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How do I write specifications for a solicitation?

Specifications are used for the following purposes: 

  1. To describe what departments need to purchase. 
  2. For suppliers to respond to bids that have been issued for the purchase of goods or services. 
  3. To determine during the evaluation of bids, each supplier’s compliance with the requirements.
  4. To select the supplier that a purchase order will be issued to. 

For this reason, specifications must be as generic as possible and define the university’s minimum needs, without any unjustified bias toward a specific brand. After an item has been delivered or a service performed, the written specifications – to which the supplier bids – are part of the legal document that would be used in settling any dispute concerning the quality or performance of the good or service received.

Specifications have two parts: 

  1. Scope of Work (for services) or Description (for goods) 
  2. Requirements

For step-by-step instructions for how to write specifications, please visit the Advanced Purchasing Manual, Chapter 4: Writing Specifications.

Updated on June 25, 2021

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