Condos Accommodate a Tsunami of Package Deliveries

March 2023

A growing tsunami of packages is flowing to Toronto’s high-rises.  Condo residents — especially those who have difficulty getting around — like the convenience of internet shopping, ordering online and having things delivered to their home.  This presents package delivery and security challenges.  Our infrastructure was never designed for this way of buying goods and services.

The Vertical Challenge

The cost of managing package deliveries, rarely considered by residents who think only of the few minutes spent retrieving a package, is of great concern to condo directors.  Most high-rises were designed to accommodate deliveries of envelopes and the occasional package.  Today buildings are inundated with packages, some receiving hundreds each day with volumes tripling as Christmas nears.  Each package must be checked in, stored securely, and a resident informed of its arrival.  Residents complain when a package is late or misdelivered.   Concierge/security now spends a considerable part of the day dealing with packages rather than focusing on traditional duties.  There’s a high cost for receiving and managing package deliveries; some estimate $20,000 to $50,000 per building per year.

There has been a marked increase in parcel and food deliveries.  Many high-rises have seen as much as a 100 percent increase, a volume that would have been considered average leading up to the holidays in December is now arriving on a daily basis at some sites.

Residential condos are viewed as a soft target for criminals and it’s the corporation’s responsibility to update practices to reflect new threats.  A current resident database and package management system helps make parcel intake quick and efficient.  Staff log in parcels to the online database, making multiple entries at a time, eliminating pen and paper logs to process a higher volume with the same number of staff.  Other changes can include designating a larger location for parcel overflow, redesigning parcel rooms with added shelving, updating parcel waiver forms to limit parcel size, and helping residents by facilitating use of third-party parcel storage units.

High-Rise High Tech

A more high-tech approach incorporates the use of what are called smart parcel lockers.

Communities can add a wall of secure parcel boxes of various sizes.  The delivery driver selects the addressee’s unit number and chooses an appropriate locker size for a one-time use.  To retrieve a package, the recipient receives a QR code on their phone, then goes to the delivery area to scan the locker for pickup.  The locker area includes surveillance cameras.