The Property Office is MIT’s master inventory department. It keeps track of all movable capital equipment and MIT’s capital building assets, which today span 13 million square feet and are valued at $4 billion.
Inventory Code

The Property team is constantly on the go, tracking the lifecycle of all capital equipment expenditures ($5,000 per unit) from computers and servers to highly specialized lab equipment, and more than 200 campus vehicles. They manage a perpetual campus inventory on a two-year cycle, going from building to building, and updating records as they go. This task is a little like painting the Tobin Bridge: Once the job is completed, it is time to start over.

All MIT property is entered into the eProp database so that it can be accounted for and audited, from purchase order through disposal. Information is recorded about the purchasing department, funding source, and physical location, and it is updated to reflect when equipment is moved, damaged, stolen, or decommissioned.

Given MIT’s role as a major research university, the range and volume of equipment purchases is considerable. Keeping track of it is critical for internal financial reporting and compliance with government and industry sponsors. If equipment is damaged when a pipe bursts or in a lab accident, the Property Office helps identify the equipment and assists with insurance claims.

While MIT’s buildings don’t move around, they certainly change. The Property Office tracks all campus buildings through their life span, from new construction through renovations. Their reach includes the entire 168-acre Cambridge campus, and buildings at Lincoln Lab, Haystack Observatory, and other locations.

The MIT community relies on the Property Office for its expertise across many domains—documentation when taking equipment outside of the U.S., knowledge about buying equipment under federal grants, and advice when faculty arrive from another institution with equipment in tow. The Property Office takes pride in providing a high level of customer service and a full range of equipment and building inventory services to the MIT community.