Our Team



KateKate Cotter pic Cotter

Kate is the founder and CEO of the Bushfire Building Council of Australia.  She recognises an opportunity for Australia to lead the world in pioneering lifesaving bushfire design and construction technologies and formed the BBCA to deliver that outcome.  Kate believes that evidence based policy, innovation and education will increase the affordability and adoption of bushfire safety systems for both new and older buildings.

A natural leader and collaborator, Kate has brought community bushfire building issues to the forefront of politics, media and industry. She successfully lobbied the Victorian Government for changes to the planning provisions allowing the use of new technologies and greater flexibility to address bushfire risk.  She is recognised as an influential advocate for individual responsibility, industry led innovation and forward-thinking public policy.



Expert Advisory Board


Ian BennettsDr Ian Bennetts

Ian is a civil and fire safety engineer with experience in the assessment and design of structures and buildings for fire safety. He currently works with SKIP Consulting after holding senior positions with BHP Melbourne Research Laboratories, Victoria University and Noel Arnold and Associates. In 2013 he was the (part-time) CSI Professor at Swinburne University. He has a detailed understanding of the behaviour in fire of passive systems including bushfire shutters, fire-resistant windows and building structures and has some experience with the design of bushfire wall wetting protection systems. He has undertaken detailed technical assessments of private bushfire shelters and community fire refuges.

He is a Fellow of Engineers Australia and was recently elected to the “hall of fame” of Engineers Australia Society of Fire Safety. He is a member of the Emergency Management Commission of Victoria’s Bushfire Construction Advisory Panel.


Eldon BottcherEldon Bottcher

Eldon is the Principal of Eldon Bottcher Architect Pty Ltd and has a Diploma in Architecture from QUT, a Certificate in Rural Fire Management from USQ and a Graduate Diploma in Bushfire Planning and Design from UWS. He is a Registered Architect, a Fellow of the Royal Australian Institute of Architects, a member of the Australian Institute of Emergency Services, a Level 3 BPAD practitioner with the FPAA and an Associate Member of IFE.

Eldon has held the Rank of Group Officer, Albert Rural Fire Brigade Group, Gold Coast Rural Fire Brigade Group, and of Group Officer, South East Queensland Regional Support Group. He was an initiator and member of the Gold Coast City Council’s Bush Fire Management Task Force, which prepared the Gold Coast City Council Bush Fire Management Strategy. He has received a number of individual awards for services to Fire Fighting at State and National Levels.


Vince DowlingVince Dowling

Vince is a Research Scientist and Director of Fire Science and Technology Australia. He has almost 40 years’ experience in material flammability.

Vince participated in the highly successful Fire Safety and Engineering Project, at the Warren Centre, University of Sydney, in 1989, and in the National Building Fire Safety Systems Project, 1990-91.

Vince participated in the design, organisation and supervision of the CSIRO survey of over 1000 houses following Ash Wednesday bushfires, 1983. This was the first survey of bushfire damage to buildings suitable for statistical analysis of material performance.

Vince lectured on fire behaviour of materials, at VU for 10 years. He has been a guest lecturer at QUT and at the Nanjing University of Science and Technology, China. He is a member of fire committees in Standards Australia, the ISO fire safety committee, International Association for Fire Safety Science, and the Society of Fire Safety. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute for his work on material flammability.


Glenn Kell 2Glenn Kell

Glenn is a Director at Planning Central Pty Ltd.  He is a qualified town planner and environment consultant with over 22 years’ experience in local government, state government and the private sector.

He has held General Manager and Manager positions at Beveridge Williams Pty Ltd, Sinclair Knight Merz and Connell Wagner (now Aurecon) on a wider range of complex and controversial land development and infrastructure / development projects for land owners and developers.

Glenn has a strong understanding of the mechanics of local government policy and decision making – as well as the policy and directives of the State Government.  In over 15 years as a consultant to land owners and developers, he has developed a strong understanding and reputation in providing a pragmatic, responsive, and value adding service to individuals seeking planning approvals in sensitive areas – including designated bushfire affected areas.


stephenkipStephen Kip (Chair)

Stephen is a Director of SKIP Consulting.  Stephen has held senior engineering positions with Warrington Fire Research and the Building Research Association of New Zealand and was the deputy to the Building Commissioner at the Building Control Commission in Victoria.

Stephen has been involved in the development of building regulations including the performance based Building Code of Australia 1996.

He holds a Degree in Building, a Masters Degree in Engineering and additional post graduate qualifications in Fire Safety Engineering and Building Project Management.  He is a Fellow of Engineers Australia, an Honorary Fellow of the academic staff of the University of Melbourne School of Architecture and Building, an Associate of the academic staff at the Centre for Environmental Safety and Risk Engineering at VUT, a member of the Emergency Management Commission of Victoria’s Bushfire Construction Advisory Panel, and a former member of the Victorian Building Appeals Board.  Stephen has recently been appointed to the board of the Australian Building Codes Board.

 john nicholsonJohn Nicholson AFSM

John was employed by CFA for 32 years, rising to the rank of Deputy Chief Officer.  John possesses extensive knowledge and firefighting experience in the building and bushfire environments, specialising in bushfire prevention and impact mitigation. He is a Graduate Member of the Institution of Fire Engineers.

Since 1999 John has consulted extensively in bushfire loss prevention, including assessing risk and developing bushfire protection plans. He represented the Australian Association of Rural Fire Authorities on the Standards Australia Committee – AS 3959—1991 Construction of buildings in bushfire-prone areas, and then in the development of AS 3959—2009.

Following the Canberra fires in 2003 John was commissioned by the ACT government to review the urban edge of Canberra and broader area of the ACT to determine the bushfire threat and whether any areas should be designated bushfire-prone according to the Building Code of Australia.  John is Director, Community Safety Services.


Ian Weir Profile PhotoDr Ian Weir

Ian is a registered practicing architect specialising in designing for bushfire prone, biodiverse landscapes. He is the Head of Landscape Architecture at QUT.  Ian’s building designs have been featured on special episodes of ABC ‘The New Inventors’ and SBS ‘Insight’.

In 2012 Ian was selected by the Australian Institute of Architects to represent innovative forms of practice at the Venice Architecture Biennale. Ian has designed homes and advised survivors of Victoria’s Black Saturday and contributed to the Royal Commission into that disaster.

His recent built works have been WA – the majority of which respond to the higher levels of bushfire attack.  These site specific designs present a means of not only reconciling biodiversity conservation with bushfire safety – but also how to reduce the costs associated with building in bushfire prone areas by unifying energy efficiency and landscape design with bushfire mitigation features.