsecured and unsupervised building vestibule. Fur-thermore, managers are dealing with violations to the fire code with parcels piling up in vestibules or laying in hall-ways.

Some postal companies offer parcel lock-ers for their own shipments but that does not cover all the other modes of delivery such as FedEx, UPS, Purolator, and Can-par to name a few. That leaves a big gap in which parcels can be managed.

Where to Install Parcel Lockers?

For decades, there have been strict rules and regulations surrounding multi-residential building letter mail delivery. Traditionally, Canada Post was the only entity that had direct access to residential buildings by using their proprietary mailroom key. However, a drastic increase in parcel volumes combined with a plethora of new carriers are forcing these practices to change and evolve.

So, what are the best practices to implement with respect to carrier access to parcel lockers in Canadian buildings? We’re going to outline the best practices next.

  • Concierge or Security Staff – If the parcel lockers are put in a locked location, you could have the concierge or security staff provide carriers access to the parcel lockers. Monitoring through Snaile parcel locker cameras + building security cameras keeps track of who goes in and out of the parcel locker area.
  • Unlocked Vestibule Locker Installation -Another possible solution is installing multi-residential parcel lockers in the building’s vestibule. This is between the unlocked outer doors and the locked inner doors at the entrance of the building. This type of installation provides an ideal space for convenient tenant and carrier access along with protection from the elements.
  • Retrofit Move In/Move Out Rooms – Some buildings have move in/move out rooms that they retrofit to be dual purpose rooms. These rooms turn into parcel locker and moving rooms. It’s convenient for carriers because these rooms typically already have an exterior door by the lobby door and can also be access from within the building by tenants – read more in our RETROFITTING MOVE IN/MOVE OUT ROOMS post.
  • Create an Unlocked Room off the Vestibule- Some buildings find it easier to expand their current vestibule into their lobbies or outside to accommodate just the lockers themselves which only require a 600mm deep alcove. Another option is to retrofit their current mailrooms to accommodate parcel lockers.
  • Building Automation – With apps, smartphones, and WiFi-enabled devices getting more popular, building automation is a popular option. Keyless apps or locks allow tenants to grant carriers access into the building and into the parcel room. Snaile has partnered with Canadian building automation companies for seamless parcel locker integration.
  • Outside Locker Installation – Some buildings don’t have room inside for parcel lockers. Instead, they’re putting Snaile lockers outdoor under a sheltered area, or they’re using Snaile-provided shelters for their parcel locker installations. The idea behind the shelters is to keep the lockers from freezing by keeping water out of the compartment seams.
  • Any multi-residential building that is considering placing outside lockers has to put placement as a top priority. The lockers and shelter can’t be in an unsafe unlit area or an area that is prone to vandalism or theft. Location can be a huge deterrent by itself especially coupled with Snaile surveillance cameras and your own building’s security measures. Read more in our PLACING LOCKERS OUTSIDE post.
  • Buzz to Enter – Some multi-residential buildings list the property manager or superintendent as a key contact for any and all deliveries. Enterphone type systems has the property manager’s name listed alongside a listing that says, “For Parcel Deliveries Buzz….”

Placing Lockers Outside


If you live in an environment that routinely has temperatures that fluctuate between -20°C and -40°C and you want to place your parcel lockers outside, Snaile lockers can work. Snaile’s standard locker can withstand temperatures down to -20°C, and Snaile’s lockers with the cold weather upgrade can withstand temperatures down to -40°C. All outdoor lockers do need shelter to prevent water from freezing between the compartment gaps, and Snaile is able to provide both full shelters and canopies.

Placing your lockers outside typically works best for retrofits where there is no direct building access, no vestibule room, and no other viable options for your parcel locker install. It’s also critical that you think about carrier access, parking and visibility.