Capital Equipment

Advancing the understanding to the UW–Madison campus community of policies and procedures established to support the proper stewardship of capital equipment from initial purchase to disposal.


The Property Control Department is in the process of revamping our Capital Equipment training program to offer a variety of methods from on-demand courses to presentations.

In the meantime, if you are a Department Property Administrators (DPA) please review the previous Session One and Two training slides and contact the Property Control team with any questions.

Capital Equipment Training Session One: Asset Acquisition and Fabrication

This session will provide procedural guidance for the acquisition/fabrication of UW–Madison capital equipment. General capital guidelines for qualified purchases are discussed. This includes assets purchased, assets received by donation, assets obtained with the transfer in of a new research professional, assets built by campus, and capital costs associated with existing pieces of equipment.

Download Capital Equipment Training Presentation – Session One: Asset Acquisition/Fabrication (PDF)

Capital Equipment Training Session Two: Asset Movement/Inventory and Asset Disposition/Retirements

Our second session will focus on campus responsibilities for the proper stewardship of assets once owned. This session will give guidance on facilitating physical inventories, advising location changes when assets are moved, transferring rights to another UW–Madison Department, asset loans, and the requirements for disposition of capital assets.

Download Capital Equipment Training Presentation – Session Two: Asset Movement and Physical Inventory (PDF)


Please note if you are using the Property Control fillable forms: When you click on a form link and you can see it on your screen, you must still download the form (top, right-hand navigation bar) in order for the fillable fields to be visible. Please complete your form, either save or print, and submit as requested.

Common questions

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How do I initiate a new DPA for my Department?

To initiate a new DPA, the Department should send notice to the Property Control email account ( and list the Department’s UDDS number, the name of the new DPA and the Employee ID number of the individual. Property Control will draft a DPA Agreement Form and route to the individual. The DPA will need to sign and route to the Financial Representative listed on the document for additional signatures. Once all signatures are received, the DPA should route the completed form to Property Control. Property Control will sign and route a finalized copy to the DPA.

How do I see a listing of capital equipment associated with my department?

All DPAs have access to a Property Control BOX account where they receive monthly updates to divisional property reports. A list of Departmental Property Administrators for each Department is listed on the DPA List. Please contact your DPA to request information on your departmental capital reports.

Does it matter if a DPA is University Staff or Academic Staff?

No, a DPA can be either a University Staff member or an Academic Staff member.

Why are DPAs being asked to sign an Acceptance Agreement and have their position descriptions (PDs) updated?

When the Capital Equipment Team interviewed campus at the start of this improvement initiative, it became clear there were several issues making it difficult for DPAs to be successful in their duties. The DPA’s role and responsibilities were not clear, they were not trained, there wasn’t always support to help DPAs to carry out their responsibilities, and generally, DPAs weren’t in the loop for most asset changes. The Capital Equipment Team concluded that creating a new documented process and providing training to DPAs was necessary, but it wouldn’t be sufficient; therefore, the role has been elevated for visibility and formality. The PD changes and DPA Acceptance Agreement were established to communicate expectations and establish a partnership between DPAs and their Divisional CFO for these important financial matters.

What percentage of time should be allocated for the DPA’s roles and responsibilities into a position description?

Because the number of assets and activity level such as the number of movements, additions, and dispositions vary so greatly among campus departments, there is no prescribed percentage allocation in position descriptions. That level of discretion is being given to units on campus.

Are we able to have more than one DPA assigned to a department?

DPAs are assigned at the department level for tracking and communication to campus. This is linked to the UDDS code at the fourth digit. (Example: A0305XX). Although a department may allocate several individuals within the department, all communication and signatures will need to be facilitated through the recognized individual.

If capital equipment is beyond its useful years of life and fully depreciated, is it still considered capital equipment?

Yes, although the equipment may be fully depreciated, it still needs to be tracked and inventoried as it can be audited anytime that the equipment is in use and active. It is only after the equipment is disposed and custodianship is released from the University that it is considered inactive and no longer is necessary to be tracked.

Who calculates depreciation on capital equipment?

The depreciation calculation is the responsibility of the Property Control office and is a function of the new PeopleSoft Asset Management module.

If I am getting rid of old capital equipment and they are going to SWAP, should I contact the Property Control office?

If you are not the DPA for the equipment, please contact your Departmental Property Administrator for guidance. A listing of DPAs is available on our DPA List. The Property Control office will assist the DPA through the disposal request process. The Property Control office should be contacted before contacting SWAP as the equipment may have been entirely or partially paid for by a Federal sponsor who placed restrictions on the disposal of the equipment. Property Control will work with the Office of Research & Sponsored Programs (RSP) to identify any restrictions.

I want to loan UW Madison capital equipment. How do I initiate the loan?

Property Control procedure 3008.10 “Asset Loan Agreement Procedure” documents the process for lending UW–Madison equipment. The Department Chair should complete the Asset Loan Request form (PDF) and route to the Dean/Director’s Office for additional signatures. Signature authority for the Dean/Director’s signature is located on the Property Control website on the DPA List referenced in the “Financial Contact” column.

Who should I contact if I want to enter into a contract to borrow equipment from an outside entity?

Signature authority for capital equipment loans to the University is held by the Director of Financial Information Management (see staff directory). All loan contracts are required to be submitted to the Director of Financial Information Management for review. Review of contracts may require the involvement of other departments and legal representatives and therefore it should be anticipated that the process may extend several weeks.

We have a Research Associate joining/leaving our department. What capital considerations need to be made?

If you are aware of changes with a Research Associate who has associated capital equipment, please contact Property Control at

The name of the individual and details of the equipment should be supplied along with a contact name from the Department that would have an understanding of the employment contracts for the Researcher. Property Control will reach out to the Department to discuss details of the transition.

I have a piece of equipment located at an off-site location. What requirements need to be considered?

Proper stewardship of capital equipment involves the ability to attest to the treatment and usage of equipment at all times. If University capital equipment is located in a building not associated with UW–Madison, additional details will need to be supplied to Property Control for consideration.

  • What is the physical location
  • Is this location outside of the United States
  • Are sponsored contracts involved
  • How long is the equipment intended to remain at the location
  • Is a UW–Madison employee permanently stationed at the location

I need to have a Federal Report completed for capital equipment associated with my project.

Federal Reporting is facilitated by the University’s Research and Sponsored Programs Department (RSP). Capital equipment reports associated with sponsored contracts must be completed using the central office asset management system maintained by the Property Control group of Accounting Services. RSP will request the required reports from Property Control when necessary. Please contact RSP for assistance in facilitating these requests.

I want to trade in my equipment.

At times, a department may receive discounts on new capital equipment when exchanging existing equipment. A process of evaluation is required prior to entering into exchange contracts. The DPA will submit Disposition Request Form (PDF) to Property Control to initiate the review of the existing asset to be used as exchange. This review will confirm title, sponsored contract restrictions, and UW–Madison policy restrictions to the use of the asset in trade. All purchase orders that involve traded capital equipment must line itemize the trade listing the capital asset ID and the value received for the trade.


Property Control
21 N. Park Street
Madison, WI 53715

(608) 262-5748