If you are a subcontractor that bids on public work you may wonder whether the general contractor is bound to subcontract with you if it uses your bid as part of its bid to the government authority and the authority awards the contract to the general. The definitive answer in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, like most jurisdictions, is no.
In Ribarachak v. Municipal Authority of the City of Monongahela, the Commonwealth Court formal adopted the general rule – long adopted ago adopted by a majority of jurisdictions – that the use of a subcontractor’s bid by a general contractor constitutes legal acceptance of the bid. As the Commonwealth Court articulated:
A subcontractor bidder merely makes an offer that is converted into a contract by regularly communicated acceptance conveyed to him by the general contractor. No contractual relationship is created between the subcontractor and the general contractor even though the bid used as part of the general over-all bid by the general contractor was accepted by the authority.”
I was rather surprised to find out the above was not already the law in Pennsylvania because I can remember learning about it in my first year contracts class in law school. I bet most Pennsylvania construction lawyers just assumed it was the law as well. However, if anyone had an doubt, the Commonwealth Court just cleared it up for you.