Procurement exemptions

Learn about procurement exemptions and how to apply for one.

Level of compliance Main audience Other


  • Project Managers
  • Property Managers
  • Principals and Tumuaki
  • Boards
  • Proprietors

This process must be followed if applying for a procurement exemption.

When to apply for an exemption

Note: As of 1 April 2024, procurement exemptions are no longer required for school-led construction procurements with a contract value under $100,000 (excluding GST).

In exceptional situations, there may be reasons why it is not appropriate to follow the standard property procurement rules. Therefore, schools can apply for procurement exemptions.

An exceptional situation might be:

  • an emergency – unforeseen event or circumstance resulting in injury, loss of life and/or critical damage to property or infrastructure, or urgent situation – high risk of harm to students or staff (e.g. urgent fencing required to ensure a student’s safety). 
  • following an open competitive process: schools may use a closed competitive process or direct source process to procure goods, services and works if:
    • it has openly advertised the contract opportunity in the last 12 months, and
    • it has not substantially changed the core procurement requirements, and
    • the first time the opportunity was advertised it:
      • (a) did not receive any responses, or
      • (b) did not receive any responses that complied with the pre-conditions, or 
      • (c) received responses from suppliers who it has reasonable grounds to believe have colluded, and this can be verified, and no other responses complied with the pre-conditions (Rule 28) or conformed with or met the requirements.
  • when only one supplier is in the market – for technical reasons there is no real competition, or the procurement relates to acquisition of intellectual property rights.
  • when additional requirements arise during a project that has been procured in a fair and open manner and a change of supplier cannot be made for economic or technical reasons and would result in significant inconvenience or substantial duplication of cost. 
  • a prototype or pilot – purchased for research, experiment, study or original development. 

How an exemption can help

Procurement exemptions can allow the use of a simpler approach to market method. This method would ordinarily be used for a purchase of a lower value.

For more information on approach to market methods and value thresholds, see the pages below.

Planning property procurement
Approaching the market

Allowing the planned use of a simpler approach to market

Procurement exemptions can allow the planned use of a simpler approach to market method. This method would ordinarily be used only for a purchase of a lower value.

For example, an exemption can allow the use of a closed tender instead of an open tender, when a purchase is valued at $260,000 (which is ordinarily above the maximum value permitted for the use of a closed tender).

Allowing the past use of a simpler approach to market method

Procurement exemptions can allow the past use of an approach to market method, when the cost of a project has unexpectedly increased during the works and the value of the purchase has increased to sit within a higher value threshold (and more complex approach to market method).

For example, a project may originally be valued under $100,000 (excl GST) within the threshold for a direct source or closed tender approach to market. The direct source process is followed and soon after works begin, the engaged supplier discovers an urgent need for additional work. The whole project is then valued over $100,000 (excluding GST).

In this situation, a procurement exemption can approve the use of the original direct source approach to market and allow the already engaged supplier to complete all required work.

How to apply

Step Action



The procurement officer completes the Procurement Exemption Request.

Procurement Exemption Request form [DOCX, 79 KB]

For requests relating to urgent fencing (where this is required due to health and safety concerns regarding a student who has been deemed a significant abscondment risk), a prepopulated form is supplied below.

Urgent Fencing Procurement Exemption Request form [DOCX, 77 KB]



The completed form is approved by the procurement sponsor.



The form is sent to the Ministry's Property Advisor (procurement leader) for endorsement.

The procurement leader must then escalate the request to for approval by a procurement manager.

See more on roles in property procurement.

Regardless of the application outcome, retain records of the process.

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