New properties should be built with flood-proofing measures, including raised electrics and sealed floors, according to council proposals.
The Local Government Association (LGA), which represents more than 370 councils in England and Wales, is calling for mandatory anti-flood requirements to be put in place for new homes and businesses.
The proposals for new buildings at risk of flooding include raised electrical sockets, fuse boxes, controls and wiring above floor level, ventilation brick covers, sealed floors and raised damp-proof courses.
It comes after thousands of households and businesses were devastated by storms Desmond, Eva and Frank last winter.
Martin Tett, LGA environment spokesman, said: "It would be easy and inexpensive for developers to introduce a raft of measures to ensure homes and offices are more flood proof.
"These include sealing floors, raising damp-proofing courses and putting electricity meters on upper-floors so homes still have power when flood water hits.
"These simple and straightforward steps could in the long term save thousands of homes and businesses from some of the catastrophic damage and trauma which we saw this winter.
"We are urging the Government to make it a mandatory requirement for builders in at-risk areas to better protect properties from flooding."
The LGA is also calling for landfill tax paid on household items damaged by flooding to be handed back to councils to be spent on defences.
It estimates more than 1.5 tonnes of waste had to be removed from each of the 21,000 homes and businesses devastated by the storms last year.
The Government will invest £2.3 billion in flood defences in the next six years but does not support mandatory measures.
A Department of Communities and Local Government spokesman said: "Since 2004 statutory Building Regulations guidance has promoted the use of flood resilient construction, and councils can insist on a host of measures to protect new homes against flooding when granting planning permission.
"We will continue to work closely with the industry to see what else can be done to improve flood resilience, but are clear that wrapping the industry in red tape is not the way to build the homes that this country desperately needs."