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Policies and Procedures

Policy 1230 – Equipment Specifications

July 1, 1995
Last Updated
August 2, 2010
Responsible University Officer
Director of Purchasing Services
Responsible Unit
Purchasing Services

Policy Statement

The University requires the use of equipment specifications to describe its purchase needs and requirements. These specifications are used by vendors to prepare bids to supply the items or services to meet those needs and requirements. During the evaluation of bids, the specifications are used to determine each bidder’s compliance with the requirements and ultimately to enter into a contract with the selected vendor.

Equipment specifications should be as generic or as performance-based as possible and should express the University’s minimum needs without any bias toward a specific brand. Vendor product demonstrations of brand-specific specifications are not to be used unless the need in question can only be met by the exact specifications of that particular piece of equipment. In this case, a written justification explaining why the product is singularly able to meet the requirements must accompany the requisition.

Reason for Policy

The University requires written equipment specifications because they are the key legal documents in settling any dispute concerning the quality of the product or service received and must be as complete as possible.



Special Situations

Experience with different varieties and models of a product make it easier to document requirements in the form of specifications, therefore, a demonstration can be beneficial. A purchasing agent can assist with arranging the demonstration and offer advice on the specifications.



Additional Information

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Would compatibility with existing equipment be considered a reason for not requiring equipment specification?
A: Yes, however, this consideration requires a written justification stating the compatibility issues. Specifically, the justification must address whether the purchase is brand specific (in which case, it can be competitively bid upon), or a sole-source purchase (only one source of supply is available).

Q: There are times when grant money is designated to go to a specified piece of research equipment. Would equipment specifications be required in that case?
A: No, but a written justification referencing the specific grant requirements must accompany the purchase requisition.

Q: Is there any help that can be provided in writing an equipment specification?
A: Yes, the State Division of Purchase and Contract has generic specifications available online for various items (see Related Data) and Purchasing Services will assist.

Q: Is an equipment specification or sole-source justification required for purchases less than $5,000?
A: No, the small purchasing policy does not require open competition.

Q: Is an equipment specification or sole source justification required for State contract or University contract items?
A: No, the requirement for open competition was satisfied when the contract was awarded.

Related Data

1232 - Single-Source or Brand-Specific Purchases
1214 - Product and Service Demonstrations by Vendors
1278 - Departmental Evaluation of Equipment
North Carolina Administrative Code 05B.0203, Development of Specifications


Equipment Specifications Purchasing Services - Goods 919-962-3774 919-962-0636


August 2, 2010
November 13, 2003