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University Equipment & Assets

Upon purchasing equipment using University funds, it typically becomes an asset belonging to the University.

There are policies and procedures for capital assets you need to be aware of to ensure proper management and eventual disposal (where applicable) of that asset.


Capital assets are equipment or goods (including software) that are used to carry out the business of the university and have a useful life greater than one year and a value greater than $10,000. Financial Services will depreciate capital assets on a straight-line basis in accordance with the chart of estimated useful lives (see Capital Assets Policy).

Items with values greater than $50,000

Central tracking is in place for all new assets with an initial value of greater than $50,000.  Assets are entered into the University’s central inventory system by Strategic Procurement at the time of purchase, and departments will receive uniquely numbered McMaster asset tags which must be affixed to the items.

Items with values less than $50,000

Departments and Faculties should maintain their own records for capital items below the $50,000 threshold.  Records must be available in order to qualify for reimbursement from the university’s insurance reserve in the case of loss or damage.

Methods of Numbering and Marking Assets

Uniquely Numbered McMaster Asset Tag

Assigned by Strategic Procurement at the time of acquisition for capital assets with an initial value greater than $50,000.

Identifiable Security Number 

A department specific identifiable security number available from Security Services for moveable assets or property.

Operation Provident Number

A national numbering system whereby a number is engraved or tagged on a piece of equipment, provided by Security Services.

STOP Plate

A permanently attached security plate with an identifiable number is uniquely registered to the department of faculty, provided by Security Services.


To protect University equipment and to ensure insurance coverage the following steps shall be taken prior to relocating equipment to an off-campus location:

  • Signing authority for the account from which the equipment was purchased must authorize the use of the equipment off campus (Letter Template for the Loaning of Assets).

  • A copy of this letter should accompany the relocating equipment to off campus locations.  The original letter shall be retained along with departmental equipment inventory.

  • Equipment must be identified as University property and marked with a Provident number or identifiable security number.

  • Environmental and Occupational Health Support Services shall be consulted when equipment is relocated to another institution or out of Province.

Departments and Faculties are accountable for the disposition of surplus equipment and, except as otherwise delegated by the Board of Governors or the President, the disposal of university assets shall be the responsibility of Strategic Purchasing. Current exclusions are the disposal of land and buildings.

Refer to the Capital Assets (Tracking and Deposition)

Before disposing of any surplus university-owned furniture, students, staff and faculty are encouraged to post it in the Trash to Treasure Furniture Reuse Group on Facebook. Facebook strongly encourages having only one account, so feel free to join with your personal account. Items can be posted for sale, or for donation. Payment must occur between Mosaic Chartfield accounts, limiting buying and selling to McMaster departments. Student clubs are welcome to post and accept free items. Items valued at $1000 or more must be sold via, per the Capital Asset – Tracking and Disposal Policy above, please refer to section 8. For more information on the program please visit Facility Services website From Trash to Treasure: Furniture Reuse