What is Inventorial Equipment?

UC Business and Finance Bulletin BUS-29, “Management and Control of University Equipment,” as amended by various official communications from the Senior Vice President, Division of Business & Finance, defines inventorial equipment as follows:

Non-expendable, tangible, personal property which has an acquisition cost of $5,000 or more, is freestanding, is complete in itself, does not lose its identity when affixed to or installed in other property and has a normal life expectancy of one year or more.

What are the important elements of this definition?

  1. Acquisition Cost. The purchase price of the item must be at least $5,000 (this value includes sales and use tax, customs and duty charges and vendor-provided installation charges; it does not include the cost of optional warranties or maintenance agreements).
  2. Independence. The item must be freestanding: it cannot be part of a building (electrical, plumbing, air-conditioning, etc.) system, or an item of modular office furniture. The item does not necessarily have to be functionally independent: an expensive lens objective for a microscope, for example, may receive a separate property number.
  3. Useful Life. The life expectancy of the item must be at least ONE YEAR. Otherwise, it is considered to be a consumable item and categorized as a supply purchase.

It is important to remember the distinction between generic “equipment” and “inventorial equipment.” All computers may be viewed as “equipment,” but a $2,000 laptop will not receive a University property number because its value is less than $5,000 – it is equipment only in the generic sense of the word; it is not inventorial equipment.

Similarly, it is important to remember that unit value is used to determine whether the item(s) being ordered are inventorial equipment. A $20,000 order for 10 computers (each with a unit value of $2,000) is NOT an inventorial equipment order.