University of Washington Policy Directory

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*Formerly part of the University Handbook
Administrative Policy Statement

Equipment Inventory Management

(Approved by the Senior Vice President for Finance and Facilities by authority of Administrative Order No. 9)

1.  Policy

The University of Washington Financial Management Division is responsible for ensuring that adequate accountability systems are established and administered for University and sponsoring-agency equipment. The Financial Management Division is also responsible for providing a public record of state or federal property.  As specified in Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), Part 45, "Government Property"; the federal Office of Management and Budget's (OMB), Circular A-110,"Property Standards," (Sections 30-37) for grants; and the state Office of Financial Management's State Administrative and Accounting Manual (SAAM), Chapter 30, "Capital Assets," the University property records are the official property records of the federal government and the state of Washington.

Each of the University's departments designates an inventory contact who, with the guidance of the Equipment Inventory Office, is responsible for tagging equipment upon receipt, recording identifying information, and tracking the equipment whenever its location or status changes. Title and ownership are vested in the University of Washington except where the funding agency retains title as defined in the specific grant or contract document. Property matters related to sponsored grant and contract programs are coordinated with the Office of Research. Regulations and provisions of individual grants and contracts are to be followed, as well as any general federal or state regulations that apply. Equipment is not insured by the University except when certain risk factors exist (see Administrative Policy Statement 14.1, Section 7, "Property Insurance").

The acquisition, reconciliation, physical inventory, utilization, and disposal of equipment at the University of Washington Medical Center, Northwest Hospital and Medical Center, Valley Medical Center, and Airlift Northwest is the responsibility of the respective accounting offices of those units.

2.  User Responsibility

The primary responsibility for the physical custody and maintenance of University equipment rests with the appropriate authority (dean, chair, or director in the department) who has custody of the equipment. Each department is to designate an "inventory officer" (in writing) to perform duties necessary to achieve compliance with the state Office of Financial Management regulations. The principal investigator is responsible for federal and agency-owned equipment. The program director is responsible for equipment used in interdisciplinary programs.

3.  Equipment Inventory Office

A.   Compliance

The Equipment Inventory Office is the University property administrator and maintains equipment accountability procedures to comply with:

  • Federal laws including the OMB circulars governing federal agencies and their grantees. The circulars are A-110, "Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants and Agreements with Institutions of Higher Education, Hospitals, and Other Non-Profit Organizations"; A-21, "Cost Principles for Educational Institutions"; and FAR Part 45, "Government Property."

  • Individual agency policies and procedures regulating equipment accountability for items acquired under their auspices such as the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS); National Aeronautical and Space Administration Acquisition Regulation (NASA-FAR); and the Department of Energy (DOE), Title 41, Chapter 109, "Public Contracts and Property Management."

  • Laws of the state of Washington and regulations of the OFM, SAAM Chapter 30, "Capital Assets."

B.   Responsibilities

General responsibilities of the Equipment Inventory Office are as follows:

  • Review equipment supply purchase requisitions to check for proper expenditure coding, on-campus screening of high cost federally funded equipment, and pre-acquisition approvals required by certain federal contract awards.

  • Maintain University, federal, and agency-owned equipment records.

  • Maintain inventories for buildings, land, and improvements other than buildings.

  • Coordinate equipment tagging.

  • Prepare and distribute Physical Inventory Listings.

  • Develop, review, and process physical inventories of equipment in accordance with policies and regulations of the University and of various governmental or private funding agencies.

  • Represent the University as Property Administrator in order to satisfy federal and state government regulations on equipment acquisitions, accountability, and disposal.

  • Prepare reports required by University departments and the various funding agencies. These include physical inventories, pre-acquisition screening, equipment sharing, ownership verification, accountability reports for funding agencies, depreciation schedules, use allowance calculations, legislative equipment replacement requests, capitalization of assets, and fixed asset information for annual financial statements.

C.   The Online Asset Information System (OASIS)

Equipment records for the University are maintained in an online database known as OASIS. This database is accessible at all times through the University's website to any individual who has attended training and submitted an access form. Access forms are available from the Equipment Inventory Office, and training sessions are offered free of charge on a quarterly basis. Use of the OASIS system eliminates the need for UW Equipment Information (Orange) Cards and asset control sheets, and allows a department immediate access to equipment information, as well as the capability to run reports based on departmental needs.

4.   Procedures

Detailed University procedures related to equipment can be found at the Equipment Inventory Office's web page.

5.   University Equipment Policies

In addition to relevant Administrative Policy Statements, the Equipment Inventory Office's University Equipment Policies web page contains several policies related to equipment, including the following:

6.   Additional Information

For further information contact the Equipment Inventory Office:

  • Phone: 206-543-4663
  • Campus mail: Box 354966
  • Email:

December 1999; October 19, 2012.