Package Deliveries, Security and Convenience

May 2023

Package deliveries are a growing problem.  This involves not only the delivery and receipt of packages at a front desk but dealing with a constant stream of delivery vehicles and calls to residents for deliveries that cannot be left in the front area.

Building residents are not always aware of when their package has arrived.  Many smaller delivery services, including those involving an Uber driver, simply show up with no advance warning of day or time, no way to obtain access to a building, and no electronic notification of delivery or attempted delivery.  Residents may be expected to be home at the time of delivery, accessible by phone or intercom, and required to meet a delivery person at the front door of the building.

Some buildings maintain security partially by prohibiting residents from providing their keys or fobs, or the sharing of a building door code.  When delivery services are provided with a door code to obtain access to a building, there may be no security against these unknown individuals who may wander hallways intent on damage or theft.

Most high-rise communities have no more than one person at a front desk and many have nobody in the lobby.  Maintaining security without increasing security personnel requires a new approach incorporating systems, technology and possibly secure lockers.

Security systems in communities are designed to keep undesirables out and residents safe.  Allowing unfettered access to buildings and units is inconsistent with how safe communities operate.

Security systems in communities are designed to keep undesirables out and residents safe.  Allowing unfettered access to buildings and units is inconsistent with how safe communities operate.

One approach is to discontinue all security protocols when it comes to package deliveries.  Allow anyone to access the property to ensure delivery of packages without providing any level of security clearance.  This requires that a resident take responsibility for the delivery company and allows them on the property as if they were a guest.  They need to be at home when the delivery arrives.  Some delivery personnel are likely to abuse this access and cause mischief, damage or theft of accessible packages, and is not an advisable approach.  They may park in fire lanes or block driveways causing myriad other problems.  The cost of this “convenience” just isn’t worth the risk and liability.  Another approach is to disallow the use of delivery services which requires residents to seek out alternate locations for delivery and retrieval of their packages.  This extreme approach allows existing security protocols to be maintained but is undesirable for the majority of residents that rely on package deliveries.

Increasingly, communities are adopting one of two solutions intended to maintain building security and keep packages secure until retrieved without adding to costs or staffing.

One approach is to upgrade package receiving and handling procedures.  Communities with a concierge accept packages for storage and inform residents of their arrival.  Uncontrollable factors include volume of packages received and length of time held.  The longer it takes residents to retrieve packages the more problems arise as space gets filled up and stored packages take longer to retrieve.  Rather than increase staffing, technology solutions such as those offered by BuildingLink Canada and UpperBee Software speed up package handling while more quickly and easily informing residents of their arrival so they can be retrieved sooner.

Another solution is to upgrade the parcel room to reflect the needs of communities and individuals.  This can be achieved by establishing secure smart lockers, such as offered by ParcelPort Solutions, where packages can be delivered and retrieved without involving front desk personnel.  Residents are informed electronically when a package arrives for them and provided with retrieval instructions via e-mail or text messaging.   Concierge staff and building management, once relieved of the responsibility to accept, store and retrieve packages for residents, and inform when packages have arrived, are better able to focus on the duties for which they are hired.

Condominium communities have rules and procedures intended to provide enjoyment and security to all residents.  Delivery of packages, medications and groceries without proper systems in place creates an avoidable, unreasonable and unnecessary level of risk.