Institutional Services |Purchasing and Contracts |Research Funded Purchasing | Purchasing Basics
Welcome to the Office of Research Funded Purchasing and Contracts Outreach Program. This program is designed to provide campus end users with definitions, rules, guidelines, procedures and information. There are three ways to utilize this program: (1) read through the entire document; (2) select a main category, whereupon you will be taken to the beginning of that category; or (3) select a subcategory and be taken only to that section.
The Office of Research Funded Purchasing and Contracts would be glad to arrange classes for your department to provide a more in-depth overview of the purchasing function.
This web site is designed to guide you through the myriad of definitions, rules, guidelines, procedures and information. This index will be your guide:
I. Getting Started
II. What do you want to buy?
Cell Phones, PDAs and Mobile Communication Devices
Chemicals and Gases
Document/File Archiving Services
Editorial Design and Graphic and Fine Art Services
Education and Training Services
Financial and Insurance Services
Furniture and Furnishings
Industrial Cleaning Services
Organizations and Memberships
Public Utilities and Public Sector Related Services
Security and Safety Services
Storage and Warehousing
Temporary Personnel and Administrative Services
Travel and Food and Lodging
III. Procurement Processes
Invitation for Bid
Office of General Services (State) Contract
Preferred Source Vendors
Request for Information
Request for Proposals
Request for Qualifications
Request for Quotes
Data Use Agreement
Terms and Conditions
V. Regulations and Guidelines
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA)
Antiterrorism and Death Penalty Act of 1995
Copeland "Anti-Kickback" Act
Debarment and Suspension
Fly America Act
Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act
Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise
Office of Management and Budget
VI. Receiving and Payment
IRS Form W-9
VII. Post Procurement
Office of Equipment Management
Office of Sponsored Funds Financial Management
VIII. Power Point Presentations
Level I - Introduction to Research Procurements
Level II - Procurements between $10,000 and $50,000
Level III - Procurements Over $50,000
Introduction: The process starts with a department needing to purchase an item or service. The specifics are all entered onto a purchase requisition. The end user should have an idea of what they want, why it is needed, when they want it, where it is to be delivered, how much they are willing to pay and who authorized the expense. Properly filled out, the requisition begins the procurement process and the Office of Purchasing and Contracts then gets to work. To facilitate the procurement, please follow the step-by-step instructions on how to complete a requisition.
Depending on the funding source, research funded purchases may be subject to the rules and regulations of the Office of the President of the United States - Office of Management and Budget, the sponsor, the Research Foundation and the University at Albany. The Office of Research Funded Purchasing and Contracts reviews all requisitions carefully, keeping in mind the applicable guidelines. It is imperative that final purchase commitments are only made by the designated individuals who are authorized to do so; all approvals are obtained through the Office of Purchasing & Contracts. Should a commitment be made without proper authorization, the purchase may violate federal, sponsor or state guidelines, and in addition, the individual making the commitment may be held financially responsible for the transaction.
Requisitioning: The requisition begins the procurement process. The Office of Research Funded Purchasing and Contracts has created a web-based requisition allowing end users to complete the document on their desktop, print and submit via fax or inter-office mail to Purchasing. Once the requisition is received, a grants specialist reviews the request to ascertain if a number of required factors are met; including the availability of funds, authorized signatory, and the appropriateness of the expenditure As part of our responsibility to be good stewards of sponsored funds, competition may be sought at any level of procurement and the Office of Research Funded Purchasing and Contracts may place procurement advertisements in the New York State Contract Reporter or other publications.
Time Savers: The procurement process is highly regulated and complex but there are steps that can be taken to speed up the process. These steps include:
Perhaps the most important factor driving the procurement process is the dollar value of the purchase. As you will see, the dollar threshold of the purchase will impact the time frame, the format of the response required, if additional documentation needs to be provided and if outside agency approval is needed.
The above serves as a quick synopsis of getting the purchasing process started. Further details will emerge as you continue in this Program.
What do you want to buy?
The Office of Purchasing and Contracts procures a wide variety of goods and services for the campus. The item being procured may entail special procedures that have been established by the campus, sponsor, or regulatory authority. Therefore, it is imperative that you do not commit to a purchase outside of the purchasing process.
Below are brief descriptions of a number of the commonly ordered items.
Animals: The purchase and use of live, vertebrate animals for research at educational institutions is subject to state and federal regulation. Anyone wishing to use or house live vertebrate animals at the University for research or testing must have that use reviewed and approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) prior to any activities taking place.
The IACUC reviews all classroom and research projects, sponsored or unsponsored, involving the use of living non-human vertebrate animals, or animals killed for the purposes of the study, to ensure the humane care and use of animals.
After IACUC approval, animals may be ordered by sending a Purchase Requisition to Laboratory Animal Resources for approval. Investigators may not place orders directly with a vendor, nor will purchases be executed by the Office of Research Funded Purchasing and Contracts without prior approval from the Laboratory Animal Resources.
The Purchase Requisition must include the number of animals to be ordered, the species, specific requirements such as age, sex, timed pregnancies, etc., preferred vendor, requested delivery date, the account number to be charged, and the approved protocol number. Laboratory Animal Resources will review the requisition to ensure that an approved protocol exists, and that the number of animals does not exceed the approved number. Once the request is reviewed and approved, the Requisition will be forwarded to the Office of Research Funded Purchasing and Contracts for execution of the purchase.
For more information, contact the Laboratory Animal Resources Facility at 591-8817 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Appliances: Some specific lab situations require the purchase of refrigerators and freezers. Personal use appliances usually found in kitchens cannot be purchased using Research Funds unless certain criteria are met. Kitchen appliances require prior approval by the Purchasing Agent based on a justification that meets established sponsor and/or OMB guidelines.
Cell Phones, PDAs, and Mobile Communication Devices: Mobile Communication Devices may be purchased from the NYS Office of General Services Contract under the comprehensive telecommunications contract. Vendors offer plans to cover local, long distance and text and other services. If a signed agreement is required, the user must send the agreement to the Purchasing Office for review and signature by the Research Foundation Delegate. Before ordering, a cell phone the purchaser should review their department and/or sponsor’s policy on cell phone use. Cell phones will only be purchased by the Purchasing Office for business use.
The disposal of mobile communications devices, either as surplus or scrap, requires the completion and submission to the Office of Equipment Management of a Property Status Change Request Form containing an attestation that the data contained in the item has been erased and that it cannot be retrieved.
Chemicals and Gases: Chemical and gases purchased for lab or classroom use can be made via the online science house vendors, or with a requisition. The Purchasing Office provides copies of all hazardous material orders and Material Safety Data Sheets to the Office of Environmental Health and Safety who is responsible for campus compliance with chemical safety regulations.
Conference Registration: Registration fees are generally processed through Sponsored Funds Financial Management. If the conference requirements include signing a contract for meeting space, the contract and purchase requisition must be forwarded to the Office of Purchasing and Contracts for review and signature by the Research Foundation Delegate.
Document/File Archiving Services: The University utilizes off-site records storage. Charges for these services are billed monthly and charged directly to the account provided at set up and registration for your department. This contract allows departments to box paper records into archive containers label them with any related information and apply a bar code sticker to the box. The box is then transmitted to the vendor location, where the bar code is scanned and the box is archived. The boxes may be obtained from New York Industries for Disabled or one of the online office supply companies. Information on participating in the records storage program can be obtained from the Purchasing Office.
Document Imaging: Document imaging services can be procured through a preferred source, NYS Industries for the Disabled, or a Request for Proposal may be done in accordance with Research Foundation Purchasing Guidelines.
Editorial and Design and Graphic and Fine Art Services: The University has an Office of Communications and Marketing that provides assistance with acquiring outside graphic and design services. The Office of Purchasing and Contracts is also ready to assist in procuring these services. Services of this type require a Request for Proposal that allows for the evaluation of quality standards as well as cost.
Education and Training Services: Training services may be procured through a Request for Proposal process or through an appropriate OGS contract such as e-learning.
Environmental Services: Environmental services such as Recycling, Hazardous Waste Removal, and Emergency Environmental Spill Response are procured through the Office of Purchasing and Contracts and require the establishment of formal contracts following a procurement process required through the University Purchasing Guidelines. The New York State Industries for the Disabled may be able to provide Recycling and secure document destruction services. Following a procurement process, standby contracts can be established for unforeseen events, which require immediate action. In instances where a contract is not in place, emergency purchasing procedures must be followed.
Financial and Insurance Services: Should general liability insurance be required as part of a contractual obligation the Office of Purchasing and Contracts can procure the insurance through either the Risk Management unit of the RF of SUNY, or a larger contract may be procured through the Request for Proposal process.
Financial Services, such as banking and credit card services are either procured through either a Request for Proposal or via an OGS Contract such as the Credit Card Electronic Value Transfer Contract.
Freight: The Research Foundation takes advantage of an OGS established state contract for the general delivery of domestic packages and for international packages. These services and similar package delivery services, excluding those sent through the U.S. Postal Service, are delivered by the carrier directly to the ordering department. The campus has established an online service allowing for the generation of shipping labels at your desktop. For questions related to shipping and receiving packages, you may contact the Office of Mail Services.
Fuels: Fuel, such as heating oil and gasoline for use on campus and in state vehicles can be purchased from the New York State OGS contract. Pricing is variable.
Furniture and Furnishings: Prior to purchasing furniture, please review the Office of Equipment Management web site for available surplus furniture and equipment. Before ordering Furniture and furnishings requiring installation, it is important to contact the Office of Facilities Management to ensure that the proper safety and code requirements are met. The NYS Office of General Services has a large number of Furniture providers under contract to meet your needs. Insurance requirements must be met. For further information in acquiring these forms, please contact the Purchasing Office at 437-4579. Keep in mind that installation beyond normal inside delivery and setting in place is an open market purchase and will require formal bidding and contracting procedures before the work can begin.
Industrial Cleaning Services: Industrial cleaning services beyond what is provided by the Office of Facilities Management may be provided by the New York State Industries for the Disabled, a preferred source, or through a Request for Proposal or Invitation for Bid process.
Information Technology: The field of Information Technology has expanded tremendously in the past few years. From computers to telephones, assistive services, captioning, web conferencing and more, there are a wide range of vendors who provide services under NYS OGS contracts. The site will explain the menu of available commodities and services, as well as how best to procure them. The Office of Purchasing and Contracts is ready to assist you in developing a package for an Invitation for Bid or Request for Proposal.
When disposing of technological equipment, it is imperative that the all information be removed from the piece of equipment prior to disposal. At the least, the cleaning of the hard drive is required regardless if the department scraps or surpluses a piece of equipment. A Property Status Change Request Form must be submitted to the Office of Equipment Management with an executed attestation that the data contained in the equipment has been erased and cannot be retrieved.
Laboratory Equipment: Equipment for use in labs and classrooms can be procured in a number of ways. Many items can be found on New York State OGS contract and through our online science house vendors. If the dollar level and or availability warrants it, a bid with detailed specifications can be done by the Office of Purchasing & Contracts.
Lab Supplies: Lab supplies are those items that are intended to be used in the research lab or classroom, have a useful life of less than one year. They include items such as glassware, reagents, trays, slides, tools, and other items used in the operation of a laboratory. Those items requiring special approvals such as radioactive materials, lasers, syringes, and live vertebrates (lab animals) may not be ordered using the online system.
The University provides desktop ordering of commonly used laboratory items. These vendors offer a one-stop shopping feature that allows end users to order directly from them through a web-based application. Some of the advantages to desktop ordering include immediate responses to cost, availability, delivery schedule, and online catalog product searches.
To participate in this program, please complete the online Registration Form. Once access has been established, the vendor will notify you and provide you with user identification information and a password. The vendor's offer online training and the Office of Purchasing and Contracts can arrange individual training.
For an open market purchase, all procurement guidelines must be followed, including competitive bidding at different procurement levels.
Mail Services: The Mail Services Department is a unit of Institutional Services at the University at Albany. Mail Services is located in the basement of the Business Administration Building, room B4. Service hours are 8:30 AM - 5:00 PM Monday through Friday during the academic year and 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM Monday through Friday during the summer. Mail Services receives mail each weekday morning from the U.S. Postal Service and delivers it to students, faculty, and staff on the uptown, downtown, and East Campuses, as well as to residential quads.
Maintenance Services: Computers, copiers, printers, scientific equipment, and building operating systems may require annual maintenance contracts for upkeep and repair. The University has its own certified maintenance facility for University/Foundation owned computers and printers. Building Maintenance is coordinated through the Office of Facilities Management and each building has a building captain to coordinate resolving building issues. All other equipment maintenance must be procured. Vendors who provide such service may be required to have insurance coverage. If an agreement is required to be executed the document must be sent to the Office of Purchasing and Contract for review and signature by the Research Foundation Delegate.
Moving Services: From time to time, it may be necessary to move furniture, equipment, or even a full department. The Office of Facilities Management may be able to handle small moves, but for most projects, it will be necessary to procure the services of a moving company. For moving services related to Lab moves and equipment as well as office moves there is an OGS contract for moving services that can be accessed. If these vendors cannot meet your needs, an RFP may be required.
Musical Instruments: Musical instruments may be purchased in accordance with standard procurement procedures. If there is an agreement involved such as renting a piano for a performance the rental agreement terms and conditions including insurance requirements need to be reviewed in the purchasing office..
Office Equipment: Office Equipment includes copiers, printers, scanners, and computers. Office Equipment can be purchased from the NYS OGS Contract, or by Invitation for Bid
All equipment purchases of $500 or more must be tagged by the Office of Equipment Management. A new asset receipt form is to be sent to OEM upon receipt of the items.
Office Supplies: The University provides desktop ordering of commonly used office supplies. Some of the advantages to desktop ordering include real-time pricing, availability, delivery schedule and on-line catalog product searches. The Rapid Copy Center offers a number of commonly used office supplies, which can be ordered either via a Central Stores Requisition or Digital Storefront.
All orders for office supplies must be placed through one of the online vendor systems by departmental end users. The end user completes an order through the web application and depending on approval levels and the dollar value of the order; the order is then sent either directly to the vendor or is routed for departmental approval and/or approval from the Office of Purchasing and Contracts. In the event an open market purchase is needed, all procurement guidelines must be followed, including competitive bidding at different procurement levels.
- Business Cards, Letterhead, and Envelopes: The Office of Purchasing and Contracts has negotiated a contract for the printing of commonly used stationery products. This contract allows for letterhead, envelopes, and business cards to be purchased at significant savings. A number of the items can be produced on recycled paper. To place an order for these items, you must complete a University Online Ordering Registration Form. The layout and design of University and Research Stationery items cannot be altered or modified in any form without the prior approval of the Communications and Marketing Department. Stationery fonts, logos, and designs are all to be produced with adherence to the University Graphic Identity Manual. The University at Albany's Graphic Identity Manual provides a foundation for clear and consistent communications of the institution identity.
- Paper: Office use paper (for copying, printing, etc.) can be purchased from one of the online ordering vendors, New York Industries for the Disabled or by purchasing in bulk from the either the truckload or less than a truckload paper from the New York State OGS Contract.
Please bear in mind that while purchases can be made on the open market, the Governor's Executive Order #4 regarding recycled materials must be followed.
Organizations and Memberships: Individual Memberships having a fee of $250.00 or more require the prior approval of the Vice President for that area. Justifications for memberships should include why the membership is a benefit to the University. Research funds cannot be used to provide a typical donation to an organization.
Printing: The University's Rapid Copy Center, a unit of Institutional Services, provides printing services ranging from black and white copies to full color and bindery services. The Rapid Copy Center offers Digital Storefront, which is an online desktop printing service to meet your printing needs.
If you wish to purchase business cards, letterhead or envelopes printed with the University and/or Research Foundation logo and information, please visit our online ordering site for stationery.
If your needs are not met by the Rapid Copy Center or the online stationery site, the Office of Research Funded Purchasing and Contracts will need to contract with an outside vendor. The procedures for the procurement of printing services are the same purchasing guidelines that apply to all other purchases, including the following:
- An executed Research Funded Purchase Requisition detailing the items to be procured.
- Samples if available. Any changes to the sample must be clearly noted on the printed sample.
- Specifications. If no sample is available, a specification sheet of the proposed item is to be submitted. The department will be required to provide the technical aspects to printed products.
- Vendor Quotes. If providing quotes, be sure vendor quotes meets the sample/specifications provided.
In addition to the above, it is important to keep in mind some important tips for procuring printing services:
- Specifications - Be as detailed as possible when writing the specifications for printed items. Be sure to include quantity required, paper, ink colors, binding/finishing and delivery instructions. If substitutes for paper or ink colors are acceptable, they must be noted with the specifications.
- Time Frame - Printing is not an overnight process. Be sure to plan for adequate lead-time for the processing of your requisition, quotations, and printing of your project. Some services and products require additional time or allow for manufacturing and completion of your products.
- Proofs - Requesting a proof prior to printing will add to production time.
- Quantities - Printing is a multiple process, the cost per unit goes down as the quantity goes up. Be sure to take into consideration your total needs, and storage capabilities.
- Delivery instructions - Be sure to include any specific deliver instructions that might apply. Addition charges could apply for orders not delivered on campus.
As with all procurements, planning may save significant costs and time to your departments.
Public Utilities and Public Sector Related Services: The Facilities Office of Energy Management manages the campus' use of Utilities. The Office of Purchasing and Contracts assists in procuring these services in addition to assisting in processing applications and agreements with NYSERDA to acquire grant funding for energy saving projects. The Office of Purchasing and Contracts also contracts with other Public Authorities such as public transportation services and Public Utilities such as internet, telephone, broadcasting, and cable television services. These services must be procured through the Office of Purchasing and Contracts. Depending on whether the provider is a State Agency, Public Authority, or Public Utility the procurement instruments, contract formats and approvals required will differ.
Published Products: The Office of General Services has many Library publishers and subscription services on contract. Individual books may be purchased through the OGS Contract, the campus bookstore, from the publisher or through a distributor.
Security and Safety Services: Security and Safety services beyond what is available on campus through the Office of Public Safety or Office of Environmental Health and Safety are available through OGS Contracts for temporary guard services and those to cover needs during a declared emergency by the Governor. Safety services may also be procured through an RFP process.
Shredding: Secure Document Destruction services are a procurable service Departments should send a purchase requisition to Purchasing for its fiscal year needs describing the size, location, and schedule of services. There are preferred source providers available to provide this service.
Software: The method to procuring software is dependent upon the cost and availability of the software. The University can take advantage of the New York State Office of General Services (OGS) contracts for software. OGS contracts for system hardware may require software, which may be purchase with the hardware or purchased separately from a software contract. SUNY offers software contracts and the University's office of Information Technology Services has multi-site software licenses, which are available for a fee.
The purchase of non-contract software often requires agreeing to the vendor's terms and conditions as part of the sale. Prior to any commitment being made, the terms and conditions must be reviewed and negotiated by the Office of Purchasing and Contracts. As with all other contracts and agreements, the agreement between the University and the software vendor requires the signature of the Research Foundation Delegate. Large software procurements may require that a formal Request for Proposal be done based on the value of the procurement. A method to determine the availability of products and services to meet the need of the University is via the issuance of a Request for Information, which serves as the first step in soliciting information from vendors.
Storage and Warehousing: Short and long term storage services are procurable services. Many of the vendors under OGS contract for moving services also provide storage off campus at a non-contract rate. If temporary storage is being procured for on campus use such as a storage trailer, a temporary space permit or revocable permit must be issued by the University in advance of making a firm commitment with any supplier.
Temporary Personnel and Administrative Services: Temporary staffing services are a procurable service. There are options available on the NYS OGS contract, or if this does not meet your need, procurement may be done.
Textiles: It is the policy of the University to require contractors, subcontractors and licensees to certify the adherence by manufacturers to labor standards in connection with working conditions, compensation, employee rights to form unions and the use of child labor.
This policy affects the University and Research Foundation’s expenditures for textiles, apparel, and sports equipment. Vendors supplying the University and the Research Foundation with textiles, apparel or sports equipment are required to submit with their proposal a Vendor Certification of Compliance with Fair Labor Conditions. In addition, the Research Foundation follows the regulations set forth in the Fair Labor Standards Act, which requires all contractors to pay the prevailing wage and sets specific limitations on child labor in age and hours worked.
The University, as stated in its Statement of Principles for Workers' Rights, is committed to the principle of humane working conditions for workers involved in the production of goods bearing the University and the Research Foundation's designs, trademarks, service marks, logo, graphics, symbols, and other indicia. This commitment pertains to items, which are purchased, rented, or otherwise acquired. Any product containing the University designs, trademarks, service marks, logo, graphics, symbols, or other indicia must be from companies licensed by the Collegiate Licensing Company.
- Apparel/Banners/Lab Coats/Sports Equipment: The University has certain policies, rules, and regulations that must be followed in the procurement of apparel items. These include any item that is woven or felted, including clothing, banners, bags, and sports apparel. All of the vendors that wish to provide these goods to the University must certify that they follow the Fair Labor practices. Without a Vendor Certification of Compliance with Fair Labor Conditions, the purchase cannot be made.
The University has established a Task Force on Sweatshop Labor - Statement of Principles for Worker's Rights, which mandates that the companies manufacturing University license products adhere to certain standards and practices.
The University also protects the use of its graphic identity, logo, and word mark through the use of the Collegiate Licensing Company (CLC). This certification that is obtained by the vendor, assures the University that our guidelines are followed. The links to the University Logos, CLC and the vendors can be found at the following sites:
- Linens: If you are planning an event and need to rent table linens, you should first check with your provider. If the event is on-campus, you are likely using Chartwells as your caterer, and they provide linen rentals with their food service.
If you find you need to rent linens, you should keep in mind that the University has adopted a policy aimed at ensuring that goods purchased, rented, or otherwise acquired are not produced under sweatshop conditions. This policy affects expenditures for textiles, apparel and sports equipment in particular and incorporates in the decision-making process the University's Task Force on Sweatshop Labor - Statement of Principles for Worker's Rights.
Transportation Services: General travel policies for Research Foundation related business can be found on the Sponsored Funds Financial Management web page. Bus transportation services must be procured by the Office of Purchasing and Contracts and executed by the Research Foundation Delegate. If the services meet the guidelines for formal bidding, the Office of Purchasing and Contracts will require a scope of work including the size, type of buses and the tentative schedule. Parking and Mass Transit Services also provides Charter Services to University Departments.
Travel, Food and Lodging: General Travel, Food, and Lodging requirements are process directly through Sponsored Funds Financial Management (SFFM). SFFM has issued Post Award Management Guidelines, including travel guidelines.
The method of the procurement process is as varied as the items to be procured. The range of options is as simple as verifying reasonableness of price with verbal quotes to a full Request for Proposal. Due to the nature of the selection process, a formal procurement may not be your only option. Please review the methods outlined below, and if this does not fit your needs, please contract the Office of Purchasing & Contracts for additional information.
Invitation for Bid: An Invitation for Bid is used for procurements where the needed commodities, services, or technology can be translated from exact specifications and the award can be made based on lowest price or best value. An IFB describes the administrative process; defines specifications; establishes required delivery terms, bidder qualifications, method of award, and terms and conditions; and provides instructions for responding.
Office of General Services (State) Contract: The New York State Office of General Services (OGS) leverages New York State's buying power by combining state and local government agency requirements to establish contracts for considerable quantities. OGS contracts also reduce administrative costs because OGS handles bid solicitation and evaluation, as well as contract development and management. Contracts for Commodities, Services, and Technology can be searched using the OGS search engine.
Online Ordering: The Office of Purchasing and Contracts offers a number of online ordering systems that enable users to place orders from state contracted vendors from their desktop. The benefits of these systems include immediate response to cost, availability, and online products searches functionality. In order to utilize these systems, you may request authorization via a Registration Form. Departments are expected to ensure that all items have been received in a satisfactory manner. When items are not received in a satisfactory manner, please notify the Office of Purchasing and Contracts.
The procurement types that are currently available via an online ordering option are as follows:
- Industrial and Commercial Supplies and Equipment: The Office of Purchasing and Contracts has established an online ordering system from a state contract vendor that sells products under Group 39000 titled, "Industrial and Commercial Supplies". You must complete the online Registration Form to gain access to this system. If an order exceeds $2,000, please contact our sales representative at (518) 326-0918 to request that better pricing be loaded onto the system. The entire product offering is available in PDF format on their website and usually has very quick turnaround.
- Laboratory Supplies: The University offers desktop ordering of commonly used lab supplies. These vendors offer a one-stop shopping feature that allows end users to order directly from them through a web-based application. Some of the advantages to desktop ordering include immediate responses to cost, availability, delivery schedule, and on-line catalog product searches. All orders for lab supplies may be placed through the on-line vendor system by the departmental end users. An end user can complete an order through the web application and then route the order to either another departmental level for approval or directly to the Office of Purchasing and Contracts for approval and release to the vendor. Those items requiring special approvals such as radioactive materials, lasers, syringes, and live vertebrates (lab animals) may not be ordered using the online system. To participate in this program, please complete the online Registration Form. Once access has been established, user identification information and a password will be provided by the vendor to the end user. The vendors’ offers online training and individual training can be arranged.
- Office Supplies(Online): The Office of Purchasing and Contracts provides desktop ordering for commonly used office supplies. Some of the advantages to desktop ordering include immediate responses to cost, availability, delivery schedule, and online catalog product searches.
All orders for office supplies must be placed through one of the online vendor systems by departmental end users. The end user completes an order through the web application and depending on approval levels and the dollar value of the order; the order is then sent either directly to the vendor or is routed for departmental approval and/or approval from the Office of Purchasing and Contracts.
To participate in this program, you will need to complete the online Registration Form. When your registration with the vendor has been accepted, you will receive a system-generated e-mail with a username and a password. The vendors' offer online training or someone from the office can arrange to meet with you individually for training.
If orders require departmental approval, the departmental approver will need to register separately.
- Stationery Supplies: The Office of Purchasing and Contracts has negotiated a contract for the printing of commonly used University items. This contract allows for letterhead, envelopes, and business cards to be purchased at significant savings. To place an order for these items, you must complete a University Online Ordering Registration form.
Preferred Sources: It is the policy of the University that utilization of preferred sources occur whenever possible. Preferred sources should be considered whenever purchases of commodities or services are required. A Preferred Source is a designated vendor who, in an effort to advance certain social and economic goals, has received special provider status under New York State statute. NYS Correctional Services, National Industries for the Blind (formerly, Industries for the Blind), Industries for the Disabled, and the NYS Office of Mental Health are the current Preferred Sources.
Request for Information: A Request for Information (RFI) provides a preliminary description of the program objectives and specifications and solicits input from vendors as to the availability of products and services to meet the end users needs. An RFI does not lead directly to an offer being made to a vendor. An RFI is a research and information-gathering document used when you seek to learn about the options available for addressing a particular need or want to obtain information to help create viable requirements for a potential solicitation.
Request for Proposals: A Request for Proposal (RFP) is a type of procurement document, which is used for procurements where factors in addition to cost are considered and weighted in awarding the contract and where the method of award is the "best value", as defined by the State Finance Law. An RFP is generally used for the procurement of services or technology in situations where price is not the sole determining factor and the award will be based on a combination of cost and technical factors (best value).
Request for Qualifications: A Request for Qualifications is a procurement document used to negotiate contracts for architectural and/or engineering services and/or surveying services based on demonstrated competence and qualification for the type of professional services required and at fair and reasonable fees.
Request for Quotes: A Request for a Quotation is a type of procurement document, which can be used when a formal bid opening is, not required (e.g. discretionary, sole source, single source, or emergency purchases).
Single Source: A single source procurement is a purchase from a supplier who is chosen without the need to solicit the minimum number of bids or proposals because of limiting circumstances (e.g., warranty restrictions). A written request for single source waiver must accompany the requisition. Prior to entering into a single source transaction, the Office of Purchasing and Contracts will be review the transaction for reasonableness of price and the single source nature of the item/service must be demonstrated. The rationale of the selection process must also be documented and becomes part of the procurement record.
Substantiating single source procurements (limited number of suppliers), may include providing written documentation detailing prior substantial experience of the contractor, or service that is limited by authorized dealers and/or warranty holders.
Sole Source: A sole source procurement is a purchase from the only available supplier of the product or service. Therefore, no bids or proposals can be obtained. The procurement requires pre-approval of the Research Foundation Delegate. Prior to entering into a sole source transaction, the Office of Purchasing and Contracts will be review the transaction for reasonableness of price and the sole source nature of the item/service must be demonstrated. A written sole source justification must accompany the requisition. The rationale of the selection process must also be documented and becomes part of the procurement record.
An example of substantiating sole source procurement (only one supplier) would be written documentation detailing the unique nature of the requirement, how it was determined only one vendor could meet the need, and how it was determined the cost is reasonable. One method available to document the sole source status is to advertise the procurement and only receive one response.
Contracts and Agreements
The Office of Purchasing and Contracts reviews the terms and conditions of all contracts and agreements before they are signed by the campus Research Foundation Delegate. The common types of contracts include:
Consultant Contract: Consultant contracts are processed in the Office of Sponsored Funds Financial Management. A consultant is an individual who, under written agreement signed by the authorized campus Research Foundation Delegate in advance of the commencement of the obligation, performs a service(s) to a particular department or unit. Services provided are typically task oriented, specific in nature and of a limited, short duration. Remuneration for the accomplishment of the service(s) is typically established as a set fee, not an hourly rate and may not exceed levels established by the Foundation. All agreements must be supported by proper documentation regarding selection criteria, description of services, payment schedule and reasonableness of price before the agreement is executed.
Data Use: Data use agreements describe how data will be used and establishes who is permitted to receive or use the data.
Expenditure Contract: An expenditure contract is an agreement between the Research Foundation and a vendor for compensation in exchange for services or commodities. Any dollar value threshold may require an expenditure contract. In addition to signatory and procurement requirements, the need is determined by (a) where the tasks performed by the contractor do not lend themselves to description on a regular purchase order; and (b) where the contractor imposes his/her contract on the Research Foundation. Contracts may be required as a result of an RFP or formal competitive bid. All contracts should outline the following critical information: Who are the parties to the contract? What is the purpose of the contract? When are the conditions expected to be met? Where will the work take place? Why is the Foundation engaged with this vendor? How much does the Foundation expect to pay as a result of the contract and how will it be paid to the Vendor?
All contracts, license forms, and agreements must be submitted to the Office of Purchasing and Contracts. After review by the Contract Officer, they are forwarded to the appropriate signatory and returned to the department or contractor, as required. Contracts and agreements entered into by the Foundation may be signed ONLY by the Research Foundation Delegate. Any other University employee who signs a contractor agreement may be held personally responsible for its performance (payment, liability, etc.).
Contracts are initiated after the formal procurement process has been completed. Under no circumstances should work be authorized under a contract until the contract has been approved and signed by all appropriate parties.
Honoraria: Sponsored Funds Financial Management has established guidelines for the payment of honorarium. Lecturers, guest speakers, and performing artists providing up to $2,500 in services of a short duration may be paid through the honorarium process. The University Honorarium Request Form must be submitted to the Sponsored Funds Financial Management to initiate an honoraria payment.
Leases: The Research Foundation leases real property in multiple locations for various uses. The campus provides professional support in negotiating and executing lease agreements.
The process is similar to any other procurement and all transaction threshold guidelines apply. The end user defines the need for space off-campus, requests support via the requisitioning process, and due diligence begins. Once the site is selected, negotiations between the Research Foundation and the Landlord begin, a contract is drafted, authorized signatures are obtained, and formal contract approval is obtained by all regulating agencies.
Maintenance Agreements: Maintenance Agreements must be reviewed by the Office of Purchasing and Contracts and signed by the Research Foundation Delegate. Maintenance Agreements should only be purchased for the current Research Foundation account term and should not be expended for future year expenses. Keep in mind that computers and printers can be repaired on campus at the PC Service Center, Lecture Center SB 27.
If a Maintenance Agreement is for a piece of equipment containing a hard drive, please ensure that the agreement contains language regarding the deletion of the data contained in the hard drive.
Revenue Contract: A revenue contract is an agreement where the Foundation agrees to perform a service in return for a fee. The components of the agreement should include who the parties are, a clearly defined scope of work with deliverables, when the service will be performed and completed, how much money is expected at the end of the term, and when payments are to be made. A consideration of whether the fee received is reasonable compensation for the work provided must be completed and documented in the procurement file. Agreements must be signed and should be notarized by the party from whom payment will be received, the Department Head or Dean, and the Research Foundation Delegate.
Software Licenses: A large number of Software Licenses are available for purchase through the OGS catalog contract for software licenses . SUNY on behalf of the Campuses also creates multi campus contracts for software. There are also OGS Contracts direct with software manufacturers for the products listed. Certain software packages are purchased in bulk by UAlbany Information Technology Services (ITS) and distributed for a fee. Software license terms including those found on web sites requiring acceptance (clickable agreements) are reviewed by the Office of Purchasing and Contracts before signature and approval by the Research Foundation Delegate. If an extensive software purchase is contemplated that is an open market purchase it is recommended that a Request for Information (RFI) be done to find out the products and features available in the market place. The RFI process is used to improve the quality and success of a Request for Proposal, which must be drafted with a scoring matrix to procure software licenses and services for custom software products and installations/integrations and training.
Terms and Conditions: Any agreement including those that are found on web sites that require an affirmation of acceptance are reviewed by the Office of Purchasing and Contracts to be sure that the terms are in compliance with the Research Foundation, sponsor, and/or federal guidelines. A contractual obligation should not be made by an individual but must be reviewed by the Office of Purchasing and Contracts and executed by the Research Foundation Delegate. Terms and conditions are most commonly found with maintenance agreements and software licenses in addition to standard expenditure contracts for goods and services.
Regulations and Guidelines
Research funded procurements are subject to various sponsor, Federal, State and University at Albany campus guidelines. In the event of a conflict, the most restrictive guideline will be referenced. While the Research Foundation is not a state agency, sometimes the original source the funding dictates that NYS Procurement guidelines must be followed. In addition, the Research Foundation falls under multiple federal regulations including antidiscrimination laws, fair labor laws, and environmental protection legislation. The following provides summaries of a number of the regulations and laws, which the Research Foundation is subject to. Most of the summaries contain links to the full text of the regulation with additional information being found on the Research Foundation site.
American Reinvestment and Recovery Act: The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) represents a $787 billion effort to jumpstart the economy, create or save millions of jobs, and invest in the future. Federal agencies are already distributing funds for projects that build infrastructure; promote science, innovation and education; improve healthcare; and spur clean energy.
The federal government is requiring ARRA funding recipients to follow unprecedented accountability measures, including separate tracking and reporting of these stimulus dollars. The RF of SUNY provides guidance on their web page for complying with these federal regulations.
Antiterrorism Act and Effective Death Penalty Act: The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 is the product of legislative efforts stretching back well over a decade and stimulated to passage in part by the terrorists attacks in Oklahoma City and on September 11, 2001.
Copeland "Anti-Kickback" Act: Prohibits federal contractors or subcontractors engaged in building construction or repair from inducing an employee to give up any part of the compensation to which he or she is entitled under his or her employment contract and requires such contractors and subcontractors to submit weekly statements of compliance.
Debarment and Suspension: Debarment and suspension regulations apply to all agreements in excess of $25,000 including all subrecipients. Federal regulations prohibit, and vendors are required to certify, that neither their firm nor the principals of the firm are debarred or suspended from participating in federal non-procurement transactions. Vendors certify to this by completing the Debarment Certification form.
Disability Insurance: Disability insurance replaces a workers income should a sickness or illness prevent the worker from earning an income. The Workers' Compensation Board oversees all aspects of disability insurance.
Prior to any permit being issued or any contract being entered into, the Office of Purchasing & Contracts must obtain acceptable proof that a business is either exempt from or has secured disability insurance. An ACORD form is not acceptable proof of workers' compensation disability coverage. The below listed forms are the only acceptable proofs of coverage:
Ethics Laws: All activities of University faculty and staff should be performed in an ethical fashion; no employee should have any interest, financial or otherwise, direct or indirect, or engage in any business or transaction or professional activity or incur any obligation of any nature, which are in substantial conflict with the proper discharge of his/her duties.
E-Verify: This regulation requires the Research Foundation to verify that its employees are eligible to work in the United States. This regulation flows down to vendors who also must certify to eligibility of their workers. Contracts funded from certain federal dollars must fall within the following criteria to comply:
- E-Verify clause, FAR 52.222-54 is contained in the originating contract;
- Term of the work by the vendor is for more than 120 days;
- The value of the contract is more than $100,000; and
- The contracted work does not involve commercially available off-the-shelf items and related services.
Executive Orders: From time to time, each sitting NYS Governor has within his power to issue an Executive Order. Executive orders are not laws, but do have the same binding nature. While the Research Foundationis not legislatively bound to these orders, the University, at the discretion of the President, may elect to adopt the same principles for all campus activities and procurements. A listing of Governor Andrew Cuomo's Executive Orders can be found here while those of past Governors can be found here.
The Governor of New York State has issued, and the President of the University has agreed to follow, Executive Order #4 Green Procurement and Executive Order # 18 Bottled Water (Wilcox Memo). The Office of Purchasing and Contracts must follow these orders during the procurement process.
Exhibit X: A table of the U.S. federal government laws and implementing regulations that are applicable to Research Foundation contracts, agreements and purchase order terms and conditions is found within this exhibit. Exhibit X is not all inclusive of all applicable federal and state laws and regulations, and is subject to change as laws and regulations change. The Contractor must assure compliance with the requirements of Exhibit X, as applicable, to the work performed, or for the goods and services provided under the purchase order. For more information, review the Guidance for Exhibit X document. Exhibit X is incorporated in all Research Foundation contracts and purchase orders.
Export Controls: Procurements that involve the export of controlled items such as commodities, technology, software, or information to restricted foreign countries, persons, and entities must conform to export control regulations. This is accomplished by a through review by the Office of Purchasing and Contracts with a search using the Visual Compliance program. This service checks all appropriate restrictions by commodity, vendor, country, or individual name. Additional information on Export Controls can be found on the Research Foundation web site.
Fly America Act: The Fly America Act was enacted in 1974 to mandate the use of U.S. flag air carriers for federally funded international travel. You may be asked to include this information in contracts requiring international travel on a federally funded award. If you would like to review the regulations, click on Fly America Act.
HIPAA Requirement: In procurements or contracts that may contain personally identifiable protected health information all parties must certify to compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 and regulations promulgated there under.
Insurance: Procurement regulations require evidence of various forms of insurance by vendors at the time a contract is entered into. The Research Foundation of SUNY, The State of New York, and the State University of New York must be listed as additional insureds on all procurements. The nature of the procurement will dictate the type and minimum level of insurance that is required. Please see our insurance tab for specific limits.
Lobbying: On awards of $100,000 or more the Research Foundation is required to have all contractors file the required certification that it will not and has not used Federal appropriated funds to pay any person or organization for influencing or attempting to influence an officer or employee of any agency, a member of Congress, officer or employee of Congress, or an employee of a member of Congress in connection with obtaining any Federal contract, grant or any other award covered by 31 U.S.C. 1352. Each tier within the transaction shall also disclose any lobbying with non-Federal funds that takes place in connection with obtaining any Federal award. Such disclosures are forwarded from tier to tier up to the recipient.
In addition, certain programs administered by the Research Foundation may be subject to the New York State Procurement Lobbying Law.
Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprise: The White House's Office of Management and Budget Circular A-110 calls for recipients of federal awards, contracts and grants to make positive efforts to utilize small businesses, minority-owned firms, and women's business enterprises, whenever possible. When searching for minority and women-owned business enterprises the Office of Research Funded Purchasing and Contracts often utilizes the New York State Division of Minority and Women-Owned Business Development listing of NYS certified MWBEs. Information on becoming a NYS certified minority or women-owned business enterprise could be obtained at the New York State Division of Minority and Women-Owned Business Development.
Office of Management and Budget: The White House’s Office of Management and Budget has promulgated a number of policy and regulatory circular's, which the Research Foundation is to follow with regard to the awards from the federal government. The following provides a brief synopsis of three of the more important circulars.
- OMB Circular A-21 - Cost Principles for Educational Institutions: This Circular establishes principles for determining costs applicable to grants, contracts, and other agreements with educational institutions. This is the primary allowability reference, and is online for any investigator to review.
- OMB Circular A-110 - Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants and Agreements with Institutions of Higher Education, Hospitals, and Other Non-Profit Organizations: This Circular sets forth standards for obtaining consistency and uniformity among Federal agencies in the administration of grants to and agreements with institutions of higher education, hospitals, and other non-profit organizations. The standards contained in this section do not relieve the University of any other Contractual Responsibilities.
- OMB Circular A-133 - Audits of States, Local Governments, and Non-Profit Organizations: A-133 sets forth standards for obtaining consistency and uniformity among Federal agencies for the audit of States, local governments, and non-profit organizations expending Federal awards.
Procurement Integrity: Applying to all recipients of federal contracts or modifications at/over $100,000 per year, Section 423 of title 41 of the United States Code states, "Restrictions on disclosing and obtaining contractor bid or proposal information or source selection information" is the governing regulation for procurement integrity. This code prohibits certain activities by competing contractors, government procurement officials, and other individuals during the conduct of federal agency procurement. These activities generally include:
- Soliciting or discussing post government employment
- Offering or accepting a gratuity
- Soliciting or disclosing proprietary or source selection information.
The Research Foundation must certify that they abide by the requirements of this regulation.
Split Ordering: The practice of split ordering is defined as the procurement of commodities or services processed on various procurement documents in an effort to avoid thresholds and avoid appropriate procurement practices such as obtaining bids and advertising requirements.
Threshold Requirements: The Research Foundation has established four purchasing thresholds. The procurement threshold determines the steps that need to be taken to effect the procurement.
The thresholds are as follows:
- $0.00 - $20,000.00: Certification by Purchasing Associate as to reasonableness of price.
- $20,000.01 - $50,000.00: Solicitation of a minimum of three verbal or written quotes.
- $50,000.01 - $100,000.00: Solicitation of a minimum of three written quotes, bids or proposals.
- $100,000.01 and Above: Solicit a minimum of three sealed written bids or proposals.
The Purchasing staff reserves the right to seek appropriate competition at any level.
In addition to the foregoing, the dollar amount of the purchase will drive impact the other regulatory issues.
Vendor Responsibility: In assessing vendor responsibility, the Research Foundation adheres to section .44 (d) of OMB Circular A-110, which states “Contracts shall be made only with responsible contractors who possess the potential ability to perform successfully under the terms and conditions of the proposed procurement. Consideration shall be given to such matters as contractor integrity, record of past performance, financial and technical resources, or accessibility to other necessary resources. In certain circumstances, contracts with certain parties are restricted by agencies' implementation of Executive Orders 12549 and 12689, 'Debarment and Suspension'." See Debarment and Suspension.
Workers' Compensation: Workers' compensation provides medical treatment, wage replacement, and permanent disability compensation to employees who suffer job-related injuries or illnesses, and death benefits to dependents of workers who have died as a result of their employment. The Workers' Compensation Board oversees all aspects of workers' compensation insurance.
Prior to any permit being issued or any contract being entered into for work in which employees of a business will be engaged in employment the Research Foundation must obtain acceptable proof that a business is either exempt from or has secured workers' compensation insurance. An ACORD form is not acceptable proof of workers' compensation coverage. The below listed forms are the only acceptable proofs of workers’ compensation coverage:
Receiving and Payment
AP-102: The AP-102 form is used to authorize payment, partial or in full, against a previously established purchase order.
Confirming Purchases: Individuals who make commitments directly to vendors without following the Purchasing process may inadvertently violate Federal, sponsor or Research Foundation rules, guidelines and regulations. Additionally, purchases made outside of the purchasing process could become the personal liability of the individual making the commitment. When a situation arises where an emergency purchase must be made, a purchase order number can be provided by the Office of Purchasing and Contracts. Contact the Office of Purchasing and Contracts for further assistance before committing personal resources.
Non-Procurable: Due to the nature of the selection process, some items are considered non-procurable, (i.e., fellowships and stipends). Departmental approved requisitions for these types of items should be sent directly to the Accounting Office to be matched to the vendor invoice and paid.
IRS Form W-9: Prior to a purchase order being cut or a contract entered into vendors must complete and submit IRS Form W-9 to the Research Foundation. Foreign vendors must complete and submit appropriate IRS Form W-8, in addition to the W-9.
Office of Equipment Management: The Office of Equipment Management manages the inventory of all assets items purchased by the campus regardless of funding source. Each item purchases with a value of $500 or more must be tagged by the Office of Equipment Management. A New Asset Receipt Form must be completed and sent to the Office of Equipment Management for all assets valued at $500 or more.
Sponsored Funds Financial Management: The Office of Sponsored Funds Financial Management provides services related to post-award administration and financial compliance for grants and contracts received by the Research Foundation of SUNY, University at Albany campus. The office is dedicated to providing quality service to Principal Investigators and project staff while ensuring compliance with all applicable federal, state, local, University and Research Foundation policies.
The Office of Purchasing and Contracts has created a series of PowerPoint presentations to take end users through some of the more important areas of the Research Funded Purchasing process. Please note that the purpose of these presentations is to provide a broad overview of the Research Funded Purchasing process and should not be taken as all encompassing. If you have any questions regarding the purchasing process, please do not hesitate to contact the Office of Purchasing and Contracts.
- Level I: Covers basic introductory information ranging from the procurement levels to reasonableness of price factors to the submission of quotes with the requisition.
- Level II: Over the four presentations coverages includes regulations, solicitation/utilization of MWBEs, and the various contracts/agreements that the Research Foundation may enter into.
- Level III: Reviews aspects of the Information for Bid and Request for Proposals.