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Sole or Single Source Procurement Policy

West Virginia University Policy
Division of Administration and Finance




The purpose of this policy is to define when the competitive bidding process may be waived in order to execute a sole source procurement transaction. Generally, multiple vendors are able to supply equipment, supplies, or services required by the University. Various products or brands can meet the university’s specifications. Open competition ensures the university receives the best value when companies have the opportunity to compete for the university’s business. The sole source procurement process may only be used when there is only one source of supply for the required commodity and when performance competition is not available, i.e., when a specific commodity is required and a set of performance criteria cannot be used to establish equivalent commodities’ characteristics adequately.


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


Generally, all commodities must be purchased through an open competitive bidding process. To simplify the purchasing procedure, a number of university-wide contracts are available. These goods and services contracts have been established through appropriate bidding processes and may be used, without limit, for the efficient purchase of the commodities. These contracts can be accessed through Procurement Services at this link Procurement Contracts.

A sole source procurement process may be used in the following circumstances:

  • To acquire spare parts or replacement parts for existing equipment, where proprietary items can only be acquired from the manufacturer or from a single distributor.
  • Where standardization or compatibility is the overriding consideration and such compatibility or standardization can be achieved only through the purchase of a unique product. (See Standards Policy.)
  • Where additional products or services are needed to complete an ongoing job or task.
  • Where a particular medical product, service, or prosthetic appliance is needed.
  • Where a particular product or service is desired for educational, training, experimental, developmental or research work. (a waiver requested for this reason must include an explanation of why other products or services cannot meet user’s needs.)
  • Where required by an authorized cooperative project with another governmental unit or charitable non-profit organization.
  • Where the product is specifically identified as part of a research grant award. The product must be a grant award requirement with evidence of due diligence (pricing competitiveness and reasonableness) provided. It is not a matter of simply being identified in the funded proposal; there must also be proof of price reasonableness.


Waivers for the competitive purchases for over $25,000 must be justified in writing and approved Procurement Services before any transaction can take place. Purchases below $25,000 may be decided by department. Purchase requisitions over $25,000 that designate only one source or brand must be accompanied by documentation explaining why the specified product or source is singularly able to meet the units’ needs. A listing of the unique technical specifications required of the product and the potential suppliers that were contacted in the search for alternative sources is necessary. Procurement Services will review the information submitted and make a determination on the appropriateness of a sole source purchase and either approve it or do further market research.

Price Reasonableness
Reasonableness of a proposed price may be determined by comparison of the proposed price with: prices found reasonable on recent purchases; current price lists; catalogs; advertisements; and similar items in a related industry. Also, reasonableness of price may be determined by a price analysis or a cost analysis. Procurement Services can assist with this process.


Responsibility for procedure development rests with Procurement Services.
The sole source justification form is available at this link Sole Source Justification Form . Please complete and submit the form to Procurement Services. Denials will be returned to department or requestor.


All employees are charged with providing full support to this policy. It is the responsibility of the Dean, Director or Department Head to implement this policy within their college, department, or unit. Procurement Services, at 293-5711 or P.O. Box 6024, is available to answer questions, assist with the price analysis 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: June 30, 2010
Approved By: Narvel G. Weese, Jr., Vice President for Administration and Finance