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Emergency & Pressing Needs Purchases Policy

West Virginia University Policy
Division of Administration and Finance




The purpose of this policy is to define the process for “emergency” or “pressing need” procurements.


This policy applies to all University employees, including those on divisional campuses.


Extraordinary purchasing procedures may be used to accommodate “pressing need” or “emergency” conditions. These procurement strategies must be used only in rare instances.


A pressing need is one arising from unforeseen causes, including (but not limited to) delay by contractors, delay in transportation, breakdown in machinery, or unanticipated volume of work; while emergencies are defined generally as situations that endanger lives, property, or the continuation of vital program and that can be rectified only by immediate on-the-spot purchases or rental of equipment, supplies, materials or services.

Purchasing Guidelines

In emergency situations where time is of the essence and conditions warrant extreme measures to stabilize the condition, procurement pre-approval to act in a responsible and prudent manner is not required. However, a justification memorandum describing the emergency circumstances and the purchase methodology utilized must be submitted to Purchasing, Contracts, and Payment Services within 2 business days from the date of purchase. An Emergency purchase will be made by the person authorized to do so within the internal controls policy established by the department or school; this will usually be at the first level supervisor or the Director or Business Officer positions. This spending limit will be limited to $5,000 per order, as larger orders will require modification of PCard limits.

Once the situation no longer immediately endangers life or safety; there may still be a pressing need to move quickly and Purchasing, Contracts, and Payment Services must be notified and involved in future procurement actions.

Pressing need requests for purchases from commercial vendors or agencies should be transmitted to Purchasing, Contracts, and Payment Services via paper, fax or electronic means along with a written explanation for the pressing need purchase. Purchasing will solicit quotations by telephone or fax; if necessary, obtain the approval of the State Auditor; and place the order. If the situation warrants, Purchasing may authorize the requesting department to place the order by telephone and then submit the covering Purchase Requisition with justification memorandum describing the extraordinary circumstances. Alternatively, if the department has access to a purchasing card, the Purchasing, Contracts, and Payment Services will contact the issuing bank to increase the card transaction limit to accommodate the emergency or pressing need acquisition.

Failure to apply the correct purchasing procedure to the appropriate situation could result in disapproval of the purchased at a state level and expose the University to legal actions.


Procedure development rests with Purchasing, Contracts, and Payment Services.


All employees are responsible for providing full support to this policy. It is the responsibility of the Dean, Director or Department Head to implement and maintain this policy within their college, department, or unit. Purchasing, Contracts and Payment Services, at 293-5711 or P.O. Box 6024, is available to answer questions or provide additional information regarding this policy.


The responsibility for interpretation of this policy rests with the Director of Purchasing, Contracts, and Payment Services, West Virginia University.

Effective Date: August 10, 2009
Approved By: Narvel G. Weese, Jr., Vice President for Administration and Finance