Rider Levett Bucknall is to set up a European consultancy network to drive expansion on the Continent.

The consultant and QS said RLB EuroAlliance, to be launched in October, would help it bid for work in more than 30 countries.

Work will be outsourced to local consultants, but RLB will retain ultimate control of projects.

The move comes as companies in the construction sector are increasingly turning to foreign markets to win work amid tightening conditions at home.

Lance Taylor, RLB chief executive, said: “There has been a trend for consultants to set up their own offices, but we believe that doesn’t make sense in a fragmented and uncertain market.

“The costs of employing staff and taking office space directly are massive, and if you don’t win significant business almost immediately, your balance sheet takes a hit.”

The network will be headed up by Mike Staples, a former Skanska director. He said using local firms would help operations in countries such as France and Germany, which have “their own unique way of doing business”.