Policies, Procedures, and Forms Updates


POM Revision: Modes of Delivery and Delivery Equipment

Effective April 5, 2012, the Postal Service™ will revise Postal Operations Manual (POM) subchapters 61, 63, 64, and 65 in selected subsections to provide updated and revised information and procedures regarding modes of delivery and delivery equipment. The POM sets forth the policies, regulations, and procedures of the Postal Service governing delivery and vehicle operations.

The revised procedures apply to new deliveries added to the delivery network; however, the revisions also provide updated language on centralized delivery equipment that may apply to current delivery points as well. This revision provides the Postal Service with autonomy in determining the modes of delivery when adding new deliveries, thereby enabling the Postal Service to provide services adequate and necessary to meeting its basic function in the most effi­cient manner. Controlling future costs begins with good base decisions whenever new deliveries are added to the delivery infrastructure. These include the mode of delivery and location and type of equipment, as well as the safety and convenience of both carriers and customers. Updated equipment references may be interchangeable such as replacing Neighborhood Delivery and Collection Box Unit (NDCBU) with Cluster Box Unit (CBU) to replace obsolete nomenclature.

It is important to note that Postal Service representa­tives are still required to meet with builders and developers early in the process to ensure the best choices are made and to assess if the mode of delivery directed to be put in place conforms to the policies of the Postal Service. There are no changes in the current modes of delivery available as an option for the Postal Service in establishing neces­sary and adequate services.

Postal Operations Manual (POM)

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6 Delivery Services

61 Conditions of Delivery

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615 Delivery to Persons at Hotels, Institutions, and Schools

615.1 Mail Addressed to Patients or Inmates

[Revise the first sentence of 615.1 as follows:]

Mail addressed to patients or inmates at institutions is delivered to the institutional authorities who, in turn, deliver the mail to the addressee under the institution’s rules and regulations.***

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63 Modes of Delivery, Mail Receptacles, and Keys

631 Modes of Delivery

[Revise 631.1 through 631.3 as follows:]

631.1 General

For all establishments and extensions, the Postal Service options for delivery service are to the door, curbline boxes, or central delivery points or receptacles as specified by USPS policies and procedures. The characteristics of the area to be served and the methods deemed necessary to providing adequate service by the Postal Service are described in greater detail below.

631.2 Business Areas

The type and design of buildings govern the mode of deliv­ery to be implemented; the location of USPS-approved delivery equipment is subject to Postal Service approval. The options are as follows:

a. Central Delivery. Central delivery service is for all business office buildings, office complexes, and/or industrial/professional parks. This may include call windows, horizontal locked mail receptacles, cluster box units (CBUs), 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).

b. Single Point Delivery. Where an exception to 631.2a has been granted by the postmaster or district desig­nee, and subject to district approval, single-point de­livery may be provided for single points, receptacles, or door slots provided by business management.

1. If there is an elevator and if the offices are open to receive mail on all normal service days, or if door slots are provided, delivery may be authorized to all floors of office buildings.

2. If there is no elevator, delivery is provided to the first floor, either to a centralized location as pre­scribed in 631.2a, or, where exceptions have been granted, to single points located on the first floor and to the second floor if it is occupied primarily by business offices and when such service is requested.

631.3 Residential Housing (Except Apartment Houses and Transient Mobile or Trailer Homes)

631.31 General

The available options for residential areas, aside from apartment houses, transient mobile or trailer homes, col­leges and universities, and other sites are covered under 615; delivery mode options are constrained by USPS poli­cies and procedures, in light of the characteristics of the area to be served and the methods needed to provide ade­quate service. Delivery options, under the regulations given below, are curbside, sidewalk, or central delivery.

631.32 Curbside Delivery

Delivery may only be provided to boxes at the curb with prior approval from the Postal Service, and so long as they can be efficiently, safely, and conveniently served by the carrier from the carrier’s vehicle, and so that customers have reasonable and safe access. Mail receptacles may be grouped, two to a property line where possible.

631.33 Sidewalk Delivery

Options and requirements for sidewalk delivery, as directed by the Postal Service, are as follows:

a. If the sidewalk abuts the curb or if other unusual con­ditions exist (e.g., excessive street parking) that make it difficult or impractical to install or serve box­es at the curbline, customers with these situations may be permitted to install all their boxes at the edge of the sidewalk nearest the residence, where they can all be served by a carrier from the sidewalk.

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631.4 Exceptions

631.41 Extension of Service Within an Existing Block

[Revise the first sentence of 631.41 as follows:]

New homes or businesses built or established within a block of existing homes or businesses may receive the same type of service as the older homes or businesses, subject to postmaster approval and after consideration of Postal Service operational efficiencies.***

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631.43 Local Ordinances

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[Revise item 631.43b as follows:]

b. Post Office Box or General Delivery Service. Post Of­fice Box or general delivery service may be provided at the nearest postal facility where carrier delivery emanates, or where may be otherwise available to a customer.

[Revise 631.44 through 631.46 as follows:]

631.44 Central Delivery

631.441 Delivery Requirements

CBUs and USPS STD 4C equipment may be approved for use at one or more central delivery points in a residential housing community. The local postal manager must approve the mailbox sites and type of equipment. Boxes must be safely located so that customers are not required to travel an unreasonable distance to obtain their mail and to provide sufficient access to mailbox locations. Normally, within one block of the residence is appropriate.

631.442 Central Delivery Addresses

Central delivery mail receptacles (including USPS STD 4C equipment and CBUs, delivery centers, and postal centers) must be identified by the same addresses as the dwellings for which they serve as mail receptacles. The respective, conforming addresses should be displayed inside the boxes and visible only to the carrier and customer when accessing that receptacle. USPS does not assign addresses; however, the sequential ordering of any central­ized delivery equipment is subject to USPS approval for operational efficiency and to accommodate special cir­cumstances or requests for hardship delivery. For security or privacy, mailer associations or customer groups may use another alphanumeric identification system on the outside of receptacles that is not part of, or used in, the mailing address.

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631.45 Apartment Houses

631.451 General

Delivery of mail to individual boxes in a residential building containing apartments or units occupied by different addressees is contingent upon USPS concluding the fol­lowing requirements are met:

a. The building contains three or more units (above, be­low, or behind — not side by side) with:

(1) A common building entrance such as a door, a passageway, or stairs; and

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b. The installation and maintenance of mail receptacles are approved by the Postal Service.

631.452 Exceptions

Delivery of mail to individual boxes in multiple residential buildings containing apartments or units occupied by dif­ferent addressees are contingent upon USPS concluding the following requirements are met: Exceptions to section 631.451 requirements, which also require prior approval by USPS, are as follows:

a. If more than one such building in an apartment house complex has the same approved common street number, delivery of mail to individual boxes is contin­gent on the grouping of all the boxes for the common street number at a single point readily accessible by the carrier even though some boxes may serve resi­dents in more than one building.

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c. When new apartments are being erected or existing ones remodeled, postmasters will inform builders and owners of these regulations’ requirements and will provide appropriate advice and inspection to en­sure that safe and durable receptacles are properly located and installed in conformance with regula­tions. Postal Service–approved parcel lockers may be used with approved mail receptacles.

631.46 Mobile or Trailer Homes

631.461 Options

The delivery options for mobile or trailer home develop­ments depend on Postal Service determination of whether the development is permanent or transient.

631.462 Permanent Developments

Permanent developments consist of managed mobile home parks or residential mobile home subdivisions where the lots are permanently assigned, the streets are main­tained for public use, and the conditions resemble those of a residential subdivision. For permanent developments, the delivery options are either central, curbside, or sidewalk delivery, as directed by the Postal Service under the regu­lations below.

a. Central Delivery

(1) Delivery service may be provided to a single point or receptacle designated by local management for the receipt of mail and distribution by its employees.

(2) Delivery service may be provided to one or more central points for the direct receipt of mail by postal customers within the area. The require­ments for such central delivery are as follows:

(a) Local Postal Service managers must approve the mailbox sites and equipment.

(b) Customers must not be required to travel an unreasonable distance to obtain their mail, and reasonable access must be provided to the equipment location.

b. Curbside Delivery.

Delivery service may only be provided to boxes at the curb, as directed by the Postal Service, so that they can be served efficiently, safely, and conveniently from the carrier’s vehicle and give customers reason­able and safe access. Mail receptacles may be grouped two to a property line where possible.

c. Sidewalk Delivery

(1) If the sidewalk abuts the curb or other unusual conditions exist (e.g., excessive street parking) that make it difficult or impractical to install or serve boxes at the curbline, customers with these situations may install boxes at the edge of the sidewalk nearest the residence where they can all be served by the carrier from the sidewalk.

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631.463 Transient Developments

Transient developments are mobile home, trailer, and rec­reational vehicle parks where the lots are temporarily occu­pied or rented and considered transient, short-term, or seasonal, even though some families may live in them for extended periods. For these developments, the only option is delivery to a single point or receptacle designated by park management and approved by local Postal Service managers for the receipt of all mail and subsequent distri­bution or mail forwarding by employees of the park. This method is also available for permanent developments.

631.5 Colleges and Universities

631.51 Administration Buildings

[Revise 631.51 through 631.53 as follows:]

Mail is delivered to principal administration buildings. Mail undeliverable as addressed or not addressed to a specific building is delivered to the main administration building office for further handling. At larger universities, mail is delivered to the different departments, colleges, faculty buildings, or principal campus structures, such as the Chemistry Building, Engineering Building, and so forth, provided that mail is addressed accordingly and volume warrants such delivery. Delivery is not to be made to indi­vidual offices within buildings.

631.52 Dormitories or Residence Halls

Mail is delivered to dormitory buildings and residence halls when addressed to a specific building. Mail is delivered in bulk to a designated representative of the school or prop­erty, who then becomes responsible for further distribution to students and residents. Where no direct affiliation with the school is established, the Postal Service determines the proper mode of delivery to be established and may require that designees from the property be identified to accept mail for each location prior to initiating delivery.

A dormitory building or residence hall often consists of sin­gle or multi-room units that may share or have access to centrally located kitchens, bathrooms, showers, or social or common areas. Whether located on or off campus, and regardless of private ownership, such buildings are never­theless dormitories and either the school or building owner is responsible for the final delivery of student mail. Post Office personnel do not distribute mail into apartment-type mailboxes for dormitories or residence halls.

631.53 Married Student Housing

Apartments and housing units for married students are often complete quarters consisting of a living room, kitchen or dinette, bedroom (s), and bath. Whether located on or off campus, and regardless of ownership, the apartment mail receptacle requirements in 631.45 apply.

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631.56 Forwarding of Mail

[Revise 631.56 as follows:]

Forwarding mail for former students and for current stu­dents during the summer and vacation periods is the responsibility of the institution or building owner, except where delivery to respective apartment receptacles is being provided to married housing. Encourage school officials to include mail forwarding, proper mail addressing, and other related postal features in general instructions to students.

[Revise the title and text of 631.57 as follows:]

631.57 Non-City Delivery Offices

Where city delivery service is not established, students may obtain Post Office Box service, use general delivery, or the institution may arrange to pick up the mail in bulk and make its own distribution and delivery.

[Revise the title and text of the second and fourth para­graphs of 631.6 as follows:]

631.6 Conversion of Delivery Mode

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Postmasters should not establish a mixed delivery area in which the carrier must zigzag from the door to the curb when previously the carrier took obvious shortcuts to effect delivery. Postmasters must weigh the advantages and dis­advantages of converting less than 100 percent of the deliveries.

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When a residence is sold, the mode of delivery cannot be changed arbitrarily prior to the new resident moving in. The existing mode of delivery must be retained absent an agreement otherwise. If an owners’ association represents the community, it can direct the mode of delivery for the community. In rental areas, such as apartment complexes and mobile home parks, the owner or manager can approve a conversion.

631.7 Correction of Improper Mode of Delivery

[Revise the second sentence of 631.7 as follows:]

***If the error is not detected within 90 days, the improper service remains in place.

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632 Mail Receptacles

632.1 Customer Obligation

632.11 Responsibilities

[Revise the introductory text and item c of 632.11 as fol­lows:]

Appropriate mail receptacles must be provided for the receipt of mail. The type of mail receptacle depends on the mode of delivery in place. Purchase, installation, and main­tenance of mail receptacles are the responsibility of the customer. Appropriate locations for installation should be verified with local postmasters. Customer obligations are as follows:

* * * * * 

c. If centralized delivery is authorized, customers must install mail receptacles that comply with USPS STD 4C Wallmounted Mail Receptacles or USPSB1118, Postal Service specification, Cluster Box Units (see 632.6).

Note: There is no local authority for the use of or approval of unauthorized centralized delivery equipment or central­ized delivery systems. Contact Engineering or Delivery Post Office Operations at Headquarters for any necessary assistance.

632.12 Exception

[Revise 632.12 as follows:]

The Postal Service may elect, under certain conditions, to purchase, install, and maintain curb-mounted mail recepta­cles or cluster box units.

632.13 Receptacles Not Required

[Revise 632.13 as follows:]

Business complexes are not required to provide mail receptacles where an exception(s) has been granted by local postal officials and consistent with POM 631.2. If the offices are not open when the carrier arrives on normal ser­vice days, centralized mail receptacles must be provided.

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632.6 Apartment House Receptacles

632.61 General

[Revise the first paragraph of 632.61 as follows:]

Specifications for construction and approval procedures for manufacturers are covered in USPS STD 4C (RDD), Wallmounted Mail Receptacles. Individuals or firms inter­ested in the manufacture of apartment house mailboxes should write to:

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632.62 Installation

632.621 General

[Revise 632.621 as follows:]

Owners and managers of apartment houses, or other multi-unit dwellings with obsolete apartment house mail recepta­cles should install up-to-date receptacles currently approved by the Postal Service to ensure safety of access and security of the mail. When such buildings are substan­tially renovated or remodeled, or when box locations change, obsolete receptacles should be replaced with cur­rently approved receptacles.

632.622 Location and Arrangement

[Revise introductory text and the last sentence of item a of 632.622 as follows:]

Regulations for the location and arrangement of recepta­cles are subject to Postal Service approval as follows:

a. ***The area must be adequately lighted to afford the best protection to the mail and to let carriers read ad­dresses on mail and names on boxes without difficulty.

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632.623 Access to Rear-Loading of Horizontal-Type Receptacles

[Revise the last two sentences of 632.623 as follows:]

***The rear of the mailbox panel(s) must have a door or cover in accordance with USPS STD 4C to prevent the removal of mail from adjacent boxes and to prevent mail from coming out through the back. The cover or door must be easily opened and closed or else removed and replaced.

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632.625 Key and Record Controls

[Revise the introductory text and the last sentences of items a and b of 632.625 as follows:]

The following key and record controls apply to apartment houses:

a. ***Clearly number each individual receptacle lock on the back; replace lost keys as needed according to lock numbers. Master-keying is not permitted.

b. ***The record of key numbers must be kept until the lock is changed, when the old record may be de­stroyed and a replacement record created.

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632.626 Directories

[Revise the introductory text and the first sentence of item c in 632.626 as follows:]

Guidelines for Postal Service apartment house directories are as follows:

* * * * * 

c. The directory must be legible, enclosed in a suitable protective frame, and attached to the wall immedi­ately above or to the side of the mail receptacles where it can easily be read.***

632.627 Maintenance and Repair

The guidelines for receptacle maintenance and repair are as follows:

* * * * * 

[Revise the first sentences of items 632.627c and d as fol­lows:]

c. When informed of equipment needing repair or irreg­ularity in the operation of apartment house mail re­ceptacles, postmasters will promptly initiate an investigation and direct what repairs must be made at the expense of the owners or managers.***

d. Failure to keep boxes locked or in proper repair as di­rected by postmasters is sufficient justification for withholding mail delivery and requiring occupants to call for their mail at the Post Office or carrier delivery unit serving the location.***

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632.628 Approved Manufacturers and Models

[Revise 632.628 as follows:]

A current listing of approved manufacturers and models can be obtained from the office listed in section 632.511.

632.63 New or Remodeled Apartment Buildings

[Revise 632.63 as follows:]

When new apartments are being erected or existing ones remodeled, postmasters will inform builders and owners of these regulations’ requirements and will provide a suitable inspection to ensure that only approved receptacles are installed in conformance with regulations.

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64 City Delivery Service

641 Establishment of City Delivery Service

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641.2 Requirements

[Revise the first sentence of the introductory text and items d, e, f, and g of 641.2 as follows:]

In establishing city delivery service, a combination of delivery methods is considered to provide regular and effective service to all residential and business sections of a community.***

* * * * * 

d. Street signs are in place and house numbers are dis­played.

e. Rights-of-way, turnouts, and areas next to roads and streets are sufficiently improved so that the installa­tion, servicing, and accessing of boxes are not haz­ardous to the public or Postal Service employees.

f. Satisfactory walkways exist for the carrier where re­quired.

g. Approved mail receptacles or door slots are installed at designated locations, as directed by the Postal Service.

642 Extensions

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642.2 Requirements

* * * * * 

[Revise item 642.2b(2) as follows:]

(2) CBUs or USPS STD 4C equipment are to be used for delivery.

642.3 Out-of-bounds Customers

[Revise the first sentence of 642.3 as follows:]

Customers outside the limits of city delivery service may be given delivery service, where approved by the Postal Ser­vice, if they erect boxes on the delivery carrier’s line of travel.***

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65 Rural Delivery Service

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652 Establishment of Rural Delivery Service

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652.4 Submission and Approval

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652.42 District Responsibilities

652.421 Review and Approval

[Revise 652.421 as follows:]

The district manager or designee must review and approve or disapprove any requests for establishment of rural delivery.

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653 Extensions

653.1 Definition

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[Revise the note in 653.1 as follows:]

Note: Provide carrier service to persons who erect approved boxes on the line of travel of the rural carrier and to persons for whom approved Cluster Box Units (CBUs) or USPS STD 4C equipment and/or parcel lockers are erected and maintained by the Postal Service on the carrier’s line of travel. No rural carrier service may be extended to persons residing within the boundary formed by existing city deliv­ery service.

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We will incorporate this revision into the next printed version of the POM and also into the online update avail­able on the Postal Service PolicyNet website:

n Go to http://blue.usps.gov.

n In the left-hand column under “Essential Links”, click PolicyNet.

n Click Manuals.

(The direct URL for the Postal Service PolicyNet website is http://blue.usps.gov/cpim.)