Creating a Window Well for an Egress

Reference Number: KB-00893
Last Modified: July 19, 2021

The information in this article applies to:



I need to draw a window well for an egress into my design.  How do I do this?

exterior view of stone window well eggress


In this article, we will walk through the steps to create an opening in your terrain and create an egress window. This article assumes that you have already created a foundation level or Floor 0 in your plan, and have an existing Terrain Perimeter on Floor 1. Check the code regulations for your particular area on the necessary dimensions for the window and egress opening.

To create an egress

  1. First, launch your Chief Architect software and select File> Open Plan  and open the plan in which you want to place your egress window or window well.

  2. Go to Floor 0  on the plan and draw in the walls around the egress window. 


    For the purposes of this article, we used a Wall Type set to 8" with its exterior and interior surfaces set to the same concrete material as the foundation walls.

    If you want to represent a thinner material than concrete, such as corrugated aluminum, you may want to use this same wall type, but change it to its minimum thickness of 1" and set its material appropriately.

  3. Since the egress in our example has a slightly curved outer wall, we will click on the wall to select it and click on the Change Line/Arc  tool to change it into a curved wall. 

    We could also have used the Curved Wall  tool to place a curved wall here initially.

  4. Using the Select Objects  tool, click inside the egress room and choose the Open Object  edit tool to display the Room Specification dialog box.

  5. On the General panel, remove the checkmark from Use Room Type and specify a custom Room Name of EGRESS.

  6. On the Structure panel, set the desired Floor height value, and uncheck the boxes beside both Ceiling Over This Room and Roof Over This Room

    • In X2 and prior, the Floor Height was specified on the General tab.

  7. Put a check next to Floor Under This Room and then specify a Floor Finish (K) material.

    • In X2 and prior, select the Materials tab and set the Floor Covering. 

    • A window well or egress window will typically have either concrete, with a drain, or gravel for drainage purposes.

    • When you are finished, click OK to close the dialog and apply your changes.

  8. Next, go up to Floor 1 and select Tools> Reference Floors> Reference Floor Display  to turn on the reference display which allows you to see where the walls on the Foundation level were placed.

  9. Select Terrain> Feature> Terrain Hole  and, using the red outline of the walls on the foundation level as a guide, click and drag out a rectangular terrain hole. 

  10. Once placed, select the side of the Terrain Hole that corresponds with the curved wall beneath it, and click on the Change Line/Arc  edit tool.

  11. The terrain hole can be adjusted, if necessary, to fit inside of the walls referenced on Floor 0, using its edit handles.

  12. Add some type of steps, ladder or handholds to be able to get out of the space to complete the effect. You may find it helpful to first place them in plan view, and then take a 3D camera view to move them into place.

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