He said: "When I retired from Bovis Lelliott I said I did not intend to get out of the trade. I don't think I could sit around twiddling my thumbs or just playing golf. I enjoy the buzz of it too much."
Lelliott decided to leave Bovis in the wake of its acquisition by Australian developer Lend Lease in 1999. Lelliott's previous firm, the John Lelliott Group, was bought out of liquidation by Bovis in 1993. Bovis Lelliott has now been merged into Bovis Lend Lease's interiors division.
He said: "Since Lend Lease came in Bovis has been looking for big jobs in London such as Paddington Central and White City.
"It really didn't feel it wanted to continue to with the sort of refurbishments which are our forte."
I don’t think I could sit around twiddling my thumbs or just playing golf. I enjoy the buzz of it too much
Lelliott's firm will be split into two subsidiaries – Constructive, which will work in the fit-out market, and Waterfields Tech, which specialises in the telecoms sector.
Lelliott, who will be the chairman of the group, said he wanted to create a £30m-turnover business in two-to-three years, specialising in projects up to £3.5m. The firm, set up this month, employs 25 staff.
He said: "I do not want to be doing all the nitty-gritty. I will be handling business development and looking after clients – I will be working three to three-and-a-half days a week."
Lelliott said he was not overly concerned about present market conditions. "I have never really worried about the market in our sort of business. The lower end of the sector should hold up."