A dynamic approach to mandatory building standards is a principle-based approach. This approach complements rule-based standards for buildings and takes into consideration the principles behind building regulatory reform such as sustainability, building life-cycle and their social and economic co-benefits. This paper highlights how a principle-based approach can potentially address the engagement mechanisms with building stakeholders in one performance scheme. Instead of setting a one-time high-performance building target, principle-based targets are consecutively set by Principle-based Responsive Regulation that encourages adaptation through public policy consultations, incentives and disincentives, as well as enforcement mechanisms, working in unison to lower building-sector carbon emissions. This can be encouraged and enforced through responsive pyramids, giving stakeholders of the sector flexibility in selecting adaptation strategies to meet building performance targets. The discussions in this paper are limited to examining the potential application of principle-based responsive regulation approaches to the building sector.