Creating a Window Well for an Egress

Reference Number: KB-00893
Last Modified: January 9, 2024

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?  

A window well can be created in Chief Architect using various tools.


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, use File> Open Plan to open the file you'd like to create the window well in, then navigate to Floor 0 .

  2. Navigate to Build> Wall> Straight Exterior Wall, then click-and-drag to draw the walls for the window well.

    For the purposes of this article, we used the 8" Concrete Stem Wall wall type to create the window well.

    You may want to create a custom wall type for your window well instead. More information on creating and changing wall types can be found in the Related Articles section below.

    Create your window well using the Wall tools.

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

    Use the change line/arc tool to curve one end of the window well.

  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 specify a custom Room Name of "Egress".

  6. On the Structure panel, set the desired Floor elevation value, and uncheck the Flat Ceiling Over This Room and Roof Over This Room boxes. 

  7. Check the Floor Under This Room box and specify a Floor Finish material if needed.

    • 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, navigate to Floor 1 and select Tools> Floor/Reference Display> Reference 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 to draw a rectangular terrain hole aligned with the inside of the foundation walls below.

    Use the reference display to help create your 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 steps, a ladder, or handholds that will allow the egress to be used for its functional purpose. You may find it helpful to first place them in plan view, then move them into place in a 3D camera view.

    You can download and install the Exterior Egress Bonus Catalog from the Chief Architect 3D Library for additional accessories.