Top 10 QS Gleeds has created a management consulting division that it says will give it an edge over the "big five" accountants,.
Gleeds Solutions, launched this week, will provide property, tax, facilities management and business services similar to those offered by Pricewaterhouse Coopers and Ernst & Young.

But the firm said its direct experience in property would give it an advantage over accountants. Gleeds partner John Murray said: "We have that breadth of knowledge. It's our natural environment."

Murray said the firm had invested up to £1m in the management consultancy. The division, which has 30 staff, will be run by five partners – Graham Robinson, Neil Webster, Simon Amesbury, Nick Langford and Ken Reid. Gleeds said it had looked outside the QS profession to recruit accountants and facilities managers for it.

Richard Steer, Gleeds senior partner, said clients wanted a wider range of consulting services.

He said: "Most of our work is still in surveying – that will not disappear. But there is demand for high-level, flagship consulting work. It's moving on from project management, from advising on development programmes, or clients' entire property estates."

Steer added that the division was the outcome of three years' work.

He said: "A lot of our competitors have been talking about management consulting, but we already have a firm base. We can talk about things we have already done in the area."

The decision to form the management consultancy division is part of Gleeds' growth programme. So far, fee income at the 1000-strong firm has increased from £30m in 1998 to £50m last year.

Steer said the growth had been largely organic, although he was looking at acquisition targets. "We have been talking to people but nothing has come to fruition," he said. "We are looking at firms within our market and outside, such as other management consultants."

Steer added that the firm was considering ways of growing its businesses in the USA, where it bought consultant Castell Marks last year, and China.