Purchase Orders

Department of Geography Purchasing Procedures
(Strategic Sourcing & Procurement)

The Department of Geography’s Administrative Staff would like to make your purchases of supplies and equipment easy and quick. In order for us to be successful in meeting your delivery requests, we ask that you review the following text and let us know if you have any questions or need further clarification regarding this process.

The Department of Geography is always mindful of obtaining the best product for the best price for its customers. Therefore, our Purchasing Assistant always checks to see if the product you have requested is included in the UC-wide commodity agreements. These agreements are negotiated via the Office of the President for all ten campuses and help us take advantage of specifically negotiated prices for products. An additional component of these contracts is the concept of “Green Procurement” – a new program that looks at the production cycle, product content, energy efficiency, packaging, and delivery methods of products and includes items that have an improved or reduced environmental impact – so the items you buy are not only the best product for the price, but they are environmentally friendly (e.g., energy star rated) as well.

The Department of Geography Administrative Office is open Monday through Friday 8 am-12 pm and 1 pm-5 pm. When you plan to purchase supplies, equipment, or services using departmental or grant funds administered through Geography, please contact us. Please note that the departmental purchasing function is a privilege granted by the Chancellor’s Office and the Material Manager. Repeated occurrence of procurements not meeting the standards set forth by UC may result in certain consequences, up to and including revocation of all or part of the department’s purchasing activities. Below are the guidelines for purchasing supplies, services, and equipment.

All purchasing of supplies and equipment must be processed through the Department of Geography Administrative Office. This may be done via a preliminary requisition form, either electronically (download purchase request form) or hand written on a hard copy. We strive to place orders within 24 hours of the receipt of requests that contain all of the required information, as well as all of the correct authorizations, but we request that you provide ample time for processing orders, except under emergency circumstances. This will allow us time to work with other campus departments (e.g., Purchasing), if necessary, and will decrease the need to expend additional funds for overnight shipping. On the purchase order we need you to provide:

  • The date the request is made and the date needed (not “ASAP” when a required delivery date is important)
  • The vendor name and contact person, if known
  • The vendor phone and FAX numbers
  • The vendor mailing address and/or email or web addresses
  • The quantity you require, part number, description, and pricing (and/or a written quote from the vendor)
  • A brief description of the purpose of the purchase, i.e., why the item/s are needed
  • The Project Code or Project Name or Account/Fund/Sub the cost is to be charged to

For inventorial equipment orders, i.e., items that cost $5K or more per unit, we also need you to provide:

  • Screening certification that no same or similar equipment is available for loan, sharing, or transfer from within the Department
  • User name and initials and building and room number where the equipment will be installed
  • If the equipment is not a line item in the award budget for a FDP project, the PI must sign the FDP Equipment Usage Assurance on the form, indicating that the equipment will be used exclusively or primarily in the conduct of research

Low-value Puchase Orders

  1. Orders for supplies (under $2,500), which are to be called, Faxed, or mailed in, must be placed by admin staff.
  2. Local pickup purchase orders (under $2,500) are issued by administrative staff to specific vendors for items that are “needed immediately.” Since P.O. numbers will contain a “dash number” and are assigned via a computerized system, making each number unique, you must OBTAIN A PURCHASE ORDER FROM GEOGRAPHY before making a purchase. Any purchase, with billing to UCSB, which does not have the full P.O. number is considered unauthorized by campus (see definition below), and the user may be responsible for payment. After the purchase has been made, the RECEIPT MUST BE RETURNED TO THE DEPARTMENT for processing.
  3. Additional items may not be added to the purchase order without the approval of Geography staff. As additional items may raise OMB A-21 issues, or may not be appropriate for the grant covering the purchase, a phone call to 805-308-1044 verifying that changes to the order are auditable will address this issue.
  4. The issuance of repeat orders on consecutive days to a vendor for the same materials or the issuance of multiple invoices by a vendor using two or more dates in order to circumvent the established limit is prohibited by UC policy and shall be considered cause for the withdrawal of purchasing authority.

Purchases and transactions not permitted under Low-Value Purchase Authorization (these purchase transactions must be placed by the UCSB Purchasing department via the Department of Geography and may require approval of other UC departments, such as Environmental Health and Safety):

  1. Inventorial equipment. This is defined as a single, stand-alone hardware item that cost $5,000.00 (implemented 7/1/05) or more (including tax), with a shelf life of more than two years
  2. Equipment rental in excess of 30 days
  3. Equipment repairs if covered by a maintenance agreement
  4. Equipment repairs on personal equipment
  5. Animals
  6. Ethyl alcohol (except denatured)
  7. Radioactive materials
  8. Narcotics, dangerous drugs, and other controlled substances
  9. Firearms and explosives
  10. Gold
  11. Vehicles (for personal transportation) and real estate rentals
  12. On-site construction
  13. Goods or services from any officer and employee of the University or from a relative of any officer or employee
  14. Consultant services
  15. Foreign purchases over $500
  16. Charters (air, land, or sea)
  17. Refrigerators or freezers
  18. Respiratory protection items, SCUBA regulators

All equipment orders, orders of the controlled items listed above, and orders over $2,500 will be entered as a general requisition on-line. These orders are to be turned in to Alycia, who will screen them for the proper authorization and submit to the UCSB Purchasing Department for processing. The Purchasing Department will select the appropriate vendor and place the order. Please remember that vendor names on the preliminary requisitions are only recommendations. Never commit an order directly with a vendor that should be placed by the Purchasing Department. If you require that an order be placed with a specific vendor, be sure to state so on the preliminary requisition.

Sole source justification will be needed for orders over $99,999.99 on any fund that is not Federal. For federally funded purchases, the threshold is $2,999.99, and the competitive bid requirement is set at $99,999.99. The Price Reasonableness and Source Selection Form (Form A) must be completed for these purchases. The form can be downloaded directly from the Procurement Services website (http://www.bfs.ucsb.edu/procurement/forms) or you can obtain a copy from the Department of Geography Admin. Office. Any order over $99,999.99 will be sent out to bid, a process taking approximately four to six weeks.

Repetitive items of supply, services, and repairs, which are needed over a stated period of time, require the initiation of a vendor blanket. The vendor blanket number is applicable only between the research grant(s) and the specific vendor for the goods or services outlined in the initial vendor blanket authorization.

Petty cash reimbursements can be made up to $150 and only when normal purchasing procedures cannot be followed. Anything over this amount should be purchased on a P.O. or it may be considered an unauthorized purchase (see definition below). Reimbursements to individuals for expenditures on behalf of the University must be supported by original receipts.

A Request for Delivery Form is required for each purchase at the campus bookstore. This form must be picked up from Geography prior to purchase. If you call or e-mail Geography in advance (ugrad_adv@geog.ucsb.edu), the paperwork will be waiting for you.

Before renting a vehicle for transportation of equipment, be sure to coordinate through Geography. Insurance paid on a rental truck or vehicle will not be reimbursed (please see the Travel Policy for current UC contract numbers). The person renting the vehicle will be responsible for any additional insurance charges. Vehicles from Transportation Services should also be coordinated through Geography.

General Administrative office supplies are now considered appropriate to “A-21” funds or departmental funds only and cannot be purchased using extramural funds (with few exceptions). If you would like additional information on A-21 requirements, please let us know.

Reprint and book orders must be submitted to Geography for processing.


University insurance only covers UC equipment (value of over $5,000 as of 7/1/05). If there are signs of forced entry, there is a $1,000 per occurrence deductible; otherwise the deductible is raised to $5,000 (non-forced entry). If you would like to purchase additional coverage, the forced entry deductible can be lowered to $250 while the non-forced entry can be lowered to $1,000. Please contact the Geography purchasing assistant at x8207 to purchase the additional insurance. The request for additional insurance necessary for reducing the deductible for equipment leaving campus must be submitted at least five working days prior to the exit date for domestic shipping and at least three weeks in advance for foreign shipping.

Please inform us of ANY UC Equipment being shipped OUTSIDE THE COUNTRY. It is not necessary to purchase additional insurance for items going to foreign locations. The equipment, however, will not be covered during transit by UC insurance if it is not listed on the quarterly report provided to Office of the President. Please provide us with the UC tag number, destination, and dates the equipment will be in the foreign location(s). This same requirement applies to domestic shipments with an aggregate value of $100,000 or more. For more information regarding property self-insurance program please see http://www.ucop.edu/ucophome/policies/bfb/bus28.pdf.


Disposal of any equipment must be coordinated through Geography. If a piece of UC owned equipment is old, surplus, or lost, please send an email to the Geography purchasing assistant () describing the circumstance and nine digit UC Tag# for the item. We can then officially remove the item from the departmental inventory. DO NOT simply throw something away without notifying us first. It is equally important to notify us if you are planning to loan or transfer a piece of equipment to another institution or house the piece off-campus.

Note (Definitions)

An AUTHORIZED PURCHASE is a purchase transaction in accordance with UC purchasing regulations. Generally, such a transaction is based on a purchase requisition for a specific item (or items) submitted to the Department for authority to acquire items from a specific vendor or a variety of vendors.

An UNAUTHORIZED PURCHASE is a purchase transaction made without proper clearance/authorization which is intended to be charged to University-controlled funds. An unauthorized purchase generally becomes evident after the fact through an invoice from the vendor. At that point, a confirming order must be submitted, accompanied by a statement explaining the circumstances of the purchase, together with an account of steps taken to avoid a repetition in the future.

Any individual who makes an unauthorized purchase is personally responsible for payment of the charge incurred, unless: a) The purchase does not exceed $2,500 and b) in the opinion of the material manager, the price is reasonable and the circumstances relating to the purchase are justifiable. If the material manager does not consider the price reasonable or the circumstances justifiable, he/she may request the responsible person to return the item and have the charge canceled or he/she may ask that the individual pay the charge.