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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:

  1. Fees associated with participation in athletic games, tournaments, and events including team travel, lodging, registration fees, and game guarantees
  2. Referees, officials, and umpires for athletic events
  3. Televised or radio programs (e.g., athletic events, televised conferences, etc.) whereby specific stations are selected because of market demographics
  4. Artists, performing artists, speakers, lecturers, writers, musicians, designers (e.g. set designers, musical design/composition, sound design artists), choreographers, photographers, and videographers
  5. Rental fees for exhibitions of historical artifacts or original works of arts. (The rental fee may include charges other than the rental of the exhibition, such as transportation costs)
  6. Print or electronic books and subscriptions, printed materials, reprints, film rentals, videocassettes, DVD, slide presentations, online streaming, etc., when only available from the producer or protected distributors
  7. Conference hosting services, to include: space / facility rental, associated lodging & catering, audio visual support, and other conference related expenses which costs are offset by vendor sponsorships and / or conference attendee registration fees
  8. Conference attendance, to include: conference registration, course fee, seminars fee, training fee, and tuition
  9. Academic and Research consulting services
  10. Contributions / donations / sponsorship made by a university
  11. Honoraria
  12. Maintenance contracts for high-cost, sophisticated equipment where there is no known competitor and service must be purchased from the manufacturer of the equipment (i.e., void warranty)
  13. Transplants, related transplant services, and implants
  14. Services provided by public and private hospitals, medical practices, medical clinics, and individuals that are licensed and authorized by law to engage in the prevention, diagnosis, or treatment of human illness, injury, physical disability, mental health, special needs, substance abuse, or emotional condition
  15. Pass through procurements (examples include contracting for alumni functions for which the institution is reimbursed by the alumni and materials purchases for students by a faculty member using state funds and for which the students fully reimburse the institution)
  16. Purchases from the Federal government, states and their agencies, academic institutions (public and private), public bodies, and non-profit organizations.
  17. Specialized software licenses and applications, websites, browser plugins, subscriptions, electronic databases, software-as-a-service (SAAS), and maintenance or upgrades of existing software already purchased
  18. Academic testing and evaluation services
  19. Accreditation fees
  20. Equipment testing or evaluation (limited to purchases of quantities considered necessary for complete and adequate testing)
  21. Training sessions, instructional services, and workshops
  22. All travel, domestic and foreign, for individuals or groups to include: air, lodging, ground transportation, meals, and special services (e.g., currency exchange services)
  23. Purchases made by a university employee or agent while located in another country and the required goods/services are purchased from a vendor located in that country and the purchased goods/services will be used in the country where they are purchased.
  24. Advertisements in newspapers, magazines, journals, radio, television, social media, digital platforms, etc.
  25. Facilitators and Mediators
  26. Real estate leases
  27. Utilities – electricity, natural gas, water, etc.

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.