This section is from the book "Cyclopedia Of Architecture, Carpentry, And Building", by James C. et al. Also available from Amazon: Cyclopedia Of Architecture, Carpentry And Building.
When a person, public body, or corporation advertises inviting architects to send in competitive designs, all designs sent in should conform exactly to the terms of the invitation sent out. If this is not done the design submitted is not entitled to consideration. The common form of advertisement for designs, and the submission of designs conforming with the terms of the advertisement, do not constitute a contract. The advertisement is merely a request for offers. The submission of the design is an offer, and becomes binding only on acceptance by the party advertising. Although it seems that this party is not bound to accept the design representing lowest bid, it is very desirable for the sake of clearness, to put into the advertisement a clause reserving the right to reject any or all designs submitted. Of course where the advertisement is for bids for public work, if a statute or city ordinance required that the work be awarded to the lowest bidder, then the party making the lowest bid may enforce his right to the award. A request for plans is, of course, unlikely to come within such a statute. An invitation to compete may, however, be made in such a manner as to constitute an offer, and give some one of the competitors a right to hold the persons making the offer bound by a contract. For this purpose, as has already been shown, the plans must exactly correspond with all terms of the offer.