Purchasing Department

Frequently Asked Questions

Shelby Hall

Where is the Purchasing Department located?

Purchasing Department is located in the South Lawn Office Building.

  • Physical Address: 1101 Jackson Ave. Tuscaloosa, AL 35401
  • Mailing Address: Box 870130, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487

How do I place an order for my department?

There are two methods available to place orders. The online Banner Purchase Requisition/Purchase Order system is used for all purchases totalling $2000 or more. The University Purchasing Card (Visa) is used for many purchases under $2000.

Who is authorized to sign a vendor contract on behalf of a college, school, or administrative unit of the University?

Only those University officials designated by The Board of Trustees of The University of Alabama are authorized to sign legally binding contracts on behalf of the University. In general, no staff or faculty member, dean or chairperson has the authority to solicit, select or obligate The University of Alabama in any contractual matter or sign an agreement. The Purchasing Department will review and edit procurement contracts, consult with the University's Office of Counsel, if necessary, and obtain the appropriate, signatures for your contract requirements.

When do I have to bid an item?

The State of Alabama Bid Law requires that a purchase of an item or group of items that is $15,000 or more must be competitively bid by the Purchasing Department. The state law further states that no purchase involving $15,000 or more can be divided into parts less than $15,000 for the purpose of avoiding the competitive bid law requirement. The University has many standing contracts for a wide variety of commodities. All departments are required to use standing contracts.

How do I determine if the University has a contract for specific commodity?

Refer to the Purchasing Department’s list of standing contracts. All standing contracts are listed with the vendor contract information, pricing, or how to access price information, how to place an order, etc. If you have any questions regarding a standing contract, please contact the appropriate buyer.

Are purchases that are $15,000 or more subject to the Alabama Bid Law regardless of the source of funding?

Yes; most funding sources are subject to the State of Alabama Bid Law. This includes contracts and grants, gift funds, income accounts, plant funds, and State appropriated funds. The only funding sources exempt from the bid process are Capstone and Foundation funds.

Can a bid process be started even though funding has not been finalized and/or a Banner FOAPAL not yet established in the system?

Yes, the bid process can be started and completed prior to funding and budget issues being totally resolved.

How do I register to attend a Banner Purchasing class?

Contact Human Resource Development at 8-9700 to schedule your training.

How do I determine which buyer to contract regarding a particular commodity?

Visit the Purchasing Department’s Staff Directory.  Each buyer is listed along with their assigned commodities.  If this information does not clearly identify a buyer for a unique or unusual purchase you may have, please contact any buyer in the Purchasing Department for assistance. 

How do I determine if a requisition has been converted to a purchase order in Banner?

The Banner FOIDOCH screen shows the complete history of requisitions and is now accessible from MyBama.  After entering the requisition number on FOIDOCH, this screen will indicate a purchase order number if the requisition has been converted to a purchase order.  This screen will also indicate if your requisition has been approved; if an invoice has been entered by Accounts Payable; if payment has been made and if receiving information has been entered.

How do I purchase a copier for my department?

The University campus copier program is managed by University Printing Services.  Please contact a representative at 8-5200 to discuss your copier needs.  The equipment will be provided at no cost and a cost-per-copy charge will be assessed each month for copies made. The other costs incurred by departments on campus are paper and staples.  It is University policy that all departments participate in the campus copier program.

What is the procedure for ordering business cards and departmental letterhead?

University policy requires all business cards, letterhead, departmental envelopes, etc. be purchased through University Printing Services.  Please contact University Printing Services at 8-5200 for pricing and other information.

My department is hosting a reception at a local venue. Can my department head or dean sign the rental and catering contracts?

Only those administrators authorized by the Board of Trustees to contractually obligate the University may sign contracts and agreements. All contracts and/or agreements which require signature should be forwarded to the Contract Administrator in Purchasing for review, forwarding to the University's legal counsel if necessary, and signature. The same procedure is to be followed for advertising agreements, software license agreements, and other documents which require signature.

Do I have to send the purchase order to the vendor for my order?

All purchase orders are sent to vendors by the Purchasing Department. Most purchase orders are faxed to the vendors; others are either emailed or mailed via USPS. If a vendor has special requirements for sending their purchase order please contact the appropriate buyer in Purchasing or call 348-5230.

A staff member in my department needs a new item and wishes to purchase it with his/or own funds and file for reimbursement. What process do I use?

All purchases made with University funds must be processed on a University purchase order or a University P-Card. Personal funds should not be used unless the employee is in travel status or other special circumstances exist.

How do I charter a bus for my group or team?

The Purchasing Department has a contract for charter bus services. Our charter bus contract vendors must meet certain safety standards, insurance requirements, bus and bus driver qualifications and specifications to ensure travel safety for UA groups. If a department or group needs a charter bus, contact Jennifer Patrick to request the Charter Bus Request form. Once the completed Excel form has been returned to Jennifer via email, she will use the given information to obtain quotes from the contract vendors. The department or group will be notified of the lowest quote for the charter.