NOTICE: The Finance Policies and Procedures Manual, along with the previous manual, is undergoing changes. These sites are continually updated to reflect changes in business processes. If you cannot find the information you are seeking in these policies, email for more information.
Policies and Procedures

Policy 1240 – Emergency or Pressing Need Purchases

March 1, 1998
Last Updated
October 2, 2014
Last Reviewed
October 2, 2014
Responsible University Officer
Director of Purchasing Services
Responsible Unit
Procurement Services

Policy Statement

Extraordinary purchasing procedures may be used to accommodate emergency or “pressing need” conditions as defined here.

1. An emergency is generally defined as a situation that endangers lives, property or the continuation of a vital program; and which can be rectified only by immediate, on-the-spot purchases or rental of commodities, printing or services.

2. A pressing need is one arising from unforeseen causes including, but not limited to, delay by contractors, delay in transportation, breakdown in machinery or unanticipated volume of work.

Supplies or equipment may be purchased without competitive bidding in an emergency situation.

Reason for Policy

The University enacts this policy in accordance with North Carolina purchasing guidelines.



Special Situations



  • None

Additional Information

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: The climate control system that keeps our rare, expensive lab mice alive has failed. This must be fixed immediately! How do we get what we need right now?
A: In the case of an extreme emergency, authorized University personnel may take whatever purchasing action necessary to protect human life or University property. This should be followed by a written explanation and summary of the action taken submitted to the Purchasing Services.

Q: My department was just given some additional money but needs to spend it within the next several days. Can this be considered an emergency purchase?
A: No, your circumstances do not fit the emergency or pressing need criteria as listed above.

Q: A critical piece of research equipment just broke and needs to be repaired immediately. Can I get a purchase order to handle a $10,000 repair?
A: Yes, but you will need to send Purchasing Services a justification letter along with a requisition explaining your pressing need request. Once approved, Purchasing Services will issue a purchase order for the repair.

Related Data

North Carolina Administrative Code (NCAC) 05B.1602a-c


Emergency Purchase – Goods Purchasing Services – Goods 919-962-3774 919-962-0636
Emergency Purchase – Services Purchasing Services – Services 919-962-9463 919-962-6271


October 1, 2014: Revised naming of requisition.
August 2, 2010
November 13, 2003