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What is the bare minimum information needed to determine a user's full UK postal address?

From:

  • Address line 1
  • Postcode

there is generally enough information to determine the user's town, city and other necessary information required to send an item by post.

My question is; are there any exceptions to this rule? I building a free fabric sample request form for a website and simply asking for the first line of the address and postcode would be great.

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Yes, some apartment buildings and office buildings can be an exception.

Some apartment buildings will show as a number and street name but not the specific apartment number.

For example, I was forever having issues with this in my old building the address was: 13 Street Name (not using the actual name) when it contained around 100 apartments.

Address forms would often skip the apartment number out so I would have to add it in another field (Address line 2 or a Apt No. field sometimes even notes!). The postmen would just leave it in the unmanned foyer to collect because they didnt know the specific number.

I also have the same issue in work, I work in a large building full of businesses, it has no street number, just a building name. But if the company name doesn't come up in the address list to direct the building manager/postman, where do I put it?

I dont think 1 address line and postcode will do speaking from personal parcel delivery nightmare experiences. I would include an Address line 2 too as an optional field just incase.

Given that this is a fabric sample request form I am assuming you could have anywhere between hobbyists to businesses requesting these. So I would minumum have:

  • Building Number/Name
  • Address Line 1
  • Address Line 2
  • Postcode
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I think ( it was a long time ago when I tested it by sending myself a letter ), actually all you need is the number in the street and the postcode.

The postcode pins down a small area in towns, but a slightly larger area in rural areas. This makes the rest of the address redundant.

Post is also delivered by postal staff who know their own area, and any ambiguous local addresses.

Putting first line of address and postcode will therefore work.

You can try this on the Royal Mail website:. Use the 'find an address tab':

It works purely off the postcode / building number or name.

https://m.royalmail.com/mt/www.royalmail.com/find-a-postcode

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    Not sure if you can purely rely on the postmen's ability to deduce where someone lives based on a partial address though. At least the area I'm from has made actual postmen redundant and started hiring cheaper, younger and untrained staff. – Wanda Aug 6 '18 at 7:25
  • The partial address format pins down the vast majority of UK addresses ( I've added a link to the Royal Mail tool to demonstrate this ). It's only very rural areas where this breaks down a bit and local knowledge becomes useful. – PhillipW Aug 6 '18 at 14:22
  • As Owen points out, this might pin down a building, but no necessarily the location within the building (apartments; multi-occupant companies). Also, some post, and many parcels are not delivered by "postal staff" but by anyone in a transit van who often have no idea of local addresses or their ambiguity. – TripeHound Aug 7 '18 at 10:33
  • Yes, that's a good point about including information within the building. – PhillipW Aug 13 '18 at 6:02

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