Lasath Lecamwasam, F.AIRAH
Lasath Lecamwasam, F.AIRAH, has spent his life around the globe.
Born in Sri Lanka, Lecamwasam migrated to the UK in 1979, New Zealand in 1999, and has called Australia home since 2007.
“In Australia I was very fortunate to work with Exergy and GHD,” says Lecamwasam. “Both gave me tremendous opportunities to broaden my skills and my horizons.”
In 2014, he formed Engineered Solutions for Building Sustainability (ESBS), a professional building services engineering consultancy. The company has grown to a team of eight – their work servicing clients in the ACT and New South Wales.
Lecamwasam is a committee member of AIRAH’s Environmentally Sustainable Design Special Technical Group (STG). He tells us about what brought him to the HVAC&R industry and his commitment to fostering diversity.
What brought you to the HVAC&R industry?
From my earliest childhood memories, I always wanted to become an engineer.
I had the great fortune to study mechanical engineering at King’s College London. After my undergraduate degree, I was inspired to do a Master’s in Refrigeration and Air Conditioning at King’s under Professor Bill Gosney and WP Jones, who were industry greats. The rest is history.
I have had some very lucky breaks that provided me with a broad appreciation of building services engineering. These opportunities included designing and manufacturing heat pumps; retraining in electrical engineering at RAF Cardington; and working on design and maintenance management in England, Scotland, New Zealand, and Australia.
When I started mechanical engineering, my dream job was to work at Rolls Royce on gas turbines. I am really glad that I ended up changing direction towards building services engineering.
How long have you been a member of AIRAH?
It must be over 13 years now. It was soon after we migrated to Australia.
What’s something everyone should know about you, your work, or the HVAC&R industry?
Understanding clients’ requirements, paying attention to detail, and delivering quality outcomes is essential for sustainable results and business relationships.
I get tremendous satisfaction that over the past 35 years I have given training and employment opportunities in building services to around 50 individuals from many nationalities. I get a sense of personal pride when I catch up with them many years later and find out that many have progressed to become very successful operators and good ambassadors for our industry.
What's your favourite HVAC&R-related memory?
In 2012, against the odds, one of my projects won the AIRAH Award for Best HVAC&R Retrofit or Upgrade.
GHD won the Best HVAC Retrofit or Upgrade at the AIRAH Awards 2012 for 4 Mort Street, Canberra. Pictured, left to right: award category sponsor Alberta McAteer; Lasath Lecamwasam, F.AIRAH; and AIRAH CEO (2010–2016) Phil Wilkinson, F.AIRAH.
How do you see the HVAC&R industry developing over the next 100 years?
I reckon our industry will be recognised as being even more important due to change and disruption brought upon by climate change and the recent pandemic. We’ll see adaptation and mitigation; the need for resilience; and responses to issues such as food and bio-security.
With added value, the industry will adapt to working smarter with new technologies. This includes making more use of big data and analytics; the Internet of things; building information modelling and management; and robotic and off-site fabrication to make the industry safer and more productive.