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Policy: VII.A.2x

Issued: July 1, 1996

Owner: Procurement Services

Latest Revision: July 1, 2000



For Current Policies:
Policy Table of Contents


1.0 Purpose

This policy outlines the guidelines for purchasing goods and services from outside vendors. Transactions charged to University accounts must be made in accordance with Federal and State laws and Federal, State and University regulations and policies and procedures.

Purchasing guidelines under the Code of Virginia are outlined in the Purchasing Manual for Institutions of Higher Education and their Vendors. The manual can be accessed on the Procurement Services web site.

2.0 Policy [Top]

2.1 Purchasing Methods

How a purchase is processed depends on the type of goods or services required, the anticipated dollar amount of the purchase, and the time frame required for delivery.

Departments can order commodities from outside vendors via the University Purchasing Card, the limited purchase order (LPO), or the purchase requisition processed through Procurement Services.

Departments may also use the demand payment process to pay for specific goods and services (generally those for which competition cannot be sought). Reference Policy VI.A.9 for a specific list and dollar limits of those goods and services processed as demand payments.

This policy outlines when each of these methods is used. Reference these financial procedures for details to complete the purchasing process:

Some purchases may require additional approvals or special processing such as radioactive materials, multi-color printing, professional services, or purchases made with grant funds. Reference Policy VII.A.7 for more information.

2.2 Purchasing Procedures

Dollar Amount Goods & Services: Less than $2,000

Procedure: Competition encouraged but not required.

Method: Departments may place orders directly with vendors via the University Purchasing Card or LPO for unrestricted items.

Dollar Amount Goods & Services: $2,000 to $5,000

Procedure: Competition encouraged but not required.

Method: Departments may place orders directly with vendors via the limited purchase order for unrestricted purchases

Restricted Goods and Services:

These items may not be purchased on an LPO or University Purchasing Card and must be purchased via a purchase requisition or processed as a demand payment as listed.

Purchase Requisition: radioactive materials, carpeting and window treatments, furniture, firearms and ammunition, prescription drugs, security systems, renovation and construction services, and purchases from an employee of the Commonwealth of Virginia

Demand Payment: alcoholic beverages, food, flowers, framing, gifts, travel. Food purchases of any type are restricted on an LPO. The University Purchasing Card may be used for some food purchases and for air and rail ticket purchases. The Card may also be used for car rentals done through the University’s Motor Pool.

Note: While it is not required for purchases below $4,999.99, departments are strongly encouraged to seek competition.

Departments may not split a major procurement into several small procurements to circumvent the competitive process.

Departments must document and report purchases off State contract to Procurement Service's Customer Service Representative (See Procedure 7-12).

Dollar Amount Goods & Services: $5,000 to $49,999.99

Procurement transactions expected to total $5,000 and not to exceed $49,999.99 can be initiated by securing four telephone quotes from potential vendors; this can be done by the requisitioning department or Procurement Services. When quotations are obtained by the department, a list of vendors contacted, the date, name of person giving the quote, and price must accompany the requisition. Vendor selection and award shall be made by Procurement Services following appropriate review.

Procedure: Departments or Procurement Services solicit four sources by phone, in writing, or use informal on-site bidding.

Method: Departments submit a purchase requisition to Procurement Services. Procurement Services issues the purchase order to the vendor, forwards a copy to the department, and retains a copy for the procurement file.

Dollar Amount Goods & Services: $50,000 & up

Procurement transactions expected to total in excess of $50,000 are normally subjected to the Invitation for Bids (IFB) process or to the Request for Proposals (RFP) process. Procurement Services solicits minimum of six potential sources in writing, using competitive sealed bidding via an invitation for bids or competitive negotiation via a request for proposals. The requisitioning department should allow six weeks for processing time as the University is required to list procurements above $50,000 in the "Virginia Business Opportunities Register" for 24 days.

All invitations for bid (IFB), requests for proposal (RFP), and emergency and sole source procurements in excess of $50,000 are also posted on the Procurement Services web site. Any vendor can request a copy of any IFB or RFP and submit a bid or proposal.

Procedure: Purchasing solicits a minimum of six potential sources in writing, using one of these methods:

1 - Competitive sealed bidding using an invitation for bids (IFB). Competitive sealed bidding is used when price is the sole determining factor.

2 - Competitive negotiation using a request for proposals (RFP). Competitive negotiation is use when price is not the sole determining factor.

Method: Departments submit a purchase requisition to Procurement Services. Departments may suggest vendors for Procurement Services to solicit. Once the vendor is selected, Procurement Services issues the purchase order to the vendor, forwards a copy to the department, and retains a copy for the procurement file.

Note: Specifications for both IFBs and RFPs for the requested goods or services should be as broad as possible to allow for the greatest competition among all suppliers of comparable material, supplies, equipment, and services.

2.3 Emergency Purchases

Emergency purchases are those required to protect life and/or property, or to prevent substantial economic loss or the interruption of service.

Dollar Amounts Goods & Services: Greater than $4,999.99

Procedure: Competition is used where possible, but formal procedures may be waived. Departments are urged to call Procurement Services immediately when an emergency arises. Procurement Services requires that departments submit written justification describing the nature of the emergency. This may be in the form of a note on the purchase requisition, but the note must be detailed enough to determine the nature of the emergency.

Method: Submit a purchase requisition to Procurement Services.

Note: If an emergency occurs during other than business hours and procurement action is taken, the department should notify Procurement Services the next business day.

2.4 Sole Source Purchases

Sole Source means the item desired is available from only one vendor. Sole source procurements are justified when only one firm can satisfy the University's requirements. Price is not a factor in sole source determinations.

Procedure: Sole Source Form or written justification required, followed by the use of non- competitive negotiation. For purchase which are in excess of $10,000 Procurement Services conducts a market survey and reference checks. Procurement Services reports sole source purchases in excess of $10,000 to the Secretary of Education on a quarterly basis.

A purchase restricted to a stated brand available from distributor or manufacturers is a proprietary purchase. Such a purchase restricts the requirements to the brand name and solicits bids from vendors selling that brand name product. Proprietary purchases are not sole source purchases; competition is still possible.

2.5 Public Posting of Purchases in Excess of $50,000

All invitations for bids (IFB), requests for proposals (RFP), emergency and sole source procurements in excess of $50,000 are posted in Procurement Services for ten calendar days or the solicitation period, whichever is appropriate. Any vendor can request a copy of any IFB or RFP and submit a bid or proposal.

All purchases in excess of $50,000 are posted in the "Virginia Business Opportunities." Posting in the VBO requires 24 calendar days.

2.6 Execution of Contracts

All purchasing related contracts, including vendor-supplied contracts and contract renewals, must be signed by the Chief Contracting Officer or the Director of Purchasing. If an individual University employee signs a contract he or she may be personally liable for its terms and conditions. To purchase good or services with vendor-supplied agreements, regardless of dollar amount or type of purchase, complete a purchase requisition and forward the requisition and vendor-supplied agreement to Purchasing.

2.7 Unauthorized Purchases

An unauthorized purchase is a purchase which does not comply with State or Federal laws and policies. If the purchase is greater than $50,000 the University does not have the authority to issue a confirming purchase order to the vendor, and the individual who made the purchase may be personally liable.

2.8 Standing Orders

Procurement Services recommends the establishment of a standing order for goods or services purchased on a regular basis. Standing orders can be established based on time frames or dollar limits.

2.9 Merchandise Returns

Departments should work directly with vendors on merchandise returns and credits. If a department experiences difficulties with returns notify a buyer in Procurement Services.

2.10 Vendor Relations

Procurement Services encourages the rotation of small dollar orders among vendors and encourages the use of minority vendors for small dollar orders (Reference Policy VII.A.4).

If departments experience problems with vendors they are encouraged to call a buyer in Procurement Services immediately. Procurement Services can help build a legally defensive case from the outset if it appears the problem may escalate.

Departments are under no obligation to meet with vendors, and are encouraged to refer vendors to Procurement Services.

Procurement Services follows the National Association of Educational Buyers Code of Ethics. Departments are asked to follow this Code in dealing with vendors. Following this Code while conducting purchasing transactions helps ensure that vendors are provided fair access to the University's business and that all purchases are conducted in an ethical manner.

2.11 National Association of Educational Buyers Code of Ethics

  1. Give first consideration to the objectives and policies of my institution.
  2. Strive to obtain the maximum value for each dollar of expenditure.
  3. Decline personal gifts or gratuities.
  4. Grant all competitive suppliers equal consideration insofar as State or federal statute and institutional policy permit.
  5. Conduct business with potential and current suppliers in an atmosphere of good faith, devoid of intentional misrepresentation.
  6. Demand honesty in sales representation whether offered through the medium of a verbal or written statement, an advertisement, or a sample of the product.
  7. Receive consent of originator of proprietary ideas and designs before using them for competitive purchasing purposes.
  8. Make every reasonable effort to negotiate an equitable and mutually agreeable settlement of any controversy with a supplier; and/or be willing to submit any major controversies to arbitration or other third party review, insofar as the established policies of my institution permit.
  9. Accord a prompt and courteous reception insofar as conditions permit to all who call on legitimate business missions.
  10. Cooperate with trade, industrial and professional associations, and with governmental and private agencies for the purposes of promoting and developing sound business methods.
  11. Foster fair, ethical and legal trade practices.
  12. Counsel and cooperate with NAEB members and promote a spirit of unity and a keen interest in professional growth among them.

National Association of Educational Buyers Adopted July 1, 1985

3.0 Definitions [Top]

4.0 References [Top]

5.0 Approvals and Revisions [Top]

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