Section 5: Research Equipment Accountability
Equipment means tangible, non-expendable, personal property with a useful life of more than 1 year and a unit or system cost ≥ $5,000. A system is comprised of two or more components purchased to form a functional unit. Research equipment, also known as special purpose equipment, means equipment purchased by a University through any project managed by RTI.
Objectives: To ensure adequate accountability for the expenditure of federal SPR funds and appropriate safeguarding of equipment purchased through RTI managed projects.
The Process: The information that follows describes RTI’s accountability process for research equipment purchased under project agreements.
Approval for the purchase of Research Equipment — RTI shall obtain the approval from FHWA for the purchase of the research equipment as required. Equipment approved for purchase is recorded on RTI’s equipment inventory list for the Fiscal Year Program.
As soon as practical after an equipment acquisition, specific information shall be obtained and recorded as follows:
- Anchor: #OIXEVJGB
- Description of the equipment Anchor: #EVWUNJUO
- State or University or Federal agency property identification number including but not limited to: serial number, model number, date of manufacturer, or other available manufacturer’s identification information Anchor: #FEKDQDAA
- Source of the equipment, including the project number Anchor: #AINOTHSV
- Ownership of title Anchor: #DCDFIXHY
- Acquisition date Anchor: #HQLPMHPV
- Percentage of Federal participation in the cost Anchor: #OPSAUEVY
- Location and condition Anchor: #IKDJOVTT
- Acquisition cost Anchor: #KVHSRIHX
- Disposition data
Pursuing that information in a timely manner is a key activity in RTI thereby establishing adequate accountability for research equipment purchases.
Pursuant to equipment approval and disposition, and at the completion of the project, TxDOT retains ownership to all of the equipment acquired under RTI projects, unless RTI transfers ownership, in writing, to a University or Federal agency.
A photo(s) of the equipment shall be forwarded to the RTI Contract Specialist for University inventories, who will file it in RTI’s Equipment Inventory file.
Inventory of Research Equipment in a University’s Possession — RTI inventories research equipment in the possession of the Universities on a yearly basis. Review and reconciliation of RTI’s records to each University’s records and physical inventories are based on the RTI’s Equipment Inventory Lists. Universities are responsible for properly tagging, maintaining, and securing equipment. If TxDOT pays for all or part of a piece of equipment, it must be tagged with a TxDOT-RTI inventory tag. Lost, damaged to, or theft of equipment shall be investigated by the University or Federal agency, fully documented and reported to RTI immediately upon discovery.
NOTE: FHWA approval must be received during any disposition of equipment, including losses and reimbursement to FHWA and TxDOT, as applicable.
Delivery of Research Equipment to TxDOT — When research equipment is delivered to TxDOT, either while the project is still active, or after it is closed, RTI continues the accountability process. RTI confirms that the equipment was delivered to TxDOT and provides enough information to the district or division (DD) property coordinator so the equipment can be entered into the appropriate TxDOT property management system, under that DD. RTI is a facilitator in this process, but does not maintain property records for equipment in the possession of another DD. DD staff assume the responsibility for further tracking, including disposal. When RTI confirms that equipment was delivered to TxDOT, the equipment inventory list is updated to remove the equipment from the University’s inventory and to document where the equipment was transferred.
NOTE: FHWA approval must be received during the disposition of equipment.
During the project close out, the University shall notify RTI that the equipment is ready for disposition. RTI instructs the University, in writing, either to dispose of it, retain, or return the equipment to TxDOT. This decision is based on whether TxDOT has a use for the equipment, the disposition process shall consider the fair market value of the equipment and/or salvage value of the equipment including the cost to transport and disposal. When confirmation is obtained that the equipment is no longer in the University’s possession, the inventory list is updated to document such action.