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Purchasing - Division of Business and Finance

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Pressing need, Emergency and Confirming Purchasing

Policy dictates that the issuance of an official university Purchase Order or other recognized document precede the procurement and receipt of commodities and services costing more than $1,000 before tax and shipping. Integral to this process is the element of planning.

It is recognized, however, that instances do occur when planning is not possible due to the circumstances surrounding the requirement. Such situations are defined as when there is a "pressing need" or "emergency" as prescribed below. In these specific instances (as defined below), occasional exceptions may be made to this policy with the prior approval of the Purchasing Department.

Where the conditions may substantiate and when approved by the Purchasing Department or the State as required, expedited purchases may be executed. Campus departments affected by such circumstances will contact the Purchasing Department prior to acting or committing the university. Where time is available, the circumstance will be reviewed and prior approval of the Purchasing Department sought by the campus department. When the conditions are such that immediate action is warranted, the Purchasing Department will be advised as rapidly of the circumstances as possible.

A. Emergency Purchases - Defined as unforeseen situations are those that endanger lives, property, or the continuation of vital programs and require immediate on-the-spot purchases (or rental) of equipment, materials, supplies, or services.

The university is delegated the authority to make emergency purchases not to exceed $50,000 without following the prescribed procedure for routine purchases when it can be determined and documented that the failure to procure the requirement will be to the severe detriment of the university, students and employees, or the public. Although competition may be forgone under such conditions, the university must still act reasonably in using public funds.

When the requirement exceeds $50,000, the campus department shall advise the Purchasing Department of the need so that the university may obtain the oral approval of the State Division of Purchase and Contract, if time permits. Whether prior approval was or was not possible, the campus department will provide the Purchasing Department with sufficient information to allow a written explanation of the emergency to be submitted to the State. This explanation must clearly portray the cause and reasons for handling the specific transaction as an emergency.

B. Pressing Need Purchases - Unforeseen situations are those that have created a requirement which immediate on-the-spot purchase (or rental) of equipment, materials, supplies, or services can only rectify. The causes for such situations may include, by example, delay by contractors, delay in transportation, breakdown of machinery, and unanticipated volume of work.

The Purchasing Department's processes for "Emergency Needs" will apply to "Pressing Needs"; however, competitive placement of the requirement with a vendor shall be exercised. Additionally, purchase requisitions for "Pressing Need" purchases must be submitted to the Purchasing Department, with a written explanation of the circumstances. The Purchasing Department will solicit prices, as applicable and time permits, and authorize the purchase.


A Constituent Institution of The University of North Carolina