Policies & Procedures


Section 1

Business and Financial Affairs

Materiel Management - Purchasing

Sec. 707-10: Purchasing Procedures

Responsible Office: Procurement Services
Revised: August 2017

References / Resources

Contact: Procurement Services at (949) 824-6516

A. Types of Purchasing Actions

Purchase Requisitions are used to order the majority of goods and services and are processed electronically in the Kuali Financial System (KFS). Electronic requisitions are converted into Purchase Orders by either Departmental Buyers (Contract Managers) or by Procurement Services and are then transmitted to the supplier either electronically or manually.

  1. UCIBuy, the eCommerce shopping portal within KFS, provides streamlined requisitioning (Rapid Requisition) from UCI contracted suppliers.
    1. Automatic Purchase Order (APO), bypasses workflow approvals, requiring Fiscal Officer approval only, for orders via UCIBuy not exceeding $5000.
  2. Standard Requisition in KFS routes through workflow approvals.
  3. Some purchase orders may be Recurring Purchase Orders.
  4. To change an existing purchase order submit a Purchase Order Amendment.

PALCard (the University Low Value Procurement Card) can be used by departments to purchase Low Value Purchases directly from suppliers when items are not available through UCIBuy or as indicated on the Purchasing Methods Guide.

An approved purchase order must be in place PRIOR to committing University funds. NOTE: A purchase requisition is not a purchase order and the number must not be used to commit the University.

Low-Value Purchase Authorization may be delegated by the Chief Procurement Officer, Procurement Services to individuals in operating units outside Procurement Services. Authorizations are approved in KFS. The unit must maintain a separation of duties between the purchasing function and bookkeeping function in accordance with BUS-43.

Low-Value Purchase Authorization allows employees to purchase items as indicated on the Purchasing Methods Guide.

B. Funding for Purchases

A purchase request should not be initiated by a department unless funds are available and approved to cover the costs. (See UC Business and Finance Bulletin BUS-43, Section V, Part 1.)

C. Lease Purchase

A lease purchase may be based on future income streams as defined by the requesting department. Dollar amounts over $50,000 will need the approval of UCI Real Estate Services and the Office of the President. (See UC Business and Finance Bulletin BUS-43, Section III, Part 4.)

D. Limitation of Delegated Purchasing Authority

The amount of delegated purchasing authority will not exceed the amount established in University policy. The issuance of repeat orders on consecutive days to a vendor for the same material or the issuance of multiple invoices by a vendor using two or more dates, in order to circumvent this procedure, is prohibited and shall be cause for the withdrawal of delegated purchasing authority.

E. Prohibited Purchases

University policy prohibits the purchase of items for employee personal use.

F. Appliances for General Use

Appliances intended for general use by department staff (e.g., a refrigerator, microwave or coffee pot for an employee break area) may be purchased with unrestricted University funds. When available, electrical appliances purchased for general use must be Energy Star rated.

G. Reimbursement for Unauthorized Purchases

  1. An unauthorized purchase is a purchase, or letter of intent to purchase made verbally or in writing, by an individual who lacks a purchasing delegation of authority. (See UC Business and Finance Bulletin BUS-43, Section III, Part 1, H.)
  2. An individual who makes an unauthorized purchase of goods or services may be personally responsible for payment of the charges incurred. For unneeded items or items whose purchase would not otherwise be authorized, the unauthorized individual may be required to pay the full amount or the amount of any cancellation charges incurred when a cancellation can be arranged.
  3. For the unauthorized purchase of needed and proper items that would otherwise be purchased by the department, the department head or designee may approve reimbursement up to $500 on condition that the purchase otherwise complies with University purchasing policies. The unauthorized individual may be required to pay any difference between the charges incurred and those the University would reasonably expect to have incurred. For unauthorized purchases over $500, the approval of the Chief Procurement Officer, Procurement Services is required prior to reimbursement.
  4. When an individual is traveling on official University business and normal purchasing procedures cannot be followed, the individual may purchase supplies or equipment up to $500 when necessary to accomplish the purpose of the trip. Items purchased are limited to items that comply with University purchasing policies. Conventional office and computer supplies are acceptable when needed to accomplish the purpose of the trip.
  5. Requests for reimbursement of unauthorized purchases are processed using:
    1. TEM Travel Reimbursement for travel. Click the following link for travel information;
    2. TEM Entertainment Reimbursement for supplies and materials related to entertainment and events. Click the following link for entertainment information;
    3. A Disbursement Voucher (DV) to reimburse an individual, using reason code B, should only be used if the unauthorized purchase is not travel or entertainment and event related (such as project or grant related materials and supplies). If a corporate card was used for the purchase, a DV will not reimburse the card directly, it will reimburse the cardholder and the cardholder will need to pay off the card.

H. Standards

UCI standards have been established for equipment, paper products, and furniture:

  1. For any procurement where an "Energy Star" choice exists and is feasible, the required purchase will be an Energy Star product. This includes, but is not limited to, products such as office equipment, all types and sizes of refrigerators and freezers, computers and peripherals, office equipment, all building mechanical components (such as fans and motors), and equipment for new capital projects. This includes all purchases, leases and rentals, and extends across all fund-sources.
  2. Security features must be included when purchasing, leasing or renting digital copiers and multi-function machines. At a minimum, all such machines will have 3-pass disk overwrite and, if available, 128-bit disk encryption. Departments must ensure that these features are activated when the equipment is installed.
  3. Standard white copy paper purchases are to be made from 100 percent post-consumer waste (PCW) recycled paper unless a special need exists. 30% PCW is the minimum standard for additional paper products including but not limited to note pads, legal paper, color paper, multi-purpose paper, etc.; however, 100% PCW recycled paper is recommended whenever possible (see UC Sustainable Practices Policy).
  4. UCI's Strategic Communications and Public Affairs Office establishes standards for letterhead stationery and business cards. Purchase these items at Strategic Sourcing.
  5. Contact Procurement Services at (949) 824-6516 for furniture standards.

I. University Strategic Sourcing Agreements

Items included in University strategic sourcing agreement should, when practicable, be purchased using an agreement. Systemwide agreements and UCI local agreements are available to the campus and the medical center.

J. Employee-Vendor Purchases

No purchase shall be made from a University employee or near relative (defined in BUS-43, Section III, Part 5, B.) unless there has been a specific determination of unavailability from commercial sources as well as from the University's own facilities. Transactions with employee-vendors should be avoided even at the cost of paying a higher price to a commercial source.

When a purchase action is necessary, it must be made in accordance with University policy (BUS-43) regarding employee-vendor relationships. Instructions and forms for all transactions between the University and an employee-vendor are available from Procurement Services (see Section 707-12).

K. Purchase of Equipment and Supplies Under Contract and Grant Activities

The UC Contract and Grant Administration Manual covers policies on purchasing equipment and supplies under contract and grant activities.

L. Special Requirements

Many items and services require special purchase procedures, including, but not limited to:

  1. EH&S and Risk Services Approval

    Various items, including carcinogens and controlled substances, require approval from EH&S prior to release of the Purchase Order to the vendor.

    1. Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), also known as Drones or UAVs
      EH&S and Risk Services should be consulted prior to all UAS purchases.
  2. Facilities Management

    Any purchase, lease, or service that will involve modifications to UCI facilities, or alterations to building systems, requires review and approval from UCI Facilities Management. Alterations to UCI buildings and property are typically requested from Facilities Management, not Procurement Services.

    1. Painting Services
      Regardless of the dollar amount, requests for painting services should be reviewed by the Assistant Director, Skilled Trades & Construction Services. Once approval has been granted, the approval should be included as a part of the end user’s Kuali requisition notes. Click the following link for more information: Paint Services.
  3. Carpets, Flooring, Draperies, Window Treatments or Tinting

    Proposals or requests for purchasing and installing carpets, flooring, draperies, and window treatments or tinting in University facilities, regardless of funding source, must be directed to the Facilities Management for review.  Facilities Management may conduct the work in-house, obtain bids to contract out the work, or approve the transaction proceeding as a purchase order, in which case the requesting department should submit a High Value Requisition.

  4. Cell Phones

    Use of a cell phone, PDA with voice capability, or similar device provided to an employee by the University, is covered in UC Business and Finance Bulletin G-46, Guidelines for the Purchase and Use of Cellular Phones and Other Portable Electronic Resources. A PALCard should be used to pay for the purchase of cell phone equipment and monthly service. (See HOW TO Purchase Cell Phones and Services.)

  5. Electrical Equipment

    All cord-connected electrical equipment and extension cords, must be "UL" (Underwriter's Laboratories) or "FM" (Factory Mutual Engineering Corporation) approved. Electrical equipment may or may not have three prong plugs. Equipment with three prong plugs, have grounding conductors to prevent electric shock. Many new cords and appliances have two-prong polarized plugs which use other methods to prevent electric shock.

  6. Furnishings and Rugs

    Proposals or requests for purchasing furnishings or rugs in University facilities, regardless of funding source, must be directed to Procurement Services on a High Value Requisition. Furniture must meet State of California, Bureau of Home Furnishings and Thermal Insulation-with the California Bureau of Consumer Affairs Technical Bulletin 133, Technical Bulletin 116 and Technical Bulletin 117.

  7. Photography Services

    All photography services must go through Procurement Services' contracts team regardless of dollar amount. (See HOW TO: Acquire Photography Services.)

  8. Software or Software Service

    Complete the Accessibility/Security Review Checklist for all purchases of software or software services. The checklist evaluates risks with regard to IT Accessibility and Information Security & Privacy policies and guidelines, and will help determine if a more in-depth review of the proposed purchase is needed. Click the following link for more information: http://www.oit.uci.edu/accessibility/accessible-procurement/.

  9. Tents and Canopies

    Proposals or requests for the purchase or rental of all tents or canopies for use on University property, regardless of funding source, must be directed to Procurement Services on a High Value Requisition. Tents and canopies must meet National Fire Protection Association 701: Standard Methods of Fire Tests for Flame Propagation of Textiles and Films and the labeling requirements within the Uniform Fire Code- Chapter 24.