LCI engineering consulting director Lester Partridge took time out on Monday from the mega-conference run by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitats, at which he was due to speak, to share some insight into how his new consulting practice is going.

In the 12 months since he and fellow directors David Caleo, Dennis Gretch and Steve Hall left AECOM to form the Sydney office of LCI Consultants, the team had grown to 25, he said.

It’s fast growth, he admits, and at least partly because Sydney’s market in this sector is “going gangbusters”.

The work is split between new and retrofit projects in hospitals and health care, in building services, mechanical services, fire engineering and environmentally sustainable design.

Clients include Crown Casino in Sydney and some of Walker Corporation’s several projects at Parramatta. Several other clients are undisclosed.

The company, originally formed in 2007 by former Bassett Consulting engineers, had had  Melbourne, Canberra and Brisbane offices but none in Sydney, Partridge explained.

There are now more than 100 staff members in total.

Partridge’s address at the conference, on Tuesday, was on whether carbon neutral buildings were possible in the city – say, a 30-storey building with 40,000 square metres of space.

His conclusion? Not really. You need a precinct to achieve this – or green power sourced off-site.

It’s simply a matter of physics, he said.

However, he thinks new technology platforms such as blockchain can solve the issues, pointing to companies such as Power Ledger than can use blockchain to sell and buy renewable energy through the grid.

“That could be a game changer when your building can be carbon neutral and it can be cost effective as well.”

Partridge is thinking about property companies that have warehouses “with vast square meterage of roof” that can be used for solar panels to create energy that can be consumed by their CBD office towers.