3.5 Use and Maintenance

Stanford University acquires significant amounts of equipment every year, through purchasing, gifts, loans, leases, or other means. Every member of the Stanford community has an interest and responsibility in the use and care of the University’s assets.

Proper stewardship in the areas of utilization, maintenance, calibration, storage, and movement of equipment will ultimately reduce cost and losses, maximize the useful life of the assets and demonstrate compliance to Sponsor and University requirements for proper treatment and protection of equipment.


Questions about this policy can be answered by:

Stanley Dunn

Associate Director

Property Management Office

(650) 725-0081

To report a broken link or send comments/suggestions about property management content, send email to:


1. Key Policy Statements

  • Equipment should only be used for its intended purpose in the furtherance of Stanford activities.

  • Equipment should be maintained or calibrated in accordance with manufacturer’s specifications.

  • Use of personally-owned property on campus should be avoided.

  • Off-campus use or storage of equipment must be properly documented.

  • When Stanford-owned property is no longer needed, functional equipment should be offered to other Stanford departments for reuse.

  • Sponsor-funded equipment must be utilized in accordance with the terms of the accountable agreement or otherwise declared excess for reutilization.

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2. Utilization

Equipment and other property at Stanford should only be used in direct support of University activities (education, research, operations, administration), whether it is on or off campus. Every effort must be made to maximize the benefit derived throughout the useful life of the asset.

Optimally, only University or Sponsor owned property, or assets for which Stanford is accountable should be on campus. Utilization of personally-owned property within the workplace is discouraged.  In those instances where personally owned equipment is present on campus, the owner is responsible and liable for their property.

Property for which Stanford is accountable, regardless of ownership, should be protected and secured.  Reasonable efforts must be made to prevent loss, damage, destruction, or theft (LDDT). Incidents of LDDT should be reported to the Risk Management Department and PMO as soon as discovered. In cases of theft, a police report must be filed with the Stanford University Department of Public Safety (SUDPS).

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3. Use & Maintenance of Vehicles

All vehicle maintenance should be done by the Fleet Garage.  Written pre-approval from the fleet Garage Manager must be obtained prior to any off campus maintenance.  Contact the Fleet Garage prior to arranging for servicing.

Vehicle use is governed by additional rules as outlined in Administrative Guide 8.4.1, Vehicle Acquisition, Ownership and Disposition and Administrative Guide 8.4.2, Vehicle Use.

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4. Movement

Research, instruction, and other university activities often require frequent changes in the location of equipment. If the duration of the move is less than thirty (30) days, the move is considered temporary. Location changes lasting thirty (30) days or longer are considered permanent.  For permanent location changes the Sunflower (SFA) property management database must be updated to reflect the new location. Equipment that is being moved to an off campus location also requires the completion of an Off-Campus Equipment Verification Worksheet in addition to the SFA updates. See the section on  Off- Campus Assets later in this chapter for more information. For temporary moves, the use of a sign-out log may serve as sufficient documentation. See Section 3.3 (Records) for more detailed information

Movement of equipment outside of the U.S. may require export control documentation. Refer to Stanford’s Export Control website for additional information.

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5. Storage

Storage of property is coordinated through the Department Property Administrator (DPA).  The DPA is available to provide guidance and assist in the documentation of the storage activity. Adequate protection during storage is required to prevent loss, damage, destruction, or theft of the property.

Short-term (6 months or less) or long-term storage may be required at varying times during the life of an asset. Storage of items should be justified to minimize unnecessary retention.  Items in storage should be periodically reviewed by designated department personnel for continued retention. If no longer needed, the items should be made available for reutilization or processed as excess for disposal.

The storage of items must be documented, including the update of the Sunflower (SFA) property management database to reflect the storage location and inactive status.  Items stored off-campus are documented using an Off-Campus Equipment Verification Worksheet. When the assets return to use, the records should be updated accordingly.

Stored equipment must be accounted for during the University’s biennial equipment physical inventory cycle. During a department’s inventory period, the DPA should submit appropriately signed and updated copies of the Off-Campus Equipment Verification Worksheet. The forms will serve to verify and account for the stored equipment for inventory purposes.

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6. Unneeded or Unused Property

Periodic reviews of their accountable equipment by department personnel are a key to ensuring maximum utilization and control of University and Sponsor owned assets. It greatly facilitates the physical inventory process and successful completion of audits. In addition, it provides opportunity to identify unneeded assets to expedite timely reuse or disposal.

The funding source, title, and agreement terms and conditions define the utilization options for equipment that is no longer needed by the accountable department.

Functional Stanford owned equipment purchased with unrestricted Stanford funds should first be offered to other departments when no longer needed. This can be done via the Stanford University Reuse Website. If another department has no need for the equipment, or the equipment is non-functional, an excess request is generated by the DPA. Excess items are processed for disposal through the PMO protocols for excess equipment. See section 4.2 for additional information.

When Stanford owned property funded by non-government sponsors is no longer needed on the project for which it was acquired or provided, it must first be made available for possible use on other sponsored projects. This may occur prior to or on the scheduled end date of the overall project. When the project has concluded, all property acquired with the project’s funds should be made available for use elsewhere, whether on similar projects in the same department, or if not needed there, it should be offered to the rest of the campus via the Stanford University Reuse Website. Contact your University Property Administrator (UPA) for additional guidance.

Government owned equipment, regardless of condition or functionality, must have prior government approval for reuse or disposal. Contact your UPA for guidance regarding unneeded government owned equipment.

Unneeded equipment that has been declared excess will be picked up by the PMO and processed for eventual sale by Surplus Property Sales (SPS) or for recycling as scrap. See section 4.2, for more information.

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7. Inter-Department Transfers

When no longer needed by a department, functional equipment may be offered to other departments for use. In some cases, this may be in connection with compensation in the form of a fund transfer (sometimes referred to as an interdepartmental “sale”). If so, a journal is created to move the funds. The accounts used in the transaction must be unrestricted Stanford funds, and the Expenditure type (ET) 58510 should be used. 

For a capital asset transfer, where a property record is involved, assistance from the PMO is necessary to have the property record(s) updated to reflect the new department stewardship. 

Assets acquired on a sponsored project that is still active may require additional clearances before they can be transferred. Particular care should be taken with assets acquired on Federal contracts. Please seek assistance from your UPA to ensure these clearances are properly obtained.

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8. Computer Transfers

Computers require additional steps and processes when transferring between departments.  There are restrictions on data that can transfer with the computer. Restricted data must be removed whenever a computer is transferring from one user to another within a department, or when transferring between departments. Please see Administrative Guide  6.3.1 Information Security, for additional information. Contact your local DPA or the PMO for details and current requirements.

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9. Off-Campus Assets

Occasionally, an asset may need to be taken to a non-Stanford location in furtherance of research or other university activities. In such cases, the removal of the asset from the campus for more than 30 days must be recorded using the Off-Campus Equipment Verification Worksheet and the location data changed in the SFA property management database to reflect off-campus status. A signed copy of this document must be kept on file by the local DPA and the signature must be updated annually. (This update may be performed via email for convenience). Copies of the off-campus worksheets must be provided to the Inventory team during the biennial inventory.

When an asset is frequently removed from campus for short periods of time, such as projectors or departmental ‘check-out’ laptop computers, a supplemental log should be established by the custodian and used to record when the item is checked out and subsequently returned.

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10. Maintenance and Calibration

Departments are responsible for the performance of maintenance and/or calibration of all property for which they are accountable. It must be performed in accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications or as needed. Records of maintenance or calibration events are maintained by the department throughout the life of the asset.

Maintenance and calibration may be suspended on items while in storage. Prior to being returned to active use, any necessary maintenance or calibration must be completed.

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