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Glossary of Terms

A contract is a binding agreement between two or more parties (in this case, the state and one or more contractors) to provide goods or services in accordance with specific terms and conditions.
A contractor is the entity that performs the service defined in a contract. Sometimes, the service may be performed by a subcontractor, subject to the approval of the contracting agency. In other cases, subcontracting is not permitted under the contract. Contractors are usually for-profit companies, but may also include universities, independent nonprofits, hospitals, and other types of entities.
Contract Types
Several different kinds of contracts are represented in the NC Open Book data base. They are defined below:
  • Term Contracts, known also as indefinite quantity or requirements contracts, are used generally to establish suppliers and prices for a given commodity, group of commodities, printing, or services for a period of time without guaranteed quantities being specified. There are two types of term contracts in NC Open Book:
    1. Statewide term contracts consolidate the normal requirements of all agencies into one agreement and are handled by the Division of Purchase and Contract on behalf of the agencies. A term contract is a binding agreement between purchaser and seller to buy and sell certain commodities, printing, or services at certain prices and under stipulated terms and conditions. It is neither an "approved list" nor a list of approved or ceiling prices. No agency may purchase any commodities, printing, or services covered by a statewide term contract from any other sources. A term contract is based upon competition, where available.
    2. Agency specific term contracts are also indefinite quantity or requirements contracts, but are developed for use by a specific agency based on their special needs. If the amount of the anticipated expenditure for the term of the contract is under the agency's benchmark or delegation, and the commodity, printing, or service is not covered by a statewide term contract, these contracts may be voluntarily posted on IPS. If the anticipated expenditure exceeds an agency benchmark, it is posted on IPS by DOA. Rules applying to service and printing contracts do not apply to local school administrative units or community colleges.
  • Convenience Contracts are indefinite quantity contracts that may be used by state agencies to purchase goods or services at the agency's discretion. Convenience contracts function like statewide term contracts, but their use by agencies is not mandatory. If an agency elects not to purchase the goods or services it requires from an established convenience contract, the rules of competitive bidding apply to the acquisition.
  • Service Contracts are agreements in which an independent contractor with specialized knowledge or experience performs services for a state agency. Services might include the maintenance of buildings or equipment, auditing, film production, employee training or food services, provided that the service is not primarily for review, analysis or advice in formulating or implementing improvements in programs or services (in which case a consultant service contract applies).
  • Consultant Service Contract are contracts to investigate problems or projects and to provide counsel, review, analysis or advice to state agencies. This includes tasks like organizing, planning, directing, controlling, evaluating and operation of a program agency or department.
  • Information Technology Contracts are contracts for electronic data processing goods and services, telecommunications goods and services, microprocessors, software, information processing, office systems, and any services related to the foregoing, and consulting or other services for design or redesign of information technology that supports business processes.
  • Open Market Contracts are contracts awarded as a result of a publicly advertised competitive solicitation, purchase or contract not covered by a term contract. These are primarily used by agencies for their individual needs.
Term Contract Award Amount
Term Contract Award Amount equals the estimated value of the contract, based on an estimate of anticipated quantities that the State will buy during the term of the contract. The award remains an estimate until agencies purchase items from the Term Contract. Actual spending on specific Term Contracts is one of the enhancements that will be coming soon to NC OpenBook.
Term Contract Purchases
Term Contract Purchases equal the total amount of all the purchase orders issued against a specific term contract to-date. This gives an indication of the amount of purchases for a specific contract, but does not necessarily represent the actual payment since there may be changes made following the issuance of the purchase order, including cancellation or other changes. Purchase information is available for statewide term contracts as a separate search option.
Agency Delegation
Agency Delegation is the limit of an agency's purchasing authority. If the anticipated purchase will exceed their delegation, they must receive additional review and approval by the governing agency (Department of Administration for goods and services, Information Technology Services for information technology goods and services) and must post the bid on IPS. If the anticipated purchase is below the delegation, competition should still be sought, but posting the bid on IPS is voluntary. Delegation levels vary based on a variety of factors, including staff resources, procurement organizational structure, training, purchasing compliance reviews, electronic capabilities, and audit reports.
Commodity, as used in this context, is equipment, materials or supplies being sought. It does not include services or printing.
Location of Vendor
The city or town where the vendor is registered, not necessarily the place where the services were provided.
Purchase Order
A purchase order, or PO, is a document issued by a state agency to a provider of products or services, indicating what good/service is ordered, how much is needed, and what it will cost. A PO is a legal offer to buy products or services. Once a seller accepts a PO, a contract exists between the buyer and seller. The main types of POs used by the state are: standard - a one-time contract to purchase goods or services; blanket - which authorizes an agency to buy goods or services with predetermined terms or conditions; multi-year - which span more than one fiscal year.
A solicitation document. Normally used for smaller, non-advertised competitive procurements (may include e-quote).
Request for proposals - A solicitation document. Used for competitive procurements over $25,000. Normally used for larger, advertised competitive procurements for services.
Sole Source
When an item or service is available from only one known source of supply. This usually requires research to confirm and documentation for the file.
Emergency waivers include situations which endanger lives, property, or the continuation of a vital program and which can be rectified only by immediate on-the-spot purchase (or rental) of equipment, supplies, materials, printing, or contractual services. Pressing need waivers occur due to unforeseen causes including, but not limited to, delay by contractors, delay in transportation, breakdown in machinery, or unanticipated volume of work, and which can be rectified only by immediate on-the-spot purchase (or rental) of equipment, supplies, materials, printing, or contractual services.