The London Borough of Barking and Dagenham is leading the way and has entered talks with Redbridge, Havering, Newham and Tower Hamlets.
All councils hope to find extra savings by pooling their work into a single framework.
Procurement chiefs at Barking and Dagenham have got the process started by inviting bids for its forecast £79m annual spending programme, split between £39m on housing and £40m on education and other services.
When the other councils sign up to the deal total annual spending on the framework is expected to rise to around £190m.
The councils would then use mini competitions to select contractors for individual work packages worth over £1.5m.
Interested firms have until 15 April to obtains PQQs. Call Stephen Howells at Dagenham on 02082273907 or email firstname.lastname@example.org