Meet the Team

Meet the Team: Martin Doble

Martin joined Clifford Devlin in 2017 to head-up its Building & Special Works Division having spent over 25 years managing refurbishment and fit-out projects for various companies. As Divisional Head he is responsible for the performance of all building projects ensuring they are delivered on-time, to-budget and specification. Martin’s hands-on role involves managing all aspects of project life cycles from procurement to scoping, resourcing, deployment and implementation through to delivery, O&M and sign-off.

You started your career back in the 1980s. How has construction changed in the preceding 30 years?
A newcomer to construction now would not recognise the industry where I started my career. A much greater level of professionalism has been infused into every facet of construction. The focus on health & safety has grown out of all recognition and the sector is much more process driven with emphasis on detail, documentation and, as a consequence, greater control over the sequence of activities all of which has certainly been assisted by the wide use of IT. This allows clients and their professional teams to better visualise the methodology involved as well as the end product.
You joined (Bovis) Lendlease in 1993. What kind of work did that entail and how did it compare with modern standards?
I worked for Lendlease’ with their fit out and refurbishment  team for nine  years, managing high-spec fit-out and refurbishment of mainly commercial properties in London. A substantial amount  of the work was carried out in occupied premises which is very similar to today, but whereas refurbishment tended to be more short-term in the 1990s, these days I find that schemes are a more extensive, future-proofing exercise often involving cut/carve and strip back to structure,extending properties,   creating basements and adding floors – no doubt driven by the incredible rise in property prices / rent.  
Before joining Clifford Devlin you headed-up Chorus’ Special Projects Division for 15 years. Which of the many schemes you managed during that time stand out?
Chorus’ ‘Special Projects’ tended to range between  £0.5 million to £6 million with an average construction value of £3m in value and one-off, high-end refurb/fit-out schemes often involving innovative methods and technically innovative installations. A particularly demanding project for Bedford Estates in 2012 involved the refurbishment of a conservation listed former petrol station in Store Street off Tottenham Court Road. Being located in one of central London’s busiest areas meant the 14-month job was conducted on a very small footprint and bounded on all sides by ‘sensitive receptors’. The space restrictions and busy traffic system meant the sequence of activities and site logistics needed to be very carefully planned. The project also involved remediation of hydrocarbons from the ground and the demolition and rebuild of the petrol stations’ kiosk to its former state. The former Bloomsbury Service Station is now a Byron Proper Hamburgers restaurant.
What persuaded you to take the position of Head of Building & Special Works at Clifford Devlin?
The Division has a well-established base of clients to build upon and I am looking forward to using my experience of the sector to develop the business and take it to the next level. Its focus on high-spec commercial refurbishment and ethos of attention-to-detail matches my particular skill-set and approach to the discipline of refurbishment.
What do you like doing when not refurbishing the capital’s buildings?
I caught the nautical bug after being introduced to sailing on a few of the corporate days-out when I was at Lendlease. A  good way to relax on the sailing on the waters of the Solent and occasional sailing competitions.