Architects Llewelyn-Davies and Watkins Gray International have formed a strategic alliance to pitch for health and education PFI work.

The link-up, announced this week, follows a trend that began last year when five practices got together to bid for PFI schemes. They included Feilden Clegg Bradley and Penoyre & Prasad.

George Ferguson, the president of the RIBA, has been pressing the case for architects to band together to increase their capacity to take on large-scale projects.

The present tie-up will bring together Llewelyn-Davies’ strength in health and Urban Design and Watkins Gray’s experience in education. An example of Watkins Gray's work is St Botolph's primary in Lincoln, a £12.5m school for Lincolnshire council (pictured).

The duo will be able to call on a combined design team of 240. The practices developed a working relationship when they were in the same consortium on the Procure 21 health initiative. They will operate out of offices in London, Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle and Belfast.

Stephen Featherstone, Llewelyn-Davies’ managing director, said bigger design teams were required. He said: "There are increasing demands on the capacity and skills of teams."

Grahame Underwood, Watkins Gray’s managing partner, said the need for bigger consultancies was underlined by the government’s spending plans. John Reid, the health secretary, announced last month that government intended to build 15 PFI hospitals worth £4bn.

Underwood said: "There is a dearth of consultancies that are able to meet these demands. Our alliance will offer a comprehensive service to tackle major schemes."