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Sole Source Purchasing

A sole source purchase is one where there is only one vendor capable of providing an item or service, and therefore it is not possible to obtain competitive bids. A single source purchase is one where there are multiple sources of supply, but for specific reasons the item or service must be purchased from a specified vendor. For purchase transactions equal to, or greater than, $10,000 (same threshold for sponsored research) in total value and it is deemed that there is only one viable source for the item or service that is essential to the needs of the University, and it has been determined that competitive bidding is not possible, the requisitioning department will be required to complete the Sole Source Justification Form. An order will not be placed without proper documentation, including a written quotation from the awarded vendor. PCD has the authority to review and challenge any order.

The competitive bidding requirement can be waived for an equipment purchase or services with an aggregate value equal to, or greater than, $10,000 (same threshold for sponsored research) when the product or service is available from only one non-contract supplier, thereby exempting the purchase from the otherwise required competitive bid policy of the University. This is done under exceptional and limited circumstances. In order to waive the competitive bidding requirement, the faculty or staff member requesting the exemption must provide PCD with a detailed written explanation as to why competitively bidding the product or service would be impracticable and that the cost charged by the supplier is reasonable and customary. Such request should include specific technical requirements of the product or service and supportable evidence that due diligence has been performed in an objective market analysis. PCD reserves the right to negotiate pricing or to solicit additional information and remains the final authority on all procurement issues. Examples of waving the competitive bidding requirement include:

  •  Equipment for which there is no comparable competitive product.
  •  A component or replacement part for which there is no commercially available substitute, and which can be obtained only from the manufacturer and/or a manufacturer's distributor.
  • An item where compatibility is the overriding consideration, such as computer operating software enhancements for an existing system. 
  • A supply, equipment, part, service or supplier that, due to technically constraining factors associated with scientific research, are needed to ensure the fairness and validity of the underlying research. 
  • Repair/replacement parts for non-competitive equipment
  • Continuation of an existing contract when work is so closely related to that of the uncompleted basic contract that it would not be feasible to consider another potential contractor.