So, you want to build VE locally, so that you can contribute to the project? Awesome. Here's what you'll need:
For VE 1.4, you'll need Eclipse 3.4.2 SDK and related requirements. For VE 1.5, you'll need Eclipse 3.5.x SDK.
The easiest way to get the VE project sources into your workspace is to fetch the Project Set File (PSF) to your machine, then use Eclipse to import projects from that file. The PSFs are located in this folder in CVS:
Once you have the PSFs, you can import projects into your workspace with
File > Import > Team > Team Project Set
Install Binary requirements
Additionally, build.properties will list any other zipped requirements or update sites from which dependencies must be installed.