ÚRS: digital innovation of publications for budgeters and builders

Digitalize. Save the forest. In this case study, you can read how we digitalized and made available online the pricing catalogs of construction works and materials that, until this moment, used to be annually printed in paper.

The trend of digitalization, which began at the end of the 20th century, has a strong influence on the current millennium. Therefore, it is no wonder that ÚRS CZ a. s. - an engineering and consulting company that is engaged in the creation of valuation tools, documents, and methodologies for construction budgeting - has also decided to take a step towards digitalization.

The paper past

In the summer of 2020, ÚRS representatives told us about a set of catalogues which they publish twice a year and which contain the most up-to-date budget information. The very process of compiling the latest version of the catalog was, as you can imagine, complicated.

When you add in all the effort associated with printing and distribution, a lot of work needed to be done. Therefore, ÚRS wanted to abandon the publishing of physical catalogs completely as soon as possible. Instead, they wanted to publish the information on the web, where they uploaded only flipbooks of printed catalogs at that time.

The digital present

Together, we started working on a project that aims to present a functional and effective alternative to the current process. And what's more - a few saved trees. We started by selecting suitable technologies, most of which concerned GCP. For the frontend, we chose the Angular framework. The servers on the backend were written in Go and hosted on the Cloud Run. For web hosting, we chose Firebase. As DB, we chose Firestore (for some cases Google Storage Buckets). Finally, PubSub for asynchronous communication between services, and Cloud Scheduler for regular and necessary backups.

How does it work?

Development began with the implementation of the "non-public part", the so-called back office. The back office is a place where individual ÚRS employees create all the texts. The final forms of the catalogs are compiled from the texts posted there. Since the texts could be quite complex, it was necessary to simplify the search. We have also defined a system for tagging and filtering texts within the back office. We have to admit the final design looks very elegant.

When people with the assigned authorization are ready to publish the given price system (a package of catalogs), they can do so via the back office. The actions of individual users are, of course, logged to avoid mistakes. The price system published in this way then immediately appears in the so-called front office (the public part of the system), where the data available to the public is clearly linked together.

Thanks to this application, the process of publishing prices and technical information has been significantly simplified and it enabled ÚRS to finally abandon the process of printing paper catalogs :). We wish ÚRS luck with further steps towards digitalization and we're happy that we can be a part of this process.

The FlowUp team has proven to us that they can both design and implement an efficient and reliable solution — even for such a specific project as ours. They very openly communicated all the viable options to us, while also listening closely to our needs. I was quite fascinated by their curiosity and desire to understand the nature of the project. At the same time, I felt that the project was a challenge to them. A technological, implementational, and organizational challenge that they have mastered from all these perspectives to our full satisfaction.

Ondřej ŠimáčekHead of Technical Department | ÚRS CZ a.s.

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