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Guidelines for Competition

When Competition is Required

Please note: No additional competition is required for purchase of goods and services on an existing contract, as vendor selection was based on appropriate competition at the time the contract was awarded. All requirements for competition on this page, regardless of price range, refer to the non-contract purchase of goods and services.

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Dollar Amounts $0 to $5,000

  • Goods and services totaling $5,000 or less per vendor within a single 12-month period may generally be purchased directly by departments with a minimum of competition.
  • Check the Goods and Services Procurement Guide to see if the item is prohibited from department purchase.
  • The purchase must be awarded to the lowest quoting vendor capable of meeting all requirements.

Dollar Amounts $5,001 to $50,000

  • Unless purchased from a contract vendor, goods and services totaling $5,000 or more within a single 12-month period and not exempt from competition (see exemptions below) must be purchased competitively through Procurement & Supplier Diversity Services.
  • End user submits a non-catalog UVa Marketplace Order to initiate the purchase.
  • End user may solicit quotes and attach to the UVa Marketplace Order or Procurement & Supplier Diversity Services will solicit quotes.
  • Soliciting a minimum of three quotes in writing meets the competition requirement.  
  • At least two quotes should be from Minority- or Woman-owned firms certified by the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Dollar Amounts above $50,000 

  • End user submits a non-catalog UVa Marketplace Order to initiate the purchase.
  • Procurement & Supplier Diversity Services solicits minimum of six potential sources in writing through RFP (Requests for Proposal).
  • At least four of the solicitations should be to Minority- or Woman-owned firms certified by the Commonwealth of Virginia.  
  • Procurement & Supplier Diversity Services posts RFP solicitations on their website, the eVA website, and in a newspaper of general circulation. Minimum solicitation posting periods are 10 days.
  • Completion time for RFPs vary based on complexity of the goods or services. Procurement & Supplier Diversity Services' buyers generally consult with representatives from the requesting department and selected experts in the formulation of the RFP and in the evaluation of vendor proposals.

Exceptions to the Requirement for Competition

Purchases that are intended to be processed as exceptions to competition must be made through Procurement & Supplier Diversity Services via end user submission of a non-catalog UVa Marketplace Order, but the requirement for competition may be waived if circumstances warrant. Supporting documentation, when required, may be attached to the non-catalog UVA Marketplace Order or   otherwise separately coordinated with and sent to Procurement & Supplier Diversity Services - Accounts Payablepopup

Emergency $5,000.01 and up

  • Emergency purchases are required to protect life and/or property, prevent substantial economic loss, or prevent interruption of service.
  • End user submits written justification describing the nature of the emergency to Procurement & Supplier Diversity Services.
  • Procurement & Supplier Diversity Services waives formal procedures, but uses competition where possible.

Sole Source $5,000.01 - $50,000

  • Sole Source procurements can be made when only one firm can satisfy the requirement. Price is not a factor in sole source vendor selection.
  • End user should attach Sole Source Justification Form to the non-catalog UVa Marketplace Order or provide written justification.
  • Procurement & Supplier Diversity Services engages requested vendor in non-competitive negotiation.

Sole Source above $50,000

  • Sole Source procurements can be made when only one firm can satisfy the requirement. Price is not a factor in sole source vendor selection.
  • End user should attach Sole Source Justification Form to the non-catalog UVa Marketplace Order or provide written justification.
  • Procurement & Supplier Diversity Services must conduct a market survey and reference checks.
  • Procurement & Supplier Diversity Services engages requested vendor in non-competitive negotiation.

Please note: A purchase restricted to a stated brand available from more than one vendor is NOT a Sole Source procurement.

Special Case Exemptions up to $50,000

The following purchases are generally exempt from competition, as competition is normally not practicable and/or available for such goods and services:

  • Books, printed materials, film rentals, reprints and subscription (e.g., print or electronic), videocassettes and slide presentations when only available from the publisher/producer.
  • Academic/research consulting services.
  • Alcohol purchased from Alcohol Beverage Control stores.
  • Writers.
  • Artists.
  • Photographers (other than graduation and yearbook photographers).
  • Contributions and donations made by a university.
  • Advertisements (such as in newspapers, magazines, journals, billboards, websites, radio, television or similar public media.)
  • Utility charges.
  • Accreditation fees.
  • Academic testing services.
  • Transplants, related transplant services, and implants.
  • Pass-through-procurements. (Examples include contracting for alumni functions for which the institution is reimbursed by the alumni and materials purchased for students by a faculty member using State funds and for which the students fully reimburse the institution). All such procurements must be approved by Procurement & Supplier Diversity Services.
  • Purchases for testing or evaluation (limited to purchases of quantities considered necessary for complete and adequate testing)

Special Case Exemptions with no Dollar Amount Limit

The following purchases are exempt from competition:

  • Purchases of used equipment
  • Purchases from governmental sources
  • The purchase of goods or services that are produced or performed by or related to:
    • Persons, or in schools or workshops, under the supervision of the Virginia Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired;
    • Nonprofit sheltered workshops or other nonprofit organizations that offer transitional or supported employment services serving the handicapped;
    • Private educational institutions; or
    • Other public educational institutions.
  • Speakers and performing artists;
  • Memberships and Association dues;
  • Sponsored research grant sub-awards and contract sub-awards, not to include the purchase of goods or services by the Institution;
  • Group travel in foreign countries;
  • Conference facilities and services;
  • Participation in intercollegiate athletic tournaments and events including team travel and lodging, registration and tournament fees;
  • Royalties; or
  • The purchase of legal services, provided that the Office of the Attorney General has been consulted, or expert witnesses or other services associated with litigation or regulatory proceedings.