1230 - University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Policy on Equipment Specifications



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.

Scope of Applicability

Applies to all UNC-Chapel Hill Faculty and Staff.


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 must be as generic or as performance-based as possible and must express the University's minimum needs without any bias toward a specific brand. Vendor product demonstrations of brand-specific specifications must not 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.



Additional Information

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.

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 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 Order 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 Requirements

External Regulations and Consequences

University Policies, Standards, and Procedures

  • Finance Policy 1214 - University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Policy on Product and Service Demonstrations by Vendors
  • Finance Policy 1232 - University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Policy on Single-Source or Brand-Specific Purchases
  • Finance Policy 1278 - University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Policy on Departmental Evaluation of Equipment

Contact Information

Policy Contact
Subject Contact Telephone Fax E-Mail
Equipment Specifications Purchasing Services - Goods 919-962-3774 919-962-0636 purchasing_team@unc.edu



  • August 2, 2010
  • November 13, 2003
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Article ID: 131424
Thu 4/8/21 9:08 PM
Mon 8/9/21 4:00 PM
Responsible Unit
School, Department, or other organizational unit issuing this document.
Finance and Budget
Issuing Officer
Name of the document Issuing Officer. This is the individual whose organizational authority covers the policy scope and who is primarily responsible for the policy.
Issuing Officer Title
Title of the person who is primarily responsible for issuing this policy.
Director of Purchasing Services
Next Review
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02/27/2021 12:00 AM
Last Review
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02/28/2020 12:00 AM
Last Revised
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02/28/2020 12:00 AM
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02/28/2020 12:00 AM
Date on which the original version of this document was first made official.
07/01/1995 12:00 AM