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RBPI chosen to replace intricate copper façade on historic Monroe Courthouse. Details and images to follow.

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Built in 1890 with an addition added in 1934, the Monroe County Courthouse stands adjacent to courthouse square on the corner of 7th and Monroe Streets in Stroudsburg, PA. The limestone structure was erected by the Carlucci brothers of Scranton, PA. The Carlucci brothers were nationally recognized stone masons who also erected the Ellis Island Landing station in New York during their career 1.

Richard Pierce Builder, Inc. is a Stroudsburg based contractor skilled in historic preservation work and commercial construction. The company’s resume includes among other projects, installation of a new roof on the courthouse, renovation work on the Monroe County Bar Association building, renovations to the Little Bethel Church, an African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church erected in 18682 and numerous commercial buildings in the Poconos region of PA.

Renovations to the courthouse require replacing the entire copper cornice and rain gutter system. The perimeter of the building at the roof line is wrapped in a beautiful copper cornice approximately 18” high. The existing cornice, while not easily viewed from the street due to its patina finish is significantly deteriorated after more than 120 years of life.

MCCourthouse Copper Install 1 (2)The new cornice provides everyone with a great view of the new ornate finish some 40 feet above the ground. People see the workers busily erecting scaffolding and covering courtroom windows and wonder what is happening. Citizens and county employees, attorney’s and even Judges walk by and look skyward to get a glimpse of the craftsmen at work.

The process requires disassembly of several courses of slate from the roof, removal of the existing gutter and cornice, and repair and replacement of framing timbers that decayed due to water infiltration over the years. When disassembly and framing repairs are complete a new reglit is cut into the limestone to accept the bottom flange on the cornice. New cornice sections are fit and fastened to the building. New gutter brackets and gutters are mounted and soldered, flashing and roof slate are reinstalled and the crew moves on to repeat this simplified explanation of the process on another section of the building.

Behind the scenes at the RPBI office and shop building many hours of preparation, drawing, protyping and fixture building took place. The copper cornice was fabricated using copper sheet material by a company in Massachusetts. A courthouse plot plan identifying each piece of copper was drawn and each piece of copper was labeled with its location on the building. Then the painstaking process of cutting the copper corners, fitting them into the fixtures and soldering corners took place. This process enables RPBI to bring preassembled sections to the job-site and lift them into place. While not all pieces can be preassembled this process does reduce onsite soldering.

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1800’s church revitalized with new roof, rebuilt foundation and new structural floor framing.

Preserving our heritage and links to the past:

story31Little Bethel Historical Association is a non-profit organization dedicated to the restoration of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church building on 3rd Street in Stroudsburg, PA. The organization’s mission is to establish and maintain the structure as a viable physical and historical facility, serving the community as a historical site and museum.     (credit: Little Bethel Historical Association)

The structure was originally constructed in 1868 and while serving the community for many years ultimately fell into disrepair due to age and years of mother’s nature work on the structure.


The church is a solid brick structure made of locally manufactured Salmon Brick.  The walls are 4 courses deep.  The foundation is stone, and brick which had decayed over time, the roof slate leaked causing structural issues in the attic and a decaying foundation and moisture lead to insect damage and further decay with the floor system.

The association provided funding and in coordination with Richard Pierce a work plan was developed.  RPBI excavated the foundation and performed repairs to the foundation walls.  The exterior foundation walls were sealed and ventilation was installed.  New rim joists and a new floor system were installed and then insulated.


With the building back on strong legs the roof system was repaired including new rafter ends as necessary.  The roof structure was further reinforced by installing strong backs, collar ties and vertical uprights.  On the building exterior missing brick and crown molding were replaced at the roof line and new soffit and fascia were installed where missing.

Today the church stands proudly on its sturdy foundation.  More renovations may be planned for the future and hopefully RPBI will be able to continue its tradition of preserving historically important structures.




How choosing the wrong contractor has consequences years later

A homeowner was experiencing problems with the flooring in the residence.  RPBI was contacted and conducted an examination of the home, foundation and grounds.  The owner was informed that the house was not properly constructed and the floor joists were deteriorating.


The home, constructed before building codes were enacted, was built without frost footings, a crawl space or basement.  The site was excavated just enough to build foundation walls that were placed directly on the ground in the excavated perimeter trench.  No concrete footing was poured to support the structure.  Additionally, the trench was back filled so that the floor system built on the foundation lacked adequate clearance from the ground below.  Floor joists were undersized for the span and overtime the floor sagged, contacted the ground below, wicked moisture from the ground and became structurally unsound.

story2bThis is a serious structural problem requiring skills, equipment and knowledge beyond most contractors’ capabilities.  RPBI specializes in this type of work and has performed multiple repairs to structures severely decayed and damaged.

RPBI excavated the foundation walls and jacked the structure off the foundation without damaging or cracking any walls.  A structural concrete footer was poured, new foundation walls constructed, and a new floor system was built to support the home.  When this was completed the structure was lowered back on to its new foundation.

story3aThe original home was built with a flat roof.  The roof was completely removed and a new hip roof was erected on the structure.  A new back porch added usable space and new siding completed the repairs.

Please view the before and after images to experience the transformation.

At Richard Pierce Builder, Inc. the job is always completed properly and the customer is treated with respect.

Structural Damage Truss Failure Replace Entire Roof 2

Hiring a knowledgeable and experienced contractor saves you money and provides peace of mind

RPBI received a call from a homeowner asking for help to resolve ceiling cracks and water damage in their home.  The homeowners stated they had spoken to other contractors and were told that the roof trusses had failed.  To correct the problem the owners would have to move out of their home due to the extensive demolition to the roof and ceiling system.  Of course this information was troubling and perhaps even frightening to the owners.

RPBI examined the attic and home.  Yes, the roof trusses, now 10 years old and out of warranty, were failing which in turn caused roof leaks that penetrated the ceiling of the living spaces.   The shingles, roof deck and roof truss system would all have to be replaced.


To the homeowners surprise RPBI informed the owners they could stay in their home during the renovation.  Not because the problem was less severe than previously stated; but because RPBI has the knowledge and experience to develop a repair process that did not remove any of the existing trusses.

In this home as is the case in truss roof construction, the ceiling is attached to the trusses.  Electrical wires running through the attic from the electric service along their respective circuits fed power to the entire home.  If you remove the roofing materials and trusses, you have to remove the ceilings, insulation, electrical wiring, plumbing vents and on and on.  Essentially you open the up the entire structure and must protect it from weather and debris.  Imagine the cost and time to perform this work.

RPBI was contracted to perform the repair without removing any trusses from the roof.  Yes, a portion of the electric had to be temporarily routed through a trough attached to the outside of the structure.  It was placed up against the overhang and protected from weather.  Most of the electric and all plumbing vents, air ducts, etc. all remained in-place.


RPBI removed just enough roofing material and sheeting to expose two to three trusses at a time.  Brand new trusses were set on new plates adjacent to the existing failed trusses.  The trusses were attached to each other and the small amount of disturbed insulation was put back in-place.  Roof sheeting and tarping was applied on the trusses to make it temporarily weather tight.  The process repeated itself across the entire roof deck from one end of the home to the other.

When the truss replacement was complete; electric was restored, a new shingle roof was applied and the ceiling cracks were repaired.

The cost savings from this approach enabled the owners to replace the siding on the home and have a new roof built over the entrance to the home.

Please view our images of the work on this home.