1231 - University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Policy on Solicitation of Quotations, Bids, and Proposals

Introduction

Purpose

The State of North Carolina requires competitive bidding for all items not available on State Term Contracts that exceed the Small Purchase Benchmark as defined in Finance Policy 1251. The policy clarifies the dollar thresholds for the bid types and provides direction on supporting documentation required to facilitate the purchase.

Scope of Applicability

All University Faculty and Staff.

Related Documents

1231.1rd - University Self-Certification of Small Purchase Threshold dated 01 July 2022.

Policy

Policy Statement

The solicitation of competitive quotes, bids or proposals is the sole responsibility of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's ("UNC-Chapel HIll" or "University") Purchasing Services. Purchases for goods and services must be made from products available at University Stores, on Buy Carolina, or through existing State or consortium contracts where available, unless lower prices can be obtained from other sources and adequately documented.

Small Purchase

Small purchases are those that are valued at less than or equal to the Small Purchase Benchmark, including the amount of any extensions or renewals. Small purchases are addressed in 01 NCAC 05B .0301 and are subject to the following rules:

  • Mandatory State Term Contracts (STCs) must be used for small purchases if applicable. STCs that are deemed for use as “convenience” may be used for any purchase, including small purchases. All goods and services covered by STCs must be purchased in accordance with the instructions in those contracts.
  • A requisition must be submitted for all small purchases greater than $5,000 to ensure that equipment purchases can be identified as Capital Assets, asset tagged, and tracked in accordance with State Controller Office requirements.
  • In the event that vendors of a good or service are not known, Purchasing Services may post small purchase solicitations on the North Carolina Department of Administration's Purchase & Contract Division ("P&C") electronic bid system and may use solicitation templates provided by P&C.
  • University Departments should monitor small purchases to protect against misuse of funds, conflicts of interest, or other system abuses and to ensure that the value received by the University is commensurate with the amount spent. It is best practice to seek pricing from multiple sources to ensure pricing is in line with going market rates.

Informal Bid Purchases

Informal purchases are those that are valued between the small purchase benchmark and the university’s defined formal bid value benchmark of $100,000, including the amount of any extensions or renewals. Informal purchases are addressed in 01 NCAC 05B .0301 and are subject to the following rules:

  • Mandatory STCs must be used for informal purchases if applicable. STCs that are deemed for use as “convenience” may be used for any purchase, including informal purchases. All goods and services covered by STCs must be purchased in accordance with the instructions in those contracts.
  • Informal purchases must contain the University's standard terms and conditions. To accomplish this Purchasing Services will issue an Request for Quote (RFQ) to at least three vendors.  The requester in submitting their requisition must, to the best of their ability, provide Company, contact name, email address, and phone number of at least three vendors known to provide the required good or service. 

Formal Bid Purchases

 Formal purchases are those that are valued above the University's defined formal bid value benchmark, including the amount of any renewals or extensions. Formal purchases are addressed in 01 NCAC 05B .0301 and are subject to the following rules:

  • Mandatory STCs must be used for formal purchases if applicable. STCs that are deemed for use as “convenience” may be used for any purchase, including informal purchases. All goods and services covered by STCs must be purchased in accordance with the instructions in those contracts.
  • For purchases greater than $100,000 and up to $500,000, Purchasing Services uses the University's sealed formal bid procedure to obtain competitive bids.  
  • Purchases in excess of $500,000 are submitted to P&C for appropriate review and approval, unless due to the funding source the University is able to use the flexibility afforded it by the Legislature. This flexibility is allowed when the purchase being made is not covered by a State term contract and either:
    1. The funds used to procure personal property or services are not moneys appropriated from the General Fund or received as Tuition or, in the case of multiple fund sources moneys appropriated General Fund or received as Tuition do not exceed thirty percent (30%) of the total funds; or
    2. The funds used to procure personal property or services are contract and grant funds or, in the case of multiple fund sources, the contract and grant funds exceed fifty percent (50%) of the total funds.
  • Purchases in excess of $100,000 are required to be posted to the States Interactive Purchasing Site for a minimum of ten (10) days. In extreme, documented urgency of need circumstances, Purchasing Services will have the discretion to utilize informal bidding procedures up to the University's delegated authority of $500,000. Purchases in excess of $1,000,000 must be reviewed by the UNC-Chapel Hill Office of University Counsel.
  • The requester in submitting their requisition must designate a specific vendor and provide a valid estimate of cost on the requisition. The requestor is also required to provide the company's point-of-contact name, phone number, and email address. This helps guide Purchasing Services in making the most cost-effective purchase in as timely a manner as possible.
  • Purchasing Services is required to search for the vendor who will provide Best Value, defined as the best price, quality, delivery time, and other factors deemed advantageous to the University.
  • All bidding information received, including pricing, remains confidential until an award is made, so as not to compromise the competitive bid process. Likewise, to protect the integrity of the solicitation process, any communication with competing vendors regarding clarification of a quote, bid, or proposal must go through the assigned purchasing agent. The requesting department will participate in the evaluation process; however, if the lowest-priced bid is not selected, the departmental evaluation team is required to submit written justification providing specific reasons for the selection. Successful bid responses are incorporated into the purchase order which binds the vendor to meet the quantities, qualities, prices, and other conditions proposed in the bid.

Exceptions

Procurements funded by foundation monies are excluded.

Additional Information

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: A vendor called to ask a question about a procurement that I had submitted for competitive bid. May I answer the vendor's question regarding the bid solicitation?

A: No, all correspondence should be addressed to the purchasing agent so no bidding vendor has information not available to all others. Purchasing Services must ensure that all interested parties are made aware of questions, answers, or changes within the scope of the bid requirement via a formal written addendum.

Q: Purchasing Services sent me a number of vendor bids to review and evaluate. The lowest bidder is a company with which I had a bad experience and I do not want them to be selected. Do I have to select them?

A: Unless a vendor has been debarred from doing business with any State agency, they cannot be disqualified based on someone's opinion. Documentation and proof of the issue needs to be submitted to Purchasing Services when it arises.

Q: When do I need a quote or a bid solicitation?

A: Except where a waiver, special delegation, exemption, or an emergency purchase is permitted by rule, the State requires the University to seek fair and open competition for all purchases greater than the Small Purchase Benchmark.

Q: Can a bid be accepted after the bid opening date and time?

A: No. Late bids cannot be accepted, regardless of the reason. All bids must be received by the bid opening date and time shown on the bid document.

Related Requirements

External Regulations and Consequences

University Policies, Standards, and Procedures

Contact Information

Policy Contacts
Subject Contact Telephone Fax E-Mail
Solicitation of Bids and Quotations Purchasing Services - Goods 919-962-3774 919-962-0636 purchasing_team@unc.edu
Solicitation of Bids and Quotations Contract Services & Stores- Services 919-962-9463 919-962-6271 purchasing_team@unc.edu

History

Revised:

  • May 10, 2022
  • December 9, 2020
  • May 31, 2019
  • February 28, 2018
  • July 22, 2010
  • May 26, 2004
Print Article

Details

Article ID: 131425
Created
Thu 4/8/21 9:08 PM
Modified
Tue 7/23/24 8:18 AM
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
Policy Contact
Person who handles document management. Best person to contact for information about this policy. In many cases this is not the Issuing Officer. It may be the Policy Liaison, or another staff member.
Next Review
Date on which the next document review is due.
07/01/2025 12:00 AM
Last Review
Date on which the most recent document review was completed.
05/10/2022 3:15 PM
Last Revised
Date on which the most recent changes to this document were approved.
05/10/2022 3:15 PM
Effective Date
If the date on which this document became/becomes enforceable differs from the Origination or Last Revision, this attribute reflects the date on which it is/was enforcable.
07/02/2022 3:15 PM
Origination
Date on which the original version of this document was first made official.
11/23/2003 12:00 AM